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Truth Will Out

Posted by on Jul. 3, 2013 at 1:26 AM
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You may remember a week or so back, someone posted here about a court in California ordering the local Catholic church to reveal to the court a top secret dossier of internal stuff that the Church thought nobody knew about.

Well, how bad could it be?   Read on - the stuff has now been released...

by on Jul. 3, 2013 at 1:26 AM
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by Ruby Member on Jul. 3, 2013 at 1:30 AM

Huge document dump shows how Church protected abusers

"So many of the guys who let this happen remain in positions of authority in the church today."

Someday, we may reach the point where there are no more horrific sexual abuses within the Catholic Church to be uncovered, when there will be nothing left to say about the conspiracy of silence and the longstanding policy of protecting child molesters. Today is not that day. Already this week, on two continents, new revelations about how Catholic officials protected abusers and its own financial interests have revealed more about the depth and malevolence of the church’s self-interest.

As Reuters reports, 6,000 pages of court documents — spanning eight decades of cases — released Monday in Milwaukee “showed in great detail” the ways in which the archdiocese routinely reassigned priests accused of sex abuse to new parishes — while cleverly protecting millions of dollars of church funds from lawsuits. Included in the documents are requests from Archbishop Timothy Dolan to the Vatican to transfer $57 million to a trust fund to protect it from, in his words, “any legal claim and liability.” The transfer was approved a month later. On Monday, Dolan insisted that his request has been misinterpreted, saying the transfer was a “perpetual care fund.” The documents also show that Dolan did take action to notify the Vatican of abuses by Reverend John O’Brien – and that it took six years for the man to be stripped of his priesthood. The AP reports that to date the diocese has already spent “$30.5m on litigation, therapy and assistance for victims and other costs related to clergy sex abuse.”

But Dolan’s shabby track record isn’t all the newly released records reveal. They show the personnel files for 42 of the 45 priests “with verified abuse claims against them,” including one who is under police investigation now.  The records also show how the diocese moved one priest, Raymond Adamsky, to eleven parishes over 22 after the first time a family accused him of abusing their daughter. And they show how the diocese routinely laicized priests accused of sex abuse, removing them of their duties but still providing them with benefits and sometimes substantial payments. Milwaukee’s current Archbishop Jerome Listecki has said that the documents reveal that “22 priests were reassigned to parish work after allegations of abuse,” and that “eight of them abused again.” 

But covering up for child rapists is far from an American specialty. Also on Monday, the Australian press revealed that the Catholic Church there had “extensive knowledge dating back to the 1950s” of sexual abuse by Father Denis McAlinden, abuse that “continued over four decades on children as young as four and five.” The Sydney Morning Herald reports that one boy who was abused by McAlinden for four years was told to do penance, “apparently for his sin in being abused,” when he reported it to another priest. Internal letters also show local church officials deemed his behavior “not extremely serious,” noting, “Fr Mac. has an inclination to interfere (touching only) with young girls, aged perhaps seven to 12 or so… There has never been any physical assault or damage.” McAlinden was removed from the priesthood in 1993 and never faced any charges. He died in 2005 while under police investigation. Maitland-Newcastle bishop Bill Wright apologized on Monday, noting that both McAlinden and another abusive priest, James Fletcher, “repeatedly committed acts of sexual abuse against children.” And, he added, their acts were “exacerbated on occasion by the failures of church leaders.”

Australia has had several notable cases of sex abuse come to light in recent years. In May, archbishop of Sydney George Pell had to acknowledge that church officials “did cover up” other abuses by clergy — ignoring accusations and destroying incriminating documents. And the new evidence out of the US and Australia are just the latest revelations in an ongoing scandal of global proportions. In 2009, the Dublin Archdiocese Commission issued its report on sex abuse involving “172 named priests and 11 unnamed priests” between 1975 and 2004. And earlier this year, the German Bishops Conference abruptly yanked an independent investigation into seven decades of alleged abuse there.

What is despicable isn’t just that these abuses occurred in the first place, or even that in so many cases, church administration knew about the abuse and actively endeavored to cover it up with apparently zero regard for the welfare of victims. It’s also that so many of the guys who let this happen remain in positions of authority in the church today. Guys like Cardinal Roger Mahony, who actively worked to “shield abusers from police” in Los Angeles, and Dolan, who seemed to have a far more urgent concern about “the potential for scandal” than actively removing abusers. It’s that these men, who were complicit in crimes against children because it conveniently served their employer, the Catholic Church, live in comfort in their positions of leadership. It’s that men like Dolan still get to a pulpit from which to pronounce, without any hint of irony, that issues like marriage equality constitute a “tragic” offense to humanity – “especially our children.” It’s that these creeps are still permitted to have any opinion whatsoever about what’s in the interests of “our children.”

by Sevrsaxhtharxxa on Jul. 3, 2013 at 1:32 AM

.......... sadly, not surprised. 

I am hoping that the new pope actually does something about this.. I doubt it, but I can dream.

by Ruby Member on Jul. 3, 2013 at 1:34 AM
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How can any person with self respect choose to put money in the collection plate of a church that, via the Vatican, still uses part of that money to pay the salary of this man:

Huge document dump shows how Church protected abusers
Cardinal Timothy Dolan

(and many others like him)

by Christy on Jul. 3, 2013 at 1:42 AM
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Yet, they would not protect that woman who had the abusive husband.

by Redwood Witch on Jul. 3, 2013 at 1:54 AM
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I think woman is the key word there. She is a woman.

Quoting stormcris:

Yet, they would not protect that woman who had the abusive husband.

by Ruby Member on Jul. 3, 2013 at 1:56 AM
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So sad and awful and disgusting and horrible.  I know people think "the church" itself is not corrupt, just the men in it, but come on.  The Catholic Church has a long and bloody and corrupt history.  These men are supposed to speak for god or be some kind of moral authority, and look at what they are getting away with.  It's disgusting.  

by on Jul. 3, 2013 at 1:59 AM
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I wonder if the release of those documents will change anything...
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by Bronze Member on Jul. 3, 2013 at 2:03 AM
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This is why I can't comprehend how any rational, sane, empathetic person could remain a member of any Catholic church. Giving to your local church is still giving to these. 100% of the money doesn't stay local. It's so so so so corrupt and sexist and awful. I would not want to even walk on the same side of th road as a Catholic church let alone financially support any part of it. :-/ 

by Ruby Member on Jul. 3, 2013 at 2:11 AM

Dolan Sought to Protect Church Assets, Files Show


Files released by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee on Monday reveal that in 2007, Cardinal Timothy F. Dolan, then the archbishop there, requested permission from the Vatican to move nearly $57 million into a cemetery trust fund to protect the assets from victims of clergy sexual abuse who were demanding compensation.

Cardinal Dolan, now the archbishop of New York, has emphatically denied seeking to shield church funds as the archbishop of Milwaukee from 2002 to 2009. He reiterated in a statement Monday that these were “old and discredited attacks.”

However, the files contain a 2007 letter to the Vatican in which he explains that by transferring the assets, “I foresee an improved protection of these funds from any legal claim and liability.” The Vatican approved the request in five weeks, the files show.

The release of more than 6,000 pages of documents on Monday was hailed by victims and their advocates as a vindication and a historic step toward transparency and accountability. They were well aware that the archives would bring unusually intense scrutiny to the country’s most high-profile prelate, Cardinal Dolan, who as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the archbishop of New York has sought to help the church turn the corner on the era of scandal.

Cardinal Dolan has been regarded by many Catholics as part of the solution. In public appearances, he has expressed personal outrage at the harm done to children, apologized profusely and pledged to help the church and the victims heal.

But the documents lift the curtain on his role as a workaday church functionary concerned with safeguarding assets, persuading abusive priests to leave voluntarily in exchange for continued stipends and benefits, and complying with Rome’s sluggish canonical procedures for dismissing uncooperative priests who he had long concluded were remorseless and a serious risk to children. In one case, the Vatican took five years to remove a convicted sex offender from the priesthood.

“As victims organize and become more public, the potential for true scandal is very real,” he wrote in such a request in 2003 to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the head of the Vatican office charged with handling abuse cases until he became Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.

Victims on Monday called for a federal investigation into the actions of Cardinal Dolan and his predecessors, but the cardinal sought to deflect criticism by saying in a statement Monday that he welcomed the release of the documents.

The current archbishop of Milwaukee, Jerome E. Listecki, had announced his decision to release the documents in April, one day before a judicial hearing. Lawyers for abuse victims had asked a judge to compel their release.

Archbishop Listecki released a letter last week warning Catholics in his archdiocese that the documents could shake their faith, and trying to explain the actions of church leaders while offering apologies to victims.

“Prepare to be shocked,” he wrote. “There are some graphic descriptions about the behavior of some of these priest offenders.”

The files include documents from the personnel files of 42 clergy offenders with “substantiated” allegations, going back 80 years. (The names and identifying features of victims were redacted.) Also included are the legal depositions of Cardinal Dolan and another former Milwaukee archbishop, Rembert Weakland, and a retired auxiliary bishop, Richard J. Sklba.

Milwaukee harbored some of the nation’s most notorious priest pedophiles, including the Rev. Lawrence Murphy, whom a church therapist assessed as having molested as many as 200 boys during his two and a half decades teaching and leading St. John’s School for the Deaf in St. Francis, Wis., and Sigfried Widera, who faced 42 counts of child abuse in Wisconsin and California. Father Murphy died in 1998, and Father Widera committed suicide in Mexico in 2003.

In his letter, Archbishop Listecki said the documents showed that 22 priests were “reassigned to parish work after concerns about their behavior were known to the archdiocese,” and that 8 of those “reoffended after being reassigned.”

Advocates for abuse victims objected that the archdiocese did not release the files of many others accused of abuse, including priests, deacons, nuns, schoolteachers and choir directors. The files do not include any known priest offenders who were members of religious orders (like the Capuchins or Jesuits) who served in the Milwaukee Archdiocese.

“It’s still less than a complete disclosure, but it’s a giant step in the right direction,” said Jeff Anderson, a lawyer for many of the alleged victims. The documents were posted on both his Web site and the archdiocese’s, but they were arranged differently to buttress each argument.

Cardinal Dolan was deposed about his handling of abuse cases and the assets of the archdiocese in February, just before he left for Rome for the conclave to elect a new pope. The release of the documents is the byproduct of a bitter standoff in bankruptcy court between the Milwaukee Archdiocese and 575 men and women who have filed claims against it alleging that priests or other church employees had sexually abused them.

The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in 2011, saying it was the best way to compensate the victims and resolve the controversy. It became the eighth Catholic diocese in the United States to do so. Since then, negotiations between the two sides in Milwaukee have broken down: the church has argued that about 400 of the 575 cases are invalid, while lawyers for the victims have accused the church of hiding assets.

In January, the archdiocese said it had spent about $9 million in legal and other fees in the bankruptcy process and was going broke.

In 2007, the year Cardinal Dolan asked to transfer the funds, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued a decision that in effect lifted an unusual law that had long shielded the church from sexual abuse lawsuits. When he was later accused of trying to shield church funds, Cardinal Dolan said on his blog in New York that it was “malarkey” and “groundless gossip.” Archbishop Listecki and former Auxiliary Bishop Sklba invoked a theme that many other church officials have used in the past to explain their conduct: that their missteps reflected a broader lack of awareness about child sexual abuse in society.

Archbishop Listecki wrote that he did not want to make excuses, but that church officials had relied on the advice of doctors and therapists who were “seemingly more concerned about ‘Father’ than about the children.” He said the documents would reveal “the progression and evolution of thinking on this topic.”

However, the Rev. James Connell, a priest in the Milwaukee Archdiocese who helped to form a group called Catholic Whistleblowers, said in an interview that he did not find this claim credible.

“I was in high school in the 1950s,” he said, “and I learned about statutory rape in high school. An adult having sexual activity with a minor is a crime. We knew about it then, so you can’t claim that social thought changed.”

by Gold Member on Jul. 3, 2013 at 2:14 AM
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Not surprised. Unfortunately the Catholic Church is rotten to the core! I feel for the people that just want to practice their religion, an the priests and nuns that would never harm children or other human beings, but the corrupt ones shouldn't get away with everything they have done!
The Catholic Church needs to start sweeping, starting from the top down.
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