Evangelism Exposed

“Jesus wept.” Joh 11:35

Closing Arguments in Priest Abuse Trial

[Source] Burlington, Vermont – August 25, 2008:

Closing arguments are being heard today in another priest sex abuse lawsuit.

The plaintiff is a former altar boy who claims that 30 years ago, former Vermont Bishop John Marshall knowingly failed to protect him from a known pedophile priest, Edward Paquette.

The plaintiff is seeking $6 to $12 million in damages.

“They were making a choice that we are going to expose your kids to the risk of being in the presence on a regular basis with that predator. No parent, no parent if they had known the full history would have ever opted for that choice. But they were never given that choice. The choice was made for them by the bishop,” said John Evers, the plaintiff’s lawyer.

Lawyers for the diocese argue that the plaintiff did not file the lawsuit until 30 years after the incident– when he learned about the recent payouts by the diocese to settle the lawsuits.

The diocese has lost two cases decided by a jury. Earlier this year, a former victim of the Reverend Paquette was awarded a record $8.7 million in damages.

A jury will begin deliberations in this priest abuse case this afternoon.

Brian Joyce will have the latest tonight on the Channel 3 News at 6 p.m.

August 25, 2008 Posted by | Bankrupt Churches, Church Scandals, Sex Abuse | Leave a comment

Priest shortage prompts review

[Source] 26/08/2008:

CELIBACY and commitment are the causes of a priest shortage in the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat.

Bishop Peter Connors’ assistant Vin Dillon said such issues were contributing to a decline in the number of men entering the priesthood.

He hoped a Ballarat Dialogue, the first phase of the development of a plan that will guide future decision-making around the ministry of the parishes, would help ease the problem.

“Committing yourself to one job for a life time is a different notion for this generation,” Mr Dillon said yesterday.

“The young generation is not as attracted to the church as in previous generations.”

Mr Dillon confirmed Our Lady Help of Christians in Wendouree had lost its priest, Justin Driscoll, who had transferred to St Patrick’s Cathedral in Ballarat.

The church then got a temporary priest, who left and was replaced by another priest short-term.

“There was a need for one parish not to have a resident priest for a six-month period. For six months the priest will not live there. New arrangements will be made once we complete our dialogues,” Mr Dillon said.

Fr Driscoll’s duties extend to St James Church in Sebastopol and St Columba’s in Ballarat North, he said.

“It’s a situation we are now finding we have to do more and more,” Mr Dillon said. He said there was a shortage in most other dioceses, but the Diocese of Ballarat was more clear.

“It shows up starkly in the country diocese. In metropolitan places and Melbourne, it does not appear as stark. The (country) parishes are an hour and a half away which makes it look a lot worse,” Mr Dillon said.

Bishop Connors was unavailable for comment yesterday.

August 25, 2008 Posted by | Australia, celibacy, Less Clergy | Leave a comment

Plaintiff wants up to $14 million in priest abuse case


The plaintiff in a priest-abuse trial wrapping up at Chittenden Superior Court asked the jury today to consider as much as $14 million in damages.

Attorney John Evers said in a closing argument this morning that such damages were appropriate because the state’s Roman Catholic diocese’s cover-up of abusive behavior by a parish priest was worse than its decision to bring him to Burlington in the first place.

The trial, entering its sixth day, concerns allegations that Rev. Edward Paquette molested an altar boy in the 1970s at Christ the King Church. The plaintiff, now 40 and living in Waitsfield, was 9 years old when the alleged abuse began.

The Free Press does not identify alleged victims of sexual crimes without their consent.

Evers asked the jury to consider between $886,000 and $2.3 million in compensatory damages, and between $6 and $12 million in punitive damages.

The diocese was to make its closing argument later this morning, and after rebuttal and jury instructions, the case would be placed in the hands of the six-man, six-woman panel.

August 25, 2008 Posted by | Bankrupt Churches, Catholic Church, Church Scandals, Sex Abuse | Leave a comment

Hot nun?


August 25, 2008 Posted by | Bad Nuns, Catholic Church | Leave a comment

Chronological Study Bible stirs interest, skepticism


Like most versions of the Good Book, the new Chronological Study Bible from Thomas Nelson starts with “In the beginning,” and ends with “Amen.”

Everything else is up for grabs.

Entire books, like the Psalms, have been chopped up and mixed in with other sections of the Scripture, while others have been combined into nine story arcs, known as epochs.

Editors at the Nashville-based Christian publisher say their remix of the Protestant Bible’s 66 books will give readers new insights to the Scriptures. But some scholars believe the project will lead to confusion, not enlightenment.

Wayne Hastings, senior vice president at Thomas Nelson, says this new Bible isn’t for beginners. Instead, he said, it will help longtime Bible readers see how the different parts of Scripture fit together.

Sitting in a conference room at Thomas Nelson with a mock-up of the Chronological Study Bible, Hastings pointed to a section about the life of King David. The section includes both text from the Old Testament book of 2 Samuel and Psalms. It also includes maps and historical notes.

Readers get both the historical and spiritual context, said Hastings.

“Here’s where David and Bathsheba did their thing,” he said, “and right in the middle of that is when David wrote Psalm 51. So we dropped (in) Psalm 51, to give you, the reader, the spiritual impact of that psalm.”

That psalm is traditionally believed to have been written by King David expressing his remorse for committing adultery with Bathsheba.

Context is an issue

Parallel parts of the New Testament, such as the four Gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — also have been woven together.

The new Bible’s chronology is based on the setting of each text — when the events in it occurred — rather than when it was written.

That’s a problem, says Doug Knight, Buffington professor of Hebrew Bible at Vanderbilt Divinity School.

Many books of the Bible, he said, were written long after the fact. For example, Knight says, the book of Joshua is set in the late Bronze Age, but was probably composed several hundred years later. Inserting notes about the historical context of a Bible passage won’t help if that text was written hundreds of years later, he said.

“Why would that be relevant, if the author is not living in the Bronze Age?,” he said. “What’s happening in the author’s own time is relevant.”

That’s especially true of a book like Daniel, Knight said.

That Old Testament account is set in the 6th century B.C., at the time when the Jews had been conquered by the Babylonians. But it was probably written in the 2nd century B.C., when Israel was ruled by a tyrant named Antiochus Epiphanes, and was written to encourage the Jews to keep their faith, despite being persecuted.

“It’s a powerful account if you put it in the time period of Antiochus Epiphanes,” Knight said.

But Richard Hess, professor of Old Testament at Denver Seminary in Colorado, said a chronological Bible could be a useful tool.

“Anything that provides new insight and helps people study the Bible is good,” he said.

For example, he said, a reader can better understand parts of the book of Isaiah, which deals with the threat of the Assyrian Empire, by reading portions of 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. Parts of those two books describe the conflict between the Israelites and the Assyrians.

“When we teach an Old Testament survey class, we often teach in that way,” he said. “We try to put the prophets into their historical context.”

Still, Hess said that a chronological Bible has its limits.

“I do think you do lose something when you start demolishing any book of the Bible,” he said. “You lose the literary and theological context.”

The changes are so great that at least one scholar thinks the new publication isn’t really a Bible.

Philip Towner, dean of the Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship of the American Bible Society, says the term Bible should be reserved for only canonical arrangement.

“I’m not going to jump off the roof or anything like that,” he said. “But I’d want to be quite careful in pitching this as a Bible.”

Don’t like it? That’s OK

Creating alternative arrangements for the Bible is nothing new. The Jewish canon, for example, includes only 35 books, rather than the 39 in the Protestant canon, and the two lists are in different order. Catholic and Greek Orthodox Old Testaments include even more books — such as Maccabees, Sirach, and Bel and the Dragon — commonly known as the Apocrypha.

Around A.D. 150, a popular book known as the Diatessaron combined the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John into one story.

Bob Sanford, vice president at Thomas Nelson, said the new Bible can’t replace the canonical version. But he believes the book, which launches in September with a print run of at least 75,000, will be a helpful tool.

Bibles make up 11 percent of sales in the $2.4 billion Christian retail market. That doesn’t include Bibles that are given away or sold in secular or church bookstores.

Nelson sells about 10.5 million Bibles a year, in about 1,500 different types, said Hastings. He said the target audience for the new Bible is someone who already owns at least three and as many as 10 Bibles.

“They are constantly on the lookout for something new and different,” he said.

“Their motive is to get closer to God and hear his message. Bible one, Bible two, Bible three, Bible four are all mechanisms to hear that message clearer.”

While the arrangement of the Chronological Study Bible is different, the content remains the same, Sanford said. Every verse of the canonical version is in the new Bible. The editors even created an index to ensure that every verse was accounted for.

Some people may not like the new version. But Sanford doesn’t mind.

“What we do here in publishing, we do for the purpose of getting people into Scripture, to get into God,” he said. “Some of the things we do, not everybody likes. But that’s OK.”

August 25, 2008 Posted by | The Bible Exposed | Leave a comment

New Bible isn’t good book for all


NASHVILLE, Aug. 24 (UPI) — A new chronological Bible isn’t going to be the good book for everyone, even its Nashville publishers agree.

The Chronological Study Bible remixes the traditional Protestant Bible’s 66 books according to description of events in time. It is a version from which some may learn but which may confuse others, The Tennessean reported Sunday.

Wayne Hastings, senior vice president at Thomas Nelson publishing, agrees this new Bible isn’t for beginners. But he argues it will help longtime Bible readers see how the different parts of Scripture fit together when compared chronologically.

“Here’s where David and Bathsheba did their thing,” he said, “and right in the middle of that is when David wrote Psalm 51. So we dropped (in) Psalm 51, to give you, the reader, the spiritual impact of that psalm.”

But critics say that approach fails to realize that many biblical passages were written much later and thus influenced by the context of their own times.

“I do think you do lose something when you start demolishing any book of the Bible,” said Richard Hess, professor of Old Testament at Denver Seminary. “You lose the literary and theological context.”

August 25, 2008 Posted by | Christians vs. Bible, The Bible Exposed | Leave a comment

Porn-again pastor – have your say


DISGRACED pastor Michael Guglielmucci has finally told of fabricating a terminal cancer battle to hide his 16-year obsession with pornography.

His story, first revealed on AdelaideNow last week, has rocked Adelaide.

 To have your say on the Michael Guglielmucci  saga, fill-in the Comment Box below and it will be considered for posting on this website.

And vote in our online poll, lower right, on whether he should now be forgiven for faking cancer claims.

August 25, 2008 Posted by | Michael Guglielmucci, Pornography | Leave a comment

NYC pastor forced to leave amid abuse allegations


NEW YORK – A Roman Catholic pastor who helped organize Pope Benedict XVI‘s visit to New York and gave the invocation at Gov. David Paterson‘s inauguration has been forced to leave his position because of allegations of sexual abuse.

The matter was referred to the Manhattan district attorney‘s office, which said Monday that the statute of limitations had expired.

The allegations against Harris, 61, were announced during Sunday Mass at Harlem‘s Church of St. Charles Borromeo, where he has been pastor since 1989.

Harris led a prayer at Paterson‘s inauguration in March and served as the event coordinator for part of the pope‘s visit in April, including the Mass at Yankee Stadium.

A message left Monday for Harris at a residence in Harlem wasn‘t immediately returned.

August 25, 2008 Posted by | Catholic Church, Sex Abuse, The Vatican | Leave a comment

81 year old Wollongong priest charged


Wollongong priest, Fr Kelvin Gerald Sharkey, has been charged with a series of sex offences dating back to the 1960’s.

Fr Sharkey, who now lives in Victoria, has been charged with 10 counts of indecent assault and two counts of buggery of an altar boy at St John Vianney’s, Fairy Meadow, which runs a primary school, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Police allege the offences occurred from 1969 to 1976, starting when the victim was 10 years old.

Wollongong Bishop Peter Ingham, said the priest had been retired from active ministry since 1988.

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“I wish to assure the community that the diocese of Wollongong is committed to the protection of children and young people,” he said.

“The diocese will cooperate fully with police and other relevant authorities in bringing this matter to a just resolution.”

A former student of St John Vianney’s school said she remembered Sharkey at the school in 1968 as a “dark figure”.

“He was a bit of a fire and brimstone priest, he would yell from the pulpit,” said the woman who wished to remain anonymous.

The victim, now in his late 40’s, complained about the assault to a victims support group, who alerted police.

NSW police travelled to Melbourne to interview Sharkey and charged him on August 6.

Sharkey was living in two bedroom apartment owned by diocese of Wollongong in the Melbourne bayside suburb of Mordialloc for 10 years until it was sold in March. A spokeswoman for the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference told the Herald he is no longer living on church premises.

The Illawarra Mercury says the apartment had been owned by the Trustees of the Roman Catholic Church for the diocese of Wollongong since 2000.

The pink brick apartment was sold in May for $351,000.

Accuser not a student at Nudgee College

Meanwhle, the Brisbane Times reports a man who has alleged a priest abused him at St Joseph’s Nudgee College in Brisbane was not a student there, school officials say.

Paul Fauth, who said he was 59 and now lived in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond, told ABC Radio Sydney last month that a priest had molested him at the school in the 1950’s.

He said he had discovered during World Youth Day events that others in his class had also been abused and four had committed suicide.

Mr Fauth later told The Sun-Herald the abuse had occurred at Nudgee College.

A spokesman for the school said he could not confirm Mr Fauth’s allegation but last week the spokesman said records showed no one by that name had attended the school.

”The school records of the 1950s and 1960’s have been checked for both the junior and senior colleges but Paul Fauth’s name did not appear on either,” the spokesman said.

The school did not wish to make any further comment at this stage, he said.

Phil Mulhall, an executive officer of the Church’s national committee for professional standards, in Sydney, said he had spoken to Mr Fauth after the alleged suicide attempt and organised flights for him to visit the dying man’s family.

“I was trying to deal compassionately with him as he seemed very upset about his friend and our office gave him air tickets to get to Brisbane to see the man’s family,” Mr Mulhall said last week.

”I took it on face value that he was in distress and organised counselling if he wanted it. I have tried to contact him since, but he hasn’t returned my calls.”


Former priest charged with sex offences (Sydney Morning Herald, 23/8/08)

Former Fairy Meadow priest on sex charges (Illawarra Mercury, 23/8/08)

‘Abused student’ mystery (Brisbane Times, 23/8/08)

August 25, 2008 Posted by | Altar Boys, Australia, Catholic Church, Rape, Sex Abuse | Leave a comment

Money back pledge from disgraced pastor


A high-profile preacher who lied about having cancer has promised to return any money he received from donors.

Michael Guglielmucci’s father, who is also a preacher, has told the congregation of their church in Adelaide’s south that his son needs their prayers more than ever.

Michael Guglielmucci spent two years playing to packed houses on the Christian rock scene, sending an anthem of faith and healing to the top of the charts.

But last week the Melbourne-based pastor came clean about the terminal cancer he did not actually have.

His father Danny issued a public apology to the congregation this week.

“Mike thought he could escape the pain by creating a diversion from his addiction to adult pornography, so he created the cancer scenario,” he said.

Danny Guglielmucci is a founder of Edge Church International, at Reynella in Adelaide, part of the Assemblies of God network.

His son was a pastor with Planetshakers, an international Christian youth movement that started in Adelaide.

“We fully understand the questions, shock, disbelief and even anger you may feel, but Michael is struggling with a different kind of illness and is receiving professional help,” the pastor told the congregation.

‘Gladly pay it back’

As for money donated to Michael Guglielmucci in good faith: “[We will] gladly pay it back if people want their money back, absolutely. We are glad to make restitution,” Danny Guglielmucci said.

Michael Guglielmucci has not appeared publicly but a church leader read a statement from him.

“As a result of this secret life of sin, my body would often break down. I would report the cause of my symptoms simply as illnesses but the truth is, that although I was ill, I did not have cancer, but again used a mis-diagnosis to hide the lie that I was living,” the statement said.

Many of the congregation at Reynella have spoken of the need for forgiveness.

“Michael was a man, he sinned, and he needs to be forgiven,” said one.

“Everybody is a sinner and we’ve all been forgiven by God,” another said.

Danny Guglielmucci says his son is receiving psychiatric care and legal advice and may need to go to an overseas clinic.

August 25, 2008 Posted by | Evangelical Tricks, Michael Guglielmucci, Pornography | Leave a comment