Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Got the story already, thanks

What Really Happened In Fr. Murphy Case? (Jimmy Akin)

The NYTwits at the New York Times have been guilty of some really sloppy reporting.

But they've done us the service of putting online a big cache of primary source documents regarding the case of Fr. Lawrence Murphy and the sexual abuse he committed.

These documents paint a very different picture of what happened with the Vatican--and what Cardinal Ratzinger's role was--than what the Times and other outlets are suggesting.

So what are the real facts of the case, drawn from the documents themselves?


What Pope defenders seem oblivious to is the fact that public opinion accurately reflects the credibility of the Church, even after you factor out the anti-Catholic bias. There's a good reason why the media and the public no longer give the Church any benefit of the doubt. We may be right on a handful of selected facts that happened to have received sloppy treatment by aggressive journalists, but to stand on this is a lot like the makers of the Titanic taking pride in dispelling specific errors by reporters over precisely how their great ship sunk. The point is, sloppiness in reporting and documentation notwithstandng, the unsinkable ship sunk. Catholics should just accept this as a sunk cost, pardon the pun.

Otherwise, we just look like we're still only interested in convincing ourselves the Church cannot do wrong. This is the opposite of repentance and humility, which the Fathers teach is the unceasing, unyielding posture of the Christian. This is no time to be counting pennies when we owe a mountain of debt to God and to victims for our sins as a Church. So no, I don't think I'll "get the story" when the story has already been laid out repeatedly for those who have eyes to see it.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Pope Benedict Let a Known Pedophile Work in His Diocese in Germany

Leon Podles:
March 12th, 2010

As the Cardinal Archbishop of Munich, Joseph Ratzinger let a pedophile work in his diocese. The London Times reports
The Pope was drawn directly into the Roman Catholic sex abuse scandal for the first time tonight as news emerged of his part in a decision to send a paedophile priest for therapy. The priest went on to reoffend and was convicted of child abuse but continues to work as priest in Upper Bavaria.

The priest was sent from Essen to Munich for “therapy” in 1980 when he was accused of forcing an 11-year-old boy to perform oral sex. The archdiocese confirmed that the Pope, then a cardinal, had approved a decision to accommodate the priest in a rectory while the therapy took place.

The priest, identified only as “H”, was subsequently convicted of sexually abusing minors after he was moved to pastoral work in nearby Grafing. In 1986 he was given an 18-month suspended prison sentence and fined 4,000 marks ($2,800 in today’s money). There have been no formal accusations against him since.

The church has been accused of a cover-up after at least 170 accusations of child abuse by German Catholic priests. The scandal broke in January but the claims, which continue to emerge, span three decades. Critics say that priests were redeployed to other parishes rather than fired when they were found to be abusing children.

The archdiocese of Munich and Freising said there had been no complaints against the priest during the therapy at a Church community in Munich. It said the decision to allow him to continue work in Grafing was taken by Gerhard Gruber, now 81, and then Vicar General of the archdiocese.

The Vatican noted in a statement that Monsignor Gruber had taken “full responsibility” for the priest’s move back into pastoral work but did not comment further.

Monsignor Gruber said the Pope, who was made a cardinal in 1977, had not been not aware of his decision because there were a thousand priests in the diocese at the time and he had left many decisions to lower level officials.

“The cardinal could not deal with everything,” he said. “The repeated employment of H in pastoral duties was a serious mistake… I deeply regret that this decision led to offences against youths. I apologise to all those who were harmed.”

However, he did not indicate whether the convicted paedophile would be allowed to continue working in the Church.

The Pope was Archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1977 to 1982, then moved to Rome as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a post he held until his election as pontiff five years ago after the death of John Paul II.

“H”, the priest, went on to work in an old people’s home for two years after his conviction then moved to the town of Garching where he became a curate and later a Church administrator. In May 2008 he was removed from his duties in Garching and was not allowed to work with your people, but he still works in the diocese, according to the newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, which broke the story.
In the cases in Germany I have studied, I have noticed that German courts give far lighter punishments for abuse than American courts do (this is true of all crimes).

Also note that the abuser was allowed to work in a parish until 1998 and is still an active priest. The rules about Zero Tolerance that American bishops made in order to save themselves (and their bank accounts) do not apply outside the United States.

It would be astonishing if Ratzinger had delegated such a sensitive decision to an underling. That alone would indicate a failure to take responsibility.

As Edward Gibbons, no admirer of the clergy, recounted, Pope Gregory the Great took responsibility for the poor of the city of Rome. When a poor man was found starved to death in the streets, Pope Gregory suspended himself for a period as public penance for his failure.

John Paul and Benedict both failed to punish bishops who tolerated and enabled abuse. Perhaps Benedict could start by making an example of himself - and then proceed against other bishops. It would be a striking and historic confession of responsibility - it might redeem Benedict’s papacy, which is being tarnished almost beyond redemption by the continued revelations of sexual abuse by the clergy.

What so-called "conservative Catholics" in America continue to willfully ignore is the ONGOING impotence of Catholic faith in the face of something as fundamental as sin. Look at the consistent response of bishops to known pedophile priests: therapy, always "therapy," usually some variation on Freud and Dr. Phil. Not much Catholic about it.

No clear-eyed, gut-level, commonsensical recognition that a priest who rapes a child has absolutely no business wearing a collar of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, much less touching with those same perverted hands the Most Precious Body and Blood of Our Lord. No serious penitential, ascetic, or monastic rehabilitation. No serious recourse to the Tradition or the Fathers. No serious engagement with the soul of the perpetrator. They were just "sick," strictly a SOMATIC dysfunction, not spiritual or even moral; something for "science" to take care of. The Church conveniently wipes its hands clean of the matter by passing the buck over to Science.

It's typical technocrat-bureaucrat mentality, coming from the heirs to the Holy Apostles, of all people. Look at how the same mentality crosses national borders and oceans without concerted coordination from the Vatican. We can't achieve liturgical unity and coherence despite all the papal statements and gesticulations and "new liturgical movement" light shows, but we effortlessly achieve unity and coherence on sheltering pervert priests and murdering the souls of thousands of children. And now we see this pattern of thinking go right up to the top. I'm not surprised, since I now see the same cancer of cynical, functional secularism and atheism everywhere in our crumbling Church. But I don't blame the bishops alone. We who take pride in the Church's glories must also take shame in her atrocities. WE ARE TO BLAME.

It's the same attitude by which we excuse in ourselves for what the Church used to take seriously as the Deadly Sins. Now stuff like pride, vainglory, gluttony, lust, avarice, sloth, etc -- they're just personal "imperfections," "part of our crosses," an aspect of "our woundedness" that makes us "who we are," part of our "faith journey," "under the mercy," and other such delusional, self-flattering, pietistic bullshit. The Deadly Sins are plastered all over the Catholic blogosphere, liberal and conservative. And conservative Catholics still pride ourselves on being members of an "objectively true" church. It's insanity.

Radical repentance and humility in individual Catholics is the only way out. Anything else from Catholics is just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. We've become a church that doesn't fear sin, death, or judgment anymore; it's no wonder Catholic Lent is a joke. I AM TO BLAME.

It's only in the Eastern Church that we find doors to repentance and humility that actually open and close. Fr. Freeman nailed it when he commented obliquely on the plight of modern Catholicism:
Richard John Neuhaus has written frequently of returning the Church to the public square. I think the problem is far deeper. In many cases we have to speak about returning God to the Church. In cases where practical atheism is the faith of a goup of “believers,” their presence in the public square makes no difference. Who cares?

Sunday, March 07, 2010


Nothing so feeds self-conceit as believing that you are completely devoted to others and never self-seeking, that you are quite free from self-love and always generously devoted to your neighbors.

But all this devotion that seems to be for others is really for yourself. Your self-love reaches the point of perpetual self-congratulation in the mistaken belief that you are free from self-love itself. All your anxiety is fear that you might not be fully satisfied with yourself, and this is the root of your scruples.

If you thought of nothing but God and his glory, you would be as keen and sensitive to the losses of others as to your own. but it is the self that makes you so keen and sensitive. You want God as well as other people to be always satisfied with you, and you want to be satisfied with yourself in all your dealings with God.

You are not used to being content with a simple good will. Your self-love wants a lively feeling, a reassuring pleasure, some kind of charm or excitement. You are guided too much by imagination, and you suppose that your mind and will are inactive unless you are conscious of their workings. So you depend on a kind of excitement similar to that which the passions or the theater arouse.

Because of your excessive refinement, you fall into the opposite extreme -- a real coarseness of imagination. Nothing is more opposed to the life of faith and to true wisdom.

There is no more dangerous opening to delusion than the false ways by which people try to avoid delusion. It is imagination that leads us astray. The certainty we seek through imagination, feeling, and taste is one of the most dangerous sources from which fanaticism springs.

This is the chasm of vanity and corruption that God would have us discover in our own heart: we must look on it with the calm and simplicity that belong to true humility. It is self-love that makes us so inconsolable at seeing our own imperfections. To stand face to face with them, however, not flattering or tolerating them, seeking to correct ourselves without becoming peevish--this is to desire what is good for its own sake and for God's sake, rather than merely reating it as a self-satisfying decoration.

So turn against this useles search of yours for the self-satisfaction you find in doing right.

~Archbishop of Cambrai, Francois Fenelon, The Royal Way of the Cross