As we heal, change happens

Featured

5 Star Readers’ Favorite!

Click on Book cover to purchase book now!

Book available for Purchase now on Amazon

Sins of the Fathers Book Launch

My Book is finally out!!!!

Click on Book Cover to purchase now!

 Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.E-book available on Lulu.com

Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, Buchanan without malice shares her story of being molested, raped and impregnated by a catholic priest as a child and her 30 year journey towards healing and spiritual awakening.  “Sins of the Fathers” is a story that begs to be told because while male victims of predatory priests dominate the headlines, abused girls and women usually suffer in silence.   It is a poignant story that clearly demonstrates the strong-hold and sometimes negative effects religion can have on entire families.  Using poetry and famous uplifting quotes, Buchanan turns all 148 pages of her book into a generous gift of hope to anyone who has been the victim of any kind of abuse.

Buchanan’s story is told candidly and her journey towards light rather than dwelling in a place of darkness is heartfelt, inspirational and real. “Through my experience, I learned to use whatever showed up in my life as a lesson and an opportunity to awaken to my spiritual beauty.  I gained confidence and wisdom to truly live a life of love,” Denise states.

Denise L. Buchanan PhD.c

Buchanan is the founder and owner of Sacred Garden Designs, www.sacredgardendesigns.com, an industry leader in the landscape business for over 15 years which designs and builds luxurious and unique Zen-like gardens and sanctuaries which promote inner and outer beauty, health and well-being.   Her garden creations have been featured on HGTV, Bravo TV and in numerous magazines and newspapers. Buchanan, who attributes gardening to assisting her in her healing process, is also a poet and dancer and is in the final stages of completing her dissertation in Psychoneurology and Consciousness.

Click on photo for Tolucan Times Review of Book.

For booking presentations, media appearances, interviews, workshops, and/or book-signings contact Queen Publicity, at allisonqueen@sbcglobal.net. Tel: (310)849-3820.

Contact Denise at denise@sinsofthefathers.org

 

Pontification

On February 11, 2013, Pope Benedict XVI resigned his papacy, effective February 28, 2013. This was the first papal resignation in 598 years.

The previous pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII, whose reign began in 1405 and ended in 1415, at the end of a period known as the Western Schism.  During this period, he spent most of his papacy as one of three men making claims of legitimacy. In the end, he stepped down at the request of the Council of Constance, a church task force assembled by Pope Gregory to find a way to bring an end to the schism. It is intriguing to note that a political split in the Catholic Church during the 1370s resulted in two papal courts: one in Rome and one in Avignon, France. According to cannon law, popes are to call a council themselves to handle issues of succession. So each court elected their own pope. Gregory XII was pope in Rome and Benedict XIII was pope in Avignon. The double popes continued for decades.  In an attempt to end the schism in 1409, the Council of Pisa only added to the dilemma and they elected a third pope John XXIII. Gregory XII and John XXIII agreed to resign in order to allow for a new election of a single pope. Benedict XIII, meanwhile, refused to resign, and was excommunicated in 1417. Gregory XII died two years after his resignation.

Because there is no one in the church higher than the Pope to accept a resignation, the renouncement of Pope Benedict XVI was technically called an abdication. The abdication of Pope Benedict XVI, ends his eight years of service widely recognized as deeply conservative. According to the Vatican, Pope Benedict, at 85, said he was resigning “because of advanced age. Strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me,” He said that he had made the decision “after having repeatedly examined (his) conscience before God.” Suffice it to say that it would indeed take a great deal of mental, physical and spiritual effort to work through the sexual abuse scandals that have plagued his term in the papacy and perhaps he was not up to handling such a daunting agenda.

The Pope’s resignation flies at the heels of the damning documents that were released about Cardinal Roger Mahony. Cardinal Roger Mahony, who led the U.S.A.’s largest archdiocese from 1985 to 2011,was stripped of any administrative or public duties by Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez. The unprecedented move in the American Roman Catholic Church comes after the release of fourteen thousand pages of internal church records that Mahony sought to keep private which included the confidential files of priests accused of abusing children over a period of years. Disclosures of the priest personnel files show how Mahony, and Bishop Thomas J. Curry, who served as auxiliary bishop in charge of the archdiocese’s Santa Barbara region, actively tried to shield abusive priests from prosecution and plotted to prevent law enforcement from learning the truth about how children had been molested by priests.

The Associated Press and Los Angeles Times revealed that the priest’s personnel files were released as part of a record-breaking $660 million settlement with more than 500 victims of sex abuse. Lawyers for the archdiocese and individual priests waged a five-year battle to keep these files sealed.  Several of the documents in the newly released files echo recurring themes that emerged over the past decade in dioceses nationwide, where church leaders moved problem priests between parishes and didn’t call police. Studies commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Bishops found more than 4,000 U.S. priests have faced sexual abuse allegations since the early 1950s, in cases involving more than 10,000 children – mostly boys. In one instance, a draft of a plan with Mahony’s name on it calls for sending a molester priest to his native Spain for a minimum of seven years, paying him $400 a month and offering health insurance. In return, the cardinal would agree to write the Vatican and ask them to cancel his excommunication, leaving the door open for him to return as a priest someday.

“I am concerned that the archdiocese may later be seen as liable – for having continued to support this man – now that we have been put on notice that one of the young adults under his influence is suicidal,” a top aide wrote in a memo about the priest to Mahony in 1995, urging him to stop paying benefits to the priest.

The cardinal added a handwritten note: “I concur – the faster, the better.”

In another case, Mahony resisted turning over a list of altar boys to police who were investigating claims against a visiting Mexican priest who was later determined to have molested 26 boys during a 10-month stint in Los Angeles. “We cannot give such a list for no cause whatsoever,” he wrote on a January 1988 memo.

Given the magnitude of the evidence, Mahony can still act as a priest, keep his rank as a member of three Vatican departments, including the Holy See’s all-important economic affairs office, and he remains a member of the College of Cardinals. At 76, he is still eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope.  In an interview with the daily La Republica, Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, the former head of the Vatican’s Prefecture for Economic Affairs and the pope’s envoy charged with reforming the disgraced Legionaries of Christ, said that “it will be up to (Mahony’s) conscience to decide whether to take part or not.”

De Paolis stressed that there is no formal procedure to stop Mahony from attending the conclave. “The common practice is to use persuasion. There is no more that can be done. Cardinal Mahony has the right and duty to take part,” he said. “This is a troubling situation but the rules must be followed.” It seems the rules must be followed in only certain selected situations, what about following the rules to arrest and punish the priests who sexually abuse minors?

To add more insanity to the situation, according to De Paolis, only “someone with great authority” could advise “through a private intervention” that the retired Mahony not take part in electing the new pope. Well I think this is where the Pope should step in as ”someone with great authority” and “use persuasion” to encourage Mahony to recuse himself for the good of the Church.  But in a tweet before the election which sparked heavy online reactions, Cardinal Mahony indicated his resolve to come to Rome. “Count-down to the Papal Conclave has begun. Your prayers needed that we elect the best Pope for today and tomorrow’s Church,” Mahony wrote. And indeed Cardinal Mahony flew to Rome and cast his vote.

Joelle Casteix, is the Western regional director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, and a victim of clergy abuse. At a news conference on Feb 1, 2013, outside the Los Angeles cathedral, Joelle Casteix said that the decision to strip Mahony of any administrative or public duties “is little more than window dressing. Cardinal Mahony is still a very powerful prelate. He’s a very powerful man in Rome and still a very powerful man in Los Angeles.” The question I ask is where is the accountability?

In a note to Archbishop Curry, Mahony wrote, “Unfortunately, I cannot return now to the 1980s and reverse actions and decisions made then. But when I retired as the active archbishop, I handed over to you an archdiocese that was second to none in protecting children and youth.” It would be interesting to see what structures Mahony left in place which protected children and youth in the archdiocese. For in June 2011, Casteix speaks about a Catholic priest, the Rev. Fernando Lopez-Lopez, a Colombian priest convicted of sex abuse in Italy who was taken in by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles without a record check. Also there are incidents of priests being moved from one parish to another after being slapped on the hand for committing sexual abuse offenses. Was the Church protecting our children or protecting themselves?

The Vatican’s former sex crimes prosecutor, Bishop Charles Scicluna, has said Canon Law provides for sanctioning bishops who show “malicious or fraudulent negligence” in their work, but he acknowledged that such laws have never been applied in the case of bishops who covered up sex abuse cases. In the past, lower-ranking members of the church hierarchy who have spoken out about their superior’s handling of the clergy abuse crisis have been rebuked by the Holy See. In 2010, for example, Viennese Cardinal Cristoph Schoenborn criticized the former Vatican No. 2, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, in an interview for his handling of a notorious sex abuse case. Schoenborn didn’t use Sodano’s name in his critique but was nonetheless forced to come to Rome to explain himself to the pope and Sodano. The Vatican publicly rebuked Schoenborn, saying that only the pope has authority to deal with accusations against a cardinal.

The Vatican’s silence about Gomez’s actions indicates that officials there were aware of it, said Patrick Wall, a former Benedictine monk and priest and vocal church critic who consults on clergy abuse cases. “Gomez was as brilliant as a sniper the way he orchestrated this because he did not overstep his authority against the pope and yet at the same time it appears that some type of penalty is being imposed,” said Wall. “It’s brilliant and this has never happened in the U.S.”

Another document revealed infighting between two highly placed church leaders when members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy rarely break ranks publicly, said the Rev. Thomas Doyle, a canon lawyer who worked for the Vatican’s Washington, D.C., embassy. “It is so rare because they stick together like glue,” he said. “The fact that Gomez said what he said, this had to have been cleared by the Vatican, they had to have discussed this with the Vatican. Mahony took the fall.”

Gomez declined an interview request from The Associated Press.

The problem of sexual abuse by priests is obviously not limited to the United States. In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI, who recently resigned, issued a pastoral letter with a rare apology from the Vatican to the victims of child sex abuse by Catholic clergy in Ireland. The pope wrote to the victims and their families, “You have suffered grievously and I am truly sorry. I know that nothing can undo the wrong you have endured. Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated.

“Many of you found that, when you were courageous enough to speak of what happened to you, no one would listen. Those of you who were abused in residential institutions must have felt that there was no escape from your sufferings.

“It is understandable that you find it hard to forgive or be reconciled with the church. In her name, I openly express the shame and remorse that we all feel.”

In the same letter, the pope tries to explain why this tragedy happened, “Certainly, among the contributing factors we can include: inadequate procedures for determining the suitability of candidates for the priesthood and the religious life; insufficient human, moral, intellectual and spiritual formation in seminaries and novitiates; a tendency in society to favor the clergy and other authority figures; and a misplaced concern for the reputation of the church and the avoidance of scandal, resulting in failure to apply existing canonical penalties and to safeguard the dignity of every person.”

The pope added, “Urgent action is needed to address these factors, which have had such tragic consequences in the lives of victims and their families, and have obscured the light of the Gospel to a degree that not even centuries of persecution succeeded in doing.”

Like the Pope, Mahony publicly apologized for mistakes he made in dealing with priests who molested children.

He repeated that apology in one of his recent blog posts.

“I have stated time and time again that I made mistakes, especially in the mid-1980s,” he wrote. “I apologized for those mistakes, and committed myself to make certain that the Archdiocese was safe for everyone.”

Given all that has transpired, it is shameful that a simple apology is expected to wipe the slate clean? I think not! If the doctrine and laws of the Church allows priests to get away with such heinous crimes as sexual abuse of our kids, then isn’t it time to do something about the structure of the Church? It certainly isn’t working in its present form. Having priests take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and releasing them to parishes to live out their human sexual desires on our kids is repulsive. Perhaps it is high time we the people advocate for a change in Church Laws and seriously give attention to demanding the Church make examples of those who have done wrong, and determine a legitimate route for sexual expression for these men of God. Proper screening of applicants for the priesthood, yes. Psychotherapy is necessary, yes. But even more importantly perhaps the church should seriously consider marriage for priests, be it to a woman or a man.

Perhaps we can hope that the newly elected Argentinian Pope Francis, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, will bring a fresh perspective to the troubles facing the Church and make a concerted effort to move in a progressive direction for the upliftment and sanctity of all its faithful followers.

Denise L. Buchanan PhD.c

Denise L. Buchanan, PhD.c, recently released her book, Sins of the Fathers: a true story of rape and deception in the Catholic Church and spiritual renewal. The book is available for purchase at barnesandnoble.com, Amazon.com, http://amzn.com/1304603377, ebay.com and foyles.co.uk.

Click on photo for Tolucan Times Review of Book.

Buchanan is the founder and owner of Sacred Garden Designs,  www.sacredgardendesigns.com, an industry leader in the landscape business for over 15 years which designs and builds luxurious and unique Zen-like gardens and sanctuaries which promote inner and outer beauty, health and well-being.   Her garden creations have been featured on HGTV, Bravo TV and in numerous magazines and newspapers. Buchanan, who attributes gardening to assisting her in her healing process, is also a poet and dancer and is in the final stages of completing her dissertation in Psychoneurology and Consciousness.

For booking presentations, media appearances, interviews, workshops, and/or book-signings contact Queen Publicity, at allisonqueen@sbcglobal.net. Tel: (310)849-3820.

Denise can be contacted at denise@sinsofthefathers.org

 

Moral Mumblings

Thank You beautiful women of America for coming out in unprecedented numbers to make your voices heard this election! This election was not just about choosing which candidate the nation desired for President, it was also a crucial election to choose who was going to provide a mandate for progressive action or not. It was clear that the views around rape and abortion by U.S. Senate candidates Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin were flat out rejected by the majority of women and so they rightly lost their bid for a seat in the U.S. Senate. It gives us pause for celebration for a minute. There is still work to be done. There are still ensuing discussions that demand examination.

Rev. Franklin Graham, son of Rev. Billy Graham, advocates the resurrection of the Moral Majority movement where people who have a moral background come together and vote for moral issues that are important to this country. In an interview with David Brody at the Christian Broadcasting Network, Rev. Franklin Graham said, “If that [Moral Majority] would take place, we would see a great change in this country, but our country is in trouble. It’s in trouble spiritually. We’ve turned our back on God.” Perhaps he was not aware that a majority of American people did come out and vote for moral issues that were important to them and this country. But the majority that seems to matter most to those who pick at the results of this election are perhaps those mentioned by Dennis Miller and Bill O’Reilly, who speak of “traditional America”. An America that seems to be not inclusive of the large and diverse minority populations of America today but a “traditional America” divided along racial lines that would perhaps be a more fertile ground to recruit the “moral majority” that would keep the rest of us in check. It saddens me to think that in the year 2012, after we had the historic reelection of the First African American President and so many wars fought for our freedom as an American people, that the America of today is still more deeply divided along racial lines than I thought. I wonder if Rev. Franklin Graham and others who support similar points of view see their stance as a moral violation to each person’s constitutional rights to freedom and full self-expression and I would venture to say that if I tapped into their lifeline to God, I would find that their behavior would turn God’s proverbial back.

Rev. Franklin Graham also suggested that Mitt Romney lost the election because the “vast majority of evangelicals did not go to the polls.” He told David Brody at the Christian Brodcasting Network, that “God is in control, and if Christians are upset, they need to be upset at themselves. We need to do a better job of getting our people – the church to vote. Now, I’m not trying to tell you how to vote, you can vote, but vote, my goodness, and vote for candidates that stand for Biblical values.” But a national post-election survey published by the Faith and Freedom Coalition found that a record 27 percent of the electorate in 2012 were evangelical voters. And about 78% of white evangelicals cast their ballots for Romney. “evangelicals turned out in record numbers and voted heavily for Mitt Romney yesterday as they did for George W. Bush in 2004,” Faith and Freedom Coalition Chairman Ralph Reed said in a statement recently. But Romney underperformed with younger voters and minorities and that in the end made the difference for Obama.”

It is quite revealing to hear Graham’s assertion — and implication that had white Christian evangelicals just showed up in bigger numbers, President Obama would have lost. In fact, white evangelicals/born-again Christians made up the same percentage of the electorate as they did in 2008 – 26%. They voted for Mitt Romney, a devout Mormon, by a wider margin than they did for Sen. John McCain four years ago. And, they made up a larger share of the electorate in 2012 than in 2004, when the Christian Right was allegedly supporting George W. Bush’s reelection. Evangelicals also voted for Mitt Romney with the same margin as they did for George W. Bush in 2004. It must be mentioned that, Barack Obama won the 48 percent of the electorate that was Christian and not Protestant or Mormon. Among Catholics he won 25% of the electorate and 50%-49% of “Other Christians” (23% of the electorate).

Perhaps the discussion yet again is not a moral or biblical interpretation of historical data, a debate on whose religion has more favor with God or a spin on the election results. What is urgent is a shift in consciousness to a paradigm of cultivating personal responsibility from an early age and a willingness to work together to build a country that works for everyone. It seems to me that it is not religion and moral mumblings that will move this country forward and drive the next wave of political promise, it is the growing diversity among the nation, bringing needed skills, desires, dreams and spirit that will be the salvation of this country. It is time we put our attention on promoting collective and open discussions that encourage and unearth the best inherent tendencies in each of us and explore greater choices and avenues as to what is dignified and sanctified in one’s own life and the life of our country. This is a worthy mission and mandate of those in authority and will inevitably reverse the growing trend towards fear based evangelical dictatorship who feel they have the direct line to what will turn God’s proverbial back.

Denise L. Buchanan PhD.c

Denise L. Buchanan, PhD.c, recently released her book, Sins of the Fathers: a true story of rape and deception in the Catholic Church and spiritual renewal. The book is available for purchase at barnesandnoble.com, Amazon.com, http://amzn.com/1304603377, ebay.com and foyles.co.uk.

Click on photo for Tolucan Times Review of Book.

Buchanan is the founder and owner of Sacred Garden Designs,  www.sacredgardendesigns.com, an industry leader in the landscape business for over 15 years which designs and builds luxurious and unique Zen-like gardens and sanctuaries which promote inner and outer beauty, health and well-being.   Her garden creations have been featured on HGTV, Bravo TV and in numerous magazines and newspapers. Buchanan, who attributes gardening to assisting her in her healing process, is also a poet and dancer and is in the final stages of completing her dissertation in Psychoneurology and Consciousness.

For booking presentations, media appearances, interviews, workshops, and/or book-signings contact Queen Publicity, at allisonqueen@sbcglobal.net. Tel: (310)849-3820.

Denise can be contacted at denise@sinsofthefathers.org

 

 

Something God Intended?

Republican Richard Mourdock

Gave women the verbal shock

When he said pregnancies resulting from rape

Is something we couldn’t escape

 

He said it “is something god intended”

Was his judgment suspended or was he just misguided?

Did he really believe this stuff?

Or was he just speaking off the cuff?

 

He came back later with no apology

His portrait of women to me was just ghastly

He follows prevalent blind religious doctrine

And expects us to heed like a country bumpkin

 

Once again religion runs amuck

If he gets elected, women are truly stuck

Back to the dark ages we will surely go

Rights to our bodies we will have to forgo

 

Legislate us to have children we don’t want

The rape, the pain, will continue to haunt

It’s hard enough to heal from the terrible rape

We must now care for a child that we grow to hate

 

Men in suits brainwashed by the Church

They never even bothered to do their research

God is described to do their bidding

Who do they think they are kidding?

 

It is time to see through their not so clever disguise

When they feel they can pull the wool over our eyes

There is more at stake here than just one man’s claim

Women, it’s our voices he is trying to tame!

Denise L. Buchanan PhD.c

Denise L. Buchanan, PhD.c, recently released her book, Sins of the Fathers: a true story of rape and deception in the Catholic Church and spiritual renewal. The book is available for purchase at barnesandnoble.com, Amazon.com, http://amzn.com/1304603377, ebay.com and foyles.co.uk.

Click on photo for Tolucan Times Review of Book.

Buchanan is the founder and owner of Sacred Garden Designs,  www.sacredgardendesigns.com, an industry leader in the landscape business for over 15 years which designs and builds luxurious and unique Zen-like gardens and sanctuaries which promote inner and outer beauty, health and well-being.   Her garden creations have been featured on HGTV, Bravo TV and in numerous magazines and newspapers. Buchanan, who attributes gardening to assisting her in her healing process, is also a poet and dancer and is in the final stages of completing her dissertation in Psychoneurology and Consciousness.

For booking presentations, media appearances, interviews, workshops, and/or book-signings contact Queen Publicity, at allisonqueen@sbcglobal.net. Tel: (310)849-3820.

Denise can be contacted at denise@sinsofthefathers.org

 

 

 

 

 

Rape, Abortion and God’s Will

I was livid when I heard the comments of Republican Richard Mourdock who is a candidate for Indiana’s U.S. Senate seat. He was in a debate with Democrat Joe Donnelly and Libertarian Andrew Horning in New Albany, Ind., on Oct. 23, 2012. He was asked during the final minutes of the debate whether abortion should be allowed in cases of rape or incest. Mourdock said when a woman is impregnated during a rape, “it’s something God intended.”

As a woman who was raped at 16yrs of age by a Catholic priest, I am horrified that someone in this day and age would even conceive of such a thought that rape and the subsequent impregnation could be “something God intended”! In my case I feel Mourdock would be definitely convinced that this is “something God intended” being impregnated by a priest. But what of my subsequent pregnancy and the abortion that was arranged by the church? Huummm…the Catholic priest being  God’s representative was perhaps then justified in this act. Sounds rather hypocritical and convenient to me.

Sounds like a woman’s rights to control her own body are up for legislative debate. Not if I can help it. Women need to take to the streets on this matter, and even more importantly show your disgust by your vote this election. I have started this blog and urge other women and men to join with me to keep a woman’s right to choose out of any politicians proposition. Hold men accountable that feel they can rape a woman and walk away. Hold Churches and politicians accountable for teaching false interpretations of God, freedom and women’s rights to vibrate health and wellbeing.

We live in one of the greatest nations of the world. Perhaps we should start acting like it and not be like the Taliban who plot and attempt to assassinate girls like Malala Yousufzai. Malala is my hero. A 15-year-old Pakistani activist girl who was shot and wounded for speaking out against Taliban atrocities and advocating for girls’ education in her native Swat Valley.

Dare we step out and speak up, despite the odds. We have a right to control our own bodies. It’s our divine freedom to choose.

Denise L. Buchanan PhD.c

Denise L. Buchanan, PhD.c, recently released her book, Sins of the Fathers: a true story of rape and deception in the Catholic Church and spiritual renewal. The book is available for purchase at barnesandnoble.com, Amazon.com, http://amzn.com/1304603377, ebay.com and foyles.co.uk.

Click on photo for Tolucan Times Review of Book.

Buchanan is the founder and owner of Sacred Garden Designs,  www.sacredgardendesigns.com, an industry leader in the landscape business for over 15 years which designs and builds luxurious and unique Zen-like gardens and sanctuaries which promote inner and outer beauty, health and well-being.   Her garden creations have been featured on HGTV, Bravo TV and in numerous magazines and newspapers. Buchanan, who attributes gardening to assisting her in her healing process, is also a poet and dancer and is in the final stages of completing her dissertation in Psychoneurology and Consciousness.

For booking presentations, media appearances, interviews, workshops, and/or book-signings contact Queen Publicity, at allisonqueen@sbcglobal.net. Tel: (310)849-3820.

Denise can be contacted at denise@sinsofthefathers.org