Marking the start of the Christian holy week this Palm Sunday at the Vatican, Pope Benedict encouraged followers to keep faith in Christ as a way of strengthening themselves against “intimidation,” even as the pope himself had become accused of protecting priests who, in the words of one recent critic, raped and tortured children.
In his sermon, the pope did not openly acknowledge the fierce scandal that has engulfed the Vatican in recent days. Instead, he used the context of current events to promote a deeper trust in the Christian deity.
“[As a Cardinal] Joseph Ratzinger was Munich archbishop when a priest was allowed to resume pastoral work with children even while receiving therapy for pedophilia He was subsequently convicted of abusing minors. In addition, a case has come to light in which Ratzinger’s deputy at the Congregation told Wisconsin bishops to squash a church trial for a priest alleged to have abused up to 200 deaf boys.
“The Vatican insists Ratzinger was unaware of the Munich priest’s move to the pastoral job and has defended its handling of the Wisconsin case.”
Christianity, Pope Benedict claimed Sunday, directs believers towards “courage that doesn’t let us be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinion.”
His recent apology for the widespread sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests on at least two continents has been harshly criticized as an understatement.
During a Friday night broadcast, two of the most well-known atheists in American media, Bill Maher and Christopher Hitchens, took particular issue with the church’s inaction on the matter.
Hitchens called the pope’s apology a request for “wiggle room” on the “rape and torture of children.”
“It’s funny because in this society… Even in prisons, there is a hierarchy of crimes,” said Maher. “The child molesters are the ones who even hardened criminals shun, or actually kill.”
His guest opined that questions of whether the pope will be able to travel freely will soon become pervasive. Swiss President Doris Leuthard, just one day later, called for the creation of a central register for pedophiles, equating a priest who rapes children to anyone of any other profession who commits the same act.
“Whether perpetrators come from the civil or clerical world makes no difference,” she said, according to Reuters. “Both are subject to Swiss criminal law, with no ifs or buts.”
“I was raised Catholic but stopped going to church at the age of 12,” scoffed journalist Matt Taibbi in a recent entry for True/Slant. “I was a complete idiot at that age with regard to almost every other area of human knowledge, but even I knew back then that the church was a scam. There are good and decent people working as individual priests, but the institution as a whole is a gang of cheap charlatans preying on peoples’ guilt feelings (which of course are cultivated intentionally by the church, which teaches children to be ashamed of their natural sexuality) in order to solicit a lifetime of contributions.”
He concluded: “Sooner or later people are going to catch on, the state is going to make a move, and there’s going to be a hell of a lot of church property going up for auction along with the seized Escalades of DEA-busted drug dealers. Or maybe not in this lifetime — but one can only hope.”
“Father Federico Lombardi, the Pope’s spokesman, insisted that Pope Benedict had not been weakened by the allegations, which have led some to demand his resignation five years after he was elected,” The Times Online noted. “Popes are elected for life. The last pontiff to step down voluntarily was Pope Celestine V in 1294, who became a hermit.”
“The hierarchy’s loss of moral authority has been wonderfully liberating for some Catholics now free to ignore, with good conscience, bishops’ various directives on gays, birth control, divorce and remarriage, etc,” wrote Margery Eagan, opining for The Boston Herald. “I know many who’ve been able to separate their bedrock faith from Catholic leadership. Such Catholics support what’s good in the church (their parish, parochial schools, Catholic charities, etc.) and not what’s compromised (their archdiocese and the Vatican itself).”
Lombardi added that the pope believes the Catholic Church will come out of the present scandal — raised over decades, affecting the lives of untold thousands who were sexually assaulted — “stronger” than ever before. So far, the church has not turned a single pedophile priest over to civil authorities.
Supreme Court timeline on Trump’s taxes gives time for Manhattan prosecutors to file charges: Former US Attorney
Former U.S. Attorney Mimi Rocah tweeted a recent report that the U.S. Supreme Court would be taking up President Donald Trump's case to keep his taxes away from investigators.
That case between Trump and Congress invokes a 1924 law that says the Ways and Means Committee has the authority to seek tax returns. Rocah mocked the president for being "so shady, so corrupt, so unlawful, that you’re willing to fight the release of your tax returns all the way to the Supreme Court."
Trump has spent 50 years trying to live up to his father — now his presidency will forever be stained: MSNBC panelist
Rev. Al Sharpton said during his MSNBC show Sunday that the legacy of impeachment will forever be a stain on President Donald Trump's presidency. While a Democratic strategist pointed to Trump's history of always falling short.
"The fact is I've known Donald Trump for 35 years," Sharpton said during a panel discussion. "Marched on him after the Central Park Five. Had other times he would try to be a Democrat, would come to our National Action Network conventions. One of the things that is core to him is that he's always fought for legitimacy. He was never looked at as a peer by the legitimate business community in New York and around the country. Now for him to be impeached, even if he's not convicted and removed, it gives him the imprimatur from here out that he's illegitimate. There will always be the asterisk on his name that schoolchildren will read. Is this the reason we're seeing 170-some-odd tweets from Mr. Trump that he is feeling at the core that his legitimacy as a president will be permanently stained?"
Trump says cough drop in Pelosi’s mouth was her teeth falling out
President Donald Trump lashed out at Speaker Nancy Pelosi Sunday on Twitter instead of defending himself against accusations of bribery.
Pelosi did her weekly press conference at the end of the week while sucking on either a cough drop or a mint. It wouldn't be shocking if it was the former, as Pelosi was clearing her throat and also drinking water while speaking to the press.
Trump decided it was neither, and instead, it was false teeth falling out of her mouth.
"Because Nancy’s teeth were falling out of her mouth, and she didn’t have time to think!" Trump tweeted in response to a video from the press conference.