Blog Archives

Lawsuit Links Cardinal to Placing Pedophile Priest in Pepperell, Lowell


Lawsuit Links Cardinal to Placing Pedophile Priest in Pepperell, Lowell

By Lisa Redmond
Lowell (MA) Sun
April 10, 2002

From the Link: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news/2002_04_10_Redmond_LawsuitLinks.htm

Lowell, MA – New civil lawsuits accuse two priests who served in three Greater Lowell communities of sexual abuse, alleging that church leaders knew about the incidents and did nothing to stop them.

A Lowell man says he was abused for four years by the Rev. Richard O. Matte, then at St. Louis De France Parish in Lowell.

And three brothers say they were molested more than 100 times each by the Rev. Mark Fleming, at John the Evangelist parish in Hudson, N.H., in the early 1980s.

In the Lowell case, Derek Mousseau has sued Matte, Cardinal Bernard Law and the Archdiocese of Boston, saying that Law knew or should have known that Matte was allegedly committing sexual predatory acts. The lawsuit says Mousseau was 13 when the abuse began in 1989.

Matte was a school chaplain at the Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood in the early 1970s, According to published reports, school administrators were told Matte had been abusing one student during confessions.

The student who reported the alleged abuse was suspended for starting the rumor about Matte, while the priest continued at the school, reports state.

Mousseau’s suit alleges that the church received numerous complaints against Matte. Attorney Roderick MacLeish says that around 1988, Law removed Matte from the Assumption Parish in Bellingham because of complaints of sex abuse. Law was aware of the molestation complaints against Matte while he was at St. Joseph’s Parish in Pepperell and while he was assigned to Xaverian, MacLeish says.

Matte was placed on sick leave in 1993, reportedly to receive treatment related to sex abuse of young boys, the lawsuit states. Matte returned to duty in 1996, working in the Boston Ardhiocese personnel office. He has retired.

It is not clear if Matte could face criminal charges. The Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office declined comment.

The lawsuit accuses Matte of assault and battery, and Law of negligence. It asks for more than $25,000. Lawsuits filed against the church total in the millions of dollars.

Neither MacLeish or Mousseau could be reached for comment. Donna Morrissey, spokesman for the Boston Archidocese, did not return phone calls. Matte, who is retired and lives in South Dennis, has an unlisted phone number.

In the New Hampshire case, Fleming is accused of “savagely sexually assaulting” all three brothers from 1974 and 1983. They are not identified in their lawsuit.

Their attorney, Mark Abramson, said that in one case, Fleming held one of the boys under water in an apparent display of his power.

The allegation is in one of four lawsuits Abramson filed Monday on behalf of six men who say they were sexually abused by priests. The lawsuits accuse officials of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester of failing to protect the men from the alleged assaults, the most recent of which was in 1983.

According to the lawsuit, most of the assaults against the brothers took place at the church rectory. The lawsuit says another priest at the parish, the Rev. Stephen Scruton, knew of the abuse, did nothing to prevent it, and molested one of the boys himself. Scruton was fired from a job as a counselor for sex offenders at a jail in Massachusetts when the diocese released a list of priests accused of sexual offenses. Scruton does not have a listed telephone number in the state.

Calls to the churches involved failed to turn up anyone who even recognized the names of the accused priests. There is an unlisted number for a Mark Fleming in Manchester, where Abramson said the former Hudson priest lives.

In a written statement, Bishop John McCormack said he was saddened by the reports and committed to helping anyone sexually abused by a priest.

Abramson said the brothers’ family reported the assaults in 1983 and the case went to the attorney general’s office. Abramson does not know why it was not prosecuted. Assistant Attorney General N. William Delker said he could not comment on the 1983 allegations, or the current lawsuits.

Diocesan spokesman Patrick McGee said that while Fleming has not been defrocked, his right to minister was revoked in 1983 when an accusation was made against him. McGee did not know whether it was the same allegation that prompted the brothers’ lawsuit.

The Shadow Behind ‘Spotlight’: How Predator Priests Derailed Boston’s Would-Be Pope, Cardinal Bernard Law


The Shadow Behind ‘Spotlight’: How Predator Priests Derailed Boston’s Would-Be Pope, Cardinal Bernard Law

Sins of the Father

10.26.151:03 AM ET
Cardinal Bernard Law

Cardinal Bernard Law

The shadow villain of Spotlight, Bernard Law was one of America’s most ambitious and prominent cardinals—until his handling of the sex-abuse scandal caught up with him.

Spotlight is a gripping new film by Tom McCarthy on The Boston Globe’s investigation of how that archdiocese concealed child-molester priests. Set in 2001, the film serves as backstory to the Pulitzer Prize-winning series that began on Jan. 6, 2002—“Feast of the Epiphany,” as we learn in the intelligent script by McCarthy and Josh Singer.

Taking on the church in heavily Catholic Boston was no small order. Several of the reporters came from Catholic homes. Marty Baron, the Globe’s new editor, by way of The Miami Herald, suggested the investigation after reading a Globe columnist on a priest abuse case. Baron wanted to know more; he later became editor of The Washington Post.

Played by the bearded Liev Schreiber, Baron presents as a shy man, of few but forceful words, an outsider to tribal Boston, and a Jew, as a Catholic businessman says, sotto voce, to Michael Keaton in his edgy, pensive portrayal of Spotlight editor Walter “Robby” Robinson.

Robinson’s clutch of reporters worked months before the first article appeared, finding documents and tracking down victims of some 30 priests. The turning point in 2001 came when a court ruling against the church unsealed lawsuits that put clergy personnel documents into the public record. The Globe ultimately reported that the archdiocese had sheltered 249 predatory clerics going back several decades.

The Globe unmasked Cardinal Bernard Law, then Boston’s Archbishop, for shielding predators; he made Newsweek’s cover in March 2002. Spotlight ends two months before that, just as the newspaper series begins. A line onscreen at the end of the film says that Law resigned as archbishop in December 2002, and later became pastor in Rome of a historic basilica, Santa Maria Maggiore (note to reader: at a salary of $12,000 a month, according to The New York Times).

Law left Boston a figure of ridicule and disgrace, yet still a Prince of the Church, as cardinals are called. He has never given an interview in the 13 years since then. In researching a 2011 book on Vatican finances, and more recent reporting trips to Rome, I pieced together a picture of the cardinal in winter (he turns 84 next month) as he rebuilt a power base. His story echoes the wisdom of Heraclitus: character is fate.

The Globe series ignited a chain reaction of reports at the networks and daily newsrooms, not least at The New York Times, which owned the Globe then and competed hard on investigations of its own. For the church, the earthquake convulsed well into 2004; the impact continued on for years, as dioceses and religious orders settled thousands of victim lawsuits.

Early into Spotlight, Baron pays a courtesy call on Cardinal Law, played by a silver-haired Len Cariou with a suave patrician gravitas, saying that as a young monsignor in Mississippi in the 1960s, “I was close to the Evers brothers,” and that he wrote for the Jackson diocesan paper. In a dash of hubris the cardinal suggests common cause in a healthy press, and then gives editor Baron a copy of the thick Catholic Catechism. Schrieber’s facial twist registers irony as he takes the book, knowing that news will come of rules long broken by the church.

I let out an audible mmmm at that moment in the screening; my wife whispered, “Is something wrong?” I shook my head, no, thinking of Law: All that promise…

Globe reporters interviewed me in late 2001 and several times in 2002 because of a work I published in 1992—Lead Us Not Into Temptation, the first book to investigate the nationwide crisis of priest sex abuse. (The book actually has a cameo in the film; a survivor activist shows his copy to Spotlight reporters with other material he urges them to read.) The Globe reviewed the book favorably in 1992 during heavy national coverage of an ex-priest, James Porter, who left a trail of agony in Massachusetts towns going back many years, before taking a plea bargain and 20-year sentence for child sexual abuse. He died in prison six years later.

Cardinal Law was irate over the Porter coverage, blustering at one point, “We call down God’s power on the media, especially the Globe.”

The book took seven years, with endless photocopying and FedEx bills—this was pre-Internet—to obtain legal documents on far-flung bishops shielding sex offenders. But I was unable to get documents from New York, Boston, and Los Angeles: Church lawyers had a tight lid on cases. Other attorneys assumed that the victims took settlements in exchange for silence. Nine years later, Boston survivors came forth, with wrenching personal stories, after Judge Constance Sweeney, a Catholic, ruled that press freedom trumped church secrecy, unsealing lawsuits and giving victims the right to speak. The scene is a key moment in Spotlight.

Cardinal Law, the reporters’ ultimate target, is not a major character in the film; Baron tells his reporters to go after “the system,” not the man, though it goes unspoken that Law was the system.

I met Bernie Law, as priests in Mississippi called him, in Jackson, the state capitol, in the summer of 1971 while working as press secretary in Charles Evers’s quixotic campaign for governor. A week after graduation from Georgetown, I arrived as a volunteer, wrote a press release when they needed one, and got hired for $75 a week.

Law was vicar-general, the bishop’s top assistant. Evers, whose brother Medgar had been assassinated in 1963, respected Law for his editorials in the Catholic paper urging tolerance during the violent years. In a heavily Baptist state prone to racial demagogues, Law had been on the right side of history. By 1971 the riots and Klan violence had abated; but tensions were palpable, race relations still raw. I was curious about Law, and when I called, the monsignor invited me to dinner. When I parked my dented VW in the chancery parking lot, he said, “Let’s take my car.” It was larger and more comfortable.

He was 40, plump but energetic, a Harvard graduate with early silver hair, a cool mind and warm wit. I liked him immediately. He sang praises of the Italian restaurant where he had a reservation.

The owner gave him a lavish hello, and scowled at me. “Sorry, Monsignor, we can’t take him—the hair is too long.” Law frowned. I blushed. The hair stopped just shy of my shoulders, but this was Mississippi and the guy didn’t like suspected hippies. Law protested, without yelling, to no avail. I knew it wasn’t a moment to stand on constitutional rights and expect to eat lasagna.

Law was mortified as he drove to another restaurant, telling me somberly that backwards Mississippi really had made important strides. At dinner he brightened; we talked national politics, theology, and church changes since Vatican II.

As we left the restaurant, Law said: “How’d you like to meet the bishop?”

Sure. Joseph Brunini, the bishop of Jackson, came from a family with a prominent law firm; he too had been a voice of moderation in the dark years. The bishop, 52, had a condo outside Jackson at the vast Ross Barnett Reservoir where people with sailboats had slips.

Barnett was the former governor known for inflammatory speeches and standing in the doorway at the University of Mississippi in 1962 to block James Meredith as the first black student. Meredith was escorted in by white federal marshals. “Which of you is James Meredith?” said Barnett to the only black man in eyesight. The campus soon exploded in a riot that left two people dead as federal troops secured Meredith’s place. The state named the big lake for the worst governor Mississippi ever had.

We sat on the deck of the condo, sipping Scotch as the insects sang outside. Brunini was an amiable man, a Georgetown graduate curious about my time there, the three of us trading thoughts about race relations and the church. I realized that Mississippi’s Catholic community amounted to a minority religion, a tiny social presence, quite different from the New Orleans of my upbringing. Brunini wished me well and made a point of blessing me as we left.

As Law and I drove back to the chancery, his demeanor changed. He was smiling, a man on a cloud. “Did you like the bishop?” he said. Yes, a very nice man. “Did you think he was—cool?” Uh, sure.

This man wants to be a bishop, I reported to myself with the brilliance of a 22-year old. As we pulled up to my car, he stuck out his hand. “Call me Bernie.”

Campaign work intensified; he made a trip to Rome and I didn’t see him again; we chatted a few times by phone.

As the years passed I followed news on him. He became a bishop in Missouri, and several years later, in 1984, vaulted to Boston, as archbishop, and soon a cardinal. I’ve known journalists to fume over people they wished they’d kept up with. I soon felt that about Law, wishing I’d sent notes, Christmas cards, anything to cultivate a relationship. The regret hit me in the mid-’80s as I reported on the prosecution of a pedophile priest in Lafayette, Louisiana. In a circuitous way, those events led to Law.

In January of 1986, the weekly Times of Acadiana ran my final piece, reconstructing how Bishop Gerard Frey had played musical chairs with seven priests who had abused children over several years. The paper ran an editorial calling for the Vatican to remove the bishop, for which it got hit with an advertisers’ boycott fomented by a retired judge, Edmund Reggie, and a prominent monsignor. The paper lost $20,000 before cooler heads prevailed. In July, the Vatican sent a new bishop.

In February of that year I shifted to work on the book, and flew to Washington, D.C., to interview Father Tom Doyle, a canon lawyer at the Vatican Embassy. Doyle, I learned, sent a shot across the bow as co-author of a 100-page report in the spring of 1985 on the pedophile cases before it became a crisis. The document went to every bishop in America. A classic whistleblower, Doyle lost his job; he became an Air Force chaplain.

Doyle told me how he had given Cardinal Law a briefing on abuse cases in various states in 1984 before his work on the report. Law supported Doyle in the effort; he even contributed $1,000 to cover photocopy costs so the document could be sent to 150 bishops. Many years later, Law testified in a deposition in one of the Boston cases and said he could not recall details of that 1985 report, which became a “smoking gun” for advising bishops to remove predators and reach out to victims. Many bishops opted to recycle perpetrators after stints in psychiatric treatment facilities, and ignore victims until they filed lawsuits.

The next time I saw Law was 1993 in New Orleans where the bishops held their summer conference. Activists with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests were staging a protest. Law stepped off an elevator at the Hyatt Regency and nearly collided with me. “Your Eminence, it’s been a long time since Mississippi. Would you have time to talk?”

He shook his head grimly and moved on. I noticed he was much heavier.

In 1998, the artist Channing Thieme was preparing an exhibition called “Boston Faces,” portraits of a cross-section of Bostonians. She was not a Catholic, curious about a man as powerful as Law, and delighted when he agreed to sit for her at the cardinal’s mansion in Brighton. She found him a charming conversationalist in two drawing sessions. When she returned with the finished graphite portrait, Law was delighted. She said: “What’s the toughest part of your job?”

“Judgment—the decisions I must make,” Law replied. And, as if looking ahead to a bitter reckoning, he added: “That is the half of it. The other half is the judgment I must one day face myself.”

She was amazed at the statement. The words do not ring of false modesty.

Law in 1998 was the most powerful American churchman in Rome. Close to Pope John Paul and Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Secretary of State, Law cultivated ties in the Roman Curia and served on major Vatican committees. Yet that artist’s question, as he gazed at his black-and-white image, seemingly unloosed an inner coil. He apparently felt guilty about something. Could it have been the scores of pedophiles he had sent to treatment tanks, some of them recycled, with little thought of their ravaged victims?

Power is the movement of money. The out-of-court settlements Law had approved, predicated on victims’ silence, put the survivors out of sight, out of mind.

Judgment stalked him in civil depositions as the media coverage wore on; reporters used his testimony to shatter the credibility of the man who had urged John Paul II to authorize the updated, very long Catholic Catechism, the one that the cardinal in the movie gives to the editor with his quiet, quizzical face.

Law resigned just before Christmas 2002, after a private meeting with Pope John Paul II in Rome; he left Boston for sanctuary in a Maryland convent with nuns. Imagine the psychological blow to a man who had once told friends that he hoped to be the first American pope, a man whose support of migrants from the Dominican Republic entering Boston stood for the values of a church giving comfort and succor to the poor.

Nixon sought redemption after Watergate by writing books and holding dinners for selected journalists, a careful campaign to rehabilitate himself as a foreign policy sage.

Law turned to the one place where he had support—cardinals and bishops in the Roman Curia, the Vatican bureaucracy. “The curia is a brotherhood,” Cardinal Sodano once told The New York Times. Law had friends in the brotherhood after 17 years in Boston. A member of the Congregation for Bishops, he helped select new American bishops.

The news of Law’s new job in Rome in the spring of 2004 came at the worst possible time for his successor, Archbishop (later Cardinal) Seán O’Malley. O’Malley had approved an $85 million settlement to 542 victims, only to take public criticism for a wave of church closures, consolidating parishes in a controversial plan to sell property after the huge deficit Law had left. O’Malley had already sold the cardinal’s mansion for $108 million to Boston College. All that, and John Paul rewarded Law with a cushy perch at one of Rome’s great basilicas.

“Many people in Rome would say that he paid the price in the form of his resignation and that there’s no reason that he shouldn’t make a contribution,” Vatican correspondent John L. Allen Jr. of the National Catholic Reporter told Boston Magazine two years after Law assumed his position. (Allen now writes for Crux, an online branch of the Globe that covers the Catholic Church.)

After many years away from Mississippi, I went to Jackson in 2004 to promote a book, written with Gerald Renner. Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II explores the Vatican’s role in the abuse crisis. Before the evening lecture, I did several media interviews, and spent time with SNAP leaders Johnny Rainer and Kenneth Morrison.

Morrison was 39, an artist in Chicago who had grown up in Jackson. He was one of three sons of a physician, by then deceased. His mother came to the book event. The family had moved to Jackson from Boston in 1969 when Kenneth’s dad, Dr. Francis Morrison, an oncologist, took a teaching position at the state medical school. As Boston Catholics, the Morrisons found a friend in Bernie Law, the Harvard graduate. The Morrisons also befriended Father George Broussard who, as pedophiles will do, ingratiated himself with the family, slowly molesting the three young boys.

As we drove around Jackson that day, Kenneth, a strapping guy who did industrial art projects in Chicago, pointed to several church buildings where, he said, Broussard had forced sex on him as a boy of 5, 6, and 7 years old—“there, in that one, and that one, and that one.” As we drove past the chancery, his memories of being abused spilled into my thought field from 1971. The summer evening I pulled into the chancery parking lot to meet Bernie Law, matched the time period when little Kenneth was being preyed upon by Father Broussard nearby.

Morrison sued the Jackson diocese in 2003. The diocese faced lawsuits against seven other priests, several dating back to Law’s tenure there.

Law was the bishop’s right hand when Dr. Morrison reported what Broussard had done to the chancery. As Morrison would later allege, Broussard began receiving “treatment,” while staying at another parish. Law was close to the Morrisons, and to Broussard. Knowing what he knew, what should Law have done?

“The sexual molestation of minors wasn’t even on my radar screen,” Law testified in a deposition in the Morrison case. “It wasn’t the issue that it is today… it didn’t come up.”

But the diocese did investigate, as William Houck, who succeeded Brunini as bishop, stated under oath: “Broussard said he subsequently admitted the accusations to Bernard Law and to Bishop (Joseph) Brunini, and attended confession with Bernard Law.”

Law had moved to Rome when the Jackson diocese agreed to an out-of-court settlement with Kenneth Morrison.

In late 2012, I spent five weeks in Rome for GlobalPost, reporting on the Vatican investigation of liberal American nuns—the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

Cardinal Law was a catalyst in sparking that investigation, as I reported, though he played no direct role in the interrogations, meetings, and correspondence that the sisters had with Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The C.D.F. is housed in the majestic palazzo where in 1616 the Inquisition punished Galileo for his position that the Earth revolves around the sun.

After leaving Boston in humiliation, Law found a fraternal womb in the Curia; but after the blows to his stature and ego, he wanted other people to “face judgment”—an outsized projection of his own faults in the desire to bring those liberal nuns to heel. The man who suggested the new catechism wanted obedience to authority, of which he himself had little.

Levada, it is worth adding, had been archbishop of San Francisco, and up to his chest in litigation over pedophile priests, when the newly elected Pope Benedict tossed him a ladder in 2005 as if from a celestial helicopter, lifting him up and away from the muck in the City by the Bay to beautiful Rome and great status as theologian-in-chief.

Levada refused to be interviewed. I called Law, hoping against hope that he might agree to talk. A priest took the call at Santa Maria Maggiore, let his cold silence register for a number of seconds, and stated: “The cardinal does not give interviews. There are no exceptions.”

Pope Francis would later oversee the termination of the proceedings against the nuns, and make a point of meeting with several of the leaders of American sisters for a reconciliation with news photographers present.

“Law is a presence on the embassy social circuit,” a Western diplomat in Rome told me in 2012. “He’s a cardinal, an official of the Curia, so he’s on the invitation lists. He’s sociable and mingles easily.”

The Holy See assumes a decorum among journalists who cover the Vatican. Many reporters who work in the press room off St. Peter’s Square have broken stories critical of church officialdom—Nicole Winfield of AP and Philip Pullella of Reuters prominent among them; but you don’t see journalists in packs ambushing church officials as if they were Chicago or Louisiana politicians heading into criminal court. Pope Benedict was reeling from the Vati-Leaks scandal in late 2012 when I attended a reception for a group of newly invested cardinals.

It was a rare chance to get inside the Apostolic Palace, which is closed to the public save for ceremonial occasions. The large reception parlors have elegant tapestries adorning the walls. The papal apartments and pope’s office on the top floor were off-limits. In one parlor a sizeable crowd of people who had come from Nigeria waited in a receiving line to greet their new cardinal, Archbishop John Onaiyekan of Abuja. Many of the Nigerian women wept as they hugged him. The rich colors of Yoruba design on the dresses and dashikis of men were emblazoned with the new cardinal’s photograph. The vibrant festivity of the multicultural pageant in the life of the church reminded me of The Canterbury Tales.

Across the crowded Rome I saw the bloated, hulking figure of Cardinal Law, flanked by two priests, make his way past a receiving line toward two Italians in the red hat of cardinals. I moved that way, camera in hand. A priest at Law’s elbow saw me and glared, stationing himself closer to the cardinal to prevent a clear angle. I stood there for several minutes, without shooting, and then turned away, thinking of Kenneth Morrison.

A frequent Daily Beast contributor, Jason Berry’s books include Render unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church, and Up From the Cradle of Jazz: New Orleans Music Since World War II.

 

The Great Catholic Cover-Up: The pope’s entire career has the stench of evil about it


The Great Catholic Cover-Up: The pope’s entire career has the stench of evil about it

By Christopher Hitchens
From the link: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/fighting_words/2010/03/the_great_catholic_coverup.html

Pope Benedict XVI has gotten away with many crimes.

Pope Benedict XVI has gotten away with many crimes.

 

On March 10, the chief exorcist of the Vatican, the Rev. Gabriele Amorth (who has held this demanding post for 25 years), was quoted as saying that “the Devil is at work inside the Vatican,” and that “when one speaks of ‘the smoke of Satan’ in the holy rooms, it is all true—including these latest stories of violence and pedophilia.” This can perhaps be taken as confirmation that something horrible has indeed been going on in the holy precincts, though most inquiries show it to have a perfectly good material explanation.

Concerning the most recent revelations about the steady complicity of the Vatican in the ongoing—indeed endless—scandal of child rape, a few days later a spokesman for the Holy See made a concession in the guise of a denial. It was clear, said the Rev. Federico Lombardi, that an attempt was being made “to find elements to involve the Holy Father personally in issues of abuse.” He stupidly went on to say that “those efforts have failed.”

He was wrong twice. In the first place, nobody has had to strive to find such evidence: It has surfaced, as it was bound to do. In the second place, this extension of the awful scandal to the topmost level of the Roman Catholic Church is a process that has only just begun. Yet it became in a sense inevitable when the College of Cardinals elected, as the vicar of Christ on Earth, the man chiefly responsible for the original cover-up. (One of the sanctified voters in that “election” was Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston, a man who had already found the jurisdiction of Massachusetts a bit too warm for his liking.)

There are two separate but related matters here: First, the individual responsibility of the pope in one instance of this moral nightmare and, second, his more general and institutional responsibility for the wider lawbreaking and for the shame and disgrace that goes with it. The first story is easily told, and it is not denied by anybody. In 1979, an 11-year-old German boy identified as Wilfried F. was taken on a vacation trip to the mountains by a priest. After that, he was administered alcohol, locked in his bedroom, stripped naked, and forced to suck the penis of his confessor. (Why do we limit ourselves to calling this sort of thing “abuse”?) The offending cleric was transferred from Essen to Munich for “therapy” by a decision of then-Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger, and assurances were given that he would no longer have children in his care. But it took no time for Ratzinger’s deputy, Vicar General Gerhard Gruber, to return him to “pastoral” work, where he soon enough resumed his career of sexual assault.

It is, of course, claimed, and it will no doubt later be partially un-claimed, that Ratzinger himself knew nothing of this second outrage. I quote, here, from the Rev. Thomas Doyle, a former employee of the Vatican Embassy in Washington and an early critic of the Catholic Church’s sloth in responding to child-rape allegations. “Nonsense,” he says. “Pope Benedict is a micromanager. He’s the old style. Anything like that would necessarily have been brought to his attention. Tell the vicar general to find a better line. What he’s trying to do, obviously, is protect the pope.”

This is common or garden stuff, very familiar to American and Australian and Irish Catholics whose children’s rape and torture, and the cover-up of same by the tactic of moving rapists and torturers from parish to parish, has been painstakingly and comprehensively exposed. It’s on a level with the recent belated admission by the pope’s brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, that while he knew nothing about sexual assault at the choir school he ran between 1964 and 1994, now that he remembers it, he is sorry for his practice of slapping the boys around.

Patron Saint of Pedophiles of the Unholy Roman Catholic Church, Pope John Paul II

Patron Saint of Pedophiles of the Unholy Roman Catholic Church, Pope John Paul II

Very much more serious is the role of Joseph Ratzinger, before the church decided to make him supreme leader, in obstructing justice on a global scale. After his promotion to cardinal, he was put in charge of the so-called “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith” (formerly known as the Inquisition). In 2001, Pope John Paul II placed this department in charge of the investigation of child rape and torture by Catholic priests. In May of that year, Ratzinger issued a confidential letter to every bishop. In it, he reminded them of the extreme gravity of a certain crime. But that crime was the reporting of the rape and torture. The accusations, intoned Ratzinger, were only treatable within the church’s own exclusive jurisdiction. Any sharing of the evidence with legal authorities or the press was utterly forbidden. Charges were to be investigated “in the most secretive way … restrained by a perpetual silence … and everyone … is to observe the strictest secret which is commonly regarded as a secret of the Holy Office … under the penalty of excommunication.” (My italics). Nobody has yet been excommunicated for the rape and torture of children, but exposing the offense could get you into serious trouble. And this is the church that warns us against moral relativism! (See, for more on this appalling document, two reports in the London Observer of April 24, 2005, by Jamie Doward.)

Not content with shielding its own priests from the law, Ratzinger’s office even wrote its own private statute of limitations. The church’s jurisdiction, claimed Ratzinger, “begins to run from the day when the minor has completed the 18th year of age” and then lasts for 10 more years. Daniel Shea, the attorney for two victims who sued Ratzinger and a church in Texas, correctly describes that latter stipulation as an obstruction of justice. “You can’t investigate a case if you never find out about it. If you can manage to keep it secret for 18 years plus 10, the priest will get away with it.”

The next item on this grisly docket will be the revival of the long-standing allegations against the Rev. Marcial Maciel, founder of the ultra-reactionary Legion of Christ, in which sexual assault seems to have been almost part of the liturgy. Senior ex-members of this secretive order found their complaints ignored and overridden by Ratzinger during the 1990s, if only because Father Maciel had been praised by the then-Pope John Paul II as an “efficacious guide to youth.” And now behold the harvest of this long campaign of obfuscation. The Roman Catholic Church is headed by a mediocre Bavarian bureaucrat once tasked with the concealment of the foulest iniquity, whose ineptitude in that job now shows him to us as a man personally and professionally responsible for enabling a filthy wave of crime. Ratzinger himself may be banal, but his whole career has the stench of evil—a clinging and systematic evil that is beyond the power of exorcism to dispel. What is needed is not medieval incantation but the application of justice—and speedily at that.

Priest interrogated shooting victim shortly after surgery, instead of letting him rest.


Priest interrogated shooting victim shortly after surgery, instead of letting him rest.

From Patrick Pontillo’s blog from the following link: http://www.donaldwuerl.com/2012/02/priest-interrogated-shooting-victim.html

by guest writer Mike Ference, in continuation of his narration of

Mike Ference

Mike Ference

Donald Wuerl’s disregard for the trauma that the Ference family endured, shortly after and long after the attempted murder of a young Adam Ference on Pittsburgh diocesan school grounds.

On December 5, 1989, my son was the victim of handgun bullet wound
in the back of his head.  The gun was held inches from his skull before
the shooter pulled the trigger.  The shooter then turned the gun on him-
self and successfully committed suicide.

The prime witness in this event was now dead.  Believe or not, this was
not the worst of it.  What would happen over the next few days, the next
few months, the next few years, and would continue for almost two de-
cades tells the story of just how corrupt and uncivilized the Common-
wealth of Pennsylvania has become.

Teenage suicides, sexual molestation, and attempted murders proved to
be nothing more than inconvenience for the Pennsylvania power mongers
who were present when the exploitation of the political/judicial system
was occurring  –  of a system they continue to maintain for the benefit of
a few well-placed and well-networked persons who don’t have the com-
mon good in mind.

After undergoing six or seven hours of emergency neurosurgery, my son
was admitted to the intensive care unit and his vital signs would be closely
monitored for the next several days.  That night, my wife would begin her
14-day vigil, almost never being more than a few feet from our son’s bed-
side.  Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Diocese would begin its 20 year vigil of
covering up accusations leveled against people employed by the church;
not only Pittsburgh Diocesan personnel, but personnel from the Archdio-
cese of Boston, as well.

The Red Flag Incident

On the night of Adam’s shooting, Serra Catholic High School
Headmaster Sysol  (now deceased)  ventured into Presbyterian
Hospital  (now the Univ of Pittsburgh Medical Center).  Sysol
would ask my wife if he could visit with our son.  It was close
to midnight and it had been the toughest day ever for my son
and our close-knit family.  When Headmaster Sysol asked to
visit with my son, my wife thought that she would be going in
with him.  No such luck.

The Questions as to the Headmaster’s Intentions

Was Sysol on a mission?  Was Sysol on a clandestine operation, to find
out what, if anything, Adam knew about the shooter who befriended a
Fr. John Wellinger a few years earlier, at St. Clare of Assisi Parish in
Clairton?  Sysol would conveniently be in a position to also check and
see if my son, Adam, knew anything about Brother Kenneth Ghastin, a
teacher at Serra High School who was accused of molesting two teen-
age brothers in 1974, during a time when he taught at the now-defunct
Christopher Columbus High School, in Boston’s North End.  This is ac-
cording to an article published by the Framingham Metro West Daily
News.

As far as goes any concern for my son, Sysol had none that I could de-
tect.  He would question my son for almost three relentless hours, ask-
ing the same questions of a kid still dazed by a shotgun blast to the head
and still trying to recover from seven hours of intensive neurosurgery.

Let me repeat:  At Serra Catholic High School, in the Diocese of Pitts-
burgh, at the time when my son was the target of an attempted murder,
there was a member of the Boston Archdiocese stationed there who
was accused of molestation and who had close access to the school’s
male youths.  No one warned us of this.  Instead, they covered up their
mess.

It wouldn’t be until the middle 1990s that the Archdiocese of Boston
would finally reach a financial settlement with the families, concerning
that teacher.  The settlement would include a $30,000 payment to one
of the brothers.  Sadly, according to the paper, one of the brothers who
had a history of drug misuse would die in 1994.  Church files would re-
gard it as a suicide, as if he intended to die from that occasion of drug
misuse, and even though he apparently had no intention to die from drug
use at any time prior.  That is to say, the archdiocese did not mark the
death as an accidental one resulting  from long-term emotional trauma.

For now, that’s the rest of the story.  But plenty of questions still need
to be answered.  Did Donald Wuerl cooperate with the Archdiocese of
Boston and permit known pedophiles to remain in the Pittsburgh Diocese?
If so, were other pedophiles admitted to Serra Catholic High School and
other Catholic institutions without us knowing it?  Was it the assignment
of Headmaster Sysol to keep an eye on Brother Kenneth Ghastin and
possibly other abusive clergy transferred from Boston?  Knowing what
we know now about the Archdiocese of Boston abuse scandal, anything
is possible.

Little wonder that Father Ron Lengwin allegedly badgered the police of
McKeesport to quash the case of the attempted murder of my son, with
little investigative effort on the part of McKeesport police …  and with no
cooperation with Pennsylvania State Police.  No wonder Serra Catholic
High School administrators would not permit McKeesport police to in-
vestigate the crime scene, according to the police report, and so done
against Lengwin’s judgment.  Incidentally, McKeesport police were not
permitted on Serra Catholic High School property for over 24 hours af-
ter the shooting of my son and the suicide of his shooter.

It is becoming clear as to why the Pittsburgh Diocese went to such great
lengths to cover up the accusations leveled against not merely one alleged
predator, but at least two, namely John Wellinger and Kenneth Ghastin.
No wonder why current St. Vincent Archabbot Douglas Nowicki would
have motive to offer me what I construed was a de facto bribe, in his be-
ing willing to admitting my son Adam to St. Vincent College, while saying
it in such a way that I interpreted the offer as having strings attached to it.
No wonder why Cardinal Bernard Law would visit that same Latrobe in-
stitution before his final and most shameful departure for Rome.

A telephone call to Serra Catholic High School in McKeesport, PA re-
sulted in the principal refusing to give his last name and almost begging
for advice on how to handle this latest development.  I advised the man
to do the right thing.  He did not know how to respond or what I even
meant.  So much for the training and all the zero-tolerance policies.

I had hoped to speak with Barbara Thorp of the Archdiocese of Boston
as soon as was possible.  Likewise, New York Franciscan administrators
Father Patrick Boyle and Father Robert Campagna seemed prepared to
cooperate and provide the necessary information needed to finally get to
the truth.  But, that hope was sparked in 2009.  It’s now the Year 2012,
and I have gotten no results.  Incidentally, Brother Ghastin asserted his
innocence, at last count.

Top 10 Reasons Why John Paul II Is No Saint – Part 1


Top 10 Reasons Why John Paul II Is No Saint – Part 1

Posted by on May 12, 2011

From the link: http://voicelessvictim.wordpress.com/2011/05/12/top-10-reasons-why-john-paul-ii-is-no-saint/

Here is the first part of my Top 10 Reasons Why John Paul II Is No Saint.

This list refers only to the child rape epidemic. There are many more issues on which the Patron Saint of Paedophiles has left the world a far, far worse place than he found it, and many instances where he deliberately caused immense suffering in order to pursue his own base and selfish ends.

Reason No 1: Father Marcial Maciel Degollado

Father Maciel, founder of the oppressive and twisted cult Legionnaires of Christ, notorious drug addict and child rapist who also fathered a number of children and sexually abused at least one of them, was publicly and privately supported by JPII. He was immune from facing responsibility for his crimes, no matter how many victims came forward, or how much detailed evidence they provided.

JPII shielded this monster living a sordid double life because of his important position as the revered leader of the Legionnaires of Christ, his conservatism and unquestioning obedience to the Pope’s every dictate, his success in bringing young priests into the Church, and, most importantly, because he was the Vatican’s cash cow who filled the Papal coffers and lavished extravagant gifts on top Vatican officials. A consumate fundraiser, Fr Maciel’s bundles of cash regularly delivered into the waiting hands of Vatican officials were siphoned from his wealthy cult, or sourced through selling access to JPII to wealthy families willing to pay for the privilege. Father Maciel was regarded as the greatest fundraiser of the modern Church and his Legionnaires of Christ is estimated to have amassed a fortune worth tens of billions of dollars.

He had also been abusing his seminarians, some as young as 11 years old, since at least the 1950’s. A group of former seminarians, many of them now priests, repeatedly filed formal legal documents with the Vatican asking for an investigation, but every time their request was not even granted the respect of receiving a refusal and instead completely ignored. Maciel’s victims were branded liars and traitors by those determined to cover up for him, but even Cardinal Ratzinger, notoriously reluctant to act against child rapist priests, finally appreciated the need to investigate and was prepared to do so until firmly ordered by JPII not to go after his favourite, Father Maciel.

Reason No 2: Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer

Arrogant hardline conservative Cardinal Groer of Austria was appointed by JPII to move the balance of power away from moderate progressives who supported the Vatican II changes. The fact that Groer was also seriously disturbed, sexually peverse, and had sexually abused over 2,000 boys and young men was not sufficient for Groer to ever lose JPII’s support.  He died in 2003 having never admitted or faced responsibility for his crimes, and was honoured by the Church.

Groer, a Benedictine, Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna from 1986 to 1995, and President of the Austrian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, held on to these high ranking positions with JPII’s support despite being credibly accused of horrendous crimes. JPII actually likened the monstrous Groer to Jesus facing “unjust accusations”. Groer stonewalled wave after wave of convincing revelations against him for sexually abusing underage high school students while their headmaster, and young adult seminarians while their prior, and was even re-elected President of the Austrian Bishop’s Conference, a stunningly inappropriate choice.

Groer eventually retired as Archbishop of Vienna, largely because he was past retirement age, and finally lost support for his position as the head of the Bishops’ Conference in the face of growing outrage and millions of Austrians, Germans and other Europeans petitioning against him.

It took JPII three years before Groer was finally asked to relinquish any remaining important Church posts. Like Father Maciel, Groer was another favourite of JPII, an ultra-conservative who was successful in bringing new young priests into the Church.

Originally Austrian Bishops took the usual Church route of defending the indefensible, sweeping crimes under the carpet and attacking the victims, denouncing allegations against Groer as “a conspiracy against the Church”. But mounting evidence and Groer’s arrogant refusal to even respond to the scandal engulfing all of Europe, eventually changed their minds. In the end four leading Austrian Bishops publicly supported the allegations against him, forcing Groer to concede, ungraciously, “if I am guilty … I apologise”.

Still, JPII saw fit to appoint the criminal Cardinal Groer prior of a Benedictine abbey. An investigation was eventually launched by the head of the Benedictine order in Rome, but according to recent reports that investigation suffered the same fate as the investigation of Father Maciel. Certainly no results were ever revealed and no action was ever taken. But not because of lack of evidence.

Groer died, unpunished, unrepentant, maintaining his obdurate silence until the end, unchastened by the future Patron Saint of Paedophiles, who still favoured him with a privileged private breakfast meeting on a visit to Rome. JPII also encouraged Austrians to forget all about Groer’s crimes and accept the Church honouring his memory and treating him with undeserved dignity in death. JPII’s shocking lack of action over the audacious crimes of a leading Cardinal callously jeopardised the recovery of Groer’s thousands of victims whose lives had already been ruined, and drove tens of thousands of previously staunchly Catholic Austrians from the Church in disgust each year.

Reason No 3: Cardinal Bernard Francis Law

While never accused of himself attacking children, Cardinal Law was the first senior Church official about whom large numbers of documents were available to prove he actively participated in the cover-up of child rape. But no amount of proof or public calls for his resignation could convince this entitled prince of the Church that he was not fit to continue in his position as Archbishop of Boston. He steadfastly refused to step down, to remove rapist priests from ministry or to reveal the names of the criminal predators reporting to him, to the police or anyone else.  Sufficient pressure was finally brought to bear and in December 2002 he vacated the position he had so scandalised. JPII, however, could not be offended with Law, who was another hardline conservative mindlessly following JPII’s dictates, so he allowed this disgraced and disgraceful Church official to retain the exalted position of Cardinal, which enabled Law to eventually vote for JPII’s successor in 2005.

It is reported that Law fled Boston just hours before state troopers arrived with subpoenas seeking his grand jury testimony. Law is currently in hiding in the Vatican, which does not believe in extraditing its officials to other countries to face questioning or take responsibility for their actions. There is a very good reason for this, since if Law were ever foolish enough to leave the safe refuge of the Vatican state, he would be immediately served with summonses for numerous civil suits, even though he slips through the cracks in criminal law. Not satisfied with rewarding Law with protection from American law and his personal support, JPII appointed Law to a prominent post in Rome, putting him in charge of the important Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, with the title of Archpriest. Fugitive Law also holds a large number of significant Vatican appointments on powerful Committees, Councils and Congregations.

The Massachusetts state attorney general issued a report entitled Child Sexual Abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston (July 23, 2003) which described the magnitude of the child sexual abuse problem in the diocese as “staggering” and severely criticised Law, finding evidence that Law knew about the scale and nature of the problem, and knew about the danger to children but chose secrecy over child protection. Law also refused to report criminal offences to the police and even when questioned, refused to reveal information that would assist police enquiries or protect children. The report noted that Law could not be charged because of the convenient protection of the statute of limitations which makes it almost impossible for crimes of this nature to be prosecuted. However most commentators are highly critical of this deficiency in the law and call for law reform to ensure in future we protect victims and potential victims rather than dangerous sexual predators and those who enable them.

Reason No 4: Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos

In September 2001, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the then prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, wrote to Bishop Pierre Pican of Bayeux-Lisieux, France, praising him effusively for not reporting a rapist priest to civil authorities. While the situation itself is far from unique, it is rare for such clear evidence of the Vatican’s twisted morality and willingness to sacrifice innocent children to be publicly revealed. Vatican insiders are usually much better at suppressing evidence of their dirty deeds.

The French priest, Father René Bissey, privately admitted sexually abusing more than one child, but his bishop permitted Father Bissey to remain in parish ministry and did absolutely nothing to help Bissey’s victims or discover the extent of his numerous crimes.

“I congratulate you for not denouncing a priest to the civil administration,” wrote Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos in the infamous letter. “You have acted well and I am pleased to have a colleague in the episcopate who, in the eyes of history and of all other bishops in the world, preferred prison to denouncing his son and priest.”

The cardinal explained relations between bishops and priests were not simply professional but had “very special links of spiritual paternity.” Bishops therefore had no obligation to testify against “a direct relative,” he stated. The letter cited Vatican documents and an epistle of Saint Paul to bolster its argument about special bishop-priest links.

“To encourage brothers in the episcopate in this delicate domain, this Congregation will send copies of this letter to all bishops’ conferences,” Castrillon Hoyos wrote.

Most commentators understand this worldwide promulgation of the letter to clearly convey the official message that obstructing justice and evading secular law in order to protect criminal priests is expected, even required, behaviour for Bishops, and that this missive must first have received the approval of JPII.

Despite the best efforts of Hoyos and Pican to keep the criminal predator Bissey out of jail and free to abuse more children, in 2000 Father Bissey received an 18-year prison sentence for raping a boy and sexually assaulting ten others between 1989 and 1996.

At Bissey’s trial Pican perjured himself by claiming no knowledge of Bissey’s crimes. Pican’s lie was revealed during Bissey’s own testimony when he admitted he had told his superiors about his crimes. Pican had also been told of the crimes by other Church officials and had known of complaints from Bissey’s victims for many years.

During his own trial in 2001 for failing to report the abuse, arrogant Bishop Pican admitted he would do the same again if the situation were repeated, and proudly claimed to have never turned anyone in. The first French Bishop in modern history to face trial, the magistrate concluded that Pican had “acted purely to protect the church from a scandal” but sentenced him to a mere three-month suspended sentence.

Reason No 5: Appointment of Hardline Bishops

Throughout JPII’s reign, his ambition for absolute and centralised control meant the appointment of new Bishops was seen as an opportunity to impose unthinking obedience to the Pope as the key criteria for episcopal selection. Anyone who had ever expressed the slightest opposition to JPII’s opinions was immediately excluded from consideration – permanently. The result is a whole generation of Bishops who are scared to deviate from Vatican edicts, make decisions in a moral vacuum, are hardline conservatives mindlessly loyal to Rome, obsessed with pleasing the Pope, mediocre, conformist, ambitious to a fault, ruthlessly deceitful, lacking intellectual independence or leadership skills, arrogantly unsympathetic to parishoners, and fixated on climbing the Vatican slippery pole of influence peddling, favouritism, prestige and power.

By putting in place Bishops whose only loyalty is to those who control promotion within the Church, the people the Bishops are meant to serve are treated as serfs to be exploited, not a community to be nurtured. Exactly the very worst type of people to be able to deal compassionately or honestly with victims of child sexual abuse. Exactly the situation that would lead to Bishops consistently bullying victims into silence, covering up any scandals and protecting child rapist priests.

According to commentator and sociologist Father Andrew Greeley, JPII’s appointees are largely “mean-spirited careerists – inept, incompetent, insensitive bureaucrats, who are utterly indifferent to their clergy and laity”. Certainly it does not take too much familiarity with these smug rich old men in dresses to realise they are self-interested thugs and yes men with no desire to do anything other than curry favour with the power brokers of the Vatican in order to advance their own prospects.

And there is little doubt that JPII, thinking only of his own need for control and dominance, liked things just the way they were and had no desire to appoint more talented or compassionate Bishops who may have been more able to honestly face the challenges presented by child rape within the Church.

Burton Priest Steps Down, Admits Abuse


Burton Priest Steps Down, Admits Abuse

From the link: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news3/2002_03_30_APStateLocalWire_BurtonPriest_Vincent_DeLorenzo_1.htm

Associated Press State & Local Wire [Burton, Mich.]
March 30, 2002

A priest who abruptly resigned as pastor of a Catholic Church in this community near Flint admitted having “inappropriate sexual contact” with a minor in a letter read to parishioners.

The admission followed allegations by a former Flint Township man who said the Rev. Vincent DeLorenzo, now 63, molested him over a five-year period starting in the late 1970s, The Flint Journal reported Saturday.

“Many years ago, I had inappropriate sexual contact with a minor,” DeLorenzo said in the statement read during Good Friday services at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church. “This has caused harm to that young person. I am sorry it happened and now publicly apologize for what I did.”

DeLorenzo, who was not present at the church, said he sought medical and psychological treatment in January and resigned after nearly 14 years as Holy Redeemer’s pastor, keeping with Lansing diocesan policy on sexual misconduct.

His Jan. 23 resignation came shortly after Robert Dallas Oskey, 32, said he confronted DeLorenzo and church officials about the alleged abuse.

“I do feel … a responsibility to share my story if it can help others who have lived through this similar awful experience.” Oskey told The Journal in a telephone interview from his home in Virginia.

Oskey, who remained close to DeLorenzo over the years, said he finally decided to deal with the trauma caused by the abuse.

“My life was put on hold for 32 years because of it. It’s all of our responsibility to stand up and do what’s right, to just be aware of this stuff,” he said.

The admission comes as the Roman Catholic Church deals with publicity surrounding sex-abuse allegations involving clergy. Revelations that the Archdiocese of Boston failed to banish priests accused of child molestation have been repeated in parishes across the country.

Called “Father D.” by parishioners and friends, DeLorenzo was known for his sense of humor.

His statement was read to the congregation during a service given by the Rev. Timothy Nelson, who was named temporary parish administrator after the priest quit for “personal and health reasons.”

DeLorenzo’s status remains as a resigned priest, according to diocese officials. It was unclear where he is living.

DeLorenzo’s brother, Frank DeLorenzo, of Flint, said attorneys have advised the priest’s family not to discuss the allegations. The lawyers will respond “when the time is right,” he said.

“Our family is devastated. I’m sure the Oskey family is devastated,” Frank DeLorenzo said. “Beyond that, I’m very concerned about all the people in the congregation who may be hurt. I would ask that everyone pray for all of the people affected in this, including the Oskeys.”

Oskey, a former St. Pius student, said he met the priest at his First Communion, held in the family’s home. After that, DeLorenzo began inviting him to stay overnight at the rectory so his nephew had someone to play with, Oskey said.

Sexual contact began during the second visit and always involved the priest fondling him, Oskey said. Oskey estimated DeLorenzo fondled him about 100 times over the next several years.

“He’d take me out of school and take me to lunch,” Oskey said. “There were a lot of kids who were pretty jealous. He built the relationship. He had the key to the city. His presence was so enormous.”

Oskey said he was in the eighth or ninth grade when DeLorenzo told him he had to stop. While the two remained close, Oskey said, he came to realized the abuse was causing havoc in his life.

Oskey said he revealed the allegations to his parents on Jan. 14, then discussed them with a Holy Redeemer church deacon. DeLorenzo soon stepped down, Oskey said.

State police in Flint Township investigated Oskey’s allegations and brought the case to the Genesee County prosecutor’s office about a month ago.

Prosecutor Arthur A. Busch confirmed Friday he is looking into the matter. But he said the statute of limitations could make it difficult to file charges.

Demonstrations against unresolved clerical sex abuse scandal in Boston


Demonstrations against unresolved clerical sex abuse scandal in Boston

Speak Truth to Power stand their ground outside Cathedral of the Holy Cross

On Sunday, September 29, the annual Red Mass took place at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. This Red Mass celebrates the official start of the new court year and custom lends that the mass is attended by judges, lawyers and court officials. In contrast, outside the Cathedral, protesters demonstrated against the unresolved clerical sex abuse scandal.

In early 2002, revelations of sexual abuse of children and the systematic cover-up in the Archdiocese of Boston were first published in a scandal that rocked the church and shocked a nation. Since then, members of the protest group, Speak Truth to Power (STTOP), have stood outside the main Cathedral for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston every Sunday in a show of solidarity with abuse survivors as well as to seek full accountability and change from the Catholic Church.

Their weekly Sunday vigil is considered to be one of the oldest protests in the nation now nearing its 12th year. Irish American Stan Doherty, from Stoneham, is one such protester who makes the weekly pilgrimage to the South End of the city as he feels that someone needs to “bear witness” and that as a Catholic, he was taught that when confronted with injustice he must  “stand up to evil”. The group’s demonstrations are always peaceful with their message clear to all, through use of their powerful banners which include images of the victims at the age they were abused.

Initially, the group experienced extreme anger directed towards their protests by churchgoers. Over the years, as more information becomes public, Doherty, commented he has seen a “change in people’s reaction” with many now receptive to their presence and even telling them to “keep up the good work.”  All the protesters present outside the church vocalized their commitment to the group’s mission and expressed clearly that it will continue until the full truth is exposed and justice is served.

Accused paedophile priest arrested in US


Accused paedophile priest arrested in US

From the link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-112721/Accused-paedophile-priest-arrested-US.html

An accused paedophile priest at the centre of a sex-abuse scandal in Boston that has engulfed Cardinal Bernard Law and the Vatican was arrested on tonight by police in San Diego, prosecutors said.

Father Paul Shanley, who faces three counts of child rape, was arrested at about 10:45 a.m EDT (1445 GMT), according to the Middlesex County District Attorney in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Cardinal Law, the senior U.S. Catholic Church prelate, met secretly with Pope John Paul II last month after documents revealed the cardinal supported Shanley even though he knew the priest was accused of sexually abusing children.

Law told the pope about pressure for his resignation over Shanley and other sex-abuse cases but the cardinal has not resigned.

Between 1983 and 1990, according to authorities, Shanley, now 71, raped the male victim, now 24, when the victim was between 6 and 13 years old. The alleged incident took place at St. Jean’s parish in Newton, outside Boston.

Shanley’s whereabouts have been unknown since revelations about his alleged abuse were made public. The Newton, Massachusetts police department got a warrant for his arrest on Wednesday night, according to prosecutors.

While the archdiocese was under the leadership of the late Humberto Medeiros and Law, Shanley admitted to superiors that he raped and sodomized children, according to documents released in April under a court order.

The documents also showed that Shanley advocated sex between children and adults and that he was an early adherent of a group that later became the North American Man-Boy Love Association.

The documents rocked the Catholic Church in Boston, already reeling from the accusations against another priest, John Geoghan, who is serving a prison sentence for fondling a 10-year-old boy.

Revelations about Geoghan, accused by more than 130 people of abusing them during his 30 years as a Boston priest, triggered the mushrooming clergy sexual abuse scandal in the United States.

Law is at the center of the turmoil roiling the church in the United States for allowing accused pedophile priest to keep assignments that put them near children.

Law and other U.S. cardinals met with the pope in Rome last month in an unprecedented council to discuss the scandal in America and at meeting in Texas next month American Catholic leaders hope to establish national standards for dealing with priests involved in sex abuse.

The sex-abuse scandal, however, has not been confined to the United States and has swept many countries across Europe and Africa.

There have been sex scandals in the Catholic Church from Mexico, to Brazil and even in the pope’s native Poland.

Protests in predominately Catholic Ireland last month forced the resignation of a bishop because of the way he had dealt with allegations of sexual abuse by a priest.

Last year, a French court gave a three-month suspended sentence to Bishop Pierre Pican, who was accused of covering up for a priest who has since been jailed for 18 years for the rape of a boy and sexual abuse of 10.

The Church’s Errant Shepherds


Op-Ed Columnist

 

The Church’s Errant Shepherds

 

BOSTON, Philadelphia, Los Angeles. The archdioceses change but the overarching story line doesn’t, and last week Milwaukee had a turn in the spotlight, with the release of roughly 6,000 pages of records detailing decades of child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests there, a sweeping, searing encyclopedia of crime and insufficient punishment.

But the words I keep marveling at aren’t from that wretched trove. They’re from an open letter that Jerome Listecki, the archbishop of Milwaukee, wrote to Catholics just before the documents came out.

“Prepare to be shocked,” he said.

What a quaint warning, and what a clueless one.

Quaint because at this grim point in 2013, a quarter-century since child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church first captured serious public attention, few if any Catholics are still surprised by a priest’s predations.

Clueless because Listecki was referring to the rapes and molestations themselves, not to what has ultimately eroded many Catholics’ faith and what continues to be even more galling than the evil that a man — any man, including one in a cassock or collar — can do. I mean the evil that an entire institution can do, though it supposedly dedicates itself to good.

I mean the way that a religious organization can behave almost precisely as a corporation does, with fudged words, twisted logic and a transcendent instinct for self-protection that frequently trump the principled handling of a specific grievance or a particular victim.

The Milwaukee documents underscore this, especially in the person of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, now the archbishop of New York, previously the archbishop of Milwaukee from 2002 to 2009 and thus one of the characters in the story that the documents tell. Last week’s headlines rightly focused on his part, because he typifies the slippery ways of too many Catholic leaders.

The documents show that in 2007, as the Milwaukee archdiocese grappled with sex-abuse lawsuits and seemingly pondered bankruptcy, Dolan sought and got permission from the Vatican to transfer $57 million into a trust for Catholic cemetery maintenance, where it might be better protected, as he wrote, “from any legal claim and liability.”

Several church officials have said that the money had been previously flagged for cemetery care, and that Dolan was merely formalizing that.

But even if that’s so, his letter contradicts his strenuous insistence before its emergence that he never sought to shield church funds. He did precisely that, no matter the nuances of the motivation.

He’s expert at drafting and dwelling in gray areas. Back in Milwaukee he selectively released the names of sexually abusive priests in the archdiocese, declining to identify those affiliated with, and answerable to, particular religious orders — Jesuits, say, or Franciscans. He said that he was bound by canon law to take that exact approach.

But bishops elsewhere took a different one, identifying priests from orders, and in a 2010 article on Dolan in The Times, Serge F. Kovaleski wrote that a half-dozen experts on canon law said that it did not specifically address the situation that Dolan claimed it did.

Dolan has quibbled disingenuously over whether the $20,000 given to each abusive priest in Milwaukee who agreed to be defrocked can be characterized as a payoff, and he has blasted the main national group representing victims of priests as having “no credibility whatsoever.” Some of the group’s members have surely engaged in crude, provocative tactics, but let’s have a reality check: the group exists because of widespread crimes and a persistent cover-up in the church, because child after child was raped and priest after priest evaded accountability. I’m not sure there’s any ceiling on the patience that Dolan and other church leaders should be expected to muster, especially because they hold themselves up as models and messengers of love, charity and integrity.

That’s the thing. That’s what church leaders and church defenders who routinely question the amount of attention lavished on the church’s child sexual abuse crisis still don’t fully get.

Yes, as they point out, there are molesters in all walks of life. Yes, we can’t say with certainty that the priesthood harbors a disproportionate number of them.

But over the last few decades we’ve watched an organization that claims a special moral authority in the world pursue many of the same legal and public-relations strategies — shuttling around money, looking for loopholes, tarring accusers, massaging the truth — that are employed by organizations devoted to nothing more than the bottom line.

In San Diego, diocesan leaders who filed for bankruptcy were rebuked by a judge for misrepresenting the local church’s financial situation to parishioners being asked to help pay for sex-abuse settlements.

In St. Louis church leaders claimed not to be liable for an abusive priest because while he had gotten to know a victim on church property, the abuse itself happened elsewhere.

In Kansas City, Mo., Rebecca Randles, a lawyer who has represented abuse victims, says that the church floods the courtroom with attorneys who in turn drown her in paperwork. In one case, she recently told me, “the motion-to-dismiss pile is higher than my head — I’m 5-foot-4.”

Also in Kansas City, Bishop Robert Finn still inhabits his post as the head of the diocese despite his conviction last September for failing to report a priest suspected of child sexual abuse to the police. This is how the church is in fact unlike a corporation. It coddles its own at the expense of its image.

As for Dolan, he is by many accounts and appearances one of the good guys, or at least one of the better ones. He has often demonstrated a necessary vigor in ridding the priesthood of abusers. He has given many victims a voice.

But look at the language in this 2005 letter he wrote to the Vatican, which was among the documents released last week. Arguing for the speedier dismissal of an abusive priest, he noted, in cool legalese, “The liability for the archdiocese is great as is the potential for scandal if it appears that no definitive action has been taken.”

His attention to appearances, his focus on liability: he could be steering an oil company through a spill, a pharmaceutical giant through a drug recall.

As for “the potential for scandal,” that’s as poignantly optimistic a line as Listecki’s assumption that the newly released Milwaukee documents would shock Catholics. By 2005 the scandal that Dolan mentions wasn’t looming but already full blown, and by last week the only shocker left was that some Catholic leaders don’t grasp its greatest component: their evasions and machinations.

I invite you to visit my blog at http://bruni.blogs.nytimes.com/ , follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/frankbruni and join me on Facebook.

Clergy sex abuse victims to see Milwaukee archdiocese files


Clergy sex abuse victims to see Milwaukee archdiocese files

Written by M.L. JOHNSON Associated Press Jun. 23, 2013

From the link: http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/viewart/20130623/GPG0101/306230271/Clergy-sex-abuse-victims-see-Milwaukee-archdiocese-files

MILWAUKEE — The Archdiocese of Milwaukee plans to make dozens of priests’ personnel files public in the next week, along with hundreds of pages of other documents that sex abuse victims hope will hold church leaders accountable for transferring abusive priests to other parishes and concealing their crimes for decades.

The documents are being released as part of a deal reached in federal bankruptcy court between the archdiocese and victims suing it for fraud. The archdiocese has said the records will include personnel files for 42 priests with verified claims of abuse against them, along with depositions from top church officials, including New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who previously led the Milwaukee archdiocese. The documents are to be posted on the archdiocese’s website by July 1.

Similar files made public by other Roman Catholic dioceses and religious orders have detailed how leaders tried to protect the church by shielding priests and not reporting child sex abuse to authorities. The cover-up extended to the top of the Catholic hierarchy. Correspondence obtained by The Associated Press in 2010 showed the future Pope Benedict XVI had resisted pleas in the 1980s to defrock a California priest with a record of molesting children. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger led the Vatican office responsible for disciplining abusive priests before his election as pope.

Archdiocese officials in Milwaukee have long acknowledged that abusive priests were transferred to new churches with no warning to parishioners. Former Archbishop Rembert Weakland publicly apologized to a Sheboygan church for this in 1992, and in a 2008 deposition previously made public, he spoke of multiple cases in which church leaders were aware of priests’ histories but members were not. Still, victims have pushed aggressively for the priests’ files to be released.

Charles Linneman, 45, of Sugar Grove, Ill., said he was an altar boy when he met Franklyn Becker at St. Joseph’s Parish in Lyons in southeastern Wisconsin in 1980 and was abused by him when he visited Becker following the priest’s move to Milwaukee. Linneman read Becker’s file several years ago when it became public during litigation in California, where Becker also served.

Linneman said he had long wondered whether coming forward before he did in 2002 would have kept other children from being hurt. It was a relief, he said, when the file showed no reports of children being abused after him.“It helped me move on,” Linneman said. But it also led him to leave the Catholic church, stunned by what he saw as a massive cover-up.

“I really got fed up,” he said. “I’m like, I just can’t believe all these lies and betrayals that went on. … The archdiocese is supposed to be people in charge that are responsible and morally ethical, and that’s not what they did.”

Becker was removed from the priesthood in 2004. Messages left at a Mayville number listed in his name weren’t returned. His file is among a few from Milwaukee that have already been made public. But Linneman said he still plans to read whatever comes out on July 1 because his attorneys told him the records will likely include some he hasn’t seen.

While certain church officials and attorneys for both sides have seen the roughly 6,000 pages of documents, the victims have not.

Jerry Topczewski, chief of staff for Archbishop Jerome Listecki, said the archdiocese had shared some files with some victims over the years but was reluctant to make them public because of privacy concerns. It eventually agreed to do so when it became clear that victims would hold up the bankruptcy case until the information came out. Some of the files contain graphic material, and people “should be prepared to be shocked,” he said.

At the same time, most of the priests’ names have been known since the archdiocese’s release of 43 with verified abuse claims against them in 2004. Two others, Ronald Engel and Donald Musinski, were added to the list later. The allegations against Musinski came to light only after the archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in 2011 and his file will be released later, once it is complete, Topczewski said. Two other priests’ files aren’t being released because they involve single victims who could easily be identified.

The impact of church documents released elsewhere has varied greatly, said Terry McKiernan, who has spent more than a decade collecting and preserving clergy sex abuse records for BishopAccountability.org. In one of the biggest scandals involving the church, Cardinal Bernard Law resigned as the head of the Boston archdiocese within days of the 2002 release of child sex abuse documents that also described a priest abandoning his adult lover as she overdosed. But in other places, where files were too massive or disorganized for most people to make sense of them, they drew little attention, McKiernan said.Even when victims were successful in bringing the truth to light, some found it didn’t have the result they had hoped. Joelle Casteix, 42, of Newport Beach, Calif., was abused by a teacher at a Catholic high school in the 1980s. Documents in her case were made public in 2005 as part of a $100 million settlement with the Diocese of Orange, an experience she called “life-changing.”

“I got my human dignity back,” she said in an email. “I was able to get truth and power for the first time since I was 16. For years, people thought I was crazy. But now, everyone knows that I was right and truthful all along.”

Yet despite the publicity, her former teacher was able to keep his job at a Michigan college. Officials there see her as a disgruntled ex-girlfriend, Casteix said, adding that the situation “makes me ill.”

5 things to know

How many priests were involved? The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has verified claims of sexual abuse by 45 priests, including 23 who are still alive. None is allowed to work as a priest, and 15 have been officially defrocked. Most of them are accused of abuse that took place before 1990.

How many victims are there? It’s hard to say because some victims may not have come forward. But one former priest, Lawrence Murphy, has been accused of sexually abusing some 200 boys at a school for the deaf from 1950 to 1974. Other priests have been accused by only one person thus far. There are more than 570 sexual abuse claims pending in bankruptcy court, but some of those involve lay people or priests assigned to religious orders, not the archdiocese. Attorneys have not said specifically how many of the 570 claims relate to the 45 priests on the archdiocese’s restricted list.

How did clergy abuse cases end up in bankruptcy court? Abuse victims had long sought to hold the archdiocese accountable, but most didn’t come forward until well into adulthood, when it was too late under Wisconsin law to sue the church for negligence in supervising its priests. A 2007 Wisconsin Supreme Court decision gave them a window, saying the six-year limit in fraud cases didn’t start until the deception was uncovered. The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in 2011, once it became clear that it could face a slew of lawsuits. It said it wouldn’t have the money to pay if those cases went against it.What’s in the documents the archdiocese is releasing by July 1? It’s hard to say for certain because no one has seen the collection yet except attorneys and certain church leaders. Jerry Topczewski, chief of staff for Archbishop Jerome Listecki, has said it will include the personnel files of 42 priests, depositions of church leaders including New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who previously led the Milwaukee archdiocese, and records from the files of bishops and other key figures.

What happens next? The release of the documents has been important to sexual abuse victims, but it does not affect resolution of the bankruptcy case. Topczewski said the next step in that will be for the archdiocese to come up with a reorganization plan detailing how it will provide for victims and pay its expenses in the future. Mike Finnegan, an attorney representing many victims, says one focus for his legal team will be trying to get the archdiocese’s former insurers to cover abuse claims.