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Pope will have security, immunity by remaining in the Vatican


Pope will have security, immunity by remaining in the Vatican

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY | Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:59pm EST

From the link: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/15/us-pope-resignation-immunity-idUSBRE91E0ZI20130215

(Reuters) – Pope Benedict’s decision to live in the Vatican after he resigns will provide him with security and privacy. It will also offer legal protection from any attempt to prosecute him in connection with sexual abuse cases around the world, Church sources and legal experts say.

“His continued presence in the Vatican is necessary, otherwise he might be defenseless. He wouldn’t have his immunity, his prerogatives, his security, if he is anywhere else,” said one Vatican official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“It is absolutely necessary” that he stays in the Vatican, said the source, adding that Benedict should have a “dignified existence” in his remaining years.

Vatican sources said officials had three main considerations in deciding that Benedict should live in a convent in the Vatican after he resigns on February 28.

Vatican police, who already know the pope and his habits, will be able to guarantee his privacy and security and not have to entrust it to a foreign police force, which would be necessary if he moved to another country.

“I see a big problem if he would go anywhere else. I’m thinking in terms of his personal security, his safety. We don’t have a secret service that can devote huge resources (like they do) to ex-presidents,” the official said.

Another consideration was that if the pope did move permanently to another country, living in seclusion in a monastery in his native Germany, for example, the location might become a place of pilgrimage.

POTENTIAL EXPOSURE

This could be complicated for the Church, particularly in the unlikely event that the next pope makes decisions that may displease conservatives, who could then go to Benedict’s place of residence to pay tribute to him.

“That would be very problematic,” another Vatican official said.

The final key consideration is the pope’s potential exposure to legal claims over the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandals.

In 2010, for example, Benedict was named as a defendant in a law suit alleging that he failed to take action as a cardinal in 1995 when he was allegedly told about a priest who had abused boys at a U.S. school for the deaf decades earlier. The lawyers withdrew the case last year and the Vatican said it was a major victory that proved the pope could not be held liable for the actions of abusive priests.

Benedict is currently not named specifically in any other case. The Vatican does not expect any more but is not ruling out the possibility.

“(If he lived anywhere else) then we might have those crazies who are filing lawsuits, or some magistrate might arrest him like other (former) heads of state have been for alleged acts while he was head of state,” one source said.

Another official said: “While this was not the main consideration, it certainly is a corollary, a natural result.”

After he resigns, Benedict will no longer be the sovereign monarch of the State of Vatican City, which is surrounded by Rome, but will retain Vatican citizenship and residency.

LATERAN PACTS

That would continue to provide him immunity under the provisions of the Lateran Pacts while he is in the Vatican and even if he makes jaunts into Italy as a Vatican citizen.

The 1929 Lateran Pacts between Italy and the Holy See, which established Vatican City as a sovereign state, said Vatican City would be “invariably and in every event considered as neutral and inviolable territory”.

There have been repeated calls for Benedict’s arrest over sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

When Benedict went to Britain in 2010, British author and atheist campaigner Richard Dawkins asked authorities to arrest the pope to face questions over the Church’s child abuse scandal.

Dawkins and the late British-American journalist Christopher Hitchens commissioned lawyers to explore ways of taking legal action against the pope. Their efforts came to nothing because the pope was a head of state and so enjoyed diplomatic immunity.

In 2011, victims of sexual abuse by the clergy asked the International Criminal Court to investigate the pope and three Vatican officials over sexual abuse.

The New York-based rights group Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and another group, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), filed a complaint with the ICC alleging that Vatican officials committed crimes against humanity because they tolerated and enabled sex crimes.

The ICC has not taken up the case but has never said why. It generally does not comment on why it does not take up cases.

NOT LIKE A CEO

The Vatican has consistently said that a pope cannot be held accountable for cases of abuse committed by others because priests are employees of individual dioceses around the world and not direct employees of the Vatican. It says the head of the church cannot be compared to the CEO of a company.

Victims groups have said Benedict, particularly in his previous job at the head of the Vatican’s doctrinal department, turned a blind eye to the overall policies of local Churches, which moved abusers from parish to parish instead of defrocking them and handing them over to authorities.

The Vatican has denied this. The pope has apologized for abuse in the Church, has met with abuse victims on many of his trips, and ordered a major investigation into abuse in Ireland.

But groups representing some of the victims say the Pope will leave office with a stain on his legacy because he was in positions of power in the Vatican for more than three decades, first as a cardinal and then as pope, and should have done more.

The scandals began years before the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope in 2005 but the issue has overshadowed his papacy from the beginning, as more and more cases came to light in dioceses across the world.

As recently as last month, the former archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahoney, was stripped by his successor of all public and administrative duties after a thousands of pages of files detailing abuse in the 1980s were made public.

Mahoney, who was archbishop of Los Angeles from 1985 until 2011, has apologized for “mistakes” he made as archbishop, saying he had not been equipped to deal with the problem of sexual misconduct involving children. The pope was not named in that case.

In 2007, the Los Angeles archdiocese, which serves 4 million Catholics, reached a $660 million civil settlement with more than 500 victims of child molestation, the biggest agreement of its kind in the United States.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the pope “gave the fight against sexual abuse a new impulse, ensuring that new rules were put in place to prevent future abuse and to listen to victims. That was a great merit of his papacy and for that we will be grateful”.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Additional reporting by Robin Pomeroy; Edited by Simon Robinson and Giles Elgood)

Is the Pope Panicking Over Sex Scandals, Political Polls, or Both?


Is the Pope Panicking Over Sex Scandals, Political Polls, or Both?

Views of Jerry Slevin, a “Catholic and Harvard schooled” Wall Street lawyer, retired

From the link: http://christiancatholicism.com/is-the-pope-panicking-over-sex-scandals-political-polls-or-both/

Recent Vatican behavior indicates growing fear, if not panic, apparently related mainly to the ongoing clerical sex scandals and to recent papal political defeats. World media outlets are reporting almost daily now more priest sex scandal allegations, most recently about former Los Angeles Cardinal Mahony’s cover-ups for predatory priests and former New York Cardinal Egan’s ex-aide’s cross-dressing and drug and porn dealing. Moreover, on February 4, a week from Monday, HBO will begin airing internationally the devastating award winning documentary, “Mea Maxima Culpa”, about the abuse of over 200 deaf boys and the Vatican’s failure to curtail it. No more free media passes for the Pope, it appears. For some more examples, please read, “How Much Longer Can the Vatican Avoid Priest Sex Abuse?” accessible by clicking on to the heading at the top or to: http://wp.me/P2YEZ3-fj .

Meanwhile, the scandal is seriously harming the Vatican politically, legally, reputationally and financially. Government officials in the USA, Ireland, Italy, Australia, the Philippines, Germany and other nations increasingly challenge papal positions, including on child protection and contraception, sensing evidentally a weakened papacy. If the Pope continues to lose more political clout, he will also lose his power to exchange with political leaders his electoral support for special privileges and subsidies for the Catholic Church, as is already happening in Ireland and will probably soon happen in Australia, the USA and even in his fatherland, Germany.

The new appointment as chief of staff to President Obama of Denis McDonough, the highly regarded brother of a senior hierarchical canon lawyer from the Minneapolis-St. Paul diocese, with its extensive priest sex abuse claims, suggests the President will know well what is going on in the USA with its more than 100,000 estimated survivors of priest sex abuse. President Obama has already spoken out strongly against child sex abuse in organizational settings; now he may step up and do more than talk about it.

Given this, one would have expected the Vatican to try to address the priest scandals seriously and sensibly, and not merely with cosmetic changes and stepped-up spin. Instead, the Vatican seems to be hardening its defenses of the status quo hoping to survive the scandal, very likely a doomed strategy that has failed completely so far. What’s going on?

Current Papal Strategy

The Pope claims a unique divine authority over a mystical Eucharist administered only by low paid celibate male priests managed ruthlessly by his hand picked and well paid Cardinals and Bishops who serve, like him, for life. As such, the Pope claims accountability only to God and demands strict obedience from his hierarchy, priests and laity. Catholics are expected, no questions asked, to donate at the weekly Eucharist Mass and to accept blindly whatever the Pope and his self-serving Catechism say, even when the Bible, history and/or conscience clearly indicate otherwise.

Advantages of Current Papal Strategy:

The advantages are obvious. Wealth, power and privilege for the Pope, his corrupt Vatican Cardinal clique and their subservient worldwide hierarchy, with no accountability. It is great work if you can get it.

Disadvantages of Current Papal Strategy:

The disadvantages are becoming similarly obvious. Corruption, dishonesty, intimidation and now tens of thousands of sexually abused children who demand justice in a world increasingly governed by the rule of law, not by medieval papal dictates. Moreover, accumulating biblical and historical scholarship available to and understood by more Catholics is making clear that much of basis of the Pope’s purported claim to absolute authority is founded on myths and “cherry-picked” scripture and history. This has once again been made concisely clear most recently in the new book by a promising young UK/Italian scholar, “Democracy in the Christian Church”, a detailed description of which is accessible by clicking on at: http://amzn.com/0567449521

Potential Solution:

The solution is simple. Just follow the recent advice that Milan’s beloved and respected Jesuit scriptural scholar, Cardinal Martini, offered as his final testament, namely, close the 200 year gap in the Church’s structure and enter the democratic era without the Vatican medieval monarchical clique. The monarchical structure is not only contrary to Jesus’ explicit mandates and to early Catholics’ practice, it is too inflexible and ineffective to work in a global environment. The current inability of the Vatican to head off the Bank of Italy’s hold on Vatican credit card operations is just the latest evidence of Vatican managerial incompetence.

The Cardinals will soon meet to elect a new Pope. They can easily instead just postphone the election until a broadbased meeting of lay and clerical, male and female, Catholics can meet to decide on and adopt needed structural and other reforms, as happened at the first council in Jerusalem described in the New Testament. The Catholic Church has during the past decade survived with a severely ill Pope propped up by the Vatican clique and an octogenarian Pope dressed by his sceptical butler. The Catholic Church can get by with no Pope for a year or two, while it gets its own house in order.

Alternatively, the Cardinals can continue to do nothing but more of the same and elect another papal puppet to serve the interests of the corrupt Vatican Cardinal clique. If that happens, outside governments and their prosecutors will soon make the needed changes for them, as some in the hierarchy likely soon face criminal prosecutions and removal from office. Either way, the Spirit will likely soon return the Catholic Church to the consensual form Jesus and his first disciples left behind for 300 years, and discard the coercive one Constantine and his successors imposed and left behind for 1,700 year until now.

Cardinal Mahony Should Stand Trial


Cardinal Mahony Should Stand Trial

January 24, 2013

From the link: http://www.orangejuiceblog.com/2013/01/cardinal-mahoney-should-stand-trial/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cardinal-mahoney-should-stand-trial

“This week’s revelations of deliberate efforts by [Los Angeles Cardinal] Mahony and others to shield abusers from law enforcement authorities are deplorable yet entirely unsurprising. It all fits the M.O. that’s was in place at least through the 1980s:

“Conceal the church’s dirty secrets at all costs. Don’t notify the police when abuse is reported. Keep prosecutors at bay with legal challenges. Avoid reforms until public pressure mounts. And, when all else fails, have Mahony issue a carefully scripted ‘apology.’

“His latest was perhaps his most odious and offensive, with Mahony saying he didn’t fully appreciate the hell victims had been put through until many years later.

“You need years of reflection to realize that the rape, abuse, betrayal and psychological exploitation of children by their spiritual leaders is both devastating and unconscionable?”

This is how Steve Lopez, LA Times columnist, describes the outrage of the recently released documents in a current legal proceeding against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles by a victim of a priest.

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, describes the relevance of these documents:

“Because of one survivor’s fight in the California Civil Courts against Father Nicolas Aguilar Rivera and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, never seen before documents containing vital evidence of how clergy abuse cases were handled by the Archdiocese are now available for public view.

Portions of the thousands of documents filed in this case are posted on the web site www.abusedinsocal.com. The documents, which were not a part of the documents involved in the 2007 settlements with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, demonstrate that former Archbishop and now Cardinal Roger Mahoney knew from his first days in office that priests under his supervision were sexually abusing children in Los Angeles.

The documents further demonstrate that contrary to Mahony’s past claims, he was intimately involved in handling the sex abuse scandal of priests in Los Angeles from 1985 to 2011 and communicated directly with priest perpetrators and their therapists–just as his predecessors McIntrye and Manning had done before him.

Also included in the documents is evidence that as Archbishop, Mahony worked with his Vicar for Clergy to thwart law enforcement involvement by ordering Pastors to not give Altar Boy lists to LAPD detectives, while at the same time, cozying up to high ranking officers at LAPD Juvenile Division.

And finally, even though Mahony and his Vicars for Clergy were aware of the crimes of the priests, the names of the children, and the names of the families; he did not call law enforcement or child protective services but offered counseling in order to keep his perceived enemies closer.

Mahony, the first native Angeleno to be created Cardinal, now holds the title of Archbishop Emeritus of Los Angeles.”

A local testimony of this horrible practice was shared by Matthew Carrigan, on July 2012

“…Words really can’t describe what you did to me. The abuse you subjected me to has ripped me apart. Here I stand at 39 years old still trying to heal and piece my life together. I can not ask why you did it, because you’d never be able to answer that question. I wouldn’t want to hear your sick and twisted spin on it like you gave your parishioners . I can not call you a man of god. You are nothing more than a demented monster. A monster that hides under a religious organization who protects you and allows you to continue abusing children even after you have been accused. You stole from me my childhood, my innocence, my trust, my sense of being, my security, my education, my self worth, my sanity. The list goes on and on…”

The Cardinal should stand trial, don’t you think so?

References:

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0123-lopez-mahony-20130123,0,2185624.column

http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2012/07/timothy_raemakers_corpus_christi.php

http://theworthyadversary.com/author/jcasteix

http://ianmasters.com/  January 22 interview of Joelle Casteix a spokesperson for SNAP, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

The archdiocese’s cover-up


Editorial

The archdiocese’s cover-up

The release of confidential files on 1980s clergy sex abuse in the Los Angeles Archdiocese is the beginning of the end of a long and sordid saga.

From the link: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-mahony-clergy-abuse-files-20130123,0,1998210.story

For years, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles fought to keep secret its confidential files concerning pedophile priests. Hundreds of sex abuse victims hoping for a full accounting of what church leaders knew about the growing scandal and what they did to stop it were rebuffed time and again.

But the cover-up is finally coming to an end. On Monday, a series of memos and letters filed in a civil case confirmed that Cardinal Roger M. Mahony and other church leaders plotted to shield pedophile priests rather than turn them over to police and prosecutors.

The documents, which date to 1986 and 1987, show how Mahony and Msgr. Thomas J. Curry, his top advisor on sex abuse cases, discussed strategies to keep priests from coming to the attention of law enforcement. Curry proposed to Mahony that certain priests be kept from seeing therapists, who would have been obliged to alert police; in other cases, priests were sent out of state to avoid criminal investigations. One cleric — who had admitted molesting undocumented immigrant children for decades, and even threatened one with deportation if he reported the abuse to police — was not allowed by Mahony to return to California from a treatment center, for fear that it would spark criminal or civil action.

The confidential files of at least 75 more abusers are expected to be released during the next few weeks as part of a 2007 legal settlement with some 500 abuse victims.

Sadly, few people will be shocked to learn that the archdiocese failed to protect children who had put their trust in the church, or that it refused to bring to justice the priests who betrayed that trust. Church officials in Boston, Philadelphia and elsewhere behaved similarly for decades, often shuffling priests from parish to parish to conceal abuse and thwart investigations, allowing those pedophiles to prey on new victims.

The latest revelations will also come as little surprise to survivors of clergy abuse. They have long accused the church hierarchy, including Mahony, of caring more about the church than its victims, more about public relations than about protecting the vulnerable. Mahony, who has repeatedly apologized for mishandling the cases, sounded contrite again Monday, saying he had been too naive and had failed to understand the lasting impact such abuse would have on the lives of young victims.

It’s true that these horrendous events happened years ago, when public attitudes toward child abuse were evolving. But it’s difficult to take Mahony’s claims of naivete seriously, given how keenly aware he seems to have been of both the actions of his priests and their legal ramifications. He knew these were criminal acts even as he sought to hide them from public scrutiny.

The church’s expressions of regret also ring hollow given its ongoing battle to keep the names of its leaders from appearing in the documents when they are finally released. Just this month, the archdiocese again asked a Los Angeles court to keep the names private.

Fortunately, a judge rejected that request. Only when the files have been released, including the names of all the people who participated in these crimes and the cover-up that followed, will the church have made good on its promise to reveal the whole truth.

Copyright © 2013, Los Angeles Times

Priestly sexual abuse, churchly cover-ups


Priestly sexual abuse, churchly cover-ups

By Patt Morrison

January 22, 2013, 1:34 p.m

From the link: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-priestly-sexual-abuse-churchly-coverups-20130122,0,2547320.story

Cardinal Roger Mahony at a mass welcoming the Los Angeles Diocese's new archbishop (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times / May 26, 2010)

Cardinal Roger Mahony at a mass welcoming the Los Angeles Diocese’s new archbishop (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times / May 26, 2010)

 

I had to look twice at the date on the newspaper to make sure I wasn’t having a time-warp moment.

I’d heard this before. In a way, I’d covered this before.

My colleagues Ashley Powers, Victoria Kim and Harriet Ryan have dropped a doozy on Southern California with their story of memos recounting how, a decade and a half before the scandal emerged about Roman Catholic priests’ sexual abuse of young people, future Cardinal Roger Mahony and an advisor planned to hide these molestations from law enforcement, going so far as to move the suspect priests out of California.

In a word, a cover-up.

But long before those memos that The Times found about concealing priests’ misconduct, the church apparently was doing the same thing in the face of a lawsuit by a young woman named Rita Milla. I wrote the stories about her suit against seven Filipino priests working here, and the archdiocese, for $21 million in 1984. Her suit said that:

  • For four years, beginning when she was 16 and a parishioner at a Wilmington Catholic Church, first one and then all seven priests had sex with her, beginning when one who fondled her through a broken confessional screen. Two of them assured her that “it was morally, ethically all right for her to have sexual intercourse with them … that by doing so, that she would be helping them and helping herself.” Milla was 16 when all this began; the age of consent in California is 18, but no question of criminal charges was evidently pursued in this matter, perhaps because of the statute of limitations.
  • When she became pregnant — by one of the younger priests, as DNA tests showed years later — Milla says there was talk of an abortion; then the priests got her a passport, arranged travel to the home of one priest’s relative in the Philippines for her pregnancy, and told her family she was going abroad to study. When she came back with a baby daughter, and the priests did not pitch in to support the child, she asked the church to help hold the priests to their responsibility. But, she said, when one churchman said it was probably her fault, and not the priests’ alone, she went to a lawyer.
  • Not soon enough. California courts first dismissed the archdiocese from the case, saying that because sex with parishioners isn’t part of a priest’s job description, the church couldn’t be liable. And then the courts threw out Milla’s case completely because her legal clock was timed out — by about six months before the suit, as it turned out. The courts said she should have sued, at the latest, within a year of her daughter’s birth.
  • Milla was regarded as off-balance, a fantasist, a scarlet woman. She filed a slander suit against a bishop who told a local Spanish-language radio station that she was a “person of bad reputation.” Then-Cardinal Timothy Manning, at the archdiocese’s old cathedral of St. Vibiana’s, scolded The Times for its coverage of Milla’s case. And the priests could not be served with the lawsuit because they could not be found. When I called looking for them, I was told they were out of the office. Then I was told they were away on vacation or retreat, then transferred to unknown parishes. Gone.

About half a dozen years after this, my phone at The Times rang. A creaky voice said, “Patt? It’s Father Tamayo.” The eldest of the seven priests was dying, and he was remorseful. He had a confession to make to me. He showed me documents on the archdiocese letterhead. One, CCed to Cardinal Manning (Mahony came to the archdiocese a year after Milla sued), advised Tamayo not to reveal he was being paid by the archdiocese unless he was questioned under oath. A check for $375 was included. It was one of many checks.

The archdiocese knew where to send Tamayo the letters advising him to stay away, and nearly four years’ worth of checks, but did not share that with Milla’s lawyers. A copy of one letter urging Tamayo to go back to the Philippines was copied to then-Archbishop Mahony.

Tamayo kept asking the archdiocese for permission to come back, but the letters told him to stay put; returning could “open old wounds and further hurt anyone concerned, including the archdiocese.” Tamayo was also in bad standing with the church because he had gotten married.

A church spokesman told me then that the payments didn’t amount to hush money but were mandated until Tamayo found another post. The fact that payments went on so long was “unusual” but were sent “out of compassion and care and a sense of moral responsibility for a man who had served us.”

No such responsibility was evidently acknowledged for Milla and her child. Not until 2007, when the church paid out a massive $660-million settlement to more than 500 young people who had been victimized by clergy, did Milla get any money for what she went through. By then her daughter, the priest’s daughter, was 25 years old.

The church retains its barrier of silence


Op-Ed

The church retains its barrier of silence

A lack of transparency at the top of the Roman Catholic Church has come between pulpit and pew.

By D.J. WaldieJanuary 27, 2013

From the link: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-waldie-a-view-or-catholic-life-from-the-pews-20130127,0,4570460.story

In January 2002, the Boston Globe published the first in a series of articles that exposed the sordid history of sexual abuse of youth in the Boston Roman Catholic archdiocese. Those stories revealed how church officials had kept knowledge of abuse from parishioners and kept abusing priests in parishes where they continued to blight the lives and faith of the innocent.

Later in 2002, as more cases of sexual abuse in more dioceses tumbled out of the dark and the silence to which they had been consigned, the U.S. Conference of Bishops hurriedly promised transparency. The Catholic faithful, the bishops said, should know the extent of priestly abuse and their church’s response.

In 2007, after paying at least $660 million in abuse settlements, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles joined a torturous legal defense of a privilege to conceal its part in that history. The Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press, along with advocates for the victims, challenged the claim of archdiocesan officials.

Last week, in response to a court order, the archdiocese released internal records documenting the actions church officials took — or failed to take — when priests were accused of abuse. More documents will be released in coming weeks, but from those we’ve seen already, we know that in the 1980s, then-Archbishop Roger Mahony and his Vicar of Clergy, then-Msgr. Thomas Curry, failed repeatedly when moral judgment required them to choose the good of the Catholic community over loyalty to their fraternity of parish priests.

It’s impossible to use a facile word like “closure” at this point. The victims, some in their 50s and 60s, live on. The men who abused them have their crimes to live with. Members of the hierarchy have their attempts at contrition and their own unanswered failures. Nothing with real meaning is ended.

The faithful still gather on Sunday morning in my suburban church for Mass and to hear a sermon preached, which typically runs to themes of faithfulness, virtue and awareness of human failings. Hardly any of the hundreds of sermons I’ve heard since 2002 reflected on the scandal of priestly abuse, and the very few that did were generalized promises of change. Not one Sunday sermon considered how or why some men in the priesthood in Los Angeles became sexual predators. No sermon spoke of the disillusionment — obvious to everyone — that the men and women in the pews feel.

The promised changes have begun. The background of everyone who works with children in the parish is vetted. Parish workers are trained to observe the signs of abuse. Even the children are better informed. Beyond the parish boundaries, new protocols are in place for judging the psychological fitness of men seeking the priesthood. There’s a new awareness of what an abusing personality is like and how unlikely an abuser is to respond to treatment. New regulations should prevent an abusing priest from being shuttled from one unsuspecting parish to another.

These changes in parish life were made necessary by a hierarchy that kept silent for far too long. But some of the changes have coarsened parish life. Because of the archdiocese’s fear of transparency, every priest has been a suspect. Children have been steered away from contact with their pastors. Insurance carriers and church lawyers have counseled even greater distancing. The barriers rising between priests and children put at risk youth retreats, sports programs run by religious orders and boys’ high schools — all of which were part of my Catholic childhood.

The gap between pulpit and pew is widening, but it’s from those pews that future priests come. The formation of a boy into a man with the strength of character to accept a vocation used to begin with a relationship between a priest and a boy. It used to begin with a boy’s hero worship. That may not have been the best way to begin a life of self-denial and celibacy, but being in the company of a priest who seemed both saintly and human was the start for many men on the long path toward the priesthood. Of course, hero worship made the crimes of a predatory priest so much easier to commit.

From the perspective of the pulpit, the failure of the Los Angeles Archdiocese to understand and fulfill its responsibilities is likely to be seen as a tragic mistake, to be sincerely regretted and cured by regulatory fiat and vigilance.

From the perspective of those in the pews, the causes of priestly abuse and the reaction of archdiocesan officials make a bewildering labyrinth of unexplored reasons, including any that might lie in our own failures of understanding. Having had the sexuality of priests forced on us in its most terrible and scandalous form — in the form of a monster — we in the pews have had no invitation to offer whatever insight from our own lives we might give the men who are called to make their sexuality a daily sacrifice. Silence is the disfiguring common feature that perpetuated abuse and leaves the parish community unable now to minister to those who would minister to us.

D.J. Waldie is a contributing writer to Opinion.

LA priest accused of sex crimes exiled to PH


LA priest accused of sex crimes exiled to PH

Friday, 25 January 2013 22:56 Mico Letargo | AJPress

From the link: http://www.asianjournal.com/community/community-news/19203-la-priest-accused-of-sex-crimes-exiled-to-ph-.html

LOS ANGELES – Confidential records attached in a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles revealed how church officials attempted to keep silent about abuse allegations for decades, and maneuvered outside of the public eye to shield molester priests.

An in-depth report by the Associated Press revealed that  one of the molester priests was exiled to the Philippines by archdiocese officials and was paid a ‘secret salary’ as well.

The exiled priest, along with six other clerics, were accused of having sex with a teen and impregnating her.

The lawsuit also implicated retired Cardinal Roger Mahony and other top church officials in the handling of the damage control campaign for the archdiocese, in attempts to keep parishioners uninformed of the abuses.

A top aide for Mahony was also cited in the lawsuit. He expressed dissent and criticized his superiors for covering up the allegations, instead of giving protection to the victims.

AP, quoting email correspondence with archdiocese attorney J. Michael Hennigan, pointed out that Mahony inherited some of the worst cases when he took over as Cardinal for Los Angeles in 1985.

According to Hennigan, abusive priests were sent to psychological treatment centers out of state because they tended to reveal more information to therapists who were not required by California law to report child abuse incidents to law enforcement.

During the late 1980s, clergymen were not mandated to report sex abuse cases and the church allowed the victims’ family to decide whether or not to report incidents to authorities, Hennigan said.

In one circumstance, a memo for Mahony was unearthed during the investigation and it discussed sending an erring priest to a therapist, who is also an attorney, so that any incriminating evidence would be protected under the lawyer-client privacy privilege.

Attorney Anthony De Marco said that personnel files on at least 13 clergymen were attached in the lawsuit, in an attempt to establish a cover-up pattern by the archdiocese.

As part of a $660 million settlement, the Archdiocese agreed to make public around 30,000 pages of evidence from the case.

In 2007, it consented to furnish copies of the files to the over 500 victims of clergy abuse, but an attorney for the priests fought to keep the records under wraps.

A recent ruling by a judge compelled the church to release the documents without blacking out the names of the church officials after some intervention from AP and the Los Angeles Times.

The aide, Msgr. Richard Loomis, upon his retirement in 2001 as vicar for the clergy, expressed his dismay over the handling of the matter.

“We’ve stepped back 20 years and are being driven by the need to cover-up and to keep the presbyteriate & public happily ignorant rather than the need to protect children,” Loomis wrote to his successor.

According to Hennigan, then Cardinal Mahony preferred to release targeted warnings to schools and youth groups rather than issuing a warning that would be read during holy masses.  Hennigan told the AP that parish announcements were issued only later on.

On Monday, January 21, Maohony issued a statement of apology even while out of town.  He apologized for his errors, and claimed that he had been “naïve” on the lasting impact of abuse.

He confessed that he had been able to privately meet with 90 abuse victims and has since kept index cards with each victim’s name. The Cardinal said that he prays for these victims daily in his private chapel.

“But I also list in parenthesis the name of the clergy perpetrator lest I forget that real priests created this appalling harm in the lives of innocent young people,” Mahoney said in his statement.

“It remains my daily and fervent prayer that God’s grace will flood the heart and soul of each victim, and that their life-journey continues forward, with even greater healing.”

How Much Longer Can the Vatican Avoid Priest Sex Abuse?


How Much Longer Can the Vatican Avoid Priest Sex Abuse?

By Views of Jerry Slevin, a Catholic and Harvard schooled Wall Street lawyer, retired

From the link: http://christiancatholicism.com/how-much-longer-can-the-vatican-avoid-priest-sex-abuse/

The Vatican priest child abuse “cover-up denial”, that was so evident at the recent Roman Synod of Bishops, may be manageable for another year or two, but likely not much longer, even with a new Pope. International reality checks, in the form of factual and not mythical revelations, are rapidly exposing the Vatican’s latest mystical smokescreens to be the poor public relations ploys they are. So many innocent Catholic children have been raped by too many predatory priests protected by complicit Cardinals and Bishops. There are limits to trusting Catholics’ inculcated gullibility, and even an ex-FOX News pro working for the Pope can spin only so much. Facts stubbornly speak for themselves. Papal “Tweets” and “Apps” are no substitute for papal candor.

On an academic level, a promising young UK/Italian lay ecclesiologist has effectively exposed the mainly mythological foundation of the Vatican’s claim for absolute papal primacy. The recent book, “Democracy and the Christian Church”, concisely shows the scriptural, theological, philosophical and historical weaknesses of the papal claim and is accessible in part by clicking on at: http://amzn.com/0567449521

Catholics are increasingly learning that hierarchical conduct too often deviates significantly from papal propaganda. Initial Los Angeles secret abuse file revelations have exposed Cardinal Mahony’s reckless protection of known predatory priests. Criminal allegations of drug dealing against, and related cross-dressing and porn shop operation reports about, a former Bridgeport state chaplain of the Knights of Malta and top subordinate to Cardinal Egan and to Archbishop Lori, head of the Pope’s anti-Obama “religious liberty crusade”, are almost incredibly unsavory.

Moreover, reported efforts apparently to protect the secrecy of Munich and Regensburg files of the Pope and his brother, relating to alleged failures in the 1970′s to curtail a Munich predatory priest and to protect abused Regensburg choir boys, by sacking a too thorough German academic investigator, further erodes the steadily disappearing papal credibility. Ruthless attempts to silence a popular Irish priest who spoke about women and married priests, and apparently also to try to curtail an Irish priests’ “union”, are backfiring as the brave priest stands fast. Continued diatribes against gay marriage by a reported drunk driver San Francisco Archbishop appear cynical and desperate at best. Seemingly unending criminal trial disclosures about Cardinal Rigali’s Philly pedophile priest paradise continues to disgust many Catholics. Millions of U.S. Catholics have had enough and want to see these hypocritical and unaccountable actions curbed promptly.

Some Cardinals and Bishops will likely soon begin to be pressed directly by international and individual nations’ prosecutorial investigations. Even an end to Popes being dictated to by corrupt Vatican Cardinal cliques may be on the near horizon, as explained in “Will the Next Pope Become the Vatican’s Last Pope?”, accessible by clicking on the heading at the top here or on: http://wp.me/P2YEZ3-cT

The days of relying mainly on Vatican canon law investigations and “prosecutions”, now to be overseen by one of disgraced Cardinal Law’s former canon lawyers, are over. The major Australian governmental investigation and the almost inevitable upcoming U.S. Federal investigation will only add to the pressure on the Vatican, as explained further in “Why President Obama Must Read the Latest “LA Confidential”, accessible by clicking on the heading on the top here or on: http://wp.me/P2YEZ3-f3 .

Finally, beginning soon on Monday, February 4, HBO will begin airing internationally the award winnning documentary. “Mea Maxima Culpa”. It is the sad story about 200+ deaf boys who were allegedly sexually abused by a single priest in Milwaukee over several decades. Both local law enforcement and the Catholic hierarchy reportedly failed to act timely and adequately on deaf boys’ abuse claims, which even futilely reached the Pope’s CDF department in Rome. A Federal judge recently reversed an earlier shameful attempt by then Archbishop Dolan, now New York’s Cardinal and a reported papal contender, to transfer $55 million of the Milwaukee diocese’s funds to a cemetery trust beyond the legal reach of abuse survivors’ claims, apparently including some of the deaf survivors.

The Vatican and its subservient Cardinals and Bishops may try to run some more, as Cardinal Law so arrogantly did; but they are rapidly running out of places to hide.