Showing posts with label Murphy Report. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Murphy Report. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

1997 Letter Exposes Vatican's Refusal to Report Pedophile-Priests to Irish Civil Authorities (and a Trip Down Memory Lane: Benedict XVI, the Slapping Pope)

     As Pope Benedict moves towards beatifying John Paul II, the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church continues to balloon.

     The latest news out of Ireland is that a 1997 letter from the Vatican reveals how the John Paul II/Ratzinger-led Vatican resisted the Irish bishops' adoption of mandatory reporting to civil authorities of pedophile-priests.

     A newly disclosed document reveals that Vatican officials told the bishops of Ireland in 1997 that they had serious reservations about the bishops’ policy of mandatory reporting of priests suspected of child abuse to the police or civil authorities.  The document appears to contradict Vatican claims that church leaders in Rome never sought to control the actions of local bishops in abuse cases, and that the Roman Catholic Church did not impede criminal investigations of child abuse suspects.
     A documentary to be aired tonight reveals the contents of the letter and also claims that, on at least two occasions, the Vatican stepped in and stopped attempts by Irish bishops to defrock abuser priests.
     Last month, details of one of those occasions was made public when a High Court order finally allowed the full publication of a previously censored chapter in the Murphy Report on the Dublin Archdiocese.  That revealed that when bishops made moves to dismiss paedophile priest Tony Walsh, the Vatican instead sought to send Walsh to serve 10 years in a monastery.
     Tonight’s RTÉ programme, Unspeakable Crimes, shows Walsh went on to abuse another child after a Church court recommended that he was laicised because Rome insisted on a long, drawn- out appeal of his case.
     Watch the documentary by clicking here and then clicking on RTÉ's January 17, 2011 episode of Would You Believe?  The revelation of the letter's content comes at 0:12:00.  The connection to Benedict XVI/Ratzinger comes around 0:23:00, when he refuses to defrock pedophile-priests in both Ireland and the U.S.A.  The documentary's lack of sensationalism is damning.

     "The letter is of huge international significance, because it shows that the Vatican's intention is to prevent reporting of abuse to criminal authorities. And if that instruction applied here, it applied everywhere," said Colm O'Gorman, director of the Irish chapter of the human rights watchdog Amnesty International.
     The January 1997 letter is from papal nuncio Archbishop Luciano Storero to the Irish hierarchy. It states that the Vatican's Congregation for Clergy, which oversees policies for the more than 400,000 priests around the world, said the bishops' new policy of mandatory reporting of suspected sex crimes by priests to police "gives rise to serious reservations of both a moral and canonical nature."
     Storero (who died in 2000) wrote that canon law, which governs abuses and legal matters within the church, "must be meticulously followed" and any bishop who took actions that did not follow canon law would face the "highly embarrassing" position of being overturned on appeal in Rome. Such a result would be "detrimental" to the bishop in question, the Vatican warned.
     The letter closes with a stern admonition to the bishops that Vatican policies must be "meticulously" adhered to.
     How the folks in the pew can continue to disassociate themselves from the overwhelming evidence of their "Holy Father's" collusion in such heinous crimes against children and humanity is beyond me.


     And, in case you forgot, here's a news report from last spring on Benedict XVI's and John Paul II's protection of Legionaries of  Christ founder and serial pedophile, Father Marcial Maciel Degollado.  (At 4:00, watch Ratzinger/Benedict slap the hand of the ABC reporter that questioned him about Maciel.  How's that for humbly turning the other cheek?)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Former Vatican Big-Wig, Irish Bishop John Magee Finally Resigns Amid Sexual Abuse Scandal

     There has been some action today in the wake of Pope Benedict's letter to the Irish church concerning the sexual abuse of minor by priests and the ensuing cover-up by bishops that was revealed in the Murphy Report.

     Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation Wednesday of Bishop John Magee, a former papal aide who stands accused of endangering children by failing to follow the Irish church's own rules on reporting suspected pedophile priests to police.
     Magee apologized to victims of any pedophile priests who were kept in parish posts since he took charge of the southwest Irish diocese of Cloyne in 1987.  "To those whom I have failed in any way, or through any omission of mine have made suffer, I beg forgiveness and pardon,"
     After two years of demands that Magee resign because of his involvement of covering-up for two priests, who sexually abused and raped boys, girls and women, the criminal bishop has finally stepped down. 

     Bishop Magee is no minor cleric in church circles.  He served as the private secretary to Popes Paul VI, John Paul I, and John Paul II, and also as John Paul II's master of ceremonies.  These are top positions in the Vatican.  More proof that those in the intimate circles of the Vatican were involved in the mishandling and deliberate cover-up of sexual abuse.

     Hypocrite Benedict XVI has yet to accept the resignations of three other Irish bishops implicated in the sexual abuse scandal, nor has he taken responsibility for the mishandling of a repeat-offender, pedophile-priest during his tenure as a bishop in Germany

     I remain shocked by the lack of outcry from the majority of Catholics, who remain complacent and quiet in the face of such criminal hypocrisy. 

Image Credit: AP/MSNBC

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pope Benedict Opens Mouth to Irish Church in Pastoral Letter about Sexual Abuse

     Today's Roman Catholic Mad Libs:
Pope Benedict _____ has signed a _____ addressed to the Irish church in response to the _____ sexual abuse scandal.  Open mouth.  Insert _____.

    Bishop Ludwig Schick of Bamberg told Bavarian Radio on Tuesday that he was surprised by the number of [sexual abuse] cases that had come to light, and that the matter had to be dealt with openly and directly. “It’s bitter and it’s hard, but it absolutely has to be worked through,” he said. “This abscess must be opened and dried out so that it can heal.”
     Not the best choice of words, Schick: "bitter," "hard," "opened," and "absolutely has to be worked through."  Perhaps it's best if, from now on, clerics just keep their mouths shut, especially around altar boys.

     Not so for Pope Ben, who has opened his mouth again, amid his own alleged involvement in the sexual abuse scandal, by writing a "pastoral letter" to the Irish churchSigned today, the letter will be unveiled tomorrow

     How can anyone who has been a part of the hierarchy that harbored abusers at the expense of the victims speak with any dignity and authority concerning victims of sexual abuse and future preventative measures?  Pope Benedict needs to shut his mouth and resign.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Woman Tackles Pope; Seminarian Clutches Pearls

This video was taken at the 10 PM Christmas Eve Mass at the Vatican.

     It's shocking footage, for sure.  That anyone would physically attack someone while they are praying or performing a religious ceremony disgusts me.  I always had a fear of this sort of thing while I was a priest.  When up on the altar, one is completely exposed, and people have taken advantage of this vulnerability in history.  Liberation Theologian and Archbishop Oscar Romero, who sided with the poor of El Salvador against the rich and, for a long while, anti-liberation-theology-Vatican backed Salvadoran government, was shot dead while celebrating Mass.  When I was in El Salvador in 2001, I put my fingers in the bullet hole in the wall in the back of the sanctuary

     But in history there are also examples of religious people using the "sanctuary" of churches as a way to kill and commit genocide.  At the Rock of Cashel in Ireland, Protestants burned Irish Catholics.  In the Catholic churches of Rwanda, Tutsis took refuge only to have holy priests and nuns point the way for the military to massacre the vulnerable believers who thought they were safe in the Catholic churches.  In the Revolutionary war, there are reports that the British did the same to Americans in their churches, as the (not-so-good) film The Patriot portrayed so tragically.

     So, who was this Woman in Red that pulled Pope Ben to the floor during the Vatican Christmas Eve mass? She was not an angry atheist, not a militant lesbian protesting the church's continual ban on women's ordinations, not a radical Muslim terrorist, not a victim of sexual abuse by a priest (that we know of) seeking revenge, and not a Jew angry at Pope Ben's anti-Jewish blunders.

     The Associated Press reports that the woman was an unarmed Swiss-Italian national with psychiatric problems, Susanna Maiolo, 25, who attempted to do the same thing to the Pope at last year's Christmas Eve mass.  She's since been checked into a clinic for treatment.  The Pope is fine and he complete the Mass, but an elderly Cardinal Etchegaray was knocked to the ground in the commotion, broke his hip, and is awaiting surgery.

     While the gasps and screams of the faithful are understandable, a few of the clerics responses were a bit revealing.  Start the video below at about 1:00 to see the contrast between the old bishop's and the young seminarian's responses.

     The old bishop reacts like it's no big deal: "What to do?"

     The young straight seminarian (because the Vatican doesn't accept gays into the seminaries anymore) reacts instinctively by grasping his pearls.

First the gasp...

and then the grasp...

     But the Woman in Red (perhaps an undercover cardinal) wasn't the only believer taking the occasion of the high holy day to draw attention to herself.  Two of the bishops, who were just exposed in Ireland's Murphy Report as despicable participants in the cover-up and enabling of priests' sexual abuse of children, took Christmas as their occasion to resign and had priests throughout the Archdiocese of Dublin read their letters of resignation during Christmas masses.  While I'm happy they finally resigned and offered an apology, was Christmas really the best time to do this?  I thought Christ was the "reason for the season."

     There's nothing like religious men and women taking their own precious holy day and making it about themselves.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Why Sinead Ripped the Pope

     In 1992, I remember watching Sinead O'Connor tear up a picture of Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live.  Eighteen at the time and mad at the world, I thought it was a brilliant act of protest.  Shocked, I watched as she was decried as "the devil" in the press and from pulpits.  People bulldozed her CDs and cassette tapes swearing to never listen again, which I found ridiculous (an act that would be repeated by we self-righteous Americans when the Dixie Chicks protested the invasion of Iraq).   For years, NBC hid away the footage of O'Connor's SNL performance refusing to let it be shown again on television.  Her career in the United States was over.  What I don't remember from that time in my life is why she actually did it.

     I was shocked to read in today's news that O'Connor tore up the picture of the pope, (while singing Bob Marley's "War") in protest of the child sexual abuse and cover up that was going on in the Irish Catholic Church at the time.  She was a prophet ahead of her time, and like most true prophets, who cry out in the face of vast social injustice, she was rejected, chastized, and destroyed (professionally).  A few hundred years earlier she probably would have lost her life burned as a witch, and a few hundred years before that, burnt at the stake as a heretic.

     An adult survivor of child sexual abuse, Sinead O'Connor risked her reputation and lost her career to stand up and challenge the Vatican about the child sexual abuse and cover up going on in the Catholic church.  Of course, instead of listening to her challenge, O'Connor was discarded as another crazy star.  No one listened to her point.  And the self-righteous Americans, Catholics, and Christians around the world that condemned her seventeen years ago have been proven hypocrites, because they gave pedophile priests and their protector bishops another decade to deflower children around the world.

     In a December 9th interview with Mark Dagostino at Tonic, O'Connor was asked to comment on the current sexual abuse scandal in Ireland and on her career ending act of prophetic defiance in 1992. Dagostino reports:
     What went completely over the heads of the American audience at the time is that O'Connor's defiant act was in protest of the Catholic Church's cover-up of child sexual abuse at the hands of its priests in Ireland — an issue that would take years to surface in the U.S., but which had been bubbling over in her homeland at the time of her SNL performance.
     "It had hit the public arena in Ireland that there was sexual abuse among the clergy, but it had not hit the public arena in America," O'Connor explains. "It was to be another 10 years before it became reality in America that these things had happened. So it's kind of understandable that everyone reacted the way they did, because no one could possibly believe — how could they? — that priests would be involved in the sexual abuse of children."
     "I mean, we talk about the sexual abuse, but we neglect to talk about the battery and assault and psychological abuse that went on," she adds. "But basically, in America in 1992, nobody believed for a moment that priests could be involved in these kind of things. But in Ireland it was very well known, and we were all pretty pissed off."
     Anger at the Catholic Church's handling of the child sex abuse situation continues to bubble over in Ireland to this day. Just last week, an independent commission released a report documenting years of systematic church cover-up when it came to issues of child abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin.
     So when O'Connor is asked if she regrets tearing up a picture of the Pope on live TV, her answer is clear: "Absolutely not!" she says.
     "People say, 'Why did she do what she did?' I did what I did because I actually do believe in God, and I love God, and I don't like to see God being libeled. If God were here now today he, she or it would be suing a whole lot of f**kers for libel," O'Connor says. "I'm not a rampaging Christian, but I know there's a God and I love that God and I don't like what these people have done with the name of God. It's disgusting. And they should be very, very afraid of the day they meet their maker."
     O'Connor steps back for a moment, and even apologizes for "ranting." But as an abused child herself, the issue hits close to home. And reading the Murphy Report on the church's long-established knowledge of child sex abuse brought tears to her eyes — and moved her countrymen to finally call for the resignation of the remaining clergy who were involved.
     "The Ireland that I grew up in was a very different place than what it is now," O'Connor says. "I saw my parents and grandparents give up anything that would have given them a moment's joy, because the Catholic Church told them that it was a sin to love yourself, or a sin to love sex, or a sin to feel good about yourself. Self-esteem was a sin, basically — to be a good Catholic you had to think you were a piece of sh*t, you know? When you think of the joy that people did not allow themselves to have because of what these people taught them they should be, it makes you very bloody angry when you think about it.
     "Everyone in the whole country is furious about it at the moment. And even this week, there's no response from the Vatican. The Papal Nuncio, all he has said is that the Pope doesn't comment on such matters. Yet they're happy to comment on 'Harry Potter is evil.' They're happy to comment when we wanted contraception and divorce. They have plenty to say about Naomi Campbell wearing jeweled crucifixes. They have plenty to say about The Da Vinci Code. But they have nothing to say about their priests having sex with their children. It's really sick.
     Sinead O'Connor is a true hero, tragically misunderstood.   After all these years of being ostracized as a punchline, I hope that people will finally realize that what she did was a courageous matter of conscience and prophetic genius.  Thank you Sinead for standing up for our abused children when nobody else would.  Thank you for being a true hero.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Egan-Giuliani 2012: The Roman (Catholic) Empire Strikes Back

     In the midst of the mess that is the Catholic church in Ireland and in the wake of the release of the Murphy Report that unmasked the systematic sexual abuse of minors by clergy and concurrent/ongoing cover up by bishops and government officials, one would think that the church would learn from its mistakes.  One would think that things at the Vatican and around the world might change.  After all, the church and bishops have apologized for the atrocities in Ireland and the United States and Australia and Canada/New Zealand/etc. etc. etc.  Right?

     But what's an apology if you don't change your ways?  I think the church would probably call this false contrition.

     Jesus said, "By their fruits you will know them (Mt 7:20).  And right now, it's raining sour fruits all across the Catholic church in America.

     An editorial in Sunday's New York Times speaks of the hypocrisy in the Diocese of Bridgeport, CT, where it wasn't compassion, reconciliation, repentance, or the love of Jesus Christ that compelled the diocese "to release more than 12,000 pages of documents relating to lawsuits alleging decades of sexual abuse of children by its priests.  It was a court order," that the diocese had fought for seven years! 

     One of the clerics that doesn't come out too well in the 12,000 pages is former bishop of Bridgeport, the retired Cardinal Edward Egan of New YorkThe Times states:
As he [Egan] skirmishes with lawyers, he betrays a distressing tendency to disbelieve accusers and to shuck off blame.  He responds to accounts of abuse not with shame but skepticism, and exhibits the keen instinct for fraternal self-protection that reliably put shepherds ahead of the traumatized flock.  Referring to the Rev. Raymond Pcolka, whom 12 former parishioners accused of abuses involving oral and anal sex and beatings, Bishop Egan said: “I am not aware of those things. I am aware of the claims of those things, the allegations of those things. I am aware that there are a number of people who know one another, some are related to one another, have the same lawyers and so forth.”
     Late last week, the Catholic church dropped another big piece of rotten fruit in New York, only a week after the release of the Murphy Report and the cascade of  bishops saying that they're sorry and that the church has changed.

     Welcome to Rudy Giuliani's own personal church.

     Catholic sex-abuse victims' groups are decrying a Vatican decision to clear a former high-ranking Long Island priest, and longtime friend of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, of sex-abuse allegations.
     The Diocese of Rockville Centre announced on Friday that the Catholic Church had found Monsignor Alan Placa not guilty of molesting teenage boys, an allegation that first surfaced in a local grand jury investigation in 2002. The grand jury report concluded that Placa could not be prosecuted criminally because the statute of limitations had expired.
     "While not surprising, it's still heart-breaking to see that a victim deemed credible by virtually everyone else -- prosecutors, grand jurors, journalists, survivors, relatives and lay Catholics -- is deemed not credible by a couple of Vatican bureaucrats thousands of miles away," said David Clohessy, the national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
     The victim mentioned is Richard Tollner who was molested repeatedly by Monsignor Placa in 1975 while he was a teen at a Catholic high school. He is one of three known victims of Placa.
     "What upsets me most is that it sends a message that it is okay to be a sex abuser," said Tollner. "The Church will just ignore it, sweep it under the rug, and nobody is going to care."
     Tollner says he was kept in the dark about the testimony presented at the proceedings and unsuccessfully sought information on its outcome for the past two and a half years. He did not learn about the "not guilty" ruling until a reporter called him about it on Friday.
     Tollner told Good Morning America in 2007 that the sexual abuse started when he and Placa were making posters for a Right to Life march.
     "As he started to explain how these posters should be done, I realized that something was rubbing my body," Tollner said. "After a minute or two, I realized that he's feeling me, feeling me in my genital area."
     The grand jury report concluded that Priest F [Placa] abused the boys sexually "again and again and again.  Priest F was cautious, but relentless in his pursuit of victims."
     Anne Barrett Doyle of, a group that tracks sex abuse allegations against Catholic priests, called the decision a "slap in the face to survivors and all Catholics who want to believe the Church can change its ways." 
     This is definitely a slap in the face not only to all the victims but to anyone with half a brain, who cares about the well being of children.  One person not in that group is former Republican Presidential Candidate Rudy Giuliani, who hired his best bud Placa, as soon as Placa was removed from ministry during the investigation.  Giuliani reportedly got on the phone and contacted several former students of he and Placa's childhood school and asked by "the Giuliani organization" to vouch for Placa.  Futhermore:
      Placa has been friends with Giuliani since they both attended Bishop Loughlin High School in Brooklyn. They were in an opera club together and would sometimes double date. Giuliani and Placa later attended Manhattan College together, where they were also fraternity brothers.
     Placa was ordained as a Catholic priest in May 1970. He was the best man at Giuliani's first marriage in 1968, then helped Giuliani get an annulment in 1982 so he could marry second wife Donna Hanover. Placa officiated at Hanover and Giuliani's 1984 wedding. He officiated at the funerals of Giuliani's father and mother and baptized both of Giuliani's children.
     With friends in both high and low places, it's no surprise that the Vatican cleared Placa of the charges.  And why?  Statute of limitations!  Once again unholy mother church pretends that something never happened, while with the other side of her mouth apologizes for the horrendous sexual abuse in a far off land.

      Postscript:  For those of you in the heartland, the scandal continues in your own backyard, where my home diocese of Davenport, Iowa, and its Bishop William E. Franklin, are fighting tooth and nail against a judge's ordre to release the diocesan files.  I hope that he and Father O'Baldy are enjoying the Advent season together.

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.