Thursday, May 6, 2010

Italy, Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up in the Vatican's Backyard

     The baldacchino is falling!  The baldacchino is falling! 

     Even in Italy, where Catholics have long bowed in silence to Holy dysfunctional Mother Church, the victims of rape by clergy are coming forward and demanding justice and accountability.

     The AP reports (My comments are interspersed):
     Victims of a Florence priest who was defrocked for sexually and psychologically abusing his young parishioners are now demanding that his bishops be held responsible for keeping his crimes quiet. The victims' appeal is the latest sign that clerical abuse in Italy, long so taboo that it was rarely spoken of much less acted on, is increasingly getting public attention and forcing the Vatican to confront the problem in its own backyard.
      Let's look at this another way: if you had a neighbor, who had a backyard full of rusted husks of vehicles, rotting trash piles, and waist-high weeds, would you believe this neighbor, if he/she claimed authority over the proper maintenance of backyards throughout the world?  But you'd trust a church who can't clean up after serial priest-rapists in its own backyard to tell the rest of the world how to handle sexual abuse.
     In a letter to the pope obtained Wednesday, 17 victims of Lelio Cantini said that his bishops — one in particular — should be forced from office for having allegedly tried to keep his crimes quiet. The case of the 87-year-old Don Cantini is one of the most explosive to have rocked the Italian Catholic Church. Victims who had stayed quiet for some 30 years emerged in 2004 to accuse him of creating a sect-like atmosphere in his Queen of Peace parish on the outskirts of Florence, where he allegedly subjected youngsters to sexual and psychological abuse.
     Initially, Florence's then-archbishop, Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, moved Cantini to another parish for "health" reasons. But three years after the victims first went to the auxiliary bishop with complaints, Antonelli announced in 2007 that Cantini had been found guilty in a canonical trial of "sexual abuse against some girls from 1973-1987, false mysticism and control and domination of consciences," according to a diocesan statement.
     How many more girls did Father Cantini rape that were too psychologically damaged to come forward?  And, "domination of conscience"?  Isn't that what the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is all about?  Dominating the consciences of Catholics throughout the world, by prescribing the tenants of a well-formed conscience.  Pope Benedict and Cardinal Levada have been the last two heads of the CDF, and yes, they definitely are qualified to define the moral attributes of  Catholic consciences.
     No criminal charges were brought because the statute of limitations had expired. As his punishment, Cantini was forbidden from celebrating Mass in public and hearing confessions for five years, and was forced to recite a lengthy psalm every day and make a charitable offering, according to Antonelli's statement.
     Seriously, a lengthy psalm every day?  This is rape, over and over of helpless children, and a five year ban on public celebrations of Mass and reciting a lengthy psalm were Father Cantini's punishment?  Sounds like more of a penance than a punishment.  Say your prayers.  Say you're sorry.  God will forgive you, wash away your sins.  Go forth and sin no more, my holy priest.  

     This is how pedophile priests were handled for decades, maybe even centuries.  Then, consciences "well formed," they went on to rape more kids.
     In Verona, the bishop has been told by the Vatican to conduct a more thorough investigation into allegations that priests raped and molested dozens of deaf boys at a church-run institute.
     More deaf boys raped by priests?  The priests of Wisconsin and Verona do have something in common, after all.  They have been formed by a system to prey on vulnerable sinners, who need Father to gain access to god, forgiveness, and salvation.  If Father's sexual gratification gets in the way, no harm.  Jesus will forgive him, too.
     To date, no Italian bishop is known to have resigned for having shielded a pedophile priest.


Anonymous said...

Bishop Tomas-Martin is a bishop in the Catholic Church as well as a victim of clergy sexual abuse. He has released a statement supporting victims of clergy sexual abuse and condemning the bishops and cardinals that have hidden these heinous actions. Please go to to read the full statement. Also, please go to to find official Vatican documents and letters between Bishop Tomas-Martin and Pope Benedict XVI about the evil acts of the current bishop of the diocese of Camden, Bishop Joseph Galante. The Vatican is aware of that Joseph Galante is a JUDAS of the Catholic Church, but has refused to take action.