Bishop disguised as homeless rejected by some in his own church

Religious transformation

A Mormon bishop in Utah said he received mixed reactions from churchgoers when he arrived for services disguised as a homeless man.

David Musselman, the bishop of the Taylorsville Fourth Ward, said friend and professional makeup artist Tara Starling helped him disguise himself as a homeless man so he could go unrecognized at his church Nov. 24…

Musselman said some churchgoers were compassionate toward the apparent homeless stranger, while others were less welcoming.

One congregant told him to leave church property, he said…”Many actually went out of their way to purposefully ignore me, and they wouldn’t even make eye contact,” he told the Deseret News.

I was impressed by the children. I could see in their eyes they wanted to do more,” Musselman said.

Musselman, who revealed his disguise to the congregation, said the stunt was aimed at promoting kindness and acceptance of others.

Judging a book by its cover seems to be a practice still in vogue.

Church of England refuses to allow female bishops – again!

The Church of England’s governing body blocked a move…to permit women to serve as bishops in a vote so close it failed to settle the question of female leadership and likely condemned the institution to years more debate on the issue.

The General Synod’s daylong debate ended with the rejection of a compromise that was intended to unify the faithful despite differing views on whether women should be allowed in the hierarchy. But backers failed to gain the necessary majority by six votes.

“There is no victory in the coming days,” said Rev. Angus MacLeay. “It is a train crash.”

The defeat was a setback for Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who retires at the end of December, and his successor, Bishop Justin Welby. Both had strongly endorsed a proposed compromise that would have respected the decision of those who objected to the ordination of women bishops.

Instead of ending decades of debate on the issue in the church, the narrow defeat opens the church, which has around 80 million members worldwide, to further years of internal discussions. It also forms an uncomfortable backdrop to the start of Welby’s leadership. He is due to be enthroned in March.

Read ’em and weep – if you believe in saving organized religion.

Here we have an official state religion in the industrial, educated, enlightened West – and they can’t find it in their hearts to move to equal rights in governance and leadership for women and men.


Retired bishop arrested on suspicion of child sex offences

Detectives investigating complaints of sexual abuse in the Church of England have arrested a retired bishop on suspicion of eight sexual offences against eight boys and young men ranging in age from 12 to early 20s.

Officers from the Sussex police serious crime directorate involved in a six-month investigation into historic allegations at the diocese of Chichester arrested the Rt Rev Peter Ball, former bishop of Lewes and later bishop of Gloucester, on Tuesday morning at his home address near Landport, Somerset.

Ball is thought to be the most senior figure in the church to be arrested in connection with a sex abuse investigation. The bishop, now 80, has connections to Prince Charles, whom he has described in the past as “a loyal friend”.

Police also arrested a 67-year old retired priest at his home address near Haywards Heath on suspicion of two separate sexual offences against two teenage boys in East Sussex between 1981 and 1983.

Detectives carried out a “comprehensive and painstaking” three-month analysis of two reports from Lambeth Palace, “which contain reviews of church files relating to certain child safeguarding issues within the Chichester diocese from between 20 and 25 years ago”. They also reviewed internal church files containing details of clergymen’s careers in the diocese, including Ball’s.

A spokeswoman for a group representing the survivors of abuse by clergy said the arrests were “historic in terms of the seniority of the people being looked at“. “This is the first bishop we have seen arrested over abuse allegations,” said Ann Lawrence, of the Ministry and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors Group…

Overdue, of course. That portion of any investigation must not be overlooked in the prosecution of the charges currently laid at the Bishop’s feet. When all is over and done – someone needs to determine how and why this took decades to come to police attention.

Camilla – the rubber chicken – flies to edge of Earth’s atmosphere

A group of students from Bishop, California, have sent a rubber chicken to an altitude of 120,000ft as part of a project.

The journey, which involved attaching the fowl known as Camilla to a helium balloon, was undertaken to test the levels of radiation exposed to the chicken during a solar storm, last month.

Camilla is already well known among space enthusiasts as a mascot of NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, and has more than 20,000 followers on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

On the outside of her knitted space suit, she wore a pair of badges to register radiation levels.

She flew twice – once on 3 March before the radiation storm and again on 10 March while the storm was in full swing – to give the students a basis for comparison.

The students now hope to repeat the mission with a species of microbes to find out if they can live at the edge of space.

Bravo, Camilla. Kudos to the kids in Bishop, California.

Catholic Bishop indicted for failure to report child abuse

“Just leave your wallet or checkbook at the door on the way in!”

A bishop in the Roman Catholic Church has been indicted for failure to report suspected child abuse, the first time in the 25-year history of the church’s sex abuse scandals that the leader of an American diocese has been held criminally liable for the behavior of a priest he supervised.

The indictment of the bishop, Robert W. Finn, and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph by a county grand jury was announced on Friday. Each was charged with one misdemeanor count involving a priest accused of taking pornographic photographs of girls as recently as this year. They pleaded not guilty.

The case caused an uproar among Catholics in Kansas City this year when Bishop Finn acknowledged that he knew of the photographs last December but did not turn them over to the police until May. During that time, the priest, the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, is said to have continued to attend church events with children, and took lewd photographs of another young girl.

A decade ago the American bishops pledged to report suspected abusers to law enforcement authorities — a policy also recommended last year by the Vatican. Bishop Finn himself had made such a promise three years ago as part of a $10 million legal settlement with abuse victims in Kansas City…

“This is huge for us,” said Michael Hunter, director of the Kansas City chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, and a victim of sexual abuse by a priest. “It’s something that I personally have been waiting for years to see, some real accountability. We’re very pleased with the prosecuting attorney here to have the guts to do it…”

In a news conference, the Jackson County prosecutor, Jean Peters Baker said the case was not religiously motivated, but was about the obligation under state law to report child abuse.

“This is about protecting children,” she said.


American police, American politicians lead the world in cowardice when it comes to addressing crimes of the Roman Catholic clergy. Sad enough these organizations don’t pay their own way, don’t meet the essential responsibility of paying taxes to fund the sustenance of civil society.

That the politicians of our nation kowtow to some mystical higher presence in the face of crime is sickening. That sleazy exploiters go unindicted and protected by the complicity of princes of the church and loyal hacks in government is one of the most disgusting chapters in the history of American politics.

Church destroyed in election night arson – rebuilt, rededicated

In the hours after the 2008 election of the country’s first African-American president, three white men crept up to a predominantly African-American church being built here in Springfield, Massachusetts, blessed it corruptly with gasoline — and faded into the fresh November night.

Soon the church’s pastor, Bishop Bryant Robinson Jr., was at the crime scene’s flickering edge, weary, saddened. Moments before, he had been anticipating a new chapter in American history, and now here was one page, stuck. He didn’t need an investigation to tell him this was a racist act of arson. He is a black man with snow in his hair; he knew.

As he watched the new home for the Macedonia Church of God in Christ burn to the ground, Bishop Robinson imagined only one response: Rebuild.

Now, nearly three years later, that election night’s crisp air of possibility has all but faded in Washington, where the first African-American president, Barack Obama, struggles with grinding wars, a broken economy and spirit-killing partisanship. But here in Springfield, the smoke has lifted to reveal a new, 20,000-square-foot church standing on top of an old crime scene, its sanctuary walls painted the color of a clear blue sky.

Resting in one of its pews the other day, a silver cane by his side, Bishop Robinson, 74, said that this building on Tinkham Road reflects the ever-unfolding American story of race, in Washington, Springfield, everywhere. “The hatred in our country,” he said. “And the goodness in our country.”

The election night burning of a New England church became national news…Two months after the fire, three white men in their 20s were charged with burning down the church to express their rage at the thought of a black president. Two pleaded guilty, and the third was convicted after trial, in a case that The Republican newspaper of Springfield described as a “blot on the whole city.”

Unfortunately, it was a confirmation of my experiences as an African-American,” Bishop Robinson said, adding: “My faith teaches me to forgive, and I forgive them. But I cannot be accepting of their behavior. I cannot be victimized by hatred. So I have to move forward.”

How many Americans have not “moved forward”?

Every day we witness pallid imitations of a Free Press kneeling before the corporate recreation of White Citizens’ Councils and George Wallace’s populist and racist presidential campaign. They call it the Tea Party. A slander of patriots who fought for freedom from an imperial power.

My criticisms and challenge to Democrats and Obama thread through this blog week-by-week. That does not lessen my contempt for gullible, self-deceiving marchers down the road of reaction. Some are only moving a short step beyond what American conservatism used to be – they say. Others more directly take their direction from kreeps like the Kohl Brothers. A pair of bigots whose politics fit the mold of that Godfather of the Bush family – Prescott Bush – who profited royally from the work he performed for Brown Brothers Harriman supporting the freedoms promised by Herr Hitler.

I’d rather you RTFA and study the courage and spirit of Bishop Robinson. I’m certain I’d find a number of issues to debate with the gentleman. I’m equally certain I’d be honored to welcome him under my roof.

Retired bishop campaigns for an end to celibacy in priesthood

A high-profile bishop who tended some of the dead and wounded of Bloody Sunday has called for an end to celibacy in the clergy.

Edward Daly, who was bishop of Derry for nearly 20 years, said allowing the clergy to marry would solve some of the church’s problems. He is the most senior figure in Irish Catholicism to challenge the ban.

The number of Catholic priests in Ireland is in sharp decline as older clergy die out and very few young men choose to take up a celibate life. In some parishes the church has transferred priests from Poland and the developing world to fill the gap.

“There will always be a place in the church for a celibate priesthood, but there should also be a place for a married priesthood in the church,” he said on BBC Radio Ulster.

I think priests should have the freedom to marry if they wish. It may create a whole new set of problems but I think it’s something that should be considered. I’m worried about the decreasing number of priests and the number of older priests. I think it’s an issue that needs to be addressed, and addressed urgently.”

Daly accepted he might be out of step with current Vatican thinking but said he was “not engaged in a popularity contest”.

He said that during his time as a bishop he found it “heartbreaking” that so many priests or prospective priests were forced to resign or were unable to get ordained because of the celibacy issue. Many young men who had once considered joining the priesthood turned away because of the rule, the cleric said.


I hold no brief for the superstitions premised as religion; but, as long as human beings choose philosophical idealism over material reality they should enjoy the option of those who speak for that religion to be living something approaching a normal, healthy life.

Catholic Bishop tells True Believers to halt donations to Komen cancer research charity

What me worry?

A Roman Catholic bishop in Ohio has called on supporters of a breast cancer foundation to suspend donations because the charity may, in the future, turn to stem-cell research in its fight against the disease.

Said Bishop Leonard P Blair of Toledo, Ohio: “While we want to do everything possible to support the search for a cure, sadly the landscape of medical research today is sometimes marred by the erroneous belief that research is not bound by moral norms rooted in faith and reason, as reflected in the teaching of the church.

According to this report, the charity at the centre of a controversy sparked by this posturing blockhead is the Susan G Komen for the Cure…He…noted the foundation does not exclude the possibility of funding research that uses embryonic stem cells. While acknowledging that Komen does not currently fund research using embryonic stem cells, he said Its policy does not exclude that possibility…

The man is an ideological turd. If he consistently lived up to an iota of his reasoning then he must be picketing the Pentagon on a daily basis. Oh?

Mary Westphal, Executive Director of Komen’s Northwest Ohio Affiliate, and board chairman Angie Ash said here that they were “extremely disappointed” in the bishop’s decision. They said the bishop and other diocesan leaders had not called or met with local Komen officials before the decision’s announcement and gave no opportunity to discuss his concerns.

In modern theology [I know – probably mutually exclusive], you learn the term “pelvic theology.” This describes purportedly celibate priests, bishops, cardinals and popes god-given right to order women how to deal with their bodies. Women haven’t the right to do so on their own. So say the divinely inspired.

You can add in the crap from Catholics and Kool Aid Party anti-abortion nutballs about Planned Parenthood – which sits out at the front of their political onslaught. Though abortion services and information is one of the smallest segments of Planned Parenthood’s activities, the Xhristian Crusaders would take away contraception, vaccination against cancers and dozens of aspects of programmatic women’s health planning.

Though my forebears were shipped off to North America in chains in part for their Catholicism, my immediate family walked out of that Church the day after my grandfather’s funeral. The priest took the occasion to berate the eight children of the deceased for not being Good Catholics like their father – since none of them had more than two children. After the burial my father told the priest to stick his religion where the sun don’t shine – and we never looked back.

Thanks, Mr. Fusion

Pope’s best mate faces new child abuse allegations

A secret Vatican file on a disgraced Roman Catholic German bishop alleges he is a “severely alcoholic man” who sexually preyed on young priests.

The dossier was seen by Pope Benedict XVI before he accepted the resignation of Bishop Walter Mixa of Augsburg last month.

Documents, compiled after Vatican investigators questioned members of Bishop Mixa’s inner circle, have detailed a litany of alleged alcoholism and sexual abuse.

The new allegations have come to light following his demands last week that the Vatican review his case. He has accused Germany’s Archbishop Robert Zollitsch and Bavaria’s Archbishop Reinhard Marx of not behaving a “brotherly” manner and pressuring him to resign.

In the dossier, witnesses described the bishop as an alcoholic who had to drink wine and spirits throughout the course of his day to feed his addiction to alcohol.

Others accused him of carrying out sex attacks on young priests during his time as a parish priest. Following an sexual incident, Bishop Mixa would then “go to confession the next morning before he celebrated mass“…

The Bishop of Augsberg’s resignation in early May followed accusations that he beat children at a Catholic orphanage in the 1970s and later misused Church money.

Bishop Mixa has since moved back into his Church mansion, and says he will demand the decision to accept his resignation is reversed next month. He claims the Pontiff was pressured to accept his resignation due to the unproven allegations of sexual abuse.

And all that other stuff ain’t especially important either, right? As far as day-to-day management of the Catholic Corporation Church is concerned.

Episcopal Church consecrates first openly lesbian bishop

Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

The Episcopal Church consecrated its first openly lesbian bishop Saturday in the face of objections from some conservative Anglicans.

Mary Glasspool is the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church since Gene Robinson took office in New Hampshire in 2004. Episcopalians instituted a temporary ban on gay bishops after Robinson’s ordination but revoked that ban last summer…

Bishop Jon Bruno of Los Angeles called Glasspool, an ordained priest for 28 years, a “highly qualified and experienced” cleric. “She’s not afraid of conflict and is a reconciler,” Bruno said, according to the Episcopal Church website. He added that Glasspool and her partner of 19 years, Becki Sander, are an example of living service and ministry…

Glasspool’s consecration drew opposition from Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, who said Glasspool’s ordination would deepen rifts in the Church…

The Church of Ireland also issued a strong condemnation…”We wish to express sorrow that Mary Glasspool, a person who is living in a same-sex relationship, is to be consecrated,” the Church of Ireland said in a statement. “The elevation to senior church leadership of a person whose lifestyle is contrary to the will of God revealed in scripture is both wrong and disappointing.”

I’m not about to repeat more of such Stone Age stupidity. “Revealed” scripture means some dude – or a collection of like-minded dodos – wrote down what he figured he could hustle his True Believers with to get ’em to fork over their worldly goods in return for promises of a happy life after death.

Science, reason, plain and simple good will refutes this crap.