Letters to the Editor

Slanted facts

April 5, 2010


To the editor:

In the past, there has been scandal in the Catholic church of which we are rightly ashamed. However, the recent smear campaign against Pope Benedict is entirely an invention of the media. Here are the facts I gleaned from online sites for National Catholic Register and New Advent.

Father Lawrence Murphy sexually abused boys at a school for the deaf between 1963 and 1974. This became known and was reported to the police. There was no coverup. Murphy was removed from the school and never again given a pastoral assignment.

In 1995, some of Murphy’s victims sought further action. In 1996, the case came to the attention of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in Rome, of which Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict) was the head.

I have read that Ratzinger “quashed” the investigation, that the investigation was “mysteriously” dropped. This is not true.

After some discussion about jurisdiction and Murphy’s extremely poor health the case was returned to the diocese of Superior, Wis., in May 1998. Three months later, Murphy was dead.

I strongly urge readers to go to the Internet sites National Catholic Register and New Advent for the real facts.


JudyS 8 years ago

Truth cannot be denied. More than two decades too late, Murphy was about to be tried by the Vatican. Murphy pleaded with Ratzinger to be allowed to die in his priestly dignity - yes, this criminal who anally raped hundreds of little deaf boys could speak about his "priestly dignity"! Ratzinger personally intervened and aborted progress towards the trial. To the pain and horror of the victims and the whole deaf community, the rapist Murphy was buried as a priest, in an open coffin, dressed in his priestly raiment. If apologists for Ratzinger (Benedict) do not believe that, what is their reaction to the fact that the Pope is currently sheltering the disgraced former Archbishop of Boston, Bernard Law. Law not only covered up sexual abuse by priests in his archdiocese but moved these priests from parish to parish where they continued their sexual abuse unchecked. Law eventually resigned as Archbishop - but ran and hid in the Vatican where he retains his title of Cardinal and holds a very senior post. The Pope continues to cover up for Law instead of de-frocking him and evicting him from the Vatican.

denak 8 years ago

".....The Pope continues to cover up for Law instead of de-frocking him and evicting him from the Vatican....."

Contrary to popular myth, there is no such thing as "defrocking" a priest. Under certain circumstances, a priest can be laicized from the priesthood. To be laicized means that the priest can no longer perform any of the Sacraments except under rare conditions (ie hear Penance from a dying individual) All his rights, authority and powers are taken away from him. This process can be voluntary or involuntary. The Pope ultimately signs the order to laicize a priest however a priest can not automatically be laicized. Laicizing an individual is much like a trial where the priest had the right to appeal. Just like one can not be found guilty in our court system without a trial, a priest can not be laicized without going through this process and just like we, in the U.S., can not just throw someone in jail, the Vatican can not "evict" a person from the Vatican.(?????) If a priest wants to fight the laicization process, he can hold it up for years in court. (Yes, the Vatican has a judicial system. The Apastolic Signatura) Lastly, much like our laws in this country in the last 30 years, the Vatican has had to revise its procedures and laws to reflect the reality of sexual abuse. The unfortunate reality is that because the statute of limitations had ran out in some states, some priest were not prosecuted by the secular authorities, the same thing happened with the Vatican. The Vatican has had to update its procedures and laws because there were not laws on the books to deal with this issue. One of the chief complaints of some people is why did it take the Vatican so long to "de-frock" certain priest, and that is one of the reasons. You can't charge a person with a crime if there is no crime on the books. If it isn't written, it isn't a law.


JudyS 8 years ago

Dena, you draw a distinction where there is no difference. A priest can be laicized by his own request or by penalty; the term unfrock or defrock is commonly used in the latter case. The terms defrocking, unfrocking, and (forced) laicizing are synonymous. Perhaps you would have preferred me to say 'The Pope continues to cover up for Law instead of [setting in train the processes required for] de-frocking [or laicizing] him' . It comes to the same thing. However, neither the Pope nor the 'Congregation' has taken (or contemplated) any such action. Quite the opposite. They have REWARDED Law by appointing him to a senior post within the Vatican itself - a post he has held for nearly a decade. He could be removed from the post itself at any time - and he should be. He could be sent packing from the Vatican at any time - and he should be..

SnakeFist 8 years ago

Let's stop pretending that these are isolated incidents by rogue priests. With thousands of victims in many different countries, the catholic church should be prosecuted as a criminal organization - just like the mafia - under the RICO (Rackateer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act. I have no respect for those who defend a church full of child rapists and those who protect them at the expense of the children.

Stuart Evans 8 years ago

Here are a couple of really intriguing articles from Slate Magazine which shine a lot of light on this very subject. While Christopher Hitchens is renowned for his anti-religion, I don't think that he's any more biased on the subject than say.. National Catholic Register and New Advent. (real facts..uh huh)

http://www.slate.com/id/2247861/ http://www.slate.com/id/2249130/

Jimo 8 years ago

Ms. Hofmann's letter is a very selective use of facts.

Fact: Ratzinger refused any reply to the Milwaukee bishop pleading for action. You will never find any response from Ratzinger himself despite the fact that he was personally responsible for child rape and abuse cases.

Fact: at every turn, records indicate the Church's concern was for itself and in this case the priest. You will find no noted concern for the children beyond the pro forma tsk-tsk.

Fact: this priest was NEVER tried, NEVER disciplined for actions that were extraordinary (abuse in confession of all places!!!) and beyond any doubt.

Fact: the Church claims to have reported, to much contradiction, some early incidents to the police of a small, heavily Catholic town. The Church has not dared to claim that, when they moved this priest to other locations, they failed to alert the police to the man's history (let alone leaving him to work with children).

It is amazing that after decades of cover-up as official policy, the Church would cite 'statute of limitations' as a basis for inaction.

Hofmann needs to stop co-conspiring in the crime of denial and cover up of child rape and start demanding accountability from a Church hierarchy that acts as if God was impotent and uncaring. It is precisely this 'my Church can do no wrong' attitude that leads secular authorities to hesitate to hold the Church to the same standards of other institutions - standards that would have long ago resulted in indictments, trials, and lengthy jail-terms for quite a number of Church officials AND the forceful disclose of facts and the validation of many, many victims.

There is plenty of room for forgiveness of sin but the law allows no room for avoidance of criminal penalties. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's or Caesar will close you down.

ahimsa 8 years ago

Dianne, don't you remember the knowlege you learned years ago from a living master? Maybe if you remembered, took a little time to remember...you'd be a lot happier and not have to defend the leader of an old crusty corrupt institution. jsca!

mr_right_wing 8 years ago

My objection is when something is done, or happens in the catholic church and the smear goes on all Christendom. The Crusades, indulgences, buying your way out of 'purgatory' this sex scandal--all strictly catholic and not all Christians in general. I have nothing against folks who choose to be catholic, I just dislike it when others use something catholic to condemn or ridicule everything else Christian.

MRW has spoken.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

JudyS (anonymous) says…

Do you have a problem with the Catholic Church? Catholics? The Pope?

Due process is still the law of our land. Why were these individuals not prosecuted under our laws at the time? Frankly, I find it hard to accept that nobody knew outside the Bishop. Now it is too late under our laws to proceed. I also wonder just what the Bishop’s crime might be if you wish to prosecute him.

Clearly, you do not understand the notion of Christianity. Forgiveness is a cardinal point. The church can and does have an obligation to consider the remorse shown by the sinner. At this point (or during the Pope’s tenure) exactly what would Church punishment accomplish if the man was sorry for his sins??

I am Catholic and getting a little tired of all this church bashing. The vast majority of these issues took place between 15 and 25 years ago. Every two years or so we dredge them up again as if it is all new data. From personal experience, I know the church has made major efforts to avoid these problems since then and the data seems to reflect such.

I would suggest you spend some time with DSM III and find out what the medical opinion was with respect to pedophilia back then. I think you will find it was considers a mental illness that was curable and that the "cured" could reenter society with little or no restrictions.

Last year I spent some time in a hearing in Topeka where a responsible committee of our legislature was trying to figure out how to deal with our more recently found knowledge that this problem may just not be fixable and we are now faced with how to treat such people after their criminal commitment ends. Now, we have many people at Larned and few are priests. Maybe the secular society - that’s you- should go figure out how to address this problem today without trying to slam my church for problems more than a decade in the past!

Frankly, you sound more interested in “hanging” somebody then in working a very difficult problem. I also do not hear much concern for the victims. The Church – that’s me – have paid (willingly and unwillingly) a lot of money to try to compensate these victims (not really possible) for our past mistakes. Remember the Vatican (not subject to our laws as an independent state) isn’t paying for all of this. Members of the Church are! I guess from your perspective we are all guilty and should be destroyed even though we committed no crime.

SnakeFist 8 years ago

"I am Catholic and getting a little tired of all this church bashing...I know the church has made major efforts to avoid these problems since then..."

So we should just get over the rape of children? Like a muslim might think we should just get over September 11? In fact, it seems that the catholic church has committed more crimes against society than the muslim faith has. Perhaps we're wiretapping the wrong group.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

beobachter (anonymous) says…

Caught in the middle again. I agree with your basic notion. The problem is our legal system has not caught up with this reality. fustration in the hearing was obvious and they write the laws. Unfortunately under our system detention for what you might do in the future is still not acceptable and we can not in general confine someone forever for past criminal activity (courts get in the way). There is also that pesky matter of statue of limitation - I assume we could change those but have not. Perhaps someone versed in the law might shed some light? Remember there is a thing about changing the law after the act

George Lippencott 8 years ago

SnakeFist (anonymous) says…

Really, you have a score card?

Sounds like you are just anti-catholic.

SnakeFist 8 years ago

"Sounds like you are just anti-catholic."

Yes, I'm anti-child rape. Clearly, you are not or you wouldn't be defending the organization that covers up child rape and protects child rapists.

SnakeFist 8 years ago

"There is also that pesky matter of statue of limitation - I assume we could change those but have not. Perhaps someone versed in the law might shed some light? Remember there is a thing about changing the law after the act."

You're gloating because you think the child-rapists can't be prosecuted? How evil is that?
In any event, its not that simple. Some jurisdictions consider rape, especially of minors, to be so heinous (akin to murder) that there is no SOL; many jurisdictions toll or suspend the SOL when the crime is being actively concealed; and the church's participation in the ongoing conspiracy to facilitate and cover up child rape definitely tolls the SOL. So keep giving your money to the church (and, I assume, NAMBLA as well), they're going to need it.

rtwngr 8 years ago

SnakeFist - Nobody in our church is in favor of child rape. The Roman Catholic Church has taken tremendous strides to remove pedophile priests, when discovered, and prosecute when possible. However ignorant individuals, such as yourself, miss the larger point. According to the Department of Education, the percentage of children abused from kindergarten to 12th grade by a teacher or administrator are higher than the percentage of the same age group in the Catholic church. Also, over 90% of all pedophiles are homosexual. But I am sure you would defend homosexuality as harmless.

Cait McKnelly 8 years ago

"Also, over 90% of all pedophiles are homosexual. But I am sure you would defend homosexuality as harmless." I would defend homosexuals as harmless as much as you defend your church as harmless. You cannot paint one in a certain way without painting the other. No one in the homosexual community supports pederasty any more than anyone in your church community. Although adult pedophiles can be either gender, man/boy assault is no more prevalent than man/girl and, although woman/boy assault certainly exists, woman/girl assault is almost unheard of. The vast number of abusers are men. A large number of the men who commit man/boy assault are also married. often with children of their own. Your "statistic" is false which makes your entire post suspect.

altarego 8 years ago

It's easy enough to bash the Catholic church because it's organized enough to bash - and sue. The totally unverifiable (but 90% true) fact is that pedophiles are attracted to situations in which they can influence children. Now that the priesthood doesn't look so attractive, they will be teaching at your inner city schools. Lets talk about it in twenty years when the victims come forward.

The whole thing about homosexuals and the priesthood could demonstrate, to some, how this pope is trying to protect the masses (pun intended) from his priests. To others, it could demonstrate what a blithering idiot his holiness is.

rbwaa 8 years ago

rtwngr: "Also, over 90% of all pedophiles are homosexual. But I am sure you would defend homosexuality as harmless." ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ an ignorant statement -- everything else you say can be ignored

SnakeFist 8 years ago

"Nobody in our church is in favor of child rape." - Except every parishioner who knew or had suspicions about what was going on and did nothing about it because you've been brainwashed into believing that the church can do no wrong - even when it does.

"But I am sure you would defend homosexuality as harmless." - You are correct, its the catholic church that I think is dangerous to children.

You and your church have the audacity to tell others, e.g., homosexuals, that they are immoral while you rape and cover up the rapes of children. People are finally seeing the hypocrisy of religion.

rtwngr 8 years ago

SnakeFist and the rest of the Catholic Church bashers - You lash out at the Roman Catholic Church and call us hypocrites, child rapists, and worse. You accuse us of turning a blind eye and deaf ear to atrocities in society. Then you tell us we are intolerant of homosexuality, abortion, euthanasia, and a whole host of other items that land outside of the natural law.

Well, you can have all of that if that is what you choose because you have free choice. I choose not to condone it. I choose to speak out and defend the most charitable organization on the planet. The Roman Catholic Church started, started mind you, orphanages and hospitals. The Church defends the most helpless in our world whenever it can.

Yes, you can give me example after example where the Church has failed. I can show you infinitely more examples where the Church has been the only hope and aid for those in need. The Church is a human church made up of humans and humans make mistakes. The Church is not a country club for saints, it is a hospital for sinners. And just so you know, the Church does not call people immoral, it calls the act immoral. There is a difference because the Church believes in the goodness of the human.

I don't expect you to agree with any of this, on the contrary I expect more attacks. So at this Easter season I will leave you with this thought. "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." Luke 23:34

George Lippencott 8 years ago

SnakeFist (anonymous) says…

Surely a lot of anti-catholic bile!

You seem to have a problem in separating the church from a few of its members. Surely, I am for child rape because I clarify a situation that people like you have gleefully muddled. Note I did not defend the church hierarchy only the millions of the rest of us who abhor what happened and have insisted on corrective action so it does not happen again – and paid the settlements.

paulette2 (anonymous) says…

Absolutely, and it should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Note the law is not enforced by the church but by the rest of us. Under SnakeFist's diatribe that would make you guilty because the secular authority did not do their job. I believe we have a very clear separation of church and state in this country. As an aside, we consider ourselves a nation of laws and not men. That means that you can not go back and change the rules after the game is played because you overlooked something. Killers go free frequently because of holes in our system. We need to fix them and not find some group to bash because it makes us feel good!

All of you:

Read DSM III then comment.

How come a select few of you want to bash the church but nobody wants to talk about the larger problem we have as a society? Makes me wonder what the real issue might be?

SnakeFist 8 years ago

"Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." - Save it for the child rapists and those who protect them.

"You seem to have a problem in separating the church from a few of its members." - Now that you know what the church has been covering up for decades (probably centuries) in so many countries and involving so many children, and that the problem goes all the way to the top, then, yes, you join in its evil by defending it rather than calling for full accountability. At least the protestants realized long ago that there comes a time to walk away from corruption.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

SnakeFist (anonymous) says…

I guess all Catholics should be crucified! We all knew (says you) and we all let it slide (says you). You sure are one very smart (says you) individual. You know the unknowable! Could you be a "god'? Perhaps we should all be worshiping you?

SnakeFist 8 years ago

Moderate, maybe this Sunday when you put money in the plate you'll think about whether that money is being used to move a priest to another parish so that he can continue his crimes. Or maybe when you drop off your child for chior practice, or see someone else do so, you'll wonder whether its the responsible thing to do. Unfortunately, I doubt any of that will cross your mind, which is what makes you and your fellow parishioners accomplices in my opinion. Keep your blinders on and keep counting on that forgiveness, I think your going to need it.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

SnakeFist (anonymous) says…

Is your hatred focused on Catholics or all organized religion?

It is clear you have not read anything I have posted

jimmyjms 8 years ago

"I am Catholic and getting a little tired of all this church bashing."

Yeah, well, I'm not Catholic and I'm getting a little tired of all the child raping.

Do you people have no shame? It ought to be devoted Catholics that are most interested in getting to the truth.

Corey Williams 8 years ago

I was born and raised (until about 16) catholic. For the first 12 years of my life, we had a great priest. After he left, we got an another priest. After he announced that wine would be had at each mass, it was found out that he was a known functioning alcoholic. The decision to have wine at every mass ensured that there was always a supply of alcohol around. Yes, the diocese knew. His alcoholism was what made the diocese remove him from his last church and move him to ours. That priest lasted about a year and a half before he got moved somewhere else.

The next one, and the last one I knew, started doing some strange things. Rude would also describe his actions. It was learned that he had had a nervous breakdown, and the reason he kept getting moved was because he still wasn't quite right. He was gone in about half a year.

Could they have swept all of this molestation under the rug? In my mind, yes. They already did it twice (in four years) to me.

JudyS 8 years ago

Moderate [sic] (George Lippencott) ( and Dianne and others of your ilk) it is depressing and disheartening that you will not face up to the specific question and how to solve it.

That question is whether the current Pope (as Pope Benedict or as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger or as Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger) knew/(knows) about specific instances of sexual abuse/rape of children by Roman Catholic priests, whether he was/(is) complicit (by action or inaction) in failing to report the crimes of such priests to the civil authorities, whether he was/(is) complicit (by action or inaction) in moving such priests to positions where they could/(can) continue their crimes unchecked, and whether he was/(is) in any other way complicit (by action or inaction) in covering up the crimes of such priests.

None of us has proof of the answers to those questions. While Pope Benedict remains defiantly silent, and smiles on Cardinals who publicly support such defiance and who virulently attack those (Roman Catholics & others) who are seekers after truth, the Pope remains under deep suspicion.

Pope Benedict wrote “God’s justice summons us to give an account of our actions and to conceal nothing”. He must now give an account of his own actions (and inactions) and must conceal nothing. And he must do so publicly - not secretly - and transparently and honestly. If he does, and if he guarantees to introduce a different regime, I for one would be more than willing to offer my own version of forgiveness.

In my view you and all Roman Catholics, clergy and lay, should demand nothing less of Pope Benedict.

George, you have descended into a muddle of cheap & unworthy claims including falling back on ad hominem abuse, attacking those who wish to see transparency and accountability, and making false accusations against us of being anti-RC believers, anti the RC church, and anti the Pope.

What a shame that you do not understand that what we want is to protect children - those thousands of poor souls who have already been so shockingly abused by RC priests, those who are now being abused by RC priests, & those who will undoubtedly be abused in future by RC priests unless & until there is a sea change in the Vatican's behaviour in respect of priests who rape and sexually molest children. That change has to start from the top.

BigPrune 8 years ago

The best thing the Catholic Church could possibly do would be to mimic the success of the public schools, especially in New York City. For example, the New York Times, which had a story yesterday about an accused priest from India who was stationed temporarily in Minnesota a few years back, would never have seen the light of day had he been assigned to a "rubber room."

The New York Post recently described the "rubber rooms" as places where educators accused of wrongdoing sit for months, or even years, at full pay while their case is being investigated. What do they do? They are known for "snoozing at their desks, holding jam sessions, playing board games, and breaking into fights." Moreover, "Doodling is a popular pastime. Others read every word of a newspaper. Many gulp down cup after cup of coffee." There are currently 675 teachers in the "rubber rooms," costing the City over $40 million a year in salaries alone. Some of the accused have been drawing full pay for 12 years.

The good news is that the New York Times doesn't care about the "rubber rooms," which explains why it seldom writes about them. Best of all, the Times has never once editorialized against them. Indeed, it doesn't even like to report on efforts to insure greater rights for the molesters. A New York Assemblyman Peter Abbate, Jr. recently introduced a bill to terminate in-house disciplinary inquiries for all civil servants, thus making it easier for abusers to skate. But it never made the Times.

The lesson to be learned is quite simple. The Catholic Church should never remove accused priests from ministry -they should assign them to a "rubber room" where they can do something productive, like, - finger painting, with no cut in pay. Following the lead of the teachers' unions, the Church should work against all reform efforts. And when it is criticized for cheering laws making it easier for the accused to get away scot-free, it should just say it is modeling itself on the exemplary work of the teachers’ unions. The Times would understand, wouldn't it?

JudyS 8 years ago

BigPrune (anonymous), what a shameful post. You are yet another depressing and disheartening example of a Roman Catholic saying - it seems (please tell me this is not what you mean) - that, because other institutions suppressed, or may have suppressed, instances of child sexual abuse/rape, that excuses the Roman Catholic church, the Vatican and the Pope.

Please BigPrune, if you want to pursue other institutions (secular or religious) go for it. Everybody will support you if you bring facts to bear. But please don't use it as any excuse whatsoever for the sexual abuse/rape of children by brothers, nuns and priests which has happened and is continuing to happen in the Roman Catholic church.

Let's shine the searchlight on sexual abuse/rape of children wherever it occurs. And demand that the perpetrators and those who indulge in cover ups are publicly identified and appropriately dealt with. And that victims are financially compensated for their pain, and are counselled, and that every possible support is given to them.

But in this current thread, the searchlight is shining on Roman Catholic priests, bishops, archbishops, cardinals and right up to the Pope. Let's deal with that here.

Cait McKnelly 8 years ago

Someone please tell me the Magdalene Laundries were a figment of my imagination. God knows I would like it to be. This is a perfect example of how the Church didn't just gloss over and hide individual cases and perpetrators of abuse but actually institutionalized it.

JudyS 8 years ago

Cait48 (anonymous), the Magdalene Laundries were anything but a figment of your imagination. Just try Googling. And yes, this was an example of institutionalized abuse by the Roman Catholic church. Nevertheless, let's now confine ourselves here to shining the searchlight on the institutionalized sexual abuse/rape of children by Roman Catholic priests, and the cover ups of this by bishops, archbishops, cardinals and possibly even by the Pope himself. If the Pope and the Vatican can truly face up to what happened, and can admit who did what and when and why, they might even be able to take a leadership role in rooting out this cruel abomination in society as a whole.

Rex Russell 8 years ago

First of all, let me "out myself". Former Catholic here. Took me 20yrs of not going to Mass and not going somewhere else to call myself "former". it was just too much of my identity. My story is all too familiar to the remaining Catholic faithful. Second, for non-Catholics it is important to draw a hard distinction between the people as a whole and the church hierarchy proper. Two very different things. The people have suffered a great deal under terrible leadership for decades and longer. This is just a repeat of the tragedy of the '80s uncovered. In the 80's I was a teenager. 8 yrs parochial school. 4 yrs CYO in both my parish and diocese. Dyed in the wool. When I was 15 we got a new preist. Fr. Larson. Was big into the youth. After a time things seemed odd with him. It all came crashing down for him when he fondled a good friend of mine. Turns out there were many, many more. From my parish and many more before it. He was shuffled from church to church with each complaint against him. With the Diocese knowing full well it was happening over and over. When the family of my friend took it to the Bishop, they told them not to start rumours and besmirch the good name of a good priest. All the time knowing why he was moved there. Soon he was moved again for "exhaustion". Only to return. Eventually he was convicted and did time in Lansing. If I remember, 4-5 boys whom he molested commited suicide as adults later on. Two of which I recruited into CYO myself. Eventualy the the shame and depression got to them. In the end, I can can spiritually forgive Fr. Larson for his sins. He is a broken man who will have to make his peace with God someday. However, I cannot forgive the Church. Their crimes and sins are much greater. They moved him from place to place knowing what he'd eventually do. They helped cover it up. The systematicly moved him from place to place to avoid detection. They tried to intimidate good people into silence to protect a pedephile. They worried more about the reputation of the mother Church more than the people they served. I have always(even as a Catholic) had a problem with the concept of papal infallibilty. If Pope Benedict handled one of these cases in the same way as my Bishop did in the 80's, then he is unfit. His silence is deafening and it is cowardly to let others defend you while you sit silent. The Church teaches all are sinfull and all are redeemable. But here is the catch. Only if you are remorseful. The Church has never been truely remorseful.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

JudyS (anonymous) says…

"George, you have descended into a muddle of cheap & unworthy claims including falling back on ad hominem abuse, attacking those who wish to see transparency and accountability, and making false accusations against us of being anti-RC believers, anti the RC church, and anti the Pope."

  1. The person I attacked essentially called me a pedophile because by their allegation I allowed such persons to pursue their trade. I think my response was mild by comparison. When you throw guilt on everyone without a shred of substance for such a broad smear you can legitimately be called anti-whatever.

  2. What claims? I have observed that blaming individual Catholics for what was done by some elements of the hierarchy is corrupt? I have also noted that there are limits on our ability to hold people legally accountable – that is a reality. I have also observed that our medical approach to pedophilia is changing – that is also a fact.

  3. Go back and read my post. I asked you if you were those things and did not accuse you of being such. Are you? What is it you want at the end of the day? What do you mean by transparency and accountability? To whom? The secular society has a legitimately interest in crimes. Just what are you pursuing?

  4. It seems to me that you and your fellow posters have taken a lot of different things and rolled them all into a Gordian knot with which you bash Catholics. For instance:

Legal vs. moral Today vs. twenty five years ago The faithful vs. some elements of the hierarchy Group guilt vs. individual guilt Medical vs. legal issues

I am going to walk down those issues one by one in a series of posts that follow.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

rrussell (Rex Russell) says…

Well we started out together but I got lost. Help me, please. From whom are you seeking this remorse and acceptance of guilt?

George Lippencott 8 years ago

jimmyjms (anonymous) says…

Thanks for an easy one. Are you suggesting that as an institutional imperative the Catholic Church to include the hierarchy and the body of the faithful approve of pedophilia and actively support it ??

jbiegs 8 years ago

I don't believe a word in this article. I mean seriously, does anyone think the media would ever try to lead us astray? Everything they print has been meticuously researched and backed up by hard evidence. What would they have to gain by printing false stories?

Rex Russell 8 years ago

George, IMHO, the actions then, and re-occuring now of the the Church do not constitute the consistancy of remorse. A penetant man, asking forgiveness from God, does not do so with the arrogance displayed by the Church. They do it on their knees and not accusing others of being unfair or parishoners of being unfaithful. I conceed that positive steps have been taken. Mostly at the insistance of good watchful people in the fold. A grass-roots effort. Not from pious leadership from above. As more unfolds from other countries from across the world, it becomes more appearant that this is a problem supported and concealed by the Church. I do think there are people out to wish the Church harm. I'm not one of them. But the continued arrogance, posturing, self protecting attitude, at the expense of good parishioners and victims still disgust me. I would like to see the Church from the highest points admit that crimes and sins were commited by Bishops. I would like to see the Vatican admit that they turned a knowing blind eye to the problem also. That would be a full and contrite confession and worthy of forgiveness. Not the continued PR campaign, stonewalling silence and ethical facade. The defense you use concerning the DSM III as "they did the best they could back then" is poor at best. You don't re-assign a suspected pedophile with a bad track record to a parish with a grade school unless you don't really care about their well being. You don't have him head up the CYO. This shows a blatent disregard. Catholics deserve more from the Church than what they have been given. Continually acting like politicians, lawyers, and bureaucrats instead of men of God is their greatest sin. I do however, greatly respect your decision to help reform from within, George. A decision in faith I could not make myself. Peace.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

rrussell (Rex Russell) says…

I think I understand what you are saying is that the Church leadership has been reluctant to admit a problem and apparently by that reluctance unwilling to do what? apologize to the victims, compensate the victims (if that is possible) apologize to the faithful, apologies to ??, remove the miscreant, punish the miscreant, other????

Just by chance do you have any data on what percentage of the priests have actually been found to be pedophiles?

Ken Lassman 8 years ago

Wikipedia has what looks like an excellent article on the issue--well worth reading titled "Catholic sex abuse cases."

According to this article, surveys of priests and the number of charges against them both seem to point to around 4% of priests being pedophiles, which is about half the percent of the general population, which is estimated to be approximately 8%. This still means that approximately 4,392 of the 109,694 priests in the Catholic Church are thought to be pedophiles.

The issue then, it seems to me, becomes: how to manage pedophiles in your jurisdiction? As rrussell has so eloquently outlined in his story, it seems that at least at times and perhaps consistently, the Catholic Church has grossly mishandled the situation by covering up and kicking the can down the road, hoping that it won't surface again until nothing can be done about it. But George, before you accuse my perception as being anti-Catholic, I will add that other institutions who work with children are having to confront the issue themselves. Some no doubt just cover up and hire lawyers, while others change the culture and revise their policies ranging from requiring no situation where a child is never allowed to be alone with a single adult, to training staff how to recognize and report suspicious behavior, providing no-tolerance policies, etc.

Seems that this Church is having to play catch up, while other churches watch nervously from the sidelines.

At any rate, it looks like the Wikipedia article is well worth looking at.

Rex Russell 8 years ago

I think "reluctance" is a soft pedaling term here. We both know it goes well beyond reluctance. The sin or crime by a priest is one thing. That is an individual. The aiding and abetting and cover-up by the Church is another. Putting the good name of the Church above the safety of children is another. This was the case. Now it is better than it was. The Church has done their Mea Culpa publicly. I can see this has satisfied some of the furor and anger for some. Possibly for you also. For my part however, the renewed "circle-the-wagons" and attack mentality coming from the Vatican is disheartening. Same as before. It tells me the heartfelt confession from the past was more PR than a spiritual cleansing. Still Bishops and Cardinals who aided and abetted still in high places. Still no open words from Benedict. I do not have any compiled data on pedophile priests or non-pedophile priests. I do not believe you have to be a pedophile to sexually harm children. To betray their trust. Again George, this may be where we respectfully disagree. You see the Church (the people) working hard to combat and correct this problem and bring it out into the open. And I still see the Church (the heirarchy) as unyeilding, arrogant, and doing the faithful a disservice by continuing a hard-nosed pattern of denial. I see it as both being true.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

DougCounty (anonymous) says…

On the contrary, I think your post added to the body of knowledge. I have been reluctant to make the point that the number is small because the qualification of the source might be suspect.

I don't think the whole world is anti-catholic and I do think there has been a problem. I would like to know whether the problem is continuing after the Church took remedial action. I do ask for perspective. Some of the posts have been witout merit and IMHO inflamatory.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

rrussell (Rex Russell) says…

As this unfolds we approach agreement. The newest allegations are troubling if the hierarchy is trying to avoid them. On the other hand I am not willing to yet accept what I have seen so far as a broad new issue or one being covered up in the old manner by senior leadership. Could be, time will tell - if the furor does not end up impacting the quality of the outcome.

gatekeeper 8 years ago

I don't agree with the beliefs of Catholics, but I have nothing personally against them. I do think people supporting the CHURCH are just wrong. The Catholic Church has always been evil and corrupt and many evil people found a great place to hide within it.

Looking at past history, how many deaths were the direct result of the Church? It's sickening what they have done over the centuries.

In modern times, they continue the killings by condemning the use of condoms, thus helping to spread HIV/AIDS (basically giving people, many children, a death sentence). Since they condemn all birth control, they encourage over population and cause there to be large populations in areas that can't handle these populations. Lack of resources for these polulations leads to wars and starvation. And the church sits back and watches. And they support those that rape children by hiding them. How many molested kids ended up killing themselves?

The church doesn't do what's best for the people, they do what's best for their organization. They are a political organization and always have been. Anyone that doesn't see that has blinders on. They are just the continuation of the Holy Roman Empire. The history is very clear about what the church has done over the centuries and the crimes they still commit.

Sarah Silverman did a great piece on what the Catholic Church should do to redeem itself. But, the leaders of the church enjoy living in luxury at the Vatican, decked out in the finest of threads, enjoying priceless pieces of art while people around the world suffer. HYPOCRITS are what the leaders of the Catholic Church are. They live nice lives while so many have nothing. If they followed the teachings of Christ, they would give up everything to help those in need. Hypocrits!!!!! I think many Catholics live with blinders on. You're taught the word of Christ, but the church you support doesn't follow his teachings.


George Lippencott 8 years ago

JudyS et al

In this note let us talk legal as opposed to moral. I detect in many of the posts above a moral abhorrence to pedophilia. I think I would be hard put to find very many people that do not share that abhorrence.

However, our moral values are not always echoed in our legal system. It contains matters such as a complainant (read victim), a crime, a criminal, due process, timeliness and other limits on our ability as a society to pursue a moral loathing. I certainly am not trying to justify pedophilia but it is imperative that we separate our moral judgment from our ability to legally address what happened.

One of the problems with criminality is that pedophilia is almost exclusively a crime under state law. As such it must be tried under the laws where the crime was committed. So if we want to castigate the “Church” as opposed to “Father X or Bishop Y” it becomes almost impossible to write factually as the situation in each case is different. Unless one can prove an institutional intent to actual commit pedophilia or an intent to aid specifically in its commission, the institution is not a criminal – there may be moral issues – but there is no crime.

Now, when we pursue a criminal issue with people who have never lived here then I submit we are stretching. If then Cardinal Ratzinger committed a crime in Germany that is for the Germany authorities and the German people to address.

One of the problems with pedophilia in the Church is that the victims (usually the parents) have not sought prosecution by secular authorities. CW suggests that is because they are “sheep” and their pastor talked them out of said prosecution. I suspect there is some truth in that allegation. However, the secular authority can not in general pursue a crime such as this with no victim.

We also have to remember that the accused has right. We probably have many of those memorized from our watching of “Law and Order” and have been duly aggravated as to how those rights can be used to thwart justice. Our system in many places puts a timeline on prosecution. Maybe that is not so good, but we have not changed it. Our system in general does not allow us to define a crime after the fact - so if not reporting a crime is not a crime we can not make it one retrospectively. We learn.

Now, why go here. Simple because the ability to persecute most of the crimes that were committed is gone. This has happened because of limits on the timeliness of prosecution and in many cases a lack of criminal complainant. Otherwise we in the secular world should move post haste to do so. If we have not moved where we can it is our fault!

So, we should prosecute where we can and recognize where we can not. The resulting moral indignation is not really a discussion about the church-it is about our laws.

Rex Russell 8 years ago

Good points George. Let me point out though that many parents did go to their individual Bishops first and the civil authorities next after getting no response from the Church. This in turn brought authorities to the Diocese steps. Upon questioning, the Bishop or Diocese officials countered with "I don't remember any conversations with concerned parents about that particular priest". And were also reminded they do not need to show civil authories the files of priests. Then, quite often the priest was shipped to other states or countries to help avoid procecution. This left authorities the inability to make a case and it had to be dropped. Many police cases were dropped as unsubstantiated for this reason.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

In this note let us talk legal vs medical

Back in the day under DSM III pedophilia was considered a mental illness. Treatment was removal from the environment and medical intervention by qualified mental health professionals. It was presumed that such treatment could “cure” the individual. Once “cured” the individual was presumed able to resume their role in society.

Under that secular medical concept a priest charged with pedophilia could be returned to his duties after completion of the medical intervention. The Bishops did return them to other parishes. There was no crime. Now one can certainly challenge a repeated offender being treated the same way and I would argue there was a moral obligation to remove the offending priest from an opportunity to continue to offend.

Whether there was a legal obligation on the part of the Bishop to inform secular society of a pedophiliac offense is not clear to me. As near as I can tell most jurisdictions did not have any provision to require reporting back in the day. In the absence of a victim (see earlier note) it is quite likely that no charges were every brought. Given that the offense was tied to mental illness it may be understandable why the situation unfolded as it did what ever our current moral aversions. It might even have been difficult to obtain a criminal conviction under those circumstances.

Today the laws in most jurisdictions are much clearer. Along the way the faithful have been trained to recognize the offense and to report it to secular authorities. The DSM has been rewritten. No longer can a pedophile hide behind a mental illness diagnosis. It is IMHO much harder for an offender to continue to offend in this environment. That does not mean that offenses will not occur. It hopefully does mean that they will not be come widespread and continuing.

Now, in support of JufyS and others, if the situation developing contemporaneously reflects failures under the new system then there is good cause to pursue the matter. If, on the other hand, the new revelations are simply an awareness of situations that occurred before the changes the level of concern should not be as great. Yes, we must address the victims and verify that the changes would have or in fact did lead to an identification of the offender. If the international elements of church leadership failed to understand the universal nature of the problem and failed to apply what was learned here, they deserve condemnation. That remains to be seen and a witch hunt will shed much more heat than light.

In summary, we need to apply the right standard to the right timeframe. What happened in the past must be judged by the standards of that time. What is happening contemporaneously should be judged by all that we have learned. Care needs to be exercised in determining the difference. Ranting will not be particularly helpful.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

rrussell (Rex Russell) says…

I understand that perception and I would not reject it in some cases. On the other hand there is no proof of a large scale use of that process. It would not have mattered what the Bishop said, if a parent had gone to secular authority - prosecution should have ensued. Of course, like today, if it devolved into "he said - she said" prosecution may have been difficult. Absent a law to compel the Bishop to report as the priest's confessor he would have been unable to do so in order to support the child’s accusation. If what I suggested in my post above occurred then the priest would have been free to reoffend (we know that now but did not then). Now, if multiple accusations were brought to secular authority – prosecution should have ensued and there is no excuse if it did not. A mess!

Rex Russell 8 years ago

Let us set aside pedophilia for a moment for this discussion. If an adult of any persuasion or proffesion has sex with a minor, concentual or more likely otherwise, this is against the law. A few allowances, but few. If a father molests his daughter, this is a crime. Makes no difference if it is secular or not. Whether it was a preist, boy scout leader, or relative. Would still at best be statutory rape. That was the law back then, as is now. Knowingly allowing it to continue, setting aside the moral implications, have legal ones also. You are correct George, back in 80s, priests were evaluated at reputable mental health facilities and sent back as rehabilitated. In the case of Fr. Robert Larson, he was sent to Mennigers in Topeka for evaluation and returned. He also took a teenage boy with him on that trip to Topeka and molested him on the way.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

rrussell (Rex Russell) says…

I am apparently failing to make the distinction clearly. You are absolutely right the secular authorities had a legal duty to prosecute. I made no argument to the contrary. I speculated on why they did not.

I did distinguish the Bishop's role from that of the secular authorities. He does not prosecute in a secular sense and in most cases had no legal duty to report. As you know he has a religious imperative to keep the seal of confession which would have inhibited reporting voluntarily. What are we missing here?

Certainly some Bishop's did not deal very constructively with the problem but to apply our much clearer contemporary standards to events twenty years ago is not constructive. Mistakes were made but they do not remotely approach justification for universal condemnation of the church or the faithful!

Unless we are doing it again!!!

BigPrune 8 years ago

JudyS.....I was being sarcastic. Abuse of children is horrific. Abuse of children is also way more prevalent in the public school system than the Catholic Church, but there isn't any press/public outcry. I also read a study a few years ago that covered all of the Protestant denominations put together into one large group that said sexual abuse by pastors far out number those in the Catholic Church, but since we live in a country where the majority are Protestant, we hear nothing about that. Catholics are easy targets, not trying to make light on the situation.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

BigPrune (anonymous) says…

But I am making an issue of the statistics. From every data source (not just Catholic) it appears that the church as an institution is no more prone to pedophilia than an equivalent element of the society at large. So I question the motive for all the focus on the church and in some case the faithful. Certainly the practice should be condemned. Certainly as a society we need to do better. But singling out one institution for condemnation to the almost complete exclusion of all other institutions with similar challenges is at best troublesome and at worst …!

George Lippencott 8 years ago

BigPrune (anonymous) says…

But I am making an issue of the statistics. From every data source (not just Catholic) it appears that the church as an institution is no more prone to pedophilia than an equivalent element of the society at large. So I question the motive for all the focus on the church and in some case the faithful. Certainly the practice should be condemned. Certainly as a society we need to do better. But singling out one institution for condemnation to the almost complete exclusion of all other institutions with similar challenges is at best troublesome and at worst …!

JudyS 8 years ago

I shall stop feeding the troll aka 'Moderate (George Lippencott)'.

Cait McKnelly 8 years ago

"Now, why go here. Simple because the ability to persecute most of the crimes that were committed is gone. This has happened because of limits on the timeliness of prosecution and in many cases a lack of criminal complainant. Otherwise we in the secular world should move post haste to do so. If we have not moved where we can it is our fault!"

George, the distinction in this statement is part of what's at the center of the overall debate. In many states, if conspiracy of a cover up is proven, then the time line stops at the incident and the clock doesn't start ticking again until the conspiracy is discovered and proven. This means that a sexual abuse that occurred 20-25 years can be pursued for prosecution by the adult victim if they can prove that a Bishop, Archbishop or other superior in the church hierarchy was aware of the abuse and deliberately obstructed the prosecution of the perpetrator by shipping them across state lines or out of the country for their behavior. The fact, that even now, the Church hierarchy, all the way to the Pope, continues to obstruct and deny it's responsibility in this conspiracy continues to prevent the legal system from prosecuting these cases they way they should be. Part of this may be self defense as, in admitting such cover ups occurred, it also places that superior at risk of prosecution himself for being the conspirator. In many ways this places the entire Church hierarchy in the position of being a criminal organization. (One wonders if the Mafia learned their ways from the Church or if the Church learned their ways from them. I'm leaning toward the former.) I am not bashing the congregations of the parishes. I am a former RC myself and I still know many Catholics who are sincere and devout in their beliefs. However, the very fact that many congregations are still willing to swallow the behavior of their Church leaders confounds me. Well it does and it doesn't. Catholics have been brought up in this chain that has come down for over a millennium to believe that the Church is all powerful. The Pope is "infallible". The ultimate weapon it wields, "excommunication". Priests, no matter the age, personality or psycho quirks, are called "Father", wield actual paternal power and MUST be respected because they and they alone have the power to transubstaniate library paste wafers and wine into the blood and body of Christ. That's some pretty heavy hoodoo to grow up with. One might almost call it "brain washing" that goes far beyond the Sunday School classes and Vacation Bible schools of the Protestant churches. The old saying, "Born a Catholic, die a Catholic.", has much weight. But it also brings up the old axiom, "Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely." and the Church has had 1500+ years to perfect it.

Cait McKnelly 8 years ago

(Continued) George (and others) have brought up how far in the past some of the accusations extend but from where I sit that doesn't really make much difference. Had I (or the rest of the world) seen much in the way of behavior changes within the Church hierarchy that point would have some merit. But the recent behavior of Benedict, his College of Cardinals and the Office of the Grand Inquisitor (which seems to have had this dumped in it's lap) has pretty much shown that nothing has changed. As for the statistics slingers, the issue isn't how many cases of child abuse or how many perps are in the Church compared to public schools, etc. This is the Church. It shouldn't exist at all. The fact that it continues to exist and the Church hierarchy continues to sweep it under the rug is the main issue.

Rex Russell 8 years ago

Cait48: Very eloquently put. Co-sign my name to your last posts.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

JudyS (anonymous) says…

But I am under the bridge and demand a toll

George Lippencott 8 years ago

cait48 (anonymous) says…

Interesting op-ed in the Washington Post this AM.

Sorry we do not see eye to eye.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

cait48 (anonymous) says…

Well, I cannot argue with the desire for prosecution. I can question your interpretation of what was done. You view a criminal conspiracy to avoid prosecution where I view an adherence to then acceptable medical treatment protocols.

I do have a problem with your notion that there was widespread avoidance of prosecution. First, there had to be one for that to apply. Once one was initiated and the offender charged the only way actual prosecution could be avoided in this country would have been to send the offender to a foreign country without extradition. Is that what you are suggesting was done on a wide spread basis?? Does this arise form the current uproar over the priest sent to India? Not a good thing to do if a charge has been filed.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

rrussell (Rex Russell) says and Cait

Let me see, if I understand you right there should be no pedophiles in the church - ever. Pretty high standard.

What are we really arguing about? It sounds like an issue about access to documents internal to the church - documents not available on any other members of the society except perhaps members of the military. Are we denying the generally accepted protection of the confessional? Why does the Bishop and his advisors as legal, spiritual and medical advisor to the priest have less protection then a commercial lawyer or doctor? It is not clear that the society at large agrees with you on that issue.

Let us stop beating about the bush and put your cards on the table? Just exactly how many criminal prosecutions were blocked by a Bishop or did the secular authorities have insufficient evidence to charge and therefore could not extradite - so they wanted sealed documents to make their case easier. All that was needed was a law making those documents public - or was that a bridge too far and never sought.

Frankly, I think you are addressing cases charged in civil court where extradition is not generally available and where, like it or not, the Church has legal protection against self-incrimination.

You do open an interesting issue. Just exactly what is a priest? Is he an employee of the church to be treated as any other employee? We do not charge McDonalds as a co-conspirator when an employee turns up as a pedophile. Is the role of the priest similar to that of the military where he is tied to the church by both duty and law? But then priests are free to leave and can receive no civil sanction from the church. If the latter, do the secular authorities have any power to exploit the difference. To what extent is the church responsible for the actions of the priest or for that matter a few Bishops?

I keep pointing out that the church at large did not and does not sanction pedophilia. I keep pointing out that most offenses occurred many years ago under different standards and laws. Your keep arguing that a crime was committed and someone must pay. Your target in words is the church and not the individual offender. You seem to argue a board conspiracy to do something (is it hide the facts, not punish the guilty, hinder prosecution, move the offenders)? You say you want remorse and acceptance of guilt. That has already happened and is a matter of public record. So just what is it you really want – the dissolution of the church? An inquisition that can punish without due process? A witch-hunt with internal church documents?

I admit you are too elusive for me. I cannot pin down what it is you want that has not already happed. Like JudyS I give up only without a parting personal attack.

spiff 8 years ago

What attracts so many pedophiles to positions of power in the Catholic church?

Cait McKnelly 8 years ago

Moderate (George Lippencott) says… You do open an interesting issue. Just exactly what is a priest?

It's already been established by the Church itself that priests are not "just employees". It was the excuse used when the Church refused to turn over records to secular authorities. The Church has also played the "diplomatic immunity" card in the past, stating that priests are citizens of the Vatican, assignments are never permanent and as such they are all part of the Vatican's diplomatic corps. To date that has actually been the biggest barrier erected by the Vatican in the US as US secular law does not recognize the sanctity of the confessional and does not preclude a priest being subpoenaed. What does prevent a priest from being subpoenaed is their innate diplomatic immunity. They, of course, refuse to testify and there is no legal recourse for their refusal. In a sense this answers your question of "What are priests?". They are not employees. They are not members of a "military". They are "diplomats". This is pretty evident in some South American countries that do not recognize their diplomatic immunity and have no problem jailing priests and nuns. As a consequence of this, priests, bishops, etc stationed in the US have a degree of freedom not given to any other religion, not even the Dalai Lama. Roman Catholicism is the only religion in the world that quite literally has it's own country.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

cait48 (anonymous) says… Moderate (George Lippencott) says… You do open an interesting issue. Just exactly what is a priest? “It's already been established by the Church itself that priests are not "just employees". It was the excuse used when the Church refused to turn over records to secular authorities. The Church has also played the "diplomatic immunity" (card) You do not know when to quit do you. I give up and you throw another bogus allegation out there without a shred of backup.

Yes, if priests were employees there could be no action against the Church anymore than action against McDonalds. That said the priest is more than an employee of the church, however, he is less than a legally bound representative under secular law. Now, tell me under what laws of the United States or the several states do records maintained in confidence by lawyers, doctors and clergy become subject to indiscriminate public review? There are procedures in some jurisdictions where those records can be subpoenaed. In other jurisdictions, the legal system, not the church, protects such documents. There is no crime here and no malfeasance. You do not even post under your own name but you want to give away somebody else’s legally protected information. Why so?

As to priests and diplomatic immunity – I can find no systematic cases of such in the United States. There are priests in this country in prison and at least one was killed there for his actions. There is a bruha going on in Europe (different laws) where it appears the plaintiffs in a civil suit want to subpoena the Pope. The Vatican has claimed diplomatic immunity. I might remind you that the Pope is the head of a sovereign nations (according to a whole host of countries including us) so one has to question whether the subpoena is real or for media excitement. So, just who are the vast numbers of priests relocated by the church under threat of criminal prosecution in an effort to thwart that prosecution?

I can find absolutely no authoritative source that backs up your allegations of some vast religious conspiracy to advance the cause of pedophilia or to conceal offenses from legal authorities. I remind you that in most criminal matters there is no duty to report and as best I can ascertain that applied to pedophilia in the day. Therefore, there was no legal cover-up engineered by the “church” as far as I can ascertain and if there had been I would expect criminal prosecution. Perhaps you have references to sufficient cases to merit such a broad charge such as you have levied.

Bring on the next stupid allegation. How about URLs next time rather than misreading of current events, myths, application of foreign issue to the US and just plane hyperbole.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

spiff (anonymous) says… What attracts so many pedophiles to positions of power in the Catholic church?

Did you see the data above. It would seem that the church may just not do what you suggest.

JudyS 8 years ago

The troll - "Moderate (George LIppencott)" - keeps on trolling and at inordinate length. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_%28Internet%29

Cait McKnelly 8 years ago

Meh, Judy, George isn't much of a troll. He stayed on topic and actually even made a point or two, although he has deliberately misread many posts (or maybe simply had "selective blindness"). He's no Tom Shewmon (whom I am seriously surprised hasn't shown up to blame it all on Obama). And by the way, George, I don't post my real name on open, public discussion boards because I have employers that frown on such things and in this economy I can't afford to lose my job. This is a right to work state, y'know. I also keep my personal blog locked and keep two Facebook accounts, one under an assumed name. Sad to say that "Freedom of Speech" isn't freedom of speech.

independant1 8 years ago

OK, got it Roman Catholic = really really bad Christian = just bad Muslim = good Secular Humanists = really really good

Naawww! (Rosanna Rosannadana)

Paul R Getto 8 years ago

We should not confuse the church with their leadership. Most members are faithful and true to the cause. The leadership, frightened of the consequences, treated child rape as a sin and ignored the criminal aspects to avoid scandal and to preserve their power. As Nixon found out, it's the coverup that kills you. Tarring all the membership with a broad brush is wrong. No religion should be judged only on the actions of the leadership.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

cait48 (anonymous) says…


Guilty, I do selectively respond. Normally I focus on what I disagree with although in the above thread I did support both you and JudyS on certain issues including the potential for current malfeasance. I suspect I am more tied to "due process" which for me does not include our 24/7 media. Unfortunately for me that limits my condemnation to those found guilty of something by competent authority (again not the media)

I suspect that selectivity is a part human nature and a part the limitations of this space. As JudyS has observed my fingers grow weary (I still hunt and peck).

I am sorry you work for someone who would cause pain just for expressing your opinion. As I noted (I think) in another thread I have only been able to write since retiring and coming here.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

JudyS (anonymous) says…

Actually Troll is defined in the dictionary - I am guarded using Wikipedia. I guess I am just not offended and used the nursery rhyme (“Billy Goats Gruff”) response.

Oh, by the way, perhaps you have URLs to back up your assertions?? Please don't send me news articles referencing somebody suing the church as an authoritative source. Reports by competent legal authorities such courts, police and the like would fill the bill - you know primary sources documenting criminal actions to avoid prosecution.

As I have blogged before, I am concerned about how many of us are easily swayed by undocumented and incomplete media reports or blogs tied to such media reports when we form our opinions. IMHO to survive as an informed citizen in today’s information marketplace a lot of due diligence is required. In fact, in all of the above I am more disturbed by what I consider misinformation, incomplete information, unsupported conclusions and sloppy inferences then I am about the opinions offered. Bad things happened, people were hurt, in many cases nobody was punished - I can not defend that and fully understand the outrage.

The respectful Troll under the bridge by Haskell. JudyS it is going to get expensive for you to leave town on K-10 – I will be collecting tolls.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

Made_in_China (Paul R. Getto) says…

Some in leadership positions - very far from all leaders.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

Made_in_China (Paul R. Getto) says…

Oh, by the way pedophilia is a sin least we forget in our exuberance that the church is foremost a religious institution. "Render unto Caesar...."

hootman31 8 years ago

You either tithe to the organization and support the continued abuse or you don't; the money is being used to defend the preists, not the kids!

Ask yourself which group of faithfuls you fall into?

Are you one of the loyal followers, members, or fans?

George Lippencott 8 years ago

hootman31 (anonymous) says…

Really, that is not what the budget of my church reflects. Me thinks you know about as much about pedophilia as you do about the church - next to nothing - press on and make that really clear.

hootman31 8 years ago


Then continue to be a fan of the pediphiles, and keep supporting them!

George Lippencott 8 years ago

hootman31 (anonymous) says…

Repetition does not make it so. Personal attacks reflect a low IQ.

Rex Russell 8 years ago

hootman31- You obviously do not understand the Church at all. The faithfull have never condoned this abhorant behavior. The people, and it sounds as if Moderate is one of them, have worked hard at moving ahead from here and providing a safe environment with new practices. The good people bear the brunt of others bad behavior. The good people dont deserve your scorn, others do.

Ken Lassman 8 years ago

With the latest letter release clearly showing Ratzinger's delays showing that the clear strategy of the Church in the 80s and 90s was to defer, delay, cover up and re-assign, it's clear that they need to draw a clear line of demarcation to distance themselves from that older, naive/distancing strategy. If the Church has any chance of recovering from this scandal that shows systemic coverup of abuse by pedophile priests (remember, there are "only" over 4,000 such priests out of 109,000 total) in the past, then it seems to me that it must: 1) Draw a clear line between old policy and new policy, which must be zero tolerance; 2) Admit culpability for past wrongdoings and apologize for it 3) Support criminal prosecution of past offenders regardless of the statute of limitatons.

Anything less threatens to undermine any possibility of rebuilding the trust that has been lost in the seemingly endless scandals and institutional coverups that have followed.

And frankly, I think that the vow of celibacy should be made optional. Marriage is accepted in most every other denomination and religion and should help channel the temptations of priests in healthier directions, if you know what I mean. It's ridiculous that a priest has to leave the calling to get married!

George Lippencott 8 years ago

DougCounty (anonymous) says…

New data (this am) is dated 1985. See the above thread about back then.

One and two have already happened in this country. Three would be up to secular authorities (courts would probably not allow it). Now we need to sort what you want to prosecute.

1.) The priests who in many cases have been prosecuted (accusation do not always result in prosecutions - the priest has rights too - it has to be proved) The one this AM was prosecuted by secular authorities and was ultimately sanctioned by the church. 2.) The Bishops alleged to have covered it all up (need a crime to prosecute - cover up (if they did) is in general not a crime)

Personally I do not consider it a cover-up if the Bishop was acting on then acceptable secular mental health beliefs nor if they refused to release protected documents. In the latter case if secular authorities want them they can get a subpoena and get them (if the law allows).

By the by many claims by victims have been paid. There are still some arguments outstanding. I would suggest that each would have to be judged on its own merits. For example do unaffected/ unaware relatives of victims deserve compensation?


independant1 8 years ago

Orthodox = between really really bad and bad Atheist = really really really good Methodists = ok to dance and drink in moderation

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