Friday, March 26, 2010

Pope Benedict Implicated in Wisconsin Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up

     Less than two weeks after being tied to a mishandled sexual abuse case while he was a bishop in Germany, evidence has come to light that Pope Ben acted (or didn't act) in the 1990s to make sure a publicly beloved priest, Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy, who taught for twenty-four years at St. John's School for the Deaf, in the Diocese of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, never stood trial for sexually abusing hundreds of students. 

     Instead of listening to the Milwaukee's bishop's pleas to defrock the unrepentant pedophile, then-Cardinal Ratzinger and his second-in-command at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Bertone, halted church reprimands, because pedophile Murphy wrote them a letter, in which he begged to be let off the hook because he was ill and the church's statute of limitations (one month from the date of each incident of abuse) had expired.  According to pedophile Murphy's logic, which was reinforced by Ratzinger's (in)action, back in the good old days, a priest could molest a child and if the child didn't say anything within one month, the priest was in the canonical clear.  Now that's compassion and justice!

     The New York Times reports:
    Top Vatican officials — including the future Pope Benedict XVI — did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church, according to church files newly unearthed as part of a lawsuit.  The internal correspondence from bishops in Wisconsin directly to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, shows that while church officials tussled over whether the priest should be dismissed, their highest priority was protecting the church from scandal.
     Hypocrite Benedict XVI — that's Hypocrite with a elephantine H — is guilty of the very thing that he chastised the Irish bishops for in the letter he released to the Irish church last weekend: "a misplaced concern for the reputation of the Church and the avoidance of scandal." 

     The documents unearthed by the New York Times include letters from Archbishop Weakland of Milwaukee to Ratzinger asking for the Vatican to defrock Murphy, the notes of a sexual disorders expert who interviewed Murphy, and the victims' testimony of how Murphy molested them in their dormitory, the confessional, the rectory, and in front of other students.  In all, a paper trail eighty-six pages long exposes the self-serving actions of Ratzinger and a church that is inherently flawed.

     Of course, the Vatican is downplaying their role in the Murphy case.  The Times continues:
     The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, was shown the documents and was asked to respond to questions about the case. He provided a statement saying that Father Murphy had certainly violated “particularly vulnerable” children and the law, and that it was a “tragic case.” But he pointed out that the Vatican was not forwarded the case until 1996, years after civil authorities had investigated the case and dropped it. Father Lombardi emphasized that neither the Code of Canon Law nor the Vatican norms issued in 1962, which instruct bishops to conduct canonical investigations and trials in secret, prohibited church officials from reporting child abuse to civil authorities. He did not address why that had never happened in this case.
     As to why Father Murphy was never defrocked, he said that “the Code of Canon Law does not envision automatic penalties.” He said that Father Murphy’s poor health and the lack of more recent accusations against him were factors in the decision.
     The Vatican’s inaction is not unusual. Only 20 percent of the 3,000 accused priests whose cases went to the church’s doctrinal office between 2001 and 2010 were given full church trials, and only some of those were defrocked, according to a recent interview in an Italian newspaper with Msgr. Charles J. Scicluna, the chief internal prosecutor at that office.
     The final letter from Cardinal Bertone concerning the Murphy case confirms how the Vatican handled and continues to handle sexually abusive clergy, their victims, and the lay public.  The letter reads: "This Dicastery has every hope that the priest in question will demonstrate a willingness to cooperate in the solution to this painful case which will favour the good of souls and avoid scandal." 

     Ratzinger and Bertone failed.  They did not avoid scandal.  They did not protect children from sexually abusing clergy.  They hid behind the avoidance-of-scandal excuse and enabled a system of abuse for their own benefit.  Now, they have been revealed for the corrupt, self-serving Hypocrites that they are.

     It's time for these men to take responsibility for their actions.  Pope Benedict XVI must resign.

Postscript:

Click here for an interactive feature on The New York Times' website about this case.

This picture from the Times shows Fr. Murphy, with hands folded peering over his students. 

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

If Weakland wanted Murphy defrocked, Murphy must have been beyond the pale.

truthspew said...

Credibility wise the Catholic church is done. The Church here in RI has lost nearly 20% of the congregation. It's a wonder they even keep any of the churches open anymore.