Th Vatican sex abuse scandals are getting worse and getting closer to the person of Benedict XVI. Our weblogs are paying off because readers, Catholics, secular governments and the whole world will not give the pope and the Vatican a free pass this time.
Please read our latest posts in our sister weblogs Benedict XVI Ratzinger, God's Rottweiler, especially our response to the much awaited Pastoral Letter of Benedict XVI to the Irish people.
It is time for the French Revolution at the Vatican: Benedict XVI must resign, Cardinal Bernard Law et al must resign …Shut-down the Vatican http://pope-ratz.blogspot.com/2010/03/it-is-time-for-french-revolution-at.html
Jesuits are bad examples as Pope Loyalists; Fr. Federico Lombardi is puppet Public Secretary http://pope-ratz.blogspot.com/2010/03/jesuits-are-bad-examples-as-pope.html
John Allen the Pied Piper of Benedict XVI toots “Will Ratzinger's past trump Benedict's present?” http://pope-ratz.blogspot.com/2010/03/john-allen-pied-piper-of-benedict-xvi_25.html
Photos of the out-of-touch with reality pompous life of Benedict XVI at the Vatican http://pope-ratz.blogspot.com/2010/03/photos-of-out-of-touch-with-reality.html
Holy Crap! What “rigor”? Due to Pope's rigor, sex abuse victims are rendered justice, writes Italian bishop who is out-of-touch with reality http://pope-ratz.blogspot.com/2010/03/holy-crap-what-rigor-due-to-popes-rigor.html
Benedict XVI’s priest brother, Georg Ratzinger admits “slapping” famous Regenesburg choir boys …but, was that all? http://pope-ratz.blogspot.com/2010/03/benedict-xvis-priest-brother-georg.html
Timeline of Benedict XVI’s personal cover-up of a German pedophile priest when he was Archbishop of Munich, Germany http://pope-ratz.blogspot.com/2010/03/timeline-of-benedict-xvis-personal.html
Jon Stewart features HOLY SH*T Benedict XVI personal cover-up of German paedo priest & his personal usher GAY prostitution ring at the Vatican http://pope-ratz.blogspot.com/2010/03/jon-stewart-features-holy-sht-benedict.html
The John Paul II Millstone
John Paul II Titanic Ship hit not only by American iceberg of priest pedophilia, also Irish iceberg, German iceberg, Austrian...Canadian icebergs.... http://jp2m.blogspot.com/2010/03/john-paul-ii-titanic-ship-hit-not-only.html
John Paul II miraculously cures his German barber of hernia in Rome… as the John Paul II Pedophile Priest Army jolts Germany http://jp2m.blogspot.com/2010/03/john-paul-ii-miraculously-cures-his.html
B & B Benedict XVI & Bertone, nice pals with another B, Bernard Law of Boston.
We first disclosed who Cardinal Bertone is at the John Paul II Millstone weblog John Paul II clone Cardinal Bertone: SNAP and the Jesuits http://jp2m.blogspot.com/2007/10/john-paul-ii-clone-cardinal-bertone.html
Today is the feast of the Annunciation and we are posting our latest posts in Benedict XVI Ratzinger God's Rottweiler. But this news fresh out of Wisconsin of 200 deaf and blind boys is really heartwrenching - they were abused for years and in 1998 Cardinal Ratzinger did NOTHING to stop this pedophile priest. These victims went directly to the office of the CDF of which Ratzinger was Prefect and he did NOTHING for them. We are right in our analysis of Benedict XVI that he is a cold blooded despot and a pathetic liar.
Vatican Declined to Defrock U.S. Priest Who Abused Boys
The New York Times
The Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy, with hands together, at St. John’s School for the Deaf
in Wisconsin in 1960.
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
Published: March 24, 2010
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.
The documents emerge as Pope Benedict is facing other accusations that he and direct subordinates often did not alert civilian authorities or discipline priests involved in sexual abuse when he served as an archbishop in Germany and as the Vatican’s chief doctrinal enforcer.
The Wisconsin case involved an American priest, the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy, who worked at a renowned school for deaf children from 1950 to 1974. But it is only one of thousands of cases forwarded over decades by bishops to the Vatican office called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, led from 1981 to 2005 by Cardinal Ratzinger. It is still the office that decides whether accused priests should be given full canonical trials and defrocked.
In 1996, Cardinal Ratzinger failed to respond to two letters about the case from Rembert G. Weakland, Milwaukee’s archbishop at the time. After eight months, the second in command at the doctrinal office, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, now the Vatican’s secretary of state, instructed the Wisconsin bishops to begin a secret canonical trial that could lead to Father Murphy’s dismissal.
But Cardinal Bertone halted the process after Father Murphy personally wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger protesting that he should not be put on trial because he had already repented and was in poor health and that the case was beyond the church’s own statute of limitations.
“I simply want to live out the time that I have left in the dignity of my priesthood,” Father Murphy wrote near the end of his life to Cardinal Ratzinger. “I ask your kind assistance in this matter.” The files contain no response from Cardinal Ratzinger.
The New York Times obtained the documents, which the church fought to keep secret, from Jeff Anderson and Mike Finnegan, the lawyers for five men who have brought four lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. The documents include letters between bishops and the Vatican, victims’ affidavits, the handwritten notes of an expert on sexual disorders who interviewed Father Murphy and minutes of a final meeting on the case at the Vatican.
Father Murphy not only was never tried or disciplined by the church’s own justice system, but also got a pass from the police and prosecutors who ignored reports from his victims, according to the documents and interviews with victims. Three successive archbishops in Wisconsin were told that Father Murphy was sexually abusing children, the documents show, but never reported it to criminal or civil authorities.
Instead of being disciplined, Father Murphy was quietly moved by Archbishop William E. Cousins of Milwaukee to the Diocese of Superior in northern Wisconsin in 1974, where he spent his last 24 years working freely with children in parishes, schools and, as one lawsuit charges, a juvenile detention center. He died in 1998, still a priest.
Even as the pope himself in a recent letter to Irish Catholics has emphasized the need to cooperate with civil justice in abuse cases, the correspondence seems to indicate that the Vatican’s insistence on secrecy has often impeded such cooperation. At the same time, the officials’ reluctance to defrock a sex abuser shows that on a doctrinal level, the Vatican has tended to view the matter in terms of sin and repentance more than crime and punishment.
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. An additional 10 percent were defrocked immediately. Ten percent left voluntarily. But a majority — 60 percent — faced other “administrative and disciplinary provisions,” Monsignor Scicluna said, like being prohibited from celebrating Mass.
To many, Father Murphy appeared to be a saint: a hearing man gifted at communicating in American Sign Language and an effective fund-raiser for deaf causes. A priest of the Milwaukee Archdiocese, he started as a teacher at St. John’s School for the Deaf, in St. Francis, in 1950. He was promoted to run the school in 1963 even though students had disclosed to church officials in the 1950s that he was a predator.
Victims give similar accounts of Father Murphy’s pulling down their pants and touching them in his office, his car, his mother’s country house, on class excursions and fund-raising trips and in their dormitory beds at night. Arthur Budzinski said he was first molested when he went to Father Murphy for confession when he was about 12, in 1960.
“If he was a real mean guy, I would have stayed away,” said Mr. Budzinski, now 61, who worked for years as a journeyman printer. “But he was so friendly, and so nice and understanding. I knew he was wrong, but I couldn’t really believe it.”
Mr. Budzinski and a group of other deaf former students spent more than 30 years trying to raise the alarm, including passing out leaflets outside the Milwaukee cathedral. Mr. Budzinski’s friend Gary Smith said in an interview that Father Murphy molested him 50 or 60 times, starting at age 12. By the time he graduated from high school at St. John’s, Mr. Smith said, “I was a very, very angry man.”
In 1993, with complaints about Father Murphy landing on his desk, Archbishop Weakland hired a social worker specializing in treating sexual offenders to evaluate him. After four days of interviews, the social worker said that Father Murphy had admitted his acts, had probably molested about 200 boys and felt no remorse.
However, it was not until 1996 that Archbishop Weakland tried to have Father Murphy defrocked. The reason, he wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger, was to defuse the anger among the deaf and restore their trust in the church. He wrote that since he had become aware that “solicitation in the confessional might be part of the situation,” the case belonged at the doctrinal office.
With no response from Cardinal Ratzinger, Archbishop Weakland wrote a different Vatican office in March 1997 saying the matter was urgent because a lawyer was preparing to sue, the case could become public and “true scandal in the future seems very possible.”
Recently some bishops have argued that the 1962 norms dictating secret disciplinary procedures have long fallen out of use. But it is clear from these documents that in 1997, they were still in force.
But the effort to dismiss Father Murphy came to a sudden halt after the priest appealed to Cardinal Ratzinger for leniency.
In an interview, Archbishop Weakland said that he recalled a final meeting at the Vatican in May 1998 in which he failed to persuade Cardinal Bertone and other doctrinal officials to grant a canonical trial to defrock Father Murphy. (In 2002, Archbishop Weakland resigned after it became public that he had an affair with a man and used church money to pay him a settlement.)
Archbishop Weakland said this week in an interview, “The evidence was so complete, and so extensive that I thought he should be reduced to the lay state, and also that that would bring a certain amount of peace in the deaf community.”
Father Murphy died four months later at age 72 and was buried in his priestly vestments. Archbishop Weakland wrote a last letter to Cardinal Bertone explaining his regret that Father Murphy’s family had disobeyed the archbishop’s instructions that the funeral be small and private, and the coffin kept closed.
“In spite of these difficulties,” Archbishop Weakland wrote, “we are still hoping we can avoid undue publicity that would be negative toward the church.”
Documents: The Case of the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy
Timeline: The Predator Priest Who Got Away
• Abuse Scandal’s Ripples Spread Across Europe (March 25, 2010)
Enlarge This Image
Jeffrey Phelps for The New York Times
Arthur Budzinski, at a cemetery behind St. John's School for the Deaf, says he was first molested in 1960 when he went to Father Murphy for confession.
• Pope Accepts Irish Bishop's Resignation in Abuse Scandal (March 24, 2010)
• Abuse Scandal's Ripples Spread Across Europe (March 24, 2010)
• Church Adds More Abuse Cases to Its Inquiry in Germany (March 22, 2010)
• Pope's Letter Does Little to Assuage Anger (March 21, 2010)
On Wednesday, Pope Benedict XVI, above in St. Peter's Square, accepted a bishop's resignation.
Warned About Abuse, Vatican Failed to Defrock Priest; SNAP responds
Statement by Peter Isely of Milwaukee, Wisconsin - SNAP Midwest Director (in Rome today) For immediate release: Thursday, March 25, 2010
Newly-disclosed church records prove that the world’s two most powerful Catholic prelates refused to rein in a serial predator even though three US bishops begged them to act. Because these documents are relatively recent, the crimes so egregious, the victims so vulnerable and the Vatican inaction so clear, this disclosure is particularly damaging to Benedict and Bertone.
Benedict has told bishops to "recognize the extent and complexity of the (abuse) problem" and "admit grave errors of judgment were made and failures of leadership occurred." He’s said "All this has seriously undermined your credibility and effectiveness."
"It cannot be denied that some of you (bishops) and your predecessors failed, at times grievously, to apply the long-established norms of canon law to the crime of child abuse,” Benedict has written. “Serious mistakes were made in responding to allegations." He’s said that bishops should “remedy past mistakes” and “guarantee that they do not happen again.”
These papal admonitions apply to the pope as well. He must follow his own advice. He must “come clean,” about this case and others he has mishandled, especially as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).
Several years ago, speaking about the abuse crisis, he told Irish bishops “It’s important to establish the truth of what happened.” Perhaps most important, it’s time for Benedict to do this, starting with his own cover ups. And if he refuses, how can he ever hope to hold others accountable for recklessness, deceit and callous misdeeds since he himself was involved in recklessness, deceit and callous misdeeds?
I feel passionate about the Times’ disclosures. I’ve spent hours with these extraordinarily brave victims of Fr. Murphy. I’ve met the Wisconsin church officials who tried to little about Murphy yet could and should have done so much more so much sooner. I know that tremendous suffering could have been prevented or ameliorated if any church official, even just one, would have been brave enough to act.
But it hurts even more to know, clearly, that even the top Catholic officials didn’t act, to either protect the vulnerable or heal the wounded.
It’s important to know how involved the Pope was with Fr. Hullerman, and other predator priests, nuns, seminarians and brothers, when he headed the Munich archdiocese. It’s important to know how the Pope and his highest aide, Cardinal Bertone, handled the Murphy case. But even more, it’s important to know how the Pope handled hundreds of cases across the world more recently, as head of the Vatican bureaucracy where all abuse reports were quietly sent.
That’s what he must do. The Pope, if he is to have any credibility whatsoever in this crisis, must voluntarily release records of how he himself handled hundreds of clergy sex crimes and cover ups as head of CDF. He can’t tell his managers across the globe “Be more open with abuse” unless he’s willing to lead by example.
Some claim that Ratzinger’s 2001 world-wide memo to bishops insisting on secrecy in clergy abuse cases was misinterpreted. These records show that, even before 2001, Ratzinger’s practice and priority was secrecy. More important, the stunningly consistent behavior of bishops across the globe proves that secrecy with clergy sex crimes remains ‘job one’ in the Catholic hierarchy even now, from the top down.
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Missouri - SNAP executive director (in Missouri today)
"These records prove that the world's two top Catholic officials did nothing about a serial predator despite repeated pleas from three US bishops. The reason was because then-Cardinal Ratzinger and then-Cardinal Bertone were afraid of publicity. The year was 1998. The obvious result was that more kids were molested. The likely result was that more kids were molested. And now, the likely result will be that any papal words about getting tough with predators or being open about abuse will be meaningless, because church staff will see that the Pope himself, just a dozen years ago, opted for secrecy and inaction with an admitted predator."
Let's be clear about Ratzinger and Bertone: They did nothing. They didn't call police, warn citizens, contact parents, defrock the predator, or insist that Wisconsin bishops do anything other than keep quiet.
If they refuse to act against a pedophile who admits molesting 34 kids, imagine their indifference and inaction with pedophiles who admit nothing and molest fewer. If they rebuff three bishops, imagine how they respond to lay Catholics and victims.
Let's be clear about the Wisconsin bishops: They are no saints either. They delayed for years, contacting the Vatican only when lawsuits were threatened. Before, after, or instead of seeking Rome's advice, they could and should have done their civic and moral duty by calling police. None of them apparently ever did.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 22 years and have more than 9,000 members across the globe.
Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers.)
In Rome: +49-172-1676 93, Peter Isely, email@example.com, 414 429 7259, from US: 0039 3388970386, Barbara Blaine, SNAPblaine@gmail.com 312 399 4747, Barbara Dorris, SNAPdorris@gmail.com, 314 503 0003, John Pilmaier, firstname.lastname@example.org, 414 336 8575
In the US: David Clohessy, SNAPclohessy@aol.com, 314 566 9790
In Washington DC: Becky Ianni, RIanni@cox.net, 703 801 6044
In Chicago: Mary Guentner email@example.com, 414 418 3191
In Milwaukee: Lynn Pilmaier, firstname.lastname@example.org, 262 781 5361, Mark Salmon , email@example.com, 414 774 4350
In Superior & Boulder Junction: Bob Schwiderski, firstname.lastname@example.org, 952 471 3422
Fr. Lombardi explains Vatican response to sexual abuse by Wisconsin priest
Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi.
Vatican City, Mar 25, 2010 / 10:10 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The New York Times printed an article on Wednesday in which they alleged that in the 1990s the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), then Cardinal Ratzinger, did not respond to letters of a Wisconsin bishop on the matter of a sexually abusive priest. In an official response to the Times for the article, Fr. Federico Lombardi addressed the specific case and the CDF response.
According to the Times' article, Fr. Lawrence C. Murphy started working at the St John’s School for the Deaf in 1950. During his time there, civil and Church authorities were allegedly aware that he molested boys in the school.
He was moved from the Diocese of Milwaukee to the northern Wisconsin Diocese of Superior in 1974, where he continued working with children in parishes and even a juvenile detention hall.
After nearly two decades had passed and repeated complaints were received from victims about Fr. Murphy’s actions, Archbishop of Milwaukee Rembert G. Weakland began to investigate the cases in 1993. As part of the investigations, he hired a social worker to interview Fr. Murphy, during which he admitted to molesting around 200 boys.
The Times reported that, in 1996, after information had come to light that the priest had made solicitations in the confessional, thus violating the Sacrament of Penance, the archbishop referred the case to the Vatican.
Archbishop Weakland sent two letters about the violations to Cardinal Ratzinger, who was prefect of the CDF at the time. After eight months, he received orders from Cardinal Ratzinger's second-in-command, Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, instructing the U.S. bishops conference to carry out a canonical trial behind closed doors.
The investigations ended abruptly, they report, when Fr. Murphy sent a letter to the Vatican protesting the trial claiming that he had repented, his health was poor and the statute of limitations had passed.
Archbishop Weakland continued to call for the defrocking of the priest until a final meeting in the Vatican in May, 2008.
The New York Times stated that, “even as the pope himself in a recent letter to Irish Catholics has emphasized the need to cooperate with civil justice in abuse cases, the correspondence seems to indicate that the Vatican’s insistence on secrecy has often impeded such cooperation.”
"At the same time," the report continues, "the officials’ reluctance to defrock a sex abuser shows that on a doctrinal level, the Vatican has tended to view the matter in terms of sin and repentance more than crime and punishment.”
Fr. Federico Lombardi released his full response to the New York Times about the “Murphy Case” to members of the press in the Holy See’s Press Office on Thursday. The Vatican spokesman's response was only cited in part in the article from the New York Times.
He underscored that “Father Murphy violated the law and, more importantly, the sacred trust that his victims had placed in him.”
Fr. Lombardi related that victims reported abuses to the civil authorities in the mid-1970’s, but “according to news reports, that investigation was dropped.”
The CDF was made aware of the matter nearly two decades later, he pointed out, adding that the examination of how to address the question canonically was initiated, since the case involved a violation of the Sacrament of Penance.
Fr. Lombardi emphasized in his reply, “It is important to note that the canonical question presented to the Congregation was unrelated to any potential civil or criminal proceedings against Father Murphy.”
“In such cases, the Code of Canon law does not envision automatic penalties, but recommends that a judgment be made, not excluding even the greatest ecclesiastical penalty of dismissal from the clerical state," he explained.
Responding to the question of punishment, Fr. Lombardi referred to the fact that the abusive priest was "elderly and in very poor health, and that he was living in seclusion and no allegations of abuse had been reported in over 20 years." This led to the CDF suggestion to Milwaukee's archbishop of "restricting Father Murphy's public ministry and requiring that Father Murphy accept full responsibility for the gravity of his acts."
Fr. Lombardi notes that the priest died about four months afterward, "without further incident." He was 72 years old.
Concerning the suggestion of a link between the "non-reporting" of child abuse to civil authorities and the application of the Vatican document Crimen sollicitationis, which establishes Church policy against priests who violate the sanctity of the Sacrament of Penance by making advances in the confessional, Fr. Lombardi stated that "there is no such relationship."
"Indeed, contrary to some statements that have circulated in the press, neither Crimen nor the Code of Canon Law ever prohibited the reporting of child abuse to law enforcement authorities," he insisted.