Are these the inheritors of Jesus?

Jesus said, “Don’t stop children from coming to me! Children like these are part of the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:14)

I wonder how the individuals(leaders of Christian communities) in the following stories understood the message in the above quoted verse?

The never-ending saga of Rome’s paedophile priests continues.
Professor Arthur Noble

The new head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, Archbishop Murphy-O’Connor, has been in the headlines for allowing a paedophile to continue as a priest despite warnings that he would re-offend. A BBC investigation found evidence that Murphy-O’Connor played a crucial role in allowing ‘Father’ Michael Hill to continue his duties despite several complaints that had been brought against him.

Documents cited by the BBC relate to the early 1980s, a time when the Archbishop was Bishop of Arundel and Brighton. They prove that he ignored the advice of doctors and therapists who warned that the priest was likely to re-offend. Hill was eventually jailed in 1997 after admitting nine counts of indecent assault and one count of gross indecency relating to abuse over a 20-year period.

Reports by therapists and doctors told the then Bishop Murphy-O’Connor that Hill was a high risk paedophile who was likely to re-offend. The mother of one of the boys abused by Hill in Surrey told the BBC that she went to see the Bishop personally and told him what was going on. He said that he would deal with it, but the priest was simply moved to a different parish and eventually made Chaplain of Gatwick Airport where he continued to abuse young boys. It was only when one of the boys he had abused during his time at Gatwick reported him to the police that the priest was arrested and charged.

The reaction of Murphy-O’Connor to this whole affair was not only predictable, but nauseatingly typical of the corruption in the hierarchy of the Church which he leads: he maintained, and still maintains, that he acted “properly” in the affair. What other response could be expected from a Church which makes a profession of never admitting to having done wrong?

The corruption, however, does not end there. Although Murphy-O’Connor has now agreed that boys abused by the priest should receive compensation, the Roman Catholic Church has imposed a gagging-order on the victims to stop them telling their story, which amounts to paying them to keep silent about the real facts and extent of the abuse.

Moreover, since 1994 the Church of Rome is supposed to have had strict rules in place which specify that if a complaint is made against a priest, social services should be informed and the priest should be removed from parish duties. Clearly, those rules have not been followed. In 1999 a BBC News investigation revealed evidence that some Roman Catholic Bishops in the UK were failing to adhere to their Church’s child protection guidelines and instead allowing priests accused of child abuse to continue practising. It appears that to these Bishops the concept of acting “properly” includes breaching the guidelines of their own Church.

The never-ending saga of Rome’s paedophile priests continues. Hill’s victims and their families say that their faith in the Church has been badly shaken. If it takes an incident such as this to raise their doubts about the propriety of that organisation, it is high time that they examined more closely the corruption that lies at the root of its whole system and familiarised themselves with the catalogue of unspeakable crimes that litter its bloody history.


When the going gets tough, kill yourself?

Gerard Seenan
Thursday June 5, 2003
The Guardian

A clergyman committed suicide by setting fire to his car days after he was accused of indecently assaulting a teenage boy, it emerged yesterday.
John Pugh, 54, a minister of the United Reformed church in Stowmarket, Suffolk, set his car ablaze outside the family home five days after he was arrested by police.

His 17-year-old son needed hospital treatment after he tried to free his father from the burning Honda car.

Mr Pugh’s death was not being treated as accidental or suspicious. A police source said it was believed Mr Pugh had committed suicide. A spokeswoman for Suffolk police confirmed detectives were investigating allegations of sexual offences against Mr Pugh.
The spokeswoman said police had received a complaint in May relating to a number of alleged assaults in the late 1980s on a boy who was in his early teens. The assaults were alleged to have taken place at two separate addresses in Stowmarket.

The spokeswoman added: “Mr Pugh was arrested on May 29 and interviewed. He was released on police bail pending further investigations and was due to return to Stowmarket police station on July 21.”

In a statement, the United Reformed Church said Mr Pugh had been suspended on the day he was arrested, as “the church has no choice but to act and be seen to act in such cases”.

The statement added: “The church has not been informed officially of the details of the allegation made against Mr Pugh, though he made it plain to the church that he vehemently denied that allegation.”

Mr Pugh was ordained in 1974 and served in Huddersfield during the 1970s before taking up his role in Stowmarket in 1980. He was responsible for the care of four churches in the area.




When Father Ryan Erickson celebrated Mass at St. Patrick’s Church in Hudson, Wisconsin, the show was on and he was the star.

As he put it in an e-mail to his congregants, he liked his rituals “rich and mysterious”–a stark change from the “orgy of handshaking and hugs” to which they had become accustomed. The way Erickson hoisted the host over his head and held it aloft for a minute or more made a vivid contrast to the perfunctory elevation that the senior priests favored. Tears rolled down his cheeks during the ceremony. The monk’s cassock he affected billowed theatrically, hiding the bulge at his waist from the pistol he always packed there.

Erickson’s energetic performance got mixed reviews. The parishioners who were wowed by his histrionics became known as “kneelers,” because they knelt during Consecration. The “standers” were either uncomfortable with his act or oblivious. Mostly they suffered in silence or opted to attend another church. The parish’s spiritual life, they believed, was being hijacked by the born-agains, people they wearily referred to as “holy rollers,” in reference to the way they demonstrated their fervor. Alternately, they called them “chirpers,” after a retreat group that Father Ryan led named CRHP–Christ Renews His Parish.

Among the standers was 39-year-old Dan O’Connell, a member of one of Hudson’s most prominent families and the owner of O’Connell Funeral Home. O’Connell was married and had two elementary school-aged children. Several generations of O’Connells had worshiped at St. Patrick’s. Dan was no exception, but he wasn’t very religious. O’Connell was also a Rotarian and a volunteer ambulance attendant. He served hot dogs at the annual North Hudson Pepper Fest and rode in the Dutch Days parade in nearby Baldwin. He was gregarious and sociable, and not much went on in Hudson that he didn’t hear about. He saw the schism in his church firsthand every Sunday. He may have fretted about it privately, but people on both sides were buried out of his funeral home, and he had no interest in getting involved.

On February 5, 2002, O’Connell and his 22-year-old intern James Ellison were shot to death in O’Connell’s office. The crime shocked the community because murders are so unusual in Hudson, and because one of the victims was such a prominent person.

The police had no real suspects three days later, when O’Connell’s funeral was held at St. Patrick’s. Among the priests taking part in the ceremony was Father Ryan, dressed in simple white vestments and behaving with uncharacteristic restraint. He said a quiet homily.

Unbeknownst to the mourners and the police, Father Ryan had exchanged tense words with Dan O’Connell the day before the killings, an incident that left the priest shaken. Investigators wouldn’t find out about it for more than two years.

A county medical examiner discovered the bodies in the early afternoon, while he was visiting the funeral home to pick up a death certificate. The scene of the crime that he found clearly suggested that O’Connell had been the target. He was shot to death where he was sitting, behind his desk. Ellison had risen from his chair and was bolting for the door when he was shot in the back. Investigators theorized that an argument between O’Connell and the perpetrator had erupted into sudden violence. Ellison was murdered because he was a witness.

Early in the investigation the police looked into a Wisconsin-based cult, Rest of Jesus, that objects to embalming, before deciding they were harmless eccentrics. The cops also pursued the possibility that crazed potheads might have been ransacking the mortuary for embalming fluid to spike their marijuana. But the idea didn’t stand up. “You don’t need a license to buy embalming fluid,” says Hudson Police Chief Richard Trende, “and it’s not expensive. There was just no evidence to support that theory.”

In fact there was no evidence to support any theory–but there were plenty of rumors. One of them had O’Connell and his intern returning to the mortuary and discovering the perpetrator in flagrante delicto with a corpse.

Another involved Father Ryan, but only peripherally. Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, O’Connell had helped organize a fundraiser for the victims, a spaghetti dinner at St. Patrick’s. There was suspicion that he’d discovered someone stealing cash. Father Ryan had helped out with the dinner, but there was no evidence that any money was missing, only gossip.

If the investigators had been looking, they might have noticed that the church itself seemed to be a center of intrigue. There were threats against the church school’s principal, who’d resigned under the sustained assault of Father Ryan’s most fervent followers. There was Father Ryan’s gun collection and his history of binge drinking. Something had happened to this once-peaceful 150-year-old parish to cleave it down the middle, and Father Ryan was the central figure in the conflict.

For two years, the questions continued. This week, at last, St. Croix County Attorney Eric Johnson is presenting evidence connecting Father Ryan to the murders. Johnson will offer an explanation for what Erickson and O’Connell were talking about in the minutes before the murder. And he will confirm what has long been whispered by Erickson’s harshest critics: that the crusading sexual moralist had been engaging in the same crimes against children that have devastated the Catholic church in recent years.

Father Ryan won’t answer those charges. On December 19, 2004, he hung himself in the hallway of the church where he’d been reassigned, St. Mary’s of the Seven Dolors, in Hurley, Wisconsin. His suicide came the day after investigators executed a search warrant on his living quarters, looking for evidence that would connect him to the murders. What they discovered, according to a front-page Pioneer Press article, is child pornography on his computer, some of it involving bondage.

RYAN ERICKSON grew up in Campbellsport, Wisconsin. After his parents moved when he was in his early teens, he went to live with a priest. He spent summers with his family at a campground in Eagle River, Wisconsin. How he comported himself there has become the subject of some of the rumors swirling around Hudson since his suicide.

A right-wing newspaper, Renew America, edited by anti-abortion activist Matt C. Abbott, frequently defends Erickson. Renew America is an avatar of the macho right. Its web page features a picture of Abbott looking like a drill sergeant, and he managed to find a source in his own image to counter claims that the hanged priest was gay:


“Tim Schemel, who currently resides in Florida, says he doesn’t ‘believe Ryan could have or would have the means to murder anyone.’ Schemel has heard rumors of alleged sexual improprieties involving Erickson, but nothing beyond that. And he asserts that Erickson never made any advances toward him. ‘He never touched me, due to the fact that I would have killed him–friend or no friend,’ says Schemel.”


Another summer resident at the campground got a different picture of young Ryan. “He was 18 when we knew him,” says a woman from Wausakee, Wisconsin. “My son was 14 and all the kids ran around together. It was pretty obvious to me that he was gay. He talked constantly about becoming a priest, and I just assumed it was because he didn’t want to come out to his parents. They hung around the bar most of the time, and his father seemed kind of ill-tempered.

“How did I know he was gay? His attitude toward girls, for one thing. He was a good-looking kid, and the girls were always flirting with him, but he wouldn’t have anything to do with them, which I can tell you is quite unusual for an 18-year-old boy. He said it was because of his calling. He said that some day he’d be ‘Father Ryan.'”

Like several sources contacted for this article, the woman insisted on anonymity because she feared Erickson’s followers. “You couldn’t help liking him,” she said. “He was very charming, and kind of mischievous. I didn’t care if he was gay. My son would’ve known how to handle it if he ever hit on him, but that never happened. My son did warn me not to let our eight-year-old grandson go off alone with Ryan. He didn’t say why. He didn’t have to.”

The only thing that really bothered the Wausakee woman about young Ryan was his heavy drinking. According to her, he got a job stocking the campground’s bar, but was caught stealing booze and fired. After that incident he was never seen at the campground again.

ERICKSON’S FELLOW seminarians at St. Paul’s Seminary referred to him as “the Monsignor” because of his ultra-conservative religious views. After being ordained in June 2000, he was assigned to St. Patrick’s. Pictures of him taken around that time show a baby-faced, bespectacled young man with a dour expression.

He came to St. Patrick’s with some firm beliefs: that levity had no place in sermons; that Mass should be celebrated at least partly in Latin; that it was his calling to lecture parishioners, especially children, about mortal sin. In a simpler age more experienced priests might have channeled Father Ryan’s energy into something productive, and lightened up his dark side. Instead aging head priest Peter Szleszinski left him to find his own niche, and he became the central figure in a parish-wide struggle that fed his messianic impulses.

He quickly took a leadership role in the CRHP group. Many of the born-agains who attended his retreats had children in St. Patrick’s school, and it was there that Father Ryan soon gravitated.

Principal Pat Brandner welcomed him at first. Brandner was a few years from retirement in the Medford, Wisconsin, public schools when she decided to take the job at St. Patrick’s. She’d been an academic counselor at Medford, but she had an MA in theology and wanted to join the parochial school system.

From the beginning, she needed all the help she could get. She’d arrived the same year as Erickson, and had quickly run afoul of a group of parents who took exception to some curriculum changes, especially a reorganization of math classes. The argument quickly broke down to the parents’ “conservative” approach versus the principal’s “liberal” pedagogical style. Before this conflict was played out, Brandner would be harassed, intimidated, and, allegedly, physically attacked.

One of Father Ryan’s chores at St. Patrick’s School was sex education. His conservative supporters liked the priest’s black-and-white approach to the topic, but other parents were alarmed by what he told their kids. Mortal sins and the temptation to commit them were his major concern. Abortion was high on his list, but it was trumped by masturbation, which obsessed him.

He later expressed himself on that topic in a “thought for the day” e-mailed to his followers: “Even Sunday Mass is not safe from the immodest dress of some devils. They come to read, give out Holy Communion, etc….looking like an advertisement. There [sic] immodest dress says to all present: I’m easy! Please go home and masturbate to my beautiful body. The sad thing is that some do.”

Father Ryan’s reference to church-going Catholic women as “devils” must have struck some on his e-mail list as odd, but nobody doubted that he got his details about rampant onanism firsthand. Father Ryan aggressively sought confessional visitors. He instructed the students at St. Patrick’s school to come to him for confession, and got pushy if they were reluctant. Why haven’t you seen Father this week? he asked several junior high students.

The conservatives wanted Father Ryan to take a larger role at the school, but Brandner soon began to doubt whether he should be there at all. (Brandner did not return calls for this story.) She was supported by parents who didn’t want him to come near their children.

“Pat [Brandner] overheard him in communion class, and what he was teaching really concerned her,” says a parishioner with knowledge of the situation. “It was all this negative, pre-Vatican II stuff.”

The division in St. Patrick’s Church developed at the same time as the problems in the school. Patricia German, who identifies herself as a follower of Father Ryan, argues that the split came from some congregants’ resistance to the hard truths that he taught.

“I know that Father’s frank discussion of mortal sin offended some people, but he simply preached the real teachings of the church,” German says. “They’d been hearing a watered-down version of the faith until he came. He taught the true faith and it made some of them uncomfortable. I’d say the parish was about 10 percent with us, 10 percent opposed, and the rest pretty uninvolved.”

Click here to read the rest of the story


Tuesday, 21 May, 2002, 11:53 GMT 12:53 UK
US archbishop faces fresh abuse claims

A new lawsuit has been filed against the head of the largest Roman Catholic diocese in the United States by four men who say a priest sexually molested them when they were boys.

The men accused the Archbishop of Los Angeles, Roger Mahony, of conspiring to commit fraud and obstruct justice by covering the activities of the priest, Father Michael Baker.

They also said the Los Angeles Archdiocese and the church acted as a “criminal enterprise” in covering up the abuse.

It is the latest blow to the Roman Catholic Church, which has already been engulfed by scandal over sexual abuse of children by its priests.

Cardinal Mahony has, himself, been accused of sexual misconduct with a teenage schoolgirl. He strongly denies the allegations.

“Great pain”

The new case was brought under American federal racketeering laws, designed to counter organised crime, in the US District Court in Los Angeles.

Father Michael Baker, 54, is alleged to have raped “numerous children” since the 1970s.

The charges also say the priest had confessed his abuse to Cardinal Mahoney in 1986, who made no effort to investigate or inform the authorities, and transferred the priest to another parish.

Click here to read the whole story


There are many more such stories but I think our point has been made.

Never ever play the “Holier than thou” can get messy..

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One Response to “Are these the inheritors of Jesus?”

  1. Polycarp says:

    As a Christian, I am thoroughly disgusted with how Christians act, even with myself. However, I recognize that because man is imperfect and sinful by nature, one must look less at the follower and more at the faith itself when doing faith assesments. For every story one shows of a Christian acting unChristian like, one could be shown dozens more of Christians acting Christ like and projecting actions that live up to the values Isa established in the Gospels…that is “Love God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and love thy neighbor as yourself.” I never understood what place these stories played in offensive apologetics from various faiths. As one could look into the followers of any faith and find stories of its adherents acting in ways that are not like its faith professes. Granted, I do understand how personal actions could taint a saints message, becuase whose going to take one serious when he teaches about the power of God all while continuing in his sin. Of course we’re all guilty of this, but I think its important to look at the message of the faith when trying to unveil it, rather then the followers who will fail.

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