Monday, May 3, 2010

Pope Benedict Failed to Take Action Against Pedophile Founder Of the Legionaries of Christ: New Revelations

It was better for eight innocent men to suffer than for millions to lose their faith.

     The men brought allegations to then-Cardinal Ratzinger (now-Pope Ben) in 1998, and guess what?  After they kissed Ratzinger's ring to show him respect, he buried the case for eight years, while Maciel remained in the company of innocent children.  In 2006, after Ratzinger became pope, he finally removed Maciel from his post, but never tried him for his crimes.

     Maciel's case reveals how the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict have handled sexual abuse allegations, sacrificing innocent children for the sake of preserving the larger church from scandal.  Here are a few highlights from the Times article.  My comments are interspersed.
     The Rev. Alberto Athié Gallo, a Mexican priest who in 1998 tried to bring allegations of sexual abuse by Father Maciel to the attention of Cardinal Ratzinger, said the Vatican allowed Father Maciel, who died in 2008, to lead a double life for decades.  “This was tolerated by the Holy See for years,” Father Athié said. “In this sense I think the Holy See cannot get to the bottom of this matter. It would have to criticize itself as an authority.”
     This is the heart of so many issues in the Catholic Church, an institution that claims god's will is revealed through both scripture and big-T Tradition (as opposed to dispensable little-t traditions, like ringing the bells during the elevation of the host at Mass).  Tradition (big-T) is that which is revealed through the ultimate authority of the church from via the pope and ecumenical councils (like Vatican II).  For the Catholic Church to criticize itself as an authority would undermine two thousands years of divine revelation by Tradition.  

     Perhaps, that's an overstatement, and, in fact, it is, because Vatican II made the distinction between a "sinful church" and "church of sinners," thus enabling the big-C Church to be sinless, while all the individuals, who make up the Church are that sinners that cause scandal, etc.  Even so, at the highest levels of the Vatican and the papacy, there is little distinction between church and Church in the popular theology of the church.  For the pope to be seen as colluding in sexual abuse would undermine the authority of the Church, at the risk of the lesser and weaker masses losing their faith.  Or so, that is the logic and fear of the clerics in power.

     Here is this "logic" at work in the mind and actions of Pope Benedict back in 1998 when the accusations against Maciel were brought forward:
     In an interview, Father Athié said Bishop Talavera — who has since died — told him that the cardinal had read the letter and decided not to proceed with the case. “Ratzinger said it could not be opened because he was a person very beloved by the pope,” referring to Father Maciel, “and had done a lot of good for the church. He [who is now Pope Benedict] said as well, ‘I am very sorry, but it isn’t prudent,’ ” Father Athié said.  Saúl Barrales, a schoolteacher who once worked as Father Maciel’s secretary and is a cousin of Bishop Talavera, said he had heard the same account of the conversation from the bishop.
     Prudent: marked by wisdom or judiciousness; shrewd in the management of practical affairs; marked by circumspection.

     For Ratzinger, who coveted the papacy himself, confronting a serial sexual abuser, who was tight with Pope John Paul II and brought in billions into the church coffers, definitely wasn't prudent.  

     As soon as a call to pedophile prudence rings, a pope from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith springs.
     Just before Christmas 1999, Ms. Wegan, the lawyer, wrote to Mr. Barba and Mr. Jurado to say she had “sad news.” She said that she had spoken twice to Father Girotti and that he had told her they had done some research into the matter, but had decided to close the inquiry “for now.”  Mr. Barba said that in a later phone conversation with Ms. Wegan, she told him it was better for eight innocent men to suffer than for millions to lose their faith.
     And, "the truth will set you free."

     Why does anyone still refer to Catholic clerics as "men of faith."  Men of fear would be more accurate.  Fear of "scandalizing the faithful" is beat into the mind of priests during seminary formation.  Always err on the side of sparing the vulnerable, malleable, and ignorant laity by doing what Father knows is best for them, even if this means withholding the truth, especially a truth that could harm Father's reputation and his chances of climbing the ecclesial ladder.
     Even so, Father Athié said Monsignor Scicluna told him during his inquiry in Mexico that there would be no formal trial. Upset, Father Athié said he asked, “What is the point of the investigation then?” He said Monsignor Scicluna responded: “ ‘Father, Father Maciel is already an old man. In what way can one punish a priest who is already so old?’ ”
      No need to punish him, because he's old?  Older than Moses was when god pushed him by not letting him enter the promised land because he tapped the rock twice?  Maciel tapped more than rocks and more than twice.  But he was too old.  That makes total sense, especially in light of Catholic belief, which is that one will live eternally in communion with god in heaven.  Therefore, Fr. Maciel was infinitesimally young at the time and deserved a spanking, no wait, that might have pleasured him.  He deserved a trial, public accountability for his sins against the youth of the church, and castration.

     Father Maciel was removed in May 2006, but it wasn't until two days ago that the Vatican officially spelled out why he'd been dismissed.
     Father Maciel’s “objectively immoral behavior” included criminal acts “and showed a life devoid of scruples and authentic religious feeling."
     But Pope Ben is still going to keep the religious order founded upon Maciel's immoral behavior, way of living that was devoid of scruples, and had no authentic religious feeling.  Of course he is.  It wouldn't be prudent to disband the Legionaries of Christ, worth an estimated $35 billion.

     Notice that in the condemnation of Father Maciel, there was no mention of sexual abuse of boys and girls, no mention of rape, and no mention of fathering children.  Later in the Holy See's statement, the whole of which can be read here, sexual abuse was mentioned:
     It will also mean dealing sincerely with all of those who, within and outside the Legion, were victims of sexual abuse and of the power system devised by the founder: They are in the Holy Father’s thoughts and prayers at this time, along with his gratitude to those of them who, even in the midst of great difficulties, had the courage and constancy to demand the truth.
     "Dealing" with victims of sexual abuse?  Sorry to inconvenience you, Ben.  

     "Power system devised by the founder"?  I don't think Maciel can take the blame for the power system of the Catholic Church that has enabled clergy all over the world to sexually abuse children for generations.

     How generous of you, Ben, to thank the victims, who came forward for over fifty years, while the Vatican (and you) allowed pedophile Maciel to remain in power (in the system "devised" by him).  How many lives were shattered and generations plagued while the church (and you) enabled this pedophile?  How many more were abused in the five years that you waited for prudence to arrive?

      Pope Benny and his entourage believe that he's divinely elected, that he is the Vicar of Christ; therefore, his excrement smells like incense.  There will be no resignation, because can do no wrong and because whatever transgression or acts of omission he may have committed in the past are forgiven.  If he resigns, then the domino of church authority will fall, starting a cascade that could scandalize a billion Catholics to challenge the big-T Tradition of the big-C Church.  But the dominoes have been falling for millennia, as the Christian history of schism, not communion, can attest.

     It's repulsive that a Father would abuse his own children, correct?

     When you worship a god who killed his innocent son for the sake of abusers like Maciel, there is no logic, no justice, and  no accountability.

     And besides, it's better that eight innocent men (and uncounted innocent children) suffer than for millions to lose their faith.
Image Credits:
Maciel at Mass, New York Times
Maciel and the Women, EXLCBlog
Maciel's Papal Blessing, Newsome/AP
Maciel Eying the Boys, Telegraph
Maciel Embracing Ordinandi, OurFatherWhoArtInBed
Maciel's Recruits, Quiron

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Actually I do believe that millions have already started to lose their faith. In time the Church could be toast.