Sep 21, 2020

CultNEWS101 Articles: 9/19-20/2020

Sexual Abuse, Dhammakaya, Thailand, Alt-Catholics, Cult Murder, Panama

Boston Herald: 11 victims who claim Lawrence priest sexually abused them settle for $1.4M: Mitchell Garabedian
"A Catholic order has agreed to pay nearly $1.4 million to 11 "courageous" clergy sexual abuse victims who claimed that a Lawrence priest abused them in the 1970s, their lawyer announced on Thursday.

Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who specializes in sexual abuse cases, said he settled the clergy sexual abuse claims with the Augustinian Order in February for a total amount of $1,375,000.

The 10 women and one man — now in their 50s — claimed that Father John J. Gallagher sexually abused them at St. Mary's School in Lawrence, where they were students.

Gallagher, who died in 2006, was also previously accused of abusing three women when they were children at the Lawrence parish — which led to a $1 million settlement in 2018.

The abuse of the 11 victims happened from about 1974 to 1978 while they were about 8 to 14 years old, according to Garabedian."

How 'Hitler-obsessed' leader of Buddhist sect 'stole £25m and brainwashed millions' – before disappearing off the map.

"ON a huge compound in the heart of Thailand, thousands of white-robed men, women and children unite in a chant as Buddhist monks collect food offerings from the crowd.

When the ceremony is over the devotees form a huge queue at a cashpoint to take out thousands of pounds for donations - as tannoy messages tell them handing over cash is the way to "Nirvana".

The incredible scenes, in a stunning spaceship-like temple in Bangkok, were filmed by Channel 4's Unreported World at the 50th birthday celebrations of the controversial Dhammakaya movement.

The Buddhist sect, which has millions of followers around the world, including in the UK, has been criticised as a money-obsessed "cult" which has fleeced its devotees."

"What I and many other Catholics recognized in Pope Francis was how he put the principles of our faith—the Gospel of Jesus Christ—into action. This was reinforced by his words. In his homilies, addresses and interviews, he constantly admonished us to understand that without humility, repentance, conversion, transformation and a heart filled with tenderness and hope, our faith was hollow and self-referential.

It was also clear to me that Pope Francis' vision for the faith is precisely the cure for the embattled, embittered and polarized church in the United States.

Unfortunately, not everyone in the U.S. church agrees.

Since the early days of this papacy, there has been a growing and concentrated effort to undercut Pope Francis' message….

The opposition to Francis—bolstered by the publication of a document signed by four cardinals who insinuated that "Amoris Laetitia" violated immutable Catholic doctrines on marriage, adultery and objective truth—has become relentless. Well-known Catholic apologists who openly encourage opposition to Pope Francis and the bishops—including extreme voices like Michael Voris of Church Militant and the popular YouTube commentator Taylor Marshall—have wildly popular multimedia platforms and go largely unchallenged by church leaders.

This is not simply a social media phenomenon. Many Catholics across the country hear figures like Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò—the former Vatican nuncio to the United States who has repeatedly attacked Francis after calling for the pope to resign in 2018—praised from the pulpit. Articles disparaging the pope are shared among groups of Catholics and posted on parish websites. I have several friends who belong to Catholic book clubs where members will refuse to read anything by Pope Francis.

Since I began writing and speaking publicly about this phenomenon, I have heard from hundreds of Catholics who have seen their families and communities divided over Pope Francis. In some parishes—and even some diocesan seminaries—negativity toward Francis has become so commonplace that those who support him feel compelled to keep their views to themselves. One priest told me that several seminarians referred to their seminaries as "Francis-free zones."

Francis' less reactionary critics have done little to stem the rise of their much more vicious counterparts. Nor has this story received significant public attention from U.S. bishops or Catholics who support the pope. Quite often, they will actively discourage others from speaking out publicly against these reactionary leaders, arguing that to do so would give them the attention they crave. But as we have witnessed in the United States and international politics, the "establishment" can no longer afford to ignore these powerful populist movements."

Independent: Mass grave of victims 'killed in violent exorcism' linked to religious cult in Panama
"Authorities in Panama have discovered a mass grave they believe contains the bodies of people tortured and killed by a religious cult.
Investigators had to hike through the mountains for 10 hours to reach the grave in a remote indigenous province in the country's north-west.
Skeletal remains are being removed from the grave where they will later be forensically examined.
The discovery comes after another grave containing seven bodies was exhumed in January.
Police alleged an indigenous-run religious sect performed exorcisms on victims to make them "repent for their sins".
The deceased victims included a pregnant mother and her five children, and the family's teenage neighbour.
A further 15 people were being held captive in a makeshift church and forced to participate in bizarre rituals which included the sacrifice of a goat.
Public prosecutor Azael Tugri said they believe a different sect is responsible for the new mass grave.
"At this time it is not possible to determine either the sex or the number of people [found in the grave]," he told local media.
The grave is located about 210 miles west of Panama City on the jungle-clad Caribbean coast.
All the remains will be sent to a morgue where a forensic examination will be carried out."

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