Serious questions for Benedict from the US…

The current Pope was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine between 1981 to 2005. The front page of the New York Times today, will make grim reading for him not to mention the whole Roman Curia:

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.


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.

And finally:

…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.

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  • Garza

    Its kinda funny how Irish Republicans are usually catholics seeing as their religion is very “Monarchy-like” and vice versa for unionists.

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    It really doesn’t matter how many of these ’embaressing stories’ are revealed — it’s totally obvious that the only thing this arrogant and moral-free organisation respect is action.

    I’d suggest those actions should include a thorough public inquiry in every diocese, the removal of the Catholic church from the education sphere, a ban on funded papal visits and an end to the practice of respecting ‘moral pronoucements’ from a church who have moved beyond hypocrisy.

  • Rory Carr

    Since it would be quite ludicrous to dictate to anyone other than ourselves which “moral pronou[n]cements” to respect or disrespect I can only assume that Gerry lvs castro is himself intending to abandon “the practice of respecting ‘moral pronou[n]cements’ from a church who have moved beyond hypocrisy.”

    How long, I wonder, was it his practice to so respect such pronouncements?

  • If we had lived in a secular, 32 county republic, there would have been far fewer opportunities for members of religious orders to abuse children.

    This would be true going forward too. Both Irish States give special privileges to religious organizations.

    Canon Law should have no rule outside the Vatican.

  • wild turkey

    “solicitation in the confessional might be part of the situation,”

    here’s hoping the Wisconsin case generates an international arrest warrant/extradition request to be served on benny when he visits GB. I posted this previously in a comment on the OO protest about Benny and the Gets touring the GB in september, but it is also relevant here.

    Hitchens in Slate 22.03.2010

    “”Here’s a little thought experiment on practical ethics. Suppose that you are having a drink with a new acquaintance and the subject of law-breaking comes up. “Ever been in any trouble with the authorities?”
    You may perhaps mention your arrest at a demonstration, your smuggling of excess duty-free goods, that brush with the narcotics people, that unwise attempt at insider trading. Your counterpart may show a closer acquaintance with the criminal justice system. He once did a bit of time for forgery, or for robbery with a touch of violence, or for a domestic dispute that got a bit out of hand. You are still perhaps ready to have lunch next Friday. But what if he says: “Well, I once knew a couple who trusted me as their baby sitter. Two little boys they had—one of 12 and one of 10. A good bit of fun I had with those kids when nobody was looking. Told them it was our secret. I was sorry when it all ended.” I hope I don’t seem too judgmental if I say that at this point the lunch is canceled or indefinitely postponed.

    And would you feel any less or any more revulsion if the man went on to say, “Of course, I wasn’t strictly speaking in any trouble with the law. I’m a Catholic priest, so we don’t bother the police or the courts with that stuff. We take care of it ourselves, if you catch my meaning”? “”

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    Rory I failed to clarify — I was referring to the common media practice of giving creedence to the church’s pronouncements, particularly on issues of sexual morality. By their past actions, the church have forfeited any right to have their edicts/opinions respected by anyone outside of their own membership.

    The practice of wheeling on bishops etc to give forth on issues such as contraception, gay rights etc would appear to be a nonsense given the abject failure of the hierarchy to protect the most basic rights of children (eg the right not to be raped) from their own staff.

    I welcome the fact that you only took issue with one of my four points above.

  • I didn’t really take issue with any of your points Gerry, but the fact is the very existence of both Irish states is based on sectarianism and both states pander to their religious majorities (and minorities for that matter) in a desperate attempt to justify their existence.

  • ding dong

    I return to previous view, the reason there should be opposition to the pope’s visit to the UK is nothing to do with what the OO have said but the visit should be opposed by all law abiding decent people because the organisation – the catholic church – has systematically throughout the world protected and covered up for monsters and has totally failed to protetc children

    Every civilised country where there has been abuse by catholic clergy should break diplomatic ties with the vatican until there is a clear papal instruction to all churches worldwide to open thier archives and records, and to offer up for prosceution all those who abused or cover up for the abuse of children!

    Until then the representatives of the vatican should be internationally shunned

  • For those of you interested in how the situation is being reported in Germany, see the link below (its in English). Der Spiegel is a respected left of centre weekly magazine with a large readership. It comes out on Mondays, so today´s allegations from the USA are not mentioned.,1518,684970,00.html

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    urban_underclass and ding dong — I couldn’t agree more. With the exception of a couple of (brave if daft) Vatican apologists, this site appears pretty much united in it’s condemnation of the church’s complete failure to protect children, open up it’s archives, take responsibility or reform in any meaningful way.

    The question is why there is still reticence on the part of govts worldwide (and this is a global problem) to go for the jugular and treat this organisation as with any secular one.

    It’s painfully obvious that regardless of your religious views, the RC church do not have any special relationship with ‘God’, unless your idea of a deity is one who is happy to allow his supposed representatives on earth to repeatedly tolerate and cover up abuse of children on a global scale.

    Why are the world’s govts still recognising and pandering to the Vatican? Is a worldwide paedophile scandal somehow more acceptable when wrapped in religion?

  • Damian O’Loan

    Gerry lvs Castro,

    “The practice of wheeling on bishops etc to give forth on issues such as contraception, gay rights etc would appear to be a nonsense given the abject failure of the hierarchy to protect the most basic rights of children”

    I don’t quite agree with this. It’s not their hypocrisy which undermines the moral authority of the Catholic Church, it’s that it has no verifiable or justifiable basis. The hypocrisy is sickening, but it is not the core problem.

    To take an example, with a little hypocrisy included, look at Ratzinger’s Congregation on civil unions/marriages:

    It’s teaching ” reiterates a truth that is evident to right reason and recognized as such by all the major cultures of the world. Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It was established by the Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose.”

    So we reason for a while until we reach the absurd pronouncement that the old testament and the four gospels are the only source of truth, immune to reason. We can counter saying that many ‘truths’ therein have been completely discredited and are untrue, but this falls on deaf ears, this Church simply amends its interpretation.

    This is relevant because either the Church is simply an institution seeking to impose social order under its belief system by whatever means necessary, or it is the bearer of Truth, as indeed it says.

    If you believe the former, you can see why it won’t allow transparency and criticism. If you fully believe the latter, you are as unsuitable a democratic citizen as any Salafist.

    So while it is unsurprising to note that the Pope has not respected the laws against paedophilia, it is not the answer to say that solving this issue will solve the problem of the Catholic Church.

  • Alias

    wild turkey, the Slate article is spot-on. If a society allowed the Coca-Cola Company to create a culture that encouraged parents of children to report their allegations of sexual abuse by employees of that company to its management and not to the civil authorities, others would be baffled by how this practice was tolerated and promoted.

    But if the board of the Coca-Cola Company told the parents “We can cure sex abusers, and rehabilitate them back into company so that they’re no longer a danger to your kids or others” then your bafflement would quickly turn to horror.

    Yet this is exactly how the Church protected its paedophiles. It told the parents that it could cure them, and that they no longer had to worry about their kids or what these paedophiles would go on to do to other kids.

    Anyone who had any doubts about whether paedophilia can be cured or about the policy of moving these paedophiles from parish to parish would have had these doubts lessened by their faith in the Church. The Church, they would believe, is directed by g-d, and so no wrong can be done by it.

    In telling these people that these paedophiles were cured, the Church allowed them to continue abusing children, and ensured that doubts about them were not acted upon. At what point did the Church realise that it could not cure them? I’d say it was when new allegations about ‘cured’ priests were made, so it knew at the very start (or very close to it) that it could not cure them and so it was simply implementing a dangerous fraud that was aimed at covering up for them at the direct expense of their victims.

    That the average paedophile is believed to molest circa 400 children during his life, so the scale of evil perpetrated by this Church is truly shocking.

  • Alias

    Incidentally, while the Bishop of Clogher, Joseph Duffy, last week blamed the parents of a boy who was abused by a Catholic priest for his own failure to report the abuse to the civil authorities, stating that he was bound by a secrecy agreement with the victim’s parents, it was his Church that created the culture that parents would report the abuse to it and not to the civil authorities. He was simply blaming the brainwashed for the success of his Church in brainwashing them.

  • Yet again we see the duplicity of the Church. It is time for the church to be completely open and hand over all files relating to child abuse to the relevant authorities in the countries concerned. In this way each country can see how many cases were reported and how they were dealt with.

    It is impossible to take the Popes word on this matter. He is tainted by his previous actions and none of us have any reason to believe he has changed.

  • Greenflag

    Alias ,

    ‘it was his Church that created the culture that parents would report the abuse to it and not to the civil authorities. He was simply blaming the brainwashed for the success of his Church in brainwashing them.’

    That’s very good Alias – very good indeed and so true . I suspect the latest american revelation may undo whatever is left of this pope’s credibility .

  • The Archbishop of Cloyne takes himself off, and a brief look at his career shows how deep duplicity runs in the church.

    He was secretary to three Popes, much admired and respected. He clearly knew how to keep their ‘secrets’.

    He was not the first to find Pope John Paul 1 dead, he just said he was to avoid ’embarrassing’ the church.

    The Murphy investigation into Cloyne is due to be published in June, this resignation is a clear indication of what we can expect. The only Archbishop to refuse to back McGee was the Archbishop of Dublin. Is he the only one with a clean slate? If he is he should be Cardinal and then the next Pope.

  • Rory Carr

    I do not see that attacking the Church’s teachings on sexual morality in this matter gets us anywhere.

    Indeed we might be better impressing upon the Church leaders the message of that morality and the abysmal breach of it by the very pastors entrusted with preaching it in the community and reinforcing it by the example of their own chastity, temperance and application of altruistic non-sexual love.

    While it might be understandable, within the constraints of sacramental prohibition, that errant priests who had confessed their transgressions could not be reported to the authorities because the solemn duty of the seal of the confessional prevented this, it nevertheless might be thought that the confessor authority perhaps ought to have insisted upon the sinner turning himself in to the secular authorities as a mark of his sincere repentance, and making absolution conditional upon him so doing.

    Whether or not this was attempted in each case is something to which we are not privvy but the above report from the New York Times would indicate that it was an approach that simply did occur to the powers-that-be in the Catholic hierarchy. Why this is so when it would seem an obviously proper response even to a long-lapsed Catholic and miserable sinner such as myself is beyond me.

    Having long been taught of the importance of not giving scandal that would bring the Church into disrepute (this being particularly emphasised in the peculiar atrmosphere of the sectarian state of Northern Ireland) I fail to understand why clergy who had been guilty of such awful practices were not dismissed from Holy Orders forthwith. Surely, one would think, the damage that the scandal of allowing them to continue in the priesthood far outweighed any damage that wider knowledge of their actions might cause (as has indeed proven to be the case).

    One is left to consider above all else (and quite apart from the horror of it all and the stink of corruption in the subsequent attempts at cover-up) whether or not the Church hierarchy are, apart from all else that we might consider them to be, a bunch of fucking idiots.

    Or is it that they considered that we were?

  • Brian MacAodh

    A la guillotine.

    But in all seriousness, this is outrageous. One of the few things that really gets my blood up these days. Incomprehensible.

  • Rory Carr

    I do not consider them to be a bunch of ‘fucking idiots’ although it appears some were at least one of the two…

    I do believe the hierarchy thought we were all peasants – and could be treated as such.

  • Paddy

    “here’s hoping the Wisconsin case generates an international arrest warrant/extradition request to be served on benny when he visits GB.”

    So that is what the LVF fan club here is on about. To get some self rightous indigantion when the Pope comes. Not satisfied with murdering and mutilating orrdinary Catholics, they must now attack the main man to satiate their own egos.

    Were any of the thousands of kids sent as slave labour to Australia by the secular secular British state abused?
    The Pope is supposed to bemicro managing every Catholic priest in the world. Your screeds are right out of the nineteenth century. You are over 100 years behind the times.

  • Paddy

    Are you suggesting two wrongs make a right? It may be shown, when the trial of Liam Brady come to trial, that the Brits colluded in the cover up. What will your opinion be then I wonder? Will it be limited to the officer concerned?

  • Greenflag

    Rory ,

    ‘I fail to understand why clergy who had been guilty of such awful practices were not dismissed from Holy Orders forthwith’

    Money. The loss of revenue/capital which would have been given to victims and the loss of the ‘revenue ‘ cash cows i.e the number of clergy needed to ensure that weekly collections were kept up to the mark .

    ‘Or is it that they considered that we were?’

    Indeed . Despite it’s modern partial conversion to the democratic ‘ideal’ the RC Church hierarchy have never been noted proponents of ‘democracy’ . They were more comfortable in the feudal state when they could bamboozle the peasantry with Latin . We forget the long struggle to have the ‘vernacular ‘ used in Church services .

    The RC Church authorities are not alone in your ‘bunch of fucking idiots’ consideration . We need look no further than the present masters of world economic destruction namely the banking and financial services fraudsters and their insurance industry brothers in crime to see a similar shaking downs of the ‘sheep’ before the unmerciful screwings 🙁

    As for our elected ‘shepherds’ ? Scared shitless most of them and not without cause I might add :(.
    When the choice is between do as we say or it’ll be a return to the 1930’s the politicians everywhere blinked .

    It’s not ‘ausgeschlossen ‘ that the 1930’s could be repeated anyway – in an economic sense 🙁 Never mind George Orwell’s 1984 _Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ with it’s semi epsilon morons ‘bred ‘ on a fixed low nutrient ‘diet’ of popular ‘religion’ and mass media brainwashing to enhance already genetically programmed short attention spans.

    Not to worry . The voters of Tunbridge Wells will turn out to vote for the more ‘equal’ pig come the big day . The programming works just as well there as it does in Fermanagh South Tyrone even if the ‘political diet’ is somewhat different . There are many ways to bag a cat and even more when it comes to shafting the ‘sheep’ .

  • Paddy

    |Matt Cooper has a good article here, linking Martin McGuinness, Adams and the attacks on Brady etc. See what he says about Ed Moloney’s book and McGuinness’s intervention on behalf of Liam’s brother Gerry, who was never in the IRA.

    I wonder, in passing,given that Liam’s brother was never a “Volunteer”, would he have helped out if asked and was he ever asked? Better not ask the Price sisters.

  • I read this and I wonder if Mr Cooper is right, perhaps MMcG was sending a coded message.

    It is also true that in oder to expand S/F need to rid themselves of some their more unsavory and unreconstructed associates.

    The Catholic Church has to do the same thing.

  • wild turkey

    paddy @20

    ‘So that is what the LVF fan club here is on about.’

    ah, so anyone who finds the vaticans recurrent behaviour on this issue repulsive, and the current popes involvement and actions in these matters arrogant, insensitive and inhumane , in fact remarkably Caesarian rather than moral, ethical, is a member of the LVF fan club? Well, until your astute insights and fair and balanced analysis above, I did not know membership of the ‘LVF fan club’numbers of tens of millions worldwide.

    all those years kneeling must be habit forming?

    … and this just in from that well known LVF fan club mag the New York Times

    … and holy shit! the tentacles of the LVF fan club has even spread to the guardian (but whaddy expect, they’re Brits, right paddy?

    “Pope implicated in allegations over sex abuse by second Catholic priest”

  • Seosamh913


    Were any of the thousands of kids sent as slave labour to Australia by the secular secular British state abused ?

    Yes. Remind us though, who was primarily respsonsible for the abuse once they got to Australia ?

  • Paddy

    Seosamh: Thank you. In your opinion, the secular authorities who sent these children as slave labour are innocents. We had a guy here praising Cromwell. Go back to watching the Magdalene Laundry. It was not the women who bonked the “fallen women”. It was respectable, middle class ireland, Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter.
    If you are ever in Melbopurne – it has a big Orange Lodge so you will be ok companionship wise – go to the main grave and look at the plot of the Christian Brothers. Look at their ages (most under 25)

    It was in Melbourne I was first told by a RC social worker that the RC Church was a haven of pedos. But pedos, like all manipulators/bullies shop in certain quarters and htye would not have shown up on most ordinary decent RC radars.

    But hey, better to read your liberal toe rag papers. The Guardian is a gardening rag for wooly academics and the NYT is no paper of record. (The Daily Telegraph, though a right wing anti Irish paper, does have real weight; their columnists are actually educated). Ganging up on the Catholic Church makes them feel liberal. These scum bags who launched Aramgeddon on Iraq and will do so again are liberal.

    I am not saying you are a signed up UFF member. But your analysis is equally simplistic. Go do some reflection. Get thee to a nunnery.
    That is Shakespeare, if you ever heard of him. Nunneries were notorious brothels in his day. Bu read some of your 19th century crap and you wil lfind that out.

    The Sinn Fein case is different. That is a party/movement wanting political control and it has real baggage.

    The RC Church is in need of reform. Celtic have started the movement by sacking their manager. But probably too late as the Old Firm bs is just that. God does not close one dooor (thumping Rangers) but he opens another. Don’t ask me what that doo is. Ask God. If he could be bothered to speak to insects.

  • Seosamh913


    “In your opinion, the secular authorities who sent these children as slave labour are innocents”. No, I did not say that and nothing I have said could be interpreted as such by a fair-minded reader.

    You are clearly among the sad crank minority who interpret virtually any criticism of the catholic church as evidence of sectarianism. And you accause ME of simplicity of analysis ?!

    Incidentally, when you think about it, you’d need an intellect fairly close to that of an insect to believe that you were either being spoken to or listened to by God, wouldn’t you ?