A Manual for Pedophiles by a Brazilian Priest
Marian T. Horvat, Ph.D.
A recent report about the pedophile scandal in the Catholic Church in Brazil might have gone unnoticed but for a significant and scintillating detail. The article, published in the November 16 issue of the Brazilian newsmagazine Istoé, reported the arrests of two Brazilian priests accused of sexually abusing boys. The scandalous detail was the diary of a convicted pedophile priest that related his sexual experiences and included a list of guidelines on how to select and conquer victims.
The story came to international attention when the leading Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera published excerpts from the diary in its November 21 issue.
The priest in question is Fr. Tarcisio Spricigo, age 48, convicted in 2003 of sexual abuse of a 5-year-old boy. His diary is a veritable “how-to” book for soliciting and seducing boys. Notably, he observed that “little rich boys” should be avoided. Rather, the priest should seek out street boys who are “safer” because it is easier for them “to maintain total secrecy.” He numbered conditions to look for in potential victims, and then gave tips on how the priest should present himself to the targeted boys.
The list follows:
a. 1. Age – 7, 8, 9, 10
2. Sex – Masculine
3. Social conditions – poor
4. Family conditions – preferably a boy without a father, alone with a single mother – or with her sister.
5. Where to find – In the streets, schools, families
6. How to hook – guitar lessons, choir, altar-boy
7. Most important – to keep the family of the boy hooked
8. Possibilities – a boy who is affectionate, calm, without inhibitions, lacking father, without moral qualms
b. My attitudes
9. His point of view – To see what the boy enjoys and based on this premise, give it to him asking in retribution that he deliver himself to me
10. How to present oneself – Always certain, serious, dominating, paternal, never ask questions, always have certainties (Istoé, “Memorias da perversão,” November 16, 2005).
Other notes in his diary emphasized techniques for winning a boy’s affection and making sure he will remain silent about the crimes. “Only act sexually when I have absolute certainty that the boy will keep it secret,” he wrote.
And further, “They [the boys] are everywhere – it is enough to have a clinical eye and act following [these] secure rules in the social sphere …. After applying the rules correctly, the boy will fall directly in my hands …. we will be happy forever.” (ibid). In the priest’s eyes, both he and the boy will share satisfaction in these criminal and obscene acts against nature.
He also offers a kind of justification for his actions and a lesson learned: “After my weakness in the sexual field, I learned a lesson!!! And this is my solemn discovery: ‘God always pardons, but society never!'” (see excerpt from diary below)
A pedophile manual
It is a strange kind of diary, with detailed rules. It does not seem to be the simple meanderings of a lone psychopath priest. The diary is patently not a confession of personal vices of a man seeking forgiveness. Why would the priest write these “norms” if not with the idea of passing them on to others? With whom would he share the results of his experiences? The probable readers of such a macabre manual would be other priests is the first answer that comes to mind. Then, we would be facing a veritable manual for pedophile priests.
Such suspicions are heightened by the report in the same article of the arrest of a Brazilian priest in early November, caught in a hotel room with four boys. Trying to defend his action, the 43-year-old priest Fr. Felix Carreiro stated, “I know 12 other priests who do the same thing” (“Confissões obscenas”, Istoé, November 16, 2005)
The diary is sure to remind Catholics in the U.S. of the case of sadly famous pedophile priest Paul Shanley. In 1,600 pages of documents on Fr. Shanley that the Archdiocese of Boston was obliged to hand over by a court order, it became clear that in a speech during a NABLA (North American Boy Love Association) conference held in 1977, he advocated love between men and boys, along with other perversions – incest and bestiality (A.S. Guimaraes, Vatican II, Homosexuality and Pedophilia, pp. 228-9).
At the same meeting, Fr. Shanley “shared” a story of a boy “who was rejected by family and society but helped by a boy-lover.” According to Shanley’s perverted reasoning, the boy would be induced to have gratitude for the aggressor (USAToday online, April 8, 2002). It was found that the Archdiocese ignored warnings of Fr. Shanley’s involvement with NABLA.
These public statements by Shanley sound similar to the same perverted thinking expressed in the diary of Fr. Spricigo. That is both are trying to give citizenship to their macabre vice against nature.
Progressivists and conservatives like to present the crimes of pedophile priests as psychological problems to be resolved with clinical solutions on a case-by-case basis. Rather, it appears that what we are facing is a kind of doctrine, a thinking that not only promotes the seduction and abuse of children, but shamelessly justifies it in order to spread the perversion.
This shocking revelation of this diary should waken parents of the targeted group of boys – especially single or divorced mothers – to be wary of dangers. Will it also rouse the public to acknowledge the strong possibility of a network of pedophile priests who prey without remorse on poor boys?
Mantle of silence
In its report on the Brazilian scandal, the Italian daily Corriere della Sera pointed out that the case clearly shows that sexual abuse by priests is not a uniquely American phenomenon, as some Church organs might lead one to believe. A shocking panorama emerges from statistics of a recent Vatican investigation in Brazil. According to the same Istoé exposure, a recent inquiry found 10 percent of the country’s 17,000 priests to be involved in sexual misconduct. In only three years, 200 priests were sent to psychological institutions to be “cured” of pedophilia. The report was not denied by the Vatican representative in Brasilia, who refused comment on the topic.
This broad pattern of sexual abuse of minors among Brazilian clergy is normally hidden by the Brazilian ecclesiastical hierarchy who maintain a strict “policy of silence,” the article continued. Unlike in the United States, Church archives are tightly closed, there are no reparations to victims. Instead, Church authorities “snuff out the denouncements and protect the aggressors” (“Confissões obscenas,” Istoe, November 16, 2005.)
Why are the religious authorities silent? Could it be, the article asks, because the victims are not only children, but also dozens of seminarians who suffer homosexual crimes at the hands of their superiors? (“Até tu, Bispo!”, Istoe, November 16, 2005).
There is, for example, the case of Fr. Alberto Pereira against the Bishop Antonio Sarto of the Diocese Barra da Garça. He alleges that when he was a seminarian he was abused by him. Fr. Pereira’s case has been pending for 14 years in a Diocesan Court without any result. In 2003, he sent a letter to the Vatican – normally directed to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith headed by then Cardinal Ratzinger – that provided full details of the abuse he had suffered at the hands of the Bishop.
The Holy See confirmed receiving the account, but until today no solution has been offered.
A mantle of silence is also being dropped over the Brazilian scandal. The National Conference of Brazilian Bishops refuses to speak about the denunciations or the investigation made by the Vatican. The Vatican has carefully dodged the scandal. “Naturally, the sad case is being followed with due attention,” a note released by the Vatican Press Office laconically affirmed (“Cortina de fumaça,” Istoé, November 30, 2005).
A tactic to hush the scandal?
There is another suspicious facet to this story. When the Corriere della Sera reprinted excerpts from the Brazilian priest’s diary on November 21, the article shocked Italian public opinion.
Then, suddenly – two days later – the long-awaited document on homosexuals in the clergy was published before its scheduled date. Indeed, someone “leaked” it to Adista bulletin, which published it on November 23 six days ahead of the scheduled release. Italian public attention immediately turned from the escalating scandal to the document.
It seems a good tactic to avoid facing the problem of pedophilia.
One could object: But at least the Vatican document was against homosexual priest. Therefore, it already provides a solution for part of the problem.
But did the document really attack homosexuals in the seminarians? I don’t think so. Rather, it seems to me it left the situation in the exact same condition it was before this recent Vatican document.
The scandalous facts revealed in the Brazilian clergy – added to those we know in the American clergy – seem to speak of a “subculture” of pedophilia that could well exist among priests, similar to the so-called “gay subculture.”
Who is protecting both of these sordid blocs?
Universal Decalogue of Impunity
The general policy of Church authorities regarding crimes of pedophilia
committed by the clergy was summarized in this “Universal Decalogue of Impunity” published by Istoé newsmagazine, November 16, 2005
(Isto é, is the Portuguese for “That’s it”).
- Make a discrete investigation of what occurred.
- After acknowledging the sexual abuse and agreeing that the image of the Church would be damaged, initiate talks with the aggressor and victim. The Bishops should strive to convince the victims and their families that the aggressor was punished and will be stopped and to persuade them not to continue with the denunciation in order not to damage the reputation of the Church or themselves.
- Cover the facts and the aggressor before the public.
- Take measures to insure secrecy. The Hierarchy should adopt a canonical measure against the aggressor, only in order to defend itself from an eventual accusation of passivity.
- Deny that it occurred, using the argument that the priest, called by God, is a man of virtue, a holy figure. When it is not possible to deny the fact, treat it as an exception.
- Make a public defense of the aggressor, emphasizing his good services rendered to the Church. Appeal to the Christian sentiment of pardon for the repentant sinner.
- Make a public disqualification of the victims and their conditions.
- Attribute the denunciations to paranoid campaigns orchestrated by “enemies of the Church”
- Consider the possibility of negotiation with the victim.
- Protect the aggressor priest.
We arrest, we try, we convict and we imprison and execute, people whom rape children and murder children. This is the supposed norm of what we do to those whom prey on children. Yet we allow one religious organization, to rape children, to murder children, to destroy children with impunity, without going after them, without arresting them, without prosecuting them, without imprisoning them or executing them in the most horrible and gruesome fashion we can think of, because when you rape or murder a child, this is exactly what you deserve….but hey…the
UNHOLY, ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH OF PEDOPHILE PIMP LEADERS, PEDOPHILE PRIESTS, PSYCHO ABUSIVE NUNS, AND FREAK PARISHIONERS WHOM LOVE THESE PEOPLE WHOM RAPE AND MURDER THEIR OWN CHILDREN ARE ABOVE THE FUCKING LAW.
We have overwhelming, concrete, irrefutable proof, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that if this evidence was heard by a jury, these scumbags would be convicted of their crimes….that the leaders of the Unholy Roman Catholic Church of Pedophiles…have moved rapist priests from parish to parish, state to state, country to country and are STILL DOING THIS TO THIS VERY DAY.
We have overwhelming, concrete, irrefutable proof, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that if this evidence was heard by a jury, these scumbags would be convicted of their crimes, that these leaders and others of the Roman Catholic Church have in fact murdered children. We have the bodies and the graves to prove it. Yet again, the Unholy Roman Catholic Church seems to be above the law and not one of these evil leaders have every been arrested nor prosecuted for their crimes.
IT IS TIME, FOR ALL THE GOOD PEOPLE, THE GOOD, DECENT, HONEST, MORAL PEOPLE OF THE WORLD TO GATHER TOGETHER AND JUST LIKE IN THE MOVIE NETWORK….SAY WE ARE MAD AS HELL AND WE ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANY LONGER!!!
WE NEED REAL PEOPLE TO FINALLY SAY…ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, WE WILL NOT ALLOW ONE MORE OF OUR CHILDREN TO BE RAPED, TO BE ABUSED, TO BE MURDERED BY THESE SCUM OF THE UNHOLY ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH.
WE AS A PEOPLE, NEED TO COME TOGETHER, TO PROTECT OUR CHILDREN FROM THESE EVIL, SOULESS, MONSTERS WHOM HIDE BEHIND RELIGIOUS ROBES….AND WE MUST DESTROY THEM AS A PEOPLE. WE MUST TAKE A STAND.
WE MUST STAND UP FOR OUR CHILDREN…WE MUST PLACE THE LIVES OF OUR CHILDREN FIRST, ABOVE THESE RELIGIOUS, SADISTIC, PSYCHOTIC FREAKS. WE MUST DESTROY COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY THESE PEOPLE OF SATAN, WHOM DESTROY LIVES.
ONLY UNTIL WE HAVE CARDINALS SUCH AS TIMOTHY DOLAN, BERNARD LAW, JUSTIN RIGALI, ROGER MAHONY, DOLAND WUERL, POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT AND ALL THE OTHERS, THEIR BODIES ROTTING WHILE SWINGING ON ROPES, HANGED IN FRONT OF THEIR VATICAN AND IN ST PETERS SQUARE FOR ALL TO SEE….THAT WE WILL NO LONGER PUT UP WITH THEIR POPES, CARDINALS, BISHOPS, ARCHBISHOPS, PRIESTS AND NUNS…RAPING OUR CHILDREN, MURDERING OUR CHILDREN AND THINKING THEY ARE ABOVE THE LAW BECAUSE THEY ARE THE LEADERS OF THIS PSYCHOTIC RELIGIOUS SECT.
WE EXECUTE CHILD RAPISTS AND MURDERERS ALL THE TIME, WE IMPRISON FOR LIFE EVIL, SOULESS, MORALESS, SCUMBAGS LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME.
WELL IT IS TIME TO START DOING THE SAME THING WITH THE PEDOPHILE PIMPS, PRIESTS, NUNS AND THE SCUM OF THE UNHOLY ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH.
Published Date Thursday, April 24,2014
From the Link: http://www.berlindailysun.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49465:frank-laferriere-support-the-victims-not-the-victimizers&catid=73:letter&Itemid=428
To the editor:
If you were to find out that the leadership of a group or organization you belonged to had appeared before commissions and grand juries and openly admitted to covering up the abuses of children, from rape to severe beatings, to even the death of a child, and that this involved tens of thousands of members own children, and that the cover ups are wide spread throughout the organization or group, you would think that the membership of the group would rise up in arms and make sure that the leadership is arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent the law allows. That they would stand up and defend and protect their children over the leadership of their group or organization. Yet there is one such organization…though there are others….that its leadership is totally immune from liability for crimes such as these by it’s membership. This organization is known as the Roman Catholic Church.
While they have come far with this problem of child abuse, the Vatican announced that for 2011-2012 almost 400 priests had to be let go because of credible accusations of child abuse, including rape, there is still much to be done. While it is commendable that they caught and fired these priests, what about those whom participated in the cover ups of these crimes? Why are they not called to account for their crimes of the members own children? Why are the leadership of the church put above the law and those whom they have harmed? Why are they defended and even praised or made a saint?
There have been at least a half a dozen commission reports, like the Ryan Report, that detail the systematic sexual, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual abuse of children and teens, children of the Roman Catholic Church; and the cover ups of these abuses by the leaders and even their highest leaders, ones whom are supposed to be the Vicars of Jesus while on this earth and in their position. Yet even to this day, not one credibly accused leader has ever been arrested or prosecuted for their crimes save one, Bishop Robert Finn and that case is being retried. Matter of fact, one of these, John Paul II was given sainthood. There is overwhelming evidence he participated in the cover up of and through acts of omission, turned a blind eye to, the pederast Rev. Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legion of Christ. Yet he is given sainthood? This is an insult to all those whom are survivors of these evil crimes against us.
There are some incredible priests and leaders of the Roman Catholic Church. I have met some of them. From Fr Tom Doyle, ret., whom has fought tirelessly for the victims of priest abuse, at the cost of his being a priest, to even our own local priest Fr Kyle Stanton whom has helped me immensely, to groups like Catholic Whistleblowers, and others, they have sort of restored my faith that this problem of priests and nuns abusing children and teens will stop. Yet to truly set things right the following must be done.
1. All credibly accused leaders, from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, to Cardinals like Timothy Dolan, Donald Wuerl, Roger Mahony, Bernard Law, George Pell, and many others, against whom there is overwhelming evidence, through commission reports, grand jury testimonies and the churches own documents, must be fired. They must be arrested and prosecuted. We do this to other criminals, we demand this of any rapist or those whom cover up the rapes and abuses of children. They may be leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, but these men are criminals and deserve to be arrested and prosecuted and the victims deserve their day in court and justice for the crimes committed against them because of these leaders actions.
2. Abide by the Pledge to Protect, Promise to Heal charter all of the diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States signed. All attacks against the victims must stop. We are not responsible for our rapes, we did not enjoy being raped. We are not homosexuals because we were raped by a male priest. We are not liars, gold diggers who are out looking for a payday from the Roman Catholic Church.
We are your sons, we are your daughters, who want justice, whom want those who perpetrated these crimes against us punished, whom went through one of the most horrifying and terrifying experiences a human being can go through. We trusted these priests and nuns and they destroyed that trust with their evil crimes against us. We were raped, we were beaten, we had our souls, our hearts stolen from us, we had our bodies destroyed and abused. We did not deserve this, we were not willing participants and we refuse to remain silent while those whom are responsible for these crimes against us go free while we still remain trapped inside the prisons they created for us.
3. No matter what….put your children before your leaders. Protect and stand up and defend your children….not the leaders whom committed these evils against us. Your children should come first. Stand up for the victims of these crimes, whom are your own children. You may know one. Again, we are your sons, your daughters, your nieces and nephews, your God children, whom you vowed and promised to protect and defend.
I started going back to church. I even started photographing St Annes, an incredibly beautiful place of worship. I had no choice though, I had to stop because I felt like such a hypocrite. Far too many of us whom were victims still see those responsible for these evils against us in their positions as if nothing in the world is wrong. We victims are still being attacked, by people like Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League. We are still being attacked by parishioners whom have called me a liar to my face and how dare I spread lies and rumors and false accusations and gossip against the leaders. Well, sadly, I am not spreading lies, rumors and false accusations, these statements I have made can all be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law if it were allowed.
Yet while these leaders whom perpetrated these crimes against us are still in power, I cannot in good conscious go into the church. I cannot be part of a church where the leadership covered up the crimes of child abuse, child rape and put the church before the children and are still in power, for that makes me a hypocrite in my eyes.
I would love to go on a regular basis to St Anne, to be among the other worshipers, some of whom I made acquaintance and even friends with, especially Fr Kyle, but I cannot, for while the wolves are still in control….someone must stand outside the door for the defense and protection of the children and the victims.
Sin is one thing…sin can be forgiven when there is true repentance from the sin. There has been no true repentance among the leadership whom covered up these crimes. There have been staged acts of contrition, but no true repentance. For if they are to truly repent they must also submit to prosecution for the crimes they committed. They must not hide behind their robes of religion. If they seek to make laws for man like they do, they also must submit to the laws of man and be arrested and prosecuted for their crimes. No one, not even religious leaders, should be allowed to get away with crimes against children. They should not be above the law!
When it comes time to the crimes of the rapes and abuses of children and teens and the cover up of these crimes by the leadership…only justice in a court of law, where the victims may have their day in court to see those responsible for the crimes against them be tried and if found guilty sentenced to prison…that is true justice. The Roman Catholic Church promised this to victims and to prosecuting attorneys…but have failed to deliver on this promise. Instead they still fight the victims and hide behind the statue of limitations to deny justice to the victims. Ask yourself is this true justice? If you were raped would you say this is true justice?
In closing whom do you think Jesus Christ will stand up for in the end?
Those whom perpetrated these crimes against children and teens…or the children and teen victims?
Here is a clue: “For it would be better for you to tie a huge boulder around your neck and throw yourself into the deepest of lakes than to harm a single hair on the head of a child.”
Well the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church did a lot more than harm a hair on the head of a child. Whom are you going to stand besides? The ones Jesus Christ would stand up for? Or the ones He would toss into the pit of hell for their evils against children?
Frank LaFerriere, Berlin
After six years of seminary training I worked as a celibate priest for the past 20 years with the Catholic Diocese of Paramatta. During that time I made multiple complaints to the Catholic Church hierarchy, as well as numerous police reports regarding fellow priests and Brothers who I believed were paedophiles, openly gay, or corrupt. To this date, very little action was taken against these alleged offenders.
In 2011 I married and decided to conceal the fact I was married, to prove to people just how easy it was to live a secret double life as a priest, something until then the Catholic hierarchy refuted, saying they monitor their priests too closely for that to occur.
When I broke news of my marriage to the media, and that I was writing a book exposing these priests, I was sacked.
My meagre stipend of a little over $250 a week was stopped immediately, my church credit card cancelled, my health cover cancelled, my life insurance stopped, and my personal bank account with $77 left was closed by the Church!
Even my remaining personal possessions were inacessible, as they changed all the locks on the house I built, preventing me from even gaining access to my own pets!
I was financially destitute.
My book “Unholy Silence”, due for publication in 2013, is where I am about to take the veil off the tabernacle and let you know what happens on the inside of the cloisters.
My work in continuing to expose alleged paedophiles and child-abusing Catholic priests and Brothers, and also caring for victims has become a full-time job.
But now as a married man, I also have a wife and two step-children to provide for. Victims continue to come forward, people who need counselling and support. Please help me continue full-time in this ministry by contributing towards a salary, staffing costs, office costs and other bills associated with my work to try to stamp out child-abuse in Catholic churches, and to make the Catholic education system a safer place for all our children.
Please donate to GoFund Me & you will enable me to continue in this vital work. Thank you.
Victims of Murphy’s law
Paul Byrnes March 16, 2013
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I am old enough to remember those words as part of the Latin Mass. I learnt them growing up in the Catholic Church in Australia. We spoke them to ask forgiveness for our sins. ”Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault …”
As I was learning them, the Vatican was receiving the first reports of the extent of one priest’s sexual abuse of deaf children at St John’s School for the Deaf in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Father Lawrence Murphy, ordained in 1950, was a master of American Sign Language, a charismatic personality and a great fund-raiser. He may also have abused more than 200 deaf children in the three decades in which he was allowed to remain at St John’s, even after his activities were reported to the Vatican.
Father Murphy took a holiday in 1958. Father David Walsh came to the school. Some of the boys told him what Father Murphy was doing. Father Walsh reported the allegations to Archbishop Meyer of Milwaukee and to the Vatican’s apostolic delegate in Washington, DC. Walsh never came back. In 1963, Father Murphy was promoted to head of the school.
This setting gives extra meaning to the title of Silence in the House of God: Mea Maxima Culpa. Many of these boys arrived at St John’s aged just four, from families in which they could not easily communicate. Many hearing parents never learnt to sign.
When the abuse started, Murphy would interpret for the children when they spoke to their parents.
Interviewed against a black background, victim Terry Kohut, now a teacher in his 60s, signs with expressive gestures.
”I was afraid to tell my mother because I didn’t think she would believe me,” he says. ”She would say a priest would never do something like that to children. I kept it a secret.” On that word, he clenches his fists in front of his mouth, signing ”secret”.
These interviews, with four of the children Lawrence Murphy abused, offer a story of unimaginable sadness. Gradually, their testimony becomes heroic. In 1973, Bob Bolger wrote a letter to Archbishop William Cousins of Milwaukee about Murphy. Later that year, he and two fellow former pupils, Arthur Budzinski and Gary Smith, went to the police. The police did not file charges, so these angry young men made a flyer with Lawrence Murphy’s face and the words ”Most Wanted”. They passed it out at church.
Murphy was finally removed as director of St John’s a year later after a staff member threatened to go to the parents. Murphy was allowed to retire to a family home in another diocese, where he continued to abuse other children. He died in 1998, still a Catholic priest. He is buried in a Catholic cemetery in his vestments. A canonical trial, begun in 1997 by the new archbishop of Milwaukee, was abandoned in 1998 just before Murphy died.
Alex Gibney examines several other cases in this superb documentary. The director talks to high-profile former priests, who criticise the church’s response to the tsunami of sexual-abuse cases in the US. Gibney then takes the allegations to Rome. For 25 years, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger ran the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly known as ”the Inquisition”. Many of these cases went across his desk. After 2001, all cases concerning a minor went to him. Most of them were dealt with in secret. Even when he wanted to investigate, Ratzinger was sometimes blocked by Pope John Paul II, a man now on the way to sainthood.
Gibney exposes the same worrying trends that we’ve seen here – disbelief, followed by leniency towards the abuser and scant concern for the victim.
The film left me sick to my stomach and speechless with anger. I left the church long ago. If I had still been part of it, this film would have made me leave. As the cardinals gathered this week to choose a new pope, I wondered how many would choose to watch it?
Victims: Pope Benedict Protects Accused Pedophile Bishops
By BRIAN ROSS , RHONDA SCHWARTZ and ANNA SCHECTER April 15, 2008
From the link: http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=4656143
Even as he told reporters on his flight to America that he was “deeply ashamed” over the church sex abuse scandal, Pope Benedict was accused by victims of protecting some 19 bishops accused of sexually abusing children.
“As a Catholic, I have to sadly conclude that he is not serious about ridding the church of corrupt bishops,” said Anne Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org, a group tracking public records involving the bishops.
According to the group, of the 19 bishops “credibly accused of abusing children,” none has lost his title, been publicly censured by the Vatican or referred for criminal prosecutions.
“The sexual corruption in the Catholic church starts at the very top,” said Doyle.
Pope Benedict told reporters on his flight this morning from Rome to Washington, D.C., he would do everything possible to avoid a repeat of the scandal. “We will absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry,” he said, according to Reuters.
While the church has moved to expel accused priests, critics say the higher-ranking bishops have been given favored treatment. “The attitude of the bishops towards the victims and the families of sexual abuse and predatory clergy is drop dead,” said Michael Wegs, of Marion, Iowa, one of nine former high schools students who said they were abused at a seminary in Missouri by former Palm Beach, Fla. Bishop Anthony J. O’Connell.
When the allegations were made public, Bishop O’Connell admitted at least two cases of abuse and was allowed to resign. He now lives on the beautiful, sprawling grounds of the Trappists Mepkin Abbey in South Carolina.
“He deserves to be in jail,” said Wegs, his accuser. “I don’t think there is any justice because he is allowed to travel, go where he please. He’s still a bishop, and he’s living among priests in the hierarchical structure; he is a top dog despite the fact that he’s a sexual predator.” Wegs says O’Connell has failed to even apologize to his victims.
Bishop O’Connell did not return phone calls from ABCNews.com seeking comment, but church officials say he and other bishops have been punished appropriately. “You cannot put on clerical attire, and you cannot service in a public way in ministry,” said Austin, Texas Bishop Gregory Aymond, chair of the U.S. Bishop’s Committee on Protection of Children and Young People.
“That is a very, very significant consequence, and I would say a significant penalty,” said Bishop Aymond, who conceded the accused bishops maintain their title. “Priests and bishops remain priests and bishops forever, regardless of what happens to them or what they do,” said Bishop Aymond.
But victims groups and church critics say the pope can and should do much more to punish the bishops and finally resolve the scandal.
Before he became pope, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he was in charge of monitoring cases of pedophile priests and was directly involved in deciding what punishment, if any, would be administered to priests and bishops.
“Priests who abuse children can be removed from the priesthood, but they do not remove bishops, they do not remove cardinals,” said author Jason Berry who has been tracking the sex abuse scandal and produced a documentary film on the subject, “Vows of Silence,” which premiered in New Orleans last night. “The problem is the power structure. There is no accountability,” said Berry.
Berry says the pope’s decision to have the Los Angeles archbishop, Cardinal Roger Mahoney, accompany him on his trip proves the point. “Why would you want someone in your entourage” like Roger Mahoney, asked Berry.
“This man has overseen a great many cases in which priests were moved from parish to parish. His diocese has paid over $660 million in settlements. And yet this cardinal has refused to release the files on these priests who have abused children,” Berry said.
Cardinal Mahoney did not return calls from ABC News seeking comment.
Pope Benedict’s Legacy Marred by Sex Abuse Scandal
By RUSSELL GOLDMAN Feb. 11, 2013
As the sex abuse scandal spread from North America to Europe, Benedict became the first pope to meet personally with victims, and offered repeated public apologies for the Vatican’s decades of inaction against priests who abused their congregants.
“No words of mine could describe the pain and harm inflicted by such abuse,” the pope said in a 2008 homily in Washington, D.C., before meeting with victims of abuse for the first time. “It is important that those who have suffered be given loving pastoral attention.” During the same trip to the U.S., he met with victims for the first time.
For some of the victims, however, Benedict’s actions were “lip service and a public relations campaign,” said Jeff Anderson, a Minnesota lawyer who represents victims of sex abuse. For 25 years, Benedict, then known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, headed the Vatican office responsible for investigating claims of sex abuse, but he did not act until he received an explicit order from Pope John Paul II.
In 1980, as Archbishop of Munich, Ratzinger approved plans for a priest to move to a different German parish and return to pastoral work only days after the priest began therapy for pedophilia. The priest was later convicted of sexually abusing boys.
In 1981, Cardinal Ratzinger became head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – the office once known as the Inquisition — making him responsible for upholding church doctrine, and for investigating claims of sexual abuse against clergy. Thousands of letters detailing allegations of abuse were forwarded to Ratzinger’s office.
A lawsuit filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of the Survivors’ Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a victims’ rights group, charges that as head of the church body Ratzinger participated in a cover-up of abuse. In an 84-page complaint, the suit alleges that investigators of sex abuse cases in several countries found “intentional cover-ups and affirmative steps taken that serve to perpetuate the violence and exacerbate the harm.”
“Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, either knew and/or some cases consciously disregarded information that showed subordinates were committing or about to commit such crimes,” the complaint says.
Jeffrey Lena, the Vatican’s lawyer in the U.S., told the AP the complaint was a “ludicrous publicity stunt and a misuse of international judicial processes.”
In the 1990s, former members of the Legion of Christ sent a letter to Ratzinger alleging that the founder and head of the Catholic order, Father Marcial Maciel, had molested them while they were teen seminarians. Maciel was allowed to continue as head of the order.
In 1996, Ratzinger didn’t respond to letters from Milwaukee’s archbishop about a priest accused of abusing students at a Wisconsin school for the deaf. An assistant to Ratzinger began a secret trial of the priest, Father Lawrence Murphy, but halted the process after Murphy wrote a personal appeal to Ratzinger complaining of ill health.
In 2001, Pope John Paul II issued a letter urging the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith to pursue allegations of child abuse in response to calls from bishops around the world.
Ratzinger wrote a letter asserting the church’s authority to investigate claims of abuse and emphasizing that church investigators had the right to keep evidence confidential for up to 10 years after the alleged victims reached adulthood.
Ratzinger became upset — and slapped Ross’s hand — when ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross asked him a question in 2002 about the delay in pursuing sex abuse charges against Maciel.
But by 2004, Ratzinger had ordered an investigation of Maciel, and after becoming pope, he ordered Maciel to do penance and removed him from the active priesthood. After becoming pope Benedict spoke openly about the crisis, but he was repeatedly accused of having participated in a coverup.
In April 2010, Benedict and other officials were accused by members of BishopAccountability.org of covering up alleged child abuse by 19 bishops.
At the time, the Pope told reporters he was “deeply ashamed” of the allegations of sex abuse by his subordinates and reportedly said, “We will absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry.”
Several other accusations followed from alleged victims around the world, prompting Benedict to make a public statement later that month from St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican. In his speech, he said the Catholic Church would take action against alleged sexual abusers. The Pope described a tearful meeting in Malta with eight men who claimed to have been abused by clergy there.
“I shared with them their suffering, and with emotion, I prayed with them,” said Benedict, “assuring them of church action.”
In 2010, he personally apologized to Irish victims of abuse.
“You have suffered grievously, and I am truly sorry,” the pope wrote in an eight-page letter to Irish Catholics. “Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated.”
But for those who advocate on behalf of the victims, the pope’s words did not go far enough.
“Tragically, he gets credit for talking about the crisis,” said David Clohessy, executive director of SNAP. “He only ever addressed the crimes and never the cover-ups. And only in the past tense, which is self-serving. Sex crimes and cover-ups are still happening.”
Clohessy called the meetings the pope had with victims “symbolic gestures.”
“This controversy that has reached even the highest office of the Vatican won’t go away until the pope himself tells us what he knew, when he knew it, and what he’s going to do about it,” said the Rev. Richard McBrien, a Catholic priest and professor of theology at Notre Dame University.
Lena, the Vatican’s U.S. lawyer, declined to comment on charges that Benedict had participated in a cover up, but said the fact that two major cases against the Church in U.S. courts, including the Murphy case, had “been dismissed by the plaintiffs themselves, speaks volumes for the strength and integrity of those cases.”
Shame on you for cheering the Pope
My letter to the Editor that appeared in the Berlin Daily Sun on Friday March 1, 2013
Pope Benedict ‘complicit in child sex abuse scandals’, say victims’ groups
Pope Benedict XVI ‘knew more about clergy sex crimes than anyone else in church yet did little to protect children’, say critics
Ian Traynor in Brussels, Karen McVeigh in New York and Henry McDonald in Dublin
- guardian.co.uk, Monday 11 February 2013 15.04 EST
For the legions of people whose childhoods and adult lives were wrecked by sexual and physical abuse at the hands of the Roman Catholic clergy, Pope Benedict XVI is an unloved pontiff who will not be missed.
Victims of the epidemic of sex- and child-abuse scandals that erupted under Benedict’s papacy reacted bitterly to his resignation, either charging the outgoing pontiff with being directly complicit in a criminal conspiracy to cover up the thousands of paedophilia cases that have come to light over the past three years, or with failing to stand up to reactionary elements in the church resolved to keep the scandals under wraps.
From Benedict’s native Germany to the USA, abuse victims and campaigners criticised an eight-year papacy that struggled to cope with the flood of disclosures of crimes and abuse rampant for decades within the church. Norbert Denef, of the NetworkB group of German abuse victims, said: “The rule of law is more important than a new pope.”
Denef, 64, from the Baltic coast of north Germany, was abused as a boy by his local priest for six years. In 2003, Denef took his case to the bishop of Magdeburg. He was offered €25,000 (then £17,000) in return for a signed pledge of silence about what he suffered as a six-year-old boy. He then raised the issue with the Vatican and received a letter that said Pope John Paul II would pray for him so that Denef could forgive his molester.
“We won’t miss this pope,” said Denef. He likened the Vatican’s treatment of the molestation disclosures to “mafia-style organised crime rings”.
That view was echoed by David Clohessy in the US, executive director of SNAP (Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests), an organisation with 12,000 members: “His record is terrible. Before he became pope, his predecessor put him in charge of the abuse crisis.
“He has read thousands of pages of reports of the abuse cases from across the world. He knows more about clergy sex crimes and cover-ups than anyone else in the church yet he has done precious little to protect children.”
Jakob Purkarthofer, of Austria’s Platform for Victims of Church Violence, said: “Ratzinger was part of the system and co-responsible for these crimes.”
Under the German pope, his native country, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Austria were rocked by clerical sex-abuse scandals, triggering revulsion at the clergy in Europe just when Benedict saw his mission as leading a Catholic revival on a secular continent.
Before becoming pope, there were also major scandals in the US and Ireland at a time when Pope John Paul II had put the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in charge of dealing with them.
A combination of deep rancour and disgust over the crimes and disaffection with the conservative ethics of the Catholic hierarchy has nudged the church in Austria towards schism, with rebel priests leading an anti-Vatican movement of hundreds of thousands, dubbed We Are The Church.
“He should have come clean about the abuses, but was not really able to change anything fundamentally,” said Purkarthofer. “The resignation is a chance for real change, perhaps the best thing he could have done for the church.”
While also intensely critical, some Irish victims of the seminaries, convent schools, and church-run orphanages gave the pope the benefit of the doubt, but lamented that not enough action had followed Benedict’s expressions of remorse in the spring of 2010.
“When the pope issued his pastoral letter to the people of Ireland we welcomed it,” said one Irish campaigner. “Because of the sincerity of the words in that letter from the pope in the name of the church. He said he was ‘truly sorry’ and accepted that our ‘dignity had been violated’.
“So we went on to meet the group of bishops in Ireland thinking that this would be a new era. But what we got instead were pastoral platitudes and special masses offered up.”
The fallout from these scandals continues to reverberate. Next Monday campaigners for justice are to protest in the ancient west German city of Trier when the country’s church leadership gathers. Last month a church-sponsored inquiry into the abuses collapsed in disarray amid recrimination between the clergy and outside criminologists involved in the examination.
A similar situation persists in Austria, where a church-led inquiry into the abuse and compensation has degenerated, in the view of activists, into a smokescreen. In Belgium, where the head of the church nationally had to resign and then made matters worse by going on television to plead innocence while admitting “intimacy” by having boys in his bed, there are parallel frustrations with the partial nature of the church’s openness.
A couple of years ago US activists sought to file a criminal suit against the Vatican at the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague, while victims’ associations responded to the current drama by demanding an international commission be set up to examine Catholic paedophilia, independent of the church.i
Clohessy said a big question for Benedict’s successor is “what he will do in a very tangible way to safeguard children, deter cover-ups, punish enablers and chart a new course.
“There are 30 bishops in the US [who] have posted on the diocese websites the names of predator priests. The pope should require bishops to do that and to work with secular lawmakers to reform archaic sex abuse laws so that predators from every walk of life face justice.”
John Kelly, one founder of Ireland’s Survivors of Child Abuse group and a former inmate at Dublin’s notorious Artane Industrial School, which was run by the Christian Brothers, said Benedict had resisted their demands to properly investigate and disband religious orders tainted by sexual and physical abuse
“In our view, we were let down in terms of promises of inquiries, reform and most importantly of all the Vatican continuing not to acknowledge that any priest or religious bodies found guilty of child abuse would face the civil authorities and be tried for their crimes in the courts.
“I’m afraid to say Pope Benedict won’t be missed as the Vatican continued to block proper investigations into the abuse scandals during his term in office. Nor are we confident that things are going to be different because of all the conservative Cardinals he appointed. For us, he broke his word.”
The Austrian campaigner called for church files on paedophilia to be opened and generous compensation for the victims.
Denef pointed to the discrepancies between the response in the US and in Europe, insisting that clergy suspects must be brought before the law.
“From our point of view, Ratzinger did nothing to support the victims. Instead, perpetrators and serial perpetrators were protected and moved to new jobs,” he said.
“Victims in the US have been compensated sometimes with more than a million dollars and the personal files of the perpetrators were put on the internet. But the victims of sexual violence by the clergy in Germany had to settle for a few thousand euros, often conditional on pledges of silence and no more claims.
“We demand from German politicians that this concern [the church] is no longer beyond the rule of law. That’s more important than waiting to see whether a new pope will be more reactionary than the old one.”
• This article was amended on 13 February 2013 because the original attributed quotes from Norbert Denef, of NetworkB, to Matthias Katsch. Katsch is not a member of NetworkB. The original has also been amended to correct the description of NetworkB. It is not a “group of German clerical-abuse victims” as the original said, but a group of German abuse victims.
NSS draws international attention to UN report that berates USA on its lax approach to clerical child abuse
NSS draws international attention to UN report that berates USA on its lax approach to clerical child abuse
Posted: Tue, 19 Feb 2013 13:26
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) has expressed deep concern to the US Government about its failure to properly deal with “sexual abuse committed by clerics and leading members of certain faith-based organizations and religious institutions on a massive and long-term scale amounting to sexual slavery or servitude of children”.
Concerned that the failure of the US authorities to prosecute the sexual abuse, the UNCRC has urged them to investigate all cases of “sexual abuse of children whether single or on a massive and long-term scale, committed by clerics”.
The condemnation (shown in full below) was made as part of a cyclical five yearly review of states by the committee, and followed evidence given by the National Secular Society focussing on the Catholic Church.
NSS executive director, Keith Porteous Wood, commented: “$2 billion has been paid out to abuse victims in compensation by the Catholic Church in the US indicating a massive scale of abuse. Yet very few clerical perpetrators have been convicted and only one official has been convicted for facilitating the abuse. Hundreds, if not thousands, of clerics have wrongly escaped justice due to the continuing secrecy of the Church and the issue being almost ignored by law enforcers.
“That so many perpetrators have escaped scot-free is yet a further abuse of the victims whose whole lives have often been ruined as a result.
“Pope Benedict has been responsible since 1981 for the policing of the Church, and with it, child abuse, and many think, as I do, that no one is more culpable than he is. He has hushed up abuse accusations to protect clerics, the Church’s reputation and funds. He has obstructed secular justice rather than encouraged it. We can only hope that his successor opens the secret files and treats victims with the respect they deserve.
“Prosecuting authorities have some very awkward questions to answer, and not just in the USA, and I hope they too take to heart the UN’s stinging criticism, where they mention “inaction and/or corruption”.
“I acknowledge that child abuse in religious institutions is not confined to the RC Church, but there is no doubt that it occurred within the RC church at a much greater level than any other religious institution.”
What the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child concluded (Word doc):
35. The Committee is deeply concerned at information of sexual abuse committed by clerics and leading members of certain faith-based organizations and religious institutions on a massive and long-term scale amounting to sexual slavery or servitude of children and about the lack of measures taken by the State party to properly investigate cases and prosecute those accused who are members of those organizations and institutions.
36. The Committee urges the State party to take all the necessary measures to investigate all cases of sexual abuse of children whether single or on a massive and long-term scale, committed by clerics, to issue clear instructions to all relevant authorities to actively prosecute those cases and to engage in a dialogue with faith-based organizations religious institutions and their leaders, in order to enlist their active and open collaboration to prevent, investigate and prosecute cases. The State party should also draw the attention of law enforcement authorities to the sanctions that may be imposed on them in case of inaction and/or corruption.
The NSS’s involvement in this was reported around the world after the story was taken up by Reuters.