Showing posts with label Pope John Paul II. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pope John Paul II. 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?)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hypocrisy Alert: Pope Benedict to Beatify John Paul II, Patron of World Youth Day

     Hypocrisy news from the Vatican: Pope John Paul II, who protected pedophile-priests at the expense of Catholic children, will one day be the Patron Saint of World Youth Day.

     The Boston Pilot reports:
     The future Blessed Pope John Paul II will be the official spiritual patron of World Youth Day 2011, which will be Aug. 16-21 in Madrid.  The Vatican announced Jan. 14 that Pope Benedict XVI would beatify his predecessor, the pope who founded World Youth Day and presided over many of its largest gatherings around the world.
     Big surprise: Pope Ben, protector of pedophiles, will beatify, John Paul II, the pope who taught him how to protect pedophiles.  Dog bless the Catholic hierarchy!  And suffer the little children.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Spanish Gay Couples Stage Kiss-In in Protest of Pope Benedict's "Intrinsically Disordered" Anti-Gay Politics

     Pope Benedict XVI strongly defended traditional families and the rights of the unborn on Sunday, directly attacking Spanish laws that allow gay marriage, fast-track divorce and easier abortions as he dedicated Barcelona's iconic church, the Sagrada Familia.
     It was the second time in as many days that Benedict had criticized the policies of Spain's Socialist government and called for Europe as a whole to rediscover Christian teachings and apply them to everyday life.
     As he headed to the church named for the sacred family, about 200 gays and lesbians staged a “kiss-in” to protest his visit and church policies on homosexuals, condom use and a host of other issues. Church teaching holds that gays should be treated with dignity and respect but that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered”.
     So, according to the Catholic Church and Pope Ben, this is "intrinsically disordered":

     But this is okay:

And this is sweet:

And this is properly ordered:

And this is just politics:

And this is way normal (and good for digestion):
(He's kissing dirt.)

And this is so 100% normal:

And this is in every conceivable way 
intrinsically ordered.

     P.S.  Here's iol News' short description of part of Pope Ben's blessing ceremony at Sagrada Familia.  Notice the proper order of things:
     During the ritual-filled dedication ceremony, Benedict poured holy oil over the marble altar and spread it across all four corners with his hands, an apron protecting his vestments. He then lit a brass incense burner on the altar as Spain's King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia looked on.  Afterward, four nuns dressed in black mopped up the remaining oil from the altar and placed fresh linens on it.
Image Credits:

Monday, May 31, 2010

Pope Benedict Refused to Defrock Illinois Priest Convicted of Raping Boys

     What do you do with a Catholic priest, who is convicted in civil courts for raping children, serves a jail sentence, is released, but then refuses his bishop's demand to ask to be defrocked? Well, if you were Pope Benedict Ratzinger, working under Pope John Paul II in 1989, you sided with the child rapist, refusing the bishop's pleas for a defrocking.

     Yet another case of the Pope Benedict's failure to take action against a convicted child rapist has come to light.  The Associated Press has unearthed the case of Father Alvin Campbell of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, who lured boys into his priestly water-bed and raped them.  

     In 1989, then-Ratzinger refused Bishop Daniel Ryan's request to defrock the convicted child rapist, because canon law favored the rapist (Imagine that.), who refused to ask for laicization.  You know, because that corrupt civil system must have been wrong, and years and years of a church trial, in which victims needed to manhandled and bullied, was necessary to find out the real truth that would set Fr. Campbell free.

     Documents obtained by The Associated Press from court filings in the case of the late Rev. Alvin Campbell of Illinois show Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, following church law at the time, turned down a bishop's plea to remove the priest for no other reason than the abuser's refusal to go along with it. "The petition in question cannot be admitted in as much as it lacks the request of Father Campbell himself," Ratzinger wrote in a July 3, 1989, letter to Bishop Daniel Ryan of the Diocese of Springfield, Ill.
     Campbell's misdeeds date back at least 15 years before his defrocking.  As an Army chaplain, he was reprimanded and ultimately left the service after abusing at least one boy, according to military and church correspondence. An Army letter in his file said he had exploited his rank and position as a chaplain "by engaging in indecent homosexual acts" with a child under 16 who had been under his supervision.
     Even so, Bishop Joseph McNicholas, then at the helm of the Springfield diocese, wrote to him, "Be assured that we will welcome you with open arms here at home." While church officials overseeing clergy in the military were alerted of Campbell's actions, and reference is made to the molestations in Ryan's letter to Ratzinger, it's not clear whether McNicholas knew.
     Campbell became a pastor upon his return to the diocese. In at least three instances after returning to diocesan work, he was forced to depart jobs as parish pastor or administrator "for reasons of health," a euphemism for sexual abuse used within the church that Ryan himself put in quotes. 
     After workers at a rape crisis center alerted authorities that they were treating one of Campbell's victims, police found he had been plying boys with video games, bicycles, watches and other gifts to get them to the waterbed in his second-floor rectory bedroom. Ryan sent Campbell to a New Mexico treatment facility after the arrest.
     Campbell was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 1985, after admitting to molesting seven boys during his time as pastor of St. Maurice Parish in Morrisonville, Ill. He was released in 1992 after serving about seven years for sexual assault and sexual abuse.
     Ryan apparently waited four years after Campbell went to prison, according to church files, before asking for the priest's defrocking. It's unclear what accounted for the delay...Ratzinger refused, citing Vatican policy, and told the bishop to proceed with a church tribunal.
     As for retired Bishop Ryan:
     Sass said Ryan, who lives in a nursing home outside the diocese, was unable to respond to questions. He retired in 1999 under a cloud of accusations of sexual relationships with male prostitutes [one of whom was a 15-year-old] and at least one priest; his successor found that he had engaged in "improper sexual conduct," allegations Ryan denied.
     To put it all in perspective, in 1895, when Father Campbell was getting out of prison, Bishop Ryan was paying a 15-year-old for sex.

      The reality is that there's sexual dirt on nearly every priest (the asexual ones are the only true celibates).  

     As long as the church continues to force its priests and religious into the unnatural state of celibate chastity, priests and religious will continue to masturbate, to have periodic or regular sex with people, and will remain stunted by guilt, shame, and compartmentalization, thus paralyzed from sexual and relational maturation.  

     This lack of maturity combined with sexual attraction, combined with a high stress job and combined with the lack of incarnate intimacy in a priest's life puts the vulnerable adults and children, who come to that priest for loving guidance and acceptance, in an extremely dangerous position.

     A celibate priest is a sexual time bomb, at some point, he will explode.  The question is: who's going to be on the receiving end of his shrapnel?

     Back to Pope Ratzinger's failure to act in the case of Fr. Campbell: 
     David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said that in Campbell's case "and hundreds like it, Ratzinger chose to put concerns about dangerous pedophiles and the church's reputation above concerns about children's safety."
     No shit.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Catholic Elementary School in Massachusetts Expels Student for Having Lesbian Parents

     St. Paul (Catholic) Elementary School  became a copycat of Sacred Heart of Jesus in Boulder, Colorado, by expelling a child because he has two mommies.  St. Paul is in the Archdiocese of Boston, Massachusetts, ground zero for the scandal of cover-up and enabling of pedophile-priests by church authorities.  Yes, when it comes to knowing what's best for other people's children, trust the Catholic Church.

     A Roman Catholic school in Massachusetts has withdrawn its acceptance of an 8-year-old boy with lesbian parents, saying their relationship was "in discord" with church teachings, according to one of the boys' mothers.  The Massachusetts woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of concerns about the effect of publicity on her son, said she planned to send the boy to third grade at St. Paul Elementary School in Hingham in the fall. But she said she learned her son's acceptance was rescinded during a conference call Monday with Principal Cynthia Duggan and the parish priest, the Rev. James Rafferty."I'm accustomed to discrimination, I suppose, at my age and my experience as a gay woman," the mother said. "But I didn't expect it against my child."  Rafferty said her relationship "was in discord with the teachings of the Catholic Church," which holds marriage is only between a man and woman, the woman said.

     When it comes to discrimination against homosexuals and their children,Catholics claim that they are not bigots.  They are just following Catholic teachings.  But, unless someone is consistently following and enforcing all Catholic teachings, unless someone is expelling the children of all the parents who don't follow all of the Catholic teachings, then they are picking, choosing, and targeting their scapegoat of the month.  That makes them a bigot.

     Father John Geoghan abused children for over three decades in the Archdiocese of Boston, while under the protection of bishops and cardinals who knew.  Cardinal Bernard Law has yet to face criminal charges for covering up this case.  He continues to dodge the law, under the protection of the Vatican in Rome.

     This is the authority with which the Catholic church of Boston calls homosexual depraved.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Vatican "Caught by Surprise" in Sexual Abuse Scandal, so Pope Benedict XVI Throws the People an Apologetic Crumb

There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day.  And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man's table.

    Surprise!  The word is out.  Cardinal Levada, head of the Catholic Church's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (i.e. the new Ratzinger), acknowledged that the Vatican was "caught by surprise" by the velocity of the sexual abuse scandal over the past few months.  Levada stated that he "wouldn't be surprised" if Pope Benedict XVI finally issues an apology for the mishandling of scandal abuse a meeting of a group of June.  Thanks for the crumb, Benny.

     There's nothing like the promise of some theoretical distant apology to quiet desperate Catholics in the pews, but why the wait?  And why give the apology to a group of clergy?  It's the victims of sexual abuse, their families, and the folks in the pews, who have been lied to, their children dangled before pedophiles for generations who deserve the apology, directly, not through the medium of some gathering of clergy.  Thanks for the crumb, Benny.
     Another case of sexual abuse has broken in Brazil (in addition to the octogenarian priest, who got caught having sex with altar boys on video).  Of the new case, Bradly Brooks of the AP reports:
     A Roman Catholic priest in Brazil is facing charges he abused eight boys in cases dating back to 1995, prosecutors said Wednesday, adding to a growing list of allegations against clergy in Latin America.  Father Jose Afonso, 74, is accused of abusing altar boys between the ages of 12 and 16, Sao Paulo state prosecutors said in an e-mailed statement.  Prosecutors said the reported abuses occurred this year, in 2009 and in 2001 in the city of Franca, about 250 miles (400 kilometers) north of Sao Paulo city. At least one case was reported in 1995 in the neighboring state of Minas Gerais.  Afonso remains free while a judge decides if he should be jailed.  Calls to the Franca diocese rang unanswered.
     The scandals in Argentina, unwrapped in December, march onward, as well.  But, June sounds like a great choice for an apology.  Thanks for the crumb, Benny.

     The scandal in Mexico, concerning Legionaries of Christ founder Rev. Marcial Maciel who raped boys and girls over decades but went unpunished because he was bringing in the conservative Catholic bucks, got some papal attention earlier today.  Since the first accusations of Marcial Maciel's sexual abuse of seminarians  occurred in 1956, it's expedient of the Vatican to hold meetings on what to do about the Legionaries of Christ in 2010.  How blessed is it that Pope Benedict surprised the gathering by dropping in for a visit.  He  is showing the world that he's a hardliner, not a headliner, when it comes to sexual waiting until June to apologize.  Thanks for the crumb, Benny.

     In the case brought in Milwaukee, which is one of many that have been brought across the country, what we’re learning, and what we have known to be the case for twenty-five years, is that all roads are leading to Rome. The decisions are made at the top of the pyramid by the Vatican. What we know is that the documentary trails that are being revealed showing that just like Lawrence Murphy and archbishop Weakland covering-up locally, they’re doing so under directions from Rome, from the Pontiff, from the Pope and his predecessor. And their directions and their laws and their protocols, which is what’s so alarming, require every cleric, every bishop, every cardinal all the way to Rome, to keep these matters secret to avoid scandal of the Universal Church. And in so doing, their concern is more about the reputation than the well-being of the children.
     Twenty-five years!  Imagine if the Vatican had been working as hard as Anderson and other sexual abuse victims' lawyers  to bring justice to perpetrator-priests over the past two and a half decades, rather than covering things up.  After twenty-five years, what's a two month wait for an apology?  Thanks for the crumb, Benny.

     So, what is the Vatican to do about its secret methods for covering up sexual abuse over the past fifty years being exposed, besides promising distant apologies?  The New York Times reports:
     That secrecy was made bluntly clear in a 2001 letter written by a top cardinal, who contended that this was a policy supported uniformly from John Paul on down. Only this month did the Vatican affirm that bishops should follow civil laws in countries that require reporting pedophilia and other abuse to the authorities.  
     This month.  They are working quickly to do something about this in the Vatican.  After all, it took three centuries to figure out a way to rip off pagan Greek philosophy to describe the alleged the full godhood and full manhood of Jesus in the term homoousious.  (If you chose homoiousious, sorry, you're an Arian heretic).  But I digress, back to...
     This month, Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, 80, a former head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy, made headlines when he said that John Paul had approved of the letter he wrote to a French bishop in 2001, praising him for facing prison rather than handing over a pedophile priest to civil courts.  The priest was convicted of molesting boys, and the bishop received a three-month suspended prison sentence for not turning him in. In a radio interview last week, the cardinal upped the ante, saying the letter emerged from a meeting where the future pope, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was also present... Father Lombardi confirmed the letter’s authenticity.
     Critics and defenders of Benedict say healing the church will require action and a full accounting of the past. That will not be easy on the legacy of John Paul.
     Yes, blame it on John Paul, that makes it much easier on Benedict who is doing so much.  The New York Times continues:
     Last year, Benedict confirmed the “heroic virtues” of John Paul, moving him closer to sainthood, but Vatican experts say the renewed attention on historical questions may delay the process.    
     Oops.  How does one blame a saint, who is heaven? 
      Benedict has met with sexual abuse victims four times, including this month in Malta, but only in private and after intense pressure from the media.

     Thanks for the crumb, Benny.

     And what of Jesus' story about the beggar Lazarus?
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.  And he cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.'  Abraham replied, 'My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.  Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.'
-Jesus of Nazareth, Luke  16:21-25

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cardinal Who Raped Boys Had an Apparition of the Virgin Mary

     Guess who the Virgin Mary appeared to in rural eastern Austria?  Serial pedophile Hans Hermann Cardinal Groër.

     The future Cardinal Groër, a Benedictine monk who organized high-profile monthly pilgrimages to a shrine in rural eastern Austria where he said he once had an apparition of the Virgin Mary, was a surprise choice when he was named archbishop on July 15, 1986, priests and senior church officials say.
     The question is, not whether Groër's apparitions were valid, but whether they brought him closer to his god, and how many boys he raped during the many pilgrimages he lead to the place of his virgin's appearing. 

     Karin Bennhold of The New York Times published the results of an investigation into the handling of serial pedophile Cardinal Groër, which exposes how inept then-Cardinal Ratzinger (now-Pope Ben) and Pope John Paul II were in vetting Groër, a rumored pedophile at the time of his assent to archbishop, how they didn't punish him until there was widespread public outcry, how a good priest resigned in protest of the Vatican's inaction, and how even after Ratzinger finally removed Groër from ministry, the pedophile never stood trial in the church or state courts.

     Here are a few snipets from the article, (which can be found in its entirety by clicking here): 

Pope Benedict/Ratzinger paved the way for Groër's ascent.
(Note: the subheadings are my addition)
     The favorite on the final short list was a conservative clergyman, the Rev. Kurt Krenn, who had close ties to some of John Paul’s closest confidants, two senior officials with knowledge of the process said. “The energetic protest of Cardinal Ratzinger was decisive in removing Kurt Krenn from the list,” said one of the officials, who worked at the Vienna Archdiocese at the time and who declined to be identified because the procedure is confidential. Benedict, known for his rigorous theology, objected that his Austrian colleague, Father Krenn, did not have a Ph.D. in theology, but rather in philosophy, say officials and priests in Vienna who knew both men.
Pope Benedict/Ratzinger failed to properly vet Groër.
     In the words of Cardinal Schönborn, who first met Cardinal Ratzinger in 1972 when he was the future pope’s student and has been close to him ever since, Benedict “was the second most important man in the Vatican and had without doubt the ear of the pope.”
     But blocking Bishop Krenn does not appear to have been accompanied by a thorough vetting of Cardinal Groër, who was already under suspicion within his own abbey of sexually abusing minors and young men.
     The Rev. Udo Fischer, a priest who attended the Hollabrunn boys’ seminary in eastern Austria in the 1960s and early 1970s, where Cardinal Groër had lived and taught for decades, said that in 1985 he personally warned the abbot of their local Benedictine monastery about Cardinal Groër’s inappropriate behavior with boys, whom he often referred to as “little angels.”
     Father Fischer told Abbot Clemens Lashofer of Göttweig Abbey that he himself had been molested by Cardinal Groër when they worked together on a youth movement devoted to the Virgin Mary in the early 1970s, and that he had observed him acting inappropriately with others who were not willing to come forward.
     When Father Fischer learned about Cardinal Groër’s appointment as archbishop, he said he sent an angry telegram to Abbot Lashofer and asked why he had not spoken up. The abbot, who was head of Austria’s Benedictine order at the time, claimed he had never been questioned by the Vatican’s representative, the nuncio. “If they really did not ask him, they did not want to know,” Father Fischer said.
It was a "known secret" that Groër abused.
     Members of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, whose ranks included Cardinal Ratzinger at the time, tend to review detailed files about the candidates before deciding which ones to recommend to the pope. “It is a very complicated procedure,” said Lorenz Wolf, judicial vicar of the archdiocese in Munich. “It is very improbable that someone could hide something.”
     The rumors surrounding Cardinal Groër’s transgressions went beyond the circle of those who suffered at his hands. Josef Votzi, the journalist who broke the scandal in 1995 in the magazine Profil, is another Hollabrunn alumnus and said that even among staff members of the Vienna Archdiocese he interviewed when Father Groër was named archbishop, his history was “an open secret.”
Pope Benedict/Ratzinger's actions at the time are inexplicable to those who knew him. 
     Cardinal Schönborn said he could not explain why Cardinal Ratzinger had so much influence with the pope on other matters, but lacked the clout to have Cardinal Groër investigated for abuse. “I am not responsible to explain everything,” he said. “I just know that that is how it was.”
     Nor did Benedict’s subsequent communications on the matter shed much light on the scandal. In letters he sent to Austrian clergy members after the scandal, he made no mention of the former archbishop’s transgressions, instead warning bishops against ceding ground on the reformist proposals of the Catholic grass-roots movements that had sprung up.
Groër was only removed after widespread public outcry.
     In 1996, Cardinal Groër was named head of a priory in Germany then overseen by Göttweig Abbey and still appeared at official church functions. This sparked a vocal rebellion in Göttweig in late 1997, among some of his former students and victims, who called for his resignation.
     Faced with such upheaval, church officials removed Cardinal Groër from the priory and sent him back in January to the convent where he had lived after he was forced out in 1995. Shortly afterward, John Paul II approved a Vatican investigation.
The results of the Groër investigation were kept secret; no trial or public rebuke.
     But no result of the investigation was ever made public, and Cardinal Groër never faced a church court or even a public rebuke from Rome, let alone a secular trial.
A good priest left in protest of these lackadaisical actions and was quickly dismissed.

     Many in the Austrian clergy criticized what they saw as an attempt by Rome to protect a cardinal while ignoring victims demanding justice. Prior Gottfried Schätz, the No. 2 at Göttweig Abbey who had helped lead the outcry against Cardinal Groër, left in September 1998 and requested removal from the priesthood, which he was granted unusually quickly, within a year, Father Fischer said.
     Father Schermann said, “They did as much as they had at each point in time given the public outcry, and no more.”
     Will the Vatican continue to use deceased and soon-to-be-Saint John Paul II as a scapegoat for Pope Benedict/Ratzinger's participation and culpability in the Groër pedophilia debacle?  My prediction is that they will paint John Paul II as the true mastermind behind the Vatican's systematic cover-up, only to canonize him a saint a few years down the road.

It's time for some serious flushing in the Vatican.

Pope on a Rope: Catholic Sexual Abuse and Statute of Limitations

     Pope Benedict is a cleric on a wire, tightrope walking his way over a seemingly bottomless chasm of priest-perpetrated sexual abuse allegations and cover up by Catholic clerics in power. 

     It seems that daily news reports are tying both Pope Ben and deceased, soon-to-be-Saint John Paul II to more cases of the mishandling and enabling of perpetrators of child rape and sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. 

     The tightrope is swaying and fraying.  Is it only a matter of time before Pope Ben falls into the chasm?  Is there any sacred soap that can gracefully wash away the stain of scandal?

     Yesterday, The New York Times published an Op-ed by Lawrence Lessig, law professor and director of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard.  In the piece, Lessig calls the church and Pope Benedict on their empty pledges to do all they can "to investigate abuse accusations and find ways to safeguard children in the future," while they continue to lobby against laws that will loosen the statute of limitations in sexual abuse cases, allowing victims to seek justice against their perpetrators. 

     We've seen this blatant and financially motivated hypocrisy in Connecticut and Florida over the past few weeks.  Lessig discusses how the bishops of New Jersey and New York have been and are continuing to lobby against victims' legal rights.

     Lessig states:
     If the New York Catholic Conference stops this reform, it will achieve three things. First, it will protect its own wealth. Second, it will assure that potentially thousands of victims who have been abused by priests will have no opportunity for compensation. And third, it will help preserve a system of irresponsibility that makes it too easy to ignore child sexual abuse, because the costs of ignoring it are lower in New York than in most other states.

     If Pope Benedict and the church want redemption for the crimes of Catholic priests, there must continue to be confessions of those past sins. But just as important, the church must look at what it is doing today and end its campaign to block the weak and the vulnerable from receiving help to deal with the consequences of criminal sexual abuse.
Image Credits:
Pope on a Rope, Cheaper than Therapy
Pope on a Rope Medallians, Mahalo Answers
Pope on a Rope in a Box, Verbal Viagra
Pope on a Tightrope, Photobuck Mariter7

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Senior Belgian Bishop Resigns Admitting Sexual Abuse, Irish & German Bishops also Resign

     A manage a tois of Roman Catholic Bishops in Europe resigned this week because of their participation in the abuse of minors and/or the cover-up of cases of abuse.  Pope Benedict remains enthroned in the Chair of Peter.

Bishop Mixa, Criminal

Bishop Moriarty, Criminal

     The New York Times reports:
     The longest-serving bishop in Belgium resigned Friday after admitting to sexually abusing “a boy in my close entourage” many years ago, becoming the latest cleric to quit in a spreading abuse scandal.     
     Having a "close entourage" of boys should have been the first clue.

     In a statement issued by the Vatican on Friday, Roger Vangheluwe, 73, the bishop of Bruges since 1985, said that the abuse had occurred “when I was still a simple priest and for a while when I began as a bishop.”      
     Here's a picture of Vangheluwe from those days so long ago, when he was a "simple priest" enjoying the company of young boys and in Pope John Paul II's entourage.

     “This has marked the victim forever,” he said. The bishop said that he had asked the victim and his family several times to forgive him, but that the wound had not healed, “neither in me nor the victim.” A recent media storm merely deepened the trauma, he said. “I am profoundly sorry,” he said.
     The resignation came 10 years after the church in Belgium set up a commission to look into complaints of abuse that frequently seemed at loggerheads with the church leadership.
Bishop Vangheluwe,
Boy Entourage Aficionado
     How convenient that Vangheluwe waited until he was retirement age to resign.  Must we all wait for abusive clerics to reach retirement age before they take responsibility for their actions?  As for you never healing from your "wound" of having abused a boy, Bishop Vangheluwe: good!  May you bleed for years to come, man of god.

Sinead O'Connor Tells Rachel Maddow that Pope Should be Criminally Investigated

     Rachel Maddow interviewed sexual abuse victim-survivor Sinead O'Connor last night about the sexual abuse crisis plaguing the Catholic Church.  The video is embedded below. 

     Here are a few quotes from O'Connor in the interview:
     The Vatican is a 15th Century organization. It's a medieval organization, and what we're seeing here is a battle between medieval thinking and 21st century thinking.
     Whoever was involved in the cover up in child abuse and therefore endangering children should be fired.  The pope should be fired or should stand down. There should be a criminal investigation of the Vatican and of the Pope.
     We need to have it [the church] run by people who actually believe in god.
     Rachel Maddow gives a quick summary of the major sexual abuse cases that have been tied to Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI over the past few months.

Maddow's interview of Sinead O'Connor.

Patron Saint of Pedophiles: Pope John Paul II Blocked Investigation into Austrian Cardinal Groer, Abuser of 2,000 Boys

     Pope John Paul II, who is on the fast track to sainthood, did not take action against a dear friend of his, Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, who sexually abused an estimated 2,000 boys.  John Paul was aware of the abusive situation and blocked the investigation and never punished the serial pedophile. 

    How's that for saintly virtue?  Saintly virtue, yes, for the Patron Saint of Pedophiles, or the Patron Saint of Pedobear.

     When John Paul II died five years ago the crowd that packed St Peter’s Square for his funeral clamoured “Santo subito (Saint now)!” in a spontaneous tribute to the charisma of the Polish pontiff.  Allegations that the late pontiff blocked an inquiry into a paedophile cardinal, promoted senior church figures despite accusations that they had molested boys and covered up innumerable cases of abuse during his 26-year papacy have cast a cloud over his path to sainthood.

     The most serious claims related to Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, an Austrian friend of John Paul’s who abused an estimated 2,000 boys over decades but never faced any sanction from Rome.
     The Groer affair became public in 1995 when former pupils of an elite Catholic school accused him of sexual abuse.  After an outcry, Groer was replaced and made the prior of a convent. He was never punished and issued only a vague apology in 1998 before retreating to a nunnery where he lived until his death in 2003. Some of his victims were offered “hush money” from the church.  Michael Tfirst, 54, one of Groer’s victims, claims to have reported the abuse to highranking church officials from the 1970s onwards. He says the church paid him £3,300 in 2004 under a contract that obliged him to keep quiet.  “There is no question that Ratzinger knew all the details of reports on abuse within the church, as there is no doubt that John Paul, his superior, took part in a massive and systematic cover-up,” Tfirst said.
     John Paul was expected to be beatified in October but the process may be delayed. A French nun who appeared to have been miraculously cured of Parkinson’s disease through his intercession has reportedly been found to be suffering from a different illness.

     Giancarlo Zizola, a leading expert on the Vatican, said the church officials who had gathered documents and questioned witnesses about John Paul’s suitability for sainthood had examined “negative” aspects of his papacy, including his handling of abuse cases.  “There’s no chance of Benedict delaying the beatification because of the abuse scandal,” Zizola said. “On the contrary, I expect he’ll accelerate it.”
The Face of a Criminal Cleric Protected by a Pope
Image from the Times Online

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pope Benedict Prays with Sexual Abuse Victims in Malta, Promises "Action"

     Reuters reports:
     Summarizing his weekend trip to Malta at his weekly general audience in St Peter' Square, Benedict said:  "I wanted to meet some people who were victims of abuse by members of the clergy. I shared with them their suffering and with emotion I prayed with them, promising them action on the part of the Church."
     Victims groups had demanded the pope say something directly in public instead of using indirect reference and generalities.  A statement Sunday in Malta after his meeting with eight abuse victims said the pope promised them the Church would do "all in its power to investigate allegations, to bring to justice those responsible for abuse and to implement effective measures designed to safeguard young people in the future."
     First of all, as a victim of sexual abuse, I don't trust a word Benedict says.  The powers-that-be in the Catholic Church have been promising "action" and failing miserably to be transparent about sexual abuse by clergy for decades.  Only now when he's been caught and exposed is he offering "action."  He's acting out of self-preservation, not generosity or righteousness toward those of us who have been abused.  I don't want his prayers, I want his papacy on a paten offered up in sacrifice for his sins.

     Ben needs to step down, and he needs to remove John Paul II from possible canonization.  These actions will prove that the church is making some serious changes, until then his words are meaningless.

     As Benedict marked the fifth anniversary of his pontificate Monday, the Vatican was swept up in another potentially explosive case.  Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, a former Vatican official who congratulated a French bishop for hiding a sexually abusive priest in 2001, told a conference at the weekend in Spain he acted with the approval of the late Pope John Paul.   Last week the Vatican spokesman indirectly confirmed that a 2001 letter Castrillon Hoyos sent to the bishop posted on a French website was authentic and was proof the Vatican was right to tighten up its procedures on sex abuse cases that year.  A U.S. victims group has demanded that the archdiocese of Washington rescind an invitation to Castrillion Hoyos to lead a mass this weekend in the American capital to mark the start of the sixth year of Benedict's papacy.