Daily archives: March 24th, 2010

Joseph Reyes Using Catholic Faith To Hurt Daughter And Wife

Joseph Reyes is using his Catholicism to drive a wedge between his daughter and his wife, and he needs to stop.

From the Sun-Times:

Joseph Reyes, the father embroiled in a divorce and custody case that has turned in to a religious battle, will not be allowed to take his daughter to Catholic Mass on Easter Sunday, a Cook County judge ruled today.

In denying Reyes’ request during the close of divorce proceedings, Judge Renee Goldfarb was merely upholding a temporary restraining order that says the father can’t expose his 3-year-old daughter to any other religion than the Jewish faith.

At issue is a disputed agreement that the one-time couple would raise the girl in the Jewish faith.

But after Joseph Reyes’ had the child baptized in the Catholic church last November — and emailed photos of the event to the girl’s mother, Rebecca Reyes — the case has mushroomed in to a battle over religion. And it’s grabbed national headlines.

There is a time and a place for everything, perhaps, but there is never an appropriate time or the place to use religion to destroy a child.

State Retirement Age Moves To 67 As General Assembly Passes Pension Reform

I really don’t have a problem with this, but then, I’m not a state worker.

From the Sun-Times:

A bipartisan Illinois General Assembly handed Gov. Pat Quinn a victory Wednesday, sending him an overhauled state pension system, cutting benefits for new city and state employees to save money for woefully underfunded retirement systems.

The measure requires future workers to work until age 67 to get full retirement benefits, sets a maximum salary on which pensions may be calculated and limits annual increases in payments. There would be no change in benefits for current employees.

Legislative Democrats said the changes would save more than $100 billion — although they didn’t have exact figures from experts — over several decades for 13 state and local pension systems covered by Illinois law, including state programs that are underfunded by $80 billion.

But it has labor unions that represent government employees angry. They point out that slicing future benefits does nothing to reduce the outstanding liability.

With a 92-17 House vote and a Senate tally of 48-6, the action reflected rare agreement between House Democrats and minority Republicans, who have sparred for years over what has become an $11 billion deficit, who is responsible and how to fix it.

"It’s very important to send the signal," said Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago. "It’s very important to save the money, billions of dollars that we won’t have to pay into the system in the future."

It’s a political and strategic triumph for Democrat Quinn, who unsuccessfully pursued such a two-tiered pension program last year to reduce the amount of money the state must contribute to retirement systems while it wrestles with a budget deficit.

A statement from Quinn praised the effort to "stabilize the system, protect current state employees and provide attractive pension benefits to future state workers."

Look, I have colleagues who are working happily past 70. Is it fair that the state lost fiscal discipline and hacked into pensions in the past to try to balance the budget? No, not at all. But we’re all living longer now, and work is not a horrible thing to do.

This is only the beginning of the cutbacks for Illinois, and does not close the $11 billion deficit right now. But it’s a start.

It’s A Great Week For Obama, Everybody! Health Care And Arms Pact Breakthrough

In addition to landmark healthcare legislation passed Sunday and signed into law yesterday, President Obama has succeeded in breaking a logjam in arms control negotiations, the New York Times reports, leading to a significant reduction in deployed strategic weapons.

All of this happened while you were paying attention to the healthcare debate. Amazing that we have a president who can do more than one thing at a time.

From the New York Times:

The United States and Russia have broken a logjam in arms control negotiations and expect to sign a treaty next month to slash their nuclear arsenals to the lowest levels in half a century, officials in both nations said Wednesday.

After months of deadlock and delay, the two sides have agreed to lower the limit on deployed strategic warheads by more than one-quarter and launchers by half, the officials said. The treaty will impose a new inspection regime to replace one that lapsed in December, but will not restrict American plans for missile defense based in Europe.

President Obama and President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia plan to talk Friday to complete the agreement, but officials said they were optimistic that the deal was nearly done. The two sides have begun preparing for a signing ceremony in Prague on April 8, timing it to mark the anniversary of Mr. Obama’s speech in the Czech capital outlining his vision for eventually ridding the world of nuclear weapons.

The new treaty represents perhaps the most concrete foreign policy achievement for Mr. Obama since he took office 14 months ago and the most significant result of his effort to “reset” the troubled relationship with Russia. The administration wants to use it to build momentum for an international nuclear summit meeting in Washington just days after the signing ceremony and a more ambitious round of arms cuts later in his term.

Very cool.

Vatican Failed to Defrock Priest Who Molested As Many As 200 Deaf Boys (Video)

Somehow this sounds more horrible knowing that these kids were deaf.

From the New York Times:

Top Vatican officials — including the future Pope Benedict XVI — did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church, according to church files newly unearthed as part of a lawsuit.

The internal correspondence from bishops in Wisconsin directly to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, shows that while church officials tussled over whether the priest should be dismissed, their highest priority was protecting the church from scandal.

The documents emerge as Pope Benedict is facing other accusations that he and direct subordinates often did not alert civilian authorities or discipline priests involved in sexual abuse when he served as an archbishop in Germany and as the Vatican’s chief doctrinal enforcer.

The Wisconsin case involved an American priest, the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy, who worked at a renowned school for deaf children from 1950 to 1974. But it is only one of thousands of cases forwarded over decades by bishops to the Vatican office called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, led from 1981 to 2005 by Cardinal Ratzinger. It is still the office that decides whether accused priests should be given full canonical trials and defrocked.

In 1996, Cardinal Ratzinger failed to respond to two letters about the case from Rembert G. Weakland, Milwaukee’s archbishop at the time. After eight months, the second in command at the doctrinal office, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, now the Vatican’s secretary of state, instructed the Wisconsin bishops to begin a secret canonical trial that could lead to Father Murphy’s dismissal.

But Cardinal Bertone halted the process after Father Murphy personally wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger protesting that he should not be put on trial because he had already repented and was in poor health and that the case was beyond the church’s own statute of limitations.

“I simply want to live out the time that I have left in the dignity of my priesthood,” Father Murphy wrote near the end of his life to Cardinal Ratzinger. “I ask your kind assistance in this matter.” The files contain no response from Cardinal Ratzinger.

The best summary comes from the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart, "The Catholic Church punishes Patrick Kennedy for being pro-choice, but takes 20 years to suspend a pedophile priest."

And so I give you Jon Stewart, above, who lays it all on the line for us. Holy sh*t indeed.