Monday, May 31, 2010

Pope Benedict Refused to Defrock Illinois Priest Convicted of Raping Boys

     What do you do with a Catholic priest, who is convicted in civil courts for raping children, serves a jail sentence, is released, but then refuses his bishop's demand to ask to be defrocked? Well, if you were Pope Benedict Ratzinger, working under Pope John Paul II in 1989, you sided with the child rapist, refusing the bishop's pleas for a defrocking.

     Yet another case of the Pope Benedict's failure to take action against a convicted child rapist has come to light.  The Associated Press has unearthed the case of Father Alvin Campbell of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, who lured boys into his priestly water-bed and raped them.  

     In 1989, then-Ratzinger refused Bishop Daniel Ryan's request to defrock the convicted child rapist, because canon law favored the rapist (Imagine that.), who refused to ask for laicization.  You know, because that corrupt civil system must have been wrong, and years and years of a church trial, in which victims needed to manhandled and bullied, was necessary to find out the real truth that would set Fr. Campbell free.

     Documents obtained by The Associated Press from court filings in the case of the late Rev. Alvin Campbell of Illinois show Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, following church law at the time, turned down a bishop's plea to remove the priest for no other reason than the abuser's refusal to go along with it. "The petition in question cannot be admitted in as much as it lacks the request of Father Campbell himself," Ratzinger wrote in a July 3, 1989, letter to Bishop Daniel Ryan of the Diocese of Springfield, Ill.
     Campbell's misdeeds date back at least 15 years before his defrocking.  As an Army chaplain, he was reprimanded and ultimately left the service after abusing at least one boy, according to military and church correspondence. An Army letter in his file said he had exploited his rank and position as a chaplain "by engaging in indecent homosexual acts" with a child under 16 who had been under his supervision.
     Even so, Bishop Joseph McNicholas, then at the helm of the Springfield diocese, wrote to him, "Be assured that we will welcome you with open arms here at home." While church officials overseeing clergy in the military were alerted of Campbell's actions, and reference is made to the molestations in Ryan's letter to Ratzinger, it's not clear whether McNicholas knew.
     Campbell became a pastor upon his return to the diocese. In at least three instances after returning to diocesan work, he was forced to depart jobs as parish pastor or administrator "for reasons of health," a euphemism for sexual abuse used within the church that Ryan himself put in quotes. 
     After workers at a rape crisis center alerted authorities that they were treating one of Campbell's victims, police found he had been plying boys with video games, bicycles, watches and other gifts to get them to the waterbed in his second-floor rectory bedroom. Ryan sent Campbell to a New Mexico treatment facility after the arrest.
     Campbell was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 1985, after admitting to molesting seven boys during his time as pastor of St. Maurice Parish in Morrisonville, Ill. He was released in 1992 after serving about seven years for sexual assault and sexual abuse.
     Ryan apparently waited four years after Campbell went to prison, according to church files, before asking for the priest's defrocking. It's unclear what accounted for the delay...Ratzinger refused, citing Vatican policy, and told the bishop to proceed with a church tribunal.
     As for retired Bishop Ryan:
     Sass said Ryan, who lives in a nursing home outside the diocese, was unable to respond to questions. He retired in 1999 under a cloud of accusations of sexual relationships with male prostitutes [one of whom was a 15-year-old] and at least one priest; his successor found that he had engaged in "improper sexual conduct," allegations Ryan denied.
     To put it all in perspective, in 1895, when Father Campbell was getting out of prison, Bishop Ryan was paying a 15-year-old for sex.

      The reality is that there's sexual dirt on nearly every priest (the asexual ones are the only true celibates).  


     As long as the church continues to force its priests and religious into the unnatural state of celibate chastity, priests and religious will continue to masturbate, to have periodic or regular sex with people, and will remain stunted by guilt, shame, and compartmentalization, thus paralyzed from sexual and relational maturation.  

     This lack of maturity combined with sexual attraction, combined with a high stress job and combined with the lack of incarnate intimacy in a priest's life puts the vulnerable adults and children, who come to that priest for loving guidance and acceptance, in an extremely dangerous position.

     A celibate priest is a sexual time bomb, at some point, he will explode.  The question is: who's going to be on the receiving end of his shrapnel?

     Back to Pope Ratzinger's failure to act in the case of Fr. Campbell: 
     David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said that in Campbell's case "and hundreds like it, Ratzinger chose to put concerns about dangerous pedophiles and the church's reputation above concerns about children's safety."
     No shit.

3 comments:

Steve M. said...

I was molested by ALVIN CAMPBELL while he was a COLONEL in the US ARMY assigned to GERMANY, where, at the time, CARDINAL RATZINGER was an ARCHBISHOP. My father's military career, my mother's civil service career and the career of the other minister assigned to that posting, and to whom I reported the molestation, also suffered. The US ARMY simply moved him elsewhere, and the Church ignored me.

Heretic Tom said...

Dear Steve,

I'm saddened to hear this. I'm sorry to hear that the church and the US military failed to protect you.

Let me know if I can be of help.

Dale said...

I hope this issue will be settled. The church and the government should do the right thing with regards to the rights of the people.

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