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April 01, 2010
Pope Abuse!

Apparently talking about the hundreds and hundreds of children sexually abused by priests while the Catholic church was more concerned with cover-up than prosecutions is just unfair.

Apparently, talking about a particularly egregious case that was coming to a trial of sorts--even though only inside the church's 'trial' procedures and not in a criminal court--until the trial was derailed by a pre-Pope is just--it's so unfair to talk about that pre-Pope priest, now that he's Pope-ing, that the people around him are getting pissed.

As near as I can figure, from reading both stories, their defense goes something like this: "While it is true that mistakes were made, it can nevertheless be argued that someone else made them and in any case a mistake made by a man can't be held against a Pope and it's against the rules to talk about the man before the Popery."

Also: "We're gonna let god sort it out."

Vatican official: Newspaper report on pope 'lacks fairness'

Emphasis mine:

Cardinal William Levada, an American who heads the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said the newspaper "lacks fairness" and that it accuses the pope of "leniency and inaction" in dealing with abuse cases.
Though Levada criticized the Times for a "series of articles" that lack fairness and are "rushing to a guilty verdict," the cardinal was particularly angered by a Friday report about the abuse of as many as 200 deaf boys in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by the now-deceased Rev. Lawrence Murphy.
In its article Thursday about Levada's remarks, the Times said the allegations "drew on documents obtained from lawyers suing the church that showed that Vatican officials had at first ordered a secret canonical trial, then asked the archdiocese to suspend it after the priest pleaded for leniency to Cardinal Ratzinger [now Pope]. Wisconsin church officials protested the suspension, but followed it."

Sounds like leniency to me. (I don't care if the guy was sick and only wanted to "die in peace." He wasn't entitled to die in peace, not after what he did. Even if he didn't survive the trial, his victims deserved to see him brought to trial. They deserved peace, he didn't.)

Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki apologized repeatedly Tuesday night for the way his archdiocese handled the Murphy case, and he defended the Vatican, saying church officials and civil authorities in Milwaukee made mistakes, not Rome.

This is the place where mistakes were made but it was always someone else who made them. The trial was suspended by order of the Vatican ("Rome") and over local protests, but then later someone else says mistakes were made by local officials and "Rome" didn't have anything to do with how a mass rapist escaped prosecution.

Lies upon lies upon cover-ups.

Vatican Official Defends Popeís Handling of Case

ďThis is different, because itís the pope and because itís a pope who is most self evidently beyond accusation, particularly in this area,Ē said a senior Vatican official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly.

Yeah, I'm not seeing it that way.

Case after case after case--an avalanche of proof that hundreds upon hundreds of instances of priests raping kids came to his hands when he was the one with the authority and the power to do something.

Because he streamlined procedures, he's "beyond accusation"? I'm sorry, but I can't find making it easier to report crimes inside the bureaucracy--out of the public eye and away from the threat of criminal prosecution--to be all that praiseworthy.

No, "beyond accusation" would have been a man who defied the bureaucracy, obeyed the law, and spoke out publicly in defense of the children.

Honestly compels me to admit that, for the Catholic Church, streamlining bureaucratic procedures was probably the most progressive thing they'd done in a thousand years,* so I'm willing to believe that, while not wanting to jeopardize his job and career path, the pre-Pope had certain instincts to do the right thing.

At least he did something, you know? I don't care if every one of those pedophiles thinks he has a direct line to some almighty power--people's delusions are their own problem--but the idea that these men are allowed hide behind archaic laws to avoid trial and prison for the heinous crimes they commit really pisses me off.

It's the 21st century. I think it's time we stopped pretending that just because a man puts on a little black dress and a string of beads, he's somehow beyond the law.


* The idea that the Catholic church didn't start seriously trying to clean the pedophiles and rapists out of their priestly population until it was practically the 21st century really wigs me out.

Posted by AnneZook at 02:41 PM


What I don't understand is why it's taken seven years to get to this point.

Posted by: Jonathan Dresner at April 1, 2010 03:19 PM

Now that I've read your post, I don't understand, either.

I've been more or less assuming, as these various cases came to light in the (inter)national news over the last decade or so, that the men accused in these cases have all been faced with criminal prosecution.

The idea that they've been immune to the laws of the state because of their jobs is just so appalling to me--but many of the articles I'm reading assume I know more than I do. Either the victims have not been trying to bring legal charges, or the men have been considered untouchable, I can't really tell.

Posted by: Anne at April 2, 2010 03:47 PM