1985 - At their annual conference, all Catholic Bishops receive and studiously ignore a report written by two priests (including a psychologist) and a criminal defense counsel representing a Louisiana parish in a sex abuse case. The report, entitlted The Problem of Sexual Molestation by Roman Catholic Clergy, warns of a potential catastrophe in the making, if the Bishops fail to act.COINCIDENCE? I think NOT!
2012 - By Catholic Church's own accounting, in the US alone, 6,195 priests were admitted to be child abusers. Outside experts suggest that estimate is way too low, and the actual figure was 2-3 times higher.
"I think for the most part it's cleared up, ... Having met the people here that I've been working with, they're a great bunch of people. There are potential issues that I will have to nip in the bud immediately. But I think pretty much, most of it is resolved."FROM THE CHURCH OF INEFFABLE STUPIDITY:
- A 2001 quote by Catholic League President Bill Donahue
“If we hurry, these closeted Christians can celebrate Christmas like the rest of us. As an added bonus, they will no longer be looked upon as people who ‘believe in nothing, stand for nothing and are good for nothing.’”
- A 2011 quote by Bill Donahue, announcing his "Adopt an Atheist" program, after reports that atheists and agnostics now make up 25% of the population, while Catholic membership tumbles to all new lows. (23% according to Pew)
Michael D'Antonio won this year's Pulitzer for his book, Mortal Sins - Sex, Crime, and the Era of Catholic Scandal. Here is a brief overview of this fine work:
In 1846, Roman military attacked the Vatican City, and routed its forces. In the prior decade, an ultraconservative movement had taken over the Catholic Church, which consolidated power, punished liberal thinkers, quashed theological debates, and began the doctrine of Papal Infallibility. As a result of the military loss, peace negotiations resulted in the Vatican City becoming politically neutral, with little or no military force, a monarchy governed by a religious leader.
The absolute authority over issues religious had a very negative side-effect, as we see today. Coupled with the idea that Catholic priests were married to god, and therefore could not marry in their earthly lives, homosexuality became a secret fact among bishops and cardinals. Given the impact that the church had on schools, hospitals, and other service organizations, it also began collecting pedophiles around the world. (Yes, I know pedophilia and homosexuality are not related, and I do not claim they are. Nor does Mortal Sins. But the Church has repeatedly tried to tie the two together, as it explained that older victims were the aggressors and driven by their sinful homosexuality.)
John Paul II was made aware of the pedophilia problems in the US, Ireland, Mexico, Brazil, and other locations far earlier than 1985. Repeated efforts to have him pay attention to the problem was met by stonewalling, or worse. Eventually, JP2 assigned the Rat, (then Cardinal Ratzinger) to the Inquisition's successor organization, Congregation For The Doctrine Of The Faith and put him in control over all pedophilia investigations and decisions. One time that he clearly intervened was when he stopped any investigation of Father Marciel Maciel, a serial child abuser who managed to raise millions in donations for the Vatican. The income he generated was far more important than the hundred of children that he reportedly abused. Authorities still do not know how many children this priest fathered.
In 2001, JP2 publicly called for transparency among the priesthood, with respect to child abuse allegations. Privately, it was a different matter. With papal approval, the cardinal in charge of supervising priests, Dario Castrillon Hoyos, wrote bishop Pierre Pican, congratulating him for hiding sexual crimes by one of the bishop's priests:
I congratulate you for not denouncing a priest to the civil administration. You have acted well and I am please to have colleagues in the episcopate who, in the eyes of history and all other bishops in the world, preferred prison to denouncing his son and priest.
When the Rat replaced JP2, not only did he continue his ultra-conservative policies, he expanded them. When faced with a growing problem in Ireland, (nuns serially beating, accosting and abusing girls, and secretly burying their corpses), his response was to blame homosexuals and to call for their elimination.
These are but a few of the examples which D'Antonio masterfully handles and discusses. He tries, valiantly, but eventually in vain, to claim in several places that the Church does good work, and has a history of being a force for good. However, the evidence he presents becomes overwhelming, and one cannot escape the conclusion that the entire organization is sick, evil, and little more than a criminal conspiracy intent only on self-preservation and protection of its priests. One poignant example is Frank Keating, former governor. As EJ Dionne wrote in 2003,
It has been a truly lousy week for my church.If you want to learn about the inner workings of an evil organization, read this book. He readily proves that the sexual crimes committed by priests on children did not number in the dozens, as Donahue once alleged, but in the many thousands (most likely between 12,000-16,000 priests in the US alone). And that's just the priests who committed the crimes on multiple innocents. His writing is crisp, effective, and flows well. While he does jump around in several chapters, he ties everything up effectively and convincingly. When you realize that this was and is a global problem, not a few bad apples, you begin to realize the true nature of the Vatican.
On Wednesday Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas J. O'Brien of Phoenix, who had already admitted to shielding abusive priests from criminal prosecutions, resigned after being arrested on charges of leaving the scene of a fatal accident.
Two days earlier, former Oklahoma governor Frank Keating resigned as the chairman of a board of lay Catholics looking into the child abuse scandal. In his resignation letter, Keating was unapologetic for having compared some Catholic bishops to La Cosa Nostra.
''To resist grand jury subpoenas, to suppress the names of offending clerics, to deny, to obfuscate, to explain away,'' he wrote to Bishop Wilton Gregory, the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, ''that is the model of a criminal organization, not my church.''
Just to bring home the material costs of this mess, the Archdiocese of Boston, facing a sharp drop in contributions, warned on Tuesday that it might have to lay off employees or cut their health benefits.
He also describes the troubles the news reporters and victims had when it came to publicity and news outlets. Despite have unimpeachable proof of a huge scandal, even great papers like the Nation and Mother Jones refused to touch the stories initially. Those outlets that did brave the storm were attacked and even boycotted. Bill Donahue has a lot to answer for.