Archive for the ‘news’ Category
As a survivor of child sexual abuse, as a friend of women who were abused by clergy, and as a support worker working with people who survived the abuses in Residential schools in Canada, I have to say that this comes as welcome news.
Pope accused of crimes against humanity by victims of sex abuse
Victims’ complaint to the international criminal court accuses Pope Benedict and three others of failing to prevent abusers
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 13 September 2011 12.01 BST
Victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests have accused the pope, the Vatican secretary of state and two other high-ranking Holy See officials of crimes against humanity, in a formal complaint to the international criminal court (ICC).
The submission, lodged at The Hague on Tuesday, accuses the four men not only of failing to prevent or punish perpetrators of rape and sexual violence but also of engaging in the “systematic and widespread” practice of concealing sexual crimes around the world.
It includes individual cases of abuse where letters and documents between Vatican officials and others show a refusal to co-operate with law enforcement agencies seeking to pursue suspects, according to the Centre for Constitutional Rights (CCR), a US-based organisation that represents the claimants.
Pam Spees, human rights attorney with CCR, said: “The point of this is to look at it from a higher altitude. You zoom out and the practices are identical: whistleblowers are punished, the refusal of the Vatican to co-operate with law enforcement agencies. You see the protection of priests and leaving them in the ministry and because of these decisions other children are raped and sexually assaulted.”
She said: “It’s not only the facts of the abuse but the way that the church deepened the harm in sometimes irreparable ways.”
According to the document filed by CCR, the pope, as head of the Catholic church, is ultimately responsible for the sexual abuse of children by priests and for the cover-ups of that abuse. The group argues that he and others have “direct and superior responsibility” for the crimes of those ranked below them, similar to a military chain of command.
The others named in the complaint are Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals and former Vatican secretary of state; Cardinal Tarcissio Bertone, now secretary of state, who previously served at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the organisation tasked with handling sexual abuse cases under the pope when he was Cardinal Ratzinger; and Cardinal William Lavada, head of the CDF, whose handling of previous sexual abuse cases has been criticised in the past.
Megan Petersen, from Minnesota, is one of two named US victims whose cases have been included in the complaint to the ICC. Petersen was awarded $750,000 (£500,000) last week in a civil claim against Crookston diocese, in which she alleged that a priest, Joseph Jeyapaul, had raped her repeatedly as a child.
Speaking at The Hague, where the complaint was being launched, Petersen said of Jeyapaul: “He was a man of God and I was very devout. I wanted to be a nun. I trusted him.
“Part of why I’m here is to protect kids. My perpetrator is still serving among kids and vulnerable adults, despite there being criminal charges against him. Ratzinger is the head of this organisation and these are his sheep, his flock. I will do everything in my power to make sure this does not happen to another child.” Jeyapaul has denied the abuse from India, where he is serving as a priest.
Amnesty International’s latest annual human rights report, which cited the Holy See for the first time, concluded there was widespread evidence of child sexual abuse by members of the clergy over past decades, and an “enduring failure” of the Catholic church to seek redress.
I know there is at least one devout Catholic who reads my blog and I’m sorry if this might offend. However there is nothing more despicable than someone who tries to hide their crimes and the crimes of others under the veil of religion. That the Catholic Church insisted on moving paedophile priests from one diocese to another, that they hid the truth from law enforcement and from their parishioners, that they continue to this day to defend the criminals, obfuscate, and increase the suffering of the victims of predators makes the entire system corrupt.
“Suffer the children who come unto me” should not have become instructions to abuse. Some took it that way and the hierarchy of the church abetted their crimes.
From Associated Press:
Psychologists repudiate gay-to-straight therapy
By DAVID CRARY (AP)
NEW YORK — The American Psychological Association declared Wednesday that mental health professionals should not tell gay clients they can become straight through therapy or other treatments.
In a resolution adopted by the APA’s governing council, and in an accompanying report, the association issued its most comprehensive repudiation of “reparative therapy” — a concept espoused by a small but persistent group of therapists, often allied with religious conservatives, who maintain gays can change.
No solid evidence exists that such change is likely, says the resolution, adopted by a 125-4 vote. The APA said some research suggests that efforts to produce change could be harmful, inducing depression and suicidal tendencies.
Instead of seeking such change, the APA urged therapists to consider multiple options — that could range from celibacy to switching churches — for helping clients live spiritually rewarding lives in instances where their sexual orientation and religious faith conflict.
The APA had criticized reparative therapy in the past, but a six-member task force added weight to this position by examining 83 studies on sexual orientation change conducted since 1960. Its report was endorsed by the APA’s governing council in Toronto, where the 150,000-member association’s annual meeting is being held this weekend.
The report breaks new ground in its detailed and nuanced assessment of how therapists should deal with gay clients struggling to remain loyal to a religious faith that disapproves of homosexuality.
Judith Glassgold, a Highland Park, N.J., psychologist who chaired the task force, said she hoped the document could help calm the polarized debate between religious conservatives who believe in the possibility of changing sexual orientation and the many mental health professionals who reject that option.
“Both sides have to educate themselves better,” Glassgold said in an interview. “The religious psychotherapists have to open up their eyes to the potential positive aspects of being gay or lesbian. Secular therapists have to recognize that some people will choose their faith over their sexuality.”
In dealing with gay clients from conservative faiths, says the report, therapists should be “very cautious” about suggesting treatments aimed at altering their same-sex attractions.
“Practitioners can assist clients through therapies that do not attempt to change sexual orientation, but rather involve acceptance, support and identity exploration and development without imposing a specific identity outcome,” the report says.
“We have to challenge people to be creative,” said Glassgold.
She suggested that devout clients could focus on overarching aspects of religion such as hope and forgiveness to transcend negative beliefs about homosexuality, and either remain part of their original faith within its limits — for example, by embracing celibacy — or find a faith that welcomes gays.
“There’s no evidence to say that change therapies work, but these vulnerable people are tempted to try them, and when they don’t work, they feel doubly terrified,” Glassgold said. “You should be honest with people and say, ‘This is not likely to change your sexual orientation, but we can help explore what options you have.’”
One of the largest organizations promoting the possibility of changing sexual orientation is Exodus International, a network of ministries whose core message is “Freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ.”
Its president, Alan Chambers, describes himself as someone who “overcame unwanted same-sex attraction.” He and other evangelicals met with APA representatives after the task force formed in 2007, and he expressed satisfaction with parts of the report that emerged.
“It’s a positive step — simply respecting someone’s faith is a huge leap in the right direction,” Chambers said. “But I’d go further. Don’t deny the possibility that someone’s feelings might change.”
An evangelical psychologist, Mark Yarhouse of Regent University, praised the APA report for urging a creative approach to gay clients’ religious beliefs but — like Chambers — disagreed with its skepticism about changing sexual orientation.
Yarhouse and a colleague, Professor Stanton Jones of Wheaton College, will be releasing findings at the APA meeting Friday from their six-year study of people who went through Exodus programs. More than half of 61 subjects either converted to heterosexuality or “disidentified” with homosexuality while embracing chastity, their study said.
To Jones and Yarhouse, their findings prove change is possible for some people, and on average the attempt to change will not be harmful.
The APA task force took as a starting point the belief that homosexuality is a normal variant of human sexuality, not a disorder, and that it nonetheless remains stigmatized in ways that can have negative consequences.
The report said the subgroup of gays interested in changing their sexual orientation has evolved over the decades and now is comprised mostly of well-educated white men whose religion is an important part of their lives and who participate in conservative faiths that frown on homosexuality.
“Religious faith and psychology do not have to be seen as being opposed to each other,” the report says, endorsing approaches “that integrate concepts from the psychology of religion and the modern psychology of sexual orientation.”
Perry Halkitis, a New York University psychologist who chairs the APA committee dealing with gay and lesbian issues, praised the report for its balance.
“Anyone who makes decisions based on good science will be satisfied,” he said. “As a clinician, you have to deal with the whole person, and for some people, faith is a very important aspect of who they are.”
The report also addressed the issue of whether adolescents should be subjected to therapy aimed at altering their sexual orientation. Any such approach should “maximize self-determination” and be undertaken only with the youth’s consent, the report said.
Wayne Besen, a gay-rights activist who has sought to discredit the so-called “ex-gay” movement, welcomed the APA findings.
“Ex-gay therapy is a profound travesty that has led to pointless tragedies, and we are pleased that the APA has addressed this psychological scourge,” Besen said.
Ok, this has nothing to do with flying trapeze artists, but hey, it got your attention, didn’t it? I can feature all those kids who want to run away to the circus, all those people who want to see a Cirque du Solieil performance and people who like to have sex on trapezes are going to be profoundly disappointed in today’s entry. On the plus side my hit count is going to go up (heh…i said “going to go up” – and yes, I’m immature enough to enjoy that).
I went into school today. However, instead of doing much work I spent the day mostly socializing. It was nice to laugh about silly things (nearly to tears once … about farts). Then once I started working on a sort of rough outline for my final exam I got a phone call from Bran. We’d both forgotten that it was early release day for Boy. So I interrupted my work, packed up and bade farewell to the ones in the room.
The college is moving the Arts graduate studies computer lab. Now, instead of 30 computers, there will only be eight. Yes, that’s right. The IT boobs say they have the stats to prove that people don’t use the lab much but it’s going to be interesting come time for people to do their methods homework and statistical work on their theses because there isn’t a student alive that can afford the $3000 or so it takes to afford a licenced copy of SPSS. Not only that, but the sociology grad students have old, uncomfortable chairs in the carrel room. Poli-Sci just got a new room of new desks, new lockers and new chairs. This despite the fact that there are a whole lot more soc students. Sucks to be me.
After we got home I sat around for a while and did some comic reading. After that I made supper. That’s right, folks. There was no ordering in, no getting take out, no junk food. There was penne pasta with cheese and salsa, steamed broccoli, and steak (protein for Bran and I). It was quite yummy. The cheese sauce from the penne made a lovely sauce for the broccoli. All-in-all it was a lovely meal and I managed to get it all cooked at the same time. Well, the steaks were done sooner than the rest, but I put them on a plate with tin foil over them to keep warm
Bran took the car in to get assessed by a body shop. Thus far it looks hopeful that the repairs will be lower than the cost of the car. Keep your toes crossed. I don’t mind taking the bus and walking while the car is being repaired.
Bran just returned with a kitty water fountain. He’s working at setting it up as I type.
I’ve done work on my final, I think I’m about 1/2 way done. I’m going to finish it up tomorrow at school. I should be able to avoid the two funny ones by plugging my earphones in and playing music. That usually works and amuses them enormously. In fact, it amuses them nearly as much as my eating my Cheetos crunchie things with chop sticks (I hate that cheese stuff on my fingers).
Oh, I don’t know if you noticed, there’s an email button on the right. Also, be advised I shall be using Dooce as my mentor and posting any abusive email sent to me. Just so you know.
That’s about it.
From the latest CBC News:
Border guards to turn away church group aiming to picket bus victim’s funeral
Last Updated: Friday, August 8, 2008 | 9:09 AM CT
Canadian border guards are under orders to prevent members of a fundamentalist American church from crossing into Canada to protest at the funeral Saturday of a Winnipeg man brutally killed on a Greyhound bus last week.
Westboro Baptist Church, a controversial Kansas-based sect, intends to picket the funeral of 22-year-old Tim McLean to tell Canadians his slaying on July 30 was God’s response to Canadian policies enabling abortion, homosexuality and adultery.
“God is punishing Canada for passing laws against WBC — by exposing Canadians as cannibals and highway decapitaters,” the church says in a news release on its website, which refers to McLean as “The Headless Canadian.”
Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day’s office sent an alert to border patrol to “look out” for people with signs and pamphlets consistent with the messages that the church promotes and to keep them out of the country, Winnipeg MP Pat Martin told CBC News on Friday.
“Entering Canada by a U.S. citizen isn’t an absolute right, and if you’re coming here only to disrupt the social order and to promote what we consider to be bordering on hate crimes or hate language, they shouldn’t come into Canada,” Martin said.
“We’re not going to allow these people to compound the tragedy of the McLean family loss, and Canadians simply won’t tolerate these lunatics disrupting what should be a respectful service.”
Freedom of speech is not absolute, Martin said.
“Your freedom to swing your arm in the air ends when it touches the end of my nose,” he said. “What these people were going to do was hurtful, harmful and disruptive to the peace, order and good government that we guarantee to our citizens, so they have no place in this country.”
A counter-protest against the church’s picket plans was launched on the social networking site Facebook on Thursday. More than 500 people have since joined the group; postings indicate they plan to form a “human wall” around the family to shield them from the church protest, if it takes place.
The Westboro Baptist Church and its founder, Pastor Fred Phelps, gained infamy by protesting gay-pride rallies and the funerals of people who have died from AIDS-related illnesses.
In recent years, church members have also picketed the funerals of American soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, claiming the deaths are also God’s punishment for the country’s tolerance for homosexuality.
I may despise Harper and nearly all of what he represents, but his government has managed to show a remarkable amount of sense and sensitivity around this whole issue.
The space on my jaw where the tooth used to be hurts, but it’s not the same kind of chronic then acute pain I had when I’d eat while the tooth was there. The nice thing about this pain is that 1. I know it’ll go away 2. the ibuprofen is pretty effective and 3. so long as I’m careful when I drink (not too hot and not sucking on a straw) it doesn’t hurt to drink cold liquids. Yay! It won’t be long and the gum will heal (despite the tooth breaking up it wasn’t a difficult extraction and the entire tooth is gone) nicely and I’ll get used to no tooth being there. I might even get a denture or something to replace it.
Thanks to everyone for your well wishes.
I should be going to bed soon. But first I’m going to read my daily comics and then eat my chicken rolls from last night’s supper…because, you know, I can.
I know that most people who read my blog are avid readers of books. So I figured that I’d turn you on to a new Canadian novelist who will simply blow your socks off with her talent. Her name is Pam Bustin and she’s a personal friend of mine (which I say before she becomes a New York Times best seller list famous person so I can say, “I knew her when…”).
On the MyTube link she gives information about her book Mostly Happy as well as a small excerpt for your teasing pleasure. When we’re able to afford the book I’ll get you the ISDN so that you can order it at your local bookstore. It’s published by Thistledown Press, which is a small Canadian company, so it’s unlikely that book stores in the USA will have it in stock, but they can order it.
Go see the video and meet Pam. She’s probably the most coolest person I know or will ever know. When you consider the coolness of the other people I know then you get an idea of how uber-cool she really is.
Today I got to teach my prof not to make assumptions about people. He assumed, because some of my classmates hadn’t given many presentations that I hadn’t either. Huge mistake on his part, I have to say. So when I sent him my 15 pages of bulleted notes, he thought that I was going to read all the notes, like some of my classmates had. Fifteen pages is a lot of reading. I shot back a pissy email telling him that I’d followed his instructions to make notes and to be able to cut out stuff if needs must. When I got to class I was still annoyed. He asked if I got his email and I said that I did and that it annoyed me. When he asked why I said told him that I’d done as his instructions stated on the format sheet and that because they were my notes I wasn’t going to read them as such.
He learned that I was quite correct, that I stuck to the main points except where the discussion carried in the necessity of more detail. I was done the first presentation in quick order then after a short discussion of the chapter, I zipped through the second (though my lips need to be sent to the shop because they kept interferring with my speaking. After that there was a rather long discussion and then a break. After the break I ran through the third chapter and then there was another longish discussion. It was only after class when I told him that I’d done over 200 presentations as part of my volunteer and work life. He learned a lesson about his elders (yeah, I’m older than he is).
I also got my library research back. I got a 77% but I really don’t think that I deserved that high a mark. It was quite “not good” and I’m not being modest. Really, it sucked.
Before and after class I went to the Pride Centre. Before class I got to sit and vent about my prof and after class I met Bran there and after a little decompression and reading the comments that were made on a history paper that one of the people there was marking (abysmal paper that took him all afternoon to slog through) and then we caught the bus home.
Last night I tried to put my blog onto my site using the format that Blogger has for doing that. I put it there, but it wouldn’t shift my archives and ohter things there like it said it would when I republished my entire blog. So either I was doing something wrong or else there’s something in their stuff that is awry. I did manage to get my blog there though, so that’s a start. I’m thinking that this weekend I’m going to try to figure out how to put Movable Type onto my site and then pick up some templates to customize after that. I’d really like to make things look exactly as I want them to rather than how I can manage to get things to look with my limited knowledge.
I also want to find a place for this:
Isn’t it awesome? I adore that poem, I love the font (it’s called “Tuesday” for some weird reason) and it’s always been a part of my web site. Making this thing was quite the adventure. Paint Shop kept shutting down every time I’d get to the text. So I finally realized that if I saved the background and then worked on the text I’d have less work to do. I finally got it done and saved it before the program decided to kack again.
I have the awesomest wallpaper that I made with Paint Shop Pro. It’s the base colours I have here with different effects, one called Fur and the other Curlies. The two together totally rock! The background is the same colour as the glow worm graphic so they work nicely together even though the poem graphic doesn’t have Curlies on it.
Tonight is my “decompress after the seminar” night. I’m probably going to edit down my presentation to what was actually covered and send it to the prof to get it out of my hair. Then I have to start getting research done for my term papers that, I discovered today, are due next week (on Wednesday and Thursday) and I’ve not really started either of them. At least I have sources for the seminar class. I have to get my shit together for my paper in theory and find some sources and then start that too. And Dad’s coming up on Saturday, weather permitting. To that cuts into some of my time.
I keep thinking to myself, “I’ll be done soon.” over and over again. And then I remember that I’m going to be starting all over again in fall. Oy!
That’s about it.
Because of the space issue with Flickr, Bran helped me set up a photo album on our SaskTel site. The link is over to your right. I’ll probably make a button for it because I like buttons.
Anyway, give it a visit and let me know what you think.
Found at ABC News (Australia, not USA)
Teen takes on donor’s immune system
By medical reporter Sophie Scott and staff reporters
Posted Thu Jan 24, 2008 9:30am AEDT
Updated Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:49am AEDT
Demi-Lee Brennan with Dr Stephen Alexander and Dr Stuart Dorney
Liver transplant recipient Demi-Lee Brennan (c) with (l-r) Dr Stephen Alexander and Dr Stuart Dorney at Westmead Hospital in Sydney. (AAP: Paul Miller)
* Audio: Dr Michael Stormon talks to NewsRadio host Mike Gardiner (ABC News)
* Map: Westmead 2145
A 15-year-old Australian liver transplant patient has defied modern medicine by taking on her donor’s immune system.
Demi-Lee Brennan had a liver transplant after she suffered liver failure. Nine months later, doctors at Sydney’s Westmead Children’s Hospital were amazed to find the teenager’s blood group had changed to the donor’s blood type.
Further tests revealed the stem cells from the donor liver had penetrated her bone marrow.
Dr Michael Stormon says he and his colleagues were even more surprised when they found the girl’s immune system had almost totally been replaced by that of the donor, meaning she no longer had to take anti-rejection drugs.
“We consulted widely throughout the hospital and then looked at the medical literature and consulted colleagues around the world to see if anyone had seen this kind of thing before,” he said.
“No-one had, so we were stunned and amazed.”
Dr Stormon says his team is now trying to identify how the phenomenon happened and whether it can be replicated.
“That’s probably easier said than done… I think it’s a long shot,” he said. “I think it’s a unique system of events whereby this happened.
“We postulate there’s a number of different issues – the type of liver failure that she had, some of the drugs that we use early on to suppress the immune system and also that she suffered an infection with a virus called CMV, or cytomegalovirus, which can also suppress the immune system.”
Anti-rejection drugs, known as immunosuppresants, have significant side effects, including serious infections and toxic effects on organs.
Dr Stormon says doctors are trying to identify which patients could come off the treatment.
“They may not, like Demi, change their blood group and change their whole immune system and their bone marrow but there are a small percentage of patients who seem to get away with not needing immunosuppresion,” he said.
“But the difficulty is trying to identify which ones you should stop immunosuppression on because there’s always that fear and risk that over many months or years, rejection can still occur.”
The case has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.