Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ireland's Catholics, hard hit by abuse crisis, await Vatican action - Faith & Reason


Diarmuid Martin is getting impatient. He's been a singular voice speaking out for action on this since 2009.

Maureen Dowd lionizes Martin in her weekend New York Times column and lambastes the Vatican in the process:

In return for doing the right thing, he has been ostracized by fellow bishops in Ireland and snubbed by the Holy See.

Showing again that it prefers denial to remorse, the Vatican undermined Martin's call for accountability. In 2009, after the Irish government's 700-page Murphy report on sexual abuse came out, Pope Benedict XVI refused to accept the resignations of two Irish bishops who presided over dioceses where abuse cases were mishandled.

The following year, when Martin expected to be named cardinal, the pope passed him over.

Ireland's Catholics, hard hit by abuse crisis, await Vatican action - Faith & Reason

Vatican takes more time to mull Irish sex abuse -


The Vatican is taking several more months before making its recommendations on renewing the Catholic Church in Ireland following devastating revelations of clerical sex abuse and coverup.

The Vatican issued preliminary findings of its investigation into Irish dioceses, seminaries and religious orders, saying only that no further visits were warranted for dioceses and seminaries but that follow-up visits were necessary at some religious communities.

The Vatican said Monday it would come ahead with recommendations for the Irish church "in the coming months" and that a full report would be published in early 2012.

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has spoken out recently, criticizing the Vatican's slow pace, and Monday's statement was unlikely to satisfy those expecting more tangible results after Vatican investigators turned in their reports in April.

Since 2002, a government-organized compensation board has paid out more than euro800 million ($983 million) to 13,000 people abused in Ireland's church-run homes for children.

Vatican takes more time to mull Irish sex abuse -

Public Bodies Are Paying over $7.4 million Annually to Lobbyists | Illinois Campaign for Political Reform


Local governments, transit agencies and other public bodies spent nearly $7.5 million in the last fiscal year on contracts with lobbyists hired to monitor and influence state officials, according to an annual survey conducted by the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform (ICPR).

Below are some nearby community government units and their lobbying cost.  The complete list is available at:








Public Bodies Are Paying over $7.4 million Annually to Lobbyists | Illinois Campaign for Political Reform

Supreme Court rejects Belleville Diocese's appeal of $5 million award in priest sex abuse case - .Breaking news -


Wednesday, May. 25, 2011

Supreme Court rejects Belleville Diocese's appeal of $5 million award in priest sex abuse case


BELLEVILLE -- The Illinois Supreme Court turned down a request by the Diocese of Belleville to hear an appeal of a $5 million award in a case of sexual abuse by one of its priests, making the amount plus $1.35 million in interest payable unless a further legal challenge can be mounted.

The decision was posted Wednesday without comment.

Unless further legal action occurs, the diocese must pay James Wisniewski of Champaign $6.35 million. If the diocese does not have adequate insurance or cannot raise the money, and some Catholic dioceses in the United States have been forced to sell property to meet such payments, the award would be paid through a guaranty bond.

During the civil trial, Weilmuenster and Wigginton introduced numerous memorandums and letters by officials of the diocese that showed that they knew that Kownacki had sexually abused minors but did not call police and repeatedly transferred the priest to various parishes without warning parishioners.

During the trial, former Belleville bishop, now Archbishop of Atlanta, testified that if it was true that Kownacki molested Wisniewski, then an award should be paid. Gregory became bishop after the time that Kownacki was said to have molested his victims.

Ed Barbier, spokesman for the Southern Illinois Association of Priests, issued a statement that said in part the high court's decision, "Ends the unnecessary, costly and painful years of litigation, and finally provides the Wisniewski family some closure to the pain they have suffered."

Read more:

Belvidere Planning posts the St. James zoning packet along with their recommendations


Now available on the county website is the packet of information which the Planning Committee will use in their Tuesday, June 6 meeting at City Hall.  The web address is:,%202011.pdf  The St. James portion begins at page “8” and continues to page “52”.  There are a total of 65 pages to this PDF file and the other pages concern other matters.  There should be an opportunity for the public to speak and ask questions.

Page “30”/65 and “31”/65 has the summary of findings and recommendations of the Planning Department. 

Planning Department recommends approval with 9 conditions--major ones are 50 feet height limit rather than 70 feet and church must show attempts to buy, lease or otherwise acquire 55 off street parking spots.

The capacity appears to be only 850 rather than 1,000 in the promotional materials, or that is the number which the architect wishes to use so fewer parking spaces are required.  (6-10-2011)  I called the parish and Fr. Geary stated that 850 is the maximum seating for this site according the architect/engineering consultants.  I certainly would appreciate to first hear this information from the parish rather than from the planning department application.  As plans for our new church change, all parish member should be kept informed.

Click on the photocopy to enlarge:


St. James expansion 1

St James expansion 2

St.James is the first case on the Tuesday, June 14 meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission.  That meeting begins at 6:00 PM at City Hall  and the Agenda is below.  The Special Use request (Item 2011-15) concerns the parking, building height and other controversial items of the building plan.


The final decision will be made by the city council.  The aldermen’s names, addresses and phones are listed below. Ward 5  Correction:  Ward 3 is the ward in which St. James is located.

Belvidere Aldermen 5-2011

Fire chiefs revisit mandate for sprinkler systems


issue appeared headed toward a compromise the question of whether board Chairman Bob Walberg reappointed incumbent trustees in districts 1, 2 and 3 remained unresolved.

A couple of fire officials brought it up but he said he didn’t want to talk about it that night.

He said after the meeting that he would interview the six candidates for three openings tonight, following the roads and capital improvements meeting, and make a decision by the end of the week. He said he would like to have board action at the June 15 meeting.

Click on the following for more details:  Fire chiefs revisit mandate for sprinkler systems