Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles Orchestrated a Systematic Cover-Up of Sexual Abuse; NPR's Breaking Report

     NPR reports:
     In 1986, Cardinal Mahony, the archbishop of Los Angeles, found out that Baker had been abusing boys from an impeccable source: the priest himself. Baker told Mahony that he had molested two boys, beginning in 1978. According to Tod Tamberg, a spokesman for the archdiocese, Mahony responded the way everyone did back then.  "Cardinal Mahony decided to handle it pastorally," says Tamberg, "and thought the thing to do would be to make sure that Michael Baker got the kind of treatment he needed and the help he needed so that he could make himself whole again."
     After six months of treatment, Baker was put in restricted ministry. Tamberg says Baker did only administrative work. He was supposed to have no contact with children and was theoretically monitored by other priests. But over the next 14 years, Baker was moved to nine different parishes, several of which had elementary schools adjacent to the rectory. 
     "Why is it the church's job to monitor them?" wonders plaintiffs attorney Lynne Cadigan. "Why doesn't he be monitored in jail or prison like any other person?"
     Cadigan represents two brothers who say Baker began molesting them in 1984, when they were 5 and 7 years old. The boys had no father at home, and the priest babysat them while their mother went to work. When they moved to Mexico, Baker visited them, took them on trips and helped arrange for them to move to Tucson, Ariz., where he was a frequent guest. All that time he was theoretically being monitored by the archdiocese.  "Baker obviously wasn't monitored," Cadigan says.
    Another case in which Mahony covered for the abusive Father Baker:
     One of the cases that went before the board involved a new allegation against Baker. In 1994, Baker had befriended a 14-year-old boy named Luis, who served as an altar boy at St. Columbkille parish in Los Angeles. According to Luis' attorney, John Manly, the sexual molestation began immediately after the two met. One day in 1996, the Rev. Timothy Dyer, who was supposed to be monitoring Baker, spotted the boy in the rectory.
     "Father Dyer came home to St. Columbkille and found Luis upstairs in the living area coming out of Baker's room," Manly says. "Father Dyer had an obligation to report. He didn't report."
     Archdiocese spokesman Tamberg says the church wasn't legally obligated to call the police because priests were not mandated reporters until a year later. The church notified neither the police nor the parish. The archdiocese did conduct an investigation.
     The Cardinal's right-hand-man, the vicar of clergy, had a meltdown during a 2009 deposition, in which he blamed Mahony for the cover-up of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles:
     Richard Loomis, the vicar for clergy, felt something had to be done about Baker. In a 2009 deposition obtained by NPR, Loomis told Luis' attorney that he suggested the police be called.
     "Did they do that?" Manly asked.
     "No," Loomis responded.
     "Who did you suggest that to?"
     "To the cardinal," Loomis said.
     Describing the deposition to NPR later, Manly said that Loomis "flipped" right in the middle of the deposition.  "You know, how you used to see on Perry Mason or A Few Good Men, when someone actually flips on the stand? It just doesn't happen. And here it did," Manly said.
     Later in the deposition, Loomis said he suggested that the archdiocese should alert all the parishes about Baker's activities, in case there were other victims. Again, the cardinal declined.
     Concerning 68 emails implicating Mahony in the cover-up for and enabling of sexually abusive priests NPR reports:
     In one [email], dated March 27, 2002, Mahony notes that the church has not reported three of the eight most abusive priests, one of whom was Baker. Mahony worries that if the district attorney finds this out, "I can guarantee you that I will get hauled into a grand jury proceeding and I will be forced to give all the names."
     And in another message dated April 1, 2008, Mahony suggests that the archdiocese issue a statement saying it cannot release the names or numbers of accused priests while the government is investigating. "Since that is weeks and months down the road, I hope interest would have waned by then," Mahony writes.
     When will the Roman Catholic bishops, who have colluded to protect sexually abusive priests finally stand criminal trial?

Some Catholic Pedophile-Priests Don't Consider Sex with Children a Violation of Celibacy

     What role does priestly celibacy play in the crisis of sexual abuse of minors in the Catholic Church?

     An Australian bishop exposed one way pedophile-priests interpret their promise to live celibacy.  The Inquirer reports:
     Some pedophile priests believe molesting children does not breach their vow of celibacy, a retired Australian Catholic bishop said in a magazine interview.  Geoffrey Robinson, former auxiliary bishop of Sydney, told The Australian Women's Weekly he had made the observation during years of work with victims of child abuse within the church.  "We've met it often enough to see it as a factor. That's what the vow of celibacy refers to, being married. If it's not an adult woman, then somehow they're not breaking their vow," the 72-year-old said.
     This is the same kind of compartmentalized thinking that I heard when I was a seminarian and a priest.  Many priests tell themselves that if it isn't vaginal sex, then it's still celibacy.   This is a perfect example of the  "what's the least amount I have to do to  meet the prescriptions of church law?" morality, which is widespread among Catholics.  

     Here's example of how this "morality" works.  Let's say that the bishops release a pastoral letter encouraging Catholics to practice the sacrament of reconciliation (confession/penance) regularly for their spiritual betterment.  They may be hoping folks will spill their sins once or twice a month, but if the letter strongly encourages Catholics to go to confession during Lent and Advent, most Catholics will go twice a year, once during each of these liturgical seasons.  What's the least amount I'm required to do and still be a good Catholic?  What's the bottom line?

     When it comes to sex, rather than treating the entire continuum of sexual acts as holy, natural, and good, the church has developed an entire hierarchy of sinful sexual acts.  The church trains its children to compartmentalize sex, into distinct acts, from the very beginning, with only one act, unitive and procreative vaginal sex between a man and a woman, who are married to each other, considered holy.

     Catholics have all sorts of ways of dealing with this.  I had a Catholic friend in college, who vowed she would be a virgin until she got married, but she blew most of the guys in the theatre department.  It was okay, because she wasn't having sex, and neither was President Bill Clinton.  It's not adultery if you don't swallow.

     In seminary, I believed I was still a virgin, because I had never had sex with woman.  Men didn't count, so the fooling around I did in college with my roommate and my sexual exploitation by Fr. Mustache didn't count.  After all, sodomy isn't real sex, according to Catholic teaching, so blow jobs between two men are even lesser versions of sex, mutual masturbation even lesser, and naked back rubs were nothing.  (Fr. O'Baldy taught me that one.)  

     For all you Catholics out there, don't worry. Besides Fr. Mustache and Fr. O'Baldy,  I didn't "act out" (which is such a loaded negative term, adapted from addiction vocabulary), after I learned that celibacy also involved chastity, which meant no masturbation.  Of course, I did masturbate, but prayerfully, thinking about communion with god.  And ,I didn't "act out" with someone else in the room until after I graduated from seminary, but that's a story for another post and it was love, not "acting."

     All Catholics are called to chastity, and I would venture to guess that 99% of them don't live chastely.  They masturbate alone or with their opposite sex spouses.  They have oral sex, anal sex, boob-sex, dry humping sex; anything and everything that isn't penis-in-vagina-with-no-artificial-birth-control-and-a-successful-deposit-of-semen sex, because if they did that, it would be a sin.

     There are such guilty, fearful, and grandiose expectations placed upon the sexual act in Catholic moral teachings.  Few Catholics can live up to these prescriptions; therefore, people develop ways of rationalizing their behavior, so that they can meet the church's unachievable sexual sainthood.

     It is no shock that pedophile-priests would not consider raping children, and the lesser sin of groping a child, a violation of celibacy.  The system of Catholic sexual ethics sowed the seeds of their distortion and their crimes long ago.

Catholic Mark Wahlberg's Priest: "No Brokeback for You"

[he stands, unzips his pants and pulls out his penis] 
I am a star. I'm a star, I'm a star, I'm a star. I am a big, bright, shining star. That's right.
[he rezips his pants]

     The 38-year-old reformed bad boy relies on his closest confidante and longtime religious mentor, the Rev. James Flavin, to help him pick and choose his parts. 'Mark is a practicing Catholic, and he never makes a final decision on a starring role until Father Flavin gives his OK,' an insider revealed to The Enquirer. 'Mark says he owes his career to Father Flavin.' ... 'Father Flavin pushes Mark to honor his religious roots,' said the source. 'Even though Mark was offered one of the leads in Brokeback Mountain, he passed because of the gay subject matter, which clashes with Catholic doctrine.
     Because we all know that the Catholic Church and its doctrine are the best role model of morality for Hollywood (maybe Roman Polanski).  And speaking of wood, what did Father Flavin think of Mark's full-frontal role as a drug addicted, porn star in Boogie Nights?  I bet the good father loved this scene (courtesy of IMBD):
Dirk: [as Brock] You still hungry?
Jessie St, Vincent: Starving.
[unzipping his pants]
 Dirk: [as Brock] Then feast on that.

     And cue Father Flavin's Funky Bunch.  

    To see the entire list of Catholic-approved films in the Wahlberg-Flavin canon, click here.  To see his Calvin Klien underwear adds click here.  I bet Father Flavin was all over those.

     Since Walhberg was "creeped out" by Brokeback Mountain, I wonder who he would play in a Sodom and Gommorah film.  No doubt Father Flavin would advise Mark to play the hero, Lot, or better yet, Yahweh, and not one of the evil Sodomites.  No, wait, Saint Mel Gibson would play the Lord.  John Travolta and Kevin Spacey the "angels."  And Tom Cruise the leader of the Sodomites.

     But wait, who is the real bad guy in that Genesis myth anyway?

     Maybe a refresher course courtesy of Betsy's Sunday School Bible Classics written by Betsy Salkind will help.

How did Father Flavin feel about this commercial from virgin Marky Mark's teen days?

Image Credits:
Father Flavin's Clerics by Brockton Police