Evangelism Exposed

“Jesus wept.” Joh 11:35

Priest indicted on sex abuse charges


AMSTERDAM – A Montgomery County grand jury indicted a Catholic priest on charges he sexually abused three local children.

The abuse is said to have occurred in the small Montgomery County town of Palatine.

But the Rev. John W. Broderick most recently worked for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse, not the Albany Diocese.

Broderick faces three counts of sexual conduct with a child younger than 11 years old.

The indictment indicates three separate victims and that the alleged abused occurred between 2005 and 2007. The court papers also state Broderick provided alcohol to the underage children.

At the time of his February arrest, state police characterized Broderick as a spiritual advisor to the family of the boys he’s now accused of abusing.

The Montgomery County district attorney is handling the criminal prosecution and attorney John Aretakis claims he’s representing the family in a civil suit.

“A lot of times I’m criticized because the claims are 20 to 30 years old. Well, this claim is not. This abuse happened in 2007,” Aretakis said.

The Syracuse Diocese suspended Broderick without pay weeks before his arrest. A spokeswoman for that diocese said Tuesday the suspension was not related to the sex charges and adds that Broderick had been unassigned — meaning he wasn’t working at a church — for the past four years.

Albany Diocese spokesman Ken Goldfarb says they only learned about the arrest of the Syracuse-based priest through media reports and that the Montgomery County family hasn’t contacted them either.

“The family never came to us with a complaint. We don’t even know who they are. Certainly we’d assist them if they did,” Goldfarb said.

Aretakis claims there are two additional victims — one too afraid to testify and another whose grand jury testimony didn’t lead to an indictment.


September 2, 2008 Posted by | Catholic Church, Sex Abuse, Water & Wine | Leave a comment

Jesus, Beer and Your College Kids

At last, a “brave” Christian who spoke the truth about Christianity and its long relationship with wine. Reda the following in this article by Doug Giles [Source]:

“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to prosper.”

—Benjamin Franklin

As some of you know by now, I’m a Christian. As a believer I have no problem whatsoever with either you or me having a mug of beer, a glass of wine, or a snifter of brandy, enjoying in moderation what the good Lord has blessed us with. No, Spanky, I’m not a teetotaler…

In addition, I’m in favor of the legal drinking age being dropped from 21 to 18. I say if our young men and women can go off to war and face a real bullet they should be able to at least kick back a couple of Silver Bullets.…..

I was watching Christian TV the other day as this chunky, sweaty minister who was at least 150lbs overweight (at least!) lectured his flock/the nation on the “demonic evils” of enjoying a Bud Light. I’m sitting back thinking, “let me get this right, Jabba . . . Jesus gets perturbed when I have a 12oz bottle of beer, and he’s completely cool with you eating chicken by the bucket, hamburger by the pound and pizza by the foot?” How convenient, Pastor Man Breasts. And correct me if I’m wrong, Reverend Cletus Klump, but I believe the glutton and the drunkard are both condemned in Scripture. Google it and get back to me.

Both the Old and the New Testament are rife with celebration (feasts) in which alcohol was involved. Alcohol was a part of the God-ordained festivities. And it wasn’t for medicinal purposes, or because the water was rancid and they didn’t have any Evian, and it wasn’t a non-alcoholic grape drink like Welch’s or Juicy Juice; it was a buzz-generating knock back just like the stuff we drink today. Period. End of discussion. Deal with it.

Y’know, I hate to bring the Bible into this, but one of the first snapshots we have of Christ in John’s gospel is Jesus at the wedding feast of Cana turning water into wine. Now, you do know that he could have turned water into anything he wanted to, right? Why? Well, he’s God, for God’s sake. He could have turned water into soy milk, orange juice, a banana smoothie, a wheat grass shake, Yoo-Hoo, Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew, a No-Foam-Half-Decaf Skinny Latte, or a Red Bull—but he didn’t. He chose wine—alcoholic wine. And that would be 12 vats of the fruit of the vine. And . . . and . . . that was after all the people had already swilled down the initial 12 mondo jugs of the stuff.

Yes, Jesus filled the wine vats back up, but this time with better vino. This really screws with some Christians’ minds because: A.) Jesus is actually enjoying himself at a party with alcohol and not fasting, weeping, or holding a rabbit like all the paintings depict poor Jesus doing, and B.) when there is a lull in the soirée because the partiers have floated their keg, Christ works a miracle (obviously completely cool with the Father and the Holy Spirit) and keeps the party hopping with fresh and better brew. At that moment he demonstrated his deity not by healing a cripple, not by turning a napkin into a dove, not by making Oprah skinny once and for all, but by turning water into wine.

So, what’s my point? My point is this: If the Son of God drank wine and God “gave wine to make the heart merry,” and if your kids are going to be offered it sooner or later, then you’d better get busy teaching them how to get pleasure from it without going Lindsay, if and when they decide to drink….

* (If you’d like a couple of great books which cover the topic of Scripture and spirits, get: Drinking with Calvin and Luther: A History of Alcohol in the Church, by Jim West, and God Gave Wine: What the Bible Says About Alcohol, by Kenneth Gentry).

August 24, 2008 Posted by | Water & Wine | Leave a comment

OC priest gets 6 months in jail for taking teen to motel


A Roman Catholic priest accused of trying to molest a boy he was asked to counsel was sentenced Wednesday to six months in jail.

The Rev. Luis Eduardo Ramirez reached a plea deal with prosecutors in June in which he admitted he took a 17-year-old parishioner to an Anaheim motel, tried to grope him and gave him alcohol.

Ramirez was arrested days after the incident in January and was later ousted from the Our Lady of the Pillar parish in Santa Ana, where he served as the church’s youth director.

“The victim and his family have been abused by (both) someone they trust and a person in their religious faith,” Orange County Superior Court Judge Lance Jensen told Ramirez at the sentencing hearing. “Your actions have ostracized the family from their Catholic faith.”

Ramirez was arrested by Anaheim police Jan. 8 after the boy’s parents reported the incident.

The priest was accused of bringing the boy to the motel, giving him some tequila and trying to reach under the boy’s shirt.

Ramirez pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery and burglary. In exchange, prosecutors dismissed charges of furnishing alcohol to a minor, delinquency and child annoyance or molestation.

Ramirez was removed from the parish, banned from performing any priestly duties in the diocese and placed in a San Diego-area monastery pending sentencing, said Ryan Lilyengren, a spokesman for the Diocese of Orange.

At the sentencing hearing, Anaheim Assistant City Attorney Patrick Ahle urged the judge not to be lenient on the priest.

“This is about someone who is supposed to be a good shepherd tending to his flock,” Ahle said. “Instead, he abused one of them for his own gratification.”

Ramirez’s attorney, Gary Pohlson, asked the judge for a light sentence. He held up a wad of letters written by parishioners who support the priest.

“He is very remorseful for what he’s done to the young man and the pain he’s caused the young man’s family,” Pohlson told the judge.

Besides the jail sentence, Ramirez was placed on three years of probation based on a drunken driving conviction in 2006 in Orange County. He won’t have to register as a sex offender but must undergo psychological counseling, stay away from children unless another adult is present, refrain from consuming alcohol except as part of religious ceremonies and pay for the boy’s counseling sessions.

Ramirez was a member of the Augustinian Recollects order. The Rev. Charles Huse, a prior at the order’s headquarters in New Jersey, said he would not have any contact with the public or with children after he serves his sentence.

“He has a great following of young people who think he’s the greatest,” Huse said. “They want him back. They say there’s no way he would have done something like this.”

Huse said Ramirez grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico, and was educated at seminaries in Oxnard and Suffren, N.Y. He had recently been ordained when he arrived at the Santa Ana parish in 2003.

August 21, 2008 Posted by | Catholic Church, Sex Abuse, Water & Wine | Leave a comment

Church applies for drinks licence

“I would love to think that at certain times of the year people could come down in the evening to have a drink”

The church has links with Welsh prince Owain Glyndwr

A vicar is to apply for a drinks licence so he can sell wine and beer at his small village church.

The Reverend Geraint ap Iorwerth could be made licensee of St Peter ad Vincula Church in Pennal, near Machynlleth, close to the Powys-Gwynedd border.

He joked that there were plans to serve more than just spirits, though, with lager and wine on the menu too.

Mr ap Iorwerth said he might also open a bar with proper pub-style pumps in a new church cafe in the future.

But at the moment the licence is needed to sell and serve drinks at parish functions such as concerts, weddings or christenings.

The vicar will go to magistrates’ court next month to apply for the licence.

Mr ap Iorwerth said: “It is quite common for larger churches and cathedrals to apply for a licence, and we want to make sure we are within the law.

“We have plans to serve lager and red and white wine – that is what the average punter wants.”

He added: “We also want to serve drinks at a cafe at the rear of the church.

“We have also received requests from people planning weddings who would like drinks and canapés after their service and before the reception.

“It would be nice to serve drinks at concerts, Christmas and New Year’s Eve too.

“A small bar is a possibility. I would love to think that at certain times of the year people could come down in the evening to have a drink.”

‘Sharing bread’

Earlier this month, the Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan told a conference in Llandudno that churches should “think creatively” about facilities.

The Church in Wales said St Peter ad Vincula Church had a gallery cafe so the licence would enable it to serve alcohol to customers.

“The Church in Wales welcomes initiatives such as this which encourage people to come to churches and to see them as places where they can relax, socialise and share food and drink,” said a spokeswoman.

“Indeed, sharing bread and wine is an essential part of the Christian ministry.

“We see alcohol, taken in moderation and used responsibly, as something to enjoy with others.”

But Carol Bodza of Glansychan stores and off-licence and Susan Crossley of the Riverside Hotel in Pennal, oppose Mr ap Iorwerth’s plans.

Mrs Bodza said: “We have no objection to the cafe, but I don’t see why he (Mr ap Iorwerth) needs to apply for a licence to sell alcohol.

“Both our off-licence and the hotel is less than 100 yards away from the church and we feel this could affect our business.”

Watch TV report

April 24, 2008 Posted by | Water & Wine | Leave a comment