Questionable Motives

September 28, 2011

What ever happened to Baby Joseph, ‘saved’ by the Priests for Life stormtroopers from the evil clutches of Canadian health care?

Back on March 22 of this year, I posted about why Priests for Life are theological thugs, fanatical religious stormtroopers who prey on the hopes of others to aid and abet and revel in the unnecessary suffering of others in the name of  honouring their god. Their latest victim was Baby Joseph Maracchli who, in October of 2010 at 10 months of age developed a brain fever and became vegetative just like another previous child of the Maracchlis. The family wanted a tracheotomy performed so that they could take the baby home to die but the hospital disagreed on compassionate medical grounds:

Eight physicians at LSHC were unanimously of the opinion that Joseph had no hope of recovery, and there was no possible treatment that could reverse his condition. They quite rightly pointed out what was obvious that he would never get out of bed nor interact meaningfully with his environment. As responsible and caring medical professionals, the doctors sought a second opinion from colleagues in Toronto. The director of the critical care unit for Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto (a world class facility and recognized leader for pediatric medical care) there agreed that further treatment was futile. Joseph’s doctors therefore proposed removing the tube that was assisting his breathing. If he could breathe unaided, he would go home to be cared for by his parents. If not, he would be given medication to ensure that he did not suffer, and allowed to die. A Canadian Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the Canadian hospital, ordering the life support removed.

This is when the Priest for Life entered and through their efforts helped make this sad story into a fundraising campaign, where they spent a considerable amount of donated money to fly the baby to St. Louis and have the tracheotomy. From their warped point of view, the priests were ‘saviors’ of the baby, vilifying the baby’s Canadian health care team in the process. The baby was released at the end of April and went home to Windsor Ontario.

Today, the Windsor Star reports:

Br. Paul O’Donnell, Major Superior at Franciscan Brothers of Peace, posted a message posted early Wednesday reported Baby Joseph had died.

“It is with great sadness that I report to you the passing of our dear Baby Joseph Maraachli. He passed away peacefully at home with his parents and family at his side. Praise God he had seven precious months with his family to be surrounded by love and was not put to death at the hands of doctors. May Joseph rest in the loving arms of his Heavenly Father surrounded by all the angels.”

Back in March, I pointed out that:

What is not reported very widely is that the couple’s first child who suffered from the same condition did receive a tracheotomy, at the parents insistence, and died a horrific death at home. That child suffered from infection, followed by pneumonia and eventually choked to death… it just took six months of additional suffering for this to happen. The physicians were rightly concerned on behalf of the quality of life of their patient to do as the family asked.

This time it took only five additional months for the baby to die after our priestly heroes intervened. They’re slipping as they get older, I guess, but any additional unnecessary suffering is a real feather in their theological caps.

May 25, 2011

Why is this catholic report (Causes and Context study of priest pedophilia) a major setback in the movement towards Church accountability?

Filed under: Catholic Church,child abuse,Priests — tildeb @ 3:23 pm

Mary Celeste Hale explains:

Before I read the newly-released report, I tried to be as charitable and optimistic about it as possible, with the thought that “well, this is better than nothing”.

After finishing the report, though, I can say with certainty that both my charity and my optimism were unwarranted. I was wrong. Very wrong. This report isn’t better than nothing. It’s a major setback in the movement towards Church accountability.

She summarizes her reasons:

First, I want to explain why this report’s findings are neither credible nor insightful:

1. The conflict of interest created by the funding.

2. Limited and untrustworthy data.

Next, two of the major problems:

1. Methodology, and

2. Conclusion.

Mary Celeste has written many times about her being raised a catholic and the pernicious effects it has had on her life. She is a wonderful and passionate writer who expresses herself with wit and charm and I urge people to read not only her entire dismantling of this catholic funded, catholic approved, catholic biased report here but her other essays and posts and comments from her links.

In the meantime, here is a sample from her conclusion that I think is worth serious consideration:

Sometimes I think that I should stop writing about this issue, as I’ve written about it so many times before and it’s quite difficult not to repeat myself. But I can’t and won’t shut up about it, and neither should you. The day that we stop writing and talking about it is the day that the Church wins this fight.

Time and time again we have seen that the Church will do whatever it takes to downplay and/or cover up their failings and crimes. They have shown their willingness to fight dirty, and one of the most useful and effective tools in their arsenal is their dominance of the discourse and conversation (both in the media and elsewhere) about these issues. The Causes and Context study is a textbook example of this: when the media reports its “takeaways” without providing context, they are, in effect, doing the Church’s face-saving dirty work for them.

No, we must not shut up. We must not allow the Church to dominate the discourse. Speak out in whatever ways you can. On its own, what you or I say or write may not have any effect on the Church or the discourse surrounding this issue. Taken as a whole, though, our words provide a clear indication that there are many of us who will neither blindly accept the Church’s domination of the conversation nor quietly sit by while they evade justice time and time again.

Don’t shut up, even when you feel like you’re repeating yourself. It took me a while to realize that the reason I’ve sometimes been repetitive when writing about this is that the Church itself has repeated the same crimes and the same institutionally sanctioned cover-ups over and over again. They repeatedly refuse to admit their culpability or to face legal punishment when appropriate. And, most importantly, they repeatedly deny outsiders access to their files that contain information on the sexual abuse of children and the cover-ups of that abuse.

Until the day that they allow that access, until the day that the light of public scrutiny is finally able to illuminate and reveal the darkest and most disturbing aspects of the Church, we owe it to the victims to never, ever shut up.

I won’t shut up, and neither should you. The day that we stop fighting back is the day that they win.

Let’s make sure that day never comes.

I’m right there with you, Celeste.

(h/t WEIT, Surprise! Catholic Church whitewashes priest pedophilia)

April 1, 2011

Why does the state of Indiana want to make pregnant mothers second class citizens?

Filed under: abortion,Catholic Church,Crime,Criticism,hypocrisy,Law,Priests — tildeb @ 12:25 pm

From the ACLU’s Blog of Rights comes this prosecution:

The facts of this case are heartbreaking. On December 23, 2010, Shuai, a 34-year-old pregnant woman who was suffering from a major depressive disorder, attempted to take her own life. Friends found her in time and persuaded her to get help. Six days later, Shuai underwent cesarean surgery and delivered a premature newborn girl who, tragically, died four days later.

On March 14, 2011, Shuai was arrested, jailed, and charged with murder and attempted feticide. Had Shuai, who is being represented by National Advocates for Pregnant Women and local attorneys, not been pregnant when she attempted suicide, she would not have been charged with any crime at all.

Of course, no one would deny that what happened in this case is terrible and tragic, and probably no one feels that more than Shuai herself. But this case is about so much more than whether attempted suicide should be a crime — in Indiana it is not — and the death of her daughter; its implications go much further.

The state is misconstruing the criminal laws in this case in such a way that any pregnant woman could be prosecuted for doing (or attempting) anything that may put her health at risk, regardless of the outcome of her pregnancy.

Allowing the government to exercise such unlimited control over women’s bodies, decisions, and every aspect of their lives, and to send them to jail when they disapprove of a woman’s behavior, would essentially reduce pregnant women to second-class citizens by denying them the basic constitutional rights enjoyed by the rest of us.

So how are these constitutional rights exercised in each state? This map allows you quick access to determine each of the state’s and the legislation on the books. Check out Utah especially, a state that has passed legislation to allow criminal homicide charges against women if they should induce a miscarriage.

Of course, there is no such similar law nor advocacy for such a law against men who counsel and provide the means for women they have impregnated to get abortions… sorry… induce miscarriages. That would be too much equality in responsibility, I guess.

But wouldn’t it be a grand spectacle to put these men under the same law and on trial, like those priests who forced nuns into sexual relationships with them and who counseled those who became pregnant to get rid of the evidence of their dalliances? Why should these misogynistic pricks not enjoy the same legal privilege and be charged with aiding and abetting criminal homicide? But if they did charge them, where could I buy tickets? Not, apparently, in Indiana where only women are to be held criminally accountable when it comes to the health and welfare of fetuses.

March 22, 2011

Why are Priests for Life theological thugs?

First, who is Baby Joesph Maracchli and second, what’s the big deal about his medical care?

Joseph Maracchli, the son of Lebanese immigrants, was born on January 22, 2010, and his parents say they noticed he couldn’t eat or breathe properly and wouldn’t open his eyes or cry. The family, who lives in Windsor, Ontario on the Canada – United States border near Michigan, took him to a Michigan hospital in June 2010, where he was diagnosed with a metabolic brain disease, which the doctor said would make him developmentally delayed. Maracchli was treated and returned to normal after a month. However, in October 2010 he developed a fever and was breathing rapidly and was rushed to the emergency room and later transferred to the London Health Sciences Centre in London (LHSC), Ontario. The hospital said he was in a persistent vegetative state from which he would never recover. Maracchli’s family wanted the staff there to do a tracheotomy so that they could take him home and he could die in the care of his family instead of a hospital. Sounds pretty reasonable, doesn’t it?

What is not reported very widely is that the couple’s first child who suffered from the same condition did receive a tracheotomy, at the parents insistence, and died a horrific death at home. That child suffered from infection, followed by pneumonia and eventually choked to death… it just took six months of additional suffering for this to happen. The physicians were rightly concerned on behalf of the quality of life of their patient to do as the family asked.

Eight physicians at LSHC were unanimously of the opinion that Joseph had no hope of recovery, and there was no possible treatment that could reverse his condition. They quite rightly pointed out what was obvious that he would never get out of bed nor interact meaningfully with his environment. As responsible and caring medical professionals, the doctors sought a second opinion from colleagues in Toronto. The director of the critical care unit for Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto (a world class facility and recognized leader for pediatric medical care) there agreed that further treatment was futile. Joseph’s doctors therefore proposed removing the tube that was assisting his breathing. If he could breathe unaided, he would go home to be cared for by his parents. If not, he would be given medication to ensure that he did not suffer, and allowed to die. A Canadian Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the Canadian hospital, ordering the life support removed.

Enter our heroes, the Priests for Life, those celibate men of the cloth who (incredibly and without shame) think their religious beliefs equip them with the kind of god-soaked moral knowledge necessary to determine proper medical treatment over and above a team of highly trained and specialized medical professionals who actually care for children as their daily job. Let us keep in mind that there has never been a suffering life these meddling priests have not tried to prolong. The Terri Schiavo debacle immediately comes to mind.

Peter Singer, professor of bioethics at Princeton University picks up the story:

Little Joseph Maraachli is a new poster boy for the “pro-life” movement. But what has happened to him should instead teach us what to do – and what not to do – if we are really serious about saving human lives. The 13-month-old from Canada, who has been having medical treatment for most of his short life, suffers from a severe neurodegenerative disease. He has difficulty breathing on his own. His head is small for his age and has not grown for three months. He has seizures. His pupils do not respond to light or follow a moving object. His movements are not purposeful.

Then Priests for Life, a Catholic -abortion and anti-euthanasia organization stepped in, chartering an air ambulance to fly Joseph from Canada to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center, a Catholic hospital, in St. Louis, which will perform the operation the parents requested.

“We Rescued Baby Joseph!” says a page on the Priests for Life website. The organization’s director, the Rev. Frank Pavone, says he has been told that it could cost as much as $150,000 for Joseph’s stay in the pediatric intensive care unit. That doesn’t include the cost of the aircraft, which would have added thousands more to the bill. Priests for Life is, of course, asking its supporters to donate to pay these costs.

Here’s the irony. According to the most rigorous charity evaluation agency in the country, GiveWell.org, you can save a child’s life for about $1,000. All you have to do is give the money to their top-rated charity, Village Reach, which delivers vaccines and other urgently needed medical supplies to rural areas in developing countries.

If Priests for Life were really serious about saving lives, instead of “rescuing” Joseph so he can live another few months lying in bed, unable to experience the normal joys of childhood, let alone become an adult, they could have used the money they have raised to save 150 lives – most of them children who would have gone on to live healthy, happy lives for 50 years or more.

We’ve seen such things happen before. In 2005 the anti-abortion movement put a huge effort, and large sums of money, into “saving” Terri Schiavo. In the end, after Congress had been recalled specifically to enable a federal court to hear the case, she was allowed to die. An autopsy showed her brain had been severely and irreversibly damaged.

We can obsess over Joseph and Terri – or we can make an honest effort to save the lives of countless children whose names we may never know. It is our choice.

But the Priests for Life don’t want to save lives in the sense of protecting the dignity of those who are already alive yet suffering; they want to prolong the biological functioning of a body regardless of the suffering… the younger the better and a fetus especially, even if it kills women to do so. Since becoming involved in the medical treatment of Baby Joseph, the Priests for Life have mobilized support from the likes of the Hope Network and the legions of catholics and christians who think these groups do god’s work. Now the medical staff at LSHC have been the recipients of the kind of faith-based love the anti-abortion crowd – championed as they are by Priests for Life – sends out to those who disagree with their beliefs: hate mail and death threats.

Oh, I can hear the faithful claiming loudly that those extremists don’t represent the mainstream religious.

But they do.

You see, Priests for Life and the anti-choice crowd are no different than the mainstream believers in that they don’t give a rat’s ass respecting your life;  they care only for life, which according to their beliefs belongs not to you but their god. And they will continue to act accordingly not to respect your rights and freedoms as an autonomous individual where dignity of personhood must reside, if the term ‘personal dignity’ is to have any personal meaning, but as god’s Stormtroopers out to protect what belongs to him. That’s why they’re theological thugs and are empowered by those who respect their beliefs about what god owns over and above respecting your personal dignity.

November 13, 2010

Just how gullible does the Roman Catholic Church want Americans to be?

This is the US we’re talking about, land of the free, home of the brave, the shining city on the hill, the Nobel prize capital of the world. So, naturally, I thought the roman catholic church was so busy vilifying secularists and the great evil they represent – including such theistic affronts as human rights, political freedoms, dignity of personhood, respect for scientific understanding, and all that mundane, temporal jazz – that I assumed this conference was a bunch of modern day catholics poking fun at one of their absurdities from almost-ancient history.

Isn’t that the way most enlightened and educated Americans think about demonic possession?

But when it comes to treating demonic possession, the rc church is all business. It remains steadfast in bringing to bear all the modern weaponry at its disposal for the modern American citizen: exorcisms! That’s right, folks. There is growing need for them and the church needs to step up and do its theological duty. Cast that demon out. Use force if you have to. That very difficult and demanding expertise includes the brute force of using conjugated Latin, too. Very scary stuff to any demon to be sure… and even scarier to young people everywhere who need to learn it. Nevertheless, let us press on and read about what the rc church is doing behind closed doors at a hush-hush Baltimore conference:

There are only a handful of priests in the country trained as exorcists (it IS a university degree after all), but they say they are overwhelmed with requests from people who fear they are possessed by the Devil.

Now, American bishops are holding a conference on Friday and Saturday to prepare more priests and bishops to respond to the demand. The purpose is not necessarily to revive the practice, the organizers say, but to help Catholic clergy members learn how to distinguish who really needs an exorcism from who really needs a psychiatrist, or perhaps some pastoral care.

“Not everyone who thinks they need an exorcism actually does need one,” said Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., who organized the conference. “It’s only used in those cases where the Devil is involved in an extraordinary sort of way in terms of actually being in possession of the person.

Let’s ponder that last quote for a moment. Exorcism is needed when the devil is involved. Otherwise, one doesn’t really need that directed Latin. I see.

“But it’s rare, it’s extraordinary, so the use of exorcism is also rare and extraordinary,” he said. “But we have to be prepared.”

Yes, I strongly suspect that is rare. And extraordinary. And supernatural, it goes without saying. But the church is on the job. Take THAT, you evil secularist doubter who stands by while that misogynistic Satan has his way with small boys and helps protect the pedophiles in his employ. Oh, wait… I’m thinking of… umm… (diversion is needed)… Squirrel!

Where was I? Exorcism. Right.

So how does one diagnose demonic possession?

Some of the classic signs of possession by a demon, Bishop Paprocki said, include speaking in a language the person has never learned (excluding Latin, I presume); extraordinary shows of strength; a sudden aversion to spiritual things like holy water or the name of God; and severe sleeplessness, lack of appetite and cutting, scratching and biting the skin.

A person who claims to be possessed must be evaluated by doctors to rule out a mental or physical illness, according to Vatican guidelines issued in 1999, which superseded the previous guidelines, issued in 1614.

1999. Yup. New guidelines. 1999. The age of rare, extraordinary, supernatural demonic infestations are being re-defined by Vatican bureaucrats for their version of the disease in DSM IV (under Demonic Possession, no doubt) while atom colliders are being built deep underground, genomes are being catelogued, and missions to Mars are being carried out.

Now that leaves me wondering what kind of doctor rules out mental or physical illness for a bat shit crazy person babbling incoherently (sorry… speaking in ‘tongues’ is the correct lingo I think) and exhibiting violent behaviours including self harm? I would tend to think it must be a bat shit crazy doctor who is no longer able to maintain a living as a general practitioner… for somewhat obvious reasons of having lost his mind and turning to Oogity Boogity! for his professional opinion. I’m glad that such a person is not my family doctor and the church is welcome to him (I assume no women would fit the employment criteria… having the wrong gonads and all).

“People are talking about, are we taking two steps back?” Father Vega said. “My first reaction when I heard about the exorcism conference was, this is another of those trappings we’ve pulled out of the past.”

But he said that there could eventually be a rising demand for exorcism because of the influx of Hispanic and African Catholics to the United States. People from those cultures, he said, are more attuned to the experience of the supernatural.

That’s religious-speak for too damned ignorant to know any better, which is just the way the church likes ’em. Especially those with an MD after their names. Always room at the inn, dontcha know, if you have the right gonads, the right frequency tuned to bat shit crazy, and the right gullibility to think modern medicine and demonic possession are mutually accommodating.

And people think science and religion are incompatible. I know! Those militant, strident, and arrogant atheistic secularists say the most ridiculous things!

August 24, 2010

Does a catholic education teach students how to spell ‘collusion’?

Filed under: Catholic Church,Politics,Priests,Scandal — tildeb @ 2:38 pm

Here’s another example of why the word should receive more special treatment in a catholic education than others:

The police, the Catholic Church and the state conspired to cover up a priest’s suspected role in one of the worst atrocities of the Northern Ireland Troubles, an investigation has found.

The NI Police Ombudsman’s probe found that high-level talks led to Fr James Chesney, a suspect in the attack, being moved to the Irish Republic.

Who is Fr James Chesney and why would he be moved?

In a statement in December 2002, Assistant Chief Constable Sam Kinkaid said: “In a search of 1972 papers, information has been found which clearly indicates that a parish priest in the south Derry area was a member of the Provisional IRA and was actively involved in the Claudy bomb.

“Records show he provided an alibi for a person suspected of playing a prominent role in the atrocity. The priest is now deceased.”

ACC Kinkaid also said his investigative team had found papers relating to a discussion held on 5 December 1972 between the then Northern Ireland Secretary William Whitelaw and Cardinal Conway, the then Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.

“This private discussion occurred at one of the regular meetings that they held to address issues relating to the troubles,” he said.

“On 6 December 1972, the day after the meeting, a briefing letter was sent from a senior NIO official to Police Headquarters indicating that the private matter discussed related to the activities of the priest.

“The letter of 6 December 1972 indicates that the secretary of state gave the Cardinal a full account of his disgust at the priest’s behaviour and also indicates that the Cardinal knew that the priest was behaving improperly.”

No-one has ever been convicted of planting the three bombs in Claudy that day.

What a surprise. Not.

June 8, 2010

How does the RC church make a sex abuse scandal go away?

Filed under: abuse,Catholic Church,Morality,Priests,Scandal — tildeb @ 7:40 am

It orders a ‘fixer’ to come in and get to work. Ex-Benedictine monk, Patrick Wall (Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes: The Catholic Church’s 2,000 Year Paper Trail of Sexual Abuse), recently provided a revealing, disturbing, angering, and heartbreaking 12 minute radio interview describing his role in helping to make clerical abuse scandals go away. The broadcast is from CBC Radio:

I was a company man, I thought, “this is something I’m doing to both help the university as an alumnus, help the monastery which I belong to…”  When you’re trained to follow the workings of the Holy Spirit, unfortunately you assume it’s the Holy Spirit in action, rather than human error.

Was there no part of your mind that deep down said, “Hang on, I do know this is wrong?”

It was never on the radar screen.  It was just not there.  It was just never discussed, it was one of those things that was sub rosa and people knew it was going on, however, in defense of the institution, which we believe was instituted by God and as, basically, as a remnant of the Holy Roman Empire, you’re there as a soldier, you’re literally there to assist and defend the institution.

So your part in all of this, Patrick, was to make sure that everything was smoothed over, would that be the right way to put it?

That’s exactly what a fixer does, it doesn’t matter what diocese in the world, what religious order in the world, that’s exactly what you do.  You go in, you assess the situation, you try and find survivors, report it up the chain of command, and you try to make it as positive and life bearing as possible.  In fact, I was fortunate to have lunch a with a priest a couple weeks ago in Washington, D.C., former priest, who was a fixer in a northeast diocese and he recounted to me the same exact things I was assigned to do that he was assigned to do before he left… There’s been a consistent, uninterrupted procedure on what to do when clerics sexually abuse kids for centuries.

When you were still at the abby did you think, I should go tell somebody, I should go tell the police, what is happening here is illegal?

Never even crossed my mind.  We’re not trained to talk to any outside institution.  I remember going to a workshop in the fall of 1992 and we had a civil lawyer there, we had a canon lawyer there, we had a number of experienced people in dealing with priest sex abuse, explaining to us about how the civil legal system worked and never once was the discussion about calling child protective services, calling the police, calling any state authority outside the Church, it’s always keeping it in-house and dealing with it, in house…There’s very little about pastoral outreach to the victim, because the victim is now a liability, the victim is now a huge financial liability, a point of scandal, and a real problem, so that’s why we were trained to work in getting the people under control, so to speak, before they filed a civil complaint and working with them to keep it all in-house.

When these priests were moved on was there any warning given to the communities they were being sent to as to why they were being disrupted in the job that they were in?

Oh absolutely not, they’re not going to say that Father So and So had a problem with sexually abusing kids because if you did that more then more victims were going to come forward and you’re going to have more lawsuits.  Usually there was some kind of a cover story that Father Tom had to go to alcohol treatment. The key was that if you tell the lay people exactly what is going on, you’re going to start a reformation because with proper information people will make different decisions.  But if you keep them in the dark and you give them a pious answer, then they’re going to continue on thinking, “well, things are fine”, when in reality, it was the same old problem: childhood sexual abuse.

(Thanks to Camels With Hammers for the excerpts.)

April 21, 2010

Who will the church blame today?

Stay up to date on the latest catholic church blame game. Because we know for certain that no blame can be attributed in any way to the institution for aiding and abetting and covering up child abuse by clergy within the church on a global scale, and we know this to be true in spite of incontrovertible evidence to the contrary, we are left wondering: who is to blame? To our rationalizing rescue comes this site where we find we can find out the daily answers here.

April 13, 2010

Why is the pope a criminal? Consider these three strikes…

From Andrew Sullivan’s Atlantic article:

The AP’s story on Joseph Ratzinger’s direct involvement in delaying for six years the defrocking of a priest who had confessed to tying up and raping minors ends any doubt that the future Pope is as implicated in the sex abuse crisis as much as any other official in the church. The facts are as clear as they are damning.

The Pope cannot blame the local bishops this time – they desperately tried to get the priest fired.

He cannot claim he was out of the loop: his signature is on the letter.

He cannot get an underling to take the fall: it’s his name and his office behind the unconscionable delay and behind the actual, despicably callous and self-serving reasons to protect a man who tied children up and raped them.

It’s over now.

When we look at this Pope we see a man who knew that one of the priests he had authority to fire had restrained and raped children. Yet he did nothing for years, and finally sided with the priest. He had more sympathy for the relatively young age of the rapist, rather than the innocence and trauma of the raped children.

We see a man utterly corrupted by power and institutional loyalty.

Strike one.

From Richard Dawkins’ Guardian article:

Lashing out in desperation, church spokesmen are now blaming everybody but themselves for their current dire plight, which one official spokesman likens to the worst aspects of antisemitism (what are the best ones, I wonder?). Suggested culprits include the media, the Jews, and even Satan. The church is hiding behind a seemingly endless stream of excuses for having failed in its legal and moral obligation to report serious crimes to the appropriate civil authorities. But it was Cardinal Ratzinger’s official responsibility to determine the church’s response to allegations of child sex abuse, and his letter in the Kiesle case makes the real motivation devastatingly explicit.

This pattern of putting church PR over and above the welfare of the children in its care (and what an understatement that is) is repeated over and over again in the cover-ups that are now coming to light, all over the world. And Ratzinger himself expressed it with damning clarity in this smoking gun letter:

“This court, although it regards the arguments presented in favour of removal in this case to be of grave significance, nevertheless deems it necessary to consider the good of the universal church together with that of the petitioner, and it is also unable to make light of the detriment that granting the dispensation can provoke with the community of Christ’s faithful, particularly regarding the young age of the petitioner.”

Suppose the British secretary of state for schools received, from a local education authority, a reliable report of a teacher tying up his pupils and raping them. Imagine that, instead of turning the matter over to the police, he had simply moved the offender from school to school, where he repeatedly raped other children. That would be bad enough. But now suppose that he justified his decision in terms such as these:

“Although I regard the arguments in favour of prosecution, presented by the local education authority, as of grave significance, I nevertheless deem it necessary to consider the good of the government and the party, together with that of the offending teacher. And I am also unable to make light of the detriment that prosecuting the offender can provoke among voters, particularly regarding the young age of the offender.”

The analogy breaks down, only in that we aren’t talking about a single offending priest, but many thousands, all over the world.

Strike two.

And from Christopher Hitchens’ Slate article:

It must be noted, also, that all the letters from diocese to Ratzinger and from Ratzinger to diocese were concerned only with one question: Can this hurt Holy Mother Church? It was as if the children were irrelevant or inconvenient (as with the case of the raped boys in Ireland forced to sign confidentiality agreements by the man who is still the country’s cardinal). Note, next, that there was a written, enforced, and consistent policy of avoiding contact with the law. And note, finally, that there was a preconceived Ratzinger propaganda program of blaming the press if any of the criminal conduct or obstruction of justice ever became known.

One should not blame only the church here. Where was American law enforcement during the decades when children were prey? Where was international law while the Vatican became a place of asylum and a source of protection for those who licensed or carried out the predation? Page through any of the reports of child-rape and torture from Ireland, Australia, the United States, Germany—and be aware that there is much worse to come. Where is it written that the Roman Catholic Church is the judge in its own case? Above or beyond the law? Able to use private courts? Allowed to use funds donated by the faithful to pay hush money to the victims or their families?

Good questions and salient points one and all.

And the conclusion…? Again from Hitchens’ Slate article:

Ratzinger himself is now exposed as being personally as well as institutionally responsible for obstructing justice and protecting and enabling pederasts.

Strike three.

April 6, 2010

What’s this? (Groundless!) allegations that John Paul II was involved in the ongoing sex abuse scandal cover-up?

Tell me it ain’t so. How can this be? Every good catholic knows for certain that JPII was a saint, so there’s just no way he could ever be part of the ongoing problem of child rape in the church.The TimesOnline article must be mistaken.

Allegations that the late pontiff John Paul II 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.

Oh, no! Not a dreaded cloud! Casting clouds is always a very serious business that sometimes results in… shadows. And they are the worst.

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. Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Groer’s successor, criticised the handling of that scandal and other abuse cases last week after holding a special service in St Stephen’s cathedral, Vienna, entitled “Admitting our guilt”. Schönborn condemned the “sinful structures” within the church and the patterns of “silencing” victims and “looking away”.

Sinful structures? A pattern of silencing victims and looking away? Does this sound to you as it does to me, dear reader, like the same kind of vicious antisemitism suffered by Jews under the brutal hands of the Nazis? Very similar, I know, except for the brutal part… and the suffering part… and the antisemitism part. But besides those, almost the same. Mind you, it sounds remarkably like a long-awaited but never officially enunciated reasonable criticism of a Vatican policy with a long history to me. But then, what do I know.

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.

Oh. Well. I guess now I am in the know, unlike those who populate the most senior levels of the Vatican. And we in the know know for certain that there never was any official Vatican cover-up… because we’ve got the receipt of the money we paid to cover it up to prove that no such cover-up occurred. Duh.

John Paul also faced criticism last week from Poland for protecting Archbishop Juliusz Paetz, who was accused of abusing trainee priests.

Don’t you hate it when an entire country casts a cloud your way? Maybe that last part of about abusing trainee priests should read “…accused of training abusing priests.”

Letters detailing the charges were sent to John Paul’s office and to Ratzinger in 2000 but were ignored. Paetz resigned in 2002 when the allegations became public.

See what happens when you are covered by that cloud?I wonder how the allegations became public? “Never trust a secularist state to do the right thing and blame it when things go wrong,” is a good rule of thumb if you are involved in scandals and casting clouds.

Stanislaw Obirek, a Polish theologian and a former Jesuit priest, said: “I believe John Paul is the key person responsible for the cover-up of abuse cases because most of it occurred during his papacy. How can someone who is to blame for this be beatified?”

Finally, an easy question. Just watch. The Vatican will continue to soldier on in spite of these secularist attacks by petty and spiteful people so it will be business as usual, and JPII will be beautified to the cheering crowds of millions of adoring fans.

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