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Catholic Pope Linked to Child Abuse Scandals

March 29, 2010

Comments under the article published on Yahoo news about the Pope ignoring sexual abuse reports link the Catholic Church to mobsters, mafia, and base criminals.  It appears that the Catholic Church may have just harbored criminals, or failed to report criminal behavior, and the Pope may have directed officials not to investigate a priests’ criminal sexual conduct just because he was old and close to death.  Of course, the victims are still alive, and the fact that the priest preyed on deaf boys, only adds to the levels of public disgust.  Reports of the Catholic Church’s cover ups in Europe are scathing, but now the Pope has been linked to this abuse cover-up dating back to the 1960’s:

The Vatican did not discipline a Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing up to 200 deaf boys in the United States from the 1950s to the 1970s as Church laws do not require automatic punishment, its spokesman said on Thursday.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that the Vatican did not defrock Rev. Lawrence Murphy in the late 1990s despite receiving clear warnings from his bishops that his case was serious and could embarrass the Church.

The report came amid mounting allegations of sexual abuse by priests in Europe and pressure on bishops, mostly in Ireland, to resign for failing to report cases to civil authorities.

Among 25 internal Church documents the Times posted on its website was a 1996 letter about Murphy toCardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then the Vatican’s top doctrinal official and now Pope Benedict, showing he was informed of his case.

Ratzinger’s deputy first advised a secret disciplinary trial but later reversed that in 1998 after Murphy appealed directly to Ratzinger for clemency. The priest died later that year.

Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said in a statement that Murphy had broken the law but a civil probe into complaints against him in the mid-1970s had been dropped and the Vatican only learned of the allegations 20 years later.

“The canonical (Church law) question presented to the Congregation was unrelated to any potential civil or criminal proceedings against Father Murphy,” Lombardi said.

“In such cases, the Code of Canon Law does not envision automatic penalties.”

EXTENSIVE PAPER TRAIL

The 1996 letter to Ratzinger from the then Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland was not answered, the Times said.

After eight months, Weakland wrote a second letter to Ratzinger’s deputy at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, who is now a cardinal and the pope’s secretary of state, or Vatican prime minister.

According to the documents on the Times website, Bertone first advised Weakland in 1997 to discipline Murphy according to a 1962 Vatican document ordering secrecy in handling cases of sexual misconduct by priests.

Murphy appealed directly to Ratzinger in 1998, saying he had repented for his sins and, at 72, was in poor health. Three months later, Bertone backtracked and advised only “pastoral measures” to deal with him. These measures are internal disciplinary steps such as barring him from public ministry.

The diocese of Superior, Wisconsin, where Murphy had moved in 1974 after his abuse cases had surfaced in Milwaukee, rejected this advice and proceeded to organize an internal trial. That work stopped when Murphy died four months later.

So, after the priest died, the allegations somehow went away?  Victims just disappeared?  Come on Catholics, I know you believe in the “walk on water story,” but sexually abused children don’t disappear.

In an era of increased accountability, the Catholic Church is struggling to defend its past actions of  harboring sexual predators, covering up their crimes, and allowing them to commit more heinous acts against children.  It’s not a compelling story to claim the church protects everyone but the children.

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