Showing posts with label Catholic Church. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Catholic Church. Show all posts

November 9, 2019

The Bishop At Catholic School Found Out She is Gay, Forced Into Counseling Without Parents Knowledge

Courtesy photo
Magali Rodriguez.
UPLAND, California — Magali Rodriguez said she didn't kiss her girlfriend at school.
At Bishop Amat Memorial High School, the biggest Catholic school in the Los Angeles area, it wasn't against the rules to be gay — Rodriguez at one point checked the student handbook. But she knew not everyone on campus would approve of their relationship, so she said they didn't go in for the typical high school public displays of affection.
What she said she didn't expect was for school staff to single her out for her sexuality: She said she was forced into disciplinary meetings and counseling, barred from sitting next to her girlfriend at lunch, and kept under close eye by staff members. If she didn't follow these rules — which didn't apply to straight students in relationships — school officials threatened to out her to her parents, she said.
Rodriguez, a high school senior, tried to stay positive and get through it, but after more than three years, she was at breaking point. She was crying every day before school, her grades suffered, and spending time on campus brought intense waves of anxiety. So she decided to speak up — first to her parents and now publicly.
"I really don't want it to happen to anybody else," she told BuzzFeed News.
When Rodriguez's parents heard their daughter's story, they pulled her out of the suburban LA school known locally for its academics and sports programs. But in spite of its impressive reputation, the way school staff treated the teen was wrong, her mother said.
"They took it upon themselves to parent our daughter, to counsel her, to lecture her," Martha Tapia-Rodriguez said.
School officials and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles didn't respond to specific questions, citing student privacy. But a spokeswoman disputed the Rodriguezes account, saying it was not "entirely accurate."
All students are held to the same standards outlined in the Parent/Student Handbook, a school statement said, and Bishop Amat does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, disability, medical condition, sex, or national and/or ethnic origin.
"Any student who is involved in a relationship may socialize appropriately on campus," the statement said. "However, as stated in the Parent/Student handbook, engaging in excessive displays of affection on campus is not permitted."n
Rodriguez began coming out to friends in middle school, and by the time she started ninth grade, she was dating a sophomore girl. They were the only out couple in the 1,300-coed student body, and while Rodriguez said she knew the Catholic teachings about homosexuality, she initially trusted people would judge her based on who she was, not just her sexuality.
"I was surrounding myself with people that were really involved in their religion, but still accepting," she said. "So I never thought there was anything bad about it."
In the second semester of her freshman year, she said she and her girlfriend were called into separate meetings with their deans of discipline. At first, Rodriguez said she was confused; she'd never been in trouble at school before.
Her dean said there had been complaints about the relationship, it couldn't happen at school, and it was wrong, Rodriguez said. The teen said she also received a set of rules: No sitting next to her girlfriend at lunch and no meeting up during breaks. The meetings with the dean of discipline would continue, as would sessions with the school psychologist, and staff would be keeping an eye on them. If she followed the rules, Rodriguez said she was told, the school wouldn't tell her parents.
At that point, she was still figuring out how she wanted to come out to her family. She was scared, so she and her girlfriend agreed. "
We both walked out of that meeting just sobbing," Rodriguez said.
A few months later, during summer school, the girls were waiting for a ride home when a staff member came up to them. She began berating them, Rodriguez said, telling them they were going to hell, and that she was working to get them expelled. The staff member only left them alone to avoid Rodriguez's father, Rodriguez said. 
The next two years, Rodriguez said she tried to treat her experiences at school as if they were normal. She and her girlfriend attempted to joke to each other about their situation, even as they cried every day before class and when they were summoned to disciplinary meetings. Other students who hadn't come out noticed, opting to transfer schools or stay in the closet after hearing about what Rodriguez and her girlfriend dealt with, she said.
"We were really afraid on campus," she said. "We didn’t hold hands, we hardly hugged or anything."
And they were constantly being watched, Rodriguez said. She recalled a teacher staring them down during a class picnic, even as a straight couple made out nearby. Once, Rodriguez said she dared to move from across the table to sit next to her girlfriend at lunch. A teacher immediately came over to them, taking a position an inch or two away, she said. 
"They just had the teachers staked out," she said.
A friend of Rodriguez's, Crystal Aguilar, told BuzzFeed News the effect these interactions had on Rodriguez was immense. The girls became friends in middle school, then attended different high schools.
"I [saw] her attitude towards school change drastically. It went from her being motivated to learn and be at school, to her dreading every day she’d go," Aguilar said. "Her sadness because of it overtook her at times."
Always proud of her ability to smile through difficult situations, Rodriguez said the daily stress had fully caught up to her when her senior year began in August. She and her girlfriend had broken up, and the older girl — who couldn't be reached for comment — and other friends had graduated.
Rodriguez's grades had dropped, and though a bookworm in the past, she was no longer excited to learn and said she felt uncomfortable interacting with teachers who were also keeping watch over her. She'd spend the school day sad and full of anxiety, then come home feeling drained.
"I thought to myself, I don’t know how much longer I can go," Rodriguez said.
She knew her parents had also seen the change in her, so she penned a letter, revealing to them for the first time what she had been experiencing. 
Courtesy photo
Magali Rodriguez.
"I’m not OK," Rodriguez said she wrote. "And I'm not OK being in this type of environment that’s supposed to be lifting me and encouraging me."
The letter was shocking to her parents, who weren't surprised she was gay but by how she said she was treated by the school.
"It sounded like a suicide letter," her father, Nicolas Rodriguez, said. "It was a huge cry for help."
The way gay and lesbian students are treated at Catholic schools varies across the US, said Francis DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry. The LGBTQ Catholic group offers resources for teachers and administrators, as well as parents on the church's positive teachings. Simply put, the church says being gay or lesbian isn't considered a sin, though sexual activity between people of the same sex is, he said.
"Mostly, it says we have to accept people," he said.
But high schools' written policies often avoid the issue, and while surveys have shown most Catholics support marriage equality, critical voices can end up being the loudest in a church community, he said. Still, LGBTQ Catholics deserve the support of schools and parishes, he said.
“As a baptized Catholic, they belong to the church community,” DeBernardo said. “They have gifts they can offer to the church community, but unfortunately, not all church community members are going to recognize that.”
It's reasonable for a Catholic institution to take a stand against sexual activity outside of marriage, he said. But that shouldn't mean a different set of standards for LGBTQ students, such as who they can take the school dances.
“They should handle it the way they handle any student in a relationship,” DeBernardo said.
Rodriguez is now set to finish the year at another local high school. For the first time in years, she said she feels like she can breathe.
"I wouldn’t be proud if I got a diploma from Bishop," she said. "What they showed me about what they stand for and their true values isn't what they really live up to." 

August 26, 2019

Catholic Priest Arrested (Priest He Replaced Covered Sexual Abuse) For Stealing $98.4K for Boys

 St Joseph's Church beautiful, expensive altar
A Catholic priest was arrested in Pennsylvania Wednesday for allegedly stealing almost $100,000 in church donations, money authorities say he spent on traveling and his dating life.  

Father Joseph McLoone, a former priest with St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Downingtown, Pa., was charged with felony theft and other related crimes, according to the Chester County District Attorney's Office. 

Prosecutors say McLoone, 56, managed to steal $98,405.50 from the church over a seven-year span between 2011 and 2018. Large portions of that amount reportedly went toward vacations, dinners and a beach house in New Jersey. 

McLoone also allegedly sent thousands of church dollars to men he met on Grindr, a dating app for gay men.

According to a police complaint obtained by Philadelphia Magazine, McLoone — who took an oath of celibacy as part of his priesthood — would meet other men on the app and transfer them funds through services such as Square and J-Pay. He made at least 27 of these payments, according to investigators.  

"Father McLoone held a position of leadership and his parishioners trusted him to properly handle their generous donations to the church," the Chester County D.A.'s office said in a statement. "Father McLoone violated the trust of the members of St. Joseph for his own personal gain."  

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia had placed McLoone on leave in 2018 after learning about a secret bank account that he was allegedly using to embezzle funds. 

"These charges are serious and disturbing," Kenneth Gavin, chief communications officer for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, told Philadelphia Magazine this week. "The Archdiocese and the parish will continue to cooperate with law enforcement as the criminal matter enters its next phase. Pending the outcome, Monsignor McLoone remains on administrative leave."

McLoone originally took over at the church in 2011 after its former priest, William Lynn, was charged with covering up sexual abuse committed by other members of the clergy. He was the first U.S. Catholic Church official convicted of the crime.


May 27, 2019

Priest in Newark Church Pressed NJ School To Cover Gay Mural Painted by LGBT Students

Mural painted over by school

Jane Clementi, co-founder of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, speaks about NJ’s conversion therapy ban, during an interview at her home in Ridgewood on April 18, 2019. She is the mother of Tyler 
Clementi, who died by suicide after being bullied because he was gay. North Jersey Record 
New Jersey's largest gay rights advocacy group is condemning a Bergen charter school for destroying part of a student's mural that supported the LGBT community.   

The Bergen Arts and Science Charter School in Hackensack, which leases its building from Holy Trinity Church, a Catholic church in Hackensack, painted over part of the mural that a 16-year-old student created because the church found it offensive.  

The group Garden State Equality was enraged by that act, and is asking the Archdiocese of Newark to have the school restore the mural.  

“It is offensive, unconscionable, and flatly unconstitutional for this church acting as a for-profit landlord to restrict a public school’s curriculum or censor student speech within those walls. This type of hate-fueled bigotry is precisely why New Jersey needs LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum to promote acceptance and understanding,” said Garden State Equality Executive Director Christian Fuscarino in a statement. 

A student at the Bergen Arts and Science Charter School painted a mural for an art project. The church, which owns the building, demanded the school paint over a rainbow heart signaling LGBTQ rights.

A student at the Bergen Arts and Science Charter School painted a mural for an art project. The church, which owns the building, demanded the school paint over a rainbow heart signaling LGBTQ rights. (Photo: Student)
Garden State Equality also said that the church has restricted education at Bergen Arts and Science before, including by forcing a school psychologist to remove a poster supportive of LGBT students.

The student who did the mural, a high school junior, told and The Record that the school was forced to paint over part of a mural that included a rainbow heart.

   Related image

I would like to ask this priest what in the picture did he find inmoral, ungodly or brought him bad memories of his past? Which one of those?    None? why do this?  I guess he forgot The  name Tyler Clementi, the young man that killed hmself after being bully in the school......Iam starting to think that this so called priest or one like him had something to do with the athmosphere of bullying in school that killed Tyler. I never met tyler but I know about him. If these students are being taught that a rainbow heart is bad because gays painted it, then it most be ok to make fun of them.
BRING THAT MURAL BACK!!  MUral and Moral are so close but I see no morality in those that took part in this. Lets say enough is enough!! 

Adam Gonzalez, Publisher

The Archdiocese of Newark, in a statement released on Thursday, asserted that there was no order to cover the rainbow heart, and that school officials must have made the decision to do so. But the mural did include "some symbols of sexuality that were inappropriate for the building," which is used by church parishioners as well as the school, the statement said.  

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Holy Trinity Church raised two concerns, according to the statement: "First that the school refrain from consistently painting on the building surfaces. Secondly that the school remove some content in a new painting, which included some symbols of sexuality that were inappropriate for the building, as the building is utilized by parishioners of the church as well as the school." 

The Rev. Paul Prevosto, pastor of Holy Trinity Church, told that parishioners brought the mural to his attention because of a depiction of male figures that looked "obscene." The mural included abstract figures with interlocking circle and arrow symbols that represent the male gender.

Prevosto also called the mural "offensive" and said he told the school to "take care of it."

The student, who did not want her name published, said her honors art class had painted murals inspired by great artists in the school cafeteria. She painted a piece featuring colorful silhouettes of people and a rainbow heart that was a replica of work by gay artist Keith Haring, whose colorful graffiti-style art gained popularity in the 1980s. 

Distraught by the incident, the student took to Twitter for support. 

"So school's owned by a Catholic Church and they want me to take down my Keith Harring mural that supports the LGBT community," she said. "They think it's inappropriate...I'm heartbroken and I really never thought this could actually happen. Please help." 

The Catholic Church prohibits sexual activity between people of the same gender and its Catechism calls homosexual acts "intrinsically immoral and contrary to the natural law." 

But the church has also emphasized that homosexual people are not inherently sinful and should be welcomed in the faith community. 

Cardinal Joseph Tobin of the Newark Archdiocese has called for the church to be more inclusive, and he has celebrated Mass for openly gay Catholics. 

The school's lease agreement with the school includes a stipulation about Catholic values and states that "anything contrary to our Catholic sensitivity should not be displayed or seen."  

New Jersey this year became the second state in the nation to adopt a law that requires schools to teach about LGBT history, including the political, economic and social contributions of individuals who are gay and transgender. The law takes effect in the next school year.

Officials from Garden State Equality noted that charter schools like Bergen Arts and Science, which are public schools run by private organizations, will be required to comply with the law.

"Decades ago, the United State Supreme Court held that students ‘do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate,’” said Garden State Equality board member and former state bar president Thomas Prol. “It is sadly ironic that an educational institution is now delivering a lesson in censorship to these students during their tender years."

Hannan Adely contributed to this story.
North Jersey

, North Jersey Record

May 12, 2019

Bishop Removes Dutch Priest After Attacking Gays in His Homily

Featured Image
Bishop Gerard de Korte of Den Bosch, Netherlands
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

Friday, (LifeSiteNews) — Father Marc Massaer will be leaving his present parish in the diocese of ’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, by the 1st of July. His removal is seen by many as a consequence of a strongly worded sermon he gave last December 26, speaking out against gender ideology and same-sex unions. Fr Massaer has published the news of his departure himself on his parish website on May 7, explaining that he has accepted Bishop de Korte’s suggestion that he leave Sint-Christoffel in West Maas en Waal on short notice. His new destination is as yet unknown.
While the priest himself has not underscored the link between his removal and his “controversial” homily (from the Dutch mainstream point of view), it is certain that he has gone through a period of confrontation with his parishioners, the Catholic members of eight former parishes he has led alone for the last eight years when a “super-parish” was formed, due to a dearth of priests and faithful in the formerly heavily Catholic south half of the Netherlands.
Hostilities were opened following the “Second Day of Christmas,” as it is called in Holland: a public holiday when many nominal Catholics who seldom go to church are wont to join Mass. Fr Massaer was celebrating in one of “his” eight parish churches, in Walen. 
In this case, the daughter of a local choir member had come back to her home town for Christmas and joined Mass on the 26th. Ceciel Kalkers was shocked to hear the priest condemning “the indoctrination of gender ideology.” He said it “is radically opposed to the order of creation, and it promotes that what is not Catholic.” “This is a boomerang that will head back towards humanity,” he said, with all its “negative consequences,” she wrote two weeks later in an open letter to the local newspaperDe Maas en Waler.
She added another quote from the sermon from memory: “Only ‘holy families’ (man-woman-child) could bring peace and harmony.”
Her letter went on to speak of her “sadness,” thinking about “two good homo friends, a homo-couple with a newborn child.” “I hardly know anyone nicer.  Weren’t these people welcome?” she said. And so her text went on, deploring the priest’s tone, his “condemnations,” his lack of “inclusion.”
Kalkers tried to speak to Massaer in the sacristy, but he had already left. The following day, she called him over the telephone, and was again shocked to hear that he was standing by his words. “People should start thinking, because they have fallen asleep,” he said, according to Kalkers.
Challenged about the “hurt” such words could cause to homosexuals, she said Fr Massaer added: “A man with a man is no lifestyle. We can’t make the wrong things right just by talking. As a Church, we have a right to say what is right and what is wrong. Every human being stands before a choice, and I want them to think about that.”
“So orientation is a choice, according to Fr Massaer,” angrily wrote Ceciel Kalkers. She was even more indignant when she heard him add: “You’re really going against the order of creation and then you’re just sinning. Sins don’t fit with the Christian lifestyle. I condemn what is wrong.”
Shortly after this letter was published, the governing board of the parish of St. Christopher reached out to the diocese of ’s-Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch), whose bishop, Gerard de Korte, is known for his openness to the “LGBT community,” having even accepted to open his cathedral for the local “Pink pride” a few years back before being forced to back down
According to the regional press, the board’s move was dictated by anger at the “gay-unfriendly” sermon of Marc Massaer, although the no details were given. Its vice president did tell De Gelderlander that the board was “not happy with the impact of the homily.”
The newspaper compared Massaer’s words with the Nashville statement condemning homosexual acts. At the time in the Netherlands, the statement was being picked up and signed by local evangelicals, amid furious media reaction. Some of them even received death threats at the time.
De Gelderlander wrote on May 7 that Massaer’s sermon had triggered “a storm of outrage, also among parishioners and volunteers.” Now Massaer is being moved to other pastures.
Talks took place between the parish governing board and the diocese, according to the newspaper: “It is not clear whether Massaer’s departure is a result of those talks. No one at the diocese or in the parish is prepared to answer requests for comment.”
Even if his new nomination was on the cards, reactions to his sermon are sufficient to show how difficult it is in a deeply paganized country such as the Netherlands to proclaim the full Catholic truth.
Local media noted that Massaer “keeps himself strictly to church rules.” “Last summer he banned a nonreligious choir from singing at the funeral of a parishioner,” noted De Gelderlander. But even that liberal daily was obliged to acknowledge that under Massaer’s guidance, not one of the eight churches of the joint parish of West Maas en Waal has been shut down.
Facebook comments called the priest an “Inquisitor” and a “freak.” 

April 17, 2019

Notre Dame, More Than a Church, See What’s There

Inside Notre-Dame
A look inside fire-ravaged Notre-Dame cathedral

 Saving France's 850-year-old Notre-Dame cathedral came down to a crucial time window of 15-30 minutes, France's deputy interior minister has said. 
Laurent Nuñez praised the "courage and determination" of firefighters who "risked their own lives" to salvage the building's stone structure and its two towers. 
The fire ravaged the cathedral's roof and caused its spire to collapse.
French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to rebuild it within five years. 
The cause of the blaze is unclear.
"We now know it all came down to 15-30 minutes," Mr Nuñez said, adding that police and fire services would spend the next 48 hours assessing the security and safety of the structure. 
Paris public prosecutor Rémy Heitz said his office was "favouring the theory of an accident", but had assigned 50 people to investigate the origin of the fire.

A before, during and after photoImage copyrightAFP
Image captionThe cathedral's spire, before, during the fire and after

Other officials have suggested it could be linked to extensive renovation works taking place at the cathedral. 
Thoughts are now turning to how Notre-Dame will be rebuilt, which Mr Macron promised to make "even more beautiful". 
"We will turn this catastrophe into an opportunity to come together", he said.
In a televised public address, Mr Macron also heaped praise on the fire services.
"The firefighters stopped the fire by taking the most extreme risks. They were 20 or 25, from each corner of France, from each region." 

Media captionHundreds gathered at a vigil for Notre-Dame

A number of companies and business tycoons have so far pledged about €800m ($902m; £692m) between them to help with reconstruction efforts, AFP reports. 
Offers of help have also poured in from around the globe, with European Council President Donald Tusk calling on EU member states to rally round.
Eric Fischer, head of the foundation in charge of restoring the 1,000-year-old Strasbourg cathedral, told AFP the Notre-Dame may take "decades" to rebuild. 

What happened?

The blaze was discovered at 18:43 local time (16:43 GMT) on Monday, and firefighters were called. The flames quickly reached the roof of the cathedral, destroying the wooden interior before toppling the spire.
Remnants of the roof of Notre-DameFears grew that the cathedral's famous towers would also be destroyed.

Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionThe whole of the roof was "devastated", according to the fire service

But while a number of fires did begin in the towers, Mr Nuñez said they were successfully stopped before they could spread.
The Paris fire service said it was fully extinguished by 10:00 local time (08:00 GMT).

What is the damage?

Search teams had already begun assessing the extent of the damage when dawn broke over the French capital.
The cathedral's blackened stone and charred scaffolding were revealed to onlookers for the first time. Photos appear to show that at least one of the cathedral's famed rose windows has survived, although there are concerns for some of the other stained-glass windows.
Christophe Castaner, France's interior minister, warned that while the principal structure had been saved, the building was still unstable.
"We will be standing at [Notre Dame's] bedside", he added.

A picture from inside the cathedral after the fire

Mr Nuñez said that "overall", the structure was in good condition, but that "some vulnerabilities" had been identified in the stone vaults and the remainder of the building's ceiling.
Experts have not yet been allowed on site to assess the damage and French firefighters have sent a drone to survey the scale of the destruction. 
Heat and water damage will also need to be assessed.
The cathedral's 18th Century organ has not been burned, but it is not clear whether it has been damaged by water, Bertrand de Feydeau, from the French charity Fondation du Patrimoine, told Associated Press. 

Presentational grey line

Praying for the cathedral 

By Patrick Jackson, BBC News, Paris 
They sit or stand in a crowd, many of them young people, spilling over the end of the Boulevard Saint Michel, this first evening after the fire, singing hymns. On a table beneath the towering sculpture of Saint Michael stands a statue of Our Lady - Notre Dame.
"As a French Catholic," says Éloi, 22, "I felt really bad after the fire so I see this vigil as a way to say that even if the flames destroyed the cathedral, we can rebuild it because the Church is made not of stones but is a living body." He believes the cathedral should be remade just the way it was, as a "prayer to God".
"We are Catholics," he adds, "but all French people - Catholics, Muslims, atheists - are united around this disaster and in the hope it will be rebuilt."
And they are united in pride in the fire brigade. During the concert, an engine hurtles past on the road, and the singing stops as the crowd claps and cheers.

Presentational grey line

What happens next?

Individuals and groups are mobilising to help rebuild Notre-Dame. Hundreds of millions of euros have already been pledged.
Air France said in a statement that the company would offer free flights to anyone involved in the reconstruction. 
Billionaire François-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of the Kering group that owns the Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent fashion brands, pledged €100m (£86m; $113m), AFP news agency reports.
Another €200m was pledged by Bernard Arnault's family and their company LVMH - a business empire which includes Louis Vuitton and Sephora, according to Reuters.
French cosmetics giant L'Oreal and its founding Bettencourt family have promised to give a further €200m. Total, the French oil giant, has pledged €100m.
Fondation du Patrimoine is launching an international appeal for funds for the cathedral, a Unesco World Heritage site. Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was happy to send experts to help restore the cathedral.
The British government is also looking into what it can do to help, according to Ed Llewellyn, the UK ambassador to France.
Spanish Culture Minister Jose Guirao said his country was also seeking ways to help.

What about the cathedral's treasures?

Emergency teams managed to rescue valuable artwork and religious items, including what is said to be the crown of thorns worn by Jesus before his crucifixion.

Graphic showing scale of damage
presentational white spacing line

A tunic King Louis IX is said to have worn when he brought the crown of thorns to Paris was also saved. 
Historian Camille Pascal told French broadcaster BFMTV that "invaluable heritage" had been destroyed.
"Happy and unfortunate events for centuries have been marked by the bells of Notre-Dame. We can be only horrified by what we see.

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