At least 231 children abused at Catholic boys’ choir run by Pope Benedict’s brother

George Ratzinger, Benedict’s older brother, ran the famous Regensburg choir from 1964 to 1994.

Germany Pope Georg Ratzinger, brother of Pope Benedict

AT LEAST 231 children at a famous Catholic boys’ choir in Germany were victims of physical abuse, a lawyer commissioned to investigate the scandal said today.

The Domspatzen, a 1,000-year-old choir in Regensburg, Bavaria, was dragged into the massive sexual abuse scandal plaguing the Catholic Church in 2010, when allegations of assaults that took place several decades ago went public.

The choir was run by Pope Benedict’s elder brother, Georg Ratzinger, from 1964 to 1994 when most of the claimed abuses took place.

Ratzinger has said that the alleged sexual abuse was “never discussed” in the time that he ran the choir attached to the boarding school.

Lawyer Ulrich Weber, who had been commissioned by the diocese to look into the cases, said at a press conference today that his research, which included 70 interviews with victims, uncovered abuse that took place from 1945 to the early 1990s.

“I have here 231 reports of physical abuse,” he said, announcing a figure far higher than had previously been assumed.

These ranged from sexual assault to rape, severe beatings and food deprivation, said Weber.

The reported cases of sexual abuse in Regensburg were mostly concentrated in the period of the mid to end 1970s.
Weber added that “50 victims spoke of ten perpetrators”.

GERMANY POPE VISIT Pope Benedict is applauded by members of the Regensburger Domspatzen choir, now the subject of a wide – ranging abuse scandal, in 2oo6.

The director and composer Franz Wittenbrink, a former pupil of the boarding school, had told Der Spiegel magazine in 2010 that there was a “system of sadistic punishments connected to sexual pleasure”.

Several other German institutions have also been engulfed by the ongoing clerical abuse scandal, including an elite Jesuit school in Berlin which had admitted to systematic sexual abuse of pupils by two priests in the 1970s and 1980s.

Most of the priests concerned are not expected to face criminal charges however, because the alleged crimes took place too long ago.

However, there had been calls for a change in the law and for the church to pay compensation to victims.

In February last year, the Regensburg diocese had said there were 72 victims of abuse, and had offered compensation of €2,500 each.

With many thanks to: The Journal for the original story.


Band playing at church ‘an act of defiance’ !!!

A FLUTE band played music outside a Catholic church in “a concerted act of defiance” at parading restrictions, a court heard on Monday. Fists were pumped in the air as Pride of Ardoyne passed St Patrick’s Church in Donegall Street, North Belfast, prosecutors claimed.


A judge was told of the alleged  demeanor and behaviour of some as two drummers denied a charge of knowingly flouting a condition imposed by the Parades Commission. Co Down man Thomas Beresford, was sentenced to three months for the offence during last year’s Ulster Covenant centenary parade. On Mr Michael Cosby and Richard Dunn insisted they were unaware that only a single drum beat was to be played on the contentious stretch of their route along Donegal Street. Eyesight and reading limitations formed part of the defence case. Their case, in which the verdict was reserved, comes less than a week after a bandsman was jailed for flouting a Parades Commission determination by playing sectarian tunes while passing St Matthew’s Catholic Church in East Belfast. Mr Cosby (51) of Wheatfield Drive, and Mr Dunn (26) from Alliance Road – both in Belfast – are jointly accused of failing to comply with the determination in August last year. The alleged breach occured as their band made its way into the city centre during the Royal Black Institution parade. Belfast Magistrates Court heard police had put signs along the route and on Land Rovers warning of the restriction.

Co Down man Thomas Beresford, sentenced to three months for playing sectarian music.

The band appeared to be playing The Dambusters tune as it passed the Catholic church. CCTV footage of the incident also showed protesters holding a banner stating: “Respect St Patrick’s Church”. John O’Neill QC, prosecuting, argued that band members should have realised from the signs and conter-demonstration that it was not an ordinary situation. Dealing with the demeanour of some of those in and following Pride of Ardoyne, he said: “There are fists being pumped in the air and there are shouts at the crowd. “The prosecution suggest this isn’t a band innocently and accidentally playing music they shouldn’t. “Rather, it’s a concerted act of defiance.” He acknowledged, however, that neither defendant was seen pumping their fists. Both men insisted they were never told of the single drumbeat condition and spotted no notifications. Mr Cosby, a bass drummer who has been in the band for 35 years, told the court he only had vision in one eye. “I just didn’t see the signs,” he said. “I wasn’t told on the day about the determination.” Mr Dunn, a side drummer who joined Pride of Ardoyne 21 years ago, was just as adamant. As part of his defence he said his focus was on his two children parading directly in front of him. His limited reading abilities were also cited. “I can read but not great. The wife helps the kids with homeworks,” he said. Keith Gamble, defending, argued that neither of his clients had a case to answer. “It should be for the prosecution to prove that the defendant knowingly failed to comply,” he said. “It’s not enough to say we put signs up and they should have seen the signs.” However, District Judge Amanda Henderson refused the defence attempt to have the case thrown out. She will study the CCTV footage again before giving her verdict later this month.

With thanks to: The Irish News.

Loyalist bandsman jailed for playing The Sash outside Catholic church

A LOYALIST bandsman has been jailed for breaching a Parades Commission determination by playing The Sash outside a Catholic church.


In what is beleived to be the first case of its kind, Co Down man Thomas Beresford was sentenced to three months behind bars for flouting the ban on playing sectarian music during last year’s Ulster Covenant centenary parade. A co-accused had his three-month jail term suspended yesterday at Belfast Magistrates Court, while another member had his case adjourned until the new year. The banbsmen had been identified in footage of the Holywood True Blues band playing The sash as they passed St Matthew‘s on Newtownards Road in east Belfast on September 29. The commission had ruled that only hymns or a single drumbeat could be played as they passed the church.

The development came as police cobfirmed they had closed their investigation into a loyalist bandsman caught on camera urinating outside St Matthew’s during the same parade. There was outrage in the wake of the incident, with the Orange Order describing the bandsman’s actions as “outrageous and unacceptable”. Although it is known which band he belonged to, police have never been able to identify the bandsman. A police spokesman said the “corresponding police investigation into this summary of evidence could not conclusively identify the individual”. “As with any summary offence, it becomes statute-barred after a six month period, which therefore means that this investigation is now closed.” The covenant parade – which brought thousands of Orangeman, bands and supporters onto the streets to mark the centenary of the signing of the document opposing Home Rule – had been marred by sectarian scenes and multiple parade ruling breaches. Loyalist residents held up banners that read ‘We don’t want hymns’ and ‘Play Loud and Proud’ during the march near St Matthew’s. Some stopped brefiy outside the church while banned tunes such as The sash and the Famine Song were played. Beresford, of Strathearn Court in Holywood, has been released on bail pending a date for appeal.

Police close probe into urinating loyalist!

“Outrageous and unacceptable”

POLICE have closed their investigation into a loyalist bandsman caught on camera urinating outside a Catholic church during an Orange Order parade in Belfast last year.

Reroute the fucking flute

The man, a member of Burnside Sons of Ulster from near Doagh, Co Antrim was photographed urinating outside St Matthew’s Catholic Churh during the Ulster Covenant centenary parade last September. Police said yesterday that they had not managed to identify the man and have now closed their investigation in line with the law. The Orange Order launced their own probe (ha,ha,ha,) but the bandsman was never identified. The Orange Order would only say that the band had expressed “regret” (another fucking joke) and sent its members on a “good relations course” (are they having a fucking laugh). The development comes after a bandsman was jailed on Tuesday for breaching a Parades Commission ruling at the same parade. Thomas Beresford is beleived to be the first person jailed for breaching a determination after playing sectarian songs outside the Catholic church. There were angry scenes in Belfast Magistrates Court as the 21-year-old, from Strathearn Court in Holywood, was sentenced to serve three months in jail for floutinga ban on playing non-sacred music while passing St Matthew’s. Relatives of the bass drummer were warned to be queit after they shouted in court that the sentence was “a disgrace”. A district judge said having “considered a pre-sentence report” was of the opinion that the offence “was so serious that only such a sentence can be justified”.

His co accused 28-year-old Stephen Walker, from Church Green in Holywood, had a three-month jail term suspended for 18 months. A third band member Darren Walker (20), from Thornleigh Park in Lisburn, had his case adjourned until the new year. Breaching a parades commission ruling is a summary offence, which was normally dealt with in the past by way of a fine of probation orders. The men had been identified in footage of the Holywood True Blues band playing The Sash as they passed the Newtownards Road church in east Belfast, on September 29. The parades body had ruled that only hymns or a single drum beat could be played by bands as they passed the church. Police displayed flashing signs warning ‘Sacred tunes, hymns only from this point’ as bandsmen approached. At a previous hearing a judge described claims by bandsmen that they had not seen flashing warning signs as “inconceivable and incredible”. Beresford was released on bail pending a date for the appeal. There were a catalogue of breaches of the commissions determination amid sectarian scenes at the east Belfast flashpoint during last year’s Covenant parade. Loyalist residents held up banners stating ‘We don’t want hymns’ and ‘Play Loud and Proud’ during the march. Many of the bands taking part in the return leg of the march breached the parades commission ruling. Some stopped briefly outside the church while banned tunes such as The Sash and The Famine Song were played. Bands who adhered to the ruling and played a single drum beat were jeered by some of those lining the route.

With many thanks to: Allison Morris and Claire Simpson, The Irish News.


‘Looking back, a lot of Catholic pubs were targeted. This is just a bad reminder of that – Alex Mackey.

A LOYALIST paramilitary warning to publicans not to serve Catholics is reminiscent to a very sinister period during the Troubles, a Sinn Fein MLA has said.

2013-09-05 17.20.52

Alex Mackey spoke out about the threat in Larne, Co Antrim, after unearthing a piece of Troubles-related memorabilia – a flyer which was once distributed warning Protestants not to drink in Catholic bars because to do so could “seriously damage your health”. Mr MMackey said the leaflet found in a Protestant bar in the Ravenhill Road area of east Belfast was given to him in 1972. He said it had been distrbuted at a time when Catholic bars were being targeted by loyalist paramilitaries, resulting in murders and soundings in bomb and gun attacks. Mr Maskey said the leaflets, used as beer mats, were issued to Protestants to warn them not to frequent Catholic bars because they might be bombed.

Loyalist paramilitaries are said to have visited at least five bars in Larne last Saturday to warn staff not to serve Catholics. The move led some publicans to consider increasing security at their premises and prompted another Sinn Fein MLA to urge police to “look at Larne as a priority”. Mr Maskey said the threat was “reminiscent of a very sinister period, whenever people were being killed in bombs and shooting attacks on bars”. The latest warnings were “a twist” on the decades-old leaflet, he said. Mr Mackey said it was a “sickening reminder” of the past when bars were targeted “because of the religion of patrons and owners”. “Looking back, a lot of Catholic pubs were targeted,” he said. “There was a campaign on that sector. This is just a bad reminder of that.”

With many thanks to : Marie Louise McCrory, The Irish News.


LOYALIST paramilitaries are said to have warned some Larne publicans not to serve Catholics. Sinn Fein MLA Oliver McMullan said at least five bars in the Co An trim town had been visited on Saturday by loyalist paramilitaries who issued the warnings.


Mr McMullan urged police to “look at Larne as a priority” after visits which he said had led some publicans to debate increasing security.He said he was “concerned that the ongoing tensions between unionist paramilitaries in the Larne area is now manifesting itself in a sectarian campaign against local Catholics”. “Sime of the pubs are now considering introducing buzzer-style entrances to protect their premises,” Mr McMullan said. “This would be a retrograde step back into the days of the conflict and bar ownes should not be put under this pressure. “At a time when people are attemping to pomote Larne we see that unionist paramilitaries are determined to put their stamp on the town, making it an unwelcome place for many people.” Chief Inspector John Magill said police were “awre of recent allegations concerning intimidation in Larne town centre”. “Police are determined to tackle criminality including intimidation,” he said. “We are committed to protecting the community against criminal elements but the bottom line is that we need the assistance of the community so I would again ask that people come forward and help with our enquries.”

With many thanks to : Marie Louise McCrory, The Irish News.


‘The decision has been taken to prosecute 15 individuals in relation to an incident at St Patrick‘s Church on July 12 2012 – PPS spokeswoman.

FIFTEEN members of a loyalist band filmed playing sectarian music while marching in circles outside a Catholic church are set to be prosecuted. Controversy erupted after members of Young Conway Volunteers were recorded playing the ‘Famine Song‘ at St Patrick’s Church in Belfast city centre on the Twelfth of July last year.


The song contains anti-Catholic and anti-Irish lyrics and is sung by Glasgow Rangers supporters and loyalists. The episode, which made international headlines, was blamed for making the St Patrick’s area a new parading flashpoint and stoking wider tensions across the north of the city. More than a year after the footage emerged, it is understood band members are to be prosecuted for the offence of “doing a provocative act”. Since last years parade – part of the main Twelfth procession through Belfast city centre – parishioners at St Patrick’s and local residents have objected to loyal order marches passing the church and the nearby nationalist district of Carrick Hill. Based on the Shan kill Road, the Young Conway Volunteers band was formed in 2007 for the “preservation and promotion” of the memory of Thomas Skinner – a member of the UVF youth wing, the Young Citizen Volunteers, who died in 2003.

The band caused more controversy last August when it defied a Parades Commission ruling not to take part in a Royal Black Institution parade past St Patrick’s. Violence flared when a large number of bands also broke a commission determination by playing music as they passed the church. Members of Young Conway Volunteers took part in this year’s Twelfth parade past St Patrick’s with a band called Young Citizens Volunteers. To date only one person has been convicted of offences a raising out of the July 2012 incident outside St Patrick’s. In March this year William Bell (48), known as Billy, admitted assaulting north Belfast man JJ Magee. Bell waved a club-shaped stick at the Sinn Fein member as he was filming the YCV band outside the church. It is understood members of the band will appear in court later this month.

A spokeswoman for the Public Prosecution Service confirmed: “The decision has been taken to pprosecute 15 individuals in relation to an incident at St Patrick’s Church on July 12 2012.” Meanwhile, security is set to be tight around St Patrick’s this weekend when the Apprentice Boys parade takes place past the church on Saturday involving one band and up to 55 people. The band taking part has been ordered to play only hymns from the junction of Clifton Street and West Link and Donegal Street and Union Street. Nationalists residents have also been given permission to hold a protest during the parade.

With many thanks to : Connla Young, The Irish News.


ANALYSIS – Connla Young.

WHILE many will take part in Friday’s parade to highlight claims of “internment by remand”, some will also see it as a platform to reclaim a significant date in the republican calendar.


The introduction of internment on August 9 1971 saw the detention without trial of thousands of young Catholics across the north. A watershed moment in the early Troubles, which made headlines around the world,  it had unintended effect of converting morderate nationalists to the republican cause. Traditionally rRepublicans marked the anniversary witht the lighting of bonbone fires in nationalist areas, which often resulted in violent clashes with police. In recent years Sinn Fein has aa banded the bonfire tradition and attempted to remove tensions by creating the Fleadh around the August date. Opponents have claimed this was part of a process of steering its traditional support away from street politics. In that context, some anti-agreement republicans see Friday’s parade as an opportunity to showcase opposition to Sinn Fein’s strategy, both to the party leadership and wider political establishment.

However, the parade is also being used as an outlet for anger by loyalists involved in flag and other protests this year. Two of the five protests planned at Royal Avenue involve groups set up by leading figures from the Union Flag protests. Despite the parade not directly passing any loyalist areas in North Belfast. Orangemen in the area are also planning to travel to the city centre for a demonstration. Coming after strong police criticism of protests held against restrictions placed on a July 12 parade at Ardoyne, this represents a departure for the organization. Until now it is not thought to have organised any protests at republican parades. Given the serious disruption caused to city centre traders and commuters by the flag protests, and the violence seen on July 12 when loyalists gathered to protest at Ardoyne, the prospect of thousands of republicans and loyalists gathering in the city centre on Friday will be a source of obvious concern for police in the coming days.

With many thanks to : Connla Young, The Irish News.

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