Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dear Judge Charles Spurlock: What's wrong with this picture?

Makes me wanna holler.
A Franciscan priest from New York pleaded guilty to raping three teenage boys during overnight trips to Boston in the 1970s and 1980s and was ordered Tuesday to serve time on probation.

The Rev. Frank Genevieve avoided prison time as a Suffolk Superior Court judge sentenced him to a suspended sentence of eight to 10 years, with five years' probation.

Genevieve was also ordered to have no contact with the victims or any minors, to register as a sex offender and wear a GPS device to monitor his whereabouts.

Prosecutors said Genevieve, 52, met the first victim in 1977 through St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Troy, N.Y., where he served as a Franciscan brother and was later ordained as a priest. During an overnight trip to Boston, prosecutors said, Genevieve shared a bed with the boy at a rectory and sexually assaulted him as he tried to sleep.

Genevieve was accused of attacking another teen in 1981 in the back room of a church during an overnight trip to Boston to celebrate the boy's confirmation. The third victim, prosecutors said, was attacked in Genevieve's car after a day trip to the New England Aquarium.

"We're grateful that these three victims disclosed their abuse to us, we recognize their bravery and that they were willing to testify, had it been necessary," Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley said in a statement.

Genevieve had ties to Massachusetts as a former teacher at Christopher Columbus High School in Boston. He also served as an assistant priest at a Cape Cod parish from 1998 to 2000.

Genevieve was indicted by a Suffolk County grand jury in 2006. Prosecutors said that because Genevieve returned to New York after each visit to Boston, the Massachusetts statute of limitations did not expire.

The Franciscan Province of the Immaculate Conception, which oversees Franciscans, said previously that Genevieve was removed from active ministry in June 2002. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany said it did not supervise the priest because he was a member of the Franciscan order.

Probation and a suspended sentence. I'm sure the victims feel much better, and that'll make child rapists think twice. That Judge Spurlock sure did a great job protecting society. Good Lord.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Vicar of Dibley could now be bishop....

News from the Church of England General Synod: once again, +Tom Wright's knickers are in a twist, and this time over possible women bishops:
The Church of England's move to accept women bishops further roiled an already troubled Anglican communion Tuesday, infuriating conservatives and complicating efforts to promote unity with the Roman Catholic Church.

The Church of England's ruling body on Monday night voted to back women becoming bishops without giving traditionalist supporters of male-only bishops the concessions they had sought.

The Right Rev. Tom Wright, the bishop of Durham and conservative leader, said the General Synod's decision was muddled, just like one reached at a meeting of bishops in May.

"We should have pulled that debate then and there. It was the wrong time," Wright said.

Monday's decision also caused consternation at the Vatican.

It's "a further obstacle for the reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Church of England," said Cardinal Walter Kasper, head of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.

More than a dozen of the 38 national Anglican churches worldwide have authorized women to serve as bishops, but only four have appointed or elected a woman to the job.

The Episcopal Church, the Anglican body in the U.S., is led by a woman, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Disagreement on the role of women has for years been quietly tolerated within the worldwide Anglican Communion, a 77 million-member family of churches that trace their roots to the Church of England.

But the long-standing divisions over how Anglicans should interpret the Bible erupted in 2003 when the Episcopal Church consecrated the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

Conservative Anglicans from Africa and some north American and British churches are outraged at what they consider a "false gospel" that has led churches in the U.S. Canada and elsewhere to accept gay relationships.

The Anglican Communion is under intense pressure in the buildup to this month's Lambeth Conference, a once-a-decade gathering of all Anglican bishops. Some traditionalist Anglican bishops are boycotting the meeting, which opens July 16, because bishops who consecrated Robinson were invited.

The communion is the third-largest grouping of churches in the world, behind Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians.

In the Church of England, both sides conceded that the tradition of male-only bishops would be changed. The lengthy debate Monday centered on what accommodation would be given to dissenters.

Hundreds of traditionalists have threatened to leave the British church if sufficient safeguards were not put into place for those who objected.

Advocates of women in the episcopate argue that any concessions would make women second-class bishops.

Monday night's vote authorizes a group to draft a code, which will be put to a vote by the General Synod in February. Further revisions requiring a vote could happen in 2010.

Then a majority of dioceses in England would have to agree to having women as bishops, which would lead to a further vote by the General Synod in 2011 or 2012.

The synod rejected forming a third Church of England archdiocese led by men and voted down another proposal for male "super bishops" who would assume oversight of parishes that reject female priests or bishops.

The Archbishop of York John Sentamu said the Church of England was wasting time on internal politics and ignoring the problems of the world outside.

"So I am praying very hard the Holy Spirit of God will breathe a fresh spirit of understanding into the Church," he said.

The Archbishop of Canterbury said he did not want to limit the authority women bishops had within the church.

"I am deeply unhappy with any scheme or any solution to this which ends up, as it were, structurally humiliating women who might be nominated," Rowan Williams said Monday.

Church of England officials say it is unlikely that any woman would be consecrated as a bishop before 2014. The church has ordained women as priests since 1994, but hasn't allowed them to become bishops.

Wow. Women bishops are "'a further obstacle for the reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Church of England?'"

Ouch. That one stings. But women clergy is certainly not the only thing standing in the way of unity between Anglicans and Roman Catholics, and if we were to hold our breaths until real, open, dialogue were to take place between our two churches, we'd all have turned blue and lost consciousness by now, much to my very real sorrow. But it has been my sad experience that "ecumenism" to the Papal Curia means, "Admit you were wrong and do it MY way."

I think this decision was already inevitable in 1994. But welcome news, nonetheless.