“The Church in America is...in near perfect allegiance to the State.” ~ Phil Berrigan
The U.S. economy is on the brink of collapse and home foreclosures have surpassed the Depression Era numbers. Now, in its sixth year, the bloody war in Iraq, based on serial lies, was launched by a supposedly pro-life President, George W. Bush. Over 4,200 U.S. troops have died in that conflict, 43,000 have been seriously wounded, an estimated 1.3 million Iraqis are dead, and another 4.7 million civilians have been displaced. (1) So, what do you think a Roman Catholic priest, Joseph Illo, in Modesto, CA, is complaining about? He appears to be rankled that “54 percent of Catholics” voted for a pro-abortion candidate.
Recently, he instructed his parishioners, that if they voted for Barack Obama because of his pro-abortion position, then they have sinned and that they needed to go to “Confession” before receiving Holy Communion. (2) Talk about being out of the loop!
You would think that the good padre would have showed some respect for our First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and its “Separation of Church and State” tradition, instead of leaping into the political arena. Also, in light of the widespread priest-pedophile scandal, many feel it’s the guilty offenders in the clergy, and those who knew about their criminal wrongdoing and either did nothing about it and/or helped to cover it up, who are in need of “Confession”--not the citizens who voted for the Democratic nominee for president. (3)
Sadly, we are still uncovering the full extent of the abuse mega- scandal. (3) Take the case of Colm O’Gorman, for example. He was a victim of sexual abuse by a priest. Mr. O’Gorman is currently an executive with Amnesty International in Ireland. (4) In a RC parish in the diocese of Ferns, County Wexford, in 1981, a crime was committed against him. The perpetrator was Father Sean Fortune, who was known as “a bully.” Before the saying of the Holy Mass, Father Fortune would regularly sexually abuse the then 14-year-old O’Gorman. Sometimes, after saying the first Mass of the day and before doing the second Mass, the priest would rape his youthful victim again. The victim would then have to leave the priest’s bed, have breakfast with him, and then go into the church to hear him say his second Mass. (5) Mr.
O’Gorman eventually sued the RC Diocese of Ferns and reportedly recovered damages for his substantial injuries. (4)
In a case similar to Mr. O’Gorman’s, and around that same time period, another young boy, in Ireland, was sexually abused by a priest. When he reported that criminal conduct to another priest--the second priest swore him to a vow of secrecy. He told him, if he broke his secrecy, his soul would be condemned to hell and he would be excommunicated from the RC Church. Shifting the offending priest from parish to parish, while silencing the victim was the RC Church’s M.O.
in these matters. This story and more can be found on a video produced by the BBC. (5)
Now, please note that Father Fortune committed his crime on young O’Gorman, “before” saying the Mass! The Mass is a holy sacrament that goes right to the crux of the RC religion. Talk about a high sacrilege! What happened to Father Sean Fortune? Like in so many cases of this sort, his conduct was reportedly covered up by his Bishop. He was moved from one parish to another--where he could then prey on a new crop of victims. Father Fortune, however, escaped man’s justice by committing suicide “in the first week” of his criminal trial. He was charged by the Irish police (Gardai) with “66 counts of indecent assault and buggery relating to eight boys.” His Bishop, who denied any responsibility in the matter, resigned his post. (5)
In the BBC video expose’, “Sex, Crime and the Vatican,” a defrocked priest, Oliver O’Grady, was also featured. He served seven years in prison in California for sexually abusing children. His comments are presented, via a deposition, in a civil case. (5) Also, most of the priest-pedophile cases that came out of the New England area were carefully documented by the Boston Globe. (3)
All of which brings me back to Father Illo and his obsession with the abortion issue. Queries: Is he aware that half the people on the planet, around three billion of them, currently survive “on less than
$2 a day?” Does he know that “800 million people lack access to basic healthcare...and 17 million people, including 11 million children, die every year from easily preventable diseases and malnutrition?” (6) Where has this good cleric been for the last eight years of the reign of the Bush-Cheney Gang? Did he use his pulpit to speak out about the immorality of Iraq War, the torture of detainees, the spying on Americans, the Uber-Presidency, the gutting of Habeas Corpus, the reckless out souring of middle class jobs and the ongoing degradation of our environment?
Thankfully, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (RFK’s daughter) and Patrick Whelan, wrote an article for the Baltimore Sun, on Nov. 16, 2009, entitled, “Catholic Voters’ Shift,” that is relevant to this commentary. They detailed the many cogent reasons Roman Catholics voted for Prez-Elect Obama and “rejected the dictates of the most conservative and outspoken bishops.” (7)
Finally, I do, indeed, wonder how the once splendid Church of my youth has strayed so far off the path of its spiritual mission.
1. http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/ and
and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholic_sex_abuse_cases and http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/
4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colm_O'Gorman and http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/correspondent/2681141.stm
and http://www.bishop-accountability.org/ferns/ and http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/correspondent/1879407.stm and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_O'Grady.
“A Message From Heaven: The Life and Crimes of Fr. Sean Fortune” by Alison O’Connor.
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©2008, William Hughes, All Rights Reserved.
William Hughes’ videos can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=liamh2. His latest book, “Saying ‘No’ to the War Party,” is available on Amazon. Email Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.