Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Going For the Vatican Jugular (Op-Ed, New York Times)

Recent accusations against the Vatican deserve a response.

• Fr. Lawrence Murphy apparently began his predatory behavior inWisconsin in the 1950s, yet the victims' families never contacted the police until the mid-1970s. After an investigation, the case was dropped.

• The Vatican did not learn of the case until 1996.

• Cardinal Ratzinger, now the pope, was the head of the office that was contacted. There is no evidence that he knew of it. But even if he did, he would have had to allow for an investigation. While the inquiry was proceeding, Murphy died.

• The Times questions why Murphy was never defrocked. But only the Vatican can do that, and since it never learned of the case until he was dying, it was never a realistic option.

• The Times says the Vatican's canonical inquiry was done in secret. Correct. The proceedings of internal investigations—even in organizations like the Times—are never shown on C-SPAN.

• The Times says repeatedly that Church officials did not report accusations of abuse to the police. The common response of all organizations, secular as well as religious, was to access therapy and reinstate the patient (I prefer the term offender). Today it is obvious that a more hard-line approach is necessary, though therapy is still popular in many quarters.

• The Times continues to editorialize about the "pedophilia crisis," when all along it's been a homosexual crisis. Eighty percent of the victims of priestly sexual abuse are male and most of them are post-pubescent. While homosexuality does not cause predatory behavior, and most gay priests are not molesters, most of the molesters have been gay.

Here's what's really going on. The Times has teamed up with Jeffrey Anderson, a radical lawyer who has made millions suing the Church (and greasing professional victims' groups like SNAP), so they can weaken its moral authority. Why? Because of issues like abortion, gay marriage and women's ordination. That's what's really driving them mad, and that's why they are on the hunt. Those who doubt this to be true need to ask why the debt-ridden Times does not spend the same resources looking for dirt in other institutions that occurred a half-century ago.

Bill Donohue
President, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
May 30, 2010

This Op-Ed piece appeared as a paid advertisement on page A23 of the NYT on Mar 30. The Homosexual Alliance that runs that example of Yellow Opinionated Journalism did not give the Catholic League free space to respond to their lies and accusations. But they were happy to take his money.


Fr. Andrew said...

Bill Donahue- file this under more harm than good. He was so reasonable, I wonder why the NYTimes was allowing him to be published. Then he makes his tirade against the source of abuse which comes off a bit goofy.

You and I might agree on this but Johnny "Brie cheese and Merlot" in Manhattan won't. This is NOT how you engage the public and win sympathy for Pope Benedict. Jeesh Bill. You should be trying to INFLUENCE people, not drive them away.

Sigh. And I was hoping they'd publish something by the Judicial Vicar.

Unknown said...


The "Brie cheese and Merlot" crowd didn't give nothing!

Donohue had to pay for that piece in the NYT. Quarter page. I think something like that is $4,000 in the Star Tribune. It might be ten times that in the NYT.

But you're right. they won't even read it. Their faith in their opinions is far stronger than our faith in God.

Anonymous said...

Father Andrew is right on the money. The letter fails miserably on several different levels.

What truly bothers me is that not only does the author not express any sympathy for the young victims of sexual abuse by priests, he implies that they are not really victims at all.

Any priest implicated in the sexual abuse of minor children belongs in prison - not in therapy.

Ray, I must say that in the last couple of weeks you have done a truly pathetic job with your defense of the Church hierarcy's gross negligence in not preventing pedophile priests from continuing to prey on Catholic youth after their sinful conduct was first discovered.

I think that the Church (and probably God himself) would prefer that you stop trying to help them. You are doing them more harm than good. You should really leave it to the professionals.

Fr. Andrew said...


I agree and disagree with you. It is too bad about Donahue.

I disagree in how you impute malice to Ray and Donahue. one of hte basics of discussion is to assume the goodwill of the other.

No where has Ray or Donahue spoken about therapy, other than pointing out that therapy was, at one time, the prevalent secular advice.

Further, it would be a denial of basic human rights to lock up "any priest implicated." Every criminal deserves a trial. Removal from priestly ministry is one thing, prison another. Though prison certainly is appropriate for those found guilty.

Thank you for your input and, if you reply, could you use a pseudonym at the end of your post?

Vianney1100 said...

I thought the paid advertisement by Donohue was spot on. He refuted all the points that the media and Times were trying to make hay with. This was necessary given the way the headlines and first paragraphs read. That is all the typical person will read. I don’t think the “merlot” people were the target either. They are too hardened in their ways for something like this to have any effect on them. It was more targeted toward your average pew sitter with some faith and a little catechism under their belt. It is good to see a bit of a time line to put this in perspective and I think that was effective.

As for anonymous’ words, this was not the place for apologizing to the victims. That is done and has been done by the Church’s authorities. There is no implication that they were not victims in any of Donohue’s words. I agree with you about all priests that have been convicted but not just implicated being put in prison. There are too many of them out there supposedly under “house arrest”.

You simply repeat the media’s obsession with the word “pedophile” and ignore what the research has uncovered. Despite what the spinmiesters would have us think, this is a homosexual driven problem for the most part. I suggest you aim your malice toward the perpetrators of these crimes, whether they be priests, teachers, or pastors of other denominations, in other words, this blight on society that the media only seems to care about within the Catholic Church.

For both Father and Anon, might I suggest reading a book by George Weigel, “The Courage to be Catholic”? This will give you a deeper understanding of what transpired with this scandal. Ray, keep up the great work. I have learned a great deal from what you have on your blog. You bloggers do a great service to Catholics who seek truth rather than what we are fed by the media.

Michael J. Bayly said...
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Michael J. Bayly said...
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Michael J. Bayly said...

I think Wayne Besen says it best when in responding to Donahue's piece in The Times, he notes:

"We should remind Donohue that there is no child sexual abuse crisis in gay community centers, neighborhoods, churches or social organizations. This nightmare [of the Roman Catholic clergy sex abuse scandal] has to do with Catholic pedophile priests and those who served as their enablers. The Catholic League thinks it is mounting a defense, but it is only exacerbating the pain felt by the defenseless who were taken advantage of by authority figures in the church."

Also, the US Bishops' own study into the crisis concludes that there is no data indicating that
homosexuality was a predictor of sexual abuse.

Yet clearly something's amiss with some of the homosexual men in the priesthood. They are not your average (i.e., healthy and well-adjusted) homosexual male. Why is this? I think it has everything to do with the Church's narrow and dysfunctional understanding and teaching on homosexuality - and, indeed, human sexuality in general.

Whether it be contraception, pre-marital sex, the role of women in the church, or homosexuality, the majority of Catholics faithfully dissent from these official teachings. The "sense of the faithful" is alive and well. Too bad the bishops (including the Bishop of Rome) remain isolated and unresponsive to it.



Vianney1100 said...

"We should remind Donohue that there is no child sexual abuse crisis in gay community centers, neighborhoods, churches or social organizations.”

Michael, how would we know without something like the John Jay study? How about if a study is done of public schools? Do you think the results would be around the 80% mark which the study found and the AP report alludes to? (“the overwhelming majority of known victims were boys”) This statement (“At this point, we do not find a connection between homosexual identity and the increased likelihood of subsequent abuse from the data that we have right now.”) and others in the article you linked to seem to fly in the face of the 80% figure. Can you explain this to me? And I don’t mean this in a sarcastic way, I sincerely would like to hear a valid explanation and since you have done some research on this you probably have an answer.

“This nightmare [of the Roman Catholic clergy sex abuse scandal] has to do with Catholic pedophile priests and those who served as their enablers. The Catholic League thinks it is mounting a defense, but it is only exacerbating the pain felt by the defenseless who were taken advantage of by authority figures in the church.”

This is the same “nightmare” that is being played out in other organizations but the media have no appetite for pursuing answers in these cases. The Church has answered repeatedly for the horrible sins of her members and taken the steps necessary to deal with this, including concern for the victims. Even your article points out that the abuse has been dealt with (The latest findings affirmed previous reports that the rate of clergy abuse has declined steeply since the mid 1980s. Most of the claims being made now involve allegations of abuse from decades ago) Other organizations have not done the same thing and are continuingly having new cases of abuse pop up but most people wouldn’t know about them because the media in this county burry them on the last page or don’t report on them at all.

To me, this is the most curious aspect of this whole crisis. What is behind the media’s lack of attention to victims if they have not been abused by Catholic priests? Why do we constantly hear about the fewer cases of concern for the “defenseless” in one situation but not the greater amount of cases in the other situations? Why do those in charge of these organizations remain isolated and unresponsive while the Church has taken action? I do have a theory that has been put forth by several others so I can’t take credit for it. In fact, you hit upon it at the conclusion of your comments. “Whether it be contraception, pre-marital sex, the role of women in the church, or homosexuality, the majority of Catholics faithfully dissent from these official teachings.” This is the ultimate goal and thanks for bringing this up. People inside and outside the Church hate her because her teachings are built on a solid foundation and do not change no matter what the poll numbers and their personal preferences are. The issues you listed are exactly why the NY Times and others have targeted the pope. In fact, these attacks will not end until the Church relents and changes her teachings on these matters. Fortunately she will not, we have been assured that Satan will not prevail against her.

“the majority of Catholics faithfully dissent from these official teachings. The "sense of the faithful" is alive and well”.

This is not what faith is and not what our Lord described it as. He told us we must have the faith of a child. That would be completely trusting despite not completely understanding what Jesus taught us. Yes, we may need to ask questions much like a 4 year old does and we may not always understand the answers but if we trust in him and pray the answer will eventually come, and it may not be what we want to hear but it will be the truth which is not subject to the whims of man. Jesus gave us the Church for this very reason. Pray about this and say to the Lord “I trust in you”.

Anonymous said...

Trying to blame the media and the lawyers is not ever going to work.

Maybe the Catholic Church should give strong consideration to electing an Austrailan Bishop as the next Pope

Barney Zwartz
The Age - Australia
April 1, 2010

The Catholic Church has a turbulent future as probably a much smaller church in the West, with a ''vast amount'' of sexual abuse cases yet to emerge, according to a retired Australian bishop.

''The church is not going to fold up its tent and disappear, but there could be very dramatic changes'' as a result of the clergy abuse crisis, said Bishop Geoffrey Robinson.

Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart blamed a failure of leadership and a lack of courage for the crisis and warned that while Australia had learnt its lessons, the difficulties for the Catholic Church in many countries were still coming. ''It's a big crisis for the church. We are all hurt by this, but we've got to face it and get on with it,'' he said.

Bishop Robinson - the Sydney Auxiliary Bishop who designed Australia's abuse protocol system before resigning in 2004 - said he strongly doubted the Pope would resign, but the Vatican could no longer dismiss abuse as a purely Anglo-Saxon problem or a hostile media campaign.

Bishop Robinson, himself the victim of abuse as a youth, was disowned by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference after suggesting that until the church reassessed its power structures and teachings such as celibacy, it was not serious about tackling abuse.

''There are two problems, the abuse itself and how it was handled. We must be prepared to confront all aspects,'' he said. ''Abuse is in every country, so there's a vast amount more to come out. But I fear it will be drip, drip, drip for a long time. ''There could be dramatic changes, and in the Western world it could become a much smaller church, especially Ireland.''

Archbishop Hart defended the Pope as proactive in tackling abuse, saying Benedict was ''absolutely aghast that any cleric could act this way'', but conceded that the crisis was deepening. ''There's been a great failure in leadership. The church has been around for a long time, and may be slow to react.''

He said problems arose because paedophilia had not been recognised for what it was. ''These are actions of evil people, not of the church, except that people sometimes lacked the courage to address them. It's a failure of courage.''

He said the Australian church had acted strongly to tackle abuse, but ''other countries have yet to address the matter, and their difficulties are coming later''.

Anonymous said...

Some Bishops apparently are starting to learn the appropriate way to respond to the sexual abuse problem in the Catholic Church.

I think they understand that criticizing the media and the lawyers is not going to resolve the situation.

Now we can only pray that American Bishops will learn from their mistakes and take the same approach as European and Australian Bishops. It is not too late for them to begin to restore their credibility.


VATICAN CITY — Swiss bishops urge victims of clerical abuse to file criminal complaints and are considering creating a national registry for pedophile priests.

Danish bishops launch an investigation into decades-old claims.

Austria's senior bishop celebrates a Holy Week Mass of repentance.

A week after Pope Benedict XVI excoriated Irish bishops for gross errors of judgment in handling cases of priests who sexually abuse children, European bishops are admitting to mistakes, reaching out to victims and promising to act quickly when they learn about abuse cases.

Their mea culpas and pledges to be more transparent and cooperative in the future come amid mounting public outrage over the scope of the abuse and what victims say has been a pattern of coverup by bishops and the Vatican itself to keep the cases quiet.

"It's about improving things," Swiss Bishops Conference spokesman Walter Mueller said Wednesday, as Swiss bishops admitted in a statement that they had underestimated the problem and are now telling victims to consider filing criminal complaints.

In Austria, Cardinal Christophe Schoenborn was to celebrate a Holy Week Mass on Wednesday evening for abuse victims in what is being billed as a "sign of repentance" just days before Easter.

Schoenborn was named Vienna archbishop in 1995, tasked to clean up the mess in the diocese after Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer was forced to resign as archbishop over allegations he molested youths at a monastery in the 1970s.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Father Andrew and V-MC.

Anon: Wouldn't it be nice if you learned how to create a pseudonym for yourself so we can identify your messages by source? When there is more than one anon message it isn't worth the time to read either of them.

The purpose of blogs is communication. When you hide, you are avoiding communication.

And contrary to what you believe, we really don't care who you are. We might be interested in what you have to say. But I generally don't really read anonymous posts other than to check for obscenities, etc.

Unknown said...

Michael #3:

M-"We should remind Donohue that there is no child sexual abuse crisis in gay community centers, neighborhoods, churches or social organizations."

R-One would imagine that there aren't a heckuva lot of children in those communities, either.

M-"They are not your average (i.e., healthy and well-adjusted) homosexual male."

R-The Communicable Disease Center in Atlanta estimates that the homosexual male life style [Men Having Sex with Men] takes 20 years off of a life. Is that what is meant by "healthy and well-adjusted?"

M-"faithfully dissent"

R- Please explain what that might mean. We might call it heresy or apostasy.