John Sentamu, the archbishop of York, has said that he's "deeply ashamed" over allegations of child abuse by a former dean in a recently published report that has revealed "systemic failures" by the Church of England in dealing with such cases.
"I have already been in contact with those who gave evidence to the inquiry regarding their alleged abuse by Robert Waddington. As I have said to them, I am deeply ashamed that the church was not vigilant enough to ensure that these things did not happen, failing both to watch and to act, where children were at serious risk," York said, according to The Guardian on Wednesday.
The report by Judge Sally Cahill made abuse allegations against the late Very Rev. Robert Waddington, formerly dean of Manchester. It stated that at least two men made claims in 1999 and sometime in 2003-2004 that they had been abused as children. The acting Archbishop of York at the time, Lord Hope of Thorne, and other church officials were criticized for not acting on the allegations, and therefore putting other children at risk, BBC noted. more >>
The gunman shot dead during an attack on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday has been identified as 32-year-old petty criminal Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who was reportedly a recent convert to Islam. The shooting, which led to the death of a soldier posted at the National War Memorial, was the second attack on Canadian soldiers in the space of three days.
"We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said following the shooting. He added that on Monday, an "ISIL-inspired terrorist" ran over two soldiers and killed one in the province of Quebec. The man, who was shot down by police, was also a recent convert to Islam.
Michelle Knight survived one of the worst ordeals at the hands of Ariel Castro, but the Christian woman says that she has forgiven her captor and rapist and will go on living her life.
Knight, who now goes by the name Lilly, was held captive by Castro for 11 years with two other girls. They managed to escape in 2013 and have largely avoided all contact with the press, but Knight has decided to stay in the limelight and tell her story, perhaps as an example of survival for others.
"I was able to forgive him," Knight said at Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin High School in Chadron, Ohio on Sunday. more >>
There have been at least 30 shots reported inside the Canadian Parliament complex in Ottawa on Wednesday, leaving one gunman dead. A manhunt has been launched for other suspects, while a number of shooting incidents have been reported in the downtown areas of the city.
There is not yet news on who might have carried out the attacks, if they were working together, or for what purpose. Ottawa police are reportedly looking into shooting incidents at Parliament Hill, at the National War Memorial, and near the Rideau Centre Mall, Yahoo Canada News reported.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is reportedly safe, but the parliament buildings remain on lockdown. One confirmed suspect was shot dead inside the Parliament buildings, where multiple instances of gunfire were heard. more >>
I attended Catholic school for one year as a child. My second-grade year in Philadelphia's St. Athanasius left me with a strong sense of the mystery of the church. The most mysterious space there was the confessional booth. I wasn't allowed to enter because I wasn't Catholic, so I just sat and watched others enter with pinched brows. Then they would exit with peace painted over their faces.
There is a scene in the book Blue Like Jazz where author Donald Miller sets up a confessional box in the center of the Reed College campus. But Miller's confessional worked in reverse. Students of Reed, which is known as the most liberal campus in the country, entered the confessional booth with curiosity, cynicism, skepticism, or worse—to disprove this thing called Christianity. But what they encountered upon entry was disarming—even healing. Rather than prompts to confess their sin, Miller sat on the other side of the veil and confessed of the sins of the church. This was a revolutionary act in the context where, according to Gabe Lyons and David Kinnaman's modern classic, UnChristian, the general consensus about Christians is decidedly negative.
The authors of Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith (Zondervan, September 2014) took Miller's cue. We thought: What if the church at large began to own its sin and confessed it to the world? And what if we took those confessions and worked them out through active repentance? more >>
The Washington Post this week drew attention to a new Pew poll indicating that a majority of Americans believe it's time to move away from the policy of mandatory minimum sentencing in nonviolent criminal cases. Many people probably don't realize that in the American legal system, judges aren't actually permitted to do their jobs and judge. Their authority is curtailed by statutes that prescribe minimums for how much time a person must serve for certain crimes. This policy is particularly pernicious in situations where the crime is of a nonviolent nature, as are most minor drug offenses. The poll results represent a significant shift in public opinion since 2001, when the American public was about even split in their opinion of mandatory minimum sentencing. Like so much of our bloated federal apparatus, the prison system is flailing under the weight of an unfunded mandate. There are simply too many prisoners, and not enough resources to meet the demands of their incarceration.
When it comes to criminal sentencing, politicians and policymakers walk a tightrope. They don't want to appear to be soft on crime, but at the same time they want to demonstrate a pragmatic, effective use of public resources. One recalls how George H. W. Bush bludgeoned Michael Dukakis in the 1988 Presidential campaign with the Willie Horton case, a lamentable miscarriage of justice that garnered national attention. In 1974, Horton fatally stabbed a gas station attendant and dumped his body in a trashcan. Convicted of murder, Horton was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole and incarcerated in a Massachusetts prison. He was released in 1985 as part of a weekend furlough program but never returned, instead fleeing to Maryland where he raped a woman after brutally assaulting her boyfriend. He was later captured, tried, and sentenced in Maryland by a judge who refused to return him to Massachusetts stating, "I'm not prepared to take the chance that Mr. Horton might again be furloughed or otherwise released. This man should never draw a breath of free air again."
Politicians across the country didn't miss the lesson of that campaign, and ever since they have wanted to appear tough on crime. The reality, however, is that we simply can't afford to lock up every criminal who runs afoul of the criminal justice system. In 2011 the Atlantic ran a piece on the skyrocket cost of incarceration in America. At that time, one year at Princeton cost $37,000, while a year at a New Jersey state prison cost $44,000. Clearly, this is an untenable situation. So, in an era of tight budgets, how should our government mete out justice effectively and efficiently? I offer four very simple, common sense solutions: Lock them up, Tie them down, Dry them out, and Make them pay. more >>