Questionable Motives

March 26, 2010

Can anybody still be surprised that the Vatican intentionally covered up child abuse??

Excerpts from the NYTimes article Vatican Declined to Defrock U.S. Priest Who Abused Boys:

The internal correspondence from bishops in Wisconsin directly to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, shows that while church officials tussled over whether the priest should be dismissed, their highest priority was protecting the church from scandal. The documents emerge as Pope Benedict is facing other accusations that he and direct subordinates often did not alert civilian authorities or discipline priests involved in sexual abuse when he served as an archbishop in Germany and as the Vatican’s chief doctrinal enforcer.

The Wisconsin case involved an American priest, the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy, who worked at a renowned school for deaf children from 1950 to 1974. But it is only one of thousands of cases forwarded over decades by bishops to the Vatican office called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, led from 1981 to 2005 by Cardinal Ratzinger. It is still the office that decides whether accused priests should be given full canonical trials and defrocked.

The New York Times obtained the documents, which the church fought to keep secret, from Jeff Anderson and Mike Finnegan, the lawyers for five men who have brought four lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. The documents include letters between bishops and the Vatican, victims’ affidavits, the handwritten notes of an expert on sexual disorders who interviewed Father Murphy and minutes of a final meeting on the case at the Vatican.

Father Murphy not only was never tried or disciplined by the church’s own justice system, but also got a pass from the police and prosecutors who ignored reports from his victims, according to the documents and interviews with victims. Three successive archbishops in Wisconsin were told that Father Murphy was sexually abusing children, the documents show, but never reported it to criminal or civil authorities.

Oh my.

So much for all the commentary here and here that insisted that the catholic church had no official policy of secrecy and denial and cover-up and collusion in the face of justified accusations and allegations of sexual abuse and rape and molestation by clergy against children. It seems the evidence that it did and still does just keeps on piling up, and the apologies by so many catholics on behalf of the church is not only growing stale but is really a major impediment against forcing an institutional change from the top down. And as long as apologists stay the course, it seems that the same policies of secrecy and emphasis on the church’s reputation will take precedence over fixing the problem that led to the global abuse in the first place. Just re-read the letter from the pope to to the Irish here

Global problem? It’s not a global problem, remember? It’s a local problem! And good little catholics will continue to believe their apology carries weight against the growing evidence: that this local problem can be corrected at the local level, in Ireland, in England, in Spain, in Germany, in Mexico, in Canada, in the Netherlands, in the Philippines, in the U.S., in Brazil, in Australia…

Remember folks: if you can believe in transubstantiation, is it too much to ask to believe that widespread abuse in the catholic church is a local problem?

March 20, 2010

Who (or what) is to blame for sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church?

This sound suspiciously like the pope is suggesting that that old bugaboo secularism lies at the root of this Irish problem! Leave it to the pope to set us all straight:

In almost every family in Ireland, there has been someone – a son or a daughter, an aunt or an uncle – who has given his or her life to the Church. Irish families rightly esteem and cherish their loved ones who have dedicated their lives to Christ, sharing the gift of faith with others, and putting that faith into action in loving service of God and neighbour.

In recent decades, however, the Church in your country has had to confront new and serious challenges to the faith arising from the rapid transformation and secularization of Irish society. Fast-paced social change has occurred, often adversely affecting people’s traditional adherence to Catholic teaching and values. All too often, the sacramental and devotional practices that sustain faith and enable it to grow, such as frequent confession, daily prayer and annual retreats, were neglected. Significant too was the tendency during this period, also on the part of priests and religious, to adopt ways of thinking and assessing secular realities without sufficient reference to the Gospel. The programme of renewal proposed by the Second Vatican Council was sometimes misinterpreted and indeed, in the light of the profound social changes that were taking place, it was far from easy to know how best to implement it. In particular, there was a well-intentioned but misguided tendency to avoid penal approaches to canonically irregular situations.

It is in this overall context that we must try to understand the disturbing problem of child sexual abuse.

How refreshing it is to see that the Vatican has taken on its fair share of the responsibility. Oh, that’s right; it is blameless, of course. Silly me. Why should senior leadership in any organization take any responsibility whatsoever for the actions taken under its policies and procedures, right? It’s not like the two are associated in any way if the effect of those policies and procedures is negative; that’s always the fault of middle management… which helps explain why, after all, this whole Irish problem of sex abuse brought about by rapid secularization  is obviously a problem for Irish catholic churches to overcome their failure.

Good grief.

March 14, 2010

What’s this about the Pope housing a sexual predator?

Filed under: abuse,Catholic Church,child abuse,Conspiracy,Sex scandal,Vatican — tildeb @ 4:35 pm

Monsignor Charles Scicluna is the Vatican official in charge of prosecuting priests alleged to have committed serious sexual crimes. Isn’t that swell? The Vatican is now going to do something about this problem.

But wait. The pope housed a serial child abuser for years and reassigned that same abuser to another church where he spent more years abusing kids? Say it ain’t so!

“It’s true that there has been no formal condemnation,” Monsignor Scicluna said, adding: “It must be made absolutely clear that in these cases, some of which are particularly sensational and have caught the attention of the media, no absolution has taken place.”

Well, no absolution really is the key point here.

He also addressed accusations that the Vatican was obstructing justice by hiding reports of abuse, saying that

“secrecy during the investigative phase served to protect the good name of all the people involved; first and foremost, the victims themselves, then the accused priests who have the right — as everyone does — to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty”.

But he said Church secrecy had

“never been understood as a ban on denouncing the crimes to the civil authorities”.

No indeed. No ban at all. The officially approved Vatican directive by Ratzinger for both victims and those accused to stay silent on pain of excommunication can hardly be considered a “ban,” now can it? The church simply has no problem whatsoever with senior people like the pope when he was cardinal of Munich and Grafing house a serial offender for two and half years for highly effective ‘therapy’ who was then appointed by this same cardinal who now just so happens to be pope to serve as a priest in Grafing for an additional three years abusing more kids! What’s the big deal? It’s not like it’s the pope directly aids and abets child rapists.

No, no no. Let’s be very clear: the real problem here is “those who have tried, with a certain aggressive persistence, in Regensburg and Munich, to look for elements to personally involve the Holy Father in the matter of abuses.” he said.

It is those who are asking hard questions (and finding evidence) – of collusion between the institution we call the Church, its executives, and its agents who committed sexual crimes against children – is the real problem here… not the crimes that were committed nor the parties that aided and abetted in the cover-up of those crimes. Got it.

But perhaps we should suspect that when the Vatican’s prosecuting official is the same person defending the Grand Pooh Bahs from responsibility from their executive decisions and actions, then we have a conflict of interest. Although I am sure that the Church and all its leadership is absolutely blameless in allowing centuries of historical child abuse and sexual crimes to be committed by thousands of its priests and deacons and sisters, it borders on the miraculous that there was so little the church could do to stop the abuse and bring these criminals to justice. This must be another one of those Great Mysteries used to explain how god works through the catholic church in our world.

So we should all be good little catholics and stop asking hard questions and let the Grand Pooh Bahs do what they do best: remain perfect and blameless in all things.

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