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Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Enters Debate on Iraq War; Will Americans Be Stranded Over Thanksgiving Holiday?; Catholic Schoolteacher Fired For Getting Pregnant

Aired November 22, 2005 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again, everyone, from you neighborhood, Larry.
Tonight, the war in Iraq, the war at home, and a battle simply to get home for the holidays.


ANNOUNCER: Heavy rains and heavy snow threaten Thanksgiving travel. Will you get stranded as you try to get home for the holidays?

Condoleezza Rice joins the white-hot debate about the war.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: I suspect that the -- that American forces are not going to be needed in the numbers that they are there for all that much longer.

ANNOUNCER: A revealing conversation with the secretary of state.

And Colin Powell's former chief of staff makes some surprising accusations. Tonight, hear how he says a cabal of Bush cronies botched the war and turned America into a nation that tortures.

Plus, a single teacher fired for getting pregnant? Her school says her pregnancy sets a bad moral example. But can they really get away with that? 360 investigates.


ANNOUNCER: This is ANDERSON COOPER 360 in the West. Live from Los Angeles, here's Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: And good evening again. Thanks very much for joining us.

Thanksgiving is almost here, but you can smell that turkey and stuffing. Hmm, stuffing. But the roads and the weather may be miserable if you're traveling tomorrow. We will tell you the latest.

But, first, here's what's happening at this moment.

After more than three years in U.S. military custody, Jose Padilla is finally facing charges. Today, the Justice Department charged Padilla with belonging to a North American terrorist support cell and intending to carry out jihad in foreign countries. Padilla was originally accused, you may remember, of planning to use a dirty bomb in the United States. Now, the Justice Department didn't include that allegation in its charges.

The Roman Catholic Church is closing its doors to homosexuals who want to become priests. In a document to be official released next week, the Vatican says it cannot permit men to become priests if they -- quote -- "practice homosexuality" or -- quote -- "support the so- called gay culture." We will have more on that story later on.

In Mississippi, charges stemming from Hurricane Katrina -- six people were indicted today. According to a U.S. attorney's office, suspects are accused of submitting false claims to FEMA for disaster relief.

And President Bush has saved two gobblers from becoming gobbled up. It is, of course, an annual tradition. The president today pardoned two turkeys, sparing them from becoming Thanksgiving dinners. So, what are they going to do now? They're going to Disneyland. No, seriously, they are. They're -- they're going to be honorary grand marshals at Disneyland's Thanksgiving Day parade.

Some turkeys get all the luck.

So, the turkey gets away clean, but what about the rest of us? According to AAA, nearly three million people will hit the road this holiday weekend. And that's just here in Southern California, sunny Southern California. It will be no less crowded elsewhere, but with rain or snow added to the mix.

So, here now with traffic and weather together, as they say on the radio, is CNN's Rob Marciano.

Rob, how does it look?

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, Anderson, the West Coast, like you said, pretty sunny, typically. It's going to be pretty nice this weekend up and down the West Coast into the inner Mountain West.

But the eastern half of the country, or, really, the northeastern third of the country is going to pay the piper, as far as winter weather is concerned -- a nasty day today from D.C. to Philly to New York, all the way up to Boston, with wet and windy conditions -- still, the last of this storm scooting up I-95 from Boston up through Portland.

Some snow is across the mountains of Vermont, but for ski resorts trying to open up for this holiday weekend, that's not necessarily a bad thing. A couple of flakes of snow possible in the Big Apple tonight, but the worst of it was earlier today and folks trying to get home, just having a mess of it, not only in New York, but other spots as well, especially on the Eastern Seaboard -- Seaboard.

Atlanta Hartsfield Airport, some problems -- from Boston and New York, one-and-two-hour average delays from people trying to get home along the airports. Well, if you're trying to do some old-fashioned driving over the next couple days, there's going to be some issues as well, some snow- covered roadways potential also. Up through the Great Lakes is going to be a problem. We go back to the radar. Already tonight, the lake- effect snow machines are starting.

I-90, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, those areas will be under the gun not only tonight, but through tomorrow, and likely through Friday. Some of those areas could see one to three feet of snow before this weekend is done. Cleveland could see something similar to that -- at least to the east of Cleveland -- Pittsburgh seeing some snow tonight.

So, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh, those are the areas that will see some rain, at times, mixed with snow. And that's going to be the issue, Anderson. East of the Mississippi is where the mess is, with this storm system, which will eventually get to the New York area, Turkey Day. And that will spell a rain-snow mix in spots. We will talk about that more in about 60 minutes -- back to you.

COOPER: All right, Rob. Thanks very much.

And in the Pennsylvania double murder case, Kara Borden is the piece of the puzzle that doesn't quite fit yet, at least not yet. She, of course, is the 14-year-old who ran off with her boyfriend after he allegedly murdered her parents just nine days ago.

Now, in court papers filed yesterday, prosecutors said that she went willingly with this boyfriend. Today, Kara Borden's lawyer told the Associated Press his client didn't know the boyfriend was going to kill her parents. But detectives on the case are looking for their own answers, as you can understand.

CNN's Jason Carroll investigates.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the image of Kara Borden that the public has come to know. It was the moment when police finally caught 14-year-old Borden and her 18-year-old boyfriend, David Ludwig, the young man who had allegedly murdered her parents.

As detectives piece together details of the case, they have been trying to answer questions: Why would Borden, as she admitted in an affidavit, willingly go with Ludwig to start a new life, even after he allegedly shot her father and mother? Was she somehow involved in the murders?

(on camera): To answer those questions, detectives are looking into Borden's past, essential trying to create a portrait of the teenager.

(voice-over): Borden and her family moved to the small community of Lititz, Pennsylvania, from North Carolina eight years ago -- their house not far from the town's picturesque Main Street. Borden was homeschooled. And, according to friends, she met Ludwig through a small network of students. Like many teens, Borden used the Internet to express herself. On one of her earlier Web sites, she wrote that her interests included Jesus, church, her youth group, family and soccer -- her occupation, artist.

On a later Web site, God was still an interest, but she also included boys, her expertise, Borden writes, baby-sitting and guys. ] Borden attended this church and youth group meetings. But those who know her say she became less involved with those meetings the more she became involved with Ludwig.

For the 14-year-old, that involvement apparently became very serious. Affidavits show the couple had a sexual relationship. Police recovered digitally-stored images of Kara Borden in various stages of undress from Ludwig's home.

Dr. Walt Mueller, who lives in the area, has counseled teens and parents in times of crisis, including during the Columbine incident.

DR. WALT MUELLER, CENTER FOR PARENT/YOUTH UNDERSTANDING: All that I think we can take away from this, as parents, is that, at -- at some level, we need to realize that we need to be very actively involved in the lives of our kids, understand their world, understand the -- the different pressures that they're facing out there, and be realistic about that.

CARROLL: In pictures from her parents' funeral, Borden appears composed. Her attorney continues to say she, too, is a victim.

Jason Carroll, CNN, Lititz, Pennsylvania.


COOPER: Well, the debate over an exit strategy in Iraq just keeps getting hotter. Lost often in the sharp words and those bitter politics, however, are facts.

Here's what the president has been saying for more than a year. Take a look.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our strategy can be summed up this way: As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.


COOPER: So, that was last June, talking to troops at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.


BUSH: As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.


COOPER: That was the president last week in South Korea. Tonight, we wanted to check the facts: Are the Iraqis, in fact, standing up?

CNN's Nic Robertson investigates.



NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): A revealing look inside the Iraqi army.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the answer. But look at that weapon. What did he clean it with?

ROBERTSON: Inside, Lieutenant Colonel Ross Brown's (ph) daily battle, getting an Iraqi army unit ready to fight alongside U.S. soldiers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell him -- tell him, look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The reason I ask the question, the reason I'm hard on these things is because I want these soldiers to survive.

ROBERTSON: Brown's (ph) mission is not easy. The Iraqi officers he's mentoring are not shaping up fast.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They didn't do too much work yesterday. They didn't do too much work the day before. They haven't done too much work since they have been here.

ROBERTSON: Sixty miles north, this Iraqi army officer, Colonel Thear, is about as close to a hero for U.S. troops as an Iraqi can become.

COLONEL STEVEN SALAZAR, 3RD BRIGADE 3RD INFANTRY DIVISION: He is an outstanding leader, and he is just simply a patriot.

ROBERTSON: So, which is the real face of the Iraqi army, underprepared and underperforming or dedicated and on the verge of breaking through?

GENERAL MARTIN DEMPSEY, U.S. ARMY, COMMANDER OF MULTINATIONAL SECURITY TRANSITION COMMAND: Progress is uneven. And -- and it's uneven across the country. It's uneven in units. It's uneven between the army and the police.

ROBERTSON: Of the 212,000 men and women in the security forces, almost 100,000 are in the army. Of those, only about 23,000 are battle-ready. That's 30 out of a total of 130 battalions.

According to Dempsey, getting the rebuilding right, making the Iraqi army strong and cohesive, is more important than rushing training.

DEMPSEY: What we're looking to produce is something that will actually be fully capable and last, and -- and will be something that is an institution of national cohesion, as opposed to, you know, 212,000 men and women running around with rifles.

ROBERTSON: Colonel Thear is one of the battle-ready battalion commanders. He's taken over from U.S. troops in his area, but lacks even an up-armored Humvee. He is at level-two readiness.

COLONEL ISMAEL THEAR, IRAQI ARMY: We told coalition forces just, we need like support. (INAUDIBLE) Iraq army soldiers don't have helicopter.

ROBERTSON: Level-one readiness means no support from U.S. forces required, and that's still hard to find.

DEMPSEY: And I don't know what the particular number today is on level one. But...

ROBERTSON: In the latest offensive, Operation Steel Curtain, close to the Syrian border, 3,000 U.S. Marines led the way, with 550 Iraqi troops mostly bringing up the rear.

Developing the Iraqi army to this point has been hampered by Iraq's changing political leadership, according to Dempsey. Despite that, he's confident they are on track, as planned.

DEMPSEY: And I am going to get it done in the way that -- that we have agreed is right, and I'm not going to be pressured by the -- what is necessarily a, at the end of the day, probably a healthy debate back in Washington.


ROBERTSON: Well, ready or not, pressure is increasing on the Iraqi army to take control. And that pressure was added to over the weekend, a three-day reconciliation conference in Cairo attended by over 100 Iraqis.

Leaders, political leaders, religious leaders, the president, the prime minister, all concluded and all agreed it was time for the United States to set a timetable for withdrawing -- Anderson.

COOPER: So, what exactly does that mean? I mean, if you have all these Iraqi leaders, including the president of the country, saying they want the U.S. out, where -- where do -- where do we go from here?

ROBERTSON: I think it means three things, Anderson.

One, they're trying to bring the Sunnis involved in the political process. This is what the Sunnis have been asking for. So, that's an effort. Also, it's election time. And this is quite a popular thing to -- for every -- for all the politicians to say. Let's have the U.S. out, because they know that perhaps will draw them votes. But I think, in the bigger picture overall, it means that there's a general readiness in Iraq to see that happen. Now, nobody actually set a timetable and made any specific demands. So, perhaps we shouldn't read too much into it. But I think the debate is hotting up here as well -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Well, we will be watching how that develops.

Nic Robertson, thanks.

With one piece of the puzzle -- picture on the ground there in Iraq, not the only one, not by any means. Take a look.





COOPER: In our next hour, we're going to be on the ground with U.S. Marines and Iraqi security forces as they try to take on insurgents, protect civilians, and not make any fatal mistakes. They call it fighting the three-block war. And we will take you right to the front lines.

The debate in Washington, of course, continues, and around the country, now that congressional leaders have headed home. It is rare that someone from within the Bush administration breaks ranks and goes public with his criticisms. But that is exactly what Colonel Larry Wilkerson has done. He used to be Colin Powell's quiet deputy at the State Department. Now he is speaking out, loudly.

He says this of Doug Feith, the former undersecretary of defense, the man he says is largely responsible for much of the problems in the war in Iraq -- quote -- "Seldom in my life have I met a dumber man." Wilkerson calls the president out of touch and recently called the current secretary of state weak.

We are going to hear from Secretary Rice in a moment -- first, our conversation with Colonel Wilkerson.


COOPER: Colonel, I'm curious to get on your take on what is happening on -- on the ground in Iraq in terms of retraining the Iraqi army. What do you think? I mean, do you support the idea of a -- of a troop withdrawal in -- in 2006?

COLONEL LAWRENCE WILKERSON, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT CHIEF OF STAFF: Anderson, I think that we're going to find that, because we didn't make decisions two years ago, or even 18 months ago, to increase the end strength of the Army in particular, and perhaps to increase the end strength of the Marine Corps additionally, we are going to be forced to withdraw our forces from Iraq in the 2006, early 2007 time frame. Otherwise, we are going to have armed forces that are essentially broken.

COOPER: And -- and those decisions weren't made -- the decisions that were made, why were they made? I mean, you have written about, you have spoken about a cabal, basically, within the Bush administration of Don Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney. How did that cabal work or -- or, in this case, not work?

WILKERSON: The two decisions that I had the most insight into were the decisions about post-invasion Iraq and, also, the decision about the -- departing from Geneva and the detainee abuse issue that occurred as a -- as a result of that.

What I saw in the latter decision was that the president made a decision in the statutory process. After passionate debate on both sides, the president decided to compromise. It was a new situation. Al Qaeda terrorists were not like traditional prisoners of war, but we would treat them in the spirit of the Geneva convention.

What I saw executed, under the chapeau, if you will, of the president and by the secretary of defense, through his commanders in the field, was a very different situation. What I saw executed was the position they had -- they had initially advocated in the statutory process. That is to say, they would depart from Geneva in interrogation techniques of people they were capturing in Afghanistan, and then in Iraq, and, of course, also in the beginning at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

COOPER: President Bush has come out and said, categorically, the United States does not torture. Do -- is that true?

WILKERSON: Well, I -- I think that confirms my opinion, my view, that the president did not know that this was going on.

It is not true, in the sense that we violated the international convention against torture and cruel and unusual and degrading punishment, which Ronald Reagan signed us up to in 1998. It's not true, in the sense that we have a vice president who, actually, in public, lobbied the Congress, so that we could continue doing the kinds of things that this alternative decision-making process had set us out to do.

COOPER: Is this sidelining of the bureaucracy, is -- does that have anything to do with what happened in the wake of Hurricane Katrina? And what does that mean, going forward, if there is some sort of terrorist attack or incident inside the United States? Are we ready?

WILKERSON: My feeling is that we need some kind of new arrangement in the interagency group.

We need, for example, a standing interagency joint task force that would have a leader, a leader of four-star equivalent if it were military or the equivalent civilian. And he needs to have hundreds of millions of dollars in his pocket before the -- the -- the crisis comes, not after it comes. And he needs to be able to knock heads. He needs to be able, working directly for the president, to make people in the bureaucracy perform, and to make them do their jobs, and to make them do it swiftly.


COOPER: Well, that was Colonel Wilkerson.

360 next, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice talks about pulling the troops out. That's next on 360.

And this: A teacher at a Catholic school, she's unmarried. She's pregnant, and now she's been fired. Why? Well, because she is unmarried and pregnant. Is that fair? Is it even legal? We will investigate later on 360.


COOPER: We just heard a pull-no-punches critic of the Bush administration criticizing their performance and their treatment of the Iraq war, and, in part, criticizing Condoleezza Rice's performance.

CNN's John King sat down today with the secretary of state to talk about what she says is the progress in the war and when American troops may be coming home. And things got quite candid.


CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: I'm quite certain, John, that what -- what is happening here is that Iraqi forces are getting more capable. They are able of carrying out more functions.

It doesn't mean that coalition forces are no longer needed, because there are still certain functions that they're not capable of doing. But the number of coalition forces is clearly going to come down, because Iraqis are making -- making it possible now for -- to do those functions themselves.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Clearly going to come down when? Senator Bayh says bring maybe 50,000 home next year. I understand there's a plan circulating within the administration that could bring, assuming conditions on the ground -- ground improve, as many as 60,000 home next year.

How many and when?

RICE: I think what the president will want to assess is when can we safely bring down our level of forces so that Iraqis are really capable of achieving the results and the effects that you want, rather than having some artificial timetable.

I suspect that the -- that American forces are not going to be needed in the numbers that they're there for all that much longer, because Iraqis are continuing to make progress, in function, not just in numbers, but in their capabilities to do certain functions.

KING: Another aspect of the debate here at home has been this whole squabble over the pre-war intelligence and whether, as some Democrats say, the president exaggerated it.

I don't want to get into that debate. But one of the issues is, the administration says they had the same intelligence. You were the national security adviser then. They had a lot of intelligence, but they don't get the same exact intelligence that the president received at the time or that you received at the time, do they?

RICE: They had the intelligence that made the case that Saddam Hussein had reconstituted his biological and chemical weapons, was at least on the way to reconstituting the nuclear weapons.

There was some debate, was it reconstituted or not reconstituted, but the same intelligence that said that, if left unchecked, he would have a nuclear weapon in 10 years, the same intelligence that said that his procurement network was feeding this with money that was being skimmed from the oil-for-food. All of that intelligence was available.

KING: Why is it, if you look at polling -- now, the president says he's not guided by polling -- but 60 percent of the American people say it's not worth it, that it was not worth going to war in Iraq?

RICE: John, we -- we don't look at polling. I -- I think you have to look at...

KING: But you govern in a democracy. And six in 10 Americans say it's not worth it.

RICE: You govern in a democracy. And a lot of it is how you ask a question and what the context is.

I'm a social scientist. And I am, myself, quite skeptical of polls. I have said that 1,000 times. I really mean it. I'm a social scientist. I think they are -- it's very hard to read polls.

But are the American people concerned about what they're seeing? Absolutely. Are they worried about the loss of life that we are experiencing there, and does that tear deep at them? Absolutely. And it does at us too, those of us in the administration, and most certainly the president who has to make the lonely decision to send forces into battle.

I think you're seeing some of that reflected in some of -- to the degree that you want to look at polls -- you're seeing that sense of unease.


COOPER: Coming up next on 360, the tough new message the Vatican sending to gay priests and what it means for those planning on entering the seminary. Plus (SPEAKING FRENCH) The daredevil climber known as the French Spider-Man gets caught in a web of trouble in Houston. We will tell you what happened when the French guy came to town dressed up as Spidey.

360 continues.


COOPER: And welcome back. We are live in Los Angeles. Somewhere there is the CNN building. Oh, there it is, standing right in the middle of the frame -- of the -- of the scene.

Coming up on 360 tonight, a pregnant and unmarried Catholic schoolteacher is fired. And now there's a legal battle.

But, first, Sophia Choi from Headline News joins us with some of the other stories we are following right now.

Hey, Sophia.


Tonight, on the 42nd anniversary of President Kennedy's murder, a U.S. citizen has been found guilty of plotting to assassinate President Bush. Ahmed Abu Ali, an Arab-American, said he had been tortured by Saudi authorities into making a false confession. But the federal jury rejected that claim. Ahmed Ali, who grew up in Virginia, was also found guilty of conspiracy to destroy aircraft and of providing material support to terrorists.

Tampa, Florida, a 25-year-old teacher is now under house arrest. She will remain there for three years. Debra Lafave pled guilty to having sex with a 14-year-old student in a classroom as part of a deal to avoid prison.

Near Sacramento, California, people are talking tonight about a statue of the Virgin Mary that has been drawing crowds of the faithful. They claim the statue is crying tears of blood.

Houston, Texas, the daredevil climber known as the French Spider- Man, who has scaled skyscrapers worldwide, was outmaneuvered by police today as he tried to climb the 46-story Houston Center.

Anderson, you might recall he had decidedly better luck with the Sears Tower back in '99.

COOPER: Yes. This guy has climbed, really, all over the world. We have more video of him climbing, I think, some building overseas. It -- it's pretty incredible, what he does.

CHOI: Yes. I think he says he's climbed like some 70 buildings so far. And he might have gotten away with it this time. But, apparently, there was a tall officer that had been tipped off by the media. So, he grabbed his ankles just as he was trying to get up that building.

COOPER: Well, I guess he doesn't always wear the Spidey suit.


COOPER: All right, Sophia, thanks very much.

Ahead on 360, fired for being pregnant -- an unmarried teacher loses her job at a Catholic school. The church says she committed a sin and should not be -- she's not a good moral example for kids. That's what they say. What do you think? In firing her, did the church itself commit a crime? We will look at all sides.

Plus, these siblings, all of them from the same donor, a sperm donor, and now they're searching for their donor dad. But it might not be so easy.


COOPER: The young, pregnant teacher thought she was doing the right thing by telling her bosses about the baby she is expecting. They promptly fired her. The teacher is unmarried, the school that fired her is Catholic. And now the case is heading to court.

CNN's Mary Snow investigates.


MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She's 18 weeks pregnant and unmarried. And because of that, 26-year-old Michelle McCusker is now unemployed. At the heart of the firing, Catholic doctrine.

Saint Rose of Lima School, the Catholic school where McCusker taught pre-kindergarten, terminated her in a letter, stating, "A teacher cannot violate the tenets of Catholic morality."

MICHELLE MCCUSKER, FIRED TEACHER: And I also don't understand how a religion that prides itself on being forgiving and on valuing life could terminate me because I'm pregnant and choosing to have this baby.

SNOW: McCusker, with lawyers from the New York Civil Liberties Union, filed a federal complaint, saying the firing is illegal and discriminates on the basis on sex and pregnancy. Lawyers say the same Catholic doctrine applied to women is not applied to male employees.

CASSANDRA STUBBS, NEW YORK CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION: Does the school question the male employees about their sexual practices? How does the school punish male employees for engaging in nonmarital sex?

SNOW: The school's employer, the Diocese of Brooklyn, said no one was available to talk about the firing, but released a statement, saying, "This is a difficult situation for every person involved, but the school had no choice but to follow the principles contained in the teacher's personnel handbook." That handbook is part of a contract McCusker signed when she started the job. When it comes to laws for secular and religious schools, employment lawyers say not everything is equal in hiring.

ROBERT WHITMAN, ATTORNEY: Religious schools can discriminate. A Catholic school can say, we will only hire Catholics.

SNOW: McCusker is Catholic. She signed a one-year contract with the school. Her lawyers say, even without the contract, she still is the target of discrimination, discrimination that McCusker says only came about because her pregnancy is visible and acknowledges that abortion, which is forbidden by the church, would probably not have gotten her fired. McCusker acknowledges the irony.

MCCUSKER: I do believe, if I had decided to abort the baby, the decision to fire me wouldn't have come because they wouldn't have known.

SNOW: And lawyers say that is at the heart of the case, that moral standards can't be applied evenly among what goes on in private and what is clearly public.

Mary Snow, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Wanting to look at two different sides in this debate. It is a complicated case, to be sure.

Anna Schissel is acting director of the New York Civil Liberties Union's Reproductive Rights Project, and Michelle McCusker's lawyer. She joins me now from New York.

Thanks very much for being with us.


COOPER: What specifically did this contract that your client signed say? I mean, if there's a morality clause in it, did she violate it?

SCHISSEL: There was something general in the employment contract that says that teachers must abide by Catholic doctrine.

COOPER: And what is wrong -- what is wrong, in your opinion, with a religious institution having its own rules about what is right and wrong and adhering to them?

SCHISSEL: There's nothing wrong with a Catholic organization, Catholic school requiring its employees to abide by Catholic doctrine. What's wrong is that here they applied it in a way that is not gender neutral.

They applied to our client because she was pregnant. Men can't become pregnant. This is classic sex discrimination. It's classic pregnancy discrimination.

COOPER: So is it only because of that men can't get pregnant that you're saying it's gender discrimination, or is it also because you're alleging that they do not inquire about the sexual habits of male employees?

SCHISSEL: Well, the school and the diocese that runs the school does not fire men who engage in non-marital sex. And their treatment of men and women differently is classic sex discrimination.

COOPER: I mean, does Ms. McCusker really believe that if she had chosen to terminate the pregnancy, if she had chosen to have an abortion, that she would still be a teacher there?

SCHISSEL: Well, that's the irony of the situation here. The policy that the school is employing here forces women to choose between keeping their pregnancy and keeping their job.

COOPER: Anna, where does this case go from here? I mean, what's the next step?

SCHISSEL: Well, we filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and it's their job now to investigate the claim and decide whether or not in their opinion the school discriminated against our client.

COOPER: Anna Schissel, I appreciate you joining us. Thank you very much.


COOPER: There are Catholics, of course, who see the case much differently, including William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. He is standing by in New York.

Mr. Donohue, thanks for being with us.

Do Catholic schools fire men who have premarital sex?

WILLIAM DONOHUE, PRESIDENT, CATHOLIC LEAGUE: I don't know of any that do, but I certainly don't know too many that would fire a women in this particular case. But the bottom line is they have every right to.

And, you know, I'm not buying the line that if the school knew that a man had impregnated a woman other than their wife, that they would have done nothing. That is a supposition which I think is very much a rebuttal presumption.

COOPER: But, I mean, if this teacher had chosen to terminate her pregnancy and didn't tell anybody about it, she would have a job. What is the message this firing sends? I mean, do you have any concerns about what message it sends?

DONOHUE: If she had mugged somebody in the alley, and nobody knew about it, and killed a person, she would still have her job, too. What is the point here?

The point is that she is a moral agent. She's standing there in the classroom in front of students whom she took a voluntarily contract to abide by the moral standards of the Catholic Church. She's a walking example of someone who violates those standards, standards which she voluntarily accepted.

Look, if she was working in a diocese office, Anderson, let's say she's working with Catholic Charities or working for -- in the immigration office, and they fired her for this condition. I think then that could be problematic.

But if you're a teacher and you're a role model, particularly with the little kids, how are you supposed to explain to the parents, by the way, who might say, well, let's see now, what's the alternative? Let's say if the school did nothing. How do you explain as the principal to those parents who are paying their money expecting that a teacher is going to teach religion and abide by it that you're going to do nothing about it? You're going to have a laissez-faire attitude.

I think that principal would be in real trouble.

COOPER: So, this woman who's pregnant now has no health benefits, no salary. You know, there are some who would argue that this maybe goes against church tenets about forgiveness and acceptance.

DONOHUE: Well, as a matter of fact, that's not true. I called the diocese of Brooklyn today to find out whether she was just thrown out on the street or was she given benefits. She was given benefits to the end of the year. She declines to have them.

Look, nature and nature's god make it such that the condition is woman get pregnant and men impregnate them. The problem is with radical feminists and people in the ACLU who don't like it.

It reminds me of (INAUDIBLE) out of 1970 who talked about the fact that pregnancy was barbaric. That's really the problem here. It's anthropological and it's theological.

And beyond that, are we going to have the state police the Catholic institutions? Are we going to have to tell them what the rabbis do in the yeshiva? This is a violation of church and state. It smacks of the worst kind of church and state violation with you have the state trying to sit there in judgment of the strictures of the Catholic Church about a contract which a woman voluntarily undertook.

COOPER: Well, I mean, the state -- I mean, if the church has broken a law, people are held to standards. I mean, people have to follow the law, as we've seen with the sex scandals in the Catholic Church.


COOPER: But -- but are you saying that she -- this woman is a radical feminist and that's really what's at the heart of this case?

DONOHUE: No. What I'm saying is she's another prototypical victim.

I'm a little sick and tired of all these people who get involved in a voluntarily, consensual situation such as a contract, they violate it. And what do they do? They don't expect that the Catholic Church is supposed to -- they expect the Catholic Church is supposed to change.

I mean, why is it that it's incumbent upon the church to change a contract when she's the one who violated it? I don't know. If they violated her salary agreement, oh, boy, that would be different. But here, in this situation, she is the culprit.

COOPER: William Donohue, appreciate your perspective. Thank you for being on the program.

DONOHUE: Thank you.

COOPER: Still to come tonight on 360, the Vatican gets tough on homosexuals. We're going to tell you about a new church document, what it means for those who feel the call to enter the priesthood.

Plus, Sam, we hardly got to know thee. We remember a one-of-a- kind ugly dog, the likes of which, well - well, we kind of hope we see again. There he is, the ugliest dog he was voted. And he's off to doggy heaven. We'll tell you why.

Stay with us.


COOPER: Traffic jams in Los Angeles ahead of this Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Coming up, a story that is unfolding tonight. The Vatican has a message for gays who want to enter the priesthood. We'll have that story in a moment.

But first, Sophia Choi from Headline News joins us with some of the other stories we're following right now.

Hey, Sophia.

CHOI: Hi there, Anderson.

In Kirkuk, Iraq, a coordinated attack by insurgents leave 18 dead. First insurgents launched a grenade. Then when people responded to the blast, a suicide bomber detonated a car filled with explosives.

Elsewhere, insurgents targeted a U.S. ceremony as officials were handing over a base to the Iraqis. A mortar was thrown, but the shell did not explode. In Iowa, the warden of a prison where two inmates managed to escape from has been reassigned. His removal follows a probe that found a simple head count would have detected the prisoners were missing. The two convicts scaled a 30-foot wall. Both were recaptured last week.

And in Washington, keeping a watchful eye on Mount St. Helens. Today a plume of dust rose from the volcano's crater. Scientists are monitoring it and warn that an eruption of ash is possible at any time now.

In 1980, the Mount St. Helens eruption killed 57 people and turned miles of forest into a wasteland.

And remember this mug? A face only a dog lover could love. Today, Sam, the hairless pooch who won the ugliest animal contest hands down, died. He was 14.

That's 98 to you and me, Anderson.

Upon the passing, his owner summed it up best, simply saying, "I don't think there will ever be another Sam."

He was one of a kind. Huh?

COOPER: He was ugly, but he was kind of cute in a dog way.

CHOI: Exactly, in his own way. Look at that face.

COOPER: Man, that is just -- that's incredible. This's quite a dog there. All right, Sophia.

CHOI: Chinese Crested.

COOPER: Yes. Sophia, thanks very much.

To become a priest in the Roman Catholic Church, a man must take a vow of celibacy, which means, of course, no marriage, no intimate relationships, no flings are allowed once he puts on that collar. Essentially, anything sexual is supposed to be left at the door.

Well, next week, the Vatican is going to go a step further. In a church document it will single out sexually active homosexuals and those who support gay culture, saying they're unwelcome in the priesthood.

Today an Italian Catholic news agency posted the document on the Internet.

Joining me from Washington, CNN's Faith and Values Correspondent Delia Gallagher.

Delia, what is new in this document?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN FAITH AND VALUES CORRESPONDENT: Well, in fact, there's not whole lot new, Anderson, because it is simply a reiteration of something which the church has taught for sometime and since the '60s has been giving sort of instructions about young men entering the seminary who are homosexuals.

So this does not apply to priests who -- men who are already priests. This applies to those who want to enter into seminary, seminary being that period of time of study, six or seven years, before priesthood.

So the document particularly calls to task two things with regard to homosexuality and seminarians. I want to read two points from that documents for you.

It says, "The Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to seminary those who practice homosexuality, present deeply rooted homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called gay culture."

In a second part it says, "Where homosexual tendencies are only the expression of a transitory problem, they must be clearly overcome at least three years prior to the diaconate ordination."

So this gives you some idea of where the Vatican is going with this. Kind of making a distinction between those homosexuals who have these deeply rooted homosexual tendencies and those which are of a more fleeting nature.

Of course, that's a decision that is going to have to be left up to individual bishops and seminary rectors when they're presented with the young man for ordination.

COOPER: But the Catholic Church, my understanding, does believe basically homosexuality is something that one is born with. They're just saying anyone who has deep-seated homosexual tendencies, I believe is the term they used, cannot become a priest. That basically eliminates anyone who is gay.

GALLAGHER: Well, they would say, Anderson, that they don't know whether it's sort of nature or nurture on that question. That the psychology is still out and a lot of the studies are still out on that. But what they're particularly focusing on is the seminary life and the formation. And they believe that in seminary, it is more difficult for a homosexual man, and they do believe that a homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered, as they call them.

So, yes, they think that this is not a place for a homosexual.

COOPER: All right. Delia, thanks.

Coming up next on 360, Delia's going to look at the real effects of this document on the clergy. We're going to hear all sides on the issues from students at a seminary to an openly gay pries. Find out where he thinks the Church's real problems lie.

Plus, the ice man mystery thaws out more than 60 years after his disappearance. Tonight, they may be closer to figuring out the name of this airman. We'll have the latest. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Before the break, we told you about the Vatican's new rules against homosexuals trying to be priests. A document set to be released next week but leaked today over the Internet states that men who "practice homosexuality" or support the "so-called gay culture" cannot be admitted to the seminary. But the Church does say it profoundly respects these people.

While the document is aimed at those who are entering the priesthood, it has a profound effect on those already serving in the clergy.

Here's CNN's faith and values correspondent, Delia Gallagher.


FATHER FRED DALEY, ST. FRANCIS DE SALES CHURCH: It took me a long time to in my spiritual journey to accept myself as a gay person.

GALLAGHER (voice over): Father Fred Daley knows all too well what this document means to men like him.

DALEY: I'm afraid this sort of trying to glean out homosexuals and whatever is going to put that whole area back in the closet and will keep folks from being able to work those issues out in the seminary, which I'm afraid the direction we're going is going to move us into once again an unhealthy situation.

GALLAGHER: Last year, Father Daley came out, announcing to his congregation, his community and his bishop that he is gay. He says he didn't realize he was gay until after his ordination in 1974, in part because the seminary system in the '60s and '70s discouraged discussion about sexuality, which he believes may lie at the heart of the Church's recent sex abuse scandals.

DALEY: My fear is that there are a number of folks in high, high places in the Church that are scapegoating gay priests rather than facing the root issues of this -- of this tragic sexual abuse crisis. The issue should be focused on, are men capable and responsible to make a healthy decision concerning celibacy and human sexuality in their lives?

GALLAGHER: His reason for speaking out now? This document set to be released by the Vatican next week but leaked to the press today, it reiterates the Church's stance that homosexuals are "intrinsically disordered" and calls homosexual tendencies "objectively disordered."

The document is designed to prevent gay men from entering the priesthood, stopping them before they start their seminary training. It says, in part, "If a candidate practices homosexuality or presents deeply rooted homosexual tendencies, his spiritual director, like his confessor, have the duty to dissuade him in conscience from proceeding to Ordination."

Monsignor Steve Rohlfs is the rector at Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Maryland, one of the men charged with enforcing the rules written in to the document, rules that he says are not only right but necessary.

MONSIGNOR STEVE ROHLFS, MOUNT ST. MARY'S SEMINARY: I mean, obviously, we didn't do a good job at educating men to be confident and happy celibates. We didn't do a good enough job of it.

GALLAGHER: But Monsignor Rohlfs also acknowledges that the rules are subject to interpretation.

ROHLFS: It's a nuanced document in which those who want gays admitted will be upset and those who want gays completely ostracized will also be upset.

GALLAGHER: Seminarians we met at Mount St. Mary's said they don't disagree with the document. In fact, they say it simply follows god's law.

JOE YOKUM, SEMINARIAN: And therefore, just as in the nature of a priest who takes on that Altos Christos (ph), being another Christ, he is seen as the bride to the church who is the bridegroom, which is an inordinate relationship between two men.

GALLAGHER: You won't find much agreement from Father Daley, a man who dedicated his life to the Church, a Church he thinks this time got it wrong.

DALEY: There's wonderful things in the Catholic family, but we're dysfunctional in some areas. And one area that we're very dysfunctional on is the whole area of human sexuality. When push comes to shove, we react to most of those issues like the Earth is still flat.


COOPER: Delia, if all priests are not supposed to have sex, why would it matter if one priest -- you know, if he was going to have sex would have homosexual sex as opposed to heterosexual sex?

GALLAGHER: Well, I think the question has to do with homosexuality itself and how that plays out in seminary life. Remember, this is a document focused on the seminaries and focused on training for the priesthood. And so they already have an idea that the priesthood should not involve any kind of disorder, as they consider homosexuality to be. And they furthermore have an idea that there is temptation in seminaries for homosexuals.

I mean, I think it's interesting, Anderson, to see in that piece how really both sides are sort of agreed that seminary life needs to be looked at and homosexuality in seminaries. It's just that one side is saying, we don't want it, we shouldn't have it in seminaries. And the other side is saying, we should have more open discussion, we shouldn't repress it in seminaries.

So two very different approaches, but agreed at least that that's what needs to be looked at. COOPER: All right. Delia Gallagher, thanks.

Next on 360, searching for the missing in New Orleans. Where are the thousands still unaccounted for?

Also tonight, welcome to the United States of self improvement. The self-help industry, is it doing more harm than good? What do you think?

Stay with us.



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