Category Archives: Ratzinger
Laundries survivor: We were slaves
5 February 2013
From the link: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-21334882
A report published today is expected to detail Irish government knowledge of what went on in Magdalene Laundries.
The laundries were Catholic-run workhouses that operated in Ireland from the 1920s to the mid-1990s.
Girls considered “troubled” or what were then called “fallen women” were sent there by families or the courts.
Ellen Murphy, a survivor of the Magdalene Laundries, told the Today programme’s John Humphrys that she was put to work using large washing machines.
“You had to do that or die with starvation,” she explained.
Speaking of her restrictive ordeal at the Laundries, Ms Murphy said: “You never went out, you were locked in all the time… you never saw the world.”
“We were slaves from one end of the day to the other,” she added.
Victims: Pope Benedict Protects Accused Pedophile Bishops
By BRIAN ROSS , RHONDA SCHWARTZ and ANNA SCHECTER April 15, 2008
From the link: http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=4656143
Even as he told reporters on his flight to America that he was “deeply ashamed” over the church sex abuse scandal, Pope Benedict was accused by victims of protecting some 19 bishops accused of sexually abusing children.
“As a Catholic, I have to sadly conclude that he is not serious about ridding the church of corrupt bishops,” said Anne Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org, a group tracking public records involving the bishops.
According to the group, of the 19 bishops “credibly accused of abusing children,” none has lost his title, been publicly censured by the Vatican or referred for criminal prosecutions.
“The sexual corruption in the Catholic church starts at the very top,” said Doyle.
Pope Benedict told reporters on his flight this morning from Rome to Washington, D.C., he would do everything possible to avoid a repeat of the scandal. “We will absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry,” he said, according to Reuters.
While the church has moved to expel accused priests, critics say the higher-ranking bishops have been given favored treatment. “The attitude of the bishops towards the victims and the families of sexual abuse and predatory clergy is drop dead,” said Michael Wegs, of Marion, Iowa, one of nine former high schools students who said they were abused at a seminary in Missouri by former Palm Beach, Fla. Bishop Anthony J. O’Connell.
When the allegations were made public, Bishop O’Connell admitted at least two cases of abuse and was allowed to resign. He now lives on the beautiful, sprawling grounds of the Trappists Mepkin Abbey in South Carolina.
“He deserves to be in jail,” said Wegs, his accuser. “I don’t think there is any justice because he is allowed to travel, go where he please. He’s still a bishop, and he’s living among priests in the hierarchical structure; he is a top dog despite the fact that he’s a sexual predator.” Wegs says O’Connell has failed to even apologize to his victims.
Bishop O’Connell did not return phone calls from ABCNews.com seeking comment, but church officials say he and other bishops have been punished appropriately. “You cannot put on clerical attire, and you cannot service in a public way in ministry,” said Austin, Texas Bishop Gregory Aymond, chair of the U.S. Bishop’s Committee on Protection of Children and Young People.
“That is a very, very significant consequence, and I would say a significant penalty,” said Bishop Aymond, who conceded the accused bishops maintain their title. “Priests and bishops remain priests and bishops forever, regardless of what happens to them or what they do,” said Bishop Aymond.
But victims groups and church critics say the pope can and should do much more to punish the bishops and finally resolve the scandal.
Before he became pope, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he was in charge of monitoring cases of pedophile priests and was directly involved in deciding what punishment, if any, would be administered to priests and bishops.
“Priests who abuse children can be removed from the priesthood, but they do not remove bishops, they do not remove cardinals,” said author Jason Berry who has been tracking the sex abuse scandal and produced a documentary film on the subject, “Vows of Silence,” which premiered in New Orleans last night. “The problem is the power structure. There is no accountability,” said Berry.
Berry says the pope’s decision to have the Los Angeles archbishop, Cardinal Roger Mahoney, accompany him on his trip proves the point. “Why would you want someone in your entourage” like Roger Mahoney, asked Berry.
“This man has overseen a great many cases in which priests were moved from parish to parish. His diocese has paid over $660 million in settlements. And yet this cardinal has refused to release the files on these priests who have abused children,” Berry said.
Cardinal Mahoney did not return calls from ABC News seeking comment.
Should Sex-Abuse-Scandal Cardinals Be Allowed to Vote for New Pope?
by Barbie Latza Nadeau Feb 21, 2013 1:25 PM EST
As the conclave for new pope nears, Catholics are calling for cardinals embroiled in sex-abuse scandals to abstain from voting.
Can he who has sinned cast a vote for the next pope? Apparently so. But a growing number of the Vatican’s cardinal electors are being questioned over their knowledge of past sex-abuse scandals, calling into question their ethical right to vote in the next conclave.
In less than a week, the majority of the 117-strong College of Cardinals is expected to descend upon Rome to prepare for the conclave in which they will elect a replacement for Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned February 11. But as the Vatican prepares for the pageantry of the occasion, survivors of the church’s sex scandals and everyday Catholics are raising concerns about whether it is appropriate for certain cardinals to be allowed to dictate the church’s future. “In our view, it’s very safe to assume that almost every one of the prelates who’ll pick the pope … have ignored, concealed, or enabled child sex crimes,” Zach Hiner, a spokesman for SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), tells The Daily Beast.
While many cardinals have been stained by the extensive clergy sex scandals, Archbishop Emeritus of Los Angeles Roger M. Mahony has become a poster priest for the corrupt cardinals of this conclave. Mahony was effectively let go as head of America’s largest diocese in January by his Vatican-endorsed replacement, Archbishop José Gomez, when a California court released 120,000 pages of internal church documents sequestered during investigations of 120 predatory priests in the Los Angeles diocese. The documents show that Mahony was directly involved in moving known pedophiles between parishes in an attempt to conceal their crimes. “I find these files to be brutal and painful reading. The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil,” said Gomez in a statement when he fired his predecessor. More than $600,000 has been paid in lawsuits to victims in the Los Angeles diocese.
This Saturday Mahony will appear in a Los Angeles court to give a deposition in a criminal case involving a Mexican priest who is accused of raping 29 children over just nine months in 1987. The priest is on the lam in Mexico with multiple arrest warrants for child abuse against him, and he has been defrocked in absentia. But Mahony allegedly covered for the priest and obstructed justice when parents of the reported victims complained to the police. He is currently not facing charges, but he will be questioned under oath. Then, according to his Twitter feed, he plans to head to Rome—unless someone stops him. “Countdown to the papal conclave has begun,” he tweeted. “Your prayers needed that we elect the best Pope for today and tomorrow’s church.”
Since Benedict’s resignation, a not-so-subtle storm has been brewing outside Vatican City calling for Mahony to stay in California. Signs have been posted (and quickly removed) along the perimeter walls of Saint Peter’s Square warning that cardinals, like Mahony, who have been embroiled in the sex-abuse scandals are coming to town. Even the ultraconservative Italian magazine Famiglia Cristiana, which is distributed for free in many Catholic churches each Sunday, has been weighing in on the topic. The influential magazine conducted an online survey among its faithful readers about whether Mahony should be allowed to participate in the election of the next pope (the overwhelming response was no). They then ran a damning op-ed piece called “Cardinal in Court” in which they called on Catholics to voice their opinions about the case. The American-based group Catholics United has also launched an online petition to urge Mahony to stay home. Italian Cardinal Velasio De Paolis suggested in an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica that perhaps the right approach was if Mahony “could be advised not to take part only through a private intervention by someone with great authority”—which could mean the pope himself. Barbara Blaine of SNAP echoed that sentiment in a statement this week: “We hope that high ranking Vatican officials will instead preclude Mahony from attending the conclave and voting for the new Pope. His sordid record covering up child sex crimes should be considered a stain on the church and unworthy of a papal elector.”
Mahony’s may be the worst case, but he is certainly not the only cardinal elector stained by the church’s American sex-abuse scandals. On Wednesday the archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, spent three hours answering questions under oath about pedophile priests under his clerical management during his time as the head of the Milwaukee diocese in Wisconsin from 2002 to 2009. While there, he allegedly used church money to pay “a handful” of predatory priests more than $20,000 to leave the priesthood quietly, a claim he originally denied until bankruptcy documents seemed to indicate that the payments were made.
Dolan, who has not been charged with any crime, will also head to Rome next week to prepare for the conclave. His name has been circulated as a potential pope, though that was before his deposition was made public this week. He is certainly not a favorite among the church abuse victims’ groups. “Dolan has been particularly adept at evading responsibility for his wrongdoing in clergy sex cases, having moved twice since the scandal started gaining international attention more than a decade ago, and having worked, three times, in states with especially archaic child-abuse laws that favor defendants,” says David Clohessy, head of SNAP. “Civil justice can expose predators and their enablers, but only criminal justice can imprison and deter them. So while these depositions represent progress, it’s crucial to remember that the best way to prevent and discourage future crimes and cover-ups is for secular authorities to investigate, charge, and convict Catholic officials who hide and enable heinous crimes against kids.”
The question of just who will vote in the conclave could prove pivotal in whether the church will be seen as addressing its dark history of well-documented abuse. If Mahony is somehow dissuaded from attending, many believe that it would send a message that the church is taking a different stance on abuse going forward and that this College of Cardinals will elect a pope who has as clean a record on the issue as possible.
Next Pope & Only Some Cardinals Are Immune For Abuse Crimes
By Jerry Slevin, a retired Catholic and Harvard “schooled” international lawyer
Tens of thousands of survivors of priest rape worldwide, and many millions of other people, surely think it outrageous that either the Pope or any Cardinal is immune from prosecution for child endangerment. Nevertheless, the next Pope and Cardinals at the Vatican are likely immune, as Cardinal Law well knew when he fled Boston for the Vatican.
Philly’s Cardinal Bevilacqua lacked immunity, but died last year before his likely imminent indictment. His successor, Cardinal Rigali, appears to remain at risk as the civil case against him proceeds. Their top subordinate, Monsignor Lynn, today sits in prison for following the cover-up orders of his Cardinal.
Los Angeles prosecutors, recently emboldened by an evidentially “Vatican blessed” public shaming of Cardinal Mahoney, are feverishly combing through recently released files apparently trying to find some basis to prosecute Cardinal Mahoney.
Neither Cardinal Rigali nor Ireland’s Cardinal Brady have been publicly shamed, so far at least, for their well reported abuse cover-up misdeeds, nor has convicted Opus Dei Bishop Finn, a St. Louis protégé like Cardinal Dolan of the Vatican clique’s longtime colleague, Cardinal Rigali.
It appears that, for the immune Vatican clique, there are different shaming standards depending on which Cardinal misbehaves. Apparently, Cardinals like Mahoney, who may be disapproved of politically by key plutocratic Republican Vatican contributors, are at a higher risk of public shaming. If this arbitrary process fails to make some Cardinals anxious, they should have a serious talk soon with their criminal lawyers.
Overall, few Cardinals outside the Vatican are likely legally immune from local prosecution for child endangerment. Most Cardinals must now worry if they face potential prosecution whether the next Pope will offer them the “Cardinal Law shield” or the “Cardinal Mahoney shaft”. Hierarchical “hardball”, to be sure!
Moreover, neither the Pope nor any Cardinal is immune from prosecution for crimes against humanity by the mother who is currently serving as Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. She has been involved recently in a major conviction of a senior political leader for aiding and abetting crimes against humanity. The Pope and Cardinals Sodano, Bertone and Levada are currently the subject of a criminal complaint filed for crimes against humanity allegedly for the worldwide cover-up of priest rapes of innocent children. The Pope’s resignation has likely reduced the political resistance to this case proceeding, possibly with the addition as criminal defendants of other Vatican Cardinals who may have played a role in covering-up or in suppressing canonical judicial investigations under the “omerta” approach.
The octogenarian Vatican clique is now trying to ram through quickly a subservient new Pope who will do their bidding for their few remaining years, leaving younger Cardinals, Bishops and worldwide Catholics to fend for themselves thereafter. Cardinals are now being stampeded to vote early. Will all Cardinals be so shortsighted to fall for this? Will at least one-third of them slow the election process down and still salvage the Church (and themselves) instead? There is a way they can do this as described below.
All Cardinals, if only in their own self-interest, need to act now to begin to fix the Church first before it is too late, especially before a complicit new Pope is installed for life to protect the Vatican clique. Prosecutors are increasingly moving into the Church, while Catholics are steadily moving out, and all will continue to do so if the Church is not fixed promptly.
President Obama’s new Catholic chief of staff just said on Meet The Press, in effect, that the Church will do fine if it does the right things. And what if it continues to do some bad things as is obscenely reported almost daily in the international media? President Obama and a U.S. Presidential investigation commission, similar to Australia PM Julia Gillard’s new commission, would have the clout to compel much of the fix needed. President Obama has condemned institutional child sexual abuse. Cardinal Dolan and Archbishop Lori continue to try to derail Obamacare with their absurd “Taco Bell” ploy.
Will Cardinals instead try to fix the Church themselves now or just continue the risk of sitting in prison cells, as some of them very well may be doing soon, wishing they had fixed it when they could have? Philly’s Monsignor Lynn, former top subordinate to Cardinals Rigali and Bevilacqua now in jail for child endangerment, proves this risk is real. Make sure you ask Cardinal Rigali about this at the conclave next month.
Here’s what smart Cardinals can and should do. They need to block by a one-third vote any papal candidate that will not agree publicly now to take the following three actions:
(1) Serve only a three year term subject to re-election thereafter. Pope Benedict just proved by resigning that the papacy is not a lifelong position.
(2) Appoint now a special committee to identify and recommend within nine months needed structural and pastoral changes, as described in my April 2010 Washington Post web column you should read now that tried to warn Pope Benedict three years ago about what he was facing, that he foolishly failed to acknowledge, and which is linked here at:
(3) Implement the needed changes so identified at a worldwide council held away from Rome within six months of receipt of the special committee’s recommendations as described in my Washington Post column.
Alternatively, Cardinals can give the Vatican clique their blank papal proxies, then hire expensive criminal lawyers and pray for a miracle. How do they really think God will respond?
Pertinently, among some of the relevant guidelines generally ascribed to Jesus are that he was opposed to a self-important, excessively scrupulous and overly indulgent religious hierarchy and that he thought children should be protected from harm. These points have neither been consistently understood nor respected in the Vatican for decades, even for centuries. The “Good News”, or the Gospels, have often been disregarded by the Catholic hierarchy where a Renaissance culture of opulence and celibate incomprehension of children still predominate today.
Where in the Gospels did Jesus say predatory priests are to be protected before innocent children, like the Vatican has done for decades, if not centuries? Where did Jesus instruct his followers to wear $30,000 outfits paid for by donations like Cardinal Burke reportedly does? Where did Jesus tell his followers to launder money like Cardinals reportedly do through the Vatican Bank?
If, as Benedict has clearly indicated, a Pope should go if he is unable to perform his duties, should he be removed if he is unwilling to perform or performs badly? Should there be term limits or maximum age limits? Of course, the only logical answer is yes to all of these related questions. But the Vatican is run by power politics, not logic, or even spiritual values for that matter. Some Vatican Cardinal will likely leak soon the real reasons Benedict is retiring. Benedict will meet soon with top Italian leaders who seem to be benefiting in their own election contests from the media attention on the Pope. Is an immunity deal in the air? In any event, the real story should be our soon.
It is time to restore Catholic leadership to the consensual approach that Jesus and early Catholics followed for over three centuries until Roman Emperors converted the Catholic Bishops, including the Pope, into an imperial bureaucracy dominated by a Vatican clique that dictated ruthlessly for 1,700 years, and still dictates, top-down to Catholics seemingly to fill the clique’s coffers. It seems significant that key Vatican powers, Pope Benedict and Cardinal Sodano, were both born in 1927 and spent their formative years under totalitarian dictators, Hitler and Mussolini, respectively. This is well reflected in their hierarchical approach, but they seem to forget that the Fuhrer and Il Duce eventually got their gruesome rewards, mainly at the hands of constitutional democracies. The Vatican no longer has powerful European monarchs or opportunistic dictators to protect it and plutocrats flee weakness quickly. The Holy Roman Emperor’s phone has been disconnected for almost a century.
Catholics will not likely in their lifetimes have a better opportunity than in connection with the papal election to reform the Church, and at the same time to protect children as Jesus commanded. It is time to restore the consensual church management structure that the overwhelming vote of Vatican II Cardinals and Bishops contemplated would be adopted a half century ago before a minority of Cardinals like Ottaviani, Wotyla, Ratzinger, Sodano, Bertone, Levada, Rigali, Mahoney, Law, Burke, Bevilacqua, Brady, et al., subverted its implementation.
Pope John XXIII issued in 1962 the main secrecy order on priest child sex abuse. But he also realized that accountability had to be restored to save the Church. He took the first step by trying to get the Vatican Cardinals to share power with the worldwide bishops. He died soon thereafter and the Vatican Cardinals’ clique rejected power sharing craftily. Since then, they have installed compliant Popes who like the papal prestige and are happy to do the clique’s bidding. But the democratic rule of law has run out of patience with clerical child abusers and Popes no longer have any effective political power, as the re-election of President Obama and papal political setbacks in the Philippines, Australia, the United Kingdom, France and elsewhere just proved.
The International Sheriff appears to be on his way to Rome and the Pope cannot hide for long with Gorgeous Georg in a refurbished convent. Some of his own Cardinals, or his butler, may likely help nail him, it appears. The Vatican clique’s unending stream of blunders, the latest including (1) appointing Cardinal Law’s former canon lawyer as chief Vatican prosecutor of predatory priests, (2) appointing as part-time Vatican Bank “chief” a German investment banker, who is reportedly also overseeing a major arms dealer, and (3) the selectively and gratuitously shaming of Cardinal Mahoney publicly.
But at this point does any of this matter to most Catholics worldwide? While it may seem overly pessimistic to say so soon that the next Pope will likely fail too, it is just being realistic; and yet there is also room for much optimism. The papal resignation is tantamount to an admission of failure and will lead to de-mystification of the papacy quickly. Pope Benedict XVI, soon to again be non-Pontiff, Joseph Ratzinger, and his Vatican clique led by Cardinal Sodano et al., have already set the stage for the next failure.
The sudden call for a quick election conclave substantially diminishes any chance of a real opposition being mounted by non-Vatican Cardinals. Since the Pope apparently knew for some time he would resign, the suddenness seems well planned. Ratzinger will soon be living a few hundred yards away from the new Pope in his refurbished retirement base, hardly a monastery.
Ratzinger and Sodano already likely know who will be the next Pope and one would be foolish to bet against them. Perhaps Cardinals might save some money by just mailing in blank proxies to Sodano.
The reason for some optimism is that the Vatican clique’s apparent raw power grab will now just accelerate the sinking of the Vatican Titanic that much sooner. Even overly trusting Catholics will see through the clerical charade. Various prosecutors and survivors lawyers can now be expected to be able to reach Ratzinger, who may lose his legal immunity in a few weeks. Once the rule of international law starts pulling hard directly on papal threads, the Vatican hierarchy can expect to be quickly uncovered and forced to initiate reforms, perhaps after some senior officials face prosecution, which is likely not too far off.
For example, longtime Vatican Cardinal Rigali is still at risk of prosecution in Philadelphia where his predecessor, Cardinal Bevilacqua, last year apparently escaped a likely imminent criminal indictment for child endangerment by dying first! Their hapless senior aide, Monsignor Lynn, took the fall so far and is in prison.
Yes, Cardinals apparently will now go to Rome, but they could have demanded first that a conference be convened soon, before any election occurs, to be held far away from Rome to address seriously and comprehensively the Church’s major problems, which are just getting worse with the recent decades of papal inattention and will continue to get worse if Ratzinger and Sodano elect their man.
Catholics are not and should not be waiting on Cardinals. Australian and Irish Catholics have already gotten their governments to act. Now many from different faiths and no faith all across the USA, and even worldwide, including some of those harmed by the abuse of the deaf victims in Milwaukee, have already signed my petition calling on President Obama to step up. They have indicated they have had enough with the domination of local prosecutors and legislators by the Catholic hierarchy and its well paid apologists and lawyers.
More signatures, including yours, will help accelerate the establishment of the U.S. national investigation commission, especially important now when the Vatican may be at a turning point.
We all have a moral obligation to protect children and signing a petition is a simple, yet potentially effective, way towards meeting that obligation. Please take a minute and sign it at:
Please, as well, ask those you respect and who value children to sign it also. If you are active in a U.S. advocacy group, ask your leadership to support the petition. Similarly reticent progressive Catholic voices, like the National Catholic Reporter and Commonweal, seem reluctant to press for the positive prospects of President Obama establishing a U.S. national investigation commission. They need now to take a stand.
What are they all waiting for? Blogging, writing, debating and prayer, however admirable and well intentioned, have to date barely influenced the Vatican clique and their subservient U.S. Bishops on reforms and will likely do little more in the future, certainly in the near term as more children are raped by priests, while duped Catholics continue to contribute enabling complicit bishops to protect priest pedophiles and predators perpetually.
I have separately proposed that President Obama consider appointing First Lady, Michelle Obama, to chair the new Obama commission. She is well respected as a Harvard lawyer and devoted mother. She would be an ideal choice with her established credibility if she were willing to accept the appointment.
The First Lady of the USA could consult with another effective former practicing lawyer, Julia Gillard, Australia’s Prime Minister, who just established a national investigation commission that already has the Catholic hierarchy and the Vatican running for cover.
Prime Minister Gillard recently disclosed that the tipping points in her decision to call for a national commission were the numerous disclosures that the Catholic Bishops, as part of their cover-up, moved predatory priests to avoid prosecution to other states and even other countries, where the predators continued their sexual abuse of more trusting and innocent children. The multistate and multinational dimensions of the crimes against children apparently convinced Prime Minister Gillard she had to take action at the Federal level. This moving of predatory priests interstate and across national borders has, of course, happened repeatedly in the USA as well, necessitating a Federal response in the USA as well.
If the First Lady would oversee this, President Obama would still be able to focus on his many other priorities, including resisting the Vatican’s and its plutocratic Republican contributors’ unrelenting and opportunistic efforts to derail Obamacare over contraception insurance and immigration reform over gay marriage.
U.S. voters recently made clear their rejection of the Vatican’s lobbying efforts to deny marriage equality for gay U.S citizens. Now the Vatican appears to be trying to deny it for gay immigrants. As to the Vatican’s relentless and futile anti-contraception crusade, 79 year old conservative Cologne Cardinal Meisner, recently approved a “morning after” pill of the type that, only a few months ago, many U.S. Bishops were condemning President Obama for helping U.S. women gain affordable access to. Does the Vatican understand how contraceptive pills work? Does the Vatican understand that President Obama has been re-elected?
If there tragically were not over 200 million “unplanned” children living miserably in countries where Vatican lobbying effectively denied their parents access to affordable contraception, a dispute among octogenarian celibates over permissible forms of contraception would make good political satire! But sadly, the Vatican’s anti-contraceptive efforts, apparently mainly to please the Vatican’s plutocratic Republican donors by keeping family planning wedge issues in political play, will very likely only fail again, while these efforts continue nevertheless to burden families and children.
Does the right hand talk to the left among Cardinals and the Vatican clique? Do the unprecedented, selective and well orchestrated shaming by an Opus Dei Archbishop of Cardinal Mahoney, and the unexpected support from Cardinal Meisner for contraception that is reportedly starting to stir up German Bishops, indicate a Cardinals’ revolt is brewing. Will this revolt affect the papal elections next month? We may soon find out.
Please click on to the black text at the top of this column for my analysis of related topics. In particular, for more analysis of the powerful political influence of the Catholic hierarchy here, please see my remarks at
For more analysis of how the emerging divisions among Cardinals might have changed the papal election process, please see my remarks at
Finally, I hope some of you will consider linking this statement to your comments at appropriate websites, such as at:
(1) National Catholic Reporter ( http://ncronline.org ) and of
(2) Commonweal ( http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/blog/ ).
Pope will have security, immunity by remaining in the Vatican
By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY | Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:59pm EST
(Reuters) – Pope Benedict’s decision to live in the Vatican after he resigns will provide him with security and privacy. It will also offer legal protection from any attempt to prosecute him in connection with sexual abuse cases around the world, Church sources and legal experts say.
“His continued presence in the Vatican is necessary, otherwise he might be defenseless. He wouldn’t have his immunity, his prerogatives, his security, if he is anywhere else,” said one Vatican official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“It is absolutely necessary” that he stays in the Vatican, said the source, adding that Benedict should have a “dignified existence” in his remaining years.
Vatican sources said officials had three main considerations in deciding that Benedict should live in a convent in the Vatican after he resigns on February 28.
Vatican police, who already know the pope and his habits, will be able to guarantee his privacy and security and not have to entrust it to a foreign police force, which would be necessary if he moved to another country.
“I see a big problem if he would go anywhere else. I’m thinking in terms of his personal security, his safety. We don’t have a secret service that can devote huge resources (like they do) to ex-presidents,” the official said.
Another consideration was that if the pope did move permanently to another country, living in seclusion in a monastery in his native Germany, for example, the location might become a place of pilgrimage.
This could be complicated for the Church, particularly in the unlikely event that the next pope makes decisions that may displease conservatives, who could then go to Benedict’s place of residence to pay tribute to him.
“That would be very problematic,” another Vatican official said.
The final key consideration is the pope’s potential exposure to legal claims over the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandals.
In 2010, for example, Benedict was named as a defendant in a law suit alleging that he failed to take action as a cardinal in 1995 when he was allegedly told about a priest who had abused boys at a U.S. school for the deaf decades earlier. The lawyers withdrew the case last year and the Vatican said it was a major victory that proved the pope could not be held liable for the actions of abusive priests.
Benedict is currently not named specifically in any other case. The Vatican does not expect any more but is not ruling out the possibility.
“(If he lived anywhere else) then we might have those crazies who are filing lawsuits, or some magistrate might arrest him like other (former) heads of state have been for alleged acts while he was head of state,” one source said.
Another official said: “While this was not the main consideration, it certainly is a corollary, a natural result.”
After he resigns, Benedict will no longer be the sovereign monarch of the State of Vatican City, which is surrounded by Rome, but will retain Vatican citizenship and residency.
That would continue to provide him immunity under the provisions of the Lateran Pacts while he is in the Vatican and even if he makes jaunts into Italy as a Vatican citizen.
The 1929 Lateran Pacts between Italy and the Holy See, which established Vatican City as a sovereign state, said Vatican City would be “invariably and in every event considered as neutral and inviolable territory”.
There have been repeated calls for Benedict’s arrest over sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.
When Benedict went to Britain in 2010, British author and atheist campaigner Richard Dawkins asked authorities to arrest the pope to face questions over the Church’s child abuse scandal.
Dawkins and the late British-American journalist Christopher Hitchens commissioned lawyers to explore ways of taking legal action against the pope. Their efforts came to nothing because the pope was a head of state and so enjoyed diplomatic immunity.
In 2011, victims of sexual abuse by the clergy asked the International Criminal Court to investigate the pope and three Vatican officials over sexual abuse.
The New York-based rights group Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and another group, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), filed a complaint with the ICC alleging that Vatican officials committed crimes against humanity because they tolerated and enabled sex crimes.
The ICC has not taken up the case but has never said why. It generally does not comment on why it does not take up cases.
NOT LIKE A CEO
The Vatican has consistently said that a pope cannot be held accountable for cases of abuse committed by others because priests are employees of individual dioceses around the world and not direct employees of the Vatican. It says the head of the church cannot be compared to the CEO of a company.
Victims groups have said Benedict, particularly in his previous job at the head of the Vatican’s doctrinal department, turned a blind eye to the overall policies of local Churches, which moved abusers from parish to parish instead of defrocking them and handing them over to authorities.
The Vatican has denied this. The pope has apologized for abuse in the Church, has met with abuse victims on many of his trips, and ordered a major investigation into abuse in Ireland.
But groups representing some of the victims say the Pope will leave office with a stain on his legacy because he was in positions of power in the Vatican for more than three decades, first as a cardinal and then as pope, and should have done more.
The scandals began years before the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope in 2005 but the issue has overshadowed his papacy from the beginning, as more and more cases came to light in dioceses across the world.
As recently as last month, the former archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahoney, was stripped by his successor of all public and administrative duties after a thousands of pages of files detailing abuse in the 1980s were made public.
Mahoney, who was archbishop of Los Angeles from 1985 until 2011, has apologized for “mistakes” he made as archbishop, saying he had not been equipped to deal with the problem of sexual misconduct involving children. The pope was not named in that case.
In 2007, the Los Angeles archdiocese, which serves 4 million Catholics, reached a $660 million civil settlement with more than 500 victims of child molestation, the biggest agreement of its kind in the United States.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the pope “gave the fight against sexual abuse a new impulse, ensuring that new rules were put in place to prevent future abuse and to listen to victims. That was a great merit of his papacy and for that we will be grateful”.
(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Additional reporting by Robin Pomeroy; Edited by Simon Robinson and Giles Elgood)
L.A. Priest Blamed for Legacy of Pain
Ten, including relatives, say the Jesuit molested them. He denies it and has not been charged.
During 16 years at Loyola High School, Father Jerold Lindner was admired as an energetic teacher exceptionally devoted to his students. Superiors lauded him as the model of “a Christian educator.” A colleague in the English department nominated him as “chairman for life.”
Others outside the school say they knew a different Lindner. Ten men and women portray the Jesuit as a molester who haunted their childhoods, abusing them on Sundays after Mass, during holiday gatherings and on Catholic family camping trips — nearly always while wearing his clerical collar.
These encounters allegedly began in the 1950s, continued through the 1970s, when Lindner was entering the priesthood, and persisted into the 1980s, while he was teaching at Loyola High, a private, all-boys prep school west of downtown Los Angeles.
Jesuit leaders say they first learned about Lindner’s past a decade ago, when his brother told them that the priest had sexually abused three nieces, a nephew and a younger sibling. After sending Lindner for a psychiatric evaluation, Jesuit superiors deemed the allegations not credible and put him back in the classroom.
Fresh charges surfaced in 1997, when two brothers asserted in a lawsuit that Lindner sodomized them years earlier during weekend retreats in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The Jesuits then removed the priest from Loyola and negotiated a secret $625,000 settlement with the brothers. As before, Lindner’s superiors did not inform law enforcement authorities, parents or teachers about the allegations.
In a sworn deposition, Lindner denied ever abusing anyone. In a statement to The Times, he said: “I have devoted my life to helping people, and I insist that the accusations against me are not true.” He said the Catholic sex-abuse crisis has “created an atmosphere where people like me are presumed guilty until proven innocent.”
Lindner, 58, has never been criminally charged, and Loyola officials say they know of no allegations that he molested students or other members of the high school community. He is under investigation by L.A. County sheriff’s detectives and the district attorney’s office.
The priest’s accusers depict a man who began molesting when he was a child and continued to do so even as he soldiered through the rigorous Jesuit rituals of indoctrination. Family members and victims kept quiet and sometimes defended the priest, a Times investigation found.
Lindner’s superiors, when confronted with explosive accusations, tried to keep them “internal to the Society of Jesus,” as one Loyola administrator put it in a memo.
In interviews and legal documents, the 10 men and women have said they were molested while growing up in Los Angeles County, the San Francisco Bay Area and suburban Phoenix. Eight agreed to be identified by name in this article.
Several said Lindner ordered them to lie still while he sexually abused them. Afterward, they said, he called them “dirty” and threatened to harm them if they told anyone.
Four of Lindner’s accusers said they were so traumatized that they tried to commit suicide as teenagers. Others reported suffering failed marriages, depression, flashbacks and a loss of faith.
Many said they had remained silent until now because of a deep sense of shame and because they feared retaliation by Lindner. The alleged victims said they are angry — at the priest and at the Jesuits.
“We all want him behind bars, where he belongs,” said Tamara Roehm, 35, of Lancaster, one of Lindner’s nieces.
The priest’s mother, 80, said recently that the accounts of victims within her own family had persuaded her that Lindner preyed on young people.
“I know that Jerry needs help, and so do his victims,” Isabelle Lindner said in an interview at her Phoenix-area home. “If he wasn’t a priest and didn’t have the Jesuits standing behind him, I think he would be in jail.”
Lindner now lives in the Bay Area town of Los Gatos at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, a picturesque retreat overlooking the Santa Clara Valley.
The Jesuits say they have barred him from teaching or ministering to the public, but he is free to travel and tutor seminarians and has collected a living allowance from the order.
In preparing this report, The Times reviewed internal Jesuit records, numerous letters Lindner wrote over two decades, and documents related to the lawsuit by the two brothers, including a sworn deposition of Lindner on June 10, 1998.
Loyola High administrators last month informed parents and alumni of the allegations against Lindner for the first time. They took the step after learning The Times was preparing an article on the priest.
In a Nov. 18 letter to parents and alumni, Father Robert T. Walsh, Loyola’s president, said administrators learned of sexual-abuse accusations against Lindner in 1997 and “immediately relieved him of his teaching and school duties.” The letter made no mention of the 1992 allegations. Walsh and other Loyola officials declined to answer questions about Lindner.
A top-ranking Jesuit said no one at the high school noticed any inappropriate behavior by the priest.
“We never had complaints at Loyola High,” said Father Thomas H. Smolich, who as head of the California Province oversees Jesuits in four Western states and Hawaii. “If you look at Jerry’s professional career there, it is very successful.”
Smolich, who began his six-year term as provincial in 1999, acknowledged that the Jesuits did not notify authorities of the accusations against Lindner in 1992 or in 1997. He said that he could provide no explanation and that Jesuit records shed no light on the matter.
“There are things I wish we had done differently,” Smolich said. “If the allegations were reported today, we would contact appropriate law enforcement authorities and respond pastorally to victims.”
Jerold William Lindner was born Nov. 16, 1944, in Columbus, Ohio, into a devout Catholic family. Priests and nuns were frequent visitors to the home.
Before entering elementary school, Jerold announced that he wanted to be a priest, his mother recalled. She said his interest in the clergy never waned.
The family moved to Arizona when Jerold was 6. He served as an altar boy, joined the Boy Scouts and became an avid chess player. A gifted student, he ranked in the top four of his 115-student class during several semesters at Brophy College Preparatory, the all-boys Jesuit high school in Phoenix. Years later, he scored in the “very superior” range on an IQ test.
Members of Lindner’s family said fellow students picked on him. As a freshman, he was forced to kneel on the hot asphalt at school for hours and suffered severe burns. He often came home with stains on his white school shirts, the result of classmates pelting him with oranges.
After graduating from Brophy in June 1962, Lindner applied to become a Jesuit. The Society of Jesus was founded in 1540 by St. Ignatius Loyola and is the largest religious order in the Roman Catholic Church, with about 21,000 members worldwide. Candidates undergo years of rigorous training, and members of the society must observe strict vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
Lindner’s application was rejected by the order, according to members of his family. They said the Jesuits told him he needed to broaden his life. So he took a job as a courier for a title company, became leader of a Boy Scout troop in Phoenix and dated for the first time.
He reapplied to the Jesuits a year later and was turned down again, this time with the suggestion that he move out of his parents’ home, family members said.
Lindner enrolled at Loyola University in Los Angeles, a Jesuit institution, in the fall of 1963. He was accepted for Jesuit training the following June and sent to the Sacred Heart Novitiate in Los Gatos for two years to study the order’s traditions, rules and expectations.
Early on, Jesuit leaders detected psychological problems.
After Lindner returned to Loyola University in 1968 to earn his bachelor’s degree in English, a routine evaluation found that he “needs emotional and psychological maturing and stabilizing.”
In the early 1970s, he sought therapy for “depression and poor self-image” on the advice of his Jesuit spiritual advisor and suffered “bouts of panic attacks,” say personnel records and psychiatric reports.
Lindner’s aberrant behavior dated to childhood, his mother said. She said she caught her son, at age 10, inappropriately touching his 5-year-old sister in bed. Over the years, she has defended her son and rejected allegations from relatives that he abused them. She now says she has come to believe the accusations.
The sister, Kathy McEntire, also once defended her brother, but now says he sexually abused her for years.
“It started with me,” said McEntire, 53, struggling to fight back tears at her kitchen table in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa.
She alleged that Lindner knelt beside her bed at night and molested her, a practice she said continued until she was about 9. “He got bolder and bolder over time, as he figured out what he could get away with,” she said.
Assigned to Teach
In 1969, the Jesuits sent Lindner to earn a master’s degree in English at St. Louis University in Missouri, where he was active in an urban Boy Scout troop. The next year, he was assigned to teach at St. Ignatius High School in San Francisco.
He stayed in the Bay Area more than a decade, enrolling at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley in 1973 and being ordained as a priest in 1976. He returned to St. Ignatius and taught English there from 1976 to 1982. He was also Scoutmaster for an Oakland troop and accompanied boys on weekend camping and ski trips.
During these years, Lindner allegedly molested six children, according to sworn testimony and interviews.
One of them was McEntire’s son, Trevor. He said Lindner molested him on about 20 occasions, beginning when he was 5, during family visits to the Jesuit residence in Berkeley and when the priest made holiday trips to Arizona. He said the abuse lasted until he was 9.
“He touched me a lot,” Trevor McEntire, now 32, said of his uncle. “I tolerated it, because I didn’t know any better. I kind of blame myself for not telling anybody.”
Kathy McEntire said her son told her only recently about the abuse. She said it was devastating to learn that the same man she accuses of molesting her more than 40 years ago had allegedly violated her son. “I’m just coming to grips with this,” she said. “I am so sick and disgusted I can’t stand it,” she said.
Lindner met other alleged victims while volunteering as a spiritual advisor for the Christian Family Movement, a worldwide lay organization of Catholic couples. Lindner said Mass in private homes, heard confessions, attended monthly parent meetings and accompanied families on weekend retreats.
The two brothers who sued the Jesuits said Lindner sexually assaulted them during Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend camp-outs in the Santa Cruz Mountains in 1975, when they were 5 and 7.
The alleged assaults are detailed in reports by Lynn E. Ponton, a professor of psychiatry at UC San Francisco and expert in sexual abuse who was retained by the brothers’ lawyer.
Ponton said the brothers told her that Lindner sodomized them and forced them to perform oral sex on four occasions in the woods. In one incident, the priest allegedly abused the two boys in a tent.
One of them, Will Lynch of San Francisco, now 35, said in an interview that Lindner coerced him to enter the tent by threatening to harm his younger brother. “Even at age 7, I knew it was wrong. I didn’t want to be there,” Lynch said. “When he grabbed me, I remember thinking, ‘I’m not getting out of this.’ ”
Lynch’s brother declined to be interviewed.
In the deposition, Lindner confirmed attending weekend camp-outs but said he had no recollection of meeting the brothers.
Will Lynch said the abuse had shattering effects. He had nightmares for years, suffered from depression and alcohol abuse, and twice attempted suicide, he said. “Many times I thought of driving down to L.A. and confronting Father Jerry,” he said. “I wanted to exorcise all of the rage and anger and bitterness he put into me…. You can’t put into words what this guy did to me. He stole my innocence and destroyed my life.”
Two women who accuse Lindner of molesting them when they were girls in the Bay Area also said they have had difficulty recovering. Both described the alleged molestations in sworn depositions as part of the Lynches’ suit and in interviews with The Times.
Krista Nemechek, a 32-year-old special education teacher in the Bay Area, said she was 7 when Lindner grabbed her in a bedroom of an Oakland home during a 1977 social gathering.
“I was wearing a dress,” Nemechek said. “He put me in this almost vise-grip of a hug. He pulled me so I was facing him, then he rubbed his hands up and down me. I remember him kissing me really passionately [and] moaning a little bit…. It just didn’t feel right in any way.”
In his deposition, Lindner said he had no recollection of Nemechek or the alleged incident.
Nemechek said the episode haunted her through adolescence. “I know he hurt a lot of people,” she said. “More than anything that happened to me, the hardest part is realizing that I could have done something.”
Debbie Lukas, 36, recalled meeting Lindner when he said Mass at her parents’ house in Oakland. Then 8, she “lit up” at the attention the priest showered on her, she said.
When she was 10, Lukas said, Lindner began making suggestive remarks and forcing deep, full-mouth kisses on her. One evening after dinner, she said, Lindner caught her alone in the basement of her home. She recalled hearing her mother’s footsteps on the kitchen floor above while the priest sexually assaulted her.
“He pushed me down on the bed. I was struggling to get away from him…. He was a big guy,” Lukas said. “I remember him covering my mouth. I could hardly breathe.”
Asked about Lukas’ allegation, Lindner said in his deposition: “I don’t remember doing this. I don’t think I did it.”
Lukas said she was despondent for years and still feels uncomfortable in her parents’ house. “I’ve had this torture all my life,” said Lukas, who runs an herbal-products business in Oregon. “I don’t trust authority. I don’t believe in God anymore…. It has shaped the foundation of who I am.”
Another of Lindner’s nephews says the priest molested him over several nights at a family reunion in Arizona during the 1979 Christmas season. The boy was 11 years old at the time.
“He was French-kissing me,” said the nephew, who spoke on condition that he not be named. “He was holding me tight, and he fondled me. It happened every night.”
In 1982, after eight years at St. Ignatius High, Lindner transferred to Loyola High and was named chairman of the English department.
Founded in 1865, Loyola is L.A.’s oldest Catholic school, occupying ivy-covered buildings on Venice Boulevard near Koreatown. Among the most competitive prep schools in the area, it has 1,096 students and 84 faculty and staff members.
At Loyola, Lindner expressed a preference for working with younger students. An evaluation stated: “Fr. Lindner was quite honest about his wish to teach frosh rather than seniors.”
In 1983, he wrote an acquaintance: “I am tutoring frosh — I don’t teach them, but I know about 110 of them now. I have a ‘hit’ list with their names and photos (a way to get to know their names). They are fun.”
Lindner organized numerous after-school activities that gradually became known as “Lindner clubs.” They included archery, backgammon, chess, Knights of FRP (a fantasy role-playing group) and remote-control car racing.
Loyola administrators praised his devotion to students. “I want to point out particularly that many of the students in your clubs would have no other avenue into the mainstream of the Loyola community were it not for your energy, ingenuity and organization,” Father Gordon Bennett, then the principal, wrote in October 1984.
Lindner served as an assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 1193 at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, near the Loyola campus.
And he reached out to a boy and girl he had met years earlier through the Christian Family Movement.
One of them was Debbie Lukas. Lindner sent the teenager romantic letters, calling her “my California beauty” and “the flame tree of my life” and mentioning that the residence hall at Loyola had “a place to put people up … (even you).”
Lindner also contacted Lukas’ mother, Mary Louise Taylor, and suggested that her 12-year-old son spend a weekend with him on the campus.
“I was so shocked,” said Taylor, adding that she declined.
In his deposition, Lindner described the invitation as “a joke.”
Visiting His Brother
Lindner’s move to Loyola made it easier to visit his older brother, Larry, then an LAPD patrol officer who lived in Lancaster with his family. During these visits, Father Lindner allegedly molested three nieces.
“He would hold your face, stare at you and then stick his tongue in your mouth,” said one niece, Susan Edens, now 32, who still lives in Lancaster. “I used to hate him coming over to our house, because I hated that kiss. It was horrid.”
Her sister, Tamara Roehm, said Jerold Lindner did the same thing to her many times.
Larry Lindner’s youngest daughter, Tiffany Swindler, said the priest sodomized her on three occasions when she was between 5 and 7.
“He was meaner the second time,” said Swindler, now 27. “He yelled a lot. He grabbed my hair harder than normal.” Afterward, she said, Father Lindner called her “dirty” and told her: “Bad things happen to little girls who open their mouths.”
Swindler and her father said that the priest molested the girl for the final time around Easter 1984. In separate interviews, they said Larry Lindner walked into the living room to find the priest playing with Tiffany while sexually aroused.
“I threw him out of my house,” Larry Lindner said. He urged his brother to seek treatment but did not report him to authorities.
“I trusted him,” Larry Lindner said. “I told him, ‘I’m not going to ruin your life or ruin your career. Just go get help.’ … I should have had him arrested right there. But he’s still my brother, and I did what I thought a brother should do.”
Larry Lindner said that until recently he was not aware of Swindler’s allegations that the priest had sodomized her.
Swindler said the abuse ceased when she was 8 but never stopped haunting her. She said she became sexually active at 11 and endured three broken marriages. Recently, she began undergoing therapy for depression.
“I hate him,” Swindler said of her uncle. “I hate the way he ruined my life.”
Larry Lindner retired from the LAPD in 1986, and the family moved to Oregon. In January 1992, his wife found Tiffany crying on the floor of their home after suffering flashbacks about the priest.
Larry Lindner said his daughter’s anguish made him so angry that he called Jesuit superiors to report his brother’s history of alleged sexual misconduct. Loyola’s then-principal, Father Eugene Growney, posted a memo on Feb. 3, 1992, informing the high school faculty and staff that Jerold Lindner had been placed on leave “for reasons internal to the Society of Jesus.”
The Jesuits sent Lindner to St. Luke Institute in Maryland, a psychiatric center where Catholic clergymen accused of sexual abuse are evaluated and treated. Before going, Lindner solicited letters of support from family members. His mother and two sisters submitted five letters on his behalf to Jesuit superiors.
Isabelle Linder wrote that Larry Lindner could not be believed. “Father, they are all lies!” she said.
Kathy McEntire also supported Father Lindner. “I have been informed that one of the lies being made against my brother is that he also molested me when I was in fourth or fifth grade,” she wrote. “I can assure you that in no way is this true.”
Both women said in separate interviews that they knowingly provided false information in the letters. The mother said she was trying to help her son. McEntire said she wrote her letters under duress. “Mom said if all of us did not come forward … his career would be destroyed and he would get kicked out of the church,” she said.
A confidential St. Luke report that cleared the way for Lindner to return to teaching made several references to the family letters. The report said an examination of Lindner, who told the St. Luke staff that he had never abused anyone, found no sexual disorders or “significant risk factors.”
“We see no reason why Father Lindner should not return to his usual activities,” the report said. The psychiatrists at St. Luke closed with a recommendation that Lindner go on a low-fat diet.
Richard Sipe — a former Benedictine monk and expert on sexuality in the clergy who has served as a St. Luke board member — reviewed the eight-page report at The Times’ request. He described it as “deficient and biased,” and said: “They did not provide any kind of sexual history. They did not do any investigation. They simply took his word.”
The president of St. Luke, Father Stephen J. Rossetti, said he could not comment on Lindner’s case but that in general it is difficult to determine through psychological evaluation if someone is a molester. “We are doing a clinical evaluation based on the information we have, and it’s not easy work,” he said.
Lindner returned to Loyola High in fall 1992. He said in his deposition that Jesuit superiors and Loyola administrators never discussed his brother’s accusations with him. He resumed his teaching duties and continued to receive plaudits.
“I cannot begin to thank you enough for your phenomenal generosity and commitment,” Father Walsh wrote on Nov. 8, 1992, weeks after Lindner’s return.
Students dedicated the 1993 yearbook to Lindner, lauding him as “one of the most active and popular teachers at Loyola.”
From 1992 through 1995, he escorted Loyola students on three summer trips to Europe. In late 1996, he boasted in letters to friends that 33 Loyola students had signed up for the 1997 European tour, making it the largest ever.
Lindner later wrote to say that “an unspecified illness” forced him to miss the 1997 trip because foreign travel was “not medically recommended.” In fact, he was barred from the trip because new allegations of sexual abuse had surfaced.
The Lynch brothers, breaking their silence after two decades, filed their suit against the Society of Jesus in April 1997.
Their lawyer, Michael D. Meadows, said he had to pressure the Jesuits to remove Lindner from the classroom. “There was still the same reflexive response of circle the wagons, protect the priest and the institution, and ignore the interests of the kids,” he said.
Lindner was relieved of his teaching duties in late May 1997 and sent back to St. Luke that September. He spent nearly nine months there, receiving medical and psychological treatment for depression and low self-esteem brought on by “the trauma of these allegations,” a Jesuit superior said in a deposition.
In May 1998, Lindner returned to the Jesuit residence at Loyola on condition that he no longer teach.
In the deposition, he said he agreed to the restriction to spare the school a controversy. “It could possibly put the school in a bad light with publicity if this went public,” he said.
Lindner continued to serve with the Boy Scouts at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, near Loyola, records show. Father Dennis P. O’Neil, then pastor of the church, said he was never told about Lindner’s past. “I never heard a thing,” said O’Neil, now auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of San Bernardino.
In October 1998, the Society of Jesus reached a confidential settlement with the Lynch brothers. Documents show that the Jesuits paid $625,000. Among the conditions was a prohibition against publicizing the allegations. “There was no admission to anything, no attempt to apologize,” Will Lynch said. “The Jesuits’ attitude was, ‘Let’s settle this out.’ The only issue was how much.”
At Christmas 1999, Lindner visited his family in Arizona. His younger sister, McEntire, said she confronted him about the pain he had inflicted on his victims, herself included.
According to McEntire, Lindner acknowledged that he “may have crossed the line” in his conduct with one niece and with one nephew. He expressed no regret and offered no apologies, she said.
Freedom to Travel
Since he stopped teaching at Loyola, Lindner has enjoyed the freedom to travel and work as a language tutor with few restrictions. He earned a master’s degree in linguistics at San Jose State and spent several months in Paris immersing himself in French culture. He moved to the Jesuit residence in Culver City last year, teaching English to seminarians from developing countries.
In the fall of 2001, Lindner began teaching English as a second language at Cal State Dominguez Hills. The director of the program, Tony Costanzo, said the Jesuits never informed him of Lindner’s background. “Had I known that, I definitely would not have hired him,” he said.
Lindner was transferred to Sacred Heart in Los Gatos this August. At least five registered sex offenders have resided at the Jesuit center in recent years, including a priest and brother who were recently convicted of sexually abusing two mentally retarded men. In September, the Jesuits agreed to a settlement that will pay the two victims $7.5 million each.
The center is within walking distance of downtown Los Gatos, an upscale village in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Last month, anonymously posted fliers bearing a photo of Lindner appeared in the shopping district. “Warning,” they said. “Pedophile in our community.
Lindner is living under a set of written restrictions laid down by the order, said Smolich, the Jesuit provincial superior. He said Lindner is barred from teaching or ministering to children and cannot say Mass or hear confession in church.
“The world has changed in the last nine months,” Smolich said. “For Jerry’s sake and the public’s sake, we can’t be too careful.”
Man acquitted of beating of priest he said sexually abused him
SAN JOSE, Calif. (WLS) – William Lynch, the California man who admitted he pummeled a priest who he said abused him as a boy, has been found not guilty of felony assault and elder abuse charges.
The jury of nine men and three women could not reach a verdict on a lesser charge of misdemeanor assault for the 2010 attack at a retirement home.
The jury began deliberations late Monday after hearing impassioned closing arguments from both sides.
The defense’s strategy had long been to prove to the jury that the wrong man was on trial. However, prosecutor Vicki Gemetti urged jurors to focus on the assault.
“Two wrongs don’t make a right,” she said in her closing arguments on Monday.
Lynch’s crusade for his own form of personal justice against the priest, Jerry Lindner, drew supporters to the courthouse in San Jose, Calif., during his nearly three-week trial. They carried signs that read “stop clergy sex abuse” and condemned the “pedophile playground” retirement community that is home to Lindner, who has had previous allegations against him.
Lynch testified last Friday that he visited Lindner with the intention of having the aging Jesuit sign a confession, but when the priest “looked up and leered” at Lynch in the same manner he did more than 35 years ago when he sexually abused him, Lynch said he ordered the priest to take off his glasses and hit him.
Lynch passed up a plea deal of one year in jail and instead chose to go to trial to publicly shame the man who he said haunted his memories for 35 years.
On a family camping trip 35 years ago, Lynch said he was brutally raped at age 7 by Lindner and was then forced to perform sex acts on his 4-year-old brother.
The boys kept their painful secret for years, long past the six-year statute of limitations California had in place at the time of the alleged crimes.
Lynch got his wish to see the priest in court, even if the tables were turned. Lindner was forced to testify, but a short time later the Jesuit invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The judge struck his testimony from the record.
During his short time on the stand, Lindner, now 67, told the court he remembered Lynch, but only as the man who attacked him at a Los Gatos, Calif., Jesuit retirement community where the priest has resided since 2001.
Lindner denied molesting Lynch and his younger brother on a camping trip to the Santa Cruz Mountains in 1974.
Lynch’s attorney declared the priest had perjured himself and even prosecutor Vicki Gemetti said in her opening statement that she expected Lindner to lie on the stand or say he didn’t remember certain events.
“The evidence will show [Lindner] molested the defendant all those years ago,” she said, but urged the jury to focus on Lynch’s attack.
Lynch’s case of alleged vigilante justice has attracted support from around the world and has shed light on a justice system many view as flawed.
Lynch and his brother were awarded $625,000 after filing a civil suit against Lindner in 1997. The priest was removed from active ministry and was moved to the Jesuit retirement community in 2001.
Lindner was named in two other abuse lawsuits, according to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
ABC Radio News Contributed To This Report
8 Ugly Sins of the Catholic Church
If pedophile payouts weren’t enough to convince you the Catholic leadership is often anything but moral, take a look at some of their other sins.
Did the Catholic Bishops wince last week when their leader, anti-contraception Cardinal Timothy Dolan, was exposed for paying pedophiles to disappear? One can only hope. After all, these are men who claim to speak for God. They have direct access to the White House, where they regularly weigh in on issues ranging from military policy to bioethics, and they expect us all to listen – not because of relevant expertise or elected standing, but because of their moral authority.
If pedophile payouts weren’t enough to convince you that this “moral” authority is often anything but moral, take a look at some of their other sins against compassion and basic decency.
1. Excommunicating doctors and nuns for saving lives. In 2009, a 27-year-old mom, pregnant with her fifth child, was rushed to a Phoenix hospital, St. Josephs, where her doctors said she would almost certainly die unless her pregnancy was aborted immediately. The nun in charge approved the emergency procedure, and the woman survived. The local bishop promptly excommunicated the nun. “There are some situations where the mother may in fact die along with her child. But — and this is the Catholic perspective — you can’t do evil to bring about good. The end does not justify the means,” said Rev. John Ehrich, the medical ethics director for the Diocese of Phoenix.
How far are the Church authorities willing to take this “moral” logic? In Brazil last year, with Vatican backing, the Church excommunicated a mother and doctor for saving the life of a 9-year-old rape victim who was pregnant with twins. (At four months pregnant, the girl weighed 80 pounds.) Cardinal Giovanni Batista Re, who heads the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, said “life must always be protected.” Perhaps Mr. Batista Re can explain the Vatican’s 1,500-year tradition of “just war.”
2. Protecting even non-Catholic sex-offenders against child victims. As we have seen, the moral priorities of the bishops are laid naked when they decide who to excommunicate and who not. The doctor and the mother of the pregnant 9-year-old got the boot for approving an abortion, but not the stepfather who had sexually assaulted the child, probably over a period of years. A similar contrast can be seen between the case of the Phoenix nun and hundreds of pedophile priests who were allowed to remain Catholic even after they finally were identified and removed from the Church payrolls.
It gets worse. In New York, a bill that would give child molestation victims more time to file charges has been blocked seven times by the Catholic hierarchy led by none other than Cardinal Dolan. Why? “We feel this is terribly unjust, we feel it singles out the church, and it would be devastating for the life of the church.” In other words, regardless of whether the abuse really happened or what the consequences were for victims, what matters is how much additional lawsuits might cost the Church. Isn’t that the ends justifying the means?
3. Using churches to organize gay haters. When the Washington State legislature approved marriage equality this spring, fundamentalist Christians across the state organized to reverse the legislation. Even though three quarters of American Catholics think that gay marriage or civil unions should be legal, Archbishop Peter Sartain jumped to the front of the pack, decreeing that Western Washington parishes under his “moral authority” should gather signatures for an anti-equality initiative. To their credit, a number of priests refused, and a group called Catholics for Marriage Equality is raising money for ads. In contrast to the Catholic League, which has made the degrading argument that sex between priests and adolescent boys is consensual homosexuality, lay Catholics appear to know the difference.
4. Lying about contraceptives to poor Africans. Of all the mortal sins committed by the men of the cloth, the most devastatingly lethal in the last 30 years has been the Catholic hierarchy’s outspoken opposition to condom use in Africa. In 2003, the president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family publicly lied about the efficacy of condoms in preventing both pregnancy and HIV: “The AIDS virus is roughly 450 times smaller than the spermatozoon. The spermatozoon can easily pass through the ‘net’ that is formed by the condom.” The archbishop of Nairobi told people that condoms were spreading HIV. Some priests told parishioners that condoms were impregnated with the virus.
The motivation for such flagrant falsehoods? The Church has practiced competitive pro-natalism for centuries, but lately anti-contraceptive edicts have been ignored by most educated European and American Catholics, and Italy has the second lowest birthrate in the Western World, at 1.3 per woman. The bishops see this as a “catastrophe” and are looking to Africa as “a reservoir of life for the Church.” They wrap their opposition to contraception in lofty moral language such as that offered by Pope John Paul II: It seems profoundly damaging to the dignity of the human being, and for this reason morally illicit, to support a prevention of AIDS that is based on a recourse to means and remedies that violate an authentically human sense of sexuality. As late as 2009, John Paul’s successor, Benedict, continued to tell poor African Catholics that condoms were “wrong” and even suggested that they were making the epidemic worse. With god-knows –how-many lives lost and children orphaned, he finally softened his stance in 2010.
5. Obstructing patient access to accurate information and services in secular hospitals. In rural Arizona near the Mexican border, women delivering babies by cesarean section were refused tubal ligations because their independent hospital was negotiating a merger with a healthcare network run by Catholics. Worse, when a woman arrived at the same hospital in the middle of a miscarriage and need a surgical abortion to complete the process, she was forced to travel by ambulance to Tucson, 80 miles away, risking hemorrhage on the way. All over the U.S. secular and Catholic-run health systems are merging, and patients are quietly losing the right to make medical decisions based on the best scientific information available and the dictates of their own conscience.
Even when the Catholic-owned hospital is a small part of the merger, administrators insist that Catholic directives apply to the system as a whole. These directives prohibit not only abortions but also contraceptives, vasectomies and tubal ligations, some kinds of fertility treatment, and compliance with end-of-life patient directives. Ectopic pregnancies cannot be handled in keeping with the medical standard of care. As biotechnologies and treatments relevant to the beginning and end of life advance, we can expect the list to grow longer. Patients cannot trust that they will be told other options are available elsewhere.
One of the bitter ironies here is that even wholly “Catholic” hospitals and charities are staffed primarily by non-Catholics and largely provide services to people of other faiths or of none, paid for with tax dollars. In healthcare much of the money flows from Medicare and Medicaid. In 2010, non-medical affiliates of Catholic Charities received 62 percent of annual revenue from the taxpayers – nearly $2.9 billion. Only 3 percent came from church donations, with the remainder coming from investments, program fees, community donations and in-kind contributions. And yet all of those dollars get directed according to the dictates of bishop conscience rather than individual conscience.
6. Slapping down nuns. Catholic charities and hospitals are at some competitive advantage in part because of hard-working nuns, many of whom have skills and responsibilities that exceed their compensation. The bishops are the Catholic Church’s 1 percent; the nuns are managers and service workers –and many have taken the kind of poverty vows that America’s 1 percent is trying to impose on the rest. Because many nuns live in the real world, where suffering and morality are complex, they often make care-based decisions and take nuanced positions on moral questions that the Council of Bishops resolves by appealing to dogma and authority.
In April, the Vatican decided to remind the nuns who’s on top. Rome issued an 8-page assessment accusing the Leadership Conference of Women Religious of disagreeing with the bishops and of “radical feminism.” It appears that their labors on behalf of poor, vulnerable people had distracted them from a more Christian priority: controlling other people’s sex lives—oh, and standing up against the ordination of women. The Archbishop assigned by the Vatican to rein in unruly American nuns is none other than Peter Sartain of Seattle, the same moral authority who has declared a holy crusade against gay marriage.
7. Bullying girl scouts. Unlike the Boy Scouts, who recently earned media and public attention by booting out a gay den-mother, the Girl Scouts have been stubbornly inclusive and focused on preparing girls for leadership. For example, last year a Colorado troop included a trans-gender 7-year-old. That’s a problem for the Bishops, and since up to a quarter of American Girl Scouts are Catholic kids with troops housed in churches, they see it as their problem. To make matters worse, the American Girl Scouts refused to leave their international umbrella, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, which has stated that young women “need an environment where they can freely and openly discuss issues of sex and sexuality.” The World Association would appear to believe the data that girls who can’t manage their sexuality and fertility are more likely to end up in poverty than leadership positions.
Then again, maybe that’s what the church hierarchy is after. According to an article last month at the Huffington Post, “The new inquiry will be conducted by the bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. It will look into the Scouts’ ‘possible problematic relationships with other organizations’ and various ‘problematic’ program materials, according to a letter sent by the committee chairman, Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne, Ind., to his fellow bishops.” We’re talking about an organization run by women for girls facing an all-male inquisition. In today’s Catholic church, leadership still requires a y chromosome.
8. Purging popular and scholarly interfaith bridge builders. Lest some reader assert that the sins of the Bishops are all a consequence of sexual repression – some contorted pursuit of sexual purity that degrades both sex and compassion—it is important to note that the current cohort of Church authorities are as obsessed with doctrinal purity as sexual purity. It would take me many paragraphs to describe their tireless pursuit of purity as well as retired Anglican bishop, John Shelby Spong, does in one:
Hans Kung, probably the best read theologian of the 20th century, was removed from his position as a Catholic theologian at Tubingen because his mind could not be twisted into the medieval concepts required by his church. This action was carried out by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who at that time under Pope John Paul II held the office that in another time gave us the Inquisition. Matthew Fox, one of the most popular retreat and meditation leaders and an environmental activist, was then silenced by the same Cardinal Ratzinger. Professor Charles Curran, one of America’s best known ethicists, was removed from his tenured professorship at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., also by the same Cardinal Ratzinger. Father Leonardo Boff, the best known Latin American liberation theologian, was forced to renounce his ordination in order to continue his work for justice among the poor of Latin America by the same Cardinal Ratzinger. Next we learn that the Vatican, now headed by Cardinal Ratzinger under his new name Pope Benedict XVI, has ordered the removal of a book from all Catholic schools and universities written by a popular female theologian at Fordham University, Sister Elizabeth A. Johnson. Now the nuns are to be investigated. Conformity trumps truth in every direction.
The Catholic tradition defines deadly or “cardinal” sins as those from which all other sins derive. In addition to lust, gluttony, wrath, sloth and envy, the traditional seven include pride and greed, which, to my mind, drive much of the appalling behavior in this list. If an attempt to assert autocratic control over the spiritual and physical lives of lay people isn’t pride, I don’t know what is. And if a willingness to silence child victims to protect church assets isn’t greed, I don’t know what greed is. The BBC’s revelation last month of money laundering in the Vatican Bank pales by comparison.
To me, ultimately, the sins of the Catholic bishops are “deadly sins” because they kill people, whether pregnant mothers or depressed gay teens or African families, or simply desperate people who are forced into greater desperation by “moral” priorities that distract from real questions of well-being and harm.
What the Bishops will have to account for when they meet their maker, none of us can say. For some American Catholics, the process of holding them to account has already started. The Women Religious have pushed back against the condescending “assessment” issued by the Vatican. Small groups of lay Catholics have rallied to their support. Picketers meet monthly outside Sartain’s cathedral to protest his stance against equality. The Franciscan brothers issued a statement of solidarity with the nuns, many of whom have remained solidly focused on economic justice instead of sexual transgressions.
Given the arrogant cruelty of Church leaders, criticism to date has been remarkably tempered. As the Bishops flash their moral authority in the White House and media and pulpit, clothed in white robes and draped in crimson, they should be glad they aren’t eyeball to eyeball with Jesus himself. As the writer of Matthew tells it, he called out the corrupt religious leaders of his day in no uncertain terms: Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.
Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and writer in Seattle, Washington and the founder of Wisdom Commons. She is the author of “Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light” and “Deas and Other Imaginings.” Her articles can be found at Awaypoint.Wordpress.com.
Galway priest silenced by Vatican is set to return to public ministry
June 14, 2012 – 7:30am
By Bernie Ní Fhlatharta
A Galway Redemptorist priest who was silenced by the Vatican because of his criticisms of the Church in relation to their response to clerical sex abuse in Ireland will be returning to public ministry next week.
Fr Tony Flannery, who is based in the Redemptorist Monastery in Esker, will be welcomed back by his congregation and colleagues there on Tuesday with the start of the Order’s annual Novena.
Fr Flannery, along with two Redemptorist colleagues, Fr Brendan O’Rourke and Fr Patrick O’Keeffe, will be preaching at the Novena, which focuses on the virtues of living a good Christian life.
The Attymon native publicly supported Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s call in the Dáil for the Catholic Church to apologise for its handling of clerical sex abuse. Fr Flannery was a regular contributor to the Redemptorist magazine Reality, in which he aired his views and support of the Taoiseach.
Just before Easter, Fr Flannery was ordered to take time off for spiritual reflection, which he did. Part of that dictat was that he stop writing for Reality, after the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith objected to some things he had written in various articles and on the Order’s website.
Following almost two months away from his ministry, negotiations with his Redemptorist superiors have led to his return.
This week, Fr Flannery told the Connacht Tribune that he was looking forward to returning to public ministry.
“I haven’t ministered since Easter but I will be returning next Tuesday on the first day of the Novena and I will be preaching at that every third day, alternating with my colleagues,” he said.
Archbishop Timothy Dolan Offered $20,000 To Priests Suspected Of Child Abuse To Make Them Leave The Priesthood
Archbishop Timothy Dolan Offered $20,000 To Priests
Suspected Of Child Abuse To Make Them Leave The Priesthood
Back when he was Archbishop of Milwaukee, Timothy Dolan offered priests suspected of misconduct with children payments of $20,000 to induce them to leave the priesthood, according to the New York Times.
The news came out of bankruptcy filings, and is being publicized by a group representing the interests of victims of child abuse. From the report:
A spokesman for the archdiocese confirmed on Wednesday that payments of as much as $20,000 were made to “a handful” of accused priests “as a motivation” not to contest being defrocked. The process, known as “laicization,” is a formal church juridical procedure that requires Vatican approval, and can take far longer if the priest objects.
“It was a way to provide an incentive to go the voluntary route and make it happen quickly, and ultimately cost less,” said Jerry Topczewski, the spokesman for the archdiocese. “Their cooperation made the process a lot more expeditious.”
This is brutal news for Dolan, who was previously praised very highly for his handling of abuse cases in Milwaukee after the reign of the notorious Archbishop Weakland, who stole from church coffers to pay for the lifestyle of his male lover.
Victims’ groups like Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) will counter that these were corrupt payoffs, or even “bonuses” given to suspected rapists.
The Archdiocese and Dolan will argue that this was a small price to pay. If these priests did not accept this payment they would likely remain on the diocesan payroll for much longer during the long process of defrocking them.
Cardinal Dolan has not offered comment to the press.