I have been busily trying to find a new blog “theme” – it is long past time my software was updated for ease of use for all. I thought it would be a simple process but not so. So, I have been hard at it for two days, literally looking at and previewing thousands of designs in a vain attempt to find one which, at the very least, includes a calendar, a list recent comments, and a list of recent posts. I am still at, and in discussions with my webhost (who will install and tweak this for me) as to how to proceed from here.
I am totally out of my element here 🙁 But, I must get it done.
I decided to embark on this item on my “To Do” list when it seemed to me things had gone a little quiet over in Europe. I decided to take the opportunity to get other things taken care of.
Today – more scandal with word that, while he headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Holy Father may well have been involved in squelching an investigation into sex abuse allegations against a Milwaukee priest who sexually abused about 200 young people between the 50s and 70s.
I just found and, for now, will paste it below.
First I must say that it bothers me to no end that Church authorities knowingly allow victims to look like liars when they, the authorities, cover-up the crimes and sins of known clerical molesters and help them to elude justice in this world.
Here is the article:
Letters place Pope at centre of child abuse scandal
From Times Online
March 25, 2010
Secret documents today placed Pope Benedict XVI at the centre of allegations of cover-up by the Catholic church of a priest sex abuse scandal in the United States.
Letters from the Vatican show that the enforcement department headed by the pontiff, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, took control of the efforts to bring paedophile priest Father Lawrence Murphy to justice, first ordering in 1997 that a church trial could only go ahead in conditions of total secrecy and then changing tack in 1998 and quashing it.
The change of heart came after Fr Murphy, who had sexually abused 200 vulnerable youths at a school for the deaf in Milwaukee between 1950 and 1974, wrote directly to the future Pope begging for mercy.
Monsignor Tarcisio Bertone, then Cardinal Ratzinger’s deputy at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, responded by writing to the US church suggesting they take only lesser, pastoral measures against Fr Murphy.
When the US church refused, insisting on a canonical trial, Monsignor Bertone called a summit meeting in Rome with the US bishops and told them bluntly to call the trial off and merely prevent the Fr Murphy from celebrating Mass.
“This Dicastery has every hope that the priest in question will demonstrate a willingness to cooperate in the solution to this painful case which will favour the good of souls and avoid scandal,” wrote Monsignor Bertone.
A further letter from Monsignor Bertone later in 1998, after Fr Murphy had died of natural causes, returns to the same theme of preventing news of sex abuse leaking out to the media.
“This Dicastery commends Fr Murphy to the mercy of God and shares with you the hope that the Church will be spared any undue publicity from this matter,” writes Monsignor Bertone, in a letter that is entirely silent on the subject of the suffering of Fr Murphy’s victims.
The letters, published today on the website of the New York Times , have added to the mounting accusations that Pope Benedict had, at the least, made no effort to halt the widespread cover up of cases of sex abuse and appears in fact to have encouraged and even led the Catholic church’s climate of secrecy.
In 2001 Cardinal Ratzinger issued a letter to every diocese in the Catholic Church, conceding that sex abuse was a grave crime but insisting: “Cases of this kind are subject to the pontifical secret.”
The Vatican says that this meant simply that trial judges were obliged not to reveal any details of the case. The letter appears however to have been widely interpreted by dioceses throughout the Catholic world to mean that the Church should avoid publicity at all costs over paedophile priests, to the extent of failing to report offenders to the police. This is no evidence that the future Pope did anything to correct this.
Today a group of American clerical abuse victims were arrested as, flanked by photos of other clerical abuse victims and a poster of Ratzinger, they tried to hold a press conference outside the Vatican to denounce Benedict’s handling of the Murphy case.
“The goal of Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, was to keep this secret,” said Peter Isely, Milwaukee-based director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.
“This is the most incontrovertible case of paedophilia you could get. We need to know why he (the Pope) did not let us know about him (Murphy) and why he didn’t let the police know about him and why he did not condemn him and why he did not take his collar away from him.”
The Pope is also under attack in Germany, where his handling as Archbishop of Munich of the case of repeat child sex abuser Father Peter Hullermann has this week come under ferocious criticism.
In 1980 he chaired a meeting at which it was decided to move Hullermann from Essen to Archbishop Ratzinger’s diocese, after persuading the parents of the 11-year-old whom he had forced to have oral sex not to press charges, it has emerged. The future Pope approved the transfer and ordered him to undergo therapy.
Hullermann went on to reoffend on many occasions, but was not prevented from practising as a priest until last Monday. The Pope has yet to comment on the case.
The pontiff has also been accused of knowing and failing to take action of reports of child sexual abuse at the Regensburg Domspatzen, the famous choir school where his brother Georg was choirmaster.
Today Professor Hans Kung, a noted theologian who has known the Pope since the 1960s, issued a devastating indictment of his former colleague’s alleged collusion in clerical cover up.
“No-one in the whole of the Catholic church knows as much about abuse cases, knowledge that is ex officio, derived from his office (as head of the Vatican enforcement department for 24 years),” said Professor Kung.
“This Vatican authority has for a long time centralised (information about) all abuse cases so that they can be concealed, classified as top secret.”
The Vatican is facing an ever-widening church abuse scandal sweeping Ireland, Austria, the Netherlands and Benedict’s native Germany. An opinion poll in Germany, where more than 300 allegations of priestly sex abuse have emerged recently, has shown that public trust in Benedict has plummeted to just 17 per cent.
It is unclear exactly how much Cardinal Ratzinger knew of the detail of the Murphy case. Cardinal Bertone, who handled it in person, has served alongside Pope Benedict for 15 years and is now his Cardinal Secretary of State. Several of the letters are addressed directly to the future Pope by name, including Fr Murphy’s successful plea for clemency, making it likely that he would have read them personally.
“I am 72 years of age, your Eminence, and am in poor health,” Father Murphy pleaded with Cardinal Ratzinger. “I have just recently suffered another stroke which has left me in a weakened state. I have followed all the directives of both Archbishop Cousins and now Archbishop Weakland. I have repented of any of my past transgressions and have been living peaceably in northern Wisconsin for 24 years.”
Evidence existed in his file to show that these were lies – he had continued to molest youths after he was banished from Milwaukee to Wisconsin in 1974, and social workers and priests reported that he had shown not a shred of remorse after confessing his crimes.
Donald Marshall, 45, of West Allis, Wisconsin, said he was abused by Murphy when he was a teenager at the Lincoln Hills School, a juvenile detention centre in Irma in northern Wisconsin.
“I haven’t stepped in a church for some 20 years. I lost all faith in the church,” he said today. “These predators are preying on God’s children. How can they even stand up at the pulpit and preach the word of God?”
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev Federico Lombardi, said in a statement that the Vatican was not told about the abuse allegations against Fr Murphy until 1996, years after civil authorities had investigated and dropped the case. Fr Murphy’s age, poor health and a lack of more recent allegations were factors in the decision not to defrock him, he added.
He pointed out that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had suggested some sanctions, such things as restricting Murphy’s public ministry and requiring that he “accept full responsibility for the gravity of his acts”.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of similar cases will have crossed Cardinal Ratzinger’s desk in the 24 years that he headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. It is estimated that in the majority of cases no legal action was taken by the church.
Monsignor Charles Scicluna,who is now the doctrinal office’s chief internal prosecutor, recently revealed that of 3,000 priests accused of sex abuse reported to the Vatican between 2001 and 2010, only 10 per cent were defrocked immediately. A further 20 per cent of cases went to trial, and some of those were defrocked. A further 10 per cent left the Church voluntarily. But in 60 per cent of cases, accused priests faced only “administrative and disciplinary provisions” such as being prevented from celebrating Mass, said Monsignor Scicluna.
A final note. If you haven’t yet read the interview with Scicluna which I posted previously, please do so. It gives a little insight into what has been going on in the name of canon law.
Imagine a man of Scicluna’s stature jumping in to ensure that a priest whom he deems to be an ephebophile is not falsely accused of being a peadophile! That’s certainly how I read it. Heaven forbid an ephebophile is erroneoulsy branded as a paedophile!!
Are ephebophiles somehow a few notches above the ladder of holiness than paedophiles? Is it somewhow a canonical good that a priest with same-sex inclinations molests and 12-year-old post-pubescent boy rather than a 10-year-old pre-pubescent girl or boy?
For that matter, what of the “ephebophile” priest who sodomizes or otherwise sexually assaults an 18-year-old seminarian? Is that, canonically speaking, a lesser crime because the unfortunate victim is 18?
I don’t think so! Paedophiles. Ephebophiles. Call them what you will. Any priest who sexually violates a child, pre or post pubescent, is unfit to provide spirtual direction and lead people toward God. Ditto any priest who sexually violates a seminarian. Such preists are sexual predators. One is no better than the other. Ask the victims. Ask the parents, sibling and spouses of victims. Ask the Catholic faithful.
Who decided to go easy on “ephebophiles”?
And why, when the new Code of Canon Law was published in 1983, was a statute of limitations added? Why then, in 1983? Whose decision was it? Did someone see trouble just around the corner? It looks that way, doesn’t it?
And who decided that it is just canonically fine and dandy for a bishop NOT to go to police unless the law of the land demands it? What canon lawyer thought that would be a great service to society?
This is pathetic. Small wonder the Church is in moral squalor.
Clearly the code needs to be revised. I think that goes without saying. And soon. Very soon.
All I can say is that I fervently pray that those who have been party to producing, interpreting and applying the present code are not part of the process.
Enough for now,