Saturday, March 27, 2010

Megachurch Not Paying Bills

Robert Schuller's Crystal Cathedral owes tens of thousands of dollars it hasn't paid to the people who help to produce the megachurch's Christmas and Easter pageants. Leaders of the Southern California church have said revenues are down 27% in the last two years and the church is facing $55 million of debt. One vendor who is owed $20,000 has designed props, decorated sets and provided wigs and special makeup for the productions for 25 years.

Abuse Accusatoin Against Italian Church & Pope

A group of deaf men who say they were abused in the Catholic church appeared on Italian TV. The three former students claim two dozen priests had for decades abused children at a school for the deaf in Verona. The accused include Bishop of Verona from 1958-78 who died in 1981 and some have sought to have beatified, a crucial step on the road to sainthood. The current Bishop of Verona accused them of “hallucinating” until one of the accused lay brothers admitted sexual relations with pupils. Last summer the diocese forwarded its files on the abuse to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which took no action until last month. The Italian Bishops Conference has agreed to form a “task force” to collect evidence of paedophilia.

The Church’s account of how much the current Pope knew about a German paedophile priest is being called into question since a memo came to light, showing he led a meeting in 1980 during which the transfer of an offending priest was approved and the information about the man's abuse of children was kept from the leaders of the place to which he was being transfered. Peter Hullermann had been sent to the Munich Diocese for “therapy” after molesting a boy. Hullermann was convicted of sexual abuse in 1986. He was still working in the church until this month when he was suspended for breaking a promise not to have contact with children and young people.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Missionary Leader Remains Behind Bars

The Idaho woman who led a group of Baptist missionaries to Haiti where they were arrested for kidnapping children is still in a Haiti jail. Terry Silsby's Internet business, Personal Shopper Inc. is closing down while her former spouse is asking the courts for sole custody of their two children, ages 15 and 5. Silsby tried to bus 33 Haitian children to the Dominican Republic. Her husband says he wants custody because he believes Silsby wants to move to the Dominican Republic and take his children there. Her attorney has not commented on the issue.

Catholic Leaders Defend Pope

Catholic leaders in Europe are rising to defend Pope Benedict. The former archdiocese of Munich insisted the Pontiff did not know about the abuse of children in the city's Catholic churches even though he was archbishop of Munich in 1980. That year, a priest was reassign to a post with access to children - even though he was undergoing therapy for being a suspected pedophilia. Just a few years later, the priest was convicted of molesting a boy at another parish. Several other cases of abuse in European Catholic churches have recently come to light as well. Also, the Vatican decided not to defrock a Wisconsin priest accused of sexually abusing as many as 200 deaf boys in Milwaukee during the 1950s, 60s, and 70s.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Vatican Knew Priest Molested 200 Deaf Boys

Some 200 deaf boys were molested by a priest who was never defrocked by the Catholic Church. The New York Times reports that Vatican officials, including Pope Benedict XVI were a part of the decision. The situation become public because of a lawsuit that revealed correspondence between Wisconsin Bishops and the future pope Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Five men are suing the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. The letters show Ratzinger was more concerned about protecting the church from scandal than the welfare of the children. He and other officials did not alert the authorities or even discipline the priests involved in sexual abuse while he served as the Vatican’s chief doctrinal enforcer.

American priest Lawrence C. Murphy served at Wisconsin's St. John’s School for the Deaf from 1950 to 1974. He first taught classes and became effective at raising money for deaf causes and was eventually promoted to run the school in 1963 - even though church officials already knew he sexually abused children.

A group of deaf former students spent decades trying to get something changed, even handing out fliers outside the Milwaukee cathedral. Eventually, an internal investigation of Murphy showed he was not remorseful and he appealed to Ratzinger for leniency. Murphy died at the age of 72, buried in his priestly garments.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A 1st for Gospel Music

Marvin Sapp's new Here I Am collection hit #2 on the Billboard top 200 chart. That's the highest position of any gospel release in the chart's 54-year history. The project sold 76,000 copies its first week in stores, second only to the latest album from the country trio Lady Antebellum. The album's first single is a power ballad called The Best In Me. USA Today gave the album 3 and a half stars out of four.

Gay Jesus Play at Texas College

This Saturday Tarleton State University will host a play in which Jesus is portrayed as gay called Corpus Christi. Campus police plan to step up security at the school, located in Stephenville, Texas, some 70 miles outside of Fort Worth. Critics who say the play is blasphemous plan a protest.