- The Facts:
On May 18, 2018, all 34 Chilean bishops offered their resignation to the pope for their active or passive complicity in a sex scandal involving the sexual abuse of children.
- Reflect On:
Will the Catholic Church be able to survive these revelations? Will these resignations suffice to convince followers that the Catholic Church is really opposed to pedophilia?
Before you begin...
Last month, at the end of an emergency summit in Rome with the Pope, 34 Chilean bishops offered their resignation in the wake of revelations of sexual abuse of young boys and their complicity in covering up the crimes. These 34 represent every bishop in Chile, 31 active and 3 retired.
Damage control at its finest. But is it too late?
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The timeline of this particular story, now part of a voluminous list of crimes of complicity within the Roman Catholic Church, runs as follows:
2011: Charismatic Chilean priest Rev. Fernando Karadima is removed from ministry and sentenced by the Vatican to a lifetime of penance and prayer based on the testimony of his victims, who said they were all molested by him in the swank parish he headed in the El Bosque area of Santiago. A Chilean judge also found the victims to be credible, saying that while she had to drop criminal charges against Karadima because too much time had passed, proof of his crimes wasn’t lacking.
2015: The Pope appoints Juan Barros as bishop presiding over Osorno, a region of Chile, despite victims’ testimony before Chilean prosecutors that Barros, one of Karadima’s proteges, witnessed the abuse and did nothing to stop it. The appointment outraged Chileans and badly divided the Osorno diocese, where hundreds of lay Catholics and many priests have refused to accept Barros.
Jan. 18, 2018: During a visit to Chile and Peru from Jan. 15-21, the Pope was asked about the Barros appointment and responded, “The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, I’ll speak. There is not one shred of proof against him. It’s all calumny. Is that clear?”
Jan. 21, 2018: During an airborne press conference on the way home from the trip, Pope Francis apologized for insisting that victims of pedophile priests show “proof” to be believed, saying he realized it was a “slap in the face” to victims that he never intended. But he doubled down on defending Barros, and he repeated that anyone who makes such accusations without providing evidence is guilty of slander.
February 1, 2018: The Pope sends the Catholic Church’s top abuse prosecutor, Archbishop Charles Scicluna and his aide, Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu, to Chile to investigate the matter. They interview 64 people which forms the basis for a 2,300 page Vatican report exploring matters of child sexual abuse and the cover-up of such crimes by Church officials in Chile.
April 11, 2018: The Pope invites all Chilean bishops to Rome for a crisis meeting to discuss the findings of the report.
May 18, 2018: In the wake of revelations from the meeting, all 34 Chilean bishops offer their resignation. Footnotes the pope took from the report indicate that the pope accused the bishops of destroying evidence of sex crimes, pressuring investigators to minimize abuse accusations and showing ‘grave negligence’ in protecting children from pedophile priests.
Pope Francis’ About-Face
In his document, Pope Francis said all Chilean bishops bore blame, ‘and me first of all.’ In this admission, he accedes to the criticisms he received for his transfer of Juan Barros to Osorno, and his support for Barros over the past few years in the face of righteous opposition.
Further, he appears to be taking a grander view of these problems than had been done by the church in the past. An article in the Daily Mail summarizes it thusly:
Francis said he was ‘perplexed and ashamed’ by the report’s evidence that there were ‘pressures exercised’ on church officials tasked with investigating sex crimes ‘including the destruction of compromising documents on the part of those in charge of ecclesiastic archives.’
He said such behavior showed ‘an absolute lack of respect for the canonical process and worse, reprehensible practices that must be avoided in the future.’
He said the problem wasn’t limited to a group of people, but can be traced to the training Chilean priests receive in seminary, blaming the ‘profound fracture’ within the church on the seminaries themselves.
The Vatican investigation, he said, contained ‘grave accusations against some bishops and superiors who sent to these educational institutions priests suspected of active homosexuality.’
‘The problems inside the church community can’t be solved just by dealing with individual cases and reducing them to the removal of people, though this – and I say so clearly – has to be done,’ Francis wrote.
‘But it’s not enough, we have to go beyond that. It would be irresponsible on our part to not look deeply into the roots and the structures that allowed these concrete events to occur and perpetuate.’
The harsh assessment of the quality of seminaries suggests that a possible next step might be a full-on Vatican investigation of Chilean schools of priestly training.
What’s Really Going On Here?
Throughout most of their history, the Roman Catholic Church was so powerful that crimes of pedophilia could be completely covered up and pushed beyond public view. In more recent times, revelations about individual priests somehow managed to emerge, often decades after their crimes had occurred. It was long maintained that these crimes were purely the work of a few ‘bad apple’ priests, whose acts of cruelty and depravity stemmed from such excuses as ‘personal weakness’, ‘poor judgment’, even ‘loneliness’.
But we have come to find out that this is simply not an accurate characterization. It has been shown, to an extent that cannot be contested, that the sexual deviance and cruelty of individual priests has inevitably been enabled by a grotesque ‘support system.’ It’s a network of church officials that surround and protect these criminal priests through their silence, lies, and complicity, and by simply moving such criminals from areas where the outrage of the community has gotten too heated, to other areas where they can start fresh with the physical and psychological torture of a new group of young and vulnerable children.
As abhorrent and vile as crimes of pedophilia are, one could almost argue that the willful enabling of such acts on the part of officials in the church hierarchy is equally or even more abhorrent. In the face of having been accused of their complicity in such horrors, these are the types of statements we hear coming from the complicit bishops who attended the crisis meeting with Pope Francis:
“We were not prepared for something such as abuse, and this was a shock for me. We were not prepared and were not able to understand what happened to the victims, but now we know.”–Bishop Ramos
“<Francis> has given us a clear example and we must do likewise. He knows how to say ‘I have made a mistake,’ and to ask pardon for that.”–Bishop Gonzalez
Hypocrisy Of The Highest Order
I pray for the day when the majority of people on the planet see these statements and the faux-humility they are couched in for what they are: hypocrisy of the highest order. These statements and others that were made are the pleas of cowardly, deceitful people doing anything to save their skin and their positions of privilege. The culture of the Catholic Church is like no other in the way it has accommodated the most profane of human acts and systematically protected the perpetrators.
Now, finally, revelations of this nature have become so widespread that Pope Francis has had to indict the entire system of seminaries in Chile, ‘promising’ fundamental change there. The optics behind it are to dissociate what has happened in Chile from the core of the Catholic church, the Vatican, like sawing a dead branch off of a tree. The question is, does this public condemnation of the Chilean bishops represent a real effort to improve the Catholic Church, or is it just damage control on the part of Pope Francis to forestall the uncovering of deeper and more pervasive revelations about the Catholic Church?
Who Is Pope Francis?
In all honesty, I am not sure who Pope Francis is. In some circles, he is seen as a person who embodies the sinister, duplicitous capabilities of his institution, and has risen to the Papacy as a result of his perceived capacity to radiate a saintly persona to maintain the Church’s power through these difficult times. Others say that he is a fundamentally moral person who has been brought in by more benevolent forces to slowly and safely effect a controlled demolition of this most corrupt institution.
One thing I do believe is that Francis knew about Barros, about the veracity of victims’ claims against him, and went ahead and forcefully defended him anyway, using that tried and true approach of righteously claiming that no proof had come forth. But that strategy didn’t work this time, apparently. His ’emergency summit’ in Rome was a public relations sideshow meant to morally elevate the Vatican high above the crimes revealed in Chile. Certainly some followers will believe this narrative, but the objective observer will note that the Catholic Church’s behavior in Chile is the rule, not the exception, of its base culture. Church sexual malfeasance has been widely documented, with one report citing over 10,000 reported cases in the United States alone, more than 4,000 cases in Australia, and several hundred cases in Canada, Germany, Belgium, and Ireland.
Making Sense Of It All
And if we go along with the notion that the vast percentage of such crimes go unreported, it makes the perpetration of these crimes fully systemic, and a disturbing picture of the Catholic Church from top to bottom comes into view. In fact, it would be naive not to draw the following conclusions:
- Pedophilia is not actually an unwanted problem within the Catholic Church, but rather a core activity that is promoted by the Holy See
- The capacity to move up the ranks in the Catholic Church is predicated largely on a priest’s engagement in such activities or, at a minimum, their willingness to keep silent or enable such activities
- The Catholic Church is ‘Christianity’ in name only, and those at the highest levels do not follow the teachings of Jesus Christ at all, but rather the practices of an occult system like Satanism where pedophilia is promoted
Naturally, I believe many Catholic priests–perhaps the vast majority–are doing their best to practice the teachings of Jesus Christ as they understand them, and impart those teachings to their followers. However, the fact that there has not been a major revolt on the part of Catholic priests against the rampant pedophilia within their ranks only reinforces the notion that we are dealing with a systemic problem. The fact that the bishops of an entire nation were all found to be complicit in enabling pedophilia under their purview reinforces this claim.
All that is left now is for us to unveil the highly guarded secret motives of the Vatican itself. A cogent explanation for the preponderance of pedophilia within the ‘sacred’ walls of churches and parishes would surely be revealed. And if this were to happen, whether through the efforts of Pope Francis or despite them, the dismantling of arguably the most powerful control structure on our planet may be upon us.
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Houston Methodist Hospital Set To Terminate Unvaccinated Employees
Before you begin...
Houston Methodist Hospital is set to terminate employees who refuse COVID-19 vaccines. As of June 12th, a district Judge has shot down a lawsuit the employees have filed against the the hospital. The employees, led by Jennifer Bridges, are set to file an appeal and are prepared to take the case all the way to the supreme court.
This case will be important to track as this may set the tone for how private companies will approach the ‘mandating’ of vaccines that governments had suggested would not be policy. If people can be fired for refusing a vaccine, is it fair to say these vaccines are truly not mandatory?
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Censorship: Facebook Has Removed 16 Million Pieces of Content & Added ‘Warnings’ On 167 Million
- The Facts:
Journalist Laurie Clarke has published a piece in the British Medical Journal about the censorship of science, and who these Big Tech "fact-checkers" really are.
- Reflect On:
Why has there been such an effort to hide information that threatens the accepted narrative we get from the mainstream? What is going on here? How is this legal, moral and ethical?
Before you begin...
The censorship of information is at an all time high, but do people really recognize the extent to which it has been and is being carried out? A recent article published in the British Medical Journal by journalist Laurie Clarke has highlighted the fact that Facebook has already removed at least 16 million pieces of content from its platform and added warnings to approximately 167 million others. YouTube has removed nearly 1 million videos related to, according to them, “dangerous or misleading covid-19 medical information.”
Being an independent media outlet, Collective Evolution has experienced this censorship first hand. We’ve also been in touch with and witnessed many doctors and world renowned scientists be subjected to the same type of treatment from these social media organizations. Not long ago I wrote an article about Dr. Martin Kulldorff, a Harvard professor of medicine who has been having trouble with twitter. I did the same with Dr. Carl Heneghan, a professor of evidence based medicine from Oxford and an emergency GP who wrote an article regarding the efficacy of facemasks in stopping the spread of COVID. His article was not removed, but a label was added to it by Facebook saying it was ‘fake information.’ There are many more examples.
Clarke’s article says, with regards to posts that have been removed and labelled, that,
“while a portion of that content is likely to be wilfully wrongheaded or vindictively misleading, the pandemic is littered with examples of scientific opinion that have been caught in the dragnet.”
This is true, take for example the ‘lab origins of COVID debate.’ Early on in the pandemic you were not even allowed to mention that COVID may have originated in a lab, and if you did, you were punished for doing so. Independent media platforms were demonetized and subjected to changes in algorithms. Now, all of a sudden, the mainstream media is discussing it as a legitimate possibility. It makes no sense.
Laurie Clarke outlines in her piece,
This underscores the difficulty of defining scientific truth, prompting the bigger question of whether social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube should be tasked with this at all…
“I think it’s quite dangerous for scientific content to be labelled as misinformation, just because of the way people might perceive that,” says Sander van der Linden, professor of social psychology in society at Cambridge University, UK. “Even though it might fit under a definition (of misinformation) in a very technical sense, I’m not sure if that’s the right way to describe it more generally because it could lead to greater politicisation of science, which is undesirable.”
This type of “politicization of science” is exactly what’s happened during this pandemic.
Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. Covid-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health. Politicians and industry are responsible for this opportunistic embezzlement. So too are scientists and health experts. The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency—a time when it is even more important to safeguard science. – Kamran Abbas is a doctor, executive editor of the British Medical Journal, and the editor of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization. (source)
An important point to get across is also the fact that these independent “fact checkers” are working with Facebook, who in turn is working with the government. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden offered his thoughts on the censorship we’ve been seeing during this pandemic in November of last year stating the following,
In secret, these companies had all agreed to work with the U.S. Government far beyond what the law required of them, and that’s what we’re seeing with this new censorship push is really a new direction in the same dynamic. These companies are not obligated by the law to do almost any of what they’re actually doing but they’re going above and beyond, to, in many cases, to increase the depth of their relationship (with the government) and the government’s willingness to avoid trying to regulate them in the context of their desired activities, which is ultimately to dominate the conversation and information space of global society in different ways…They’re trying to make you change your behaviour.
If you’re not comfortable letting the government determine the boundaries of appropriate political speech, why are you begging Mark Zuckerberg to do it?
I think the reality here is…it’s not really about freedom of speech, and it’s not really about protecting people from harm…I think what you see is the internet has become the de facto means of mass communication. That represents influence which represents power, and what we see is we see a whole number of different tribes basically squabbling to try to gain control over this instrument of power.
What we see is an increasing tendency to silence journalists who say things that are in the minority.
It makes you wonder, is this “fact-checking” actually about fact checking? Or is something else going on here?
Below is a breakdown from Clarke’s article illustrating how fact checking works and what the problem is with following the science. Since we have reported this many times over the last 5 years, we decided to let our readers hear it from someone else for a change as it’s truly quite vindicating to see more investigators coming to these conclusions.
How fact checking works
The past decade has seen an arms race between users who peddle disinformation (intentionally designed to mislead) or unwittingly share misinformation (which users don’t realise is false) and the social media platforms that find themselves charged with policing it, whether they want to or not.1
When The BMJ questioned Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube (which is owned by Google) they all highlighted their efforts to remove potentially harmful content and to direct users towards authoritative sources of information on covid-19 and vaccines, including the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although their moderation policies differ slightly, the platforms generally remove or reduce the circulation of content that disputes information given by health authorities such as WHO and the CDC or spreads false health claims that are considered harmful, including incorrect information about the dangers of vaccines.
But the pandemic has seen a shifting patchwork of criteria employed by these companies to define the boundaries of misinformation. This has led to some striking U turns: at the beginning of the pandemic, posts saying that masks helped to prevent the spread of covid-19 were labelled “false”; now it’s the opposite, reflecting the changing nature of the academic debate and official recommendations.
Twitter manages its fact checking internally. But Facebook and YouTube rely on partnerships with third party fact checkers, convened under the umbrella of the International Fact-Checking Network—a non-partisan body that certifies other fact checkers, run by the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, a non-profit journalism school in St Petersburg, Florida. Poynter’s top donors include the Charles Koch Institute (a public policy research organisation), the National Endowment for Democracy (a US government agency), and the Omidyar Network (a “philanthropic investment firm”), as well as Google and Facebook. Poynter also owns the Tampa Bay Times newspaper and the high profile fact checker PolitiFact. The Poynter Institute declined The BMJ’s invitation to comment for this article.
For scientific and medical content the International Fact-Checking Network involves little known outfits such as SciCheck, Metafact, and Science Feedback. Health Feedback, a subsidiary of Science Feedback, handpicks scientists to deliver its verdict. Using this method, it labelled as “misleading” a Wall Street Journal opinion article2 predicting that the US would have herd immunity by April 2021, written by Marty Makary, professor of health policy and management at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. This prompted the newspaper to issue a rebuttal headlined “Fact checking Facebook’s fact checkers,” arguing that the rating was “counter-opinion masquerading as fact checking.”3 Makary hadn’t presented his argument as a factual claim, the article said, but had made a projection based on his analysis of the evidence.
A spokesperson for Science Feedback tells The BMJ that, to verify claims, it selects scientists on the basis of “their expertise in the field of the claim/article.” They explain, “Science Feedback editors usually start by searching the relevant academic literature and identifying scientists who have authored articles on related topics or have the necessary expertise to assess the content.”
The organisation then either asks the selected scientists to weigh in directly or collects claims that they’ve made in the media or on social media to reach a verdict. In the case of Makary’s article it identified 20 relevant scientists and received feedback from three.
“Follow the science”
The contentious nature of these decisions is partly down to how social media platforms define the slippery concepts of misinformation versus disinformation. This decision relies on the idea of a scientific consensus. But some scientists say that this smothers heterogeneous opinions, problematically reinforcing a misconception that science is a monolith.
This is encapsulated by what’s become a pandemic slogan: “Follow the science.” David Spiegelhalter, chair of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at Cambridge University, calls this “absolutely awful,” saying that behind closed doors scientists spend the whole time arguing and deeply disagreeing on some fairly fundamental things.
He says: “Science is not out in front telling you what to do; it shouldn’t be. I view it much more as walking along beside you muttering to itself, making comments about what it’s seeing and making some tentative suggestions about what might happen if you take a particular path, but it’s not in charge.”
The term “misinformation” could itself contribute to a flattening of the scientific debate. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, has been criticised for his views on lockdown, which tack closely to his native Sweden’s more relaxed strategy.4 He says that scientists who voice unorthodox opinions during the pandemic are worried about facing “various forms of slander or censoring . . . they say certain things but not other things, because they feel that will be censored by Twitter or YouTube or Facebook.” This worry is compounded by the fear that it may affect grant funding and the ability to publish scientific papers, he tells The BMJ.
The binary idea that scientific assertions are either correct or incorrect has fed into the divisiveness that has characterised the pandemic. Samantha Vanderslott, a health sociologist at the University of Oxford, UK, told Nature, “Calling out fake stories can raise your profile.” In the same article Giovanni Zagni, director of the Italian fact checking website Facta, noted that “you can build a career” on the basis of becoming “a well respected voice that fights against bad information.”5
But this has fed a perverse incentive for scientists to label each other’s positions misinformation or disinformation.6 Van der Linden likens this to how the term “fake news” was weaponised by Donald Trump to silence his critics. He says, “I think you see a bit of the same with the term ‘misinformation,’ when there’s science that you don’t agree with and you label it as misinformation.”
Health Feedback’s website says that it won’t select scientists to verify claims if they’ve undermined their credibility by “propagating misinformation, whether intentionally or not.” In practice, this could create a Kafkaesque situation where scientists are precluded from offering their opinion as part of the fact checking process if they expressed an opinion that Facebook labelled misinformation. Strengthening the echo chamber effect is the fact that Health Feedback sometimes verifies claims by looking at what scientists have said on Twitter or in the media.
Van der Linden says that it’s important for people to understand that in the scientific domain “there’s uncertainty, there’s debate, and it’s about the accumulation of insights over time and revising our opinions as we go along.” Healthy debate helps to separate the wheat from the chaff. Jevin West, associate professor in the Information School at the University of Washington in Seattle, says that social media platforms should therefore be “extra careful when it comes to debates involving science.” He explains: “The institution of science has developed these norms and behaviour to be self-corrective. So, for [social media platforms] to step into that conversation, I think it’s problematic.”
Experts who spoke to The BMJ emphasised the near impossibility of distinguishing between a minority scientific opinion and an opinion that’s objectively incorrect (misinformation). Spiegelhalter says that this would constitute a difficult “legalistic judgment about what a reasonable scientific opinion would be . . . I’ve got my own criteria that I use to decide whether I think something is misleading, but I find it very difficult to codify.”
Other scientists worry that, if this approach to scientific misinformation outlives the pandemic, the scientific debate could become worryingly subject to commercial imperatives. Vinay Prasad, associate professor at the University of California San Francisco, argued on the MedPage Today website: “The risk is that the myriad players in biomedicine, from large to small biopharmaceutical and [medical] device firms, will take their concerns to social media and journal companies. On a topic like cancer drugs, a tiny handful of folks critical of a new drug approval may be outnumbered 10:1 by key opinion leaders who work with the company.”7 Thus the majority who speak loudest, most visibly, and with the largest number online, may be judged “correct” by the public—and, as the saying goes, history is written by the victors.
Social media companies are still experimenting with the new raft of measures introduced since last year and may adapt their approach. Van der Linden says that the talks he’s had with Facebook have focused on how the platform could help foster an appreciation of how science works, “to actually direct people to content that educates them about the scientific process, rather than labelling something as true or false.”
This debate is playing out against a wider ideological struggle, where the ideal of “truth” is increasingly placed above “healthy debate.” Kulldorff says: “To remove things in general, I think is a bad idea. Because even if something is wrong, if you remove it there’s no opportunity to discuss it.” For instance, although he favours vaccination in general, people with fears or doubts about the vaccines used should not be silenced in online spaces, he says. “If we don’t have an open debate within science, then that will have enormous consequences for science and society.”
There are concerns that this approach could ultimately undermine trust in public health. In the US, says West, trust in the government and media is falling. He explains, “Science is still one of the more trusted institutions, but if you start tagging and shutting down conversation within science, to me that’s even worse than the actual posting of these individual articles.”
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Physicians For Informed Consent Release Safety & Efficacy Data of The Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine
- The Facts:
A group called Physicians For Informed Consent has published a fact sheet, sourced from primarily government sources, outlining the underreported concerns with current COVID-19 vaccines.
- Reflect On:
Should we be avoiding meaningful conversation around informed consent when it comes to these new vaccines?
Before you begin...
The Physicians For Informed Consent (PIC) are a group of doctors and academics from around the world who have come together in support of informed consent (freedom of choice) when it comes to vaccine mandates. Their information is based on science. Their mission is to deliver data on infectious diseases and vaccines, and to unite doctors, scientists, healthcare professionals, attorneys, and families who support voluntary vaccinations. Their vision is that doctors and the public are able to evaluate data on infectious diseases and vaccines objectively and voluntarily engage in informed decision-making about vaccination.
They’ve recently released information regarding the short term efficacy & safety data of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, which has not been fully approved or licensed by the FDA and is still under rigorous study.
It’s no secret that vaccine hesitancy is at an all time high. When it comes to COVID vaccines specifically there are multiple reasons for this including a lack of trust in pharmaceutical companies, the risk of COVID-19 vs vaccine injury, and the emerging science showing concerns regarding long term safety and efficacy. Despite these points, mainstream conversation continues to ridicule hesitancy, label these concerns as ‘anti-vaxx conspiracies’ and fails to address them, leaving most people unaware that these concerns even exist. This can often cause divides and rifts in society as those who only watch mainstream media believe those who have vaccine hesitancy are irresponsible and uninformed.
I recently published an article going in depth regarding the top four concerns people are having which are contributing to them refusing to take the COVID vaccine, you can read that here. These legitimate concerns should be openly and honestly discussed, which is what Physicians For Informed Consent are pushing for. This will not only inform people but create a better sense of unity.
Below is a summary of the most important points regarding the Pfizer vaccine, as outline by PIC. If you’d like to access the PDF, you can do so here.
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Fully Vaccinated Individuals Are Testing Positive For The Coronavirus: More Examples Emerge
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Germany Starts Universal Basic Income Trial Giving Some Citizens $1400 A Month For 3 Years
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