Lovely Church You Have There

The news for the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict keeps getting worse:

Top Vatican officials ”” including the future Pope Benedict XVI ”” did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church, according to church files newly unearthed as part of a lawsuit.

If the molestation of 200 boys doesn’t lead to an immediate defrocking, what the hell does? The church hierarchy has really lost its moral center on this and needs to come clean with it all. All of it. No more whitewashes. Out with it.

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Sean Paul Kelley

Traveler of the (real) Silk Road, scholar and historian, photographer and writer - founder of The Agonist.

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  • You know, at some point in the Church’s history, molesting boys became a pervasive part of the culture like the Bacha Bazi in Central Asia. There’s just too much evidence now for the Church to deny this. How long has it been going on? Those molested boys grew up and a greater percentage of them than otherwise would have became themselves perpetrators. I generally try to stay away from applying the idea of good and evil but this!

  • that the Church, as an institution, doesn’t have a Moral Center, and probably hasn’t had one for a thousand years or more.

    *Individually* you will find members with strong and centered morals, but *as an Institution*, the Church adheres to outdated, twisted, and in some cases, thoroughly immoral stances. It’s the Individuals who uphold the Institution that need to go, and leave the Church to those remainder who want to run the Institution as per the teachings of the New Testament.

    As an American Catholic (non-practicing), I’m all for Lay prosecution of Clergy when Clergy run afoul of Lay/Civilian Law…and the Church doesn’t have a logical Legal argument (IMO) for keeping records secret….they’re not a Business with ‘trade secrets’….they’re a Public Institution, ostensibly constituted to further the Public Good. In that light, Church efforts to keep documents regarding its efforts to cover up Clergy misconduct are criminal interference with Police investigations, and should themselves be prosecuted.

    “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s…” that includes information relating to crimes against Citizens……

    “If Stupidity got us into this mess, why can’t it get us out?” — Will Rogers

  • The AOL article on the Legion of Christ and Father Maciel, it founder was very interesting. I read more on the topic and came away with the clear picture that John Paul II was hoodwinked by Maciel, who has been accused by a number of adults of molestation when they were in his order.

    The more I read, the more it seemed that Benedict II was doing the biding of John Paul. It then occurred to me that when Benedict got in, he began a process of getting rid of Maciel and letting the Legion be exposed. That happened.

    This doesn’t excuse Benedict’s actions, it is a part of the story that’s interesting. It’s not like Benedict can say, ‘Well, the revered Pope before me was naive to the point of negligence and I just followed orders.’

  • But two hundred sexually molested deaf boys starts to look like a pattern.

    If ex-Nazi Pope Ratso isn’t careful, his church is going to get a bad reputation.
    Cows get milked, rubes get bilked,
    And fat cats dine on fools and cream.

  • Rome has always seemed more adept at secrets and mystery, than honesty and enlightenment.

    Institutions for children, especially those for the disabled, and run by religious institutions, are perfect places for pedophiles to work. We know the evidence on this by now, and scholars in Catholic universities know this by now.

    Get out that broom, please. It’s time to clean up. How about finding a little bit of that old inquisitor energy to root out the bad guys and get back to Christ’s work? Or is that too much to ask?

    Uh, what would Jesus do?

    Tom Robinson

  • rel·a·tiv·ism (rl-t-vzm)
    n. Philosophy
    A theory, especially in ethics or aesthetics, that conceptions of truth and moral values are not absolute but are relative to the persons or groups holding them.

  • The Roman Church has not had a center since it blessed the Revelations of St John the Divine. A more evil piece of writing does not exist, as in no way does it conform to any of the teaching of the Gospels.

    Revelations is a stick to the Gospels’ carrot.

    And much more so since Constantine converted to Christianity.

    The Roman Church was made into an instrument of the Lords Temporal, and used as a device the keep the peasants under control; aka: Be good now and you’ll get your reward after you die.

  • (conversation between Luke and Obiwan in SW ep6)

    I agree with you….

    “If Stupidity got us into this mess, why can’t it get us out?” — Will Rogers

  • CNN, March 25

    Rome — The Vatican said it didn’t learn of an American priest accused of molesting up to 200 boys until 20 years after civil authorities investigated — then dropped — the case.

    Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi issued the statement Wednesday in response to a New York Times story alleging that top Vatican officials, including the future Pope Benedict XVI, failed to discipline or defrock the now-deceased Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy of Wisconsin, despite warnings from several American bishops.

    “During the mid-1970s, some of Father Murphy’s victims reported his abuse to civil authorities, who investigated him at that time,” Lombardi said. “However, according to news reports, that investigation was dropped.”

    The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the office led by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who would later become pope, “was not informed of the matter until some 20 years later,” Lombardi said. The office is in charge of deciding whether accused priests should be given canonical trials and defrocked.

    They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

  • Several letters were sent to the attention of Ratzinger by the diocese, and he never responded. How sad they were lost in the mail, or is that convenient?

    The accused priest then wrote directly to Ratzinger asking to be allowed to die as a priest, and this request was granted.

    Now we must believe that Ratzinger heard none of this, that all these American priests are lying, that the accused never begged him for mercy, and that only 20 years later did he hear about these cases.

    The Vatican has no reason to respond to any of this. Nobody can do anything to Ratzinger anyway, and what does the church care about its temporal reputation?

  • the Vatican until 1996… While I expect that more smoking guns are forthcoming, I don’t think this is one.

    Anyway, the end of the article is quite instructive:

    Archbishop Weakland said this week in an interview, “The evidence was so complete, and so extensive that I thought he should be reduced to the lay state, and also that that would bring a certain amount of peace in the deaf community.”

    Father Murphy died four months later at age 72 and was buried in his priestly vestments. Archbishop Weakland wrote a last letter to Cardinal Bertone explaining his regret that Father Murphy’s family had disobeyed the archbishop’s instructions that the funeral be small and private, and the coffin kept closed.

    “In spite of these difficulties,” Archbishop Weakland wrote, “we are still hoping we can avoid undue publicity that would be negative toward the church.”

    They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

  • Just ‘cause Jesus is involved doesn’t make it not rape culture

    Pandagon, By Amanda Marcotte, March 25

    I feel like Captain Obvious pointing this out, but there’s so much confusion and defensiveness about religion and patriarchy out there, I’m going to have to say it: That there’s a bunch of rapist priests in the Catholic church and the Pope was involved in the cover-up should not be surprising. The Catholic church is the classic example of what feminists like me like to call ”rape culture”. Rape culture crops up when male power over women and children is exalted, when sexuality is demonized, and when men are encouraged to think of women (and children’s) bodies as their property. All these aspects of patriarchy aren’t only part of the Catholic church, they’re celebrated. The exuberant love of male dominance that is the Catholic dogma is going to turn men into rapists who get a rise out of sexually dominated people they believe are lesser than them.


    But let’s take this argument one piece at a time, looking at the similarities between secular rape culture and Catholic teachings.

    They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

  • U.S. courts allow sex abuse cases against Vatican to proceed in rare legal move

    Washington Post, By Michelle Boorstein, March 27

    Since the Catholic clergy sexual abuse scandal exploded in the United States almost a decade ago, advocates have been trying to find a way to learn the role the Vatican played. Now they have gotten further than ever in their efforts to holding the Holy See accountable in a U.S. courtroom.

    Two federal appeals courts in recent months have allowed sexual abuse lawsuits against the Vatican to proceed in Oregon and Kentucky. Vatican attorneys have asked the Supreme Court to hear an appeal of the Oregon case. Attorneys for both sides in the Oregon proceeding were in Washington two weeks ago making their arguments before a roomful of U.S. government officials, who could wind up weighing in if the Vatican — considered a foreign country with immunity to lawsuits — is found a liable party in an American case.

    If the Supreme Court declines to take up the case this summer and lets the federal appeals ruling stand, attorneys could begin subpoenaing decades of documents and calling Vatican officials under oath.


    In the Kentucky case, U.S. District and U.S. Circuit court judges rejected the commercial exception but said the case could continue under an exception to foreign immunity if foreign employees and officials cause serious harm in the United States.

    Subpoena away – who thinks the Vatican will feel compelled?

    They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

  • New York Times, By Laurie Goodstein & David Callender, March 26

    They were deaf, but they were not silent. For decades, a group of men who were sexually abused as children by the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy at a school for the deaf in Wisconsin reported to every type of official they could think of that he was a danger, according to the victims and church documents.

    They told other priests. They told three archbishops of Milwaukee. They told two police departments and the district attorney. They used sign language, written affidavits and graphic gestures to show what exactly Father Murphy had done to them. But their reports fell on the deaf ears of hearing people.

    This week, they learned that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, received letters about Father Murphy in 1996 from Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland of Milwaukee, who said that the deaf community needed “a healing response from the Church.” The Vatican sat on the case, then equivocated, and when Father Murphy died in 1998, he died a priest.

    “That man should have been in prison for a very long time, but he was lucky,” Steven Geier, one of Father Murphy’s victims, said Thursday. “What about me? I wasn’t supposed to touch girls. What gave him the right to be able to do that? Father Murphy constantly thought about sex with children, and he got away with it.”


    Father Walsh said he told Archbishop Albert Gregory Meyer of Milwaukee, who sent Father Murphy on a retreat and then put him back in the school to undo “the harm he had done.”


    Mr. Conway said it was only when they filed a lawsuit that the archdiocese removed Father Murphy from St. John’s and sent him to northern Wisconsin to live at his family’s summer house. The lawsuit was withdrawn. Mr. Smith, one of two of the plaintiffs whose cases were still within the statute of limitations, received a settlement of $2,000, he and Mr. Conway said.

    Father Murphy continued working in parishes and schools, with deaf people, and leading youth retreats in the Diocese of Superior for the next 24 years.

    They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

  • Under Scrutiny, Vatican Acknowledges Test to ‘Moral Credibility’

    New York Times, By Rachel Donadio, March 27

    ROME — As Pope Benedict XVI faces growing pressure to address his role in the handling of sexual abuse cases over the years, the Vatican acknowledged on Saturday that its ability to handle the crisis was a crucial test of its “moral credibility.”

    In a note read on Vatican radio on Saturday, the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, spoke about the recent news media coverage of a widening abuse scandal in Europe, including recent revelations in The New York Times.

    “The nature of the question is such as to attract the attention of the media, and the way in which the church deals with it is crucial for her moral credibility,” Father Lombardi said.

    NCR Editorial: Credibility gap: Pope needs to answer questions

    National Catholic Reporter, March 26

    The Holy Father needs to directly answer questions, in a credible forum, about his role — as archbishop of Munich (1977-82), as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1982-2005), and as pope (2005-present) — in the mismanagement of the clergy sex abuse crisis.

    We urge this not primarily as journalists seeking a story, but as Catholics who appreciate that extraordinary circumstances require an extraordinary response. Nothing less than a full, personal and public accounting will begin to address the crisis that is engulfing the worldwide church. It is that serious.


    The strategies employed so far — taking the legal path, obscuring the truth, and doing everything possible to protect perpetrators as well as the church’s reputation and treasury — have failed miserably.

    We now face the largest institutional crisis in centuries, possibly in church history. How this crisis is handled by Benedict, what he says and does, how he responds and what remedies he seeks, will likely determine the future health of our church for decades, if not centuries, to come.

    It is time, past time really, for direct answers to difficult questions. It is time to tell the truth.

    Doctrine Preoccupied Benedict as Archbishop

    New York Times, By Katrin Bennhold & Nicholas Kulish, March 27

    MUNICH — When Pope Benedict XVI was archbishop of Munich and Freising, he was broadly described as a theologian more concerned with doctrinal debates than personnel matters. That, say his defenders, helps explain why he did not keep close tabs on a pedophile priest sent to his archdiocese in 1980 and allowed to work in a parish.

    Yet in 1979, the year before Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, approved the Rev. Peter Hullermann’s move to Munich, the cardinal blocked the assignment to the local university of a prominent theology professor recommended by the university senate. And in 1981, he punished a priest for holding a Mass at a peace demonstration, leading the man to ultimately leave the priesthood.

    Pope Benedict’s four-and-a-half-year tenure as archbishop is among the least-examined periods of his life, but his time presiding over 1,713 priests and 2.2 million Catholics was in many ways a dress rehearsal for his present job tending to the Roman Catholic Church’s more than one billion members worldwide.

    As archbishop, Benedict expended more energy pursuing theological dissidents than sexual predators. Already in the early 1980s, one could catch a glimpse of a future pope preoccupied with combating any movement away from church tradition. Vatican experts say there is little evidence that Benedict spent much time investigating more than 200 cases of “problem priests” in the diocese, with issues including alcohol abuse, adultery and, now under the microscope, pedophilia.


    Mr. Englisch, the Vatican expert, said that transferring a problem priest was “such a difficult decision” that it would necessarily have required his input.

    “I think the guy who handled it would have gone to his archbishop and said, ‘This case of transferring a priest is not common, and we should really have an eye on him,’ ” Mr. Englisch said.

    Referring to Benedict, he added, “I don’t think that he really knew the details; I don’t think he was really interested in the details.”

    “As they say in the legal profession, you either knew or you should have known,” said the Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, who once worked at the Vatican Embassy in Washington and became an early and well-known whistle-blower on sexual abuse in the church. “The archbishop is the unquestioned authority in that diocese. The buck stops there.”

    They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

  • From the National Catholic Reporter

    No longer can the Vatican simply issue papal messages — subject to nearly infinite interpretations and highly nuanced constructions — that are passively “received” by the faithful. No longer can secondary Vatican officials, those who serve the pope, issue statements and expect them to be accepted at face value.
    When the faithful are finally getting up on their hind legs and demanding accountability you have to believe there is some big change in the winds.

    “I despise ideologues masquerading as objective journalists.” – Bill O’Reilly, March 30, 2007

  • From the National Catholic Reporter

    The Holy Father needs to directly answer questions, in a credible forum, about his role — as archbishop of Munich (1977-82), as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1982-2005), and as pope (2005-present) — in the mismanagement of the clergy sex abuse crisis.

    We urge this not primarily as journalists seeking a story, but as Catholics who appreciate that extraordinary circumstances require an extraordinary response. Nothing less than a full, personal and public accounting will begin to address the crisis that is engulfing the worldwide church. It is that serious.

    No longer can the Vatican simply issue papal messages — subject to nearly infinite interpretations and highly nuanced constructions — that are passively “received” by the faithful. No longer can secondary Vatican officials, those who serve the pope, issue statements and expect them to be accepted at face value.
    When the faithful are finally getting up on their hind legs and demanding accountability you have to believe there is some big change in the winds.

    “I despise ideologues masquerading as objective journalists.” – Bill O’Reilly, March 30, 2007

  • Taibblog, By Matt Taibbi, March 27


    Anyone who’s interested in losing his lunch should read the above-mentioned blog entry by New York archbishop Timothy Dolan in defense of Pope Benedict; the archbishop’s incredibly pompous and self-pitying rant is some of the most depraved horseshit I’ve ever seen on the internet, which is saying a lot.

    Probably, you should read the whole thing.

    They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

  • The head of the Catholic church is bracing himself for a new round of allegations by victims of paedophile priests — in Italy.

    The Observer, Tom Kington & Henry McDonald, March 28

    Rome/Dublin – Pope Benedict XVI is facing growing pressure over his handling of paedophile priests as new cover-ups come to light in Italy, the country with the greatest concentration of Roman Catholic clerics.

    After the latest allegations – that Benedict took no action in the US when he was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s enforcer – the church is now “terrified” as more victims stand up to be counted in Italy, according to Roberto Mirabile, head of La Caramella Buona, an Italian anti-abuse group. “With the scandals erupting abroad, we will see a huge growth in victims’ groups in Italy in coming weeks,” said Mirabile yesterday. As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Benedict handled abuse cases at the Vatican for 24 years before he became pope in 2005.

    “We are likely to discover that the Vatican worked even harder in Italy with bishops than elsewhere to hide cases, simply because the contact was closer and the church is so powerful in Italy,” Mirabile added.

    Sergio Cavaliere, an Italian lawyer who has documented 130 cases of clerical paedophilia, also believes that the Vatican’s backyard could follow Ireland, the United States and Germany in producing a wave of abuse revelations. “The cases I have found are just the tip of the iceberg given the reluctance of many victims to come forward until now,” said Cavaliere. “And in no single case did the local bishop alert police to the suspected abuse.”

    Another startling development is how recent most of the allegations are, unlike the decades-old cases in Munich and Milwaukee that Benedict was last week accused of failing to act on.


    A second pupil has accused Verona’s late bishop, Monsignor Giuseppe Carraro, who is being considered for beatification, of molesting him.

    They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

  • Reuters, March 28

    VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict, facing one of the gravest crises of his pontificate as a sexual abuse scandal sweeps the Church, indicated on Sunday that his faith would give him the courage not to be intimidated by critics.

    The 82-year-old pontiff led tens of thousands of people in a sunny St. Peter’s Square in a Palm Sunday service at the start of Holy Week events commemorating the last days in the life of Jesus.

    While he did not directly mention the scandal involving sexual abuse of children by priests, parts of his sermon could be applicable to the crisis.

    The pontiff said faith in God helps lead one “towards the courage of not allowing oneself to be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinion.”

    I love ping-pong!

    They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

  • Senior clergy call for crisis gathering of bishops as fears grow that the scandal is spiralling out of control

    The Independent, By John Phillips, March 28

    Rome – As pilgrims, tourists and the faithful congregate in St Peter’s Square today to collect olive branches during a solemn Palm Sunday Mass, an embattled Pope Benedict XVI is coming under mounting pressure to call an emergency synod of bishops from around the world to hammer out a new strategy to deal with the worsening child abuse scandal, Vatican sources say.

    A number of Roman Catholic prelates have strongly urged the Holy See that such an extraordinary synod, or conference, be held on the grounds that the German pontiff and the Vatican evidently cannot cope effectively on their own with the spiralling image crisis.

    “There is a deep feeling of unease in the Vatican at the moment,” said one well-placed source in the Holy See. “Senior people in the Curia feel under siege from parts of the international media as they see it trying to nail the Pope for allegedly covering up or mishandling abuse cases.

    “Many bishops have let it be known they want Benedict to convene a special synod or worldwide conference of bishops to examine the problem because of a growing feeling that the Vatican cannot handle this.”

    The source added: “There is a realisation that the scandal is not going to stop. It is not one country or five countries but an increasing number.”

    They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

  • AP, By Patrick Condon, March 29

    ST. PAUL, MN — Jeff Anderson has filed thousands of lawsuits alleging sex abuse by priests and won tens of millions of dollars for his clients, but he has had a bigger goal in mind for nearly two decades. He wants to bring his career-long legal crusade against misconduct in the Roman Catholic Church right to the top.

    He would love to question Pope Benedict XVI himself under oath. Though that is extremely unlikely given that the pope is a head of state, documents Anderson has unearthed have the potential to take a scandal that has plagued dozens of dioceses around the world and place it at the doorstep of Vatican leadership.

    The documents, which became publicly known in the past week after Anderson shared them with The New York Times, show that a Vatican office led by the pope, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, halted a church trial against a Wisconsin priest accused of molesting some 200 boys at a school for the deaf.

    “This is a tipping point,” Anderson said. He found the documents in handling one of the dozens of lawsuits he has pending against various church officials, and hopes to use them to bolster a separate federal lawsuit against the Vatican itself.


    In that case, an unidentified plaintiff claims he was sexually abused as a teenager in 1965 or 1966 by the Rev. Andrew Ronan at St. Albert’s Church in Portland, Ore. According to court documents, Ronan was accused of abusing boys in the mid-1950s as a priest in the Archdiocese of Armagh, Ireland. He was transferred to Chicago, where he admitted abusing three boys at St. Philip’s High School, and after that was sent to Oregon.

    The church removed Ronan from the priesthood in 1966. He died in 1982.

    The lawsuit says the Vatican had to approve the international transfer. The Holy See claims it is protected by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which prohibits U.S. lawsuits against foreign countries.

    They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

  • AP, By Nicole Winfield, March 30

    VATICAN CITY — Dragged deeper than ever into the clerical sex abuse scandal, the Vatican is launching a legal defense that it hopes will shield the pope from a lawsuit in Kentucky seeking to have him answer attorneys’ questions under oath.

    Court documents obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press show that Vatican lawyers plan to argue that the pope has immunity as head of state, that American bishops who oversaw abusive priests weren’t employees of the Vatican, and that a 1962 document is not the “smoking gun” that provides proof of a cover-up.


    Also crucial to the Kentucky lawsuit is the 1962 document “Crimen Sollicitationis” – Latin for “crimes of solicitation.” It describes how church authorities should deal procedurally with cases of abuse of children by priests, cases where sex is solicited in the confessional – a particularly heinous crime under canon law – and cases of homosexuality and bestiality.


    McMurry insisted Tuesday that Crimen is a smoking gun.

    “The fact is, this document and its predecessors make it an excommunicable offense to reveal any knowledge of allegations that a priest has sexually abused,” he said in an e-mail.

    The existence of Crimen did not become publicly known until 2003, when a lawyer noticed a reference to the document while reading a 2001 letter written by Benedict, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. McMurry is seeking to subpoena Ratzinger’s letter, which instructed all bishops to send cases of clerical sex abuse to him and to keep the proceedings secret.

    They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

  • Expert’s warning proves Catholic church should have known about failings in dealing with abuse cases, says lawyer

    The Guardian, By Owen Bowcott, April 1

    A former pope was warned that paedophile priests should be removed from active ministry and repeat offenders expelled from the church, according to a clerical communique that has emerged following a US lawsuit.

    The letter, written in August 1963 by the head of an order that specialised in the treatment of priests accused of abusing children, suggests that the Vatican and Pope Paul VI should have known about failings in procedures for dealing with such cases, according to the lawyer who produced it.

    A senior church official swiftly dismissed the claim, suggesting it was unlikely the document would have been seen by the then pope nearly 50 years ago.

    The letter has been released as plaintiffs in Kentucky attempt to sue the Vatican for allegedly failing to alert police or the public about priests who molested children, part of a series of abuse scandals that have rocked the Catholic church and left the current pope, Benedict XVI, struggling to defend its reputation.


    His submission appears to have been drafted at the request of the pope. Fitzgerald opens the five-page letter by thanking the pope for an audience the day before and says he is summarising his thoughts at the pope’s request on the “problem of the problem priest” after 20 years working to treat them.


    Fitzgerald’s views about how to treat abusing priests have been highlighted before. At one stage he proposed buying an island where priests attracted to men and boys could be segregated. He even made a $5,000 down payment on a Caribbean island.

    They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

  • The Independent, By Tony Paterson, April 1

    German bishop accused of hitting child with carpet beater at church-run home

    The child abuse scandal rocking the Catholic Church widened yesterday as a leading German bishop personally appointed by Pope Benedict was accused of ritually beating and punching children at a church-run home during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

    Five former residents of the St Josef’s home in Bavaria submitted written statements to Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper claiming the Bishop of Augsburg, Walter Mixa, a controversial conservative churchman appointed by the Pope in 2005, used to hit and degrade them during punishment sessions at the home.

    Bishop Mixa’s diocese yesterday rejected the allegations as “absurd, untrue and obviously invented in order to defame the bishop”.

    The allegations emerged as the Vatican prepares a legal defence it hopes will shield the Pope from a lawsuit in the US seeking to have him answer questions under oath related to an abuse scandal. Court documents obtained by the Associated Press show that Vatican lawyers plan to argue that the Pope has immunity as head of state and that American bishops who oversaw abusive priests were not employees of the Vatican. The Vatican is trying to fend off the first US case to reach the stage of determining whether victims have a claim against the Vatican for allegedly failing to alert police or the public about Roman Catholic priests who molested children.

    They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

  • AP, By Christine Armario, April 1

    MIAMI — Lawyers in a Florida clergy sex abuse case say the Vatican office then headed by Pope Benedict XVI failed to remove an alleged pedophile from the priesthood for years, even when the priest himself asked to be dismissed.

    Attorney Jessica Arbour, who represents an alleged victim of the Rev. Ernesto Garcia-Rubio in a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Miami, also said yesterday that the Vatican instructed church officials in Florida to shelter the priest after he was forced to leave Cuba.

    Papers Reveal Cover Up Priest’s Sexual Misconduct
    Lawyers: Vatican knew about South Florida priest’s past

    They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

  • New York Times, By Susan Saulny & Laurie Goodstein, April 2

    BOULDER JUNCTION, WI — The modest clapboard cottage projects a sense of simple rural peace, nestled amid tall pines on quiet Trout Lake. The house, in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, had been in the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy’s family for years, his getaway in the summer months and his sanctuary where he was sent to retire in 1974, at age 48, after victims of sexual abuse demanded he be removed from work at a school for the deaf near Milwaukee.

    But Father Murphy’s time around Boulder Junction was not so secluded, according to recent interviews with people who live in the area and Roman Catholic Church documents.

    Those interviews and documents suggested that Father Murphy, who is accused of molesting as many as 200 boys at the school near Milwaukee, also used his family’s lakefront cottage as a lure in his sexual advances, bringing youths from the school into his home beginning at least in the early 1960s.

    What has recently come to light in fresh documents and interviews is that he was in the company of boys not only from the Milwaukee area but in the Northwoods region. Two in the area have accused Father Murphy of abuse, one at the isolated family cottage and the other, as late as 1978, at a youth detention center near Boulder Junction.

    Speaking with a therapist years later, Father Murphy denied having any sexual contact “with any person” after leaving the school for the deaf in 1974.

    Julie Wolf, communications director for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, said that Father Murphy was placed on certain restrictions upon leaving Milwaukee that included not having any contact with children and that “he ignored the restrictions.”

    Ms. Wolf added, “Over time, they tried to deal with him, but over time they weren’t successful.”

    In fact, around Boulder Junction, in high school religious classes and preparation for the sacrament of confirmation, in sleepovers at his cottage and fishing excursions, Father Murphy interacted freely with children until his death in 1998, never having been punished by the church or local criminal authorities in Milwaukee, according to documents and interviews with people in the area.


    “Sexually oriented to male adolescents,” she wrote in her conclusions, adding at another point, “This client seems to have no sense of the extent of harm caused.”

    They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

  • More Evidence Emerges That Pope Benedict Helped Shield Pedophiles Before He Became Pope

    AP, By Mark Sedensky, April 3

    The abuse cases of two priests in Arizona have cast further doubt on the Catholic church’s insistence that Pope Benedict XVI played no role in shielding pedophiles before he became pope.

    Documents reviewed by The Associated Press show that as a Vatican cardinal, the future pope took over the abuse case of the Rev. Michael Teta of Tucson, Ariz., then let it languish at the Vatican for years despite repeated pleas from the bishop for the man to be removed from the priesthood.

    In another Tucson case, that of Msgr. Robert Trupia, the bishop wrote to then-Cardinal Ratzinger, who would become pope in 2005. Bishop Manuel Moreno called Trupia “a major risk factor to the children, adolescents and adults that he many have contact with.” There is no indication in the case files that Ratzinger responded.

    The details of the two cases come as other allegations emerge that Benedict – as a Vatican cardinal – was part of a culture of cover-up and confidentiality.

    “There’s no doubt that Ratzinger delayed the defrocking process of dangerous priests who were deemed ‘satanic’ by their own bishop,” Lynne Cadigan, an attorney who represented two of Teta’s victims, said Friday.


    It took 12 years from the time Ratzinger assumed control of the case in a signed letter until Teta was formally removed from ministry, a step only the Vatican can take.

    Accused Indian Priest Says He Will Return to U.S.

    They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

  • The New York Times, By Jack Healy, April 5

    A Catholic priest charged with sexually assaulting a teenage girl in Minnesota has been allowed to continue working at a Catholic diocese in southern India despite warnings from an American bishop that he could still “pose a risk to minors,” according to church documents released Monday.

    In a letter sent in December 2005, the bishop, Victor H. Balke, told Vatican authorities that preliminary investigations showed that the priest, Father Joseph Pavanivel Jeyapaul, had molested a 16-year-old girl after promising to discuss her interest in becoming a nun. Bishop Balke wrote that the priest had also “misappropriated a substantial amount of money.” Bishop Balke asked the Vatican to investigate the allegations and “apply whatever penalty you feel appropriate.”

    He wrote that Father Jeyapaul, who had returned to India to care for his dying mother, was not complying with his request to return to the diocese to be made accountable.

    But five months later, the Vatican office he appealed to, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, declined to take on the case, saying only that “Father Jeyapaul’s priestly life should be monitored so that he does not constitute a risk to minors and does not create scandal among the faithful.” The Vatican office is charged with investigating sexual abuse.

    Documents: Father Joseph Pavanivel Jeyapaul

    They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

  • The Stranger, By Brendan Kiley, February 3, 2009

    Alaska Natives are accusing the Catholic Church of using their remote villages as a “dumping ground” for child-molesting priests—and blaming the president of Seattle University for letting it happen.

    One spring afternoon in 1977, 15-year-old Rachel Mike tried to kill herself for the third time. An Alaska Native, Rachel was living in a tiny town called Stebbins on a remote island called St. Michael. She lived in a house with three bedrooms and nine siblings. Rachel was a drinker, depressed, and starving. “When my parents were drinking, we didn’t eat right,” she says. “I just wanted to get away from the drinking.”

    Rachel walked to the bathroom to fetch the family rifle, propped in the bathtub with the dirty laundry (the house didn’t have running water). To make sure the gun worked, Rachel loaded a shell and blew a hole in her bedroom wall. Her father, passed out on his bed, didn’t hear the shot. Rachel walked behind their small house. Her arms were too short to put the rifle to her head, so she shot herself in her right leg instead.

    Rachel was found screaming in a pool of blood by her Auntie Emily and flown 229 miles to a hospital in Nome. The doctor asked if she wanted to see a priest. She said yes. In walked Father James Poole—a popular priest, radio personality on KNOM, and, according to allegations in at least five lawsuits, serial child rapist. Father Poole has never been convicted of a crime, but the Jesuits have settled numerous sex-abuse claims against him since 2005, in excess of $5 million, according to an attorney involved in four of those five lawsuits. Exact figures aren’t available because some of the settlements involve confidentiality agreements. The Jesuits have never let a single case against Father Poole go to trial.

    In a 2005 deposition, Rachel testified that she had been molested by Father Poole in 1975, while in Nome for her second suicide attempt, an attempted overdose of alcohol and pills. He’d come sit by her bed, put his hand under the hospital blanket, and fondle her, she said.


    In September 2005, former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger—who’d just become the pope—asked the justice department of the Bush administration to grant him immunity from prosecution in sex-abuse cases in the United States. Ratzinger, the onetime head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was accused of “conspiring to cover up the sexual molestation of three boys by a seminarian” in Texas, according to the Associated Press. Ratzinger had “written in Latin to bishops around the world, explaining that ‘grave’ crimes such as the sexual abuse of minors would be handled by his congregation. The proceedings of special church tribunals handling the cases were subject to ‘pontifical secret,'” Ratzinger’s letter said. The Bush administration granted Ratzinger the immunity.


    Why does the church keep sending these priests, who have come to be such a major liability, back into ministry? “It’s all about keeping the stores open, keeping the revenue rolling,” Wall says. The Alaskan provinces in particular, Wall says, were a source of revenue—not from the Native population living there, but from parishioners in the lower 48 who were encouraged to donate for the Native ministry up north. “You could raise thousands to fund a mission that cost very little to run,” Wall says. “The profit margin is huge.”

    They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

  • AP, By Frances D’Emilio, April 6

    VATICAN CITY — The Vatican heatedly defended Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday, claiming accusations that he helped cover up the actions of pedophile priests are part of an anti-Catholic “hate” campaign targeting the pope for his opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage.

    Vatican Radio broadcast comments by two senior cardinals explaining “the motive for these attacks” on the pope and the Vatican newspaper chipped in with spirited comments from another top cardinal.

    “The pope defends life and the family, based on marriage between a man and a woman, in a world in which powerful lobbies would like to impose a completely different” agenda, Spanish Cardinal Julian Herranz, head of the disciplinary commission for Holy See officials, said on the radio.


    Also arguing that Benedict’s promotion of conservative family models had provoked the so-called attacks was the Vatican’s dean of the College of Cardinals, Angelo Sodano.

    “By now, it’s a cultural contrast,” Sodano told the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. “The pope embodies moral truths that aren’t accepted, and so, the shortcomings and errors of priests are used as weapons against the church.”

    Surely Satan must be involved for such a grand conspiracy against the Holy Church!

    They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

  • New York Times, By Daniel J. Wakin, April 7

    ROME — In May, the leader of Norway’s small Catholic community unexpectedly resigned with little explanation. The Vatican on Wednesday said why: he had sexually abused a boy in the early 1990s.

    It was the latest case to emerge in a clerical sex abuse scandal that has been churning through Europe in recent months, putting the Vatican on the defensive and forcing bishops across the continent to confront the issue.

    The bishop, Georg Mueller, 58, left his diocese in June, has since undergone therapy and “no longer carries out pastoral activity,” according to a statement by the Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman.

    Reacting quickly to a Norwegian press report, Father Lombardi said that after the abuse came to the attention of church authorities in January 2009, it was handled “with rapidity” in a process overseen by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome. Pope Benedict XVI accepted his resignation “in a timely manner,” the spokesman said.

    They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

  • to offer an alternate spelling for the word “mantle”. Ah, for lost opportunity.

    “The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential.”

    – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  • seemed more consistent.

    “The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential.”

    – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  • Vatican, Canadian church officials tried to keep sex scandal secret

    The Globe and Mail, By Tu Thanh Ha, April 9

    More than a decade before police got wind that a priest had molested several altar boys in small towns in the Ottawa Valley, Vatican and Canadian church officials knew about the matter and discussed in a letter [PDF] how to keep it secret.

    The letter, written in 1993, focused on protecting the church’s image by preventing the scandal from becoming public – the very essence of an international wave of allegations now battering the Roman Catholic clergy and the Vatican.

    “It is a situation which we wish to avoid at all costs,” the late Bishop Joseph Windle of Pembroke, Ont., wrote in Feb. 10, 1993, to the Pope’s envoy to Canada, Carlo Curis.

    The man Bishop Windle was writing about was then-monsignor Bernard Prince, now 75, a friend of the late Pope John Paul II who had just been posted to the Vatican as a high-ranking official working with missionary societies.

    One owes respect to the living. To the dead, one owes only the truth.

  • Letter shows future Pope Benedict resisted defrocking molester priest

    AP, By Gillian Flaccus, April 9

    The future Pope Benedict XVI resisted pleas to defrock a California priest with a record of sexually molesting children, citing concerns including “the good of the universal church,” according to a 1985 letter bearing his signature.

    The correspondence, obtained by The Associated Press, is the strongest challenge yet to the Vatican’s insistence that Benedict played no role in blocking the removal of pedophile priests during his years as head of the Catholic Church’s doctrinal watchdog office.

    The letter, signed by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was typed in Latin and is part of years of correspondence between the Diocese of Oakland and the Vatican about the proposed defrocking of the Rev. Stephen Kiesle.

    The Vatican refused to comment on the contents of the letter Friday, but a spokesman confirmed it bore Ratzinger’s signature.


    As Kiesle’s fate was being weighed in Rome, the priest returned to suburban Pinole to volunteer as a youth minister at St. Joseph Church, where he had served as associate pastor from 1972 to 1975.


    More than a half-dozen victims reached a settlement in 2005 with the Oakland diocese alleging Kiesle had molested them as young children.

    “He admitted molesting many children and bragged that he was the Pied Piper and said he tried to molest every child that sat on his lap,” said Lewis VanBlois, an attorney for six Kiesle victims who interviewed the former priest in prison. “When asked how many children he had molested over the years, he said ‘tons.'”

    More here: Pope Benedict hit by new Church child abuse allegations
    UPDATE: Pope Handled Priest Case Quickly, Lawyer Says

    One owes respect to the living. To the dead, one owes only the truth.

  • Woman Assaulted by Priest Settles Suit Against Newark Archdiocese

    New York Times, By James Barron, April 8

    The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Orlando have settled a lawsuit brought by a woman assaulted in 2004 by a priest who broke into her house in Florida, the woman’s lawyer announced on Thursday.

    Neither side disclosed the terms of the settlement. The woman, identified in court papers as Jane Doe, accused church officials of failing to protect her from the priest, the Rev. Wladyslaw Gorak. He left New Jersey that year for what was supposed to be a three-year ministry in Florida.

    The woman’s lawyer, Adam Horowitz, claimed that the Newark Archdiocese had known about Father Gorak’s “dangerous sexual improprieties with women” when the vicar general in Newark, Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli, signed an April 2004 letter approving the move to Florida.

    In the letter, Bishop Serratelli — now bishop of Paterson, N.J. — wrote that Father Gorak had “good moral character,” no criminal record and no behavioral problems that would compromise his fitness for the ministry.

    h/t Hullabaloo: Another Day, Another Catholic Priest Sex Scandal (And Coverup)

    One owes respect to the living. To the dead, one owes only the truth.

  • The Times, By David Brown, Sean O’Neill, Julia Bradshaw, April 10

    The head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales presided over a child protection system that allowed a paedophile priest to continue abusing schoolboys despite repeated complaints from victims, an investigation by The Times has discovered.

    The Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, chaired the church’s child safety watchdog in 2001-08 while Father David Pearce was repeatedly investigated by church officials and police. Despite a High Court ruling in 2006 awarding damages to one of his victims, Pearce remained a priest at Ealing Abbey, West London, where he groomed and assaulted one final victim before his arrest in 2008.

    Pearce, 68, a Benedictine monk and former headteacher at the prestigious St Benedict’s School, was jailed for eight years in October after admitting a catalogue of sex offences against teenage pupils during 35 years at the abbey.

    Archbishop Nichols last night denied any knowledge of the Pearce case while he was chairman of the Catholic Office for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults (Copca).

    One owes respect to the living. To the dead, one owes only the truth.

  • The Globe and Mail, By Tu Thanh Ha, April 9

    As early as 1963, the diocese of Pembroke, Ont., heard allegations that a priest, Bernard Prince, was sexually abusing a young boy, but the bishop at that time took no action and Mr. Prince was transferred to Rome, court documents allege.

    Mr. Prince went on to molest at least a dozen boys in eastern Ontario until 1984, the former Roman Catholic priest and Vatican official admitted in a guilty plea at his criminal trial two years ago.

    The documents are among court filings that include an extraordinary letter the late Pembroke Bishop Joseph Windle wrote in 1993 to the pope’s envoy discussing how to keep the allegations against Mr. Prince from reaching police.

    It would be another 12 years before the police received a complaint about Mr. Prince.

    One owes respect to the living. To the dead, one owes only the truth.

  • New York Times, By Maureen Dowd, April 10

    When I was in Saudi Arabia, I had tea and sweets with a group of educated and sophisticated young professional women.

    I asked why they were not more upset about living in a country where women’s rights were strangled, an inbred and autocratic state more like an archaic men’s club than a modern nation. They told me, somewhat defensively, that the kingdom was moving at its own pace, glacial as that seemed to outsiders.

    How could such spirited women, smart and successful on every other level, acquiesce in their own subordination?

    I was puzzling over that one when it hit me: As a Catholic woman, I was doing the same thing.

    I, too, belonged to an inbred and wealthy men’s club cloistered behind walls and disdaining modernity.

    I, too, remained part of an autocratic society that repressed women and ignored their progress in the secular world.


    Negating women is at the heart of the church’s hideous — and criminal — indifference to the welfare of boys and girls in its priests’ care. Lisa Miller writes in Newsweek’s cover story [“The Trouble with Celibacy” ?]about the danger of continuing to marginalize women in a disgraced church that has Mary at the center of its founding story:

    “In the Roman Catholic corporation, the senior executives live and work, as they have for a thousand years, eschewing not just marriage, but intimacy with women … not to mention any chance to familiarize themselves with the earthy, primal messiness of families and children.” No wonder that, having closed themselves off from women and everything maternal, they treated children as collateral damage, a necessary sacrifice to save face for Mother Church.

    One owes respect to the living. To the dead, one owes only the truth.

  • Newsweek, By Lisa Miller, April 7

    In 1998 a Roman Catholic nun named Marie McDonald wrote a brief and painful summary of her concerns to her colleagues and superiors. It was labeled “strictly confidential.” She was worried, she said, about the sexual abuse of nuns by Roman Catholic priests in Africa.

    The memo—titled “The Problem of the Sexual Abuse of African Religious in Africa and in Rome” was concise. “Sexual harassment and even rape of sisters by priests and bishops is allegedly common,” it said. Sisters, financially dependent on priests, occasionally have to perform sexual favors in exchange for money. McDonald analyzed the causes of this widespread violation of chastity vows and then made this plea: “The time has come for some concerted action.” According to the National Catholic Reporter, which made McDonald’s memo public in 2001, Vatican officials did take steps to rectify the problem, but publicly, their stance was chillingly familiar. “The problem is known and is restricted to a limited geographical area,” said Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the Vatican spokesman at the time. This is an isolated incident, in other words; we’ve got it under control.

    Even as new cases of child sexual abuse by clergy emerge each day in Europe and the United States, abuse in the regions where Catholicism is growing fastest—Latin America, Asia, and, especially, Africa—are still largely ignored. In the West, the focus has been on the violation of minors, and on the role of celibacy in engendering this problem. In Africa, the problem is somewhat more complex. Though many good priests do adhere to their chastity vows, says the Rev. Peter Schineller, a Jesuit priest who has spent 20 years in Africa, sex between consenting or semi-consenting adults is commonplace. Transgression against chastity vows by priests run the gamut from harassment all the way to fathering children; it’s not criminal necessarily, but it’s certainly against doctrine. “The violations are huge,” says Schineller. As the Roman Catholic hierarchy continues to crow over its success and vitality in the global south—the growth rate in Africa and Asia has been about 3 percent a year, twice the rate worldwide—the African church may put mandatory clerical celibacy to its harshest test yet.

    Sexual coercion is just part of the story. The 2001 investigation by the National Catholic Reporter uncovered three separate reports of sexual abuse of religious sisters by priests. The story described priests raping religious sisters and then paying for their abortions; sisters fearing to travel in cars with priests for fear of rape; sisters appealing to bishops for help only to be told to go away. “Even when they are listened to sympathetically,” wrote McDonald, “nothing seems to be done.”


    Indeed, Benedict holds celibacy so high that last year he excommunicated a Zambian priest, the Rev. Luciano Anzanga Mbewe, for being married. Mbewe now heads a breakaway sect of married Catholic priests in Uganda called the Catholic Apostolic National Church, according to The New York Times. “The creation of the splinter church underscored the increasingly vexing problem of enforcing celibacy for Roman Catholic priests in Africa, which has the world’s fastest-growing Catholic population but where there have been several cases of priests living openly with women and fathering children,” the Times wrote. One wonders at the priorities of a man who failed to defrock a priest in Wisconsin who molested hundreds of children but acted so decisively in the case of one who married a consenting adult.

    One owes respect to the living. To the dead, one owes only the truth.

  • While Lot, the conscience of a nation,
    struggles with the Lord,
    she struggles with the housework.

    The City of Sin is where
    she raises the children.

    Ba’al or Adonai–
    Whoever is God–
    the bread must still be made
    and the doorsill swept.

    The Lord may kill the children tomorrow, but today they must be bathed and fed.

    Well and good to condemn your neighbors’ religion; but weren’t they there when the baby was born, and when the well collapsed?

    While her husband communes with God
    she tucks the children into bed.

    In the morning when he tells her of judgment, she puts down the lamp she is cleaning and calmly begins to pack.

    In between bundling up the children
    and deciding what will go,
    she runs for a moment
    to say goodbye to the herd,
    gently patting each soft head
    with tears in her eyes for the animals that will not understand.

    She smiles blindly to the woman
    who held her hand at childbed.

    It is easy for eyes that have always turned to heaven not to look back;
    those that have been–by necessity–drawn to earth cannot forget that life is lived from day to day

    Good, to a God, and good in human terms
    are two different things.

    On the breast of the hill, she chooses to be human, and turns, in farewell– and never regrets the sacrifice.

    Kristine Batey

    Tolerating prostitution is tolerating abuse and torture of women and children.

  • Al Jazeera, By John Holman, April 15

    Alberto Athie, a former Mexican priest, took the difficult decision to leave the Roman Catholic Church following his investigations into a high-profile paedophile priest.

    He holds up the letter he wrote 13 years ago to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. It details senior Mexican priest Marcial Maciel’s sexual abuse of young boys.

    As the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Maciel was one of the most influential of world Catholic figures before his death in 2008.

    When Athie tried to deliver the letter to the Vatican, he was told that Cardinal Ratzinger was too busy to see him. Ratzinger’s staff told him to show no one else the contents of the correspondence.

    In his relentless efforts to get the Vatican to investigate the sex abuse cases, Athie persuaded his friend, Mexican Bishop Carlos Talavera, to take the letter to Ratzinger. Talavera later informed him of Ratzinger’s response:

    “I am sorry but this case cannot be investigated because Father Maciel is a great friend of the Holy Father and has done much good for the church. I am sorry but it isn’t prudent.”

    Video at the link

    One owes respect to the living. To the dead, one owes only the truth.

  • CNN, By Alan Duke, April 22

    An Illinois man is suing the Vatican and Pope Benedict XVI for allegedly covering up sexual abuse by a priest at a Catholic school in Wisconsin.

    The lawsuit demands the Vatican release the names of thousands of Catholic priests that the suit says have “credible allegations of sexual misconduct” against them.

    The alleged victim, who is now an adult, says he was molested by Father Lawrence Murphy while a student at St. John’s School for the Deaf, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    “The defendant, [the] Holy See, has known about the widespread problem of childhood sexual abuse committed by its clergy for centuries, but has covered up that abuse and thereby perpetuated the abuse,” the suit says.

    One owes respect to the living. To the dead, one owes only the truth.

  • The Wall Street Journal, By Sophia Hollander, January 7

    For more than a century, New York’s Catholic leadership has boasted a cardinal among its ranks. Using the city as a pulpit, they have drawn a stream of politicians—including presidents—and civic leaders to the Madison Avenue residence once dubbed the “power house.”

    New York will have a new addition to that distinguished group. Pope Benedict XVI announced on Friday that Archbishop Timothy Dolan—a popular leader with a folksy style—will become a cardinal.

    “I am honored, humbled, and grateful,” Archbishop Dolan said. “It’s as if Pope Benedict is putting the red hat on top of the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty or on home plate at Yankee Stadium.”

    But when he is elevated to cardinal at a ceremony in Rome on Feb. 18, Archbishop Dolan will assume the role at a time when its political and social influence has waned considerably.

  • Reuters, January 10

    Vatican City – Pope Benedict said Monday that gay marriage was one of several threats to the traditional family that undermined “the future of humanity itself.”

    The pope made some of his strongest comments against gay marriage in a new year address to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Vatican in which he touched on some economic and social issues facing the world today.

    He told diplomats from nearly 180 countries that the education of children needed proper “settings” and that “pride of place goes to the family, based on the marriage of a man and a woman.”

    “This is not a simple social convention, but rather the fundamental cell of every society. Consequently, policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself,” he said.

    The Vatican and Catholic officials around the world have protested against moves to legalize gay marriage in Europe and other developed parts of the world.


    In that letter Dolan, who holds the powerful post of president of the U.S. Bishops Conference, said such a policy [to not support a federal ban on gay marriage] could “precipitate a national conflict between church and state of enormous proportions.”

  • eom

    Sexual inequality is “The Mother of all Inequalities”.
    Liberate female sexuality and you will eliminate racism, homophobia, financial greed, and violence.

  • The New York Times, By Andy Newman, February 7

    In 2002, at the height of the outcry over the sexual abuse of minors by Roman Catholic priests, the Archbishop of New York, Edward M. Egan, issued a letter to be read at Mass. In it, he offered an apology about the church’s handling of sex-abuse cases in New York and in Bridgeport, Conn., where he was previously posted.

    “It is clear that today we have a much better understanding of this problem,” he wrote. “If in hindsight we also discover that mistakes may have been made as regards prompt removal of priests and assistance to victims, I am deeply sorry.”

    Now, 10 years later and in retirement, Cardinal Egan has taken back his apology.

    In an interview with Connecticut magazine published on the magazine’s Web site last week, a surprisingly frank Cardinal Egan said of the apology, “I never should have said that,” and added, “I don’t think we did anything wrong.”

    He said many more things in the interview, some of them seemingly at odds with the facts. He repeatedly denied that any sex abuse had occurred on his watch in Bridgeport. He said that even now, the church in Connecticut had no obligation to report sexual abuse accusations to the authorities. (A law on the books since the 1970s says otherwise.) And he described the Bridgeport diocese’s handling of sex-abuse cases as “incredibly good.”

    Alzheimer’s, Herculean denial, or merely deliberate revisionism?

  • By putting Gerhard Ludwig Müller [wikipedia] in charge of policing church doctrine, the pontiff may be looking for a strong ally as he looks ahead to the fall when scandals will resurface.

    The Daily Beast, By Barbie Latza Nadeau, July 4

    If anyone in Rome needs a little vacation, it’s Pope Benedict XVI. The 85-year-old pontiff has spent several grueling months troubleshooting multiple scandals that reached a climax in late May with the arrest of his trusted butler, who stands accused of stealing private papal documents and leaking them to the press.

    But before leaving for his annual getaway in Castel Gandolfo, where he will escape the heat until the fall, the pontiff made his most significant personnel decision of the year. On Monday, he appointed his German compatriot Gerhard Ludwig Müller to replace American Cardinal William Levada as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

    Formerly the office of the Inquisition, the CDF now occupies itself with policing church doctrine. Benedict himself ran this crucial congregation for nearly two decades. And that has caused some speculation that the pope is looking for a stronger national ally in a top position, possibly to bolster support against the Italian contingent in the Roman Curia as he looks ahead to the fall when scandals will surely resurface.


    Inside Catholic circles, Müller has a somewhat mixed reputation. He has published more than 400 academic articles on church theology and doctrine, which will serve him well as a precursor for his new job. But not everyone has endorsed his appointment, especially other members of the congregation he now heads.

    “Late last year there was a push in traditionalist circles to try to block the appointment,” says John Allen, a Vatican analyst.

    “Emails were circulated suggesting that Müller … is not a man on ‘secure doctrine.’”


    Some groups outside the Vatican also see him as an inopportune choice. As head of the CDF, he will be on the frontline of the controversial sexual-abuse scandal. Members of a pedophile victim’s group known as the Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) say the decision to appoint him couldn’t be worse, calling to mind that Müller, as bishop, reinstated Peter Kramer as a priest after undergoing therapy for a pedophilia conviction in 2000.

    “Pope Benedict had hundreds of options here. Yet he deliberately elevated a bishop who knowingly put kids in harm’s way,” said SNAP director Barbara Dorris in a statement.

    “It’s more proof that the ongoing child-sex-abuse and cover-up crisis in the church is no crisis at all to Pope Benedict. It’s apparently a minor annoyance.”

    AP: Cardinal Levada steps down as Pope’s orthodoxy chief , July 2

    In addition to handling clerical sex abuse cases, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is responsible for negotiating with a breakaway group of traditionalist Catholics, the Society of St. Pius X, which split from Rome over the liberalizing reforms of the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council.

    Mueller has spoken out against the society, including a 2009 interview with the German news website Zeit Online in which he said the society’s four bishops should resign, keep quiet and “lead an exemplary life as simple priests to repair a part of the damage the schism has caused.”

    Benedict has made many concessions to try to reconcile with the society, and just last month he offered its members a special legal status within the church, if they were to come into full communion with Rome. But the superior, Bishop Bernard Fellay, has said more talks are needed and that things were at a “dead end.”

    Wikipedia says that Levada retired because he’d reached the mandatory retirement-offer age.

  • A chilling documentary about the Vatican’s sexual-abuse scandal gives voice to its victims. Barbie Latza Nadeau got an early look at the film the Holy See doesn’t want you to see.

    The Daily Beast, By Barbie Latza Nadeau, September 9

    Even if you think you know the sordid details of the sex scandal concerning predatory priests in the Roman Catholic Church, director Alex Gibney’s Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God is eye-opening.

    In fact, it should be compulsory viewing for all Catholics, whether they blame or defend the church, for its clarity and insight into just who holds responsibility for decades of child abuse at the hands of clergy. Gibney does not rely on the usual broad strokes of anti-priest propaganda that has come to define this scandal. Instead, he meticulously attends to the details of the biggest cases, giving voice to the victims and even revealing the rarely heard frustration by the “good priests” who tried to stop the sins of their colleagues.

    Gibney opens with scenes that any Catholic will recognize immediately: crisp white dresses of little girls making their first communion, burning candles as altar boys prepare for mass, the haze of smoke so familiar one can almost smell the incense. Then he reveals what’s going on. He uses family movies, faded pictures, and actors to paint a portrait of how innocent children were offered up like sacrificial lambs to known “devils in disguise” by unwitting parents who blindly trusted a church they believed would protect them.

    The film, which has been banned from festivals in Venice and Rome, focuses heavily on the well-documented abuse at St. John’s School for the Deaf in St. Francis, Wis., where Father Lawrence Murphy systematically molested young boys beginning nearly 50 years ago. Gibney uses both voiceover and subtitles for the victims’ stories, but he leaves the audio high to better articulate the sound of the men’s hands as they fervently sign their tales. One doesn’t need to read sign language to comprehend the pain and disgrace these men suffered.

  • Chilean Catholic Bishop Accused of Abuse Resigns: Vatican

    Reuters, October 9

    Vatican City – Pope Benedict accepted the resignation on Tuesday of a bishop in Chile accused of sexually abusing a minor, the latest in a series of such scandals to rock the Roman Catholic Church.

    The Vatican did not specify the reason for the resignation of Bishop Marco Antonio Ordenes Fernandez of the city of Iquique but it followed a complaint by a local man, Rodrigo Pino, who said he had been abused by the prelate when he was 15.

    The Vatican, as it has done in similar cases, said only that the resignation was in conformity with an article of Church law which says bishops must step down if they are unable to fulfill their duties because of health or “another serious reason”.

    The Chilean Bishops Conference said last week that Ordenes was put under investigation after the complaint and had taken medical leave.

    A series of sexual abuse scandals by clerics have proved one of the most difficult challenges to the Catholic Church, forcing it to pay tens of millions of dollars in compensation.

    The scandal has led to the resignation of a number of bishops in Europe but most were accused of mishandling cases of sexual abuse and not having been abusers themselves.

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