Council of Europe (CoE) - European Human Rights Court - founding fathers (1949)

Council of Europe (CoE) - European Human Rights Court - founding fathers (1949)
French National Assembly head Edouard Herriot and British Foreign minister Ernest Bevin surrounded by Italian, Luxembourg and other delegates at the first meeting of Council of Europe's Consultative Assembly in Strasbourg, August 1949 (AFP Photo)

EU founding fathers signed 'blank' Treaty of Rome (1957)

EU founding fathers signed 'blank' Treaty of Rome (1957)
The Treaty of Rome was signed in the Palazzo dei Conservatori, one of the Renaissance palaces that line the Michelangelo-designed Capitoline Square in the Italian capital

Shuttered: EU ditches summit 'family photo'

Shuttered: EU ditches summit 'family photo'
EU leaders pose for a family photo during the European Summit at the EU headquarters in Brussels on June 28, 2016 (AFP Photo/JOHN THYS)

Merkel says fall of Wall proves 'dreams can come true'


“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013. They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)


"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Thursday, February 28, 2019

French embraces its feminine to end male linguistic dominance

France24 – AFP, 28 Feb 2019

The conservative Academie Francaise, which polices the language and has long
resisted change, said it had no objection to the feminisation fo job titles AFP/File

Paris (AFP) - The official guardians of the French language ended centuries of male linguistic dominance Thursday by allowing feminine words for all professions.

The notoriously conservative Academie Francaise, which polices the language and has long resisted change, said there was now "no obstacle in principle" to the wholesale feminisation of job titles.

French women doctors could soon be referred to as "docteures" and teachers as "professeures" in its official dictionary, which currently lists "presidente" as the wife of a head of state rather than a female leader of a country.

Despite more than half a century of feminism, the language of French working life has remained resolutely male.

Most jobs titles are automatically masculine, apart from a few notable exceptions such as nurse and child-minder.

The male-dominated Academie had previously fiercely opposed change, branding attempts at "inclusive writing" in government documents as an "aberration" that put French "in mortal danger".

And it found a powerful ally in Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, a sometime novelist who has called for a clampdown on bids to make French more female-friendly.

He insisted last year that the "masculine (form) is a neutral form which should be used for terms liable to apply to women".

But in a historic about-turn Thursday the male-dominated Academie, whose mostly elderly members wear an ornate uniform and sword, approved a report advocating change compiled by three of its four active female members.

One, novelist Dominique Bona, had pointedly complained that it was no accident that the masculine was "chosen as the dominant gender" in French.

'The dominant gender'

The "Immortals", as they are known, had been expected to cogitate for at least a week on the vexed issue but instead waved the report through by "a large majority" in a matter of hours.

"The Academie considers that all developments in the language aimed at recognising the place women have in society today can be envisaged," it declared.

It also opened the door to a more organic usage by saying that it "did not wish to dictate the rules by which titles should be feminised", saying it would be an "insurmountable task".

It said the debate about the use of the -eure ending in docteure, for example, "does not constitute a threat to the structure of the language as long as the final 'e' was not pronounced".

Writer and academy member Frederic Vitoux, who heads the Commission for the Enrichment of the French Language, said before the decision that he believed the reform would pass.

"For some professions it is simple," he said. "We have never had to asked ourselves should we be able to say 'actress'. But for others professions there are objective difficulties, because they cause confusion or don't work with the root of the word.

"How, for example, can we say a female doctor (medecin in French) without confusing it with 'medecine' (the science of medicine)?" Vitoux asked.

However, French speakers in neighbouring Belgium and Switzerland have long ago found ways around the problems.

The official language body in French-speaking Canada ruled on the issue in 1979, urging feminisation wherever possible. A female doctor there can be called "une medecin" or "une docteure".

'Implicitly sexist'

Although French people have feminised professions informally for years, the end of the long official block comes as attempts to bring gender-neutral "inclusive writing" to state documents has sparked impassioned debate.

As it stands, a mixed-gender group of readers, for example, will always be masculine as long as there is one man in the room.

Campaigners for "inclusive writing" -- who believe the language is implicitly sexist -- say in these situations the French word for readers, "lecteurs", should be written as "lecteur.rice.s".

But inserting full stops into words has horrified the purists and been sent up by others as complicated and confusing.

In 2015, France's High Council for Equality Between Women and Men issued a guide urging public bodies to use feminine forms for jobs like "firefighter" and "author" where applicable.

Some critics such as philosopher Raphael Enthoven object to what they see as France's prescriptive approach to the language, which is spoken by some 275 million people worldwide.

They say usage should be allowed to evolve naturally over time.

As well as pronouncing on what is and is not permissible French, the Academie Francaise compiles the country's official dictionary.

However, its ability to perform the task has been called into question, with critics pointing out that its membership of 35 does not include a single linguist.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Dublin calling: Ireland cashes in on Brexit jitters

France24 – AFP, 27 Feb 2019

Turning into a financial hub would be a welcome Brexit dividend for the Irish
capital AFP/File

Dublin (AFP) - Brexit is turning Dublin into a new financial hub, with the city a top contender for banks, funds and law firms needing a continued presence in the European Union after March 29.

Twenty-seven firms have committed to relocating staff or operations to the Irish capital since Britain's 2016 referendum on leaving the EU, including Barclays bank and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Hermes Investment Management, which is headquartered in London and has £33.5 billion (38 billion euros, $43 billion) in assets under management, is another one of the companies setting up new offices in Dublin.

"I think all of our clients feel that we are making the appropriate plans in the absence of certainty," Carol Mahon, the firm's director for Ireland, told AFP.

"We started planning for Brexit since the referendum in 2016," she said.

The firm's plans are based on the possibility of Britain crashing out of the EU.

Dublin tops 'Brexit Tracker'

For a country that fears a major economic hit from Britain leaving the EU, the "Brexit dividend" is very welcome.

"We do not want to try to benefit from somebody else's difficulties," Ireland's Financial Services Minister Michael D'Arcy said at a conference last month.

"But... if there are companies in the UK who have a Brexit difficulty, well, Ireland could be part of their Brexit solution," he said.

EY's "Brexit Tracker" puts Dublin as the most popular choice -- above Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris -- for financial firms opening European offices.

Among them is the goliath Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which in December completed a merger between its UK and Irish units that made its Dublin base the firm's "principal European banking entity".

In January, Barclays received legal approval to move 190 billion euros ($215 billion) of assets to its Irish subsidiary.

"Due to the continuing uncertainty over whether there might be a 'no-deal' Brexit, the Barclays Group has determined that it cannot wait any longer to implement the scheme," a court ruling said.

A gateway to Europe

Dublin's International Financial Services Centre, a small sprawl of office blocks, is a modest development compared with the City of London's towering skyscrapers.

But it could be set for a boom similar to the one seen in the former docks -- known as the "Silicon Docks" -- in Dublin where US tech giants such as Facebook, Google and LinkedIn have moved in.

Ireland has a corporate tax rate of only 12.5 percent, will be the only English-speaking EU member state after Britain leaves and is just a one-hour flight from London.

Usually grim-faced over Brexit, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar touted the nation as "a unique gateway into the European Union and its single market" in a February speech.

But, while the size of Ireland-registered assets may grow, the trickle-down benefit for employment is unclear.

Any boost may provide little comfort if finance ministry estimates that there will be 55,000 more Irish unemployed as a result of Brexit prove to be correct.

The Barclays transition, for example, will see only a modest 150 extra staff at the Dublin office.

David Carthy, Ireland country managing partner for business law firm DLA Piper, said London will still be the main hub for many financial firms "after the dust settles".

"But they may have significant strategies or aspects of their business outside London in Dublin and other places," Carty said.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Singapore Airlines denies snooping with seatback cameras

Yahoo – AFP, 21 February 2019

Singapore Airlines says the cameras on its latest inflight entertainment systems
have been disabled

Singapore Airlines insisted Thursday that cameras on its planes' entertainment systems had been disabled after an outcry online from worried passengers who spotted the tiny lenses peering at them.

Travellers took to Twitter and other social media to raise the alarm over the cameras at the bottom of seatback screens on a number of the Singapore flag carrier's newer aircraft.

"Just found this interesting sensor looking at me from the seat back on board of Singapore Airlines. Any expert opinion of whether is a camera?" passenger Vitaly Kamluk tweeted.

His tweet was accompanied by photos of the monitor with the embedded camera.

Another passenger urged the airline in a tweet to "notify all your passengers and get their consent, particularly EU residents, that you are doing this, why, what are you doing with the data and how long you keep it".

The airline confirmed that some of its latest inflight entertainment systems did have fixed cameras -- but assured passengers that they had been disabled.

"These cameras have been intended by the manufacturers for future developments. These cameras have been permanently disabled on our aircraft and cannot be activated on board," the airline said in a statement.

"We have no plans to enable or develop any features using the cameras."

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Japan's Honda to shut UK car plant, as Brexit looms

Yahoo – AFP, Ben PERRY with Richard CARTER in Tokyo, February 19, 2019

The plant in Swindon has produced vehicles for more than 20 years (AFP Photo/Max NASH)

Honda will shut its UK plant with the loss of 3,500 jobs, the Japanese car maker announced Tuesday as the global auto industry faces "unprecedented changes" and the UK economy hits the skids on Brexit uncertainty.

The factory in Swindon, southwest England, which is Honda's only EU plant, will shut in 2021 "at the end of the current model's production lifecycle", the company said as carmakers worldwide increasingly invest in greener electric vehicles over diesel cars.

Business Secretary Greg Clark described Honda's decision as "devastating" and "a particularly bitter blow to the thousands of skilled and dedicated staff who work at the factory, their families and all of those employed in the supply chain".

Prime Minister Theresa May spoke to Honda's president to "express her disappointment at the decision," according to her Downing Street office.

Katsushi Inoue, Honda's chief officer for European regional operations, said the decision had "not been taken lightly".

The firm blamed "unprecedented changes in the global automotive industry" for the decision but it comes amid investment uncertainty in Britain ahead of the country's departure from the European Union next month.

Analysts said an EU-Japan trade agreement signed recently had likely also played a part in Honda's decision.

Clark said that while Honda's decision was made for "commercial" reasons, it was nonetheless "devastating... for Swindon and the UK".

He added in a statement: "The automotive industry is undergoing a rapid transition to new technology. The UK is one of the leaders in the development of these technologies and so it is deeply disappointing that this decision has been taken now."

Brexit clouds

Speaking earlier in Tokyo, Honda president Takahiro Hachigo told reporters: "I'd like you to understand this is not related to Brexit."

Clark later told parliament that "we must accept" Honda's stated reasons, but added "the motor industry, Japanese investors and Honda in particular have been very clear for many months that Brexit is an additional worry at a difficult time."

Swindon is heavily reliant on the Honda plant (AFP Photo/MAX NASH)

Nissan earlier this month axed plans to make its X-Trail SUV in the Brexit-backing UK city of Sunderland, citing "business reasons" but also uncertainty over Britain's EU departure.

Toyota, another Japanese car giant making vehicles in Britain, has meanwhile warned there would be no way to avoid a negative impact should the UK crash out of the EU without a deal.

The Bank of England earlier this month slashed its forecast for 2019 UK growth to 1.2 percent from 1.7 percent, blaming the downgrade on a global economic slowdown and "the fog of Brexit".

Honda's fellow Japanese firms Sony, Panasonic and Hitachi are also scaling back their UK operations.

Regarding Honda's decision, the company "seems to have been preparing for this for a long time", Seiji Sugiura, analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute, told AFP.

"Then Brexit happened, which might have pushed the company to make the decision now."

The carmaker's Swindon plant has been producing Honda's Civic model for more than 24 years, with 150,000 units rolling off the line annually.

The firm on Tuesday announced also that it would stop manufacturing the Civic model in Turkey in 2021.

'No stone unturned'

In Swindon, local finance worker Sue Davis, 49, said the town is "finished without Honda".

She told AFP: "My ex-husband works there, has done for 20 years. He's going to be without a job, so I just think it's really, really bad news."

Local MP Justin Tomlinson tweeted that the decision had been made "based on global trends and not Brexit as all European market production will consolidate in Japan in 2021".

Britain's biggest union Unite said it would campaign to keep the plant open.

"We will leave no stone unturned to keep this plant going and its workforce in employment," said Des Quinn, Unite's national officer for the automotive sector.

"While Brexit is not mentioned by the company as a reason for the announcement, we believe that the uncertainty that the Tory government has created by its inept and rigid handling of the Brexit negotiations lurks in the background."

Monday, February 18, 2019

Seven MPs quit Labour Party as Brexit tensions mount

Yahoo – AFP, Robin MILLARD, February 18, 2019




Former Labour MP Chuka Umunna was once seen as a potential party leader (AFP Photo/Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS)

London (AFP) - Seven MPs quit Britain's main opposition Labour Party on Monday, citing the leadership's support for Brexit and a growing culture of racism, intimidation and abuse.

The departure of the seven moderates was the biggest split in UK politics in nearly four decades, illustrating the divisions that Brexit has stretched to breaking point.

The group include Chuka Umunna, who has led a campaign for a second Brexit referendum as a path to stop Britain's departure from the European Union.

Umunna called for a centrist alternative in British politics as the rebel MPs detailed how a far-left internal coup at all levels of the Labour Party had taken place under the watch of veteran socialist Jeremy Corbyn.

"The bottom line is this: politics is broken, it doesn't have to be this way, let's change it," Umunna said at a packed, hastily-arranged press conference in London's County Hall.

The seven MPs will form a breakaway independent group in parliament and expect others to join them, not only from Labour but from other parties too.

It is the most serious split in British politics since the so-called "Gang of Four" heavyweight Labour moderates quit to form the Social Democratic Party in 1981, with 28 Labour MPs eventually joining.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has come under fire from europhiles for 
failing to push for a second referendum (AFP Photo)

'Marxism masquerading as Labour'

The rebel MPs recounted their difficult journey towards leaving Labour, saying the party had changed since Corbyn became leader in 2015 and there was no longer space for their centre-left views.

Chris Leslie, one of the seven, said the party had been "hijacked" by the "hard left".

"Marxism is now masquerading as the Labour Party. It has the Labour brand but it is a machine that has taken over," he said.

Corbyn has been criticised for months for his handling of anti-Semitism within the Labour movement and his own past associations with Palestinian militants.

Another of the seven MPs, Luciana Berger, a victim of online anti-Jewish abuse for years, said: "This has been a very difficult, painful but necessary decision."

Berger said Labour had become "institutionally anti-Semitic".

"I have become embarrassed and ashamed to represent the Labour Party," she said.

"I am leaving behind a culture of bullying, bigotry and intimidation."

Former Labour Party MPs (from left) Ann Coffey, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie, 
Chuka Umunna, Mike Gapes, Luciana Berger and Gavin Shuker pose for
a photograph. (AFP Photo/Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS)

The MPs said they would not resign their seats and fight by-elections because it would be a distraction from Brexit.

Britain's departure from the EU -- the terms of which are still up in the air -- is set for March 29.

Besides being "sickened that the Labour Party is now a racist, anti-Semitic party", Mike Gapes said he was "furious that the Labour leadership is complicit in facilitating Brexit".

His colleague Chris Leslie said he too was leaving because of "Labour's betrayal on Europe".

Agonising decision

Many traditional Labour voters, particularly in northern England, chose to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum -- but a majority of Labour MPs and members supported staying in.

Former Labour MP Luciana Berger. (AFP Photo/Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS)

Corbyn has come under fire from europhiles for failing to push for a second referendum. He has instead called on Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May to negotiate a customs union with the EU to ease trade ties after Brexit.

Corbyn said he was "disappointed" by the MPs' defection.

"Now more than ever is the time to bring people together to build a better future for us all," he said, pointing to Labour's surge in support at the last general election in 2017.

The new grouping is the sixth-biggest out of eight represented in the House of Commons but is yet to crystallise into a formal political party.

The group is meeting in the next few days to divide up their portfolios and build upon their statement of values issued Monday.

Gapes told AFP it had been an agonising decision to leave Labour, saying he had reached breaking point and could no longer fight to save the party.

Former Labour Party MP Mike Gapes speaks during a press conference in
London. (AFP Photo/Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS)

"I will not rejoin. Apart from my mother, this is the longest relationship I've had in my life," he said.

"All of us are committed to pressing and campaigning for a people's vote. We believe Brexit will be an economic and political disaster," he added, calling for a second referendum.

"We expect and hope that there will be other MPs who will join us."

Spanish victims of sex abuse priests speak out

Yahoo – AFP, 18 February 2019

As scandals erupted in countries like the United States, Ireland or Australia, complaints
 in Spain were few and far between despite the Church's loss of influence over the
years, particularly with younger generations

A trickle of accusations of sexual abuse against priests in schools and seminaries is starting to erode the wall of silence in Catholic Spain, whose Church representatives are set to attend a major Vatican meeting on child protection.

"This is only the tip of the iceberg," warned Miguel Hurtado, who recently made his case public.

"They're not ready for the tsunami that is coming," the 36-year-old said defiantly.

For 20 years, Hurtado stayed quiet, trying to come to terms with the abuse he suffered when he joined a boy scout troup at the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey, which sits high up in jagged mountains northwest of Barcelona.

His alleged abuser, whom Hurtado accuses of fondling him for a year, was a charismatic monk who founded the group and died in 2008.

"I would have reported it earlier but I was a kid and I was too scared," said Hurtado, who revealed his accusations in a Netflix documentary on abuse in Spain's Church.

"The secret was killing me and I needed to come out with the truth, whether people believed me or not."

Since then, nine others have come out to allege they were victims of the same monk and fresh accusations have emerged in religious schools in the Basque Country, various Catalan parishes and in a college in Barcelona.

Even the football world was affected.

On Thursday, Atletico Madrid said it had parted ways with a former monk who once trained its young players after he acknowledged having sexually abused one of his students in the 1970s.

'Discouragement'

The heads of around 100 bishops' conferences from every continent will convene from Thursday to Sunday for the Vatican meeting on the protection of minors.

"There is a chain-reaction... It's easy to imagine that there is a lot hidden that has not yet come out," says Josep Maria Tamarit, a professor in criminal law at the Catalonia Open University who is leading an investigation into the issue.

As scandals erupted in countries like the United States, Ireland or Australia, complaints in Spain were few and far between despite the Church's loss of influence over the years, particularly with younger generations.

Hurtado believes this was down to how Spaniards deal with trauma in general.

"For example, we have dealt with the traumas of the (1936-9) civil war and the (ensuing) dictatorship via omission," he says.

"Forgiving and forgetting as it's part of the past. Leaving it all hidden."

Many allegations that are proved have also either gone past the time limit in which legal proceedings can be initiated or the accused have died, says Tamarit.

"There is a lot of discouragement," he adds.

In 2016, one of Spain's biggest paedophile scandals erupted at schools run by the Marist Roman Catholic community in Barcelona.

Most of the 43 complaints made against 12 teachers were shelved.

Just two teachers ended up facing charges, one of whom was sentenced and the other is awaiting trial.

It's a similar situation in Italy, another Catholic country criticised by a recent United Nations report for "the numerous cases of children having been sexually abused by religious personnel... and the low number of investigations and criminal prosecutions".

Tamarit links this to a certain Catholic mentality which sees all sexual acts as sins and therefore "there is not much difference between any old impure act and abuse of a minor".

"This meant it wasn't made visible and there was no awareness of its importance and seriousness."

Silence 'has to stop'

In Spain though, the recent scandals have pushed the Spanish Church into action.

In October, it announced the creation of a commission to rework its protocol on abuse after being accused of covering up cases by the El Pais daily.

"There has been a kind of silence and the Church has taken part in this silence, which was also a part of society," says Norbert Miracle, spokesman for the bishops' conference in Catalonia and neighbouring Valencia and Andorra.

"But that has to stop."

The justice ministry has also asked prosecutors and religious authorities for a report on all cases of abuse.

In December, it unveiled a new draft bill for child protection that wants the time frame within which legal proceedings can be initiated to start when the victim turns 30 rather than 18 as is the case now, giving victims more time to make their complaints.

But Infancia Robada (Stolen Childhood), the first such victims association created in January, is asking for this time frame to start when the victim turns 50.

"In most recent cases, this time frame wouldn't have been of any use," says founder Juan Cuatrecasas.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Vatican defrocks former US cardinal for sex abuse of minor

Yahoo – AFP, February 16, 2019

American Theodore McCarrick, 88, who resigned from the Vatican's College of
 Cardinals in July, is the first cardinal ever to be defrocked for sex abuse (AFP
Photo/Johannes EISELE)

Vatican City (AFP) - Pope Francis has defrocked a former cardinal in a first for the Roman Catholic church over accusations American Theodore McCarrick sexually abused a teenager 50 years ago, a Vatican statement said Saturday.

McCarrick, 88, who resigned from the Vatican's College of Cardinals in July, is the first cardinal ever to be defrocked for sex abuse.

He was found guilty in January by a Vatican court for sexually abusing a teenager, a decision confirmed by the pope in February, with "no further recourse", according to the statement.

It said McCarrick was guilty of "sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power".

The announcement marks a spectacular fall from grace for the once influential cardinal and comes ahead of a Vatican conference from February 21-24 bringing together bishops from around the world to discuss protecting children within the Church.

Sex abuse scandals around the globe, and most recently in the United States and Chile, have shaken the church, with Pope Francis promising a policy of "zero tolerance" even for high-ranking church members.

McCarrick, former archbishop emeritus of Washington, was barred from practising as a priest in July last year, after which he resigned his honorary title of cardinal. He currently lives in Kansas.

Sex with adult seminarians

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops reacted swiftly, saying the decision "is a clear signal that abuse will not be tolerated".

"No bishop, no matter how influential, is above the law of the Church," Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the bishops conference, said in a statement which also called for all victims of abuse to contact the police.

SNAP, a group representing survivors of abuse by priests, suggested Saturday that the McCarrick decision had been "'fast-tracked' by the hierarchy" in the days before the Vatican abuse conference "because it's so damning".

Pope Francis has promised a policy of "zero tolerance" even for high-ranking
church members (AFP Photo/Tiziana FABI)

The group called on Catholic officials to practise the transparency they have promised, and said in a statement that criminal charges should be filed not just against McCarrick but "against Church officials who hid his wrongdoing for decades".

McCarrick was known for having sex with adult seminarians before he was accused of sexually abusing at least one teenager.

Prosecutors in the US state of Pennsylvania last year found 300 priests were involved in child sexual abuse since the 1940s, crimes that were covered up by a string of bishops.

Prosecutors in half a dozen other US states have announced plans for similar investigations.

The pope accepted the resignations of several bishops in Chile last year after investigations revealed decades of sexual abuse by clergy in their dioceses.

In March 2015, Pope Francis allowed Keith O'Brien to keep the title of cardinal after the former bishop of Edinburgh and former leader of the Catholic church in Scotland resigned over allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour towards priests in the 1980s.

The only previous case of a cardinal resigning came in 1927, when Pope Pius XI accepted the resignation of French cardinal Louis Billot, who had himself renounced his status for political reasons.

Cardinals act as close papal advisors and, if aged below 80, can attend conclaves to elect new pontiffs.

McCarrick had been one of the most prominent American cardinals active on the international stage.

Although officially retired, McCarrick had continued to travel abroad regularly, including on human rights issues.

McCarrick was ordained a priest in 1958 and rose through the ranks in the Archdiocese of New York before being installed as archbishop of Washington in 2001, a post he held until 2006.

The claims against him were made public in June by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the current archbishop of New York.

Dolan said an independent forensic agency "thoroughly investigated" the allegation.

A review board that included jurists, law enforcement experts, parents, psychologists, a priest and a religious sister then "found the allegations credible and substantiated," and the Vatican ordered McCarrick to stop exercising his ministry.

Questions remain over Theodore McCarrick, including how he rose so high within 
the Church despite suspicions about his behaviour (AFP Photo/CHIP SOMODEVILLA)

At the time, he released a statement maintaining his innocence but added that he had "fully cooperated" in the investigation.

Senior US church officials said they had received three allegations of McCarrick's sexual misconduct with adults decades ago, two of which resulted in settlements.

The US Catholic website Crux quoted a man as accusing him of abuse in New York's St Patrick's Cathedral in the 1970s, when the accuser was 16 years old.

Other cardinals caught up in scandal include Australia's top Catholic George Pell, number three in the Vatican. Pell faces prosecution in Australia for historical child sexual offences, which he has denied.

Defrocking is the most severe ecclesiastical punishment for a priest, who is reduced to the status of a lay person and no longer allowed to lead mass.

Call for pope to resign

Questions nevertheless remain over McCarrick, including how he rose so high within the Church despite suspicions about his behaviour.

Retired Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano has accused Pope Francis of having ignored sexual assault accusations against McCarrick for five years.

Vigano, who is backed by an ultra-conservative US church faction, in August called for the pope to resign over his alleged silence.

Francis subsequently promised a fresh investigation into McCarrick, including using Vatican archives.

McCarrick could yet face civil suits in the US.


Pope Francis meets with leaders from the US church at the Vatican on Thursday
to discuss claims of sexual abuse by clergy (AFP Photo/Handout)

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Part of the painting, said to one of the highlights of the Vatican collection


"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration LecturesGod / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems  (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it),  Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse),  Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) (Text version)

“… I gave you a channelling years ago when Pope John Paul was alive. John Paul loved Mary, the mother. Had John Paul survived another 10 years, he would have done what the next Pope [The one after the current one, Benedict XVI] will do, and that is to bring women into the Church. This Pope you have now [Benedict XVI] won't be here long.* The next Pope will be the one who has to change the rules, should he survive. If he doesn't, it will be the one after that.

There it a large struggle within the Church, even right now, and great dissention, for it knows that it is not giving what humanity wants. The doctrine is not current to the puzzles of life. The answer will be to create a better balance between the feminine and masculine, and the new Pope, or the one after that, will try to allow women to be in the higher echelon of the Church structure to assist the priests.

It will be suggested to let women participate in services, doing things women did not do before. This graduates them within church law to an equality with priests, but doesn't actually let them become priests just yet. However, don't be surprised if this begins in another way, and instead gives priests the ability to marry. This will bring the feminine into the church in other ways. It will eventually happen and has to happen. If it does not, it will be the end of the Catholic Church, for humanity will not sustain a spiritual belief system that is out of balance with the love of God and also out of balance with intuitive Human awareness.