Francis Cardinal George: … a mistake is not a cover up.


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This January, as was announced a month ago in a press conference by a plaintiff’s lawyer, documents relating to the sexual misconduct of 30 priests of the archdiocese will be released as part of settlement agreements over the past years. All these incidents were reported over the years to the civil authorities and claims have been mediated civilly. Almost all of the incidents happened decades ago, perpetrated by priests whom neither I nor many younger clergy have ever met or talked to, because the priests were either dead or out of ministry before I came to Chicago as archbishop.

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Editor’s note: Shortly after things came to light, we had a chance to ask the Cardinal what happened in the Daniel McCormack affair.  It seems that Cardinal George was away at the Vatican when local  supervision of McCormack proved insufficient. Obviously, mistakes were made.

Cardinal Bernard Law retires

Vatican City, Nov 21, 2011 / 05:55 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Benedict accepted the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law, former Archbishop of Boston, and appointed Spanish Archbishop Santos Abril y Castelló as the new archpriest of the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

Cardinal Law, who resigned in 2002 as Archbishop of Boston in the wake of the sex abuse scandal, turned 80 on Nov. 4.


Jesus wasn’t female – so there are no female Catholic priests. Jesus wasn’t homosexual – so there are no … oops!

The Archdiocese of San Francisco has placed a Menlo Park pastor on leave for “a boundary violation” after he admitted to following a 17-year-old boy into a clothing store dressing room, prompting a police investigation.

Although police later determined no crime had been committed in the April 19 incident at a Ross Dress For Less store in San Francisco, archdiocesan officials told the press that Fr. William Myers, pastor of St. Raymond Church in Menlo Park since 2007, has been suspended while the archdiocese’s Independent Review Board considers the case.

Fr. Myers is also undergoing treatment for “sexual addiction,” archdiocesan officials said.


Six important points you don’t hear about regarding clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church

There are a lot more myths than facts bantered around about clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Here are 6 important points that you should know if you are interested in this topic.

1. Catholic clergy aren’t more likely to abuse children than other clergy or men in general.

According to the best available data (which is pretty good mostly coming from a comprehensive report by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2004 as well as several other studies), 4% of Catholic priests in the USA sexually victimized minors during the past half century. No evidence has been published at this time that states that this number is higher than clergy from other religious traditions. The 4% figure is lower than school teachers (at 5%) during the same time frame and perhaps as much as half of the numbers of the general population of men. Research states that 17% of American women and 12% of American men were sexually violated when they were children by an adult. Sexual victimization is tragically fairly common in the general population but luckily these numbers have been dropping in recent years.

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Interesting historical perspective

False premise: Priestly abuse scandal is not (primarily) a homosexual problem.

This paper demonstrates that there is indeed a very strong link between male homosexuality and child sexual abuse. It also shows that there is a similar rate of child sexual abuse among other very large groups of adult males (e.g., Protestant clergy, who are usually married), thus proving that celibacy is not the root of the problem — homosexuality is.

Read the article

After child abuse accusations, Catholic priests often simply vanish

Although the vast majority were removed from ministry long ago – barred from celebrating Mass in public, administering the sacraments, wearing their clerical collars or presenting themselves as priests – church officials say they have no way to monitor where the men are now. Nor do they keep official data on how many were defrocked, or stripped of their priestly status; how many were imprisoned or placed on sex-offender lists; how many are working; and how many are dead.

The priests themselves have largely vanished from public view. Their fates are often a mystery to their victims, their parishioners and even their own lawyers.

Independently compiling data about what happened to the men is nearly impossible.

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Likely new USCCB head hails from Chicago (by way of Tucson) – brings lots of heavy baggage.

In a recent interview, Bishop Gerald Kicanas of the diocese of Tucson made some interesting comments that deserve public scrutiny. He discussed the upcoming November Presidential election, as well as the upcoming November United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ plenary meeting. It is clear the bishop confuses the already confused Catholic reader. recently wrote: “Bishop Gerald Kicanas is among that cadre of US bishops who is himself well liked in Democrat and liberal Catholic communities for his vocal support for left wing and “progressive” peace and justice issues. Bishop Kicanas was praised by the aggressively abortion-supporting Governor of Arizona, Janet Napolitano, for his ‘softer’ approach to pro-abortion politicians using Catholic venues to publicize their positions.”

In his interview, Bishop Kicanas speaks of the importance of voters considering the “vast array of issues” in voting. This is not correct. The right to life is the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other human rights. Let’s see what the late Pope John Paul II had to say about this question:

“The inviolability of the person, which is a reflection of the absolute inviolability of God, finds its primary and fundamental expression in the inviolability of human life. Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights — for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture — is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination” (Pope John Paul II, Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles laici, “On the Vocation and the Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the Modern World,” Dec. 30, 1988, No. 38b).


Catholic Bishop lauded for sense of compassion and justice in handling his diocese’s abuse scandal

COVINGTON, Ky. – For years we’ve heard the emotional stories of men and women sexually abused, in their teens, within the Diocese of Covington. However, family members of those victims have kept quiet about their own pain and suffering – until now.

Victims’ cries weren’t clearly heard until the 2002 installation of Roger Foys as bishop.

He met many of them and helped settle the country’s only class action sex abuse lawsuit.

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Local dad’s cry of the heart became memo that helped change the Catholic Church

From November 2001, when Bishop Wilton Gregory was elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, he was known as a good listener. At the time, he was the shepherd of the small 107,425-member Belleville Catholic diocese. He had served in Belleville since 1994 when Pope John Paul II had dispatched him to clean up a sex abuse cesspool involving 10 percent of the Belleville diocese’s priests.

Today the Beacon is making public a 10-page memo, a cry from the heart, read aloud to Gregory on Feb. 22, 2002, by a Catholic father of three children.

This influential document laid out ideas that evolved into the church’s wider protection policy; it has never been publicly acknowledged or published. Its author is David R. Spotanski, 47,  the Belleville chancellor for all matters except canonical issues that require an ordained priest. Before he worked in Belleville, Spotanski had worked for the St. Louis archdiocese.

A father’s plea

Every evening when I arrive home from the chancery, my kids race to the door vying to be the first to declare, “I missed you most!” Once we’ve established which of the three has taken the day’s honors, I try to always stop for a moment to consider whether I’ve left our Church better for them than I found it that day or worse. For over fifteen years I’ve been able to answer that question honestly, confidently, and with the satisfaction of knowing I’d played some small part in building the Church in which my children will one day raise my grandchildren. Too many nights recently, though, I’ve awakened at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning and agonized over that question. Is it enough to do my job, to take care of the business of the day and keep quiet about things I know are already sources of anguish for you, or am I somehow complicit by not speaking out? Too many nights I wake up and wonder if an institution that can be this insensitive to the physical, spiritual, and emotional wellbeing of its most precious members – its very future – is even worthy of my three children’s innocent faith.

You went out on a limb, Wilton, as Bishop O’Donnell had in the Archdiocese of St. Louis before you, when you placed a lay person in a traditionally clerical job, I went out on a limb when I accepted it. I have happily tagged along as you’ve restored faith, hope and pride in the traumatized families of the Diocese of Belleville, and I never balk at an opportunity to share with people that you exude the same pastoral presence away from the crowds and the cameras as you do before them. For whatever reason I have found myself in a special place at a unique and difficult time in the Church, and I do not take that lightly. I have been blessed with the freedom (and, I believe, the obligation) to share daily with the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops a perspective to which he cannot relate. I can speak as a parent.

You should know by now that our children are more important to Sharon and me than anything in the world. Let me repeat that in bold Italics: Our children are more important to Sharon and me than anything in the world. With all due respect, though you probably come as close to understanding the significance of that statement as any bishop in the Church, you don’t. You can’t. No priest, no religious, no lay person who is not a parent can truly appreciate the incredible weight of that single sentence any more than I could before Erin was born. Three children later, I’m not sure I fully grasp it yet, and I know I can’t adequately articulate it for you in a simple memorandum. Similarly, I could never hope to fully comprehend how your pastoral ministry is the most important thing in the world to you. I can witness your vocation and try to appreciate the extraordinary commitment you have made to the Church, but I am not and will likely never be a priest. I may work in your chancery, but I am, above all else, Sharon’s husband and Erin, Jonathan and James’ dad.

As such, just as you are deeply wounded and even angered when I make a comment you believe is not supportive of a Church position or one of Her pillars, so too am I wounded and angered when the Church we both love (and to Whom we have both, in distinctly different degrees, dedicated our working lives) chooses to disregard the wellbeing of Her children — my children — to protect Her own icons and Her image.

To read the entire letter, click here (pdf).

Read the entire article here

Former New York Senator Alfonse M. D’Amato speaks up for the Catholic Church

In a recent New York Times opinion piece, former New York Senator Alfonse D’Amato wrote:

To the Editor:

As a Catholic, I am appalled at the now-daily assaults by the liberal media against the church.

There is no question that certain Catholic clergymen abused children and that certain members of the church’s hierarchy failed to deal with those abuses properly. That failure was based primarily on the mistaken belief that pedophiles can be cured. At the time, that mistaken belief was supported in large measure by the psychiatric community. It has since been rejected.

For the last decade, the Archdiocese of New York and dioceses across New York State have been working assiduously to accept guilt when warranted, atone for those mistakes and, most important, to take corrective action to ensure that they do not happen again.

Over the last few months, several cases have cropped up that took place decades ago and long before the church’s all-out effort to acknowledge, make amends for and rectify its past failures. Some have seized upon those cases to attack the church anew and with frightening vigor. Those attacks are unwarranted and unfair.

Such cases, which will continue to arise, do not meant that the church’s healing crusade has been discontinued but rather are cases that took place during an unfortunate time in the church’s history that is now over.

To simply reject out of hand the church’s extensive and intense program to heal and correct suggests the possibility of an anti-Catholic agenda more concerned with Catholic teachings than with child abuse.

Alfonse M. D’Amato
New York, April 29, 2010

George Weigel takes renegade theologian Hans Kung to task for lying about role of then Cardinal Ratzinger

… I must, in all candor, tell you that you crossed a line that should not have been crossed in your recent article, when you wrote the following:

There is no denying the fact that the worldwide system of covering up sexual crimes committed by clerics was engineered by the Roman Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Cardinal Ratzinger (1981-2005).

That, sir, is not true. I refuse to believe that you knew this to be false and wrote it anyway, for that would mean you had willfully condemned yourself as a liar. But on the assumption that you did not know this sentence to be a tissue of falsehoods, then you are so manifestly ignorant of how competencies over abuse cases were assigned in the Roman Curia prior to Ratzinger’s seizing control of the process and bringing it under CDF’s competence in 2001, then you have forfeited any claim to be taken seriously on this, or indeed any other matter involving the Roman Curia and the central governance of the Catholic Church.

As you perhaps do not know, I have been a vigorous, and I hope responsible, critic of the way abuse cases were (mis)handled by individual bishops and by the authorities in the Curia prior to the late 1990s, when then-Cardinal Ratzinger began to fight for a major change in the handling of these cases. (If you are interested, I refer you to my 2002 book, The Courage To Be Catholic: Crisis, Reform, and the Future of the Church.)

I therefore speak with some assurance of the ground on which I stand when I say that your description of Ratzinger’s role as quoted above is not only ludicrous to anyone familiar with the relevant history, but is belied by the experience of American bishops who consistently found Ratzinger thoughtful, helpful, deeply concerned about the corruption of the priesthood by a small minority of abusers, and distressed by the incompetence or malfeasance of bishops who took the promises of psychotherapy far more seriously than they ought, or lacked the moral courage to confront what had to be confronted.

I recognize that authors do not write the sometimes awful subheads that are put on op-ed pieces. Nonetheless, you authored a piece of vitriol—itself utterly unbecoming a priest, an intellectual, or a gentleman—that permitted the editors of the Irish Times to slug your article: “Pope Benedict has made worse just about everything that is wrong with the Catholic Church and is directly responsible for engineering the global cover-up of child rape perpetrated by priests, according to this open letter to all Catholic bishops.” That grotesque falsification of the truth perhaps demonstrates where odium theologicum can lead a man. But it is nonetheless shameful.

Permit me to suggest that you owe Pope Benedict XVI a public apology, for what, objectively speaking, is a calumny that I pray was informed in part by ignorance (if culpable ignorance). I assure you that I am committed to a thoroughgoing reform of the Roman Curia and the episcopate, projects I described at some length in God’s Choice: Pope Benedict XVI and the Future of the Catholic Church, a copy of which, in German, I shall be happy to send you. But there is no path to true reform in the Church that does not run through the steep and narrow valley of the truth. The truth was butchered in your article in the Irish Times. And that means that you have set back the cause of reform.

Read the whole article

Op-Ed Piece on Pope Benedict’s True Role in Scandal Sets Record Straight

Re “Pope Benedict erred in scandal,” Wednesday letter:

Pope Benedict XVI is not just being treated unfairly, he is being attacked — savagely. About the the “priest” in Milwaukee, commentator Pat Buchanan wrote this week:

“That diabolical priest, Lawrence C. Murphy, was assigned to St. John’s School for the Deaf in 1950; before Joseph Ratzinger was even ordained. Reports of his abuse of the deaf children surfaced in the 1950s. However, under three archbishops, nothing was done. Police and prosecutors were alerted by parents of the boys. Nothing was done. Archbishop Weakland, who became archbishop in 1977, did not write to Rome until 1996. And as John Allen of National Catholic Reporter noted last week, Cardinal Ratzinger “did not have any direct responsibility for managing the overall Vatican response to the crisis until 2001. Prior to 2001, Ratzinger had nothing personally to do with the vast majority of sex abuse cases, even the small percentage which wound up in Rome. By the time Cardinal Ratzinger was commissioned by John Paul II to clean out the stable, Murphy had been dead for three years.”

The reporter for the New York Times, which has done much of the reporting on the controversy, did no investigation whatsoever. The judge who was in charge of the church hearing was not even interviewed. That this “priest” was a monster, I have no doubt. I have no doubt that the Times has been attacking the Catholic Church for years. The 97 percent of hard-working, holy, dedicated priests who serve their parishes day in day out are a blessing to all of us.

Andrew Piacente

Yonkers, NY

See original article and comments

Submitted by Doria2

No Single Story Behind Abuses: Cardinal George

After Easter Mass at Holy Name Cathedral where he didn’t mention pedophile abuses by priests directly, Francis Cardinal George met with the media and said this about the problems in the Church:

“I think the Catholics should try to figure out what is behind a lot of the reporting as they’re gathered from all parts of the world in order to create a single story line when in fact there isn’t a single story line. There are a lot of different stories.”

Gee, all this time I thought there was a single story line.

Starts with Step One, the Lavender Priesthood burgeoning from lax seminaries and bishops…goes from there to pedophile abuse…from there to unconscionable stalling,shoveling cases under the rug and transferring errant priests to different parishes without giving those parishes a heads-up…then suspending the offenders from the priesthood…holding them in Limbo when some of them appealed to Rome… shuttling cases to Rome where five, six years are spent whatever they do in Rome to adjudicate the cases—during which time either the alleged offenders die or continue their abuses while awaiting a determination…winding up with the media getting hold of the stories and prelates saying it’s a concerted media assault on the Church…and/or as the Vatican exorcist said yesterday—Satan is behind the media.

Make no mistake, Satan is involved but every step of the way up the daisy chain—beginning where moderns think his presence borders on superstition, regarding his presence as a mere symbol. Those who took him lightly aided the whole process in Step One in initiating what Paul called “the mystery of iniquity.” To say there’s no single story line…and/or the devil jumped in at the last step with the media…fails to understand the cause and thereby not grasping the cure.


Various ways that Goodstein and her NY Times editors botched the “Vatican Declined to Defrock U.S. Priest Who Abused Boys” story

By on 4.5.10 @ 6:07AM

Here we are among the calla lilies, many of us meditating on the eternal resonance of events in and around old Jerusalem, yet spring chores still need doing, and the crabgrass of ignorance is even more stubborn than the weeds that threaten suburban lawns.

Could anyone familiar with the people involved think the Old Gray Lady of American journalism would pass up a chance to encumber a target who rejects conventional wisdom about abortion, gay marriage, and the ordination of women?

Nothing else perfumes the air of a newsroom like a whiff of self-righteousness, or intoxicates certain reporters faster than evidence of mismanagement and hypocrisy at the Vatican.

When it comes to brand management at the New York Times, the snark of Maureen Dowd, the delusion of David Brooks, the bitterness of Paul Krugman, and the name-dropping of Thomas Friedman are well known, but recent developments mark perhaps the first time that that quartet of vices has purchased vacation property: Snark, delusion, bitterness, and shallowness — the Four Horsemen of the Obamalypse — now gallop freely between different sections of the publication.

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When can homosexual abuse NOT be homosexual?

According to the Associated Press …

HOMOSEXUALITY: Even though about 80 percent of victims were boys, the John Jay researchers and other experts on sex offenders say it does not mean the perpetrators were gay. Priests had more access to boys, which likely explains the high percentage of male victims, researchers say.

Question for the AP (and everybody else): If 80 percent of the abuse victims were male, and 100% of the abusers were male, how is the priestly abuse scandal NOT primarily a HOMOSEXUAL issue? Let’s get real!

Noonan at the WSJ:The press and the pope deserve credit for confronting scandal.

In both the U.S. and Europe, the scandal was dug up and made famous by the press. This has aroused resentment among church leaders, who this week accused journalists of spreading “gossip,” of going into “attack mode” and showing “bias.”

But this is not true, or to the degree it is true, it is irrelevant. All sorts of people have all sorts of motives, but the fact is that the press—the journalistic establishment in the U.S. and Europe—has been the best friend of the Catholic Church on this issue. Let me repeat that: The press has been the best friend of the Catholic Church on the scandals because it exposed the story and made the church face it. The press forced the church to admit, confront and attempt to redress what had happened. The press forced them to confess. The press forced the church to change the old regime and begin to come to terms with the abusers. The church shouldn’t be saying “I accuse”, but thank you.

Without this pressure—without the famous 2002 Boston Globe Spotlight series with its monumental detailing of the sex abuse scandals in just one state, Massachusetts—the church would most likely have continued to do what it has done for half a century, which is look away, hush up, pay off and transfer.

Read more from Peggy Noonan at the WSJ

Russian newspaper “Pravda” and Lutherans step up to defend the pope!

Another sign of the end?

Who would have believed
they would ever see such a day?

Read the Pravda article

Read the Lutheran article

Thanks to Inside the Vatican

A malicious storm is being stirred up over the Pope’s alleged failure to deal with abusive priests, says Damian Thompson.

When he was the Vatican’s chief doctrinal enforcer, Cardinal Ratzinger defended and enforced this legitimate secrecy. In 2001, he demanded to be sent bishops’ files on accused clergy, because he did not believe the cases were being handled with sufficient rigour. He cited a 1962 document which stressed the need for confidentiality. But – and this point is crucial – Ratzinger used his new jurisdiction to act far more harshly against sex abusers than had their useless local bishops. From that point forward, writes John Allen, an American Catholic journalist, “he and his staff seemed driven by a convert’s zeal to clean up the mess”.

What are non-Catholics to make of all this? I’d argue that, like Catholics, they need to resist sweeping conclusions and try to reconcile two truths. The first is that many Catholic bishops, especially in Ireland and America, betrayed children, families and their own good priests by covering up for abusers. The crimes may have reached their peak as long ago as the 1970s, but the culture that enveloped them has yet to be fully dismantled.

The second is that secularists who despise Catholicism are manipulating tragedies to marginalise Catholics and blacken the name of a Pope, Benedict XVI, who has done far more than his predecessor to root out what he calls the “filth” of sexual abuse. Unfortunately for the Pope, his enemies inside the Church, who include members of the College of Cardinals, are happy for him to take the rap. Ratzinger was never “one of the boys”, the “magic circle” of bishops who covered for each other, and now he is paying for it. Expect some judicious leaking of scandals to sympathetic journalists just in time for his visit.

Ultimately, only the Pope himself can resolve the tension between guilt and innocence, and he needs to act fast. The “Rottweiler” nickname was always misleading, given his personal gentleness, but it would be no bad thing if he launched a ferocious attack on sexual predators and their hand-wringing accomplices in the higher ranks of the clergy.

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