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Cardinal Has a Mixed Record on Sexual Abuse Cases


Cardinal Has a Mixed Record on Sexual Abuse Cases

from the link http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/06/world/europe/06levada.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Cardinal William J Leveda

Cardinal William J Leveda

 

In January 2006, Cardinal William J. Levada, the highest ranking American official in the Vatican, slipped into a San Francisco office building, sidestepping a gaggle of media lying in wait. On leave from Rome, he was submitting to a day of questioning before a flotilla of plaintiffs’ lawyers.

For eight strenuous hours, the cardinal was pressed to explain why he had decided to return priests who were confirmed sexual abusers back to ministry. He acknowledged that he had failed to notify the authorities of allegations of abuse. He struggled to recall why he had chosen not to share information with parishioners.

The questions related to abuse cases that Cardinal Levada dealt with while he was an American bishop; he oversaw the archdiocese of Portland and San Francisco from 1986 to 2005. But by the time the questions were being asked, the cardinal had assumed an exalted position at the Vatican just vacated by his old friend Pope Benedict XVI, as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

That put him in charge of adjudicating sexual abuse cases involving priests worldwide, as Benedict had been before him. And like Benedict, whose handling of delicate cases before he became pope has come under scrutiny, Cardinal Levada often did not act as assertively as he could have on abuse cases.

Cardinal Levada was ahead of other church officials on the issue at times, setting up an independent committee to vet abuse cases and calling for greater accountability from church leaders.

But an examination of his record, pieced together from interviews and a review of thousands of pages of court documents, show that he generally followed the prevailing practice of the church hierarchy, often giving accused priests the benefit of the doubt and being reluctant to remove them from ministry.

Erin Olson, a Portland lawyer who has been involved in numerous sexual abuse lawsuits against the Portland Archdiocese, said, “It’s no surprise that the Catholic Church continues to be mired in the abuse scandal when the cardinal put in charge of how the church as a whole responds to child sex abuse allegations did such a poor job himself as a bishop and archbishop.” She was largely responsible for forcing Cardinal Levada to testify that day in 2006.

Cardinal Levada wrote in an e-mail message that he did not have “the time nor the access to records” to respond to a list of a questions submitted to him 10 days ago. But he pointed to a homily he delivered at an apology ceremony for clergy abuse victims in 2003, which he said might be helpful in “understanding changes in my own thinking and behavior as well as the evolution in approach taken by the U.S. Catholic bishops.”

That message touched upon, among other issues, the importance of reporting incidents to authorities and removing “priest offenders” from ministry.

“The whole Church has been shocked and scandalized by the abuse done by a few of her priests to children and young people,” he said in the homily, adding, “The Church is slowly learning how deep this wound is, how slow to heal, and how diligent must be our effort to ensure that it will not happen again.”

Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, who served under Cardinal Levada in San Francisco as his vicar for clergy, said the cardinal had been unfairly maligned.

“My own judgment is he gets categorized negatively,” Bishop Wester said. “I don’t think it’s deserved. I just think he did right by the victims. He’s not somebody who’s going to slap you on the back, be super gregarious, the life of the party kind of guy. He’s more serious, more reserved. Sometimes people misinterpret that.

“In his own way, I think he’s very transparent and forthright,” Bishop Wester said.

Suzanne Giraudo, a psychologist and chairwoman of the San Francisco Archdiocese’s Independent Review board, which evaluates the credibility of sexual abuse accusations, praised Cardinal Levada, saying he wanted to “do what was right, not only for the priest but for the victim.”

An Early Warning

An assessment of Cardinal Levada’s performance in his current job at the Vatican is complicated by the fact that his congregation’s decisions are shrouded in confidentiality rules.

Canon lawyers said cases had been handled more efficiently by the Vatican since procedures were clarified in 2001. Nevertheless, it is not difficult to find cases that have dragged on for several years. The congregation has added staff members, but it still has only 10 people handling cases, and there have been more than 3,000 in the past decade.

Several recent cases that have become public have raised questions about whether the Vatican is even now acting aggressively enough.

American bishops have long argued that they were ignorant of the gravity of sexual abuse in the church until relatively recently. It was not until 2002 that the American church, with Cardinal Levada as one of its most prominent leaders, adopted a zero-tolerance policy in which priests who were credibly accused of sexual abuse were automatically suspended from ministry.

But Cardinal Levada himself heard the siren much earlier. In the spring of 1985, the alarm was sounded by an unlikely trio of concerned Catholics, the Rev. Thomas Doyle, a Vatican canon lawyer; Raymond Mouton Jr., a Louisiana criminal lawyer who defended the Rev. Gilbert Gauthe, a notorious pedophile priest; and the Rev. Michael Peterson, a psychiatrist.

In the wake of the Gauthe case, the three men produced a strongly worded 92-page report that argued for immediate action to deal with sexual molestation in the church.

In May 1985, Cardinal Levada, then a young auxiliary bishop from Los Angeles, was sent by church leaders to meet with the men. The meeting at a Chicago airport hotel went on all day, Father Doyle and Mr. Mouton said recently, with Bishop Levada going through their report almost line by line. They said he seemed enthusiastic about their proposals.

Two weeks later, however, the bishop called Father Doyle and told him that their report was being shelved and that the bishops would convene their own committee to examine the issue. But no such group materialized.

Two decades later, in various sworn depositions, Cardinal Levada would assert that he recalled little from the meeting. But his detailed briefing would have given him a far deeper awareness of the issue than a vast majority of church officials at the time.

Portland Years

Soon after he ascended to the top position at the Portland Archdiocese in 1986, he was forced to deal with the case of the Rev. Thomas B. Laughlin, a prominent priest who was arrested in 1983 and served six months in prison for sexual abuse.

In July 1988, Archbishop Levada wrote to then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, who headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Their friendship dated from several years earlier when the American had been a staff member at the congregation. Archbishop Levada laid out a four-page argument for the dismissal of Father Laughlin from the priesthood, which was granted.

In contrast, just a few months later, Archbishop Levada did not aggressively pursue a complaint that the Rev. Aldo Orso-Manzonetta had invited a boy to stay overnight at the rectory.

Church records indicate that he spoke to Father Orso-Manzonetta and told him not to repeat the mistake. It is not clear if he checked the priest’s personnel file. But there was a long trail of complaints against the priest, made public years later when the archdiocese released reams of priest personnel records as part of bankruptcy proceedings.

Four years later, more rumors about the priest’s relationships with boys and under-age young men surfaced. This time, the Rev. Charles Lienert, the archdiocese’s vicar for clergy, sent a memo in May 1992 to Archbishop Levada detailing a history of accusations against Father Orso-Manzonetta.

It was not until 1994, however, when another accuser came forward, that Father Orso-Manzonetta was sent for a psychological evaluation. A letter from Father Lienert to the examiner that was in the priest’s personnel file expressed concern about the sheer number of allegations, saying, “These records are discoverable should someone choose to sue us.

Father Orso-Manzonetta then retired, and he died in 1996. But in 2000, several men who said he had abused them as altar boys sued the archdiocese. The case was eventually settled for an undisclosed amount.

In at least two instances during his time in Portland, Archbishop Levada chose to return priests with proven allegations of sexual abuse against them to ministry after treatment, with the agreement of therapists, according to church records.

At another point, the archbishop overruled advisers who recommended that the archdiocese make a general announcement encouraging sexual abuse victims to come forward, following new revelations about a priest who had molested children in the 1950s.

Archbishop Levada also apparently rebuffed the archdiocese’s lawyer, Bob McMenamin, when he urged him to hold a seminar for clergy members on sexual abuse, according to testimony from the lawyer in an ethics complaint that the archbishop filed against Mr. McMenamin after he went on to represent a man in a sexual abuse lawsuit against the archdiocese.

“He said he had more important things for his priests to do,” Mr. McMenamin said.

Cases in San Francisco

In 1995, Cardinal Levada moved to the San Francisco Archdiocese. Early on, he dealt with two priests who he learned had sexually abused children years before and decided not to restrict either.

In the case of the Rev. Milton Walsh, who was the rector of the city’s cathedral, Archbishop Levada testified in a 2005 deposition that a therapist had concluded that an episode in which Father Walsh had molested a 13-year-old boy, Jay Seaman, in 1984 was not indicative of a “tendency toward sexual abuse.”

Later, the police would record an extraordinary telephone call between Mr. Seaman and Father Walsh, in which Father Walsh said that he had learned not to put himself in situations where he would be tempted. He said he had told Archbishop Levada, “You can trust me, ’cause I don’t trust myself.”

The archbishop went through a similar calculus with the Rev. Gregory Ingels, a canon lawyer who had become a national expert on clergy sexual abuse. He would be charged by prosecutors in 2003 with “unlawful oral copulation” with a teenage boy over an episode from 1972.

Fathers Walsh and Ingels were suspended from ministry in 2002 under the zero-tolerance policy adopted by American bishops. The criminal charges against both men were dropped because of the statute of limitations.Vatican

In late 1997, Archbishop Levada faced a case in which the suspicions of abuse were current, not decades old. The Rev. John P. Conley, a former United States attorney who had become a priest, happened upon a flustered teenage boy in his church’s rectory.

Father Conley later said in a sworn deposition, released by his lawyer, Michael P. Guta, that he also spotted a man crawling away. The boy told the priest, an associate pastor in the parish, that he had been “wrestling” with the Rev. James Aylward, the head pastor.

Father Conley said he contacted the district attorney’s office even though he was told by an archdiocesan official that these matters were usually handled “in house.”

Father Conley also discovered that priests had never been briefed about a new state law that made members of the clergy mandatory reporters of suspected sexual abuse and that had gone into effect 11 months earlier. A bishop told him that church officials were still studying it.

Instead of imposing restrictions on Father Aylward, Archbishop Levada suspended Father Conley after the pair clashed over the handling of the episode. The archbishop cited reports of “anger outbursts” with parishioners.

Father Conley filed a defamation lawsuit against the archbishop, contending that he had been punished for reporting sexual abuse. Father Aylward, who was never criminally charged, admitted under oath in a deposition more than two years after the episode that he had wrestled with young boys for years and gotten sexual gratification out of it. At that point, he was suspended.

Father Conley eventually won a settlement from the archdiocese.

By the end of Cardinal Levada’s term in San Francisco, his approach on such cases had evolved. The archdiocese became among the first in the United States to create an independent committee to investigate sexual abuse cases.

Even so, the committee’s first chairman, James Jenkins, a psychologist, resigned in 2003 over differences with Archbishop Levada. “It was compromised by, really, disingenuousness and actions of deception and manipulation,” he said, citing the secrecy surrounding the board’s findings and other issues.

Less than two years later, Pope Benedict XVI brought his old friend to Rome.

 

Michael Powell contributed reporting from New York, and Malia Wollan from San Rafael, Calif.

Priest thrown out of priesthood for abusing boys


Priest thrown out of priesthood for abusing boys

from the link:http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2012/09/priest_thrown_out_of_priesthoo.php

Friday 07 September 2012

A 59-year-old Catholic priest has been stripped of his priesthood by the Vatican following a string of offences against young boys.

Ron van der V is currently in jail following his conviction for abusing a 12-year-old boy on a campsite in France. The priest has several convictions for abusing boys and possessing child pornography over the years, Nos television said.

A report into child abuse within the Catholic church last year identified 105 priests who had abused children between 1945 and 1985 and are still alive.

Retrial for Fr. Brennan in Priest Child Sex Abuse Case


Retrial for Fr. Brennan in Priest Child Sex Abuse Case

Fr. James Brennan will be retried on charges that he sexually abuses a 14-year-old boy in 1996

By Karen Araiza
|  Monday, Jul 23, 2012  |  Updated 10:50 AM EDT

From the link: http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Father-Brennan-Retrial-Priest-Child-Sex-Abuse-Case-163406946.html

Father James Brennan will be retried in the landmark priest child sex abuse case.

He’s accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy in 1996. Jurors could not agree on a verdict in his first trial.

On Monday morning, Philadelphia prosecutors announced they’ll put Brennan on trial again.

He was a co-defendant in the trial earlier this summer with Monsignor William Lynn. After 13 days of deliberating, jurors could not agree on verdicts for Brennan and could only agree on one of the three verdicts for Lynn. Lynn was convicted of one count of endangering the welfare of a child. He was accused of mishandling sex abuse complaints while he was secretary of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Monsignor Lynn was acquitted of a second charge of endangerment and a charge of conspiracy. He was taken straight to jail and was denied a later request to be put under house arrest until his sentencing in August.

On the day of the verdicts in that first trial, Father Brennan was elated that he got to home a free man. The jury was hung on one count of attempted rape and a second count of endangering the welfare of a child.

“My faith is what got me through all this! The prayers from family, friends that have just been constant, constant for me.”

Two jurors who talked that day told NBC10 that they couldn’t make up their minds about the charges against Brennan because they either didn’t find the witnesses credible, didn’t feel like they got enough information to make a good decision and they wanted to hear from Father Brennan.

Ex-Kansas priest found guilty of plotting death of accuser


Ex-Kansas priest found guilty of plotting death of accuser

Prospective victim was man who had accused him of sexual

abuse. He could face life in prison.

DALLAS — A former Roman Catholic priest with ties to the Kansas City area was found guilty Thursday of plotting the death of a man who accused him of sexual abuse.

The Dallas County jury returned its verdict on John M. Fiala after a few hours’ deliberation.

After the verdict, testimony began in the penalty phase. Fiala could be sentenced to up to life in prison for solicitation of capital murder.

Prosecutors alleged that Fiala tried to hire a neighbor’s brother to kill the man who accused the priest of abusing him in 2008. That’s when the man was 16 and Fiala was the priest at a rural West Texas parish.

Defense attorney Rex Gunter told the jury that Fiala had no true intentions of having his accuser killed.

Fiala testified earlier Thursday that he was told by his neighbor, Scottie Fisher, that the neighbor’s brother would likely turn on him if he wasn’t convinced that the hit was on.

“I knew that if I didn’t do this, I’d be the one on the list, marked to be killed, according to what Scottie said,” Fiala said.

But the man Fiala met with in November 2010 and instructed to kill his accuser for $5,000 was actually an undercover police officer. Their entire conversation was recorded on video and played for the jury on Wednesday.

During closing arguments Thursday, prosecutors urged jurors not to believe Fiala’s claims that his actions were motivated only by fear that his own life was in danger.

“John Fiala is not a puppet,” said prosecutor Brandon Birmingham. “He is a puppeteer.”

Fiala was arrested September 2010 in Lawrence, Kan., and extradited to Edwards County, Texas, on four counts of sex crimes against children. The indictment in Edwards County is still pending.

From August 1998 until mid-2001, Fiala served as spiritual director to the SOLT (Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity) community, which maintains a religious house in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. He did not have a parish assignment in the diocese.

Fiala was an associate pastor at St. Joseph Parish in Shawnee from Aug. 31, 2001, to January 2002. He helped at a parish in Holton, Kan., from January to April 2002, according to the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

No sexual abuse charges have been filed against Fiala in Kansas or Missouri.

When Fiala was charged with plotting a murder in the fall of 2010, Catholic officials on both sides of the state line said they received no complaints about Fiala when he was in the area.

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


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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Catholic church weighs up response to criticism from Ireland


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

Catholic church weighs up response to criticism from Ireland

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Priest apologises for likening Irish PM to Hitler over attack on Vatican


from the link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/28/priest-apologises-enda-kenny-hitler-vatican?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

Priest apologises for likening Irish PM to Hitler over attack on Vatican

Cleric says he regrets leaflet berating Enda Kenny over accusation that the Holy See downplayed child sex abuse scandals

guardian.co.uk, Thursday 28 July 2011 10.23 EDT

Enda Kenny: parliamentarians from his Fine Gael party complained over the leaflet issued by Father Thomas Daly. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA

 

A Catholic priest in the Irish Republic has been forced to apologise for comparing the country’s prime minister to Adolf Hitler because the taoiseach had dared to criticise the Vatican.

Father Thomas Daly issued the apology on Thursday after he likened Enda Kenny‘s denunciation of the Vatican‘s handling of clerical child sex abuse scandals in the republic to one of Hitler’s speeches.

In a leaflet titled Heil Herr Kenny given to members of the Togher parish in Drogheda, County Louth, the priest wrote that the last European leader to issue such a blistering attack on the pope “was the ruthless German dictator Adolf Hitler”.

Daly said, like Hitler, the taoiseach “had to face reality. A cautionary tale.”

The parish priest also drew a comparison between the Irish prime minister’s remarks to those of anti-Catholic loyalists in Northern Ireland.

“Perhaps we might try and find a way to build new with bridges with the Shankill Road people. A ‘No Pope Here’ sign would definitely be a draw for Shankill Road people and marchers from Portadown,” he wrote.

Parliamentarians from Kenny’s Fine Gael party complained over the priest’s leaflet. Daly said: “I regret the headline and for the misunderstandings that might have arisen out of it. I am not comparing Enda Kenny to Hitler.”

In an unprecedented attack on the Vatican last week, Kenny accused the Holy See of “downplaying the rape and torture of children“. He told the Dáil that the recent Cloyne report “revealed an attempt by the Holy See to frustrate an inquiry into child sex abuse just three years ago”.

Irish prime minister attacks Vatican


from the link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/20/irish-prime-minister-attacks-vatican

Irish prime minister attacks Vatican

Enda Kenny says Cloyne report on child sex abuse by priests highlights dysfunction and elitism in Rome

in Dublin
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 20 July 2011 11.46 EDT

The Irish PM, Enda Kenny, said the Vatican seemed more interested in upholding the church's reputation than confronting sexual abuse. Photograph: Isopix / Rex Features

Ireland’s prime minister has launched an unprecedented attack on the Vatican, accusing it of downplaying the rape and torture of Irish children by clerical sex abusers.

Enda Kenny said in parliament that the Cloyne report, released on 13 July, had exposed the Vatican’s attempt to frustrate the inquiry into child sex abuse.

During a debate on the fallout from the Cloyne findings, the taoiseach said the report had illuminated the dysfunction and elitism still dominant in the Vatican.

Kenny told the Dáil on Wednesday that Rome seemed more interested in upholding the church’s power and reputation than confronting the abuse of Irish children by its priests and religious orders.

The Vatican’s attitude to investigations in Cloyne, which covers County Cork, was the “polar opposite of the radicalism, the humility and the compassion that the church had been founded on”, he said.

Kenny said the rape and torture of children had been downplayed or “managed” to uphold the institution’s power and reputation.

The all-party motion being debated in the Dáil “deplores the Vatican’s intervention which contributed to the undermining of child protection frameworks and guidelines of the Irish state and the Irish bishops”.

One of the most damning findings of the Cloyne report was that the diocese failed to report nine out of 15 complaints made against priests, which “very clearly should have been reported”.

The report, coming after a string of inquiries into Catholic clerical sex abuse across Ireland, has set the Irish government on a collision course with the church.

Earlier on Wednesday a Vatican spokesman, Fr Federico Lombardi, speaking in a personal capacity, said nothing in the advice given by the papal nuncio to Ireland in 1997 encouraged bishops to break Irish laws.

The Vatican’s advice to Irish bishops on child protection policies could not be interpreted as an invitation to cover up abuse cases, he said.

Ireland’s justice minister, Alan Shatter, described the Vatican spokesman’s argument as disingenuous.

Some Irish parliamentarians have called on the Fine Gael-Labour coalition to expel the papal nuncio from Ireland in protest over the Vatican’s attitude to the allegations in the Cloyne diocese.

 

 

 

Vatican announces silencing of Irish liberal priest Father Tony Flannery


From the link: http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Vatican-announces-silencing-of-Irish-liberal-priest-Father-Tony-Flannery-146402545.html

Vatican announces silencing of Irish liberal priest Father Tony Flannery

Criticisms of Vatican on abuse, birth control, women priests, leads to inquiry

By

ANTOINETTE KELLY,
IrishCentral Staff Writer
Published Friday, April 6, 2012, 6:09 AM
Updated Friday, April 6, 2012, 6:59 AM

Father Tony Flannery

 

Father Tony Flannery, a Catholic priest who has been outspoken in his criticism of the abuse crisis in Ireland, has found himself under investigation by the Vatican for his liberal views.

Founder of the Association of Irish Priests, Father Flannery told TheJournal.ie that the Vatican has contacted him to inform him of the investigation.

The effect of the investigation was immediate. This week The Irish Catholic newspaper reports that Father Flannery had to cease writing his monthly column in the Redemptorist Reality magazine in response to news of the investigation.

The Irish Catholic writer Michael Kelly reported that, “It is understood that while Fr Flannery has the support of his superiors in the Redemptorist Order, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in Rome has expressed disquiet about some of his articles and publications.

“It is believed that the views which have come under most scrutiny are Fr Flannery’s opposition to the Church’s ban on artificial birth control and his support for the ordination of women.”

Last year, Father Flannery welcomed Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny’s hard hitting criticism of the Church’s decades long mishandling of the child sex abuse scandals in Ireland.

The investigation is seen by critics as a crackdown on the association, which has been described as a ‘dissident group’ by more conservative members of the Church.

In recent months, the association has called for changes in the Church, including its theology on sexuality. Some of the association’s priests contend that priests should be allowed to marry and that the Church should permit the ordination of female priests.

A Redemptorist, Flannery is a native of Attymon, Athenry in County Galway, Ireland. He is the youngest in the family of four. He has two brothers: Peter, who is a fellow Redemptorist at Esker Monastery in Athenry, and Frank, the Fine Gael Director of Organisation and Strategy.

The crackdown comes on the heels of the Vatican ordered Apostolic Visitation, which found evidence of what it called a ‘certain tendency’ for Irish priests to hold opinions that conflict with those of the orthodox Magisterium, the Catholic Church’s teaching authority.

In a sign of hardening attitudes, the Visitation participants underlined that any dissent from the formal teachings of the Church were ‘not the authentic path towards renewal.’

Under the current circumstances, Father Flannery has been effectively silenced, with no indication of how long it will last.

On Holy Thursday Pope Benedict issued a very direct statement which slammed those priests who refuse to conform to church teachings.

Comments on Pope Benedicts Christmas Message to the Leaders of the RCC


Pope Benedict

1. For my Bridegroom’s wounds remain fresh and open as long as the wounds of men’s sins continue to gape. And Christ’s wounds remain open because of the sins of priests. They tear my robe, since they are violators of the Law, the Gospel and their own priesthood; they darken my cloak by neglecting, in every way, the precepts which they are meant to uphold; my shoes too are blackened, since priests do not keep to the straight paths of justice, which are hard and rugged, or set good examples to those beneath them. Nevertheless, in some of them I find the splendour of truth.’

Jesus Christ’s wounds will remain open as long as the Roman Catholic Church, it’s leaders and it’s priests do not submit to man’s authority in a court of law for their crimes against the children of the Roman Catholic Church. To hide behind Jesus Christ and say that you should not be prosecuted for these crimes because you are a person of religion only makes your crimes against the children of the Roman Catholic Church more evil.

Jesus Christ loved the children most of all. He even said that if you harm one hair on the head of one of these, your punishment would be worse.

The Pope broke his vows when he allowed two known pedophile priests to continue in the priesthood.

The priests broke their vows when they raped the children of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Bishops and Cardinals broke their vows when they covered up for the priests who raped the children of the Roman Catholic Church.

By these actions of the Pope, Bishops and Cardinals and Priests of the Roman Catholic Church and their refusal to submit to the courts of man for justice for the victims of rape and abuse by the priests, the wounds of Jesus Christ and the victims of priest rape will never heal.

It is the Pope, the Bishops, the Cardinals and the Priests who keep these wounds of Jesus Christ open and unhealed.

2. Only the truth saves. We must ask ourselves what we can do to repair as much as possible the injustice that has occurred. We must ask ourselves what was wrong in our proclamation, in our whole way of living the Christian life, to allow such a thing to happen. We must discover a new resoluteness in faith and in doing good. We must be capable of doing penance

The refusal of the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church to submit to the courts of the land for justice for the victims of priest rape is not truth. The refusal of the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church to turn in priests for rape of the children of the Roman Catholic Church is not truth. The words of Cardinal Timothy Dolan backing up Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights in his attacks against the victims of priest rape, calling them all liars and gold diggers and going after SNAP because they fight for the victims of priest rape is not the truth.

The truth will only save the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church and the church itself, when these very leaders come clean, stop destroying evidence, stop denigrating the victims of priest abuse and those who work to help us.

There is no real truth in the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church. You deny the truth and you deny the victims of priest rape true justice. Your truth is a lie. Your truth only seeks to protect the church and it’s leaders from the evil crimes committed by the Roman Catholic Church priests against the children of the church. Your truth seeks only to protect and hold from harm the leaders who covered this up and moved these priests who raped children to another parish so they could rape children again.  You do not truly want the truth to come out and when one of the victims speak the truth about the horror they went through at the hands of one of your priests, you force them to sign away their right to speak out in any settlement you might offer to the victim, thereby showing again, the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church does not want the truth to get out.

3. This is also the moment to offer heartfelt thanks to all those who work to help victims and to restore their trust in the Church, their capacity to believe her message. In my meetings with victims of this sin, I have also always found people who, with great dedication, stand alongside those who suffer and have been damaged.

So your heartfelt thanks to all those who work to help we, the victims of priest rape, is to attack such groups as SNAP and do all you can to put them out of business? To attack the victims and say we are all liars and gold diggers? You may speak these words Pope Benedict, but the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church supporting with money and help, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights and James Salt of Catholics United speaks volumes. This is why I call you His Unholiness the Papal Bullshitter.

Your own Cardinal, Timothy Dolan support these attacks of Bill Donohue and James Salt against the victims of priest rape and the organizations that help and support us.

4. We are well aware of the particular gravity of this sin committed by priests and of our corresponding responsibility. But neither can we remain silent regarding the context of these times in which these events have come to light. There is a market in child pornography that seems in some way to be considered more and more normal by society.

Your corresponding responsibility is not to destroy records and cover up these priests actions, nor prevent their prosecution. Again, Pope, only perverts and child rapists consider child pornography normal. Society does NOT consider child pornography as normal and prosecute those who produce and disseminate or even possesses child pornography.

You and your church truly failed in this recognition of the gravity of the sin committed by your priests because instead of recognizing it, you leaders hid it and fought it from coming to light. You have denigrated any and all reporters who spoke out about this evil. You denigrated and slammed those who stood up and spoke out about this evil sin as people only seeking to destroy the church. Your leaders and apologists scream how it is unfair that we are attacking the church when other religious organizations and human kind itself does these same things.

Those are poor excuses. See Pope Benedict, religious people are held to a higher standard. You hold yourselves up as a higher standard and a more moral person. You hold your religion as the guiding light for morality and life. Yet your religion is a den of pervert leaders who rape children with impunity, then hide behind your religion as a defense. Jesus Christ himself would tell you all that you are not of him nor were you ever were.

The Roman Catholic Church and it’s leaders have a history of brutality, murder, butchery, torture, slaughter and evil that is second to none. We are supposed to hold your church up as the shining example of morality and justice, truth and good, love and hope for all of us? When this church and it’s history is covered in the blood of millions of innocent men, women and children? The hundreds of thousands of young children who had their minds, hearts, souls and bodies raped by your priests and destroyed their lives and we are supposed to hold you, the Pope, who allowed two known pedophile priests to continue to rape the children of the RCC as all holy, and we should bow down to you and respect you?

Well my truth is Pope Benedict, I would never bow down to you, or anyone in your church. I excommunicated myself from your church the night your priest at St Thomas Moore Parish in Durham NH rape me.

5. In order to resist these forces, we must turn our attention to their ideological foundations. In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children. This, however, was part of a fundamental perversion of the concept of ethos. It was maintained – even within the realm of Catholic theology – that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a “better than” and a “worse than”. Nothing is good or bad in itself. Everything depends on the circumstances and on the end in view. Anything can be good or also bad, depending upon purposes and circumstances. Morality is replaced by a calculus of consequences, and in the process it ceases to exist.

So you are blaming the world for your priests actions against the children of the Roman Catholic Church? You, Pope Benedict say it is because of the pornography and the incest in the world that made it possible for your priests to rape us children of the church? That it is the moral failings of the non religious that causes the moral failings of the religious?

You, Pope Benedict are really slick. You claim that raping a child is evil and wrong, then you backflip and say it isn’t. Then you place all the blame for the evils and crimes that your priests and leaders did on the immorality of the rest of the human race? You accept no responsibilities for your actions, the actions of your leaders or the actions of your priests, instead you place the blame on the non religious, pornography, incest and drug use….things your priests should never be doing in the first place and should be excommunicated for in the second place.

Yes Pope Benedict, you sure are great with the double speak. Yet I know one person you will never fool. Your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ….who has reserved a very nice place for you in hell.