Showing posts with label Benedict XVI. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Benedict XVI. Show all posts

Monday, September 17, 2012

Boston Archdiocese Continues to Pay Salary to Priest Accused of Sexual Abuse; Vatican Unwilling to Defrock

This is an interview on Radio Boston concerning Rev. James Foley, who was accused of sexual abuse in 1999.

Over the past thirteen years, Foley has received his priestly salary, even after the Archdiocese of Boston settled the abuse suit and another victim came forward.

Meanwhile, those of us priests, who were whistle-blowers over the past decade, were turned out without pay.

Foley remains a priest.  This interview discusses how the Vatican and the U.S. bishops have not yet removed Foley from priesthood.  I wonder how many priests, who left to get married since 1999, have been successfully laicized by the Vatican?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Maywood Catholic Church Vandalized, Police Call It a Hate Crime, which I Think Is an Apt Description of Sexual Abuse

     People are appalled and angry.  In Maywood, CA, (southeast of downtown Los Angeles), vandals broke into Santa Rosa de Lima Catholic Church and tore through the church's kitchen and auditorium.

     KTLA reports:
     "The vandalism was of a heinous nature, and in fact, consistent with a hate crime," department official said. The pastor told KTLA that he looked at surveillance video and it appears two young men broke into the church around 1 a.m. Monday.
     ABC7 reports:
     Investigators said the vandalism is extremely graphic, calling it heinous. They wrote 666 on the walls, stuck a knife through a painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe and took a cross and displayed it in a sacrilegious manner. Police said the suspects went as far as to defecate in the auditorium, located next to the kitchen.
     If you know anything about the vandalism call the Maywood-Cudahy Police Department at (323) 562-5005.

     Let me make myself very clear: I do not support breaking into churches and defecating in their auditoriums.  Breaking and entering, destruction of property, and doing anything with the hateful intention to inspire fear in a specific group of people are crimes.  I hope the people who did this are captured and brought to justice.

     Here's the thing: I want to see this kind of anger, shock, and call to urgency coming from Catholics and local newscasters when it comes to sexual abuse/rape of children.  The church building, the kitchen, the painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe that took a knife in the face, etc. are all just possessions.  They are things.  The only exception, according to Catholic belief, is the content of the tabernacle--the  consecrated hosts, which Catholics believe are Jesus Christ (who is obviously not claustrophobic).   From the news reports, the vandals did not desecrate this holy of holies.

     But, what of the holiest of all holies, the real flesh and blood of our children?  

    Why is it that newscasters and Catholics get so bent out of shape over possessions getting destroyed, but seem to distance themselves from feeling and even verbalizing any sort of anger about what pastors, bishops and popes have done unto their children in the name of their god?  

    Imagine if the newscasts on the church vandalism were rewritten as a report on child rape/sexual abuse in the Catholic church:  

     The vandalism was of a heinous nature, and in fact, consistent with a hate crime. The concerned Catholic reported to the police that priests enticed twelve year old boys/girls with promises of love, holiness, and eternal life, only to rape them. Investigators said the vandalism to the children's bodies and psyches is extremely graphic, calling it heinous. The priests ripped through the children's anal/vaginal walls, ejaculated on the faces of their virgin victims, and used the cross as a means of control, telling the children that they were seductive and bad and that they needed to ask Jesus for forgiveness.

     How's that for a sacrilegious hate crime?

     If you are offended by that, then good.  We need to be offended by what was and is being done unto children in the names of people's gods.  We need not to forget how extremely graphic and heinous child rape and sexual abuse are.  Those, who conspired to enable and cover-up for the perpetrators of these hate crimes against children and who bullied adult-victims that came forward, need to be brought to justice.

     If you know of a child that has been sexually abused, call 911.

Pictures of the vandalism are from KTLA; the protest, from Evidentia.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Australian Archbishop Coleridge Admits Catholic Church's Culture of Discretion Is One Cause of the Child Sexual Abuse Scandal

     Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Canberra, Australia, is trying to speak the truth.  Yesterday, while Christians around the world celebrated the "birth" of the church on Pentecost, Archbihop Coleridge released an open letter in which he attempted to explain what it is about Catholic culture that lead bishops, relgious, and lay to turn a blind eye to priest-perpetuated sexual abuse and rape if children.

     The Roman Catholic Church's culture of discretion and focus on "sin and forgiveness rather than crime and punishment" were among ingrained factors that ultimately led to the child sex abuse scandal and cover-up surrounding the church today, a pre-eminent Australian bishop said Monday. 
     Archbishop Mark Coleridge, whose archdiocese is based in the national capital of Canberra, took the unusual step of writing an open letter attempting to explain the culture that led the church to turn a blind eye to priests accused of molesting children.  Factors include a determination to protect the church's reputation, a culture of discretion, "institutionalized immaturity" of priests fostered by seminary training, and an outlook of "sin and forgiveness rather than crime and punishment," Coleridge wrote. 
     Broken Rites Australia, a support group for victims of clergy sex abuse, said the church's failing as outlined by Coleridge was unforgivable.  "The archbishop's comments show how the Catholic Church hierarchy have covered up sex abuse and dealt very badly with the victims," group president Chris MacIsacc said. "But there is no excuse for not understanding that rape, sodomy and child sex abuse is a crime. To be more concerned for the perpetrator of crime than the victim is unforgivable."
     Here are some excerpts from the Coleridge letter:
     Another factor was the Catholic Church’s culture of forgiveness which tends to view things in terms of sin and forgiveness rather than crime and punishment. But in the case of clerical abuse of the young, we are dealing with crime, and the Church has struggled to find the point of convergence between sin and forgiveness on the one hand and crime and punishment on the other. True, sin must be forgiven, but so too must crime be punished. Both mercy and justice must run their course, and do so in a way that converges. This relates to larger questions of how the Church sees her relationship with society more generally. We are “in the world but not of it”: but what precisely does that mean in the here and now? There is also the large question of the relationship between divine and human judgement. The Church insists that it is to God, not to human beings, that final judgement belongs. Yet how does that fit with the need for human judgement when we move within the logic of crime and punishment? We have been slow and clumsy, even at times culpable, in shaping our answer to such questions. 
     I have asked myself often enough who has been to blame in all this. Clearly the victims were not, though we have treated them at times as if they were. Just as clearly, the offenders were to blame and must bear the full weight of judgement both human and divine. The bishops? Yes, insofar as they concealed or denied the abuse.
     Coleridge concludes that Pope Benedict is the man to lead the Catholic church through the crisis, which I think is an unfortunate conclusion.  This conclusion undermines the entire letter, in which he called for clerics to be held accountable for their crimes.  I guess he doesn't consider the cases of alleged cover-up and denial of abuse at the hand (or signature) of Pope Benedict/Ratzinger as grounds for criminal investigation.  On that we disagree.

     Until, the pope resigns and is replaced with someone, who had no ties to cases of sexual abuse and cover-up, the Catholic church's credibility will be in question, especially in matters of child rape, sexual abuse, and transparency.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tim Minchin's "Pope Song" Versus Pope Benedict's Cover-Up and Enabling of Sexual Abuse by Priests: Hypocrisy Poll Results

Which is more offensive Tim Minchin's "Pope Song," which you can see by clicking here, or  Pope Benedict's cover-up and enabling of sexual abuse by priests, which you can see by opening any non right-wing Catholic-run newspaper in the world?

92% of you voted that the Pope's actions are more offensive.  You give me hope for a better tomorrow and for the safety of future generations of children.

8% of you think that Tim Minchin's song is more offensive than the Pope protecting child rapists.  Perhaps, you should be required to enroll your children in schools and youth groups, where "reformed" sexual predators will teach them everything they need to know about god.  You should also invite Pedobear to your children's next birthday party.

For you 8% and the millions of Catholics, who continue to stand by your man in the dress and ruby slippers, I offer this quote from Tim Minchin's "Pope Song."  Don't worry, I blotted out the "bad" words, so you won't be offended.

This one is for all of you ultramontanists out there, who believe Pope Benedict has always had your children's best interests at heart:

And if you look into your motherf---ing heart and tell me true
If this motherf---ing stupid f---ing song offended you
With its filthy f---ing language and it’s f---ing disrespect
If it made you feel angry, go ahead and write a letter
But if you find me more offensive than the f---ing possibility
That the Pope protected priests when they were getting f---ing fiddly
Then listen to me, motherf---er, this here is a fact:
You are just as morally misguided as that motherf---ing
Power-hungry, self-aggrandized bigot in the stupid f---ing hat
Oh.  And, you're also reading the wrong blog.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Catholic Laity Flood the Vatican in Show of Support for Pope Benedict XVI, Enabling Abuse & Blaming the Victims

     Over the weekend, a number of Catholic lay organizations rallied at the Vatican to show their support of Pope Benedict XVI, who has been connected via his signature to cases of enabling child rape by his priests. Between 120,000 and 150,000 Catholic faithful attended.

Pope Benedict's Adoring Crowd
by CNS' Paul Haring
     Can you imagine if that many Catholics attended a Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) meeting to show their support of the persons whose lives were turned upside down by priests who raped them, while preaching their god's love and forgiveness to the adoring throngs?

      Can you imagine if that many Catholics filled the Vatican with signs demanding Benedict's resignation or gathered in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York to demand Archbishop Timothy Dolan's resignation, or in front of the Los Angeles cathedral to demand Cardinal Mahony's resignation?

     Can you imagine if lay Catholics banded together in the face of the mounting evidence against the pope and the bishops that shows they've continued to protect some abusive priests, since publicly proclaiming the Dallas Charter in 2004, which was supposed to have stopped this illegal practice?

     The Catholic News Service reports this choice comment by Andrea Olivero, speaking on behalf of an Italian Christian workers group at the rally:
     The abuse scandal, he said, "should be experienced as a cross by all of us. We cannot allow our pastors to be the only ones who live with this suffering, which is a suffering that affects the entire church."
Kevin Flannagan, 
     I would agree that the "abuse scandal" has affected all Catholics, but Olivero says the ones living with the suffering are the pastors.  He's concerned for the clergy.  This is the default Catholic response to sexual abuse claims.  In parishes where priests get accused, often the bulk of the parishioners side with the priest and against the victim.  Victims are cast out and ostracized, because the larger community is in denial and is complicit in a system that caters to abusive priests.  Trust me, the pastors are not living with the suffering in the same way as those who were raped and sodomized by priests.

     Here are a few more quotes from some Catholic laypersons at the "We Support Out Pope" rally, via the National Catholic Reporter (My comments are interspersed.):
     “We want Benedict XVI to hear our affection, after months of repeated attacks against him and the whole church,” said Gabriele Brunini, president of the National Confederation of Mercy, a Catholic charitable group in Italy.
     "Repeated attacks against the whole church"?  This is the mafia-like, group-think of the Catholic faithful.  An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.  No wonder that victims are afraid to come forward.  They have to experience the violence of their assault all over again by the Catholic "faithful" who stand by their pope, bishops, and priests no matter what. 
     “We can’t forget the people who’ve been victims of abuse,” Brunini said, “but to utilize the scandal of pedophile priests to strike at the pope and the church, trying to reduce them to silence, is something else entirely.”
Tom Cheemuk of Alaska, victim
     "To strike at the pope and the church, trying to reduce them to silence"?  No one is trying to reduce them to silence.  We want them to talk.  We want an admission and apology, not double-talk, excuses, and cover-up.  We want to see some accountability and action taken to ensure that future generations of children are protected.  

     Why is a movement to hold the pope accountable for his actions seen as a "strike" against the church?  Is the pope above the law?  It would seem that those supporting him believe so.  Would they support a superintendent of their public schools if the superintendent's signature was on numerous documents that delayed the removal of pedophile teachers?  No, they'd sue the bastard and scream for him to be jailed.
     Claudia Nodari, president of the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Italy, struck a similar note   “We’re with the pope,” she said, “against the effort to cancel out all the good the church and its ministers have done, and are doing, for the spiritual and material welfare of people all over the world.”
     This is the lie that Catholics in the pews tell themselves so that they can justify their support of a system that has protected pedophiles and shunned victims: those who challenge the church are trying to cancel the good that the church's priests have done.  This is just bullshit.  Victims want justice, accountability, and protection of future generations.
     Credibly accusing a priest or bishop of sexual abuse is not an effort to cancel out the good of the church, but an effort to stop a criminal.  The news reports that have exposed Pope Benedict as complicit in the cover-up for priest-perpetrators is not an effort to "cancel out all the good the church has done all over the world" but an attempt to ensure that innocent children are protected from rape in the name of god all over the world
     Guido Boldrin, a member of the “Communion and Liberation” movement who made the trip from Milan to Rome to take part in the rally along with his wife and four daughters, said he wanted to protest the “cynical and unjust” campaign against Benedict XVI on the part of the “national and international media.”
     Would Guido still be there if one of his four daughters or his wife had been raped by a priest?  Would he still think that credible news reports that have exposed Benedict are cynical an unjust?  Or would he throw out his abused child instead, calling her a whore, saying that she led the priest on, that she deserved it,or that priests are fragile celibates that the devil targets with temptation and that she let the devil use her?   

     I'm living proof of this ostracizing system that the Catholic church imposes on those who challenge it.  I was a priest who brought an accusation of sexual assault, exploitation and harassment against my college priest, Fr. Mustache, whom I went to for confession and spiritual counseling to work through my being sexually abused by a pediatrician during puberty.  The trusted and well-respected priest used me for his gratification, all under the guise of helping me discern the priesthood.  When I showed him that I'd been accepted by the diocese to go to seminary, Fr. Mustache blew me.  How's that for spiritual counsel?  

     In my seminary formation, I was told that what happened to me was my fault, it was my own sin.  I was told not to come forward with accusations because it would ruin my career, but Fr. Mustache continued his ministry on the college campus, where my old college friends called his new young male sidekicks "the new Tom."  

     When I returned to the diocese as a priest four years later, Fr. Mustache continued his former ways, surrounding himself with young boys, wrestling with them, giving them titty twisters, taking them to dinner, and entertaining them.  I told the bishop everything.  I was ordered to be silently obedient and to return to my post, because the church had "already seen enough scandal."

     I lost my career, my livelihood, my community, my vocation, and my friends because I came forward with an accusation against a priest.  I've been called Satan by old Catholic friends and told that I "betrayed" them.  Some of them continue to share meals with Fr. Mustache.  Some even trust their children with him, as does the bishop, if you count the thousands of college students that continue to receive their pastoral care from the abusive priest.  I've had family members tell me that I need to turn from my my sinful ways and return to the priesthood, because it's god's will for my salvation.  I've had others cut me off with no explanation.  I'm not alone in this.  This is the reality that faces many victims who come forward.

     These responses are typical of many Catholic laity.  They are the voices packing the Vatican in support of a pope that participated in the enabling of priest perpetrators.  A pope, who had he lived in the fourth century, would have ignored St. Basil of Caesarea's cries against monks screwing boys in their monasteries, or had he lived in the eleventh century would have ignored St. Peter Damian's demands to address the sexual molestation of minors by clergy in that time.  These are the Catholics that give their money to a system that protects abusive and exploitative priests.

     Victims come forward because they don't want others to experience the same horror and violation that they experienced.  Catholic laity, who continue to claim the church and pope are under attack, need to listen not to the legal defenses of the pope and bishops, but to the victims who lost more than their sexual, spiritual, and psychological health not only to an individual perpetrator, but to a community that prizes obedient communion above all else.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Pope Benedict Tells Portugal to Ban Gay Marriage and Abortion, but I Think Portugal Should Ban Religious Hypocrites

     Addressing a huge crowd at the shrine of Fatima at the climax of his four day visit to Portugal, the 83-year-old Pope said that same sex marriage and abortion were among the "most insidious and dangerous challenges that today confront the common good."
      But spiritual leaders raping children to bring them closer to their god or because sex with kids still counts as celibacy, that's not an affront to the public good?  (The good of the Vatican's bank account.)  And what about all those priests procuring abortions for nuns?  Let's call a miter a miter, Your Hoagieness.
     Stonewall, the British lesbian and gay lobby group, condemned the Pope’s remarks.  “Some might say that it’s dangerous and insidious for the Pope to spend so much time publicly belittling gay, lesbian and bisexual people,” said Derek Munn, director of public affairs.
     The Pope's remarks carried particular resonance for his host country – three years ago Portugal decriminalised abortion and it is now on the verge of legalising homosexual unions.  A law allowing same-sex marriage was passed by parliament in February.  President Anibal Cavaco Silva, a practising Catholic, is expected to sign the bill into law by May 17, three days after the end of the papal visit.  His ratification would make Portugal the sixth country in Europe to allow same-sex marriages after Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Norway.
     We'll know on Monday whether Pope Ben's trip was enough to shame the Portuguese president into discriminating against gays.  

     I, for one, think it would be a fun experiment for nations to pass laws ordering the removal of all gay priests and the banning of all future gay ordinations in the Catholic Church.  Let's call it the Hypocrisy Act of 2010.  After all, what is more insidious and dangerous to our youth than teaching them how to live double lives in someone's god's name?  Aren't we just training them to be undercover terrorists living in Arizona?

     We could also add the arrest, incarceration, and public lashing of all bishops and popes that covered-up sexual abuse or smuggled pedophile-priests (a.k.a. known-child-terrorists) across international borders.  Let's see how the church likes the state telling it what to do.

Is it just me, or is Ben looking more like John Paul II everyday?
What law should we pass for those millions in the crowd, who are cheering on a known accomplice to child rape?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pope Benedict in Portugal to Preach Economic and Sexual Morality...Seriously?

     On Tuesday, Pope Benedict XVI issued his "most direct words to date on abuse" while on a flight to Portugal.  He's not resigning.  There was no admit of personal participation, only more finger pointing, this time within the church.

     What has been overlooked are some of the reasons why Pope Benedict went to Portugal in the first place. The New York Times reports:
     The pope landed in Lisbon on Tuesday to begin a trip aimed at underscoring several themes of his papacy: the threat posed by secularism in Europe, the tension between faith and reason, and the role of ethics in economics.  Markets are jittery about Portugal’s prospects of bringing its debt and deficit under control. En route to Lisbon, Benedict told reporters that the financial crisis and the threat to the euro were opportunities to reintroduce a “moral dimension” to economics.
     Pope Ben has no credibility when it comes to preaching a "moral dimension" to economics, after  both he and John Paul II allowed the serial pedophile rapist Father Marcial Maciel Degollado access to children, because Maciel's Legionaries of Christ, now worth an estimated $35 billion, were bringing in the cash.  Where's the moral dimension of that economic decision?  And what of the "moral dimension" of the church's economic decision to block any law that extends the statute of limitations for child-victims of rape, assault, and sexual abuse by priests?

     Oh, but there's more.  The Times reports:
     Benedict is also expected to emphasize the church’s stance on social issues. A largely Catholic country, Portugal legalized abortion in 2007 and its Socialist majority Parliament approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriage earlier this year, which the president of Portugal has not yet signed into law.

      When it comes to sexual and economic morality, the Catholic church has historically shown that it is bankrupt.  It's time for the leaders of world's nations to quit giving credence and diplomatic immunity to Pope Benedict, a "divinely appointed" despot of a medieval, money-making, and  walled museum that claims to be a nation state.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pope Makes Most Direct Statement about the Sexual Abuse Scandal Yet, But Says Nothing New

     Pope Bendict XVI made a statement about the Catholic Church's scandal of priest-perpetrated rape and sexual abuse of minors, but did not say anything about having been involved in the cover-up.  The Atlantic Wire reports:
     While on a plane to Portugal, Pope Benedict XVI issued his most interesting statement yet regarding the abuse scandal. "Today we see in a truly terrifying way that the greatest persecution of the Church does not come from outside enemies, but is born of sin within the Church," the BBC reports Benedict saying. The pontiff also apparently talked more of the need for penance and "purification." Yet the BBC is careful to note that he also said, in their words, "forgiveness should not be a substitute for justice."
     There are a couple of different ways to take this. Is the pope--perhaps for the first time--acknowledging the depth of the abuse problem, or is this another form of defense? [Click here for the rest of the Atlantic Wire's report and the different takes on the Pope's statement.] 
     My opinion: the church isn't being persecuted.  It's being prosecuted.  

     The pope and other Catholics need to quit using the language of persecution.  Persecution happens to those who don't deserve it.  The church and its leaders deserve to be challenged for their enabling and cover-up of rape, assault, and sexual abuse of minors.

     Secondly, don't get too excited over the language of "sin within the church."  There is nothing new there.  Benedict isn't saying that the church is sinful.  He's saying that there are sinful members within the church.  They caused the scandal.  This is not an admission of guilt on his part, but a pointing fingers at other persons within the church, who are guilty, whereas he and his "Mother" church are innocent.

     He failed to acknowledging the depth of the problem as he didn't mention the victims once.  Again, his focus was on the "persecuted" church, not the members of the church who have been wronged.  

     The penance language is what the church has claimed all along, urging pedophile priests to repent of their sins.  In the past, when the priest-rapists did repent, they were returned to their parishes to rape more children.  So, the whole track record on Catholic penance and repentance really isn't the best starting block for the Pope's plan.  Jesus' plan for repentance has had two thousand years to work, but has failed.  It's time for a new plan.

     Finally, the statement "forgiveness should not be a substitute for justice" means nothing until Pope Benedict turns himself over to the authorities of the world to stand trial.  Until then, it's all just smells and bells.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Abraham, Issac, and God: A Lesson in Biblical Child Care for the Catholic Church

     In light of the current sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic church, what parent would possibly allow her child to be kissed on the lips by Catholic priest?

     What parent would defend Pope Benedict XVI's participation in the cover-up and enabling of sexual abuse and violence against children?

     What parent would subject his child to a system of belief that puts the welfare of religious hypocrites above that of innocent children?

     All good Catholic parents, who embrace the traditional values of the bible, would.   Whatever their their god (via the pope and priests that are vessels of his presence) demands of them, they give him.  It's what the bible tells them so.

     Here is today's lesson, care of "Betsy's Sunday School Bible Classics."  

Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cardinal Levada, Pope Benedict, & Sexual Abuse, the Paper Trail Continues

Pope Benedict XVI Installs William Cardinal Levada, 2006     
"Who's your Papa?"

     What do you do with a Catholic bishop, say William J. Levada, whose years of leadership in the archdioceses of Portland and San Francisco are marred with sexual abuse, scandal, and cover-up?  If you are Pope Benedict XVI, you promote the obedient archbishop to cardinal and give him your old job, which is overseeing all the sexual abuse cases worldwide, where he can defend you as being credible when it comes to handling sexual abuse.  Trust me, this makes total sense, if you live within the myopic walls of the Vatican.

     The New York Times has unearthed another paper trail implicating Pope Benedict and one of his closest friends and advisors, Levada, in the cover-up and enabling of Catholic clergy sexually abusing minors.

     In January 2006, Cardinal William J. Levada, the highest ranking American official in the Vatican, slipped into a San Francisco office building, sidestepping a gaggle of media lying in wait. On leave from Rome, he was submitting to a day of questioning before a flotilla of plaintiffs’ lawyers.
     For eight strenuous hours, the cardinal was pressed to explain why he had decided to return priests who were confirmed sexual abusers back to ministry. He acknowledged that he had failed to notify the authorities of allegations of abuse. He struggled to recall why he had chosen not to share information with parishioners.
     With such a great memory, Levada would be perfect for being in charge of handling the Church's sexual abuse cases, rights?  Perfect for forgetting them. 

     But an examination of his [Levada's] record, pieced together from interviews and a review of thousands of pages of court documents, show that he generally followed the prevailing practice of the church hierarchy, often giving accused priests the benefit of the doubt and being reluctant to remove them from ministry. 

      Catholics continue to come to the defense and aid of their bishops and pope, saying things like "Well, it was a gradual learning process, this dealing with sexual abuse, and we've learned." or "We've adopted a zero tolerance policy in the United States.  Since 2002, we're tackling the issue.  Trust us.  God does, why can't you?" or "No one understood that sexual abuse to children was damaging, until 2002.  We were doing what everyone else was doing, so why are you picking on us, you heathen Catholic hater."
     These clerics really think that the rest of the world is ignorant and will blindly follow them.  Their patronizing tone, exhibits the fact that they are out of touch and living in a world that is grounded neither in reality nor in truth.  

     Here's the truth.  Levada, the bishops, and the Vatican were warned from within about the extent of the sexual abuse crisis back in 1985 and did nothing.

     The Times:

     In the spring of 1985, the alarm was sounded by an unlikely trio of concerned Catholics, the Rev. Thomas Doyle, a Vatican canon lawyer; Raymond Mouton Jr., a Louisiana criminal lawyer who defended the Rev. Gilbert Gauthe, a notorious pedophile priest; and the Rev. Michael Peterson, a psychiatrist.
      In the wake of the Gauthe case, the three men produced a strongly worded 92-page report that argued for immediate action to deal with sexual molestation in the church.
      In May 1985, Cardinal Levada, then a young auxiliary bishop from Los Angeles, was sent by church leaders to meet with the men. The meeting at a Chicago airport hotel went on all day, Father Doyle and Mr. Mouton said recently, with Bishop Levada going through their report almost line by line. They said he seemed enthusiastic about their proposals.
     Two weeks later, however, the bishop called Father Doyle and told him that their report was being shelved and that the bishops would convene their own committee to examine the issue. But no such group materialized. Two decades later, in various sworn depositions, Cardinal Levada would assert that he recalled little from the meeting. But his detailed briefing would have given him a far deeper awareness of the issue than a vast majority of church officials at the time.
     Cardinal Levada is a self-serving liar.  

     The document trail exposed by the New York Times exposes Levada's record and consistent themes of delaying punishment of accused/convicted priests and/or outright returning of abusive priests to ministry with nothing more than a "don't do it again" even when there was a long trail of accusations against a priest-purpetrator.

     Levada's main concern was protecting the church and keeping documents from being subpoenaed in court that would expose sexual abuse cases.  So, let me get this right.  Levada understood the intricacies of civil law.  If he could understand that, how was he lacking intelligence enough to understand the warning of Doyle and Mouton in 1985?  He understood them.  He chose to aid, abet, and protect his pedophile-priests.

     Here's a summary of some of the evidence against Levada.  See the New York Times' article for the full paper trail.

     While in San Francisco, Levada failed to restrict two priest-perpetrators.  Rev. Milton Walsh who abused a 13-year-old, remained in ministry, telling  Levada "You can trust me (to be around kids), 'cause I don't trust myself."  He was rector of the cathedral and remained in his venerated position under Levada's rule.  

     In the case of Rev. Gregory Ingels, who was a canon lawyer and a national expert on clergy sexual abuse until he was charged in 2003 for having abused a child, the case was dropped due to statute of limitations restrictions.  Levada left the sexual abuse "expert" in ministry, unrestricted.

     In the case of Rev. James Aylward, who was caught "wrestling" naked with a boy by his pastor Rev. John P. Conley, Levada did not restrict Aylward, but instead, suspended Conley, who then sued Levada for defamation.  It wasn't until Aylward admitted under oath that he'd gotten off by wresting with boys that Levada finally removed Aylward from ministry. 

     This is the man in charge of the Vatican's office that handles sexual abuse accusations.  This is the man we are supposed to trust.  If this were any other secular or corporate institution in the world, Levada would be out of a job.  His record shows that he failed repeatedly to understand the gravity of sexual abuse in the church and did not act to protect innocent children from priest-perpetrators.  Levada is a slow learner.  

     So, why should we believe that he can learn quickly now and implement change?  Because he's a cardinal, an ordained minister in the Catholic Church?  

     He is a human being like every other one of us.  He, the pope, and all bishops should be held to the same standards.  They are not holier.  They are not worthy of more respect.  They are not qualified to be trusted to do what is right, especially in matters of sexual abuse.

Image Credits:
Levada Kissing Pope Benedict's Ring, New York Times/Eric Risberg/AP
The Pope's Toilet, Film Movement
Vatican Toilet, Webshots

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Which Is More Offensive: Tim Minchin's "Pope Song" or Pope Benedict's Cover-Up and Enabling of Sexual Abuse by Priests?

Hypocrisy Poll

     Which Is More Offensive? 

     Vote in the left hand column of the Holy Blog.

      WARNING: voting against Tim's video without viewing it first may implicate you as total hypocrite.

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