could they be any stupider?

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could they be any stupider?

Postby wildlx » 26 Mar 2010, 09:14

This thread was originally created by "the artist formerly known as HH" ;-). But this news is worth the first entry in this forum. It seems that things are really on a slippery slope for the Catholic church. Besides involving the Pope it looks like priests feel they don't need to go on trial because they've repented :roll::

Top Vatican officials — including the future Pope Benedict XVI — did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church, according to church files newly unearthed as part of a lawsuit.

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.

In 1996, Cardinal Ratzinger failed to respond to two letters about the case from Rembert G. Weakland, Milwaukee’s archbishop at the time. After eight months, the second in command at the doctrinal office, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, now the Vatican’s secretary of state, instructed the Wisconsin bishops to begin a secret canonical trial that could lead to Father Murphy’s dismissal.

But Cardinal Bertone halted the process after Father Murphy personally wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger protesting that he should not be put on trial because he had already repented and was in poor health and that the case was beyond the church’s own statute of limitations.

“I simply want to live out the time that I have left in the dignity of my priesthood,” Father Murphy wrote near the end of his life to Cardinal Ratzinger. “I ask your kind assistance in this matter.” The files contain no response from Cardinal Ratzinger.

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.

Instead of being disciplined, Father Murphy was quietly moved by Archbishop William E. Cousins of Milwaukee to the Diocese of Superior in northern Wisconsin in 1974, where he spent his last 24 years working freely with children in parishes, schools and, as one lawsuit charges, a juvenile detention center. He died in 1998, still a priest.

Even as the pope himself in a recent letter to Irish Catholics has emphasized the need to cooperate with civil justice in abuse cases, the correspondence seems to indicate that the Vatican’s insistence on secrecy has often impeded such cooperation. At the same time, the officials’ reluctance to defrock a sex abuser shows that on a doctrinal level, the Vatican has tended to view the matter in terms of sin and repentance more than crime and punishment.

[...]

The Vatican’s inaction is not unusual. Only 20 percent of the 3,000 accused priests whose cases went to the church’s doctrinal office between 2001 and 2010 were given full church trials, and only some of those were defrocked, according to a recent interview in an Italian newspaper with Msgr. Charles J. Scicluna, the chief internal prosecutor at that office. An additional 10 percent were defrocked immediately. Ten percent left voluntarily. But a majority — 60 percent — faced other “administrative and disciplinary provisions,” Monsignor Scicluna said, like being prohibited from celebrating Mass.

[...]

In 1993, with complaints about Father Murphy landing on his desk, Archbishop Weakland hired a social worker specializing in treating sexual offenders to evaluate him. After four days of interviews, the social worker said that Father Murphy had admitted his acts, had probably molested about 200 boys and felt no remorse.

However, it was not until 1996 that Archbishop Weakland tried to have Father Murphy defrocked. The reason, he wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger, was to defuse the anger among the deaf and restore their trust in the church. He wrote that since he had become aware that “solicitation in the confessional might be part of the situation,” the case belonged at the doctrinal office.

With no response from Cardinal Ratzinger, Archbishop Weakland wrote a different Vatican office in March 1997 saying the matter was urgent because a lawyer was preparing to sue, the case could become public and “true scandal in the future seems very possible.”

Recently some bishops have argued that the 1962 norms dictating secret disciplinary procedures have long fallen out of use. But it is clear from these documents that in 1997, they were still in force.

But the effort to dismiss Father Murphy came to a sudden halt after the priest appealed to Cardinal Ratzinger for leniency.


NY Times
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Re: could they be any stupider?

Postby Baker » 26 Mar 2010, 09:31

But it's all a conspiracy to make the pope look bad! He's the real victim here!

:roll:

They seem to be so monumentally inept at the PR here. I wonder if it's because they can't get their heads around the idea that the secular world doesn't work to their will? Or, in fact, they are still stuck in the Middle Ages when clerics could only be tried by eclesiastical courts? They seem to have this huge cognitive dissonance between crime and sin. They seem to think paedophilia is a sin and ought to be treated as such (i.e. by them in whatever way they please) rather than it being a crime that secular authorities have the right to handle.

And still, people pour money into their coffers, via collection plates, and enable this morally bankrupt immensely rich business. :no:
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Re: could they be any stupider?

Postby Nurse Jo » 26 Mar 2010, 10:07

The artist formerly known as HH. I like it Wildlx lol .

As for the article - what Baker said.
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Re: could they be any stupider?

Postby Baker » 26 Mar 2010, 10:35

Nurse Jo wrote:The artist formerly known as HH. I like it Wildlx lol .


I missed that. lol

(Uh oh. I haven't uploaded a smiley for no yet... Must go do...)
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Re: could they be any stupider?

Postby Alex » 26 Mar 2010, 12:52

Pope Benedict XVI provided the same cover up for Father Juliusz Paetz, former Archbishop of Poznan, Poland. Paetz had been accused of sexually abusing seminarian under his tutelage.

You might find this website interesting:

Bishop Accountability

Database
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Re: could they be any stupider?

Postby FranW » 29 Mar 2010, 12:09

On a whim, I did a google search and found that two of the priests who were in my parish when I was in elementary and high school have, yup, you guessed it, been nailed for raping children. Sigh.
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Re: could they be any stupider?

Postby Baker » 29 Mar 2010, 13:33

OMFG Any criminal charges on those two?

Reading some of the comments about the government subsidised paedophilia ring Catholic Church wherein catholics are agreeing that it's all totally not the church's fault--and even if it was, everyone does it so there--I have gained a deeper understanding of what faith is. :scary: Religion in--> Brain off.
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Re: could they be any stupider?

Postby FranW » 29 Mar 2010, 13:46

This is ticking me off:

A mayor in a NZ city had a long boozy dinner with his mates, got smashed, pissed on a tree in public, got in his car, and drove home. I'm in support of people who say that the guy should resign or be sacked, especially since it's been suggested this is a pattern of behaviour for the mayor, not a once-off. But what's ticking me off is that people are saying what he did isn't okay because it looks bad for their rich town, as if it'd be okay for the mayor of a poor slum to behave that way.

"It's not a look that reflects the relative conservatism, the nice middle-classness, of the North Shore."

"If our mayor's getting drunk and pissing everywhere it's really not a good look for the North Shore. We're meant to be the nice part of Auckland."

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/artic ... d=10635119
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Re: could they be any stupider?

Postby FranW » 29 Mar 2010, 14:06

Baker wrote:OMFG Any criminal charges on those two?


The priest who was co-pastor when I was a pre-teen abused dozens of boys over many years at two or more different parishes, and the boys who complained were told to shut up. (http://www.bishop-accountability.org/ne ... ener_1.htm) The priest who was co-paster while I was a teenager was alleged to have sexually abused at least one boy in my school during that period. Both priests were permanently removed** from the ministry in 2003 when the allegations were found to be credible. No criminal charges, though...

editing to add: No criminal charges because in Michigan, the statute of limitations "ends 10 years after the abuse, or when a victim reaches 21, whichever is later."

** this means they can't work as priests, can't pubicly represent themselves as priests, and can't wear the priestly garb. They're still priests, though, can celebrate mass in private, continue to receive their pension, and receive no punishment or ostracisation whatsoever.
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Re: could they be any stupider?

Postby FranW » 29 Mar 2010, 14:14

What really kills me is that the priests, who are guilty, blame the victims for coming forward:

n 1977, Betty Kedzierski gladly accepted the Rev. Gary Berthiaume's invitation to take her preteen boys on an overnight camping trip, just days after Berthiaume performed the wedding of Kedzierski's daughter at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Farmington Hills. When Berthiaume asked the mother to take the boys camping again, Betty's son, Gary Kedzierski, then 11 or 12, told his mom he didn't want to go because Berthiaume had fondled and kissed him on the outing and other times.

Berthiaume was sentenced in 1978 to six months in jail. Afterward, he was reassigned to the Cleveland diocese. In 1983, Gary Kedzierski sued Berthiaume and the Detroit archdiocese for damages.

"It's past history. I wish that people would bury everything," Berthiaume told a Free Press reporter at the time.

It might be in the past for him that he abused little kids, but those kids have to live with the after-effects every day of their lives.
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