Author: The Wall of Law

25th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation’s Academy Awards Viewing Party – Arrivals

25th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation

‘Loser’ singer Beck has lost in marriage.

The Scientologist filed for a divorce from his wife of 15 years Marissa Ribisi.

He lodged his paperwork the day after Valentine’s Day on Friday.

The couple had a small, private wedding back on April 4, 2004, at the San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito outside Santa Barbara in what was their first marriages.

The rocker dated clothing designer Leigh Limon for the better part of nine years before splitting in 2000, he also dated Winona Ryder.

Ribisi has worked as both an actress and screenwriter. Her big-screen credits include Clint Eastwood’s True Crime, as well as Pleasantville, Dazed and Confused and The Brady Bunch Movie

The pair are both Scientologists, as is her twin brother, actor Giovanni Ribisi.

Marissa and Giovanni Ribisi attend the Fall 2009 presentation of Whitley Kros at Miauhaus on March 15, 2009 in Los Angeles, Calif. (Charley Gallay/Getty Images)

Beck has won seven Grammys in his career, including Album of the Year in 2015 for “Morning Phase.”

He won two at this year’s awards: Best Alternative Music Album and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.

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By The Wall of Law February 17, 2019 Off

021619-Vatican_US_Sex_Abuse

021619-Vatican_US_Sex_Abuse

Defrocked, as calls rose Saturday for Pope Francis to reveal what he knew about the once-powerful American prelate’s apparently decades-long predatory sexual behaviour.

The announcement Saturday, delivered in uncharacteristically blunt language for the Vatican, meant that the 88-year-old McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., becomes the highest-ranking churchman and the first cardinal to be punished by dismissal from the clerical state, or laicization.

He was notified Friday of the decision, which was upheld upon his appeal and approved by Pope Francis.

The pontiff next week leads a summit of bishops from around the world who have been summoned to Rome help him grapple with the entrenched problems of clerical sex abuse and the systematic coverups by the Catholic church’s hierarchy.

Decades of revelations about priests who have sexually preyed on minors and their bosses who shuffled abusive clergy from parish to parish instead of removing them from access to children have shaken the faith of many Catholics. They also threaten the moral authority of Francis and even the survival of his papacy.

McCarrick, who in his prestigious red cardinal robes hobnobbed with presidents, other VIP politicians and pontiffs, is now barred from celebrating Mass or other sacraments including confession and from wearing clerical garb. From now on he is referred to as Mr. McCarrick.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Holy See’s guardian of doctrinal purity, issued a decree on Jan. 11 finding McCarrick guilty of “solicitation in the sacrament of confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power,” the Vatican said. That commandment forbids adultery.

On Wednesday, Congregation officials considered his appeal and upheld the decree.

The pope “recognized the definitive nature of this decision made in accordance with (church) law, rendering it as ’res iudicata,”’ the Vatican said, using the Latin phrase for admitting no further recourse.

The McCarrick scandal was particularly damning to the church’s reputation because it apparently was an open secret in some ecclesial circles that he slept with adult seminarians. Francis yanked McCarrick’s rank as a cardinal in July after a U.S. church investigation found credible an allegation he fondled a teenage altar boy in the 1970s.

McCarrick’s civil lawyer, Barry Coburn, said Saturday that his client had no comment on the defrocking.

Coburn also declined to say if McCarrick was still living at the Kansas friary where he moved after Francis ordered him to live in penance and prayer while the investigation into his actions continued.

Besides bishops arriving for the sex abuse summit, victims’ rights advocates are also converging on Rome. They are demanding that Francis, other Vatican officials and bishops elsewhere come clean about how McCarrick managed such a meteoric rise through church ranks despite reports about his sexual life.

“The pope has known from the earliest days of his papacy, or he should have known, that ex-cardinal McCarrick was a sexual predator,” said Anne Barrett Doyle, an advocate at BishopAccountability.org.

“He has a resistance to removing bishops and he also has a tolerance for bishops who are sexual wrongdoers,” Doyle told The Associated Press on Saturday near St. Peter’s Square.

Of the defrocking, Doyle said: “Let McCarrick be the first of many. I can think of 10 other bishops who are substantively, credibly accused of sexual abuse with minor and sexual misconduct with adults, who should be laicized.”

A conservative lay group, The Catholic Association, said in a statement that much more must be done to hold accountable “those in the church hierarchy who looked the other way as McCarrick rose through their ranks” and to ensure that priestly celibacy is restored and youths are safeguarded from sexual abuse.

Walking with Doyle was Phil Saviano, a board member of BishopAccountability.org, and a survivor of sexual abuse by a priest. While calling McCarrick’s defrocking “ultimately a good thing,” he said the punishment should have been meted out long ago.

He said he hoped Francis isn’t “throwing a bone to his dissenters in an attempt to quiet everybody down. And then McCarrick will be the one and only, because there are certainly many others who have allegations against them who should face some accountability.”

His account of being abused helped the Boston Globe produce a Pulitzer-winning investigation into church coverups, which was chronicled in the movie “Spotlight.”

When ordained a priest in his native New York City in 1958, McCarrick embraced a vocation that required celibacy. Later on in his career, McCarrick curried cachet at the Vatican as a stellar fundraiser. A globe-trotting powerbroker, McCarrick liked to be called “Uncle Ted” by the young seminarians he courted.

Despite apparent common knowledge in church circles of his sexual behaviour, McCarrick rose up through the ranks, even serving as the spokesman for fellow U.S. bishops when they enacted a “zero tolerance” policy against sexually abusive priests in 2002.

One of his accusers, James Grein, the son of a family friend of McCarrick’s, testified to church officials that, among other abuses, McCarrick had repeatedly groped him during confession. He said the abuse, which went on for decades, began when he was 11.

“Today I am happy that the pope believed me,” Grein said in a statement issued through his lawyer. He expressed hope that McCarrick “will no longer be able to use the power of Jesus’ church to manipulate families and sexually abuse children.”

Grein said pressure must be put on U.S. state attorney generals and senators to change the statute of limitations for abuse cases.

“Hundreds of priests, bishops and cardinals are hiding behind man-made law,” he said.

The current archdiocese of Washington, D.C., where McCarrick was posted at the pinnacle of his career from 2001-2006, said it hoped that the Vatican decision “serves to help the healing process for survivors of abuse, as well as those who have experienced disappointment or disillusionment because of what former Archbishop McCarrick has done.”

Complaints were also made about McCarrick’s conduct in the New Jersey dioceses of Newark and Metuchen, where he previously served.

Francis himself became implicated in the decades-long McCarrick coverup after a former Vatican ambassador to Washington accused the pope of rehabilitating the cardinal from sanctions imposed by Pope Benedict XVI despite being told of his penchant for young men.

Francis hasn’t responded to those claims but he ordered a limited Vatican investigation. The Vatican has acknowledged the outcome may produce evidence that mistakes were made and said Francis would “follow the path of truth, wherever it may lead.”

Sexual abuse scandals have threatened to taint the legacy of past papacies, including that of John Paul II, who has since been made a saint.

The Rev. Marcial Maciel, a pedophile, enjoyed John Paul II’s admiration for his success in spurring vocations and for inspiring generous financial donations.

Maciel’s predatory crimes against children were ignored for decades by the Vatican bureaucracy.

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By The Wall of Law February 17, 2019 Off

Vatican defrocks former US cardinal over sex abuse

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has defrocked former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick after Vatican officials found him guilty of soliciting for sex while hearing confession and of sexual crimes against minors and adults, the Holy See said Saturday.

McCarrick, 88, is the highest-ranking Catholic churchman to be laicized, as the process is called. It means he can no longer celebrate Mass or other sacraments, wear clerical vestments or be addressed by any religious title. He is the first churchman who reached the rank of cardinal to be defrocked in the church’s sex abuse scandals.

The punishment for the once-powerful prelate, who had served as the archbishop of Washington, spent years in New Jersey dioceses and had been an influential fundraiser for the church, was announced five days before Francis leads an extraordinary gathering of bishops from around the world to help the church grapple with the crisis of sex abuse by clergy and the systematic coverups by church hierarchy. The decades-long scandals have shaken the faith of many Catholics and threaten Francis’ papacy.

The scandal swirling around McCarrick was particularly damning to the church’s reputation because it apparently was an open secret in some church circles that he slept with adult seminarians. Francis removed McCarrick as a cardinal in July after a U.S. church investigation determined that an allegation he fondled a teenage altar boy in the 1970s was credible.

The Vatican’s press office said the Holy See’s doctrinal watchdog office, the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, found McCarrick on Jan. 11 guilty of “solicitation in the sacrament of confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power.” The commandment forbids adultery.

The officials “imposed on him the penalty of dismissal from the clerical state.” It considered his appeal on Wednesday and upheld its ruling, telling McCarrick Friday of that decision, the Vatican said.

Decades of abuse

McCarrick, when he was ordained a priest in his native New York City in 1958, took a vow of celibacy in accordance with church rules on priests.

The pope “has recognized the definitive nature of this decision made in accordance with (church) law, rendering it as ‘res iudicata,’” the Vatican said, using the Latin phrase for admitting no further recourse.

One victim, James Grein, the son of a family friend of McCarrick’s, had testified to church officials that, among other abuses, McCarrick had repeatedly groped him during confession. He said the abuse, which went on for decades, began when he was 11.

“Today I am happy that the pope believed me,” Grein said in a statement issued through his lawyer.

Grein also expressed hope that McCarrick “will no longer be able to use the power of Jesus’ church to manipulate families and sexually abuse children.”

Adding that it’s “time for us to cleanse the church,” Grein said pressure needs to be put on state attorney generals and senators to change the statute of limitations for abuse cases.

“Hundreds of priests, bishops and cardinals are hiding behind man-made law,” he said.

McCarrick’s civil lawyer, Barry Coburn, told The Associated Press that for the time being his client had no comment on the defrocking. Coburn also declined to say if McCarrick was still residing at the Kansas friary where he had moved to when Francis ordered him to live in penance and prayer while the investigation continued.

The archdiocese of Washington, D.C., where McCarrick was posted at the pinnacle of his clerical career, from 2001-2006, said in a statement it hoped that the Vatican decision “serves to help the healing process for survivors of abuse, as well as those who have experienced disappointment or disillusionment because of what former Archbishop McCarrick has done.”

Complaints were also made about McCarrick’s conduct in the New Jersey dioceses of Newark and Metuchen, where he previously served.

Francis’ move marks a remarkable downfall for the globe-trotting powerbroker and influential church fundraiser who mingled with presidents and popes but preferred to be called “Uncle Ted” by the young men he courted.

Bishops to discuss sex abuse, coverups

The Vatican summit, which starts Thursday and runs through Feb. 24, will draw church leaders from around the world to talk about preventing sex abuse. It was called in part to respond to the McCarrick scandal as well as to the explosion of the abuse crisis in Chile and its escalation in the United States last year.

Despite the apparent common knowledge in church circles of his sexual behaviour, McCarrick rose to the heights of church power. He even acted as the spokesman for U.S. bishops when they enacted a “zero tolerance” policy against sexually abusive priests in 2002.

That apparent hypocrisy, coupled with allegations in the Pennsylvania grand jury report detailing decades of abuse and coverup in six dioceses, outraged many among the rank-and-file faithful who had trusted church leaders to reform how they handled sex abuse after 2002.

The allegation regarding the altar boy was the first known against McCarrick to involve a minor — a far more serious offence than sleeping with adult seminarians.

Francis himself became implicated in the decade-long McCarrick coverup after a former Vatican ambassador to the U.S. accused the pope of rehabilitating the cardinal from sanctions imposed by Pope Benedict XVI despite being told of his penchant for young men.

Francis hasn’t responded to those claims. But he has ordered a limited Vatican investigation. The Vatican has acknowledged the outcome may produce evidence that mistakes were made, but said Francis would “follow the path of truth, wherever it may lead.”

An advocate for church accountability in the sex abuse crisis demanded Saturday that Francis “tell the truth about what he knew and when he knew it” about McCarrick. Anne Barrett Doyle of BishopAccountability.org says also demanded that the pope use immediately laicize other abusive bishops.

In a statement, she said of the 101 accused bishops her group has tracked, McCarrick is only the seventh to be laicized. She said the other 94 either still hold the title of bishop or did so until they died.

Vatican watchers have compared the McCarrick coverup scandal to that of the Rev. Marcial Maciel, perhaps the 20th-century Catholic Church’s most notorious pedophile. Maciel’s sex crimes against children were ignored for decades by a Vatican bureaucracy impressed by his ability to bring in donations and vocations. Among Maciel’s staunchest admirers was Pope John Paul II, who later became a saint.

Like Maciel, McCarrick was a powerful, popular prelate who funneled millions in donations to the Vatican. He apparently got a calculated pass for what many in the church hierarchy would have either discounted as ideological-fueled rumour or brushed off as a mere “moral lapse” in sleeping with adult men.

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By The Wall of Law February 16, 2019 Off

021619-MUSIC_Avril_Lavigne_20180907

021619-MUSIC_Avril_Lavigne_20180907

Avril Lavigne celebrated a year of love with her new boyfriend on Valentine’s Day.

The Girlfriend hitmaker, who is rumoured to be dating billionaire heir Phillip Sarofim, has reluctantly revealed her new loved-up status without confirming her man’s identity.

“I’ve dated a couple people over the last few years, but obviously I don’t really wanna talk about it,” she told USA Today of her new beau. “Actually, it’s our one-year anniversary (on) Valentine’s Day.”

The 34-year-old Canadian divorcee has been married twice, calling it quits with Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley in 2010 and separating from her second spouse, Nickelback rocker Chad Kroeger, in 2015.

Although she is now happily coupled up in a new relationship, Lavigne is still on good terms with her exes and considers them family.

“They’re just good people,” she says of Whibley and Kroeger. “We had marriages, we lived together, I knew their families, they knew mine, we just stayed close and there’s a mutual respect.”

Lavigne even teamed up with Kroeger for her new album, Head Above Water.

“Chad, in particular, we’re actually really close, because that was a more recent relationship,” she explains. “He was with me through a lot and is a really protective person in my life. He’s still like family. I didn’t know that it would be that way, and I’m really glad it is because we were friends and we made music together. We’ve just kept the friendship and continued having a working relationship, as well.”

Lavigne wrote Head Above Water while she was battling lyme disease and Chad became a major supporter for the record by offering up sessions at his recording studio, as well as lending his vocals to the title track.

“He was a really great soundboard,” she shares. “I would call him and send him songs to get his opinion, and if I was ever stuck on something, he’d help me out, which is super cool … I’d play him songs on FaceTime and he’d be like, ‘I’m so proud of you, you did such a good job’. So he just cares about me and wants to see me do well, which is really nice.”

Lavigne’s sixth studio album Head Above Water was released in the U.S. on Friday.

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By The Wall of Law February 16, 2019 Off

021619-MUSIC_Avril_Lavigne_20180907

021619-MUSIC_Avril_Lavigne_20180907

Avril Lavigne celebrated a year of love with her new boyfriend on Valentine’s Day.

The Girlfriend hitmaker, who is rumoured to be dating billionaire heir Phillip Sarofim, has reluctantly revealed her new loved-up status without confirming her man’s identity.

“I’ve dated a couple people over the last few years, but obviously I don’t really wanna talk about it,” she told USA Today of her new beau. “Actually, it’s our one-year anniversary (on) Valentine’s Day.”

The 34-year-old Canadian divorcee has been married twice, calling it quits with Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley in 2010 and separating from her second spouse, Nickelback rocker Chad Kroeger, in 2015.

Although she is now happily coupled up in a new relationship, Lavigne is still on good terms with her exes and considers them family.

“They’re just good people,” she says of Whibley and Kroeger. “We had marriages, we lived together, I knew their families, they knew mine, we just stayed close and there’s a mutual respect.”

Lavigne even teamed up with Kroeger for her new album, Head Above Water.

“Chad, in particular, we’re actually really close, because that was a more recent relationship,” she explains. “He was with me through a lot and is a really protective person in my life. He’s still like family. I didn’t know that it would be that way, and I’m really glad it is because we were friends and we made music together. We’ve just kept the friendship and continued having a working relationship, as well.”

Lavigne wrote Head Above Water while she was battling lyme disease and Chad became a major supporter for the record by offering up sessions at his recording studio, as well as lending his vocals to the title track.

“He was a really great soundboard,” she shares. “I would call him and send him songs to get his opinion, and if I was ever stuck on something, he’d help me out, which is super cool … I’d play him songs on FaceTime and he’d be like, ‘I’m so proud of you, you did such a good job’. So he just cares about me and wants to see me do well, which is really nice.”

Lavigne’s sixth studio album Head Above Water was released in the U.S. on Friday.

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By The Wall of Law February 16, 2019 Off