Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Quotation of the Week (September 30 - October 6, 2018)

A quotation of Mark Twain on 'keeping and stopping learning,'
compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Photo (A panoramic view of the Kennedy Road from the 22nd-floor apartment 
of a building in Scarborough, Toronto: Aug. 20, 2018) © Jerome D'Costa

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Saturday, September 29, 2018

Pope Francis Defrocks Chilean Priest Fernando Karadima For Sexual Abuse

Father Fernando Karadima on the court date 
on Nov. 11, 2015, in Santiago, Chile
Photo courtesy: Getty Images

Pope Francis in an unprecedented move has defrocked Father Fernando Karadima (88) of Chile who was previously in 2011 was found to be guilty by the Vatican of several counts of sexual abuse and sentenced to a life of 'penance and prayer.' 

Father Karadima was a charismatic, convincing, and fluent speaker with wide influence among both the Chilean hierarchy and laity. He was involved in numerous sexual abuses and was accused as early as 1984. Chilean Church authorities not only failed to take action but also helped cover up his grave sins and crimes. This is called participation in others' sins. The laity everywhere in the world is taught on this participation, but the members of the hierarchy rarely apply this to themselves. There was a time when even Pope Francis thought abuse victims were spreading calumnies against Father Karadima! 

After receiving a 2,300-page report on sexual abuse of a number of priests in Chile, Pope Francis called all Chilean bishops and cardinals to Rome to deal with this. All the bishops and cardinals then wanted to submit their resignations. The pope accepted only a few resignations. 

For more on Father Karadima and Chilean clergy's sexual abuses, please read the following: 

Related Items: 

(Updated on Sept. 30, 2018)

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Friday, September 28, 2018

'Amar Praner Psalmgeet': A Bengali-Language Musical Notation Book and A CD on the Psalms of the Bible

Amar Praner Psalmgeet -- the first volume of the
Bengali-language musical notation book on the Psalms 

Amar Praner Psalmgeet -- the first CD
of Bengali-language songs on some selected Psalms
Dr. Bartholomeo Prottyush Shaha's Amar Praner Psalmgeet (My beloved psalms) is the first volume, covering 50 of the total of 150 Biblical psalms. The author of this Bengali-language book wrote the lyrics, based on the original psalms, and also produced their musical notations.

These psalms, popular among Bengali-speaking Catholics in Bangladesh and abroad, are used in the Holy Mass and other worship services. 

Dr. Bartholomeo Prottyush Shaha playing on the harmonium in Bangladesh
Dr. Shaha, hailing from Chittagong of Bangladesh, has been writing lyrics and music notations of various music genre since 1965. Many of his musical creations found a place in the Geetaboli, a Catholic book of songs, published by the Pratibeshi Prakashoni in Dhaka, Bangladesh. So far he has three musical notation books to his credit. 

He was involved with the YMCAs of Hong Kong and Geneva (Switzerland) holding executive positions. 

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Shocking Report of Sex Abuse In Two Boarding Schools of Benedictine Monks in England

Ampleforth College, a Benedictine boarding school in Yorkshire, England
 Photo courtesy:

Downside Abbey, another Benedictine boarding school in Somerset, England
Photo courtesy:

According to the report by the Independent Inquiry into Chil Sexual Abuse (IICSA), that investigated sexual abuses in the £34,000-a-year Ampleforth College and £33,000-a-year Downside Abbey, teachers and staff -- many of whom were Benedictine monks -- were directly involved in the sadistic sexual abuse of students. Both the co-educational schools are attached with the Benedictine abbeys (monasteries). 

Allegations starting from the 1960s included "a wide spectrum of physical abuse, much of which had sadistic and sexual overtones." Among the victims were some seven-year-olds at Ampleforth and 11-year-olds at Downside. 

The report said the authorities at both schools tried to "avoid contact with the local authority or the police at all costs," even if they knew serious abuse had happened on the campuses. 

For more, plead read the following:

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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

German Catholic Clerics Involved In Massive Child Sexual Abuse Scandal

Catholic Dioceses in Germany
Map courtesy:

An official report on sexual abuse within the Catholic Church in Germany reveals about 1,670 priests, deacons, and male members of certain Religious Orders sexually abused 3,677 children between 1946 to 2014. More than half of the victims were boys, aged 13 years or younger. 

The research study, conducted by experts from the universities of Giessen, Heidelberg, and Mannheim, adds, too, that the actual number of victims is likely to be much higher. 

Catholic bishops later expressed their shame and regret and apologized for the shocking abuses. "Sexual abuse is a crime," Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German Bishops' Conference, told reporters. "I'm ashamed for so many (of us) looking away, not wanting to recognize what happened and not helping the victims. That goes for me as well."

For more, please click on the following: 

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Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Quotation of the Week (September 23 - 29, 2018)

"If we want everything to remain as it is, it will be necessary for everything to change." --Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, Sicily (1896-1957: Italian writer and the last Prince of Lampedusa)

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Friday, September 21, 2018

India's Jalandhar Bishop Mulakkal Arrested For Alleged Serial Rape Of A Nun

Left and Right: Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar Diocese
in the State of Punjab, India
 Photo courtesy:

Nuns in Kochi, Kerala, demand arrest of Bishop Franco Mulakkal
of Jalandhar for his serial rape of a nun
Photo courtesy:

After a three-day police questioning, Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar Diocese of India, accused of serially raping a Missionaries of Jesus nun (Sister), has been arrested on September 21. This is perhaps the first case where an Indian Catholic Bishop has been implicated in the clergy sexual abuse. 

Bishop Mulakkal has been denying the allegations all along since the nun registered a complaint with the Kerala police in last June. 

The non-action and delay, displayed by the Indian Catholic Church and Vatican authorities, garnered widespread protests and anger all over India. 

For details, please click on the following:

(Updated on Sept. 28, 2018)

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Clericalism And Its Corroding Effects in the Catholic Church

Pope Francis 
Photo courtesy: Conde Nast Traveler
“There is that spirit of clericalism in the Church, that we feel: clerics feel superior; clerics distance themselves from the people. Clerics always say: ‘this should be done like this, like this, like this, and you – go away!’” It happens “when the cleric doesn’t have time to listen to those who are suffering, the poor, the sick, the imprisoned: the evil of clericalism is a really awful thing; it is a new edition of this ancient evil [of the religious ‘authorities’ lording it over others].” But “the victim is the same: the poor and humble people, who await the Lord.” -- taken from Pope Francis’ homily in a Mass in Casa Santa Marta, December 13, 2016 (courtesy:

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines 'clericalism' as a policy of maintaining or increasing the power of a religious hierarchy [consisting of priests, monsignors, bishops, archbishops, cardinals, and the pope]. 

Let's see below the quotes [taken from an article, 'Clericalism,' in website] on clericalism: 

“I speak, of course, of clericalism, that culture of self-interest which promotes and sustains the presumption of superiority among clergy and their practice of protective secrecy. It is something that priests share with all would-be elites, such as professional associations in law and medicine, bureaucrats and the military.” - Michael Kelly SJ, in "Next Item on the Catholic Reform Agenda", Pearls and Irritations (May 2, 2014)

“By clericalism,” Shaw writes, “I mean an elitist mindset, together with structures and patterns of behaviour corresponding to it, which takes it for ­granted that clerics—in the Catholic context, mainly ­bishops and priests—are intrinsically superior to the other members of the Church and deserve automatic ­deference. Passivity and dependence are the laity’s lot. By no means is clericalism confined to clerics themselves. The clericalist mindset is widely shared by Catholic lay people.” – Russell Shaw (Quoted by Richard John Neuhaus, “Scandal and the Scandal of Clericalism,” First Things, April, 2008)

”True clericalism is an anomaly and an aberration in that it engenders disdain and disrespect for others, especially for those who are not clerics (ordained). Hence, real clericalism is when a deacon, priest or bishop has an attitude of superiority over his flock in that he believes he is ‘better’ than they are, whether spiritually, intellectually or otherwise. Clericalism patronizes and denigrates the unordained (laity). It seeks to be treated with privilege rather than seeking to be of service.” – Robert Trigilio, (in “Need to explain to the Laity,” The Black Biretta, 13/01/2014)

“It also happens to me that when I meet a clericalist, I suddenly become anti-clerical. Clericalism should not have anything to do with Christianity. St. Paul, who was the first to speak to the Gentiles, the pagans, to believers in other religions, was the first to teach us that.” – Pope Francis (in his interview with the La Repubblica newspaper, Italy, Oct. 1, 2013)

“It’s sad when you see a man who seeks this office and who does so much to get there and when he makes it, he doesn’t serve, but struts like a peacock, living only for his own vanity,” – Pope Francis (In his weekly general audience at the Vatican, Nov. 5, 2014)

To understand more on different aspects of clericalism in the Catholic Church, please read the following: 

Related Item:

(Updated on Oct. 4, 2018)

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Monday, September 17, 2018

Historic 7th March 1971 Speech of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman of Bangladesh

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman giving his historic speech 
in Ramna Racecourse (later called Suhrawarthy Uddyan) of Dhaka on March 7, 1971
The original b/w photo digitally painted by Adrian D'Costa (Sept. 6, 2018)

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Founding Father of Bangladesh, delivered an impassioned speech on March 7, 1971, among widespread tension between the Pakistan army in power and the common people of East Pakistan (later called Bangladesh), at the then Ramna Race Course (later renamed Suhrawarthy Uddyan) in Dhaka to a huge crowd of about two million people. 

In this speech, he called on the freedom-loving people of East Pakistan to keep their struggle on until realization of their full rights and privileges, and, if necessary, independence from the Pakistani ruling elite, dominated by the military. 

Please read below about this speech and listen to Bangabandhu's inspiring voice:

Related Item: 

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Quotation of the Week (September 16 - 22, 2018)

A quotation of Winston Churchill on 'losing the future,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Photo (Mannequins in a Hudson's Bay Store in Toronto: April 8, 2017) © Jerome D'Costa

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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Vatican Magazine Asks Church Officials To Stop Using Nuns As Servants With Little Pay

A nun cleaning a floor
 Photo courtesy: Donne, Chiesa, Mondo (1 Marz, 2018)

Nuns washing and drying clothes
Photo courtesy: Donne, Chiesa, Mondo (1 Marz, 2018)

The Vatican magazine, Donne, Chiesa, Mondo (Women, Church, World), published as a monthly supplement of the Vatican daily newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, in its March 2018 issue on the theme of  'women and work,' describes how priests, bishops, and cardinals in many cases treat nuns (Sisters) as menial servants often with little pay for preparing meals, doing the laundry, cleaning the household and office spaces, and performing other chores. 

There are nuns who work in schools and other institutions, but there are some others who specifically work for the members of the hierarchy (priests, bishops, and cardinals). These males with the sense and culture of clericalism, do not understand what it takes for the nuns to work for them without receiving due recognition, respect, and monetary remuneration. 

For more on this issue, please read the following:

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Monday, September 10, 2018

Bangladesh Catholic Church: Matters Clergy Sexual Abuse

Father Walter William Rozario of Borni Parish of Rajshahi Diocese, 
Bangladesh, in 2018
Photo courtesy:

Father William A. Christensen, S.M., from St. Louis, USA, in 1995 
Photo courtesy:

A greater number of foreign missionaries and local priests in Bangladesh have been dedicated, honest, and truthful to their vocation, but some of them did not work as expected. As in other countries, “One-in-twelve principle” also applies to Bangladesh. It means one-in-twelve – some among many – will act quite badly. This principle is derived from Jesus’ own example with his twelve disciples, among whom one (Judas the Iscariot) was the most rotten apple.  

Sexual abuse is nothing new in Bangladesh. It is present in every community (Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian) and culture. Yet, when a religious leader, like a Catholic clergy (priest), gets involved in this sin or crime, it is a horrendous news to the faithful. Why? Because the clergy is held in a high position, he is a holy person who is supposed to have a higher level of integrity, honesty, and justice. He is the one who teaches others about being holy, honest and just. 

In the Old Testament of the Bible, we see God created the heavens and the earth as well as Adam and Eve. He then blessed them and told them: “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen 1:28). Later, God made a covenant with Noah and told him: “Be fertile and multiply and fill the earth” (Gen 9:1). God gave these persons sex organs for multiplication. He did not tell them to place their organs under lock and key. So, multiply they did. When things went haywire, God gave the Ten Commandments, whereby he forbade adultery and coveting of one's neighbour's wife.  Then also sanctions came on homosexuality. People, later, came up with their own social restrictions on and barriers to the use of their sex organs indiscriminately. Especially from the New Testament time, some also came up with the idea of celibacy (a state of unmarried life) so that the person dedicated to celibacy can give his or her full time in the service of God. Sexual chastity goes along with this celibacy in the Catholic Church. Did the sex activities and sex abuse stop among the married and unmarried (celibate) people? No. The sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church amply proves it. The priests' celibacy and sexual chastity, idealized, idolized and heavenized (priests have been termed alter Christus -- meaning 'another Christ' -- and they can turn bread and wine into Christ's body and blood, which even heavenly angels are unable to accomplish) by the Church, almost turned into a fiction.  

Catholic clergy sex abuse, of which we hear and read so much now, was always present in the universal Catholic Church. In earlier times, the married clergy and, later, celibate (unmarried) clergy have been involved in sexual abuse. To learn more, please click on the following article: A Very Short History of Clergy Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church (by Father Thomas Doyle, O.P., J.C.D., C.A.D.C.).  

In Bangladesh, as almost in any other country, Catholic laymen and laywomen, from their childhood, learn to have a special respect and slavish fealty to and unconditional trust on the priests and bishops, who are considered holy because of their position as God’s anointed agents on earth. Nothing can be done in words or deeds to disrespect or belittle them. There is also the fear of being punished sacramentally (banning participation in the holy communion, church marriage, church burial, etc.) or otherwise. For these reasons, no one wants to come forward to complain against clergy sex abuses. As a result, very few cases of abuse came to the limelight so far.

In the past, there were a few clergy abuse cases which were open secret but remained in a hush-hush situation. Victims of those cases were underage boys and girls (pedophilia), adolescents (ephebophilia), young men -- including seminarians (homosexuality), married and unmarried women -- including Sisters or nuns (heterosexuality), incest (sexual relations with close relatives, e.g. in-laws), and fathering of children.

But things are gradually changing with widespread education among the laity, more awareness of one’s human rights, an increase in critical (analytical) thinking, the spread of feminist ideology including women’s rights -- as being emphasized in the recent #MeToo Movement, which resulted from women's actual experiences of sexual abuse in their workplaces, and, finally, the easy availability of the Internet and social media with their influences.

The abuse cases of Father William A. Christensen (a Marianist missionary from the USA) and Father Walter William Rozario (a local diocesan priest) not only came to the limelight but also became international news. 

What are the actions that the Bangladesh bishops and Religious superiors can take?

1    1. When a serious complaint is received against a Church personnel, remove the person from the position held during the complaint until the proper investigation is completed.

2    2. In the investigation of sexual abuse, involve certain persons from the priests and Religious Brothers and Sisters as well as laymen and women to have more fairness in the process. When complaints are received, patiently and with enough time, listen in depth to what both the sides (the accused and the accuser) involved in the case have to say.

3    3. If anyone, after giving a second chance, commits another incursion (crime), defrock him. It is better for him to live a laicized life than “burn” by remaining in the priesthood, (Brotherhood, or Sisterhood). By repeat failures or criminal actions, the person is trying to tell that he is not able to keep his solemn promise of celibacy and chastity anymore. He wants to be out.

4    4. Sending a person for a life of “meditation and prayer” means nothing to the person as well as to his victim(s). He was supposed to meditate and pray more than once a day for years but failed to do so. How is it possible for him/her to do it right now?

5    5. Do not rotate the person from one parish or institution to another or from one country to another. From other countries’ experience, it is found that such persons in most cases repeat the same sins and crimes in new places, too.

6    6. Arrange special orientation on awareness building. Many of the priests, Brothers, Sisters (nuns), seminarians, catechists, teachers, school-boarding masters and mistresses, and Catholic NGO workers, who regularly deal with people (men, women, youth, teens, adolescents, and children), do not know what constitutes sexual harassment, sexual molestation, sexual abuse, sexual assault, pedophilia, hebephiliaephebophilia, homosexuality and their legal repercussions. It is imperative that, from now on, they get this orientation so that they themselves can be careful with others and help others to be careful about sexual matters.

1    7. The Pratibeshi (neighbour) is the national Catholic weekly of the Catholic bishops of Bangladesh. Most of its readers reside in the rural areas. It can play a vital role in the proper formation of the Catholics by disseminating information on and building awareness of clergy sexual abuse that is being revealed publicly all over the world for more than a decade now. This weekly places a greater emphasis on pietistic, devotional, and dogmatic matters than real-life Christian living in this fast-changing world.  It is almost completely quiet on this serious problem of clergy sex abuse – as if nothing is happening on this matter anywhere in the world. It also does not say much about what the Pope and the Vatican are saying on this particular subject. If the Holy Bible can clearly and graphically speak of both the holiness and sin, the good and evil, why can’t the Pratibeshi do the same? The conversation on clergy sex abuse (happening anywhere in the world) will help priests and other Church personnel to be careful in their behavior and, at the same time, it will help its readers to be alert and careful about not becoming victims of abuses in their daily life as well as in Church life. 

I    8. It is also important to note that the Catholic Church has a definite teaching on participation in other’s sins. If any bishop, cardinal, or Religious superior anywhere in the world tries to avoid, ignore, or cover up sex abuse of anyone under his care, he participates in the sins (of sex abuse, which is also considered as crimes in any country’s civil law) of that sex-abuser. 

9. In certain parts of the world today, clergy sexual-abuse victims no longer wait for the cumbersome and slow-paced efforts of bishops and Religious superiors in taking proper action against clergy sex-abusers. Victims contact the local police directly and make formal complaints about quicker action. Bangladesh Church leaders need to learn from these experiences of other countries and take proper action timely so that they can avoid any unsavoury and nasty situation later.

10. Pope Francis, meeting 74 newly-consecrated bishops from 34 developing countries in the Vatican on Sept. 9, said, “Just say no to abuse – of power, conscience or any type.” He also said that to do so the bishops must reject the clerical culture that often places clergy on a pedestal and which Francis himself has blamed for fueling the sex abuse scandal. He also reminded the new bishops that they were to serve their flocks, and must work in communion with the Church, not as lone actors. (For more on this, please see Pope tells bishops to fight abuse, culture behind it). Catholic bishops of the Philippines, reacting to the Vatican official accusing Pope Francis of ignoring misconduct allegations against American Cardinal McCarrick, vowed not to cover up clergy sex abuse in their country. (That Vatican official is Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, who in his recent 11-page testimony accused Pope Francis of covering up homosexual relations of U. S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick with some seminarians.)

In the end, our bishops in Bangladesh will be the winners if they are quick, forthright, transparent, and accountable for their actions on clergy sex abuses in the country. 

For more on the Catholic clergy sex abuse, please click on the following:

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Pope Francis blames clericalism for the worldwide clergy sexual abuse. For details, kindly click on the following:

(Updated on Oct. 4, 2018)

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