Latest on priest abuse of children

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jbuck919
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Latest on priest abuse of children

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:48 pm

I've never figured this out, though I have a theory. I grew up Catholic and knew numerous priests, and never in any of their wildest dreams would it have occurred to them to approach me inappropriately. There is something that even other disapproving priests call "clerical culture," which is a euphemism for the celibate life. Nobody becomes a priest with the intention of becoming a child abuser. It happens because of opportunity and constraint. Allowing priests to marry, IMO, would solve 90% of the problem if not more. The church has also, and I know this from experience, attempted psychological examination to exclude preferential homosexuals, to no avail. It's not that I object to homosexuality; far from it. But the Catholic Church has been a miserable failure in dealing with every normal variation of human sexuality for something like a thousand years, with no end in sight.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/14/us/c ... v=top-news

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Re: Latest on priest abuse of children

Post by jserraglio » Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:03 am

jbuck919 wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:48 pm
Allowing priests to marry, IMO, would solve 90% of the problem if not more. The church has also, and I know this from experience, attempted psychological examination to exclude preferential homosexuals, to no avail.
That the Catholic Church's attempt to exclude homosexual men from the priesthood has failed is borne out by a thoughtful book on its diocesan priesthood by Fr. Donald Cozzens (The Changing Face of the Priesthood, (2000).

Cozzens cites estimates that perhaps 50% of priests and seminarians, maybe even higher among those under 40, have a homosexual orientation, the high percentage being due in part to the precipitous decline in vocations among those with a heterosexual orientation.

reviewed: https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/chan ... priesthood

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Re: Latest on priest abuse of children

Post by living_stradivarius » Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:04 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:48 pm
Allowing priests to marry, IMO, would solve 90% of the problem if not more.
I doubt it. Unless you mean allowing them to marry underaged kids.

It's ultimately a question of causation. Is the priesthood selecting for a subset of the population predisposed to pedophilia? Or are the rules and restrictions of the priesthood warping individual sexual preferences? I don't think it's the latter, if we're going with the assumption that sexuality is largely genetic with minor environmental influences.
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Re: Latest on priest abuse of children

Post by jserraglio » Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:47 pm

NYT —> Penn grand jury believes that Church hierarchy followed unwritten playbook to conceal abuses.
by Scott Dodd


Avoid scandal. Use euphemisms. Ask inadequate questions. Lock complaints away in a “secret archive.” Above all, don’t tell the police.
Those are some of the tactics that leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania used to conceal child sexual abuse by priests over a period of 70 years, according to a grand jury report released Tuesday.
[The grand jury said it had identified more than 1,000 victims and 300 abusive priests in a scathing report.]
“It’s like a playbook for concealing the truth,” said the grand jury, whose investigation identified more than 1,000 sexual abuse victims in six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania.
Special agents from the F.B.I.’s National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime reviewed evidence collected by the grand jury, the report says, and identified a series of practices that were regularly used by the six dioceses to cover up reports of abuse.
“While each church district had its idiosyncrasies, the pattern was pretty much the same,” the report says. “The main thing was not to help children, but to avoid ‘scandal.’ That is not our word, but theirs; it appears over and over again in the documents we recovered.”
Here is how the grand jury, in caustic terms, described the Catholic Church’s methods:
First, make sure to use euphemisms rather than real words to describe the sexual assaults in diocese documents. Never say “rape”; say “inappropriate contact” or “boundary issues.”
Second, don’t conduct genuine investigations with properly trained personnel. Instead, assign fellow clergy members to ask inadequate questions and then make credibility determinations about the colleagues with whom they live and work.
Third, for an appearance of integrity, send priests for “evaluation” at church-run psychiatric treatment centers. Allow these experts to “diagnose” whether the priest was a pedophile, based largely on the priest’s “self-reports,” and regardless of whether the priest had actually engaged in sexual contact with a child.
Fourth, when a priest does have to be removed, don’t say why. Tell his parishioners that he is on “sick leave,” or suffering from “nervous exhaustion.” Or say nothing at all.
Fifth, even if a priest is raping children, keep providing him housing and living expenses, although he may be using these resources to facilitate more sexual assaults.
Sixth, if a predator’s conduct becomes known to the community, don’t remove him from the priesthood to ensure that no more children will be victimized. Instead, transfer him to a new location where no one will know he is a child abuser.
Finally and above all, don’t tell the police. Child sexual abuse, even short of actual penetration, is and has for all relevant times been a crime. But don’t treat it that way; handle it like a personnel matter, “in house.”
RELATED COVERAGE
Catholic Church Covered Up Child Sex Abuse in Pennsylvania for Decades, Grand Jury Says Aug. 14, 2018
Get the full New York Times experience
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Re: Latest on priest abuse of children

Post by living_stradivarius » Wed Aug 15, 2018 4:33 pm

Who will be held responsible in the end and how will justice be served?
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Re: Latest on priest abuse of children

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:06 pm

living_stradivarius wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:04 pm
jbuck919 wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:48 pm
Allowing priests to marry, IMO, would solve 90% of the problem if not more.
I doubt it. Unless you mean allowing them to marry underaged kids.

It's ultimately a question of causation. Is the priesthood selecting for a subset of the population predisposed to pedophilia? Or are the rules and restrictions of the priesthood warping individual sexual preferences? I don't think it's the latter, if we're going with the assumption that sexuality is largely genetic with minor environmental influences.
I think you misunderstood me, though jserraglio did not. We'd have a healthy largely heterosexual priesthood if they were simply allowed to marry and lead normal middle-class lives. All other denominations and separate religions permit this. There is an old and very unfair Catholic saying that "a priest who is allowed to marry has two popes." It is all about control, which obviously has failed in this regard. There would still be gay priests, of course, as there are gay ministers in other denominations, but the situation would not be as out of hand as it is.

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Re: Latest on priest abuse of children

Post by living_stradivarius » Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:12 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:06 pm
I think you misunderstood me, though jserraglio did not. We'd have a healthy largely heterosexual priesthood if they were simply allowed to marry and lead normal middle-class lives. All other denominations and separate religions permit this. There is an old and very unfair Catholic saying that "a priest who is allowed to marry has two popes." It is all about control, which obviously has failed in this regard. There would still be gay priests, of course, as there are gay ministers in other denominations, but the situation would not be as out of hand as it is.
Yes, but why do gay priests get special mention here? I thought this issue was about pedophilia, not homosexuality, unless you are saying the former is a subset of the latter which I don't think is the case.
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Re: Latest on priest abuse of children

Post by jserraglio » Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:02 pm

To some extent the Church thought it could alleviate the problem of priestly licentiousness by excluding psychologically healthy homosexually oriented men from ordination. That was IMO based on a faulty understanding of both moral theology and human sexuality, also on scapegoating and the need for a smokescreen to conceal the real problem—the mass exodus of healthy heterosexual men from both the seminaries and the ministry beginning in the late sixties.

Fortunately for the survival of the priesthood that scapegoating of healthy homosexual men failed: an estimated 50% or more of priests and seminarians now have a homosexual orientation (cf. Cozzens, 2000).

There is no single catch-all explanation for the explosion of pedophilia and the sexual abuse of adolescents among priests (alcoholism I think was a significant contributing factor), but too many of those who remained after the exodus were an assorted lot of yes-men in search of a sinecure and those tied to an adolescent heterosexual identity that became a ticking time bomb as they moved into early middle age and had to confront the specter of their loneliness.

Jbuck919 is right: the Church's failure to comprehend and come to terms with human sexuality in the modern age is the root of the problem, along with a massive failure over the past half century to attract and retain psychologically healthy heterosexually-oriented men. Also counterproductive in my view was the attempt to stigmatize homosexually-oriented men as unfit for the celibate priesthood as it is presently constituted.

A married priesthood would in my view help to solve the problem, but the priesthood might also be opened up to married and unmarried women and maybe even to married gay and straight couples. Of course, none of this is likely to happen so long as there is any way to "man" the catacombs with the few priests who are left.

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Re: Latest on priest abuse of children

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:43 pm

Alcoholism is definitely a factor, though I don't know how much it plays into the abuse situation. In the parish where I grew up, the pastor was the retired Chief of Navy Chaplains, like all US chiefs of chaplains a flag officer of two stars, i.e. a rear admiral of the second degree. He might have taken a snort or two, but one does not attain that kind of rank as an out-and-out alcoholic. That came later, and I won't go into the reasons though I know them. They had nothing to do with any proclivity toward abusing kids. Once I looked at the pamphlet rack in the church and there was something by him while he was still in service. It was beautifully written and would grace the reputation of any priest. He was far from the only alcoholic priest I have ever known.

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Re: Latest on priest abuse of children

Post by jserraglio » Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:05 pm

Dan Levin
New York Times
Why the grand Jury report is unlikely to lead to criminal charges


The searing grand jury report issued Tuesday in Pennsylvania that accuses bishops and other Roman Catholic Church leaders in that state of covering up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests has prompted growing calls for justice, while leaving Americans wondering about the broader impact of the revelations on the church and other institutions.
But a web of legal barriers stands in the way of prosecuting most of the cases, and efforts to ease those barriers have repeatedly run into political opposition and fierce lobbying by the church and other groups. Pennsylvania lags behind many other states in coming to grips with the problem, despite a series of grand jury investigations stretching back 15 years.
[Read about the grand jury investigation and the church’s ‘playbook for concealing the truth.’]
What happens next?
Not much, legal experts and victims advocates say.
The nearly 900-page grand jury report is unlikely to lead to any new criminal charges or civil lawsuits over the abuse that it catalogs, because the statute of limitations has expired on those cases. Current state law allows victims of abuse as children 12 years to sue after they come of age at 18, meaning they must do so by age 30. Criminal complaints must be filed by the time the victim is 50. Those rules leave the vast majority of abuse survivors, who came forward later in life — the grand jury said they include people as old as 83 — with no legal recourse. Only two of the cases in the report have so far led to criminal charges.
[Read: Seven powerful excerpts from the grand jury report.]
The grand jury made four recommendations for enhancing protections for children and allowing victims to obtain justice for past abuse: eliminate the limit for criminal complaints completely; set aside the expired civil statutes of limitations for abuse cases; amend the state’s mandatory reporting law so that repeated failures to comply face harsher penalties; and bar confidentiality agreements that are meant to shield abusers.
For civil lawsuits, the attorney general and grand jury also recommended opening a temporary “window” to permit older victims to sue abusers, and the church. Earlier grand juries in Pennsylvania made similar recommendations.
But the Republican-controlled State Legislature has resisted calls to lift the statute of limitations, despite several attempts by lawmakers over the past dozen years.
A bill last year that would eliminate the criminal statute of limitations for child sexual abuse was passed in the State House, but when the Senate took it up, it stripped out a provision that would open a two-year window for victims who have aged out to file suit.
For it to become law, the State House must pass the amended version, but it has been stalled there by opposition to the removal of that retroactive provision.
Why is change taking so long?
The church has lobbied fiercely against changing the statute or opening a window for lawsuits. The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, whose president is Bishop Ronald W. Gainer of Harrisburg, one of the dioceses covered by the grand jury report, argues that the proposal would “force the people who make up an organization like the Catholic Church today defend themselves against a crime that was committed in their parish, school, or charitable program years ago.”
That claim has found support from the president of the State Senate, Joe Scarnati, a Republican who opposed the retroactive provision and has said it was unconstitutional.
Several former members of Mr. Scarnati’s staff and the wife of his current chief of staff work at a Harrisburg lobbying firm, Long, Nyquist and Associates, whose clients include the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, the church’s statewide public policy arm.
“The church is literally spending millions of dollars buying up politicians here and making sure every avenue victims take are shut down,” said State Representative Mark Rozzi, a Democrat from Berks County, who said he was raped by a priest when he was 13. Mr. Rozzi has become a tireless advocate for victims of church sexual abuse.
“It’s been a battle from Day 1,” he said.
What have other states done?
Most other states have already extended or abolished statutes of limitations for criminal prosecution of child sexual abuse felonies. Some states, including Minnesota, Delaware, Massachusetts and Hawaii, have also restored victims’ expired rights to file civil suits. But Pennsylvania has not.
“The barrier is the bishops’ extraordinary power over leading Republicans,” said Marci Hamilton, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania who founded Child U.S.A., which researches and proposes policies to address child sexual abuse.
Attempts to extend statutes of limitations have fallen short in some states, including Maryland, New Jersey and New York. But New Jersey has no criminal statute of limitations for sexual assaults, and New York has no restrictions for first-degree felonies of any kind. New bills on the issue are pending in both New York and New Jersey.
[Read a report from Child USA, an advocacy group, that summarizes the statute of limitations laws across the country, including pending legislation.]
Why don’t the federal authorities investigate church sexual abuse?
So far, the federal government has left all investigations of church sexual abuse to the states, even though the church hierarchy has repeatedly been found to have transferred pedophile priests from one part of the country to another to conceal their abuse.
The F.B.I. spent a year investigating sexual-abuse allegations against the former team doctor for the national gymnastics team, Larry Nassar, and the United States Senate conducted an inquiry into the case. But there appears to be little political appetite in Washington for any comparable federal scrutiny of the Roman Catholic Church, even though abuse of minors by priests has been exponentially more widespread and has been documented in 10 previous reports by grand juries and attorneys general, according to the research and advocacy group BishopAccountability.org.
Last edited by jserraglio on Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Latest on priest abuse of children

Post by RebLem » Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:12 pm

It seems to me that the recent Pennsylvania revelations involve quantum leaps in the depravity of sexual abuse. It used to be that we had accusations about individual priests furtively molesting boys singly and alone. Now we have reports, for the first time to my knowledge, of gangs of pedophile priests engaged in orgiastic group sex with minors. Furthermore, they seem to involve parodies of religious ceremonies that at least border on blasphemy and, in some cases, perhaps, cross the line.
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Re: Latest on priest abuse of children

Post by living_stradivarius » Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:48 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:47 pm
Finally and above all, don’t tell the police. Child sexual abuse, even short of actual penetration, is and has for all relevant times been a crime.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQ-YjGmpO4Q
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Re: Latest on priest abuse of children

Post by jserraglio » Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:18 pm

At the end of canto 15 of the Inferno, the sodomite Brunetto Latini identifies some of his fellow sinners and in so doing reveals to Dante that the Servant of Servants [Pope Boniface VIII] had done no more to discipline a rogue bishop [Andea de' Mozzi] than to transfer him from Florence (on the Arno) to Vicenza (on the Bacchiglione) after his misbehavior, most likely sexual—cf. "his tendons strained by sin"—had caused a scandal:

"'That sorry crowd holds Priscian and Francesco
d’Accorso; and among them you can see,
if you have any longing for such scurf,

the one the Servant of His Servants sent
from the Arno to the Bacchiglione’s banks,
and there he left his tendons strained by sin.'"

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Re: Latest on priest abuse of children

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:32 am

Most of you probably know that Pope Francis has just issued an encyclical on this topic. Nevertheless, he's been "working" on this since he was elected, and I don't expect any more improvement from this development, any more than Paul VI's Humanae Vitae stopped Catholics from practicing birth control. And yes, I know that I am comparing something very negative with something very positive.

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Re: Latest on priest abuse of children

Post by jserraglio » Tue Aug 21, 2018 6:24 am

Here is the full text of Francis's papal letter to Catholics world-wide:

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social- ... -1.3601877

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Re: Latest on priest abuse of children

Post by RebLem » Sat Aug 25, 2018 2:17 pm

I found a comprehensive article in WAPO which explains the history of the idea of clerical celibacy. I think this is a good summary, and I propose it be the basis for further discussion of the matter.
https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/696
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Re: Latest on priest abuse of children

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Aug 26, 2018 6:03 pm

RebLem wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 2:17 pm
I found a comprehensive article in WAPO which explains the history of the idea of clerical celibacy. I think this is a good summary, and I propose it be the basis for further discussion of the matter.
https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/696
Evidently the first Protestants did not understand that married men also masturbate and fornicate, and can be homosexual. :roll:

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Re: Latest on priest abuse of children

Post by RebLem » Sun Aug 26, 2018 6:30 pm

​My purpose in posting this was to demonstrate that celibacy as a policy for priests was not always the standard, that it is not as deeply embedded in Catholic tradition as the Popes like to say it is, and that it is changeable. One of the main reasons it was adopted in the middle ages is because the Church wanted to avoid making the clergy just another form of aristocracy, with bishoprics handed down from father to son. The Church, in sum, has never been a Church by the people or always for the people, but it has always been a Church OF the people. Celibacy was necessary to keep it that way in an age when it was one of only a very few ways for people of humble origins to advance themselves. But today, when that is no longer the case, I see no reason to continue this outmoded proscription.
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Re: Latest on priest abuse of children

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:11 am

RebLem wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 6:30 pm
​My purpose in posting this was to demonstrate that celibacy as a policy for priests was not always the standard, that it is not as deeply embedded in Catholic tradition as the Popes like to say it is, and that it is changeable. One of the main reasons it was adopted in the middle ages is because the Church wanted to avoid making the clergy just another form of aristocracy, with bishoprics handed down from father to son. The Church, in sum, has never been a Church by the people or always for the people, but it has always been a Church OF the people. Celibacy was necessary to keep it that way in an age when it was one of only a very few ways for people of humble origins to advance themselves. But today, when that is no longer the case, I see no reason to continue this outmoded proscription.
As you probably know, the priesthood as the only way out of poverty and the only way of obtaining something like a higher education persisted until very recently, way into the 20th century. Men whose families did not have two nickels to rub together went to seminary where they were guaranteed a halfway decent living. This only began to change when the aftermath of WW II brought relative prosperity, concomitant almost by coincidence with Vatican II. There was a lag period. (The high point for vocations in the US was something like 1963.) I would attribute this to force of habit, so to speak, and many of the priests ordained in that time left the priesthood when they realized that they could do well in the wide, wide world. The price that impoverished men paid for just being able to live decently was very great, and IMO arbitrary. I say this knowing full well that monasteries in the US were packed like sardines in a can after WWII as a reaction to the horrors of combat, but we are talking about the secular priesthood. The life of vowed religious has always been a separate thing and does indeed require celibacy.

As for the church being of the people, we will have to agree to disagree on that as well. I mean, cf a little development called the Reformation.

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Re: Latest on priest abuse of children

Post by RebLem » Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:32 pm

Of course, we need to understand that mine is a parochial view, seeing it as I do from an American perspective. But in much of Central and South America, in the Philippines, and in much of the third world, the old conditions still obtain. Maybe these rules ought to be the rule, not for the whole church, but for the different rites, and perhaps more rites should be created so the Church could be more flexible on this matter.
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Re: Latest on priest abuse of children

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Aug 27, 2018 3:26 pm

RebLem wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:32 pm
Of course, we need to understand that mine is a parochial view, seeing it as I do from an American perspective. But in much of Central and South America, in the Philippines, and in much of the third world, the old conditions still obtain. Maybe these rules ought to be the rule, not for the whole church, but for the different rites, and perhaps more rites should be created so the Church could be more flexible on this matter.
You left out Africa,which has a surplus of priests. There has long been talk of importing African priests to the US to fill the gap. The problem there is not that they are insufficiently conservative. Indeed, Africans are the most conservative Christians in the world. The problem leads straight back to the celibacy issue, because their culture cannot comprehend a man living without the comfort of a woman. I would be surprised if it did not turn out that African priests routinely keep a woman no matter what the rules are on celibacy. As for other rites, those in communion with Rome, as you know, allow married priests, but only if they married before ordination. A single priest once ordained must remain single, as illogical as that may seem. But then, we are talking about a church that believes that a man once rose from the dead. Allow that, and all other absurdities pale in comparison.

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Re: Latest on priest abuse of children

Post by RebLem » Mon Aug 27, 2018 5:50 pm

Actually, the most outrageous one seems to me that he was born of a virgin even though she 1) had a husband, and 2) three other guys showed up with presents.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Re: Latest on priest abuse of children

Post by jserraglio » Wed Aug 29, 2018 4:18 pm

George Herbert
Easter Wings

". . . With thee
O let me rise
As larks, harmoniously . . ."

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Re: Latest on priest abuse of children

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Aug 29, 2018 11:27 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Wed Aug 29, 2018 4:18 pm
George Herbert
Easter Wings

". . . With thee
O let me rise
As larks, harmoniously . . ."

Image
I don't know what prompted that, but T.S. Eliot thought George Herbert not a minor poet. He did not give titles to his own devotional poetry, but the title of the famous original Star Trek episode "Is there in truth no beauty?" comes from him. (Read the Wiki article on this, which I edited.)


There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Re: Latest on priest abuse of children

Post by jserraglio » Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:51 am

George Herbert was in my view the greatest author of religious poetry in the English language.

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