Category Archives: Rev James J Bernnan

What the Cardinal Knew, Or How to Hoover A Pedophile


from the link: http://www.priestabusetrial.com/2012/04/what-cardinal-knew.html

What the Cardinal Knew, Or How to Hoover A Pedophile By Ralph Cipriano

Monday, April 23, 2012

As the religion reporter at The Philadelphia Inquirer in the early 1990s, my assignment was to profile Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua.

At the time, I was negotiating with the cardinal’s PR guys for a face-to-face interview with Bevilacqua. The cardinal’s men offered some suggestions. If I wanted to do a story about the cardinal, I should see him in action first. They wanted me to accompany the cardinal on one of his famous, carefully choreographed “parish visits.”

These were glorified photo ops where Bevilacqua would visit a local parish, say Mass, and then mug for the cameras. It was all part of the cardinal’s public image as an energetic, charismatic shepherd out among his adoring flock.  The cardinal’s PR guys also suggested several priests in the archdiocese who would be good to interview about the cardinal, boosters who would say positive things about what a wonderful job the cardinal was doing to re-energize the archdiocese.

It took months for the cardinal’s PR people to settle on just the right parish, and just the right pastor, for the cardinal’s parish visit, which would be the subject of photos for a big Sunday spread in the Inquirer profiling the new archbishop.

There were some ground rules for my participation in the parish visit. One, I could not travel with the cardinal; I would have to follow in the car behind the cardinal’s chauffeur-driven Ford Crown Victoria. Two, I could not speak to the cardinal unless he addressed me first. And last, if he did deign to speak to me, I had to refer to him as His Eminence. Not Cardinal, not Cardinal Bevilacqua, but His Eminence.

The parish visit went off as scheduled. The parish we visited was Our Mother of Sorrows, an ethnic Slavak church in Bridgeport, Montgomery County. The pastor of the parish was Father Stanley M. Gana.

The photos and story ran in the Feb. 7, 1993 Inquirer, including a photo of the cardinal conferring with Gana. The caption: “The Rev. Stanley Gana outlines the day’s visits to Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua at Our Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church. The cardinal has made all-day pastoral visits to 185 parishes. His workaholic schedule has given him a strong presence in the community at large.”

Here’s what the cardinal’s PR people wanted me to see:

At Our Mother of Sorrows, after Saturday night Mass, more than 250 people were waiting to meet him. He stood near the free-throw line on a basketball court in the basement.

Women bowed and kissed his ring; men shook his hand. Whenever a child came to see him, the cardinal got down on one knee.

It went on for an hour, with no break. “I’m not tired, the cardinal said. “This gives you adrenaline.”

He held one woman’s face in his hands as he talked to her in low, soothing tones. Teresa Bokoski, 61, was all smiles when she left.

“He’s wonderful; I loved him,” said Bokoski, who told the cardinal how she suffered from a panic disorder. “He just prayed over me. His prayer was just wonderful, and he said he would continue to pray for me. And I was so touched. And he asked me to pray for him.”

Imagine my surprise when I read the 2005 grand jury report, and saw Father Gana described as the priest who had “sexually abused countless boys in a succession of Philadelphia Archdiocese parishes. He was known to kiss, fondle, anally  sodomize, and impose oral sex on his victims. He took advantage of altar boys, their trusting families, and vulnerable teenagers with emotional problems. He brought groups of adolescent male parishioners on overnights and would rotate them through his bed. He collected nude pornographic photos of his victims. He molested boys on a farm, in vacation houses, in the church rectory. Some minors he abused for years.”

Maybe the archdiocese or the new cardinal wasn’t aware of Gana’s reputation? Nope, here what that same grand jury report had to say about that subject:

The Archdiocese had been hearing allegations about Fr. Gana’s sexual misconduct since the early 1970s. A seminarian had described Fr. Gana to Msgrs. Lynn and Molloy as “like a sugar daddy, always supplying money and vacations and use of a beach house.” A parish priest in Media had expressed concern to the Archdiocese about Father Gana’s inviting other seminarians to his rectory at Our Mother of Sorrows in Bridgeport, where he had become pastor in 1986.

During the archdiocese sex abuse trial, it was revealed that Gana’s own brother had approached the late Cardinal John Krol and told him what Gana was doing with those boys that he kept on the farm.

The seminarian referred to in the Grand Jury report was Robert D. Karpinski, who showed up in court last week to testify about Gana’s abuse. Here’s what the grand jury report had to say about Karpinski, identified in the report as “Tim:”

The Archdiocese responds to a report of abuse by investigating the victim.

Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua and other top Archdiocese managers first learned of Fr. Gana’s abuse of Tim in November 1991, when the victim was in his eighth and final year of seminary. Tim had not reported Fr. Gana’s criminal acts because his spiritual director at the seminary, Fr. Thomas Mullin, had urged him to wait until after his ordination so that he would not jeopardize his chances of being made a priest.


The seminary rector, Msgr. Daniel A. Murrya, however, learned of Tim’s victimization and notified Archdiocese managers. He informed them, too, that Tim had told other seminarians about Fr. Gana’s abuses, and that gossip about Fr. Gana was spreading among the parishes. Archdiocese managers acted quickly — but not against Father Gana.


In December 1991, the Archdiocese made Tim the target of a full-scale ‘investigation’ into second-and-third hand rumors of homosexual contacts with another seminarian. The probe, Archdiocese managers said, would decide whether Tim would be allowed to continue at seminary and on to ordination.


Cardinal Bevilacqua himself initiated the inquiry, choosing to ignore the child-molestation charges against one of his priests. Archdiocese managers did not even speak to Fr. Gana for another six months. The investigation of Tim, meanwhile, was conducted by the third highest official of the Archdiocese, Assistant Vicar for Administration James Molloy, and his new aide, Msgr. William Lynn — the same Lynn who had served as Tim’s seminary dean.


The true purpose of this investigation, the Grand Jury finds, was not to get at the truth about Tim, but to suppress the truth about Fr. Gana by controlling and silencing the seminarian. Archdiocese managers barred Tim from the seminary and his deaconite assignment. Monsignor Murray, the rector, threatened his friends with dismissal if they associated with him. Those who came to his defense were themselves punished.

According Archdiocese records, Msgr. Murray told Msgrs. Molloy and Lynn that Tim was “damaged goods,” that he was “fragile and sensitive.” Monsignor Murray warned Archdiocese managers that the seminarian “might sue the diocese for pedophilia.'”

So Archdiocese officials knew all about Father Gana, and they were brazen enough to think that the truth would never come out. They could not foresee the earthquake set off by the Boston sex abuse scandal of 2002, or the grand jury that would be empaneled in Philadelphia shortly thereafter to investigate them. Or the subpoenas that would force open the archdiocese’s secret archive files. So they were brazen enough to pose the cardinal with Father Gana at a photo op that they knew would wind up in the Sunday edition of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

I also mentioned some parish priests that the cardinal’s PR men suggested I interview. One of them was Father David Sicoli, who, at the time, was carrying out the cardinal’s wishes by consolidating parishes in North Philadelphia.  In a story that ran March 25, 1993, I quoted Father Sicoli as one of the pastors on a planning committee in North Philadelphia that was recommending that 15 parishes and four parish schools be closed or merged.

It’s a difficult assignment to accept a new job as pastor, and then convince everybody in the parish that it’s time to close the doors. But Father Sicoli was up to the task. Here’s what the story said:

The Rev. David Sicoli, pastor of Our Lady of the Holy Souls, said that he and his parishioners viewed the merger as necessary so that the church could spend less on insurance, building maintenance and salaries and more on programs.


“Nobody is imposing this on us. We recommended it,” said Father Sicoli, who sat on the committee along with six elected representatives from his parish, as well as St. Stephen’s and Holy Child.

“We looked at our options and recommended that a single parish be established from the three, with a primary site at Holy and a secondary site here at Our Lady,” he said.


He said his parishioners — 340 families in a church built for 2,000 — “are going to be sad. It’s similar to a death in the family. But our parishioners here have been so much a part of the process and they’re OK with what’s going to happen.”

Here’s what the 2005 grand jury report had to say about Father Sicoli:

Another archdiocesan priest, Fr. David Sicoli, sexually abused a succession of boys, buying them computers, taking them on trips to Africa and Disney World, and giving them high-paying jobs in the church youth group, and inviting them to live with him in the rectory. Victims came forward to tell their stories, preserved in the secret archdiocesan records.


“Other [victims] now grown, told the grand jury that Fr. Sicoli sexually abused them and treated them as if they were his girlfriends,” the grand jury report said. “Despite reports in Fr. Sicoli’s Secret Archives file of inappropriate relationships with these four victims and five other boys, Cardinal Bevilacqua appointed the priest to four pastorates between 1990 and 1999,” the report said.


The results of the cardinal’s decisions were predictable. “At each one he [Fr. Sicoli] seized on a favorite boy, or a succession of favorites, on whom he showered attention, money and trips,” the report said. “Three of these boys lived with Fr. Scioli in the rectories with the knowledge of Msgr. Lynn,” the report said. The priest was finally removed in 2004, after a review board found “multiple substantiated” allegations involving a total of 11 minors between 1977 and 2002.

Why would Cardinal Bevilacqua knowingly consort with two known pedophile priests, and indeed allow his Archdiocese PR machine to parade the two abusers out in public with him? Maybe because the cardinal owned these guys, in the tradition of J. Edgar Hoover. Both Sicoli and Gana knew that their crimes were documented in the archdiocese’s secret archives, and that they served at the whim of the archbishop, who, at the scrawl of a pen, could send them packing. So when it came to Sicoli and Gana, the cardinal had them “Hoovered,” he had their unquestioned loyalty.

A.W. Richard Sipe is a former Benedictine monk and priest who has researched the sexuality of priests and bishops. On his website, richardsipe.com, he cites two reasons for the blindness of the bishops when it came to the sexual sins of their fellow priests: narcissism, and the skeletons in the bishops’ own closets:

More broadly, clerical culture produces in many men an acquired situational narcissism, characterized by a sense of entitlement, superiority, lack of empathy, impaired moral judgment and self-centeredness. Identification with and incorporation into a powerful and godly institution can confer a sense of grandiosity and moral justification for one’s personal behavior. These qualities favor a man’s promotion within the clerical system.

On his website, Sipe classifies the sexual preferences of American bishops, and he lists Bevilacqua as a heterosexual.

There is evidence to back that up in court records. In 1995, a veteran employee of the Philadelphia archdiocese filed a workers’ compensation claim against the church. In the claim, the employee, a devout Catholic who worked in close contact with the cardinal, alleged that he had suffered “serious mental and physical distress” and was no longer able to work as a result of the cardinal’s “rude and abusive treatment.” In the claim, the employee who was fired after he suffered a heart attack, charged that much of his stress was caused by the presence of women who rode in the cardinal’s limo and stayed overnight at the cardinal’s mansion. Records showed the archdiocese settled the claim by paying the former employee $87,500.

The employee, the claim said, “was also severely troubled the cardinal’s frequent habit of meeting women on airplanes and inviting these women to spend time at the cardinal’s mansion … [the employee] was troubled by the fact that Cardinal Bevilacqua would frequently ride with women in the back of the cardinal’s vehicle. Cardinal Krol had never allowed women to ride in the back of a vehicle with him.”

The employee also “was severely troubled by one woman who would follow Cardinal Bevilacqua to every function no matter if it was a local event or something in Downingtown, or Brooklyn, N.Y. The woman “would have closed-door meetings with Cardinal Bevilacqua after every function. [The employee] was troubled to see Cardinal Bevilacqua meeting with [the woman] on the property at night and also meeting with [the woman] on the St. Joseph’s College campus early in the morning.”

The employee said he frequently saw the cardinal strolling with “his arm around” the woman, massaging her back and showing her “undue affection.” When the employee talked about about the woman to other members of the church hierarchy, the claim said, “various monsignors and bishops would jokingly refer to [the woman] as Fatal Attraction and would jokingly ask [the employee] if Fatal Attraction had shown up at the cardinal’s latest destination.”

The woman, who drove a car with the license plate “1AB-FAN,” showed up for three years at every appearance of the cardinal. The relationship, according to the claim, came to an end when the cardinal told the employee that the phone number of the cardinal’s residence had been changed, and he was forbidden to give out the new phone number to anybody.

About This Blog

 The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. William J. Lynn, Edward V. Avery and James Brennan is an important case. Everybody can’t be in the courtroom, so The Beasley Firm asked veteran reporter Ralph Cipriano to blog the trial. He is one of 30 journalists accredited by the Philadelphia district attorney’s office to cover the case, unfolding daily in Courtroom 304 of the Criminal Justice Center.
 We pledge to be an independent voice. That means we will chase this story where ever it goes, and not follow any predetermined plot line. And because we are intimately aware of the Constitutional rights and protections afforded to all, including the accused, we are not going to censor our accounts.
What happens in Courtroom 304 is often raw, upsetting and obscene. We are not going to clean it up, and we are going to play it straight down the middle. That means we are going to identify all the evidence and the people involved, for both the prosecution and the defense. It’s the only fair way to do it, and a position  unique to this blog. That’s why both defenders and critics of the Catholic Church, as well as victims’ advocates, say our site is the only voice in the media that’s telling it like it is at the archdiocese sex abuse trial.

About the Author

 Ralph Cipriano was the first reporter to take a critical look at the Catholic archdiocese of Philadelphia. Writing in the early 1990s as the religion reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer, and subsequently, as a freelancer for National Catholic Reporter, Cipriano examined secrecy and lavish spending under the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. He also explored the findings of the grand jury that investigated sex abuse in the archdiocese.

His work has been recognized by the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada, which includes The Catholic Standard & Times, the official newspaper of the archdiocese of Philadelphia. In 1999, the Catholic Press Association awarded a First Place for Investigative Reporting for Lavish Spending in Archdiocese Skips Inner City, published June 19, 1998 in National Catholic Reporter. In 2006, the Catholic Press Association awarded a First Place for Best News Writing for a national event for Grand Jury Findings, published on Oct. 7, 2005 under the headline: “Philadelphia cardinals ‘excused and enabled abuse, covered up crimes.’ ”


Cipriano is the author of Courtroom Cowboy, The Life of Legal Trailblazer Jim Beasley, who was Cipriano’s lawyer in a historic libel case against The Philadelphia Inquirer over the veracity of his coverage of the archdiocese, a battle recounted in Chapter 21 of the book. His most recent book is The Hit Man, A True Story of Murder, Redemption and the Melrose Diner, about the life and crimes of former Mafia hit man John Veasey, also available on Kindle.

 

 

Bishop of W.Va. Catholic diocese accused of abuse


from the link: http://www.dailymail.com/News/201204180090

Wednesday April 18, 2012
Bishop of W.Va. Catholic diocese accused of abuse

A witness in a Philadelphia clergy sex abuse trial told jurors Wednesday his abuser told him more than 30 years ago Bishop Michael Bransfield had had sex with a boy. The witness said his abuser also sexually assaulted him at Bishop Michael Bransfield's New Jersey beach house.

 

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A witness in a clergy sex-abuse trial in Philadelphia testified that he was sexually assaulted in a home owned by West Virginia’s highest-ranking Catholic official, Bishop Michael Bransfield, and said he was told by his abuser that Bransfield had assaulted another boy.

The 48-year-old witness was on the stand Wednesday when he gave the testimony about Bransfield.

The man was testifying in a criminal trial against Monsignor William Lynn, who is accused of covering up sex abuse allegations for the Philadelphia Archdiocese.

Bransfield has not been charged with a crime.

The testimony came one day after news reports that prosecutors were having trouble getting Monsignor Kevin Quirk, Bransfield’s aide, to testify.

Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington said Tuesday that Quirk had agreed to testify in Philadelphia but had to notify Bransfield first. Then the process stalled.

The witness told the jury he saw Bransfield bring several boys to a farm owned by Stanley Gana, a former priest in the diocese, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The witness told the jury the alleged incident occurred at Gana’s Scranton, Pa., farm more than 30 years ago. He was building a flagstone wall when then Rev. Bransfield pulled up in a car with several teenage boys.

The man said Gana told him Bransfield was having sex with one of the boys.

The 68-year-old Bransfield, a Philadelphia native, was installed as the head of the West Virginia diocese in 2005, replacing Bishop Bernard Schmitt, who retired in 2003.

Bransfield came to this state from his position as the rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

Bryan Minor, spokesman for the diocese, said that Bransfield was not available Wednesday and that he had yet to speak with him about the allegations.

“The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston is learning of media reports originating from legal proceedings underway in Philadelphia, and Bishop Michael Bransfield’s name was brought up in court today,” Minor said in a statement.

“Until such time that the facts and issues surrounding this testimony are made fully known to the Diocese, we cannot comment at this time.”

The diocese on Tuesday called the trial a “circus” and said Philadelphia prosecutors were trying to smear people who have never been charged with a crime.

Monsignor Edward Sadie, rector of the Basilica of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Charleston, had not heard about the testimony concerning Bransfield Wednesday.

“I just find this beyond belief,” Sadie said. “I just hope and pray it’s not true.”

Sadie said Bransfield has been “very diligent” in keeping church officials and parishioners looking out for “deviant behavior” involving children at the church.

He said all church officials and the parishioners who work with children are taught what to look for and are made aware of how and where they should report abuse.

“We have a very strong policy,” Sadie said. “He’s been very diligent in pushing that policy.”

The witness told the jury Gana raped him for years and that Gana and Bransfield were close friends. He said Gana once sexually abused him during a visit to Bransfield’s New Jersey beach house.

Another witness testified that Bransfield had a lewd conversation with him.

Bransfield was ordained in 1971 by the late Cardinal John Krol. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Gana was ordained about the same time.

The testimony comes four weeks into the prosecution of Lynn, who is the first U.S. church official ever to be charged over the handling of abuse complaints. Lynn served as the secretary for clergy in Philadelphia from 1992 to 2004 and supervised more than 800 priests.

Prosecutors alleged that Lynn allowed dangerous priests to work with children in the parish to protect the church’s reputation.

The church also is accused of keeping secret files dating back to 1948 that allegedly show a long-standing conspiracy to protect priests and cast doubt on sex-abuse victims.

Lynn’s attorney maintained that Lynn’s job was to oversee the sex abuse complaints but that another man, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, who has since died, solely determined priest assignments and transfers.

If convicted, Lynn could serve 28 years in prison.

The other defendant in the trial is the Rev. James Brennan, who is accused of raping a 14-year-old boy in 1996.

Quirk’s testimony was sought because he served as a judge for the church’s in-house trial of Brennan in 2008. Prosecutors wanted him to testify about the accuracy of statements Brennan made during that trial.

Defrocked priest Edward Avery was the third defendant in the trial but pleaded guilty early on. Lynn and Brennan both pleaded not guilty.

Avery’s plea acknowledged that he was kept in the ministry despite an earlier complaint, for which he underwent therapy. He sexually assaulted an altar boy seven years later, he said.

Common Pleas Judge Teresa Sarmina agreed to take up the matter with court officials in Wheeling.

Bransfield has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a master’s in divinity from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Pennsylvania. He served as assistant pastor at St. Albert the Great Parish in Huntingdon Valley, Pa., from 1971 to 1973. He received a master of philosophy degree from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., in 1973.

He served as a teacher, chaplain and then chairman of the religion department at a Catholic school in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

He currently serves as president of the Papal Foundation of Bala Cynwyd, Pa., and is the treasurer for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Bransfield also is a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.

An official with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, called on Bransfield to address the allegations Wednesday.

Judy Jones, Midwest director of SNAP, said that in light of the day’s testimony, Bransfield, not his lawyer or representative, should address the allegations immediately. She also wants him to agree to be questioned on the allegations.

“This isn’t rocket science,” Jones wrote. “For starters, there are three simple questions Bransfield should answer: Did or does he own a house with Philly’s Father Gana? If so, did he take boys there? And did he molest any of them?

“This notion that Bransfield somehow can’t respond to the testimony today in Philly, as his lawyer claims, is bogus.”

Jones also took issue with Bransfield’s apparent refusal to send Monsignor Quirk to Philadelphia.

“Msgr. Kevin M. Quirk has a sworn obedience to Bransfield,” Jones wrote. “Bransfield can order Quirk to appear in court. Bransfield should do that immediately. If he doesn’t, that will only add to the doubts about Bransfield.”

Founded in 1988, SNAP is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. It has more than 12,000 members.

Gerald T. Slevin, Update–Criminal Charges of Vatican Child Abuse Cover-Up


From the link: http://bilgrimage.blogspot.com/2012/04/gerald-t-slevin-update-criminal-charges.html

Gerald T. Slevin, Update–Criminal Charges of Vatican Child Abuse Cover-Up

Monday, April 16, 2012

Jerry Slevin continues to be vigilant about what’s happening with Catholic church officials and the child abuse cover-up, from a legal standpoint.  He has just sent another outstanding statement, this one about SNAP’s filing last week of new charges updating their previous filing of criminal charges against the Vatican with the International Criminal Court, for the Vatican’s internationally orchestrated cover-up of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy.
Here’s Jerry’s statement:
SNAP, the international victims advocacy network, filed on April 11, 2012 with the International Criminal Court (ICC) a 19 page letter (“New Charges”), plus supporting documentation, updating  SNAP’s  prior September  2011  original  charges ( “Original Charges”).
The New Charges, include additional evidence supporting SNAP’s allegations against Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) and three top Vatican subordinates, Cardinals Bertone, Levada and Sodano. SNAP alleges this Vatican clique for years has been, and still is, orchestrating a worldwide criminal cover-up by Catholic bishops of  priest child sexual abuse, including acts involving  systemic rape, sexual violence and torture, of hundreds of thousands of defenseless children. These collectively would constitute “crimes against  humanity” under the ICC treaty.
After SNAP filed the Original Charges, almost 500 additional victims from over 60 countries contacted SNAP with new allegations that SNAP has added to the Original Charges. The New Charges (accessible by clicking here) also contain brief and clear updates, with citation links, concerning other recent relevant developments since the Original Charges, including:
(1) September 2011: The issuance of the scathing and devasting report, “In Plain Sight”, by Amnesty International Ireland, concerning the recent  history of priest sexual abuse of children  in Ireland and of the Irish government’s “hands off” approach until recently  to the Catholic Church hierarchy’s and priests’ appalling misdeeds;
(2) October 2011: The indictment of Cardinal Justin Rigali’s protégé, Opus Dei Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, for failing to report a child pornographer priest, and the April 5, 2012 court decision denying Finn’s motion to dismiss the criminal charges;
(3) November and December 2011: The issuance in Ireland of the sordid remainder of the Cloyne Diocese Report and the results of governmental audits in six additional Irish dioceses, all confirming in varying degrees a familiar pattern of abuse and bishops’ cover-up;
(4) December 2011: The issuance in the Netherlands of the massive Deetman report indicating tens of thousands of Dutch children had been sexually abused by priests over several  decades, supplemented by reports of several children being castrated following their reporting that they were sexually abused by clerics;
(5) January 2012: The publication of several articles highlighting the escalating  reporting of priest abuse of children in Poland and the special difficulty of getting governmental officials to confront the entrenched Polish Catholic hierarchy on priest abuse issues;
(6) March 2012: The publication by a former Legion of Christ priest of evidence of special canon law favoritism by the Pope and Cardinal Bertone towards admitted sexual deviant, Fr. Maciel, of Mexico;
(7) March-April 2012: The unprecedented ongoing  Philly criminal trial of a former top aide to Cardinals Bevilacqua and Rigali and the almost daily revelations of a decades-old cover-up, including document shredding by bishops and another  bishop’s admission under oath that  the important priest personnel decisions were always made by the Cardinals. The trial is establishing that a similar cover-up pattern was followed over a half-century by three different Cardinals with episcopal experience from five dioceses in four states, as well as in Rome. Each of the three Cardinals had close ties to the Vatican. The common cover-up pattern is indicative of at least policy coordination with Rome and, in some instances even, of direct coordination, as SNAP has alleged to the ICC generally with respect to the Vatican clique. This is discussed in more detail in my April 13, 2012 article about the Philly trial, accessible here.
(8) February-April: In New York, District Attorneys in the State Capitol, Albany, area have banded together to tighten up significantly the handling of claims of child sexual abuse by priests. In Milwaukee, a Federal bankruptcy judge has to date ruled against releasing massive records relating to priest child abuse in the Milwaukee Archdiocese. Generally, the US bishops’ latest annual report confirms a rise in overall priest child sexual abuse claims, including some  additional new claims, as well as the continued failure of some bishops to follow even the weak US bishops’ child protection guidelines.
In addition to the foregoing, the New Charges also spell out clearly the long standing directives to the bishops from the Vatican to resist adopting mandates that Catholic bishops must promptly report priest child abuse claims to the police.
Finally, the New Charges crisply summarize the effort of senior US bishops and their highly paid apologists and attorneys to retaliate against SNAP, apparently for filing criminal charges against the Vatican clique with the ICC. The recent appointment of a woman and a mother as the new ICC lead prosecutor may be giving the Vatican clique some sleepless nights about SNAP’s ICC case. The New Charges will likely only increase the retaliatory efforts against SNAP.
The protections from prosecution  surrounding the pope have been extensive to date, but they may eventually prove to have been in vain. The pope runs a tight ship, perhaps a throwback to his teenage German military service in the dangerous days at the end of World War II. For more infomation on this, please read the comments under, “An Opportunistic Pope,” “The Pope at the Masters” and “Kids, Women and Bishops Beware,” accessible by clicking here.
The International Criminal Court, or the ICC, is structurally independent of the United Nations and the World Court, and was established as a permanent tribunal at the Hague, Netherlands, a decade ago by an international treaty now ratified by over 120 nations that are annually assessed to support the ICC’s staff of over 500 professionals, as described here.
The ICC’s  special focus is on handling crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes that, for various reasons, cannot readily be tried elsewhere, as in this case involving the Vatican. Given the geographical and chronological scope of the Vatican clique’s alleged crimes against humanity, there appears to be clear ICC juridiction over the Vatican clique if the ICC prosecutor decides to pursue the criminal case fully. Decisions to pursue criminal prosecutions frequently take a long period to evaluate, given the voluminous facts and documents, etc., sometimes taking over a year just for the decision to prosecute.
A new lead ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, presently Deputy Prosecutor, takes office  in a few weeks. She has been an advocate on behalf of African victims of violence, including those in Rwanda, and is a mother with two sons, one of whom reportedly  lives currently in the United States.  For more on Mrs. Bensouda, please see this recent Irish Times article.
Ironically, as the pope is increasingly engaged in a war against women’s rights  as part of his US efforts to replace Barack Obama, the pope’s fate may now be decided initially by a woman ICC prosecutor in a case led by a woman, Pam Spees, a no-nonsense and very competent international human rights attorney, with her excellent professional colleagues and experienced staff at SNAP’s legal advocates, the Center For Constitutional Rights, an exceptionally successful and highly regarded human rights advocacy group based in New York City and described more fully here.
For 300 years, the early Church generally prospered and grew under and obeyed  Roman law applicable to all Romans, including bishops. For most of the next 1,700 years after Constantine’s virtual takover of the Church hierarchy, the imperial Church hierarchy have mostly made their own rules as an unaccountable hierarchical monarchy and frequent player in European power politics. The power politics ended substantively in 1870  when the Papal States were lost to Italian populists, but the pope still clings to the fantasy that the Vatican is a sovereign nation and player yet in power politics. Of course, the hierarchy has personally benefited, and continues to benefit, greatly from the monarchical structure, which is mainly why it  fights so fiercely to maintain its power and wealth.
Almost 150 years later, the pope is still resisting becoming accountable to the international rule of law that applies to almost all other world leaders and nations. The ICC  and European financial regulators will likely soon change that permanently.

Cross-posted on Open Tabernacle, 16 April 2012.

Witness: Priest plied me with booze, molested me


From the link: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/147586455.html

Witness: Priest plied me with booze, molested me

By Joseph A. Slobodzian

INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

The Philadelphia Catholic clergy sex-abuse trial began its fourth week this morning with testimony by a former Philadelphia man who told of being plied with liquor and sexually molested by his parish priest in a King of Prussia hotel room.

The 50-year-old man, who grew up in Immaculate Heart of Mary parish in Andorra, told the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury about an incident when he was in the seventh grade.

The Rev. Thomas J. Smith had offered to take him and another boy on a trip to Hershey Park, driving a recreational vehicle borrowed from the second boy’s parents.

But the RV got no farther than King of Prussia, the man testified, when Smith said the vehicle had mechanical problems and they would have to stay overnight in a nearby Holiday Inn.

There the two boys spent the afternoon playing cards with their pastor, drinking Southern Comfort liquor and sodas.

Later that day, the man testified, Smith began chasing them around the room putting ice cubes down their underwear. When it came time for bed, the man continued, Smith told them to sleep naked because their clothes were wet.

While his friend slept on the floor, the man testified, he slept in bed with Smith and quickly fell asleep because of the alcohol he drank.

The man said he awoke on top of Smith – who was also naked – and realized they both had erections. When Smith saw that he was awake, the man continued, the priest pushed him to the other side of the bed.

The man said he went back to sleep and told no one until the incident became part of the 2005 report of the Philadelphia County grand jury report about the cover-up of sexual abuse of minors by priests in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

“Why didn’t you say anything?” asked Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington.

“I asked myself that question for years,” the man replied. “I think I was more afraid of getting in trouble. I was brought up to respect my elders and figures of authority.”

Though Smith continued to visit his parents and five brothers, the man testified, he withdrew from contact with the priest, whom he said enjoyed wrestling with his brothers in the basement of their house.

In questioning the man, defense attorney Jeffrey Lindy elicited the fact that the man did not come forward to authorities until 2004 – two years after Msgr. William J. Lynn, one of the two clerics on trial, left his job as the Archdiocese’s chief investigator of wayward priests.

Though not criminally charged in the 2005 grand jury report, Smith was left in his parish two years after Archdiocesan officials learned of the abuse in 2002. Two years later, after additional allegations of abuse arose, Smith was removed from active ministry.

Like most prior victims of clergy sexual abuse mentioned during the trial, Smith was not directly involved with the two clerics on trial. Rather, prosecutors have been permitted to bring in other cases to try to prove to the jury their theory of a long practice in the Archdiocese of ignoring or covering up after priests accused of sexually molesting children.

Lynn, as secretary for clergy, was responsible for investigating allegations of sexual abuse of minors made against priests. He is the first church official criminally charged with enabling or covering up such allegations against Catholic clergy.

Lynn’s codefendant, the Rev. James J. Brennan, is charged with attempting to rape a 14-year-old boy in 1996.

Both have denied the allegations.

The Roman Catholic Catechism on Rape


The Catechism offers a clear moral teaching: “Rape is the forcible violation of the sexual intimacy of another person. It does injury to justice and charity. Rape deeply wounds the respect, freedom, and physical and moral integrity to which every person has a right. It causes grave damage that can mark the victim for life. It is always an intrinsically evil act. Graver still is the rape of children committed by parents (incest) or those responsible for the education of the children entrusted to them.” (no. 2356)

 

Pope Benedict XVI: Leader of the RCC and closet Pedophile?

The current Pope on Child Rape and Child Porno,21 December 2010 :

In his traditional Christmas address yesterday to cardinals and officials working in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI also claimed that child pornography was increasingly considered “normal” by society.

“In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorised as something fully in conformity with man and even with children,” the Pope said.

“It was maintained — even within the realm of Catholic theology — that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a ‘better than’ and a ‘worse than’. Nothing is good or bad in itself.”

I DON’T THINK THE POPE HAS EVER READ HIS CATECHISM.

Los Gatos Priest Beating Case Trial Date Now Changed to June


from the link: http://losgatos.patch.com/articles/los-gatos-priest-beating-case-trial-date-now-changed-to-june

Los Gatos Priest Beating Case Trial Date Now Changed to June

Pretrial motion Friday postponed until May 3, with jury selection taking place May 14 and presentation of evidence June 19.

By Sheila Sanchez April 7, 2012

William Lynch

 

Friday’s scheduled pretrial motions in the case against a San Francisco man accused of beating a priest at the Los Gatos Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in May of 2010 have been postponed until 9 a.m., May 3.

William Lynch, 44, has been arraigned on one count of felony assault with intent to cause great bodily injury and one count of elder abuse under circumstances likely to produce great bodily harm or death. He has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

The scheduled hearing was changed since presiding Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge David Cena is tied up with a homicide trial that is running longer than expected.

The pretrial motions hearing, a time for any legal issue that will arise during the high-profile trial to be addressed by the prosecution and the defense, will be followed by jury selection May 14

The presentation of the evidence is expected to start on or around June 19, instead of the earlier reported date of May 29, said Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Gemetti.

Jury selection will be performed using jury questionnaires with potential jurors being called in to court and given the document to fill out and then reviewed by the attorneys.

Counsel will then meet and discuss which jurors need to be questioned for so-called “cause,” necessary in every trial to weed down the full veneer of potential jurors to the 12 jurors and alternates who will sit on the case, explained Gemetti.

Attorneys will question the jurors for any biases or any impediments to sit for “cause,” such as someone having been convicted of a similar crime or who may have a family member working in the DA’s office or law enforcement and their objectivity is compromised.

After the panel has been passed for cause, meaning there are no legal reasons why the jurors can’t sit on the case, each attorney will have 10 pre-emptory challenges that can be exercised and they’ll go back and forth to determine which jurors will be sworn in, Gemetti added.

The proceedings are taking place in Judge Cena’s courtroom, department 34 of the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice in San Jose.

“Once we’ve sworn the jury in … we’re going to stick to that schedule to the best of our abilities,” Gemetti said about the delays in the trial start date. “Obviously trials are fluid and things may change and emergencies do happen, but … once we have those 12 people and they’re told the dates, things won’t change too much.”

The questionnaire presented to the jurors will probably be several pages long containing a list of questions and topics, some inquiries from the court and some submitted by the defense and the prosecution.

Lynch is being represented by Pat Harris and Mark Geragos, with the Los Angeles-based law firm of Geragos & Geragos.

Authorities say he walked into the center’s reception area the afternoon of May 10, 2010 and asked to speak to Father Jerold Lindner. He said he had a death notification about a member of the priest’s family and then allegedly assaulted him.

The case is being closely watched by critics of the Roman Catholic Church who allege Lindner raped and sodomized Lynch and his brother when they were small boys in the ’70s while on camping trips.

If a jury convicts Lynch, he’s could serve a maximum of four years in state prison. The court, however, could grant him probation and give him up to one year in county jail, Gemetti said.

“We have been ready for trial for quite some time,” Gemetti said. “I’m quite anxious to get the matter proceeding.”

Victim Advocates Question Security Around Defrocked Jesuit Brethren


from the link: http://losgatos.patch.com/articles/victims-advocates-question-security-around-defrocked-jesuit-brethren-at-local-center

Victim Advocates Question Security Around Defrocked Jesuit Brethren

Head of Jesuit order says men are under strict supervision at center in Los Gatos.

By Sheila Sanchez January 10, 2011

The main building of the Los Gatos' Sacred Heart Jesuit Center. Credit: Sheila Sanchez

 

The Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos has been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons. One of its defrocked priests was beaten in May 2010. The alleged attacker appeared in court in December and will face a judge on Feb. 7 for a preliminary hearing in a case that will probably go to trial.

Santa Clara County prosecutors are accusing 44-year-old William Lynch of mauling Jesuit priest Jerold Lindner with his fists, said Lynch’s attorney Pat Harris. Lynch has said Lindner sodomized and raped him and his brother as young boys.

Lynch’s supporters, who include members of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), plan a news conference after the hearing at the Santa Clara County Superior Court building on Hedding Street in San Jose and a march in Los Gatos, according to Harris.

The supporters are taking this opportunity to complain about the security measures at the center, which houses Lindner, 65, and five other retired priests or brethren who have faced charges of sexual abuse. They claim the men can leave the compound at any time and that the supervision plans aren’t strict enough.

One of them, Charles Leonard Connor, 89,who was never an ordained priest, pleaded no contest in 2001 to a lewd act on a man who suffered from mental retardation who worked at the center.

The two, along with three other men, whom the order will not identify, live in the large Jesuit compound at 300 College Ave. The center includes a retirement home, an assisted-living facility and a skilled nursing infirmary. Here, 75 elderly priests live out the rest of their lives after serving in the elite order of priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church.

The Rev. John P. McGarry, the provincial of the California Province of the Society of Jesus, said the concerns about the five men who live at the center are exaggerated.

McGarry is head supervisor at the center and leader of the 375 Jesuit priests who work in California.

He said none of the men is under investigation right now.

Connor is housed in the center’s skilled nursing facility, is confined to a wheelchair and has severe dementia, McGarry said. “He’s totally incapacitated,” he said. “Better that we take care of them there than having them be out on their own in the community.”

Lindner, said McGarry, is under a strict security plan that prevents him from leaving the center unsupervised.

“He didn’t drive himself to the hospital,” he said, referring to newspaper reports that said he had done so, which triggered victims’ protests.

He explained that nursing staff at the center attended to him, and that either one of the Jesuits in the community or one of the nurses on duty drove him to the hospital. “He wouldn’t have been able to drive … He was badly beaten up. His head was bleeding,” McGarry said.

Dan McNevin, a San Francisco SNAP volunteer, is skeptical and upset the Catholic Church hasn’t found another location to house clergy charged, accused or investigated of abuse. “Why are they living there and not in a more secure location?” said McNevin.

The deep distrust against the order, McNevin said, is caused by numerous incidents that indicate that the Jesuit hierarchy has covered up incidents to protect the order’s reputation.

“A priest who has abused should be behind bars and not living in a retreat center,” said McNevin.

McGarry has an answer to that. “If I had any concern that the men living here, who have allegations against them and who are on safety plans, were a risk to the larger community or a risk for reoffending, I would not have them living here,” he said.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office handled the Lynch incident in May because of jurisdiction issues regarding where the center is located. If something were to happen in the center’s parking lot, however, the Los Gatos Monte Sereno police department would step in, said police spokesman Sgt. Kerry Harris. But he said the center has never given the town any problems.

“We’ve never had any issues with them,” Harris said.

For those looking for assurances, McGarry points to the fact that the center has been accredited by the Austin-based Praesidium risk management group, which has established criteria regarding the prevention of and response to sexual abuse of minors by Jesuit authorities. He added that Praesidium had renewed the center’s certification in July 2010.

The five men who live at the center have served at one time or another in Jesuit schools such as Bellarmine College Preparatory, Sacred Heart Nativity School and Most Holy Trinity Parish in San Jose and Santa Clara University in Santa Clara.

McGarry said the order’s policy continues to be to turn over to criminal and civil authorities allegations of priestly misconduct with minors. The province provides pastoral care and counseling to any person that comes forward and makes an allegation of sexual abuse, he said. He said he’s met often with people who have made allegations.

Joey Piscitelli, Northern California director for the Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests, isn’t buying it. “They have aided, abetted, shuffled, protected and promoted known child rapists for decades, and that’s criminal behavior,” he said.

Piscitelli, who says he was molested by a Salesian priest, won a $5 million settlement award against the order after a jury trial in 2006.

Piscitelli has protested outside the center several times, along with John Chevedden, whose brother, Jesuit priest James Chevedden, killed himself when he jumped from the sixth floor of the Santa Clara County Courthouse’s parking garage in 2005.

Chevedden accused the Jesuits of negligence in his brother’s death and in 2007 and settled with the order for $1.6 million.

He said the Lynch case is another example of how victims of abuse suffer for a long time. “It’s disturbing to see how long-lasting and traumatic the abuse is to the victims … that after 35 years it still has a strong impact,” Chevedden said.

What I also found interesting was one of the comments posted under this article:

Fr. Thomas Smolich, promoted to be the # 1 Jesuit in the USA, said a Jesuit priest and resident at the Los Gatos Center, Fr. James Chevedden committed suicide. The Jesuit Order even issued a news release claiming Fr. Chevedden’s suspicious death was a suicide. Fr. Smolich also told Fr. Chevedden’s family that the Jesuit Order would keep Fr. Chevedden’s body.

Fr. Chevedden had earlier reported to Fr. Smolich that he was the victim of Jesuit sex abuse at Los Gatos by a Jesuit Religious Brother, Br. Charles Connor. Br. Connor and Fr. Jerold Lindner were friends. Lindner helped Br. Connor with computers and both sat at the same small meal table.

Ironically or worse, the last Jesuit to see Fr. Chevedden alive was Fr. Lindner, with $2 million paid out in sex abuse settlements. The Jesuit Order did not tell the police that Fr. Lindner was the last Jesuit to see Fr. Chevedden alive. Fr. Lindner was scheduled to testify about his being the last Jesuit to see Fr. Chevedden alive in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Fr. Chevedden’s Dad. The Jesuit Order paid $1.6 million to settle the lawsuit. Thus Fr. Lindner avoided explaining his being last Jesuit to see Fr. Chevedden alive.

Priest’s accuser returns to the stand, spars with defense attorney in Pa. clergy abuse trial


from the link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/priests-accuser-to-return-to-the-stand-in-clergy-abuse-trial-under-way-in-philadelphia/2012/04/05/gIQAHQfFxS_story.html

Priest’s accuser returns to the stand, spars with defense attorney in Pa. clergy abuse trial

By Associated Press, Published: April 5

PHILADELPHIA — A second day of cross-examination of a key witness in a landmark priest abuse trial was marked by more hostile exchanges Thursday between a man who claims he was molested as a teen and the attorney representing the man’s accuser.

The accuser, who is now 30, testified that he was 14 years old when the Rev. James Brennan sexually abused him at the priest’s apartment in West Chester, outside Philadelphia. An attorney for Brennan continued grilling the man on inconsistencies from his earlier accounts of the 1996 incident and ticked off a list of reasons why he would lie about being abused, from financial gain to jealousy of the priest for spending too much time with the man’s mother.

“You’re going to sit here and tell me that … I put myself through this to get this man out of my life?” the man responded. “You are reaching, my man, you are way off.”

When the defense attorney stated that the accuser’s parents remained friends with the priest for years after the alleged abuse, then suggested that was because the accuser never told his parents because the abuse never happened, the former Marine exploded on the witness stand.

“Are you kidding me right now? You should be ashamed of yourself!” he yelled. “You should be ashamed, and I’m going to pray for you.”

Brennan is on trial with Monsignor William Lynn, the first Roman Catholic official in the U.S. charged with endangering children for allegedly shifting priests suspected of molestation from parish to parish without warning anyone of previous sex-abuse complaints. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Many people have testified about being abused by priests since the trial began March 26, but the 30-year-old man is the first whose case falls within the statute of limitations.

He testified Wednesday that in the summer of 1996, Brennan took him to his apartment with a plan to watch movies in the evening and get up the next morning for a day of golfing. At the apartment, the family friend and man he treated like an uncle showed him online pornography, fondled himself, then got into bed with him and molested him, his accuser testified.

He said the abuse turned him from a good student with a positive outlook to a life of alcoholism, drug abuse, crime, three suicide attempts and a stint in the Marine Corps cut short by mental illness. Although the man’s name has been stated in court, The Associated Press generally does not identify people alleging sexual abuse.

Defense attorney Bill Brennan, who is not related to the priest, pressed the accuser on inconsistencies in his recollections about the type of computer the priest owned and other details of that night and the following day, which the man dismissed as “trivial.”

“He molested me, that man right there, and he knows what he did,” the accuser said as he pointed at the priest, who did not show a visible reaction.

The man also has a pending civil suit against Brennan, Lynn and other church officials, and the archdiocese has paid for his therapy and some of his bills.

“What does that have to do with him molesting me?” the man asked after the defense attorney described the financial assistance and the pending lawsuit. “It’s not about money, it’s about justice and so he can be off the street and not hurt another child like he hurt me.”

Also testifying Thursday was a 42-year-old man who said he was molested twice in 1981 by a Norristown priest.

The man, his voice cracking as he tried to retain his composure, said he was 12 when the priest assaulted him in a seminary shower and on a trip to the Poconos. He said he never told anyone because he was ashamed — even denying that anything had happened when confronted by his father, who had suspicions about the priest — until he spoke to an archdiocesan investigator in 2003.

“I took it as I had done something wrong and I needed to defend myself,” he said of the encounter.

The former Norristown priest is not a defendant but prosecutors are using the testimony about him to build a case against Lynn, who was secretary of clergy from 1992 to 2004 and entrusted within investigating complaints against priests.

A 2005 grand jury report revealed that the archdiocese knew about the boy’s complaint and others against the priest, who has since been defrocked, but he was moved to six different parishes.

Although the accuser’s names were stated in court, The Associated Press generally does not identify people alleging sexual abuse.

The trial resumes Monday.

 

Vatican approach to child abuse in Ireland absolutely disgraceful, says PM


from the link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/14/vatican-child-abuse-ireland?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

Vatican approach to child abuse in Ireland absolutely disgraceful, says PM

Enda Kenny says laws being drawn up making it impossible for anyone to avoid obligation to report abuse allegations

in Dublin
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 14 July 2011 13.52 EDT

Enda Kenny has called on the Vatican to repeat its commitment to always following civil law in matters relating to child abuse. Photograph: Isopix/Rex Features

 

Ireland’s prime minister has denounced the Vatican‘s approach to allegations of child abuse in the republic as absolutely disgraceful.

Enda Kenny said new laws are being drawn up that will make it impossible for anyone – even those high up in the Roman Catholic church – to avoid their obligations regarding reports of child abuse.

“The law of the land should not be stopped by crosier, or by collar,” Kenny said.

He added that he hopes the response from the Irish government to the Cloyne report will clarify to everyone that the law of the land applies in situations where appalling actions took place.

Kenny called on the Vatican to repeat its commitment that civil law should always be followed. The Irish Catholic church and the Vatican have faced severe criticism over repeated attempts to deal with incidents of abuse behind closed doors rather than by handing over suspects to the Garda Síochána.

The Irish deputy prime minister and foreign minister, Eamon Gilmore, met with the Vatican’s ambassador to Ireland to discuss the report’s findings.

“There’s one law in this country. Everybody is going to have to learn to comply with it. The Vatican will have to comply with the laws of this country,” Gilmore said after the meeting.

Gilmore said the report would be debated in the House next Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on the availability of ministers and spokespersons.

He said the failure of the church to co-operate with the law was one of the greatest problems and that the coalition government was determined that there would be consequences for any institution which failed to work with the legal authorities of the state when it came to child abuse.

The Socialist party’s Joe Higgins said people were “throwing their hands in the air” at the revelations in the Cloyne report.

Catholic church weighs up response to criticism from Ireland


from the link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/29/catholic-church-response-criticism-ireland?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

Catholic church weighs up response to criticism from Ireland

Vatican officials claim Enda Kenny may be using report into sexual abuse by priests to divert attention from euro crisis

in Rome
guardian.co.uk, Friday 29 July 2011 12.41 EDT

Pope Benedict XVI fears further fracturing of the Catholic church in Europe. Photograph: Riccardo De Luca/AP

 

Next month, as every year since he was chosen to lead the world’s Roman Catholics, the scholarly Pope Benedict XVI will preside at a meeting of his Schülerkreis — a group of his former doctoral students.

This year, the issue for debate in the pontifical summer palace, overlooking a volcanic lake near Rome, is the one he was elected to tackle: how to reverse the galloping secularisation of Catholicism‘s European homeland.

The discussion could scarcely be more timely, coming in the midst of a crisis in relations between the Holy See and Ireland, a country where, until a few years ago, official defiance of Rome was unthinkable.

The reaction in the Vatican to Enda Kenny’s impassioned denunciation on 20 July has been one of astonishment. But, as the Holy See’s temporary recall of its ambassador, or nuncio, five days later showed, it is also laced with indignation.

The pope’s deputy spokesman, Father Ciro Benedettini, gave the move a positive gloss, saying the Holy See needed the nuncio back in Rome so it could frame its reply to the Cloyne report “with objectivity and determination”. But his temporary withdrawal also reflected what Benedettini tactfully called “surprise and disappointment over some excessive reactions”.

In diplomacy, the recall of an envoy for consultations is a clear signal of disapproval and L’Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian bishops’ conference, was unable to find a precedent for it in the vast annals of Vatican diplomacy.

The pope’s aides feel they have been unfairly attacked, and some suspect a political motive. One high-ranking cleric who spoke on condition of anonymity noted Ireland was caught up in the euro crisis and speculated that Kenny might have been seeking to distract public opinion.

Others stressed the Vatican response, promised by the end of August, would seek to heal the breach. But the signs this week were that it would also include a vigorous defence of the Vatican’s position.

No one in Rome disputes that allegations of the sexual abuse of minors in the Cloyne diocese were grossly mishandled by the bishop, John Magee. But Vatican officials argue they are being pilloried for the actions of a pastor who disregarded their instructions.

Ireland’s prime minister claimed that judge Yvonne Murphy’s report contained evidence of an “attempt by the Holy See to block an enquiry … less than three years ago”.

Vatican officials say they can find no such evidence. What the report does contain, they say, is criticism of the papal bureaucracy’s actions 14 years ago. In 1997, the Congregation for the Clergy, the department responsible for the priesthood, sent a message to the Irish bishops criticising their attempts to create a framework for dealing with sex abuse cases.

In particular, it objected to a clause that went beyond the requirements of Irish law at the time and proposed that: “In all instances where it is known or suspected that a priest … has sexually abused a child, the matter should be reported to the civil authorities.” The Vatican said that could be at odds with the church’s own laws.

Murphy’s commission concluded that Rome’s objections gave individual bishops – including Magee – freedom to ignore the bishops’ guidelines. But speaking on Vatican Radio on 19 July, the pope’s spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, argued there was “no reason to interpret the letter as aimed at hiding cases of abuse. In fact, it was warning of the risk of taking measures that could then turn out to be challengeable or invalid from a canonical point of view”.

In any case, say other Vatican officials, even if the Congregation’s response was misguided, it was made before 2001. That is when, in their view, there was a sea change.

Pope John Paul II ordered all cases of alleged sex abuse to be dealt with in Rome by the department then headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as he was known then. As he read the paperwork, the future pope became increasingly appalled by what he saw, and put in place an altogether more effective policy. “Not to recognise that there has been a learning curve and that things have changed is stupid”, said a senior Vatican official.

That may not be the whole story, however. In an interview with the website Vatican Insider, the archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, said he believed Kenny was not only referring to the 1997 exchange, but also “to interactions – which I was unaware of – which took place with the Vatican while the Cloyne report was being prepared”. He did not elaborate.

• This article was amended on 2 August 2011. In the original Diarmuid Martin was described as also having the status of cardinal. This has been corrected.