Monday, December 7, 2009

Murphy's Law: Priests, Children, Sex, and the Catholic Church

     On Thanksgiving, a 720 page bombshell of a story broke concerning the Catholic church, clergy sexual abuse of minors, and the cover up committed by church officials.  Caught up in the holiday spirit, Americans were apt to overlook the The Murphy Report.  The report was released on November 26 and is the result of public inquiries into the sexual abuse that occurred in the Diocese of Dublin, Ireland.  Any and all Catholics, who continue to plant their obedient butts in the pew each Sunday, need to read this report and to see the atrociousness of the institution to which they claim obedience and intellectual ascent.  This is a tragic story of decades long collusion within the church and with Irish public authorities to protect abusive clerics while they exploited children.

     But the Vatican is still good, right?  They would respond?  Not so fast.

     The report found that successive archbishops responded to sexual abuse by clergy in the Archdiocese of Dublin with "denial, arrogance and cover-up."  As of December 1st, the Papal Nuncio in Ireland, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, refused to respond to the Murphy Report because the events in the report were from a time before he took over as nuncio.

     Out of sight, out of mind.  Interesting coming from someone who is so willing to believe in a god, a savior, and a church that are based on events from long before he took over as nuncio.  Talk about arrogance and denial!  Hypocrite.

     Furthermore, the Murphy Report details the Vatican's stonewalling response to Ireland's investigation into clergy sexual abuse.  The Times Online reports that the person doing the stonewalling was none other than Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, known today as Pope Benedict XVI.  Even darker yet, is the revelation that in 2001 Pope John Paul II gave Ratzinger, who at the time was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF or "the Magisterium" to conservatives), responsibility for handling the investigations into child sexual abuse by priests. According to the Times Online:
     Ratzinger's response was to send a letter to every Catholic bishop "reminding them that strict penalties would apply to anyone who divulged details of allegations made against priests.
     Ratzinger’s letter was relying on crimen sollicitationis, a set of procedural laws first issued in 1922 and updated in 1962. One of its requirements is that any person making a complaint of abuse against a priest is required to take an oath of secrecy.
     Breach of the oath can be punished by excommunication."
     Secrecy or excommunication: how pastoral of Pope Ben!  He really is concerned about the mental and spiritual health of his flock.  "Thank you for journeying through the excruciating experience of coming forth to confront the loving priest that raped you during the most holy sacrament of reconciliation--NOW SHUT THE FUCK UP!"  That's definitely the love of Christ at work, Ben.  Great job on that one.

     But, of course, things have changed since then.  The church as learned, right?  The abuser priests are in jail now and the church has dealt harshly with them, right?  Not quite.
     Most of the priests examined in the Murphy report into clerical abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese are still alive. Many of them are being financially supported by the Church and some are living in parishes without restrictions.
     And what about those rings of priest pedophiles?  Do they really travel in packs?

    The Murphy report concluded that no "direct evidence" of a pedophile ring existed in the Dublin Archdiocese, but stated there were "worrying connections" between the forty-six investigated priests.  The report illustrated how some of the priest pedophiles worked together to groom the children they abused.  Here are a few examples reported by the Times Online:
      In one case it reports that: “Fr Carney and Fr McCarthy abused children during their visits to children’s homes. They also brought children on holidays and shared accommodation with two separate complainants. A boy who was initially abused by Fr McCarthy was subsequently abused by Fr Carney. Fr Carney abused children at swimming pools and was sometimes accompanied to swimming pools by Fr Maguire.”
      In another case it said: “When Fr Ioannes was being investigated for the abuse of a young boy, Fr Boland, who was not a priest in the diocese at the time, turned up at the young boy’s home offering comfort and took the opportunity to abuse the young boy himself. There is nothing in the evidence available to the commission to show how Fr Boland became aware of this young boy. A witness told the commission that Fr Ioannes used to recruit altar boys for the Pro-Cathedral in the parish of North William Street and surrounding areas.”

     So what will become of these priest abusers and conspirators?  Surely justice will prevail.

     Today's Belfast Telegraph reports:
     The names of many priests found guilty of child sex abuse are not on the Republic's sex offenders' register because it was established after they were convicted.  As a result, the whereabouts of many of the priests named in the report -- both those who were convicted and those who were suspected of carrying out abuse -- is unknown.
     "There's no doubt that the abuses could continue if these men aren't watched," said Michael O'Brien of Right to Peace last night.
     John Kelly, of Survivors of Child Abuse, said the Irish government needed to introduce new legislation.  He said he recently saw a former priest, who he knows abused a number of young boys, walking down the street. "This man is not being monitored or supervised, he is just one of many," he added.
     The Dublin Diocesan office did not return calls for comment last night.


littlebird said...

It is about time that the fruits of the Catholic Church are finally being exposed! Making such an investigation public knowledge is a welcome step! And as far as a governmental apology is concerned, better late than never! However, an apology only has as much force as the action that follows it. May we look forward to a new wind blowing in the area of public service? Too bad past wrongs have not been compensated. Wouldn’t that show seriousness of intent? A true and lasting change in society requires self-analysis. So, before everything is relegated to yesterday’s news, wouldn’t it bring healing to ask the question “why”? Why was such a perversion covered up for so long by an organization that claims to be the guardian of Christian ethics and morals? And why was this allowed by the authorities for so long? Were church and state in each others pockets? The harm to society is immeasurable! Who can gauge the crumbling ethics and morals in society and the increasing cynicism because of such conduct? And what about the victims and their families who were deeply and emotionally traumatized?! And let us not forget the alienation from God in society caused by such “bastions” of religious faith! Where does the responsibility lie for all this? Enforced celibacy has no biblical foundation at all! Why was it instituted in the first place?!

What would Jesus of Nazareth say if He came to the Earth and saw what the church – which claims to speak for Him – has made of His life’s work?

A move has been made by a small group of people against such shameful sham Christianity. They’ve put out a website and call themselves “The Free Christians for the Christ of the Sermon on the Mount in All Cultures Worldwide.” At this website they announce a lawsuit against the Catholic Church – of all places, in Germany, a bastion of the Catholic institution! And the sexual abuse of young people is one of the reasons they give for having taken such a step. As they put it, they do not want to remain silent anymore on the “brazen labelling fraud,” with which Christ is mocked and His name abused to such an extent. They demand that the Archbishopric in Freiburg, headed by Zollitsch, and representing the Catholic Church in its totality, be enjoined from calling itself “Christian.”

As a Christian, I fully support this and consider it high time that someone calls a spade a spade. Nothing against the sincere folk and priests who work hard and honestly, upholding the ideals of a Christian life. But as an institution, it has taken on a life of its own, and one could indeed ask if there is anything Christian about it! I commend the courage of these people to call the Church to task. Perhaps your readers would like to check them out:
There seems to be a grassroots movement to bring this up for discussion on the internet. Surely this could be very healthy for our society!