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Archive for the ‘but why did he let this happen?????????????’ Category


A good friend of mine from many years ago recently posted on Facebook that he was diagnosed with a growth on his brain of the worst kind. He has since had it removed and now he has to undergo 30 treatments.

He went on to start talking about two verses he read in the bible recently. One that told him he would see his children’s children someday, and another verse told him he would recover according to the lord’s time.

Then he went on as to how much hope the bible has given him etc etc etc

Now back in the day, this man was not religious at all. I remember having that conversation with him. His own words were that “It is a bunch of crap!”

I told my wife today, that if I ever start praising some kind of gods that she better prepare herself for the worst. I probably have a brain tumor.

Or is it maybe that a whole childhood of religious indoctrination gets ingrained so deeply into the brain, that it is hard to shake even for the most rebellious?

I also noticed in his recent Facebook posts, that he hasn’t mentioned his surgical team once, not said a word about his doctors, his medicine and the hope the treatment ahead gives him. Nope, that is nothing compared to the comfort and the hope the bible and god is giving him. Do you think he will put all his faith into the bible and god and forsake the treatment? I don’t think so, he is a very clever and successful man. Not your average brain dead fundie type.

I wonder what happened to him along the way? Was it the tumor that brought him back to god? Or has he been on a steady and constant road to jesus the last couple of years?

One thing I know for sure. If I start to believe any of the crap written in the bible I will go for a brain scan right away. I will be convinced that I have a tumor that is growing rapidly.

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Analfa, Nat-ass-jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjja, Marius en kie, nou verstaan ek waar julle vandaan kom.

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Another tragic example how dumb and dangerous the religious are, to their own children.

Faith healer’s kids die

2012-02-11 14:09

Seoul – Three children were found dead in South Korea on Saturday after their faith-healing father, a Christian pastor, attempted to treat their illnesses only with prayers, police said.

The bodies of the children, aged 10, eight and five years old, were found by their relatives at their home next to the pastor’s church in the southern county of Boseong, a detective at Boseong Police Station told AFP.

“They were apparently suffering from infections that went untreated for a long time as the father was only praying for them instead of seeking medical treatment,” he said.

The 43-year-old pastor’s fourth child, a year-old baby, was taken in protective custody by police, the detective said, adding the father was under questioning.

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This is a transcript of Richard Dawkins speaking:

“As it happens, the story of Joshua in Jericho is the subject of an interesting experiment in child morality, by the Israeli psychologist, George Tamarin. Tamarin presented to more than 1,000 Israeli schoolchildren aged between 8 and 14, the Book of Joshua’s account of the Battle of Jericho. He then asked the children a simple moral question: Do you think Joshua and the Israelites acted rightly or not? They had to choose between A (total approval) B (partial approval) and C (total disapproval). The results were polarised: 66% gave total approval, and 26% total disapproval, with rather fewer, 8%, in the middle with partial approval.

Here are three typical answers from the Total Approval A group. ‘In my opinion, Joshua and the sons of Israel acted well, and here are the reasons: God promised them this land, and gave them permission to conquer. If they would not have acted in this manner, or killed anyone, then there would be the danger that the Sons of Israel would have assimilated among the Goyen.’

‘In my opinion Joshua was right when he did it, one reason being that God commanded him to exterminate the people so that the tribes of Israel will not be able to assimilate amongst them and learn their bad ways.’

‘Joshua did good because the people who inhabited the land were of a different religion, and when Joshua killed them, he wiped their religion from the earth.’

The justification for the genocidal massacre by Joshua is religious in every case. Even those in Category C who gave total disapproval, did so in some cases for backhanded religious reasons. One girl for example, disapproved of Joshua’s conquering Jericho because in order to do so he had to enter it. ‘I think it is bad since the Arabs are impure and if one enters an impure land, one will also become impure and share their curse’

Tamarin ran a fascinating control group in his experiment. A different group of 168 Israeli children were given the same text from the Book of Joshua, but with Joshua’s own name replaced by General Lin and Israel replaced by a Chinese kingdom 3,000 years ago. Now the experiment gave opposite results. Only 7% approved of General Lin’s behaviour and 75% disapproved. In other words, when their loyalty to Judaism was removed from the calculation, the majority of the children agreed with the moral judgments that most modern humans would share. Joshua’s action was a deed of barbaric genocide. But it all looks different from a religious point of view, and the difference starts early in life. It was religion that made the difference between children condemning genocide and condoning it.”

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by McBrolloks

Last week a friend of mine died. He dropped dead next to a lake. Just like that. In Nigeria. One day before he was going home to visit his family and friends. The suspected cause of death was heart failure.

The poor kid was in his 30′s. He wasn’t obese. He worked very hard and had achieved a very high level in his profession. Now he is gone. But not when you go to his Facebook page.

Relatives and friends have been posting there for him as if he has just moved on to another country. They know he is dead. He comes from a nice family, but like most of our poor volkie, they are god fearing people. They are 100% sure he is in heaven now, talking to god. They even have messages for god, that he has to relay on their behalf, to the “big guy” as one of them puts it. Then there are others who are quite upset that his daily fortune cookie still gets delivered to him everyday and they have to read it and see it pop up on their home page. One friend even said he contacted him and his wife, and told them god told him to get his affairs in order. They were glad they had the chance to “forgive” him for something he did to them a long time ago, so they are sure that he is in heaven now, also with a message to god for him to relay on their behalf. Another chick told him to tell god to look after him very well. The past post was 6 hours ago. They are still conversing with him on Facebook. Wishing him peace, a good time in heaven, to say hi to god, to put in a good word for them, yada yada yada……… Another one is the old favorite: “It was god’s will.” God is a sick cunt if that was his will.

I deleted him as a friend today. I don’t think for a minute he is reading his facebook page up there in heaven. Oh, wait…… I don’t even believe in heaven. Or hell. There is no fucking way I am going to read his fortune cookie for the next decade everyday. I fucking hated that stupid app. anyway, and there was no way to stop it except for deleting him as a friend. Silver lining.

Anyway, my bud is dead now. His family probably has no idea that their little angel was no angel. He was a very good guy, with a very good heart, never hurt anybody, but he was one crazy fucking party animal. Bachelor and very naughty. I can speculate on what gave him heart failure. But that would not be cool. He lived a good life, enjoyed it, and was good to other people. He made everybody laugh, and he really cared about others. He also worked very hard all his life.

So bud, sorry I deleted you as a Facebook friend, but I know you don’t give a shit. I just couldn’t stomach your other friends using it as a hotline to god. And those fucking fortune cookies, man!!!!!!!!

 

But isn’t it amazing how heaven keeps up with the latest advances in technology? If yo told Abraham he would have Facebook in heaven, he would have had you stoned as a heretic. I haven’t checked, but god must have a lot of friends on Facebook. Jesus too. I wonder if they have more than mohammed, or satan.

So good news for you fundies out there. You can still get your Facebook messages in heaven. But please, for fucks sake, delete all the stupid apps. that runs everyday. And those fucking games. We don’t care if you just fucked a goat in Farmville.

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(AP) DUBLIN – A newly revealed 1997 letter from the Vatican warned Ireland’s Catholic bishops not to report all suspected child-abuse cases to police — a disclosure that victims groups described as “the smoking gun” needed to show that the Vatican enforced a worldwide culture of cover-up.

The letter, obtained by Irish broadcasters RTE and provided to The Associated Press, documents the Vatican’s rejection of a 1996 Irish church initiative to begin helping police identify pedophile priests following Ireland’s first wave of publicly disclosed lawsuits.

The letter undermines persistent Vatican claims, particularly when seeking to defend itself in U.S. lawsuits, that the church in Rome never instructed local bishops to withhold evidence or suspicion of crimes from police. It instead emphasizes the church’s right to handle all child-abuse allegations, and determine punishments, in house rather than hand that power to civil authorities.

Signed by the late Archbishop Luciano Storero, Pope John Paul II’s diplomat to Ireland, the letter instructs Irish bishops that their new policy of making the reporting of suspected crimes mandatory “gives rise to serious reservations of both a moral and canonical nature.”

Storero wrote that canon law — which required abuse allegations and punishments to be handled within the church — “must be meticulously followed.” He warned that any bishops who tried to impose punishments outside the confines of canon law would face the “highly embarrassing” position of having their actions overturned on appeal in Rome.

Catholic officials in Ireland and the Vatican declined AP requests to comment on the letter, which RTE said it received from an Irish bishop.

Child-abuse activists in Ireland said the 1997 letter should demonstrate, once and for all, that the protection of pedophile priests from criminal investigation was not only sanctioned by Vatican leaders but ordered by them.

“The letter is of huge international significance, because it shows that the Vatican’s intention is to prevent reporting of abuse to criminal authorities. And if that instruction applied here, it applied everywhere,” said Colm O’Gorman, director of the Irish chapter of human rights watchdog Amnesty International.

Joelle Casteix, a director of U.S. advocacy group Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, described the letter as “the smoking gun we’ve been looking for.”

Casteix said it was certain to be cited by victims’ lawyers seeking to pin responsibility directly on the Vatican rather than local dioceses. She said investigators long have sought such a document showing Vatican pressure on a group of bishops “thwarting any kind of justice for victims.”

“We now have evidence that the Vatican deliberately intervened to order bishops not to turn pedophile priests over to law enforcement,” she said. “And for civil lawsuits, this letter shows what victims have been saying for dozens and dozens of years: What happened to them involved a concerted cover-up that went all the way to the top.”

To this day, the Vatican has not endorsed any of the Irish church’s three major policy documents since 1996 on safeguarding children from clerical abuse. Irish taxpayers, rather than the church, have paid most of the euro1.5 billion ($2 billion) to more than 14,000 abuse claimants dating back to the 1940s.

In his 2010 pastoral letter to Ireland’s Catholics condemning pedophiles in the ranks, Pope Benedict XVI faulted bishops for failing to follow canon law and offered no explicit endorsement of Irish child-protection efforts by the Irish church or state. Benedict was widely criticized in Ireland for failing to admit any Vatican role in covering up the truth.

O’Gorman — who was raped repeatedly by an Irish priest in the 1980s when he was an altar boy and was among the first victims to speak out in the mid-1990s — said evidence is mounting that some Irish bishops continued to follow the 1997 Vatican instructions and withheld reports of crimes against children as recently as 2008.

Two state-commissioned reports published in 2009 — into the Dublin Archdiocese and workhouse-style Catholic institutions for children — unveiled decades of cover-ups of abuse involving tens of thousands of Irish children since the 1930s.

A third major state-ordered investigation into Catholic abuse cover-ups, concerning the southwest Irish diocese of Cloyne, is expected to be published within the next few months documenting the concealment of crimes as recently as 2008.

Irish church leaders didn’t begin telling police about suspected pedophile priests until the mid-1990s after the first major scandal

of a priest, Brendan Smyth, who had raped dozens of children while the church transferred him to parishes in Dublin, Belfast, Rhode Island and North Dakota — triggered the collapse of the entire Irish government. That national shock, in turn, inspired the first victims to begin suing the church publicly.

In January 1996, Irish bishops published a groundbreaking policy document spelling out their newfound determination to report all suspected abuse cases to police.

But in his January 1997 letter seen Tuesday by the AP, Storero told the bishops that a senior church panel in Rome, the Congregation for the Clergy, had decided that the Irish church’s policy of “mandatory” reporting of abuse claims conflicted with canon law.

Storero emphasized in the letter that the Irish church’s policy was not recognized by the Vatican and was “merely a study document.”

Storero warned that bishops who followed the Irish child-protection policy and reported a priest’s suspected crimes to police ran the risk of having their in-house punishments of the priest overturned by the Congregation for the Clergy.

The 2009 Dublin Archdiocese report found that this actually happened in the case of Tony Walsh, one of Dublin’s most notorious pedophiles, who used his role as an Elvis impersonator in a popular “All Priests Show” to get closer to kids.

Walsh in 1993 was kicked out of the priesthood by a secret Dublin church court — but successfully appealed the punishment to a Vatican court, which reinstated him to the priesthood in 1994. He raped a boy in a pub restroom at his grandfather’s funeral wake that year. Walsh since has received a series of prison sentences, most recently a 12-year term imposed last month. Investigators estimate he raped or molested more than 100 children.

Storero’s 1997 letter, originally obtained by RTE religious affairs program “Would You Believe?”, said the Congregation for the Clergy was pursuing “a global study” of sexual-abuse policies and would establish worldwide child-protection policies “at the appropriate time.”

Today, the Vatican’s child-protection policies remain in legal limbo.

The Vatican does advise bishops worldwide to report crimes to police — in a legally nonbinding lay guide on its Web site. This recourse is omitted from the official legal advice provided by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and updated last summer. That powerful policymaking body continues to stress the secrecy of canon law.

The central message of Storero’s letter was reported secondhand in the 2009 Dublin Archdiocese report. The letter itself, marked “strictly confidential,” has never been published before.

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VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI told Vatican officials Monday that they must reflect on the church’s culpability in its child sex-abuse scandal, but he also blamed a secular society in which he said the mistreatment of children was frighteningly common.

In his traditional, end-of-the-year speech to Vatican cardinals and bishops, Benedict said revelations of abuse in 2010 reached “an unimaginable dimension” that required the church to accept the “humiliation” as a call for renewal.

“We must ask ourselves what was wrong in our proclamation, in our whole way of living the Christian life, to allow such a thing to happen,” the pope said.

Benedict also said, however, that the scandal must be seen in a broader social context, in which child pornography is seemingly considered normal by society and drug use and sexual tourism are on the rise.

“The psychological destruction of children, in which human persons are reduced to articles of merchandise, is a terrifying sign of the times,” Benedict said.

He said that as recently as as the 1970s, pedophilia wasn’t considered an absolute evil but rather part of a spectrum of behaviors that people refused to judge in the name of tolerance and relativism.

As an avalanche of cases of pedophile priests came to light, church officials frequently defended their previous practice of putting abusers in therapy, not jail, by saying that was the norm in society at the time. Only this year did the Vatican post on its website unofficial guidelines for bishops to report pedophile priests to police if local laws require it.

“In the 1970s, pedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children,” the pope said. “It was maintained — even within the realm of Catholic theology — that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a ‘better than’ and a ‘worse than.’ Nothing is good or bad in itself.”

“The effects of such theories are evident today,” he said.

The traditional Christmas speech to Vatican cardinals and bishops is an eagerly anticipated address that Benedict uses to focus the church hierarchy on key issues.

Benedict has previously acknowledged that the scandal was the result of sin that the church must repent for, and make amends with victims. He repeated Monday that the church must do a better job of screening out abusers and helping victims heal.

“It is fundamentally disturbing to watch a brilliant man so conveniently misdiagnose a horrific scandal,” said Barbara Blaine, president of the main U.S. victims’ group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

She said the scandal wasn’t caused by the 1970s but rather by the church’s culture of secrecy and fixation with self-preservation in which predator priests and the bishops who moved them around rather than turn them in were rarely disciplined.

“Whenever the pope tires of talking about abuse and starts acting on abuse, he should focus on taking immediate, pratical steps to oust those who commit, ignore and conceal clergy sex crimes first,” Blaine said.

The sex abuse scandal, which first exploded in the U.S. in 2002, erupted on a global scale this year with revelations of thousands of victims in Europe and beyond, of bishops who covered up for pedophile priests and of Vatican officials who turned a blind eye to the crimes for decades.

Questions were raised about how Benedict himself handled cases both as archbishop in Munich and as head of the Vatican office that handled abuse cases.

Recently, the Vatican released documentation showing that as early as 1988 then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger sought to find quicker ways to permanently remove priests who raped and molested children in a bid to get around church law that made it difficult to defrock priests against their will.

While Ratzinger was unsuccessful then, Vatican rules now allow for fast-track defrocking. But victims advocates say the Vatican still has a long way to go in terms of requiring bishops to report sex crimes to police and release information and documentation about known pedophiles.

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An investigation into cases of sexual abuse in the German Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, where Pope Benedikt XVI was once archbishop, has revealed a “systematic system of cover-up” and a lot of missing paperwork.

Details sketchy on papal era

Westpfahl also said that the period of 1977 to 1982, when Pope Benedikt XVI – then Archbishop Josef Ratzinger – headed up the archdiocese, was particularly poorly documented.

In this timeframe, she only found one document, regarding an abuse case. Ratzinger had dealt with the case himself, ordering that an abusive priest be removed from his parish, she said.”

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475 Belgian church abuse cases

2010-09-10 21:30

Brussels – A Belgian Catholic Church-backed commission on Friday published a report revealing hundreds of cases of alleged sexual abuse of minors by clergy and church workers, and 13 suicides by abuse victims.

The commission said it had received 475 complaints in the first six months of this year from alleged victims or their families.

Most were related to charges of sexual abuse committed between the 1950s and the late 1980s by Catholic clergy, but also by teachers of religion and adults working with youth movements.

It noted that one fact in particular showed “the extent of the negative effects: the high number of suicides”, the report said.

The commission received 13 reports in which “the person concerned died by suicide and this in relation to sexual abuse by a cleric”, it said, adding that another six victims said they had attempted suicide.

All congregations involved

The 200-page report which contains testimonies from some 124 anonymous “survivors” – as the victims of the alleged abuse are called – reveal that the sexual abuse for most victims began at age 12, although one was two years old, five were aged four, eight aged five and ten aged seven, the report said.

While the description of the alleged sex molester is often imprecise, where verification had been made 102 were found to have been members of some 29 religious orders, the report said.

“We can say that no congregation escapes sexual abuse of minors by one or several of its members,” the report’s authors wrote.

Two-thirds of the alleged victims were male, it also noted.

The commission headed by a psychiatric specialist in paedophilia, Peter Adriaenssens, said it received most of its testimony after the forced resignation in April of the bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, who admitted having sexually abused his nephew between 1973 and 1986.

Seized files

A woman in the report testified that she was abused at age 17 by a priest and tried to seek help from a bishop in 1983.

“I told him ‘I have a problem with one of your priests’. He told me: ‘Ignore him and he will leave you alone’,” she said.

The commission concluded that the victims deserve “a courageous Church which is not afraid to confront its vulnerability, to recognise it, to co-operate in finding fair responses.”

The commission members resigned en masse in June after their files were seized in raids by Belgian judicial authorities.

Judges subsequently struck off from admissible evidence the fruits of that search in June at the offices of the church commission.

On Thursday a Belgian appeals court deemed raids on the church headquarters in Brussels and at the home of its former top cardinal disproportionate, and ordered that the material seized be returned with prosecutors unable to use it.

The country’s current archbishop, Andre-Joseph Leonard, said after the decision was made public that “it is in everyone’s interests that the fundamental rules of law are respected.”

- SAPA

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Urgent Press Release from Heaven

April 17th 2010

Heaven’s Angelic Messenger , the Angel Gabriel, has just released an urgent press statement directly from Upper Management in Heaven.

Just over a week ago, a terrible disaster occurred when the crash of an aging Russian airliner ravaged the top levels of Poland’s military, political and church elite last Saturday, killing the Polish president and dozens of other dignitaries as they traveled to a ceremony commemorating a slaughter that has divided the two nations for seven decades just outside Smolensk.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and some cabinet members flew to Smolensk from Warsaw. The president’s twin brother, former Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, headed to the area in a chartered plane along with party members.

News of this disaster immediately sent millions of prayers up to Heaven, nearly crashing the European Prayer Switchboard in the Heaven PrayComm Utilities Department.

This kind of prayer traffic has not been experienced since the last Soccer World Cup final, when millions and millions of Italian soccer fans all prayed for Italy to be victorious in the final against France. These prayers were answered, with Italy winning during a penalty shootout, 5-3.

The Heaven PrayComm Utilities Department was barely able to process all the prayers coming in after the latest plane crash disaster. They had to use circuits dedicated to other parts of the globe to prevent a major crash in prayer communications.

It all seemed to work fine, until millions of people got stranded after the Icelandic glacier-covered Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted, and millions and millions of tons of volcanic ash was blown over parts of Western Europe.

This caused many of Europe’s biggest airports to be closed down, resulting in millions of travelers to be stranded, some of them thousands of miles from home.

This had the effect of millions and millions of more prayers coming in through the already overstressed European Prayer Switchboard in the Heaven PrayComm Utilities Department, resulting in a complete crash throughout the whole system.

It took engineers 16 hours to fix the problem. They had to relay and delay and even in some cases shut down many switchboards. PrayComm estimates that around 15 million prayers got lost during the downtime.

The reason for this press release is to clear a very important matter up. This statement will be released through as many press agencies as possible.

The whole confusion started when some ignorant journalist called the Eyjafjallajokull volcanic eruption an act of God.

Upper Management in Heaven wants to be absolutely clear on this matter, and also take the time to explain the real cause of this disaster.

First of all, it was NOT, and we repeat, NOT, and act of God.

To explain we have to go back a couple of centuries. During the 1400’s, England made a pact with Satan himself. Satan would help them to conquer the world, and accumulate many riches in the process, in exchange for England becoming more and more secular and less and less religious. This deal was struck between Satan and some of only a couple of people in charge of running the British Empire. The British Empire reached the height of its strength during the last century. Secularism did as well.

The whole reasoning behind this deal was that Satan could use the British Empire to get a good foothold all around the world. Empires lead by example, and Satan thought this would be a good idea to put a damper on religion spreading faster through the world.

To make a long story short, this pact still exists between these two parties, although the terms has changed over the last century. Instead of conquering land, the British Empire now conquers financial markets.

The plot thickens here. The Icelandic glacier-covered Eyjafjallajokull volcanic eruption was actually caused by Satan. This was in accordance with the terms of the Satan-British Empire Pact. Iceland had it coming. They defaulted on approximately 6 Billion, with a B, British Pounds of debt they owed the Empire. After Iceland’s currency collapsed, they defaulted on all their foreign debt.

So to be clear, as retribution, Satan caused the volcanic eruption in Iceland. The whole plan backfired when the winds blew the volcanic dust over to Western Europe, causing the whole travel delay disaster.

We could not reach Satan for a comment. When we contacted his PR Office, all we got was a loud voice laughing and laughing, as if it was a big joke to them. Another source told us that Satan was busy striking a deal with the pope, to help the Vatican out of a pickle, and will not be available for comment for quite sometime.

So we hope this clears the matter up. The volcanic eruption was not an act of God. Our prayer channels are all open again, and functioning at 100%. We also sent an Angel down to turn the wind direction away from Western Europe, and more towards the North Pole and Siberia.

Just shows you how the words of one ignorant and stupid reporter can ruin things for everyone. Glad we could clear this matter up. Peace be with all.

Gabriel

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Ratzinger is the Perfect Pope

by Richard Dawkins – The Washington Post

“Should Pope Benedict XVI be held responsible for the escalating scandals over clerical sexual abuse in Europe?” Yes he should, and it’s going to escalate a lot further, as more and more victims break through the guilt of their childhood indoctrination and come forward.

“Should he be investigated for how cases of abuse were handled under his watch as archbishop of Munich or as the Vatican’s chief doctrinal enforcer?” Yes, of course he should. This former head of the Inquisition should be arrested the moment he dares to set foot outside his tinpot fiefdom of the Vatican, and he should be tried in an appropriate civil – not ecclesiastical – court. That’s what should happen. Sadly, we all know our faith-befuddled governments will be too craven to do it.

“Should the pope resign?” No. As the College of Cardinals must have recognized when they elected him, he is perfectly – ideally – qualified to lead the Roman Catholic Church. A leering old villain in a frock, who spent decades conspiring behind closed doors for the position he now holds; a man who believes he is infallible and acts the part; a man whose preaching of scientific falsehood is responsible for the deaths of countless AIDS victims in Africa; a man whose first instinct when his priests are caught with their pants down is to cover up the scandal and damn the young victims to silence: in short, exactly the right man for the job. He should not resign, moreover, because he is perfectly positioned to accelerate the downfall of the evil, corrupt organization whose character he fits like a glove, and of which he is the absolute and historically appropriate monarch.

No, Pope Ratzinger should not resign. He should remain in charge of the whole rotten edifice – the whole profiteering, woman-fearing, guilt-gorging, truth-hating, child-raping institution – while it tumbles, amid a stench of incense and a rain of tourist-kitsch sacred hearts and preposterously crowned virgins, about his ears.

By Richard Dawkins

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The “Pedophile’s Paradise”

Alaska Natives are accusing the Catholic Church of using their remote villages as a “dumping ground” for child-molesting priests—and blaming the president of Seattle University for letting it happen.

by BRENDAN KILEY

The Rachel Mike, who won a settlement in a case involving Father Poole, at her confirmation in the summer of 1975. Behind her is Father George Endal, accused of raping or molesting several boys and allegedly walking in on another priest performing oral sex on a 6-year-old boy and doing nothing to stop it.

One spring afternoon in 1977, 15-year-old Rachel Mike tried to kill herself for the third time. An Alaska Native, Rachel was living in a tiny town called Stebbins on a remote island called St. Michael. She lived in a house with three bedrooms and nine siblings. Rachel was a drinker, depressed, and starving. “When my parents were drinking, we didn’t eat right,” she says. “I just wanted to get away from the drinking.”

Rachel walked to the bathroom to fetch the family rifle, propped in the bathtub with the dirty laundry (the house didn’t have running water). To make sure the gun worked, Rachel loaded a shell and blew a hole in her bedroom wall. Her father, passed out on his bed, didn’t hear the shot. Rachel walked behind their small house. Her arms were too short to put the rifle to her head, so she shot herself in her right leg instead.

Rachel was found screaming in a pool of blood by her Auntie Emily and flown 229 miles to a hospital in Nome. The doctor asked if she wanted to see a priest. She said yes. In walked Father James Poole—a popular priest, radio personality on KNOM, and, according to allegations in at least five lawsuits, serial child rapist. Father Poole has never been convicted of a crime, but the Jesuits have settled numerous sex-abuse claims against him since 2005, in excess of $5 million, according to an attorney involved in four of those five lawsuits. Exact figures aren’t available because some of the settlements involve confidentiality agreements. The Jesuits have never let a single case against Father Poole go to trial.

In a 2005 deposition, Rachel testified that she had been molested by Father Poole in 1975, while in Nome for her second suicide attempt, an attempted overdose of alcohol and pills. He’d come sit by her bed, put his hand under the hospital blanket, and fondle her, she said.

She traveled between Stebbins and Nome several times in the late 1970s, spending time in hospitals and receiving homes. By 1977, Rachel testified, Poole had given her gonorrhea, and by 1978 she was pregnant with his child. In an interview with The Stranger, she said Poole encouraged her to get an abortion and tell the doctors she had been raped by her father. She followed his advice. “He brainwashed me,” she said. “He messed up my head, man.”

Rachel Mike’s father died in 2004. A year later, she heard Elsie Boudreau, another survivor of Poole’s abuse, being interviewed on the radio. Listening to Boudreau, Rachel was moved to finally tell the truth.

“He’s gone, and I’ll never have a chance to tell him in person,” she said, talking about her father between heaving sobs. “I was scared. In a way he knew, but—he never even touched me.”

“This man,” says Anchorage-based attorney Ken Roosa, referring to Poole, “has left a trail of carnage behind him.”

The only reason Poole is not in jail, Roosa says, is the statute of limitations. And the reason he’s still a priest, being cared for by the church?

“Jim Poole is elderly,” answered Very Reverend Patrick J. Lee, head of the Northwest Jesuits, by e-mail. “He lives in a Jesuit community under an approved safety plan that includes 24-hour supervision.”

Roosa has another theory—that Poole knows too much. “They can’t put him on the street and take away his reason for keeping quiet,” Roosa says. “He knows all the secrets.”

Father James Poole’s story is not an isolated case in Alaska. On the morning of January 14 in Seattle, Ken Roosa and a small group Alaska Natives stood on the sidewalk outside Seattle University to announce a new lawsuit against the Jesuits, claiming a widespread conspiracy to dump pedophile priests in isolated Native villages where they could abuse children off the radar.

“They did it because there was no money there, no power, no police,” Roosa said to the assembled cameras and microphones. “It was a pedophile’s paradise.” He described a chain of poor Native villages where priests—many of them serial sex offenders—reigned supreme. “We are going to shine some light on a dark and dirty corner of the Jesuit order.”

The suit, filed in the superior court of Bethel, Alaska, the day before, accuses several priests of being offenders and conspirators. Among the alleged conspirators is Father Stephen Sundborg, who is the current president of Seattle University and was Provincial of the Oregon Province of Jesuits from 1990 through 1996. (The Oregon Province includes Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, and Alaska; as Provincial, Sundborg was head of the entire province.) The suit alleges that while Sundborg was head of the Northwest Jesuits, he had access to the personnel files of several pedophile priests, including one named Father Henry Hargreaves, whom he allowed to remain in the ministry. “As a direct result of Father Sundborg’s decision,” the suit alleges, “Father Hargreaves was able to continue molesting children, including but not limited to James Doe 94, who was raped by Father Hargreaves in 1992, when James Doe was approximately 6 years old.”

Roosa and his associate Patrick Wall (a former Benedictine monk who once worked as a sex-abuse fixer for the Catholic Church) said they knew of 345 cases of molestation in Alaska by 28 perpetrators who came from at least four different countries.

This concentration of abuses is orders of magnitude greater than Catholic sex-abuse cases in other parts of the United States. Today, Roosa said, there are 17,000 Catholics in the diocese of Fairbanks, though there was a much smaller number during the peak of the abuse. Roosa compared this lawsuit to the famous Los Angeles suits of 2001, which claimed 550 victims of abuse in a Catholic population of 3.4 million.

These abusers in Alaska, Wall said, were specifically sent to Alaska “to get them off the grid, where they could do the least amount of damage” to the church’s public image.

One by one, the Alaska Natives—including Elsie Boudreau, the woman whom Rachel Mike had heard on the radio—took their turns before the cameras and microphones, talking softly and nervously and choking back tears. “I am Flo Kenny,” a woman with a gray ponytail and sunglasses said carefully. “I am 74 years old. And I’ve kept silent for 60 years. I am here for all the ones who cannot speak—who are dead, who committed suicide, who are homeless, who are drug addicts. There’s always been a time, an end of secrets. This is the time.”

Alphonsus Abouchuk, wearing a black leather jacket and sunglasses, talked about how poor his family was and how the priests used to give him quarters after abusing him.

Rena Abouchuk, his sister, cried while she read a letter to a Franciscan monk named Anton Smario (currently living in Concord, California) who taught her catechism classes. “You did so many evil things to young children,” she read, gripping her letter in one hand and an eagle feather tied to a small red sachet in the other. “God will never forgive you… You took a lot of lives.” Six of her cousins, she later said, committed suicide because of Brother Smario.

The lawsuit states that Brother Smario offered children food and juice to coax them to stay after class: “He then would unzip his pants, and completely expose his genitals to these children, and masturbate to ejaculation as he walked around the classroom. He would ask the girls to touch his penis and would rub his erect penis on their backs, necks, and arms. Sometimes he would wipe or rub his semen on the girls after he ejaculated.”

According to the allegations, Father Joseph Lundowski molested or raped James Does 29, 59–71, and 73–94, plus Janet Does 4–7—a total of 40 children—giving them “hard candy, money he stole from the collection plate, cooked food, baked goods, beer, sacramental wine, brandy, and/or better grades (silver, blue, or gold stars) on their catechism assignments in exchange for sexual favors.”

The lawsuit also alleges Father George Endal raped and molested several boys—and, as Smario and Lundowski’s boss, was the person who put Lundowski in charge of the boys dormitory in the Holy Rosary Mission School in Dillingham, Alaska, where catechism classes were split between Smario (in charge of the girls) and Lundowski (in charge of the boys). On separate occasions, Father Endal and another priest named Norman E. Donohue—who allegedly raped James Doe 69—walked in on Lundowski while he was molesting children and either quietly left the room or did nothing to stop it.

Father Francis Fallert, principal of the Copper Valley School and head of the all the Alaska Jesuits from 1976 to 1982, is accused of molesting Janet Doe 6.

The sheer concentration of known sex offenders in these isolated communities begins to look less like an accident than a plan. Their institutional protection looks less like an embarrassed cover-up than aiding and abetting. And the way the church has settled case after case across the country, refusing to let most of them go to trial for a public airing, is starting to look like an admission of guilt.

When Patrick Wall wore monk’s robes, he must’ve looked like Friar Tuck. A former all-state football lineman, Wall has broad shoulders, a brawny neck, short reddish hair, and a habit of calling people “bro.”

We met last week in Sea-Tac Airport’s Alaska Airlines Board Room—a two-story business lounge, just past the security check, with conference tables, ergonomic chairs next to computer stations, and free espresso. He and Ken Roosa were there to meet with a client. Wall lives in California, Roosa lives in Anchorage, and many of their clients are on the West Coast, so they’ve done a lot of business in the Board Room. “I like to spend the night at home,” Wall says, setting his airplane reading—The Name of the Rose—on the conference-room table.

Wall’s first call as a sex-abuse fixer knocked on his door one morning in 1991, while he was brushing his teeth. Wall was not yet a priest, just a monk studying at St. John’s University in Minnesota. The abbot came to his room before class with an urgent matter regarding another monk and said Wall would be moving into the boy’s prep-school dormitory—immediately. The other monk “had an incident with a 14-year-old in the shower.” Wall was to take his place.

Taken aback, Wall threw up every objection he could think of. He didn’t own a computer and used the communal ones in the monastery. “We’ll buy you a laptop.” He helped with mass at a local parish. “We’ll reassign you to campus ministry.” He was on call for the volunteer fire department. “Not anymore.” The abbot wouldn’t take no for an answer.

So Wall packed up, moved into the boys dormitory, quickly intuited who else on the floor had been abused (5 out of the 90 residents), and coaxed them into talking about what had happened. Those cases never became public and were settled out of court. “If you’re good,” Wall says, “the assignments build.” Wall was so good, he was ordained a year early and kept busy, working as many as 13 cases per month.

The job was harrowing and frustrating. “If you’re the cleaner, you rarely find out the resolution to these things,” Wall says. “Because survivors had to sign confidentiality agreements.” The ultimate objective, for a cleaner, was to keep things quiet so the details never became public or went to trial. Wall slowly came to believe that his superiors were more concerned with protecting their public image than caring for survivors. It was, he says, a dark time, not least because he was struggling with his own vows of celibacy. In 1998, he asked to be laicized. By 2001, he was married to a ballet dancer and had a newborn daughter. By 2002, he was hired as a full-time researcher for the law firm Manly and Stewart investigating clerical sex-abuse cases.

Since then, he and Roosa—who often collaborate on cases with attorney John Manly—have worked over 250 cases together, all of them settled without going to trial. “I would like to see any of these cases go to trial to expose the corruption of the system,” Wall says. But the church would rather pay the money than subject itself to public scrutiny, and survivors generally prefer to avoid the increased emotional turmoil of a trial. “There was one survivor who went through 11 days of questioning, of deposition,” Roosa says. “The defense lawyers can make it so painful.”

“If you bend a young plant, it grows at an angle,” Roosa says. “Child sex abuse bends the character and maturation of a person—the abuse isn’t the injury as much as the effect it has on people.”

Father Poole’s alleged abuses are particularly egregious, earning him a special place in Roosa’s and Wall’s hearts. He is their archetypal bad guy, their Dr. Mengele of the clerical sex-abuse world: Their clients have described, in sworn testimony, Poole pressing his erections against girls during junior-high dances, being caught by his own mother while masturbating in front of young girls, and much worse. “The defense lawyers have been so disgusted with Poole,” Roosa says, “that they’ve told me off the record, ‘anything you tell me about Poole, I’d believe.’”

According to a victim identified as Jane Doe 5 in a 2006 complaint, Poole first raped her during a private catechism class when she was 6 years old. From a direct transcript of her testimony:

He started fidget—finger—started to touch me digitally with his fingers. And at that time, when he started getting closer to me, I—there’s a picture—I’m on the desk, a picture to the left of me is a picture of Jesus who’s at the rock praying, and to my left I look at the picture to my left, and I look into James Poole’s eyes. I turned away from the picture, looked into his eyes, and asked ‘Not in front of Jesus, please.’… He kept telling me that in order to be a good little girl for God, I had to do this. That God wanted me to do this. And I remember a burning…

Then, she says, he raped her.

Roosa tells a story about Poole molesting a 9-year-old girl in Portland, Oregon, while simultaneously having an affair with the girl’s mother. Poole supposedly told the girl’s mother he would quit the priesthood and marry her, but abruptly returned to Alaska. The girl’s mother committed suicide. According to Wall and Roosa, that same girl says she was molested by another priest, one who has been listed in at least three settlements in cases that reach back to the 1960s. They say that, in one incident, this priest was called to a house in Yakima to administer last rites to a dying woman in 1989. “He raped the woman on her deathbed,” Roosa says. “He told the family to go into the other room, the husband heard a weird noise, went into the bedroom, and caught him raping his unconscious wife.”

The woman didn’t die, and by the time Roosa and Wall caught up with her family last May, the church had offered the family half a million dollars. The family said they’d file a legal complaint if Roosa and Wall could guarantee more than half a million dollars in compensation.

“No,” Wall said. “Take it, bro.”

Within hours of the press conference on the sidewalk in front of Seattle University on January 14—which essentially alleges that Father Stephen Sundborg allowed molester priests to minister freely as members of the Northwest Jesuits when it was his responsibility, as Provincial, to keep them away from children—Sundborg denied having any information about the Jesuit “dumping ground” in Northwest Alaska:

The allegations brought against me are false. I firmly deny them. I want the victims and the entire community to know that. The complaint filed by the plaintiffs’ lawyers represents an unprincipled and irresponsible attack on my reputation. Let me be clear—my commitment to justice and reconciliation for all victims remains steadfast.

On January 31, Father Sundborg, through his spokesperson, responded to questions from The Stranger with this statement:

I want to be very clear: As Provincial of the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus, I would never have put a child at risk. I was never aware of any claim of child abuse concerning either Fr. James Poole or Fr. Henry Hargreaves.
As I have said repeatedly in the past, as a member of the Society of Jesus, I personally and sincerely apologize for the pain that has been suffered through the actions of some members of our order.
I am disappointed that the plaintiffs’ attorneys are attempting to use falsehoods and innuendo to fuel a media campaign. Their attack on my reputation is unprincipled and irresponsible.
Nonetheless, I remain firm in my resolve to seek justice and reconciliation for all victims.

With the exception of Father Hargreaves allegedly raping James Doe 94 in 1992, no abuses—at least none that have been reported—occurred while Sundborg was Provincial.

Still, Wall says, “Stevie has a little problem.”

Hargreaves, Poole, and other problem priests continued to work in the ministry during Sundborg’s tenure between 1990 and 1996 and, in Elsie Boudreau’s words, “We know that he knew.”

Father Poole came under scrutiny as early as 1961, when complaints about his behavior reached Rome and the Father-General of the Jesuits initiated an investigation.

In 1994, Poole was sent to the Servants of the Paraclete—a Jesuit-run psychiatric facility for troubled priests in Jemez Springs, New Mexico—where, he later testified in a 2004 deposition, he learned that he had boundary issues, that he “wasn’t this great king and lover,” and that “French-kissing” a 12-year-old girl is “wrong.”

Poole denies raping anyone but admits to “French-kissing” Boudreau—and emphatically denies that French-kissing her was in any way sexual. “With Elsie, I have never had any sexual impulse,” he said in the 2004 deposition, “never had any sexual temptation.” Later in this same testimony, John Manly asked Poole whether he had ever French-kissed his own niece.

“No,” Poole replied.

“Why?” Manly asked.

Poole hesitated.

“Why not?” Manly insisted. “I think I know the answer, but I want you to say it.”

“We were not that close, for one thing,” Poole replied. “My brother had always lived away from us.”

“Any other reason?” Manly asked.

“No,” Poole said.

Monthly progress reports were sent to Sundborg during Poole’s treatment in Jemez Springs. After his release, Poole continued to work as a hospital chaplain in Alaska until November of 2003, when Roosa threatened to sue the Bishop of Fairbanks over the childhood abuse of Elsie Boudreau. Poole retired shortly thereafter and was sent to Spokane, to live in an apartment near Gonzaga University. (Attempts to contact Father Poole for comment were unsuccessful.)

Father Sundborg testified in 2005 that he sent at least eight priests—including Father Poole, Father James Laudwein, and Father Craig Boly—for psychiatric evaluation by Dr. Stuart Greenberg, a leading consultant on clerical sex abuse for the Northwest Jesuits. After their visits with Dr. Greenberg, Poole, Laudwein, and Boly were returned to active ministry.

At the time of Sundborg’s 2005 testimony, Father Laudwein was a defendant in a sex-abuse suit that ended in 2007 with a $50 million settlement, according to theAnchorage Daily News. And, in 1992, Father Boly wrote an essay for a book calledJesuits in Profile: Alive and Well in the U.S. about his attraction to high-school girls:

I remember being reprimanded more than once for spending too much time with visiting coeds from other local high schools. My rationalization was that if attractive young women brought their problems to me, it must be an opportunity for apostolic service. What I neglected to consider was what needs of my own the interactions with the women students were meeting.

Sundborg also contributed an essay to Jesuits in Profile, but testified in 2005 that he had no recollection of reading the book.

Dr. Greenberg—the counselor to whom Sundborg had sent Poole, Laudwein, Boly, and others for evaluation—was arrested in the summer of 2007 for surreptitiously filming staff members and patients using the bathroom at his office and, according to Roosa, filming himself masturbating while watching the films. A few weeks later, he rented a room at a motel in Renton, where he committed suicide. Police found him with a bunch of bottles of prescription pills and two slashed wrists.

“I wish I could offer you some adequate explanation,” his suicide note read. “I just don’t know. I deeply and profoundly apologize.”

This isn’t Sundborg’s first go-around with fending off a sex-abuse case. In 2006, the Jesuits settled a $350,000 suit against Father Michael Toulouse, a philosophy professor at Seattle University accused of abusing a 12-year-old boy in his residence in 1968. At the time of the settlement, Father Sundborg argued that Seattle University wasn’t liable, even though the abuse happened on campus, because the abuse occurred outside of his official duties as a teacher—a rare Catholic argument for the separation of church and sex.

Complaints against Toulouse (who died in 1976) date from 1950, when a Spokane father threatened to shoot Toulouse, who was then teaching at Gonzaga High School. Toulouse was transferred to Seattle, where he allegedly molested several boys, including the son of a widow in 1967. The widow and another Jesuit wrote to the province in 1968 requesting action. (Father Toulouse continued teaching at Seattle University until 1976.) When the widow’s son sought compensation in 1993, Sundborg wrote back, according to the Seattle Times: “There is nothing about this matter in the provincial files, in the personnel files of Fr. Toulouse, or in the files of Seattle University.”

That may be. But Father Thomas Royce, Provincial of the Northwest Jesuits from 1980 to 1986, just four years before Sundborg became Provincial, has testified that similar information about Jesuits does exist in the personnel files—that they contain information that is “special,” “not public,” and “not good.”

He called them “the hell files.”

Elsie Bourdreau is a Yu’pik Eskimo with short brown hair, plump cheeks, and, when she is not testifying at grim press conferences, a radiant smile. As Janet Doe 1, Boudreau was the first person to speak publicly about being abused by Father Poole. She kept silent about her abuse until 2005, when her daughter turned 10. “I was 10 when the abuse started,” she says. “And I just couldn’t shield it from my consciousness anymore.” She’s now employed as a consultant to law firms pursuing clerical sex-abuse cases, including the firms where Wall and Roosa work.

When Boudreau was a child, the villages of Northwest Alaska were only accessible by plane, boat, or dog sled. Many still are. For the most part, they didn’t have public schools, cops, or telephones. Many of the houses were one room and lacked food and consistent heat in the below-zero weather. “The perps would soften up their victims with food and warmth,” Wall says, “because that’s what the kids didn’t have. ‘It was always warmer in the rectory,’ they say. ‘There was always food in the rectory. There was always candy.’”

In those villages, the priests had unusual authority. “In the village, our elders loved the church and the priests so much,” Boudreau says. “They were like honored guests in our land. The priest had the utmost power, power that historically the village shaman would have had.” If children complained about the priests, it was tantamount to complaining about the village shaman. “I’ve talked to hundreds of victims in Alaska,” Boudreau says, “and many were physically hurt by parents for speaking about this.”

The priests came to occupy the role of shamans by a weird confluence of history and microbiology. In the early 1900s, a Spanish-influenza epidemic ripped through Northwest Alaska, sometimes killing entire villages. They called it “the Big Sickness” or “the Big Death.”

Winton Weyapuk was a child in Wales, Alaska, and was orphaned by the epidemic. In an interview from 1997, he recalled that the flu came on a dog sled. The mailman, on his monthly delivery, brought the corpse of a man who’d died on the way to Wales. Curious villagers crowded around the corpse. “The men, women, and children who came to see this body went home, and many got sick and most of them died before the next morning.”

Weyapuk’s father died that first night, so the family moved into an uncle’s house. Most everyone in the uncle’s house died, and Weyapuk and his brother Dwight lived in a one-room sod house with four corpses until someone found them. He recalls seeing white men building tripods over the sod houses, using block and tackle to pull frozen bodies up through the skylights, then blasting holes in the frozen ground with dynamite for mass graves. Family sled dogs, neglected and starving, roamed the streets and fought over human remains.

The shamans, normally counted on as healers, were helpless. The population was decimated, and the social structure had to be created from nothing: Another Wales resident remembers that, in the aftermath, so many families had been destroyed that an official from Nome came to the village with a stack of notarized wedding licenses. He lined up all the surviving men, all the surviving women, and all the surviving children, and built families at random.

Catholic missionaries made major inroads into these communities in the aftermath of the Big Sickness. (Along with the Baptists and Orthodox churches. The major churches had a summit in Sitka years prior and divided up their geographical spheres of influence.) The missionaries brought flour and coffee, built orphanages and schools. “They looked at the shamans as evil and of the devil,” Boudreau says. A new social order was created. In the villages of Northwest Alaska, the Jesuits stepped into a tailor-made power vacuum.

The history of child molestation in the Catholic Church goes back centuries. The first official decree on the subject was written at the Council of Elvira, held around A.D. 305 near Granada, Spain. The precise history is complicated, but the council is traditionally believed to have set down 81 rules for behavior, the 71st of which is: “Those who sexually abuse boys may not commune even when death approaches.” It was the harshest one-strike policy: If you’re caught abusing a child, you are not only laicized, but permanently excommunicated—damned for all time.

The other major condemnation of clerical sex abuse was The Book of Gomorrah, completed by radical church reformer Father Peter Damian (a Benedictine monk, as it happens, who became a cardinal) in 1051. He appealed directly to the pope about the abuse of children, as well as consensual sex among clergy—in howling language: “O unheard of crime! O outrage to be mourned with a whole fountain of tears!… What fruitfulness can still be found in the flocks when the shepherd is so deeply sunk in the belly of the devil!”

In the 1930s, a priest-psychiatrist—and also a Benedictine—named Reverend Thomas Verner Moore researched the higher-than-usual rates of insanity and alcoholism among Catholic clergy. He suggested the church build an asylum for priests. The U.S. Catholic Bishops turned down his request in 1936. Father Moore became a Carthusian hermit.

In 1947, Father Gerald Fitzgerald founded the Servants of the Paraclete in Jemez, New Mexico—the same institution Father Poole was to visit almost 50 years later.

In a 1957 letter to the Bishop of Manchester, Father Fitzgerald wrote that predatory priests (who he euphemistically refers to as “schizophrenic”) cannot be effectively treated and should not be allowed to continue in the ministry:

Their repentance and amendment is superficial and, if not formally at least subconsciously, is motivated by a desire to be again in a position where they can continue their wonted activity. A new diocese means only green pastures… We are amazed to find how often a man who would be behind bars if he were not a priest is entrusted with the cura animarum [the cure, or care, of souls].

By the early 1960s, Father Fitzgerald had seen enough chronic pedophiles that he did not want to treat them and have them rereleased into the ministry, but, as he proposed in a letter to Archbishop Davis, to build an “island retreat… but even an island is too good for these vipers.”

In 16 centuries, church policy had evolved from one strike you’re out to 30 strikes and you’re sent to an island in the Caribbean.

In 1965, according to an affidavit from Fitzgerald successor Father Joseph McNamara: “Father Gerald purchased an island in [the Caribbean], near Carriacou, which had an abandoned hotel, damaged by fire, on it. This hotel was entirely removed from any civilization… This was to be Father Gerald’s long sought after ‘island refuge,’ but it did not come to be. As is described below, Archbishop Davis ordered Father Gerald to sell the island.”

Shortly thereafter, Father Fitzgerald was asked to step down. “It all became too public,” Wall says. “The Holy See would never be able to explain Father Fitzgerald’s leper island for pedophile priests.”

In 1985, two priests and a lawyer—Father Michael Peterson, Dominican Father Thomas Doyle, and Ray Mouton—presented a report to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. The report, which reads more like concerned advice than a condemnation, warns that high rates of abuse and high rates of recidivism for “treated” priests could cost the church over $1 billion and a major loss of credibility in the coming decade.

Later that year, in the first highly publicized case of a pedophile priest in the United States, Father Gilbert Gauthe admitted to abusing 37 boys in Louisiana. He accepted a plea bargain, was sentenced to 20 years, and served 10. By 1997, according to theNew York Times, he had moved to Texas, where he was “arrested for fondling a 3-year-old boy” and put on supervised probation. (According to the Times, “Texas authorities did not know of his criminal record in Louisiana.”) In April 2008, he was arrested again for failing to register as a sex offender.

In 1993, Canice Connors, the director of St. Luke’s, a psychiatric institute for troubled clergy, told the Los Angeles Times: “The Catholic Church in North America possesses the greatest data bank of evaluation and treatment of nonincarcerated pedophiles on the continent. That data should be analyzed scientifically and shared with others studying the problem.” He was in Milwaukee to present his findings to the U.S. Conference of Bishops.

In 2003, the Archdiocese of Boston agreed to pay out $85 million to 552 victims of clerical sex abuse.

Also in 2003, in the midst of negotiations to settle four claims of clerical sex abuse with the Diocese of Fairbanks, one of the church’s mediators told Ken Roosa that the dioceses didn’t want to offer more than $10,000. “They said they couldn’t offer more money to an Alaska Native because they’d just get drunk and hurt each other,” Roosa said. “And it would just encourage more victims to come forward. Unbelievable.”

In September 2005, former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger—who’d just become the pope—asked the justice department of the Bush administration to grant him immunity from prosecution in sex-abuse cases in the United States. Ratzinger, the onetime head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was accused of “conspiring to cover up the sexual molestation of three boys by a seminarian” in Texas, according to the Associated Press. Ratzinger had “written in Latin to bishops around the world, explaining that ‘grave’ crimes such as the sexual abuse of minors would be handled by his congregation. The proceedings of special church tribunals handling the cases were subject to ‘pontifical secret,’” Ratzinger’s letter said. The Bush administration granted Ratzinger the immunity.

In 2007, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles agreed to pay $660 million to more than 500 victims of clerical sex abuse.

Why does the church keep sending these priests, who have come to be such a major liability, back into ministry? “It’s all about keeping the stores open, keeping the revenue rolling,” Wall says. The Alaskan provinces in particular, Wall says, were a source of revenue—not from the Native population living there, but from parishioners in the lower 48 who were encouraged to donate for the Native ministry up north. “You could raise thousands to fund a mission that cost very little to run,” Wall says. “The profit margin is huge.”

The lawsuits against the Northwest Jesuits regarding abuses of Alaska Natives are not over. Within the coming weeks, Roosa and Wall say, more claims will be filed, more press conferences will be held, and more stories will come out.

“We talk about how we feel like we’re doing God’s work,” says Boudreau. “It’s something bigger than all of us. We’re working to reveal the truth of what happened.”

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The Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy, with hands together, at St. John’s School for the Deaf in Wisconsin in 1960.

Top Vatican officials — including the future Pope Benedict XVI — did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church, according to church files newly unearthed as part of a lawsuit.

The internal correspondence from bishops in Wisconsin directly to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, shows that while church officials tussled over whether the priest should be dismissed, their highest priority was protecting the church from scandal.

The documents emerge as Pope Benedict is facing other accusations that he and direct subordinates often did not alert civilian authorities or discipline priests involved in sexual abuse when he served as an archbishop in Germany and as the Vatican’s chief doctrinal enforcer.

The Wisconsin case involved an American priest, the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy, who worked at a renowned school for deaf children from 1950 to 1974. But it is only one of thousands of cases forwarded over decades by bishops to the Vatican office called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, led from 1981 to 2005 by Cardinal Ratzinger. It is still the office that decides whether accused priests should be given full canonical trials and defrocked.

In 1996, Cardinal Ratzinger failed to respond to two letters about the case from Rembert G. Weakland, Milwaukee’s archbishop at the time. After eight months, the second in command at the doctrinal office, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, now the Vatican’s secretary of state, instructed the Wisconsin bishops to begin a secret canonical trial that could lead to Father Murphy’s dismissal.

But Cardinal Bertone halted the process after Father Murphy personally wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger protesting that he should not be put on trial because he had already repented and was in poor health and that the case was beyond the church’s own statute of limitations.

“I simply want to live out the time that I have left in the dignity of my priesthood,” Father Murphy wrote near the end of his life to Cardinal Ratzinger. “I ask your kind assistance in this matter.” The files contain no response from Cardinal Ratzinger.

The New York Times obtained the documents, which the church fought to keep secret, from Jeff Anderson and Mike Finnegan, the lawyers for five men who have brought four lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. The documents include letters between bishops and the Vatican, victims’ affidavits, the handwritten notes of an expert on sexual disorders who interviewed Father Murphy and minutes of a final meeting on the case at the Vatican.

Father Murphy not only was never tried or disciplined by the church’s own justice system, but also got a pass from the police and prosecutors who ignored reports from his victims, according to the documents and interviews with victims. Three successive archbishops in Wisconsin were told that Father Murphy was sexually abusing children, the documents show, but never reported it to criminal or civil authorities.

Instead of being disciplined, Father Murphy was quietly moved by Archbishop William E. Cousins of Milwaukee to the Diocese of Superior in northern Wisconsin in 1974, where he spent his last 24 years working freely with children in parishes, schools and, as one lawsuit charges, a juvenile detention center. He died in 1998, still a priest.

Even as the pope himself in a recent letter to Irish Catholics has emphasized the need to cooperate with civil justice in abuse cases, the correspondence seems to indicate that the Vatican’s insistence on secrecy has often impeded such cooperation. At the same time, the officials’ reluctance to defrock a sex abuser shows that on a doctrinal level, the Vatican has tended to view the matter in terms of sin and repentance more than crime and punishment.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, was shown the documents and was asked to respond to questions about the case. He provided a statement saying that Father Murphy had certainly violated “particularly vulnerable” children and the law, and that it was a “tragic case.” But he pointed out that the Vatican was not forwarded the case until 1996, years after civil authorities had investigated the case and dropped it.

Father Lombardi emphasized that neither the Code of Canon Law nor the Vatican norms issued in 1962, which instruct bishops to conduct canonical investigations and trials in secret, prohibited church officials from reporting child abuse to civil authorities. He did not address why that had never happened in this case.

As to why Father Murphy was never defrocked, he said that “the Code of Canon Law does not envision automatic penalties.” He said that Father Murphy’s poor health and the lack of more recent accusations against him were factors in the decision.

The Vatican’s inaction is not unusual. Only 20 percent of the 3,000 accused priests whose cases went to the church’s doctrinal office between 2001 and 2010 were given full church trials, and only some of those were defrocked, according to a recent interview in an Italian newspaper with Msgr. Charles J. Scicluna, the chief internal prosecutor at that office. An additional 10 percent were defrocked immediately. Ten percent left voluntarily. But a majority — 60 percent — faced other “administrative and disciplinary provisions,” Monsignor Scicluna said, like being prohibited from celebrating Mass.

To many, Father Murphy appeared to be a saint: a hearing man gifted at communicating in American Sign Language and an effective fund-raiser for deaf causes. A priest of the Milwaukee Archdiocese, he started as a teacher at St. John’s School for the Deaf, in St. Francis, in 1950. He was promoted to run the school in 1963 even though students had disclosed to church officials in the 1950s that he was a predator.

Victims give similar accounts of Father Murphy’s pulling down their pants and touching them in his office, his car, his mother’s country house, on class excursions and fund-raising trips and in their dormitory beds at night. Arthur Budzinski said he was first molested when he went to Father Murphy for confession when he was about 12, in 1960.

“If he was a real mean guy, I would have stayed away,” said Mr. Budzinski, now 61, who worked for years as a journeyman printer. “But he was so friendly, and so nice and understanding. I knew he was wrong, but I couldn’t really believe it.”

Mr. Budzinski and a group of other deaf former students spent more than 30 years trying to raise the alarm, including passing out leaflets outside the Milwaukee cathedral. Mr. Budzinski’s friend Gary Smith said in an interview that Father Murphy molested him 50 or 60 times, starting at age 12. By the time he graduated from high school at St. John’s, Mr. Smith said, “I was a very, very angry man.”

In 1993, with complaints about Father Murphy landing on his desk, Archbishop Weakland hired a social worker specializing in treating sexual offenders to evaluate him. After four days of interviews, the social worker said that Father Murphy had admitted his acts, had probably molested about 200 boys and felt no remorse.

However, it was not until 1996 that Archbishop Weakland tried to have Father Murphy defrocked. The reason, he wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger, was to defuse the anger among the deaf and restore their trust in the church. He wrote that since he had become aware that “solicitation in the confessional might be part of the situation,” the case belonged at the doctrinal office.

With no response from Cardinal Ratzinger, Archbishop Weakland wrote a different Vatican office in March 1997 saying the matter was urgent because a lawyer was preparing to sue, the case could become public and “true scandal in the future seems very possible.”

Recently some bishops have argued that the 1962 norms dictating secret disciplinary procedures have long fallen out of use. But it is clear from these documents that in 1997, they were still in force.

But the effort to dismiss Father Murphy came to a sudden halt after the priest appealed to Cardinal Ratzinger for leniency.

In an interview, Archbishop Weakland said that he recalled a final meeting at the Vatican in May 1998 in which he failed to persuade Cardinal Bertone and other doctrinal officials to grant a canonical trial to defrock Father Murphy. (In 2002, Archbishop Weakland resigned after it became public that he had an affair with a man and used church money to pay him a settlement.)

Archbishop Weakland said this week in an interview, “The evidence was so complete, and so extensive that I thought he should be reduced to the lay state, and also that that would bring a certain amount of peace in the deaf community.”

Father Murphy died four months later at age 72 and was buried in his priestly vestments. Archbishop Weakland wrote a last letter to Cardinal Bertone explaining his regret that Father Murphy’s family had disobeyed the archbishop’s instructions that the funeral be small and private, and the coffin kept closed.

“In spite of these difficulties,” Archbishop Weakland wrote, “we are still hoping we can avoid undue publicity that would be negative toward the church.”

Rachel Donadio contributed reporting from Rome.

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Dana Kennedy Dana Kennedy Contributor

AOL News

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(March 14) — As sex abuse scandals rock the Vatican, the results of an investigation into a rich, ultra-conservative and secretive Roman Catholic order founded by a priest accused of pedophilia and incest are due to be filed in Rome on Monday.

The sordid story of the Legion of Christ, whose late founder, the Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, was a close ally of Pope John Paul II before being forcibly retired by the Vatican in 2006, is a microcosm of the crisis currently enveloping the church.

At stake is whether Pope Benedict XVI will decide to take over the Legion and install new leaders from the outside or allow it to continue with its same hierarchy. Five bishops from five countries are expected to submit their reports about the Legion on Monday.

Pope John Paul II gives his blessing to Rev. Marcial Maciel  Degallado

Courtesy Jene Newsome / AP
Pope John Paul II gives his blessing to Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legion of Christ, at the Vatican in a November 2004 file photo. The late pope once called Maciel “an efficacious guide to youth.”

The controversy over the Legion, which is now barred or severely restricted from operating in six U.S. dioceses, is especially awkward for Benedict because he wants to have John Paul, a staunch defender of the order, canonized.

“Maciel was a sexual criminal of epic proportions who gained the trust of John Paul II and created a movement that is as close to a cult as anything we’ve seen in the church,” said author Jason Berry, one of two reporters who broke the Maciel story in 1997 and who directed a 2008 documentary about the priest called “Vows of Silence.”

“But he got away with it for years and still in a sense he’s getting away with it.”

The Vatican ordered a worldwide investigation into the Legion, founded in Mexico in 1941, last year. But its response to decades of allegations involving Maciel has been as slow and often reluctant as its reaction to the long-festering sex abuse scandals now erupting in Ireland, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.

In 1997, nine former high-ranking seminarians accused Maciel, who died in 2008, of sexually abusing them when they were boys training for the priesthood. Last year, it was discovered Maciel had an illegitimate daughter born in 1986 in Spain. Two Mexican men who say they are Maciel’s sons claim he also sexually abused them as children.

With a leader said to be a manipulative monster who built a shadowy but powerful organization for elite, wealthy Catholics with schools in 22 countries – and a tradition of grooming handsome, clean-cut priests who all wear their hair parted on the left and black double-breasted suits — the Legion of Christ sounds straight out of a Dan Brown novel.

But while Opus Dei, the other controversial conservative Catholic order, was made famous in Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code,” the Legion of Christ is virtually unknown to most Americans – at least on the surface.

Two of the most visible priests in America are Father Thomas Williams, a movie-star-handsome CBS News analyst, and Father Jonathan Morris, who is sometimes referred to as “Father Knows Best” on the Fox News Channel. They belong to the Legion of Christ but rarely identify themselves as such on camera.

“Dan Brown got the wrong group,” said Genevieve Kineke, an orthodox Catholic who was a member of Regnum Christi, the legion’s lay movement, from 1992 to 2000 and writes a blog about her experiences. “The Legion of Christ is the scary cult embedded in the bosom of the mother church. Not Opus Dei.”

Though the Vatican knew of improprieties involving Maciel as far back as 1956, he was praised and protected by John Paul II, who became pope in 1978 and once called Maciel “an efficacious guide to youth.”

Even when the former seminarians went public in 1997 about Maciel’s sexual abuse and filed a formal complaint with the Vatican, the church at first did nothing while the Legion and other high-profile conservative Catholics called them liars.

A book, “Vows of Silence,” written by Berry and Hartford Courant reporter Gerald Renner, was published in 2004 with what one reviewer called “horror stories … of brainwashing, manipulation, pederast seduction rituals, character assassination, bribes, drug abuse, gulag-type threats — you name it.”

Shortly after that, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who would succeed John Paul, ordered an investigation that ended with Maciel being consigned to a life of “prayer and penitence” after John Paul’s death in 2005. But the Legion itself was not condemned nor the victims acknowledged.

It wasn’t until the discovery that Maciel had a daughter living in Spain that the Vatican ordered the worldwide investigation, reportedly to find out who in the Legion knew about Maciel’s behavior and how it was covered up.

“Of course we’re shocked and disappointed by all of this,” said Jim Fair, the spokesman for the Legion of Christ in North America. “It’s as if Father Maciel lived in two different universes, like some old science fiction movie. And now it’s all blowing up.”

Fair said the order has “toned down the veneration,” such as often removing the photographs of Maciel that adorned Legion facilities. He added that the Legion welcomed the apostolic visitation, which is what the Vatican investigation is called.

“He was obviously a very flawed man,” said Fair. “It’s hard to reconcile the guy we now know with the man who built hundreds of seminaries. But we will go on. The work of the church is bigger than humans. It’s a little as if we found out Abraham Lincoln was a serial pedophile after he signed the Emancipation Proclamation.”

Interviews with former members of the Legion and Regnum Christi paint a chilling picture of Maciel as a sociopathic master salesman who knew how to charm the upper echelon at the Vatican as well as enlist the wealthy and elite to his fast-growing order, all while using cult-like techniques.

“He created a structure that allowed sexual abuse, financial fraud and spiritual improprieties to go completely unchecked,” said Kineke. “Believe me, the best and the brightest got sucked into this scam. I was one. I was an elite bully for Christ.”

Kineke said part of Maciel’s allure was that he represented an old-school alternative in a modern, post-Vatican II world.

“But these recent incest claims have rattled even the sturdiest of cages,” she said.

Paul Lennon, 66, was a member of the order from 1961 to 1984 and directs ReGAIN, an organization founded by ex-Legionaries.

“It was nothing short of mind control,” said Lennon, who wrote a 2008 book about Maciel called “Our Father Who Art in Bed.” “He conned everybody.”

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, 70, who was named the world’s richest man by Forbes last week, has long been a supporter of the Legion. His children attended Legion schools in Mexico.

Harvard professor and former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican Mary Anne Glendon has also been a staunch supporter of the Legion.

But the man whom all Legionaries venerated as a near-saint and called “Nuestro Padre” (Our Father) allegedly led a double life as a pedophile and had at least two mistresses and three children.

“He destroyed my life,” said Juan Vaca, 73, a former superior of the Legion of Christ who said he was molested by Maciel for 10 years beginning when he was 12. “I dreamt of being a good priest. He killed all my dreams.”

Vaca, like many interviewed by AOL News, doubts that the Vatican will make any lasting changes to the Legion of Christ, despite the investigation.

“The Vatican may distance itself a bit but the Legion is too powerful to shut down,” Vaca said.

Vaca, who left the order in 1978, is an adjunct professor of psychology and sociology at Mercy College. He remembers the first night he was summoned to Maciel’s room. He said he found the man who was “a holy man, my mother and my father, everything to me,” masturbating in front of him.

“I turned into a block of ice,” said Vaca, who had left his family behind in Mexico to move to the order in Spain. “I was petrified.”

Vaca said 28 other young seminarians were sexually abused by Maciel at the same time he was, and adds that some of them “went on to abuse others as they grew up.”

That misuse of sex and power was an undercurrent that helped fuel the growth of the order, according to several former members of the Legion and Regnum Christi.

“Maciel always told me to recruit the most handsome boys from the best families,” said Vaca. “They were trained to approach rich women. I’m not saying they had sexual relationships with these women but they did know how to charm them.”

Kineke and others also said Legion priests are notoriously successful in winning over women to the church.

“They are spiritual seducers,” said another former Regnum Christi member. “They are the only priests I’ve seen who have swept people off their feet. These men woo women because they want access to our children and our husbands’ wallets.”

In an interview not long before his death in 2007, “Vows of Silence” author Renner said Maciel was not the only priest in the Legion who led a double life. Renner referred to one priest who he said was known as “the horndog of Rome” for his many affairs with women.

“The Legion by its very nature spawns people who lead double lives,” said Lennon. “Maciel was certainly not the only hypocrite in the Legion but he was definitely the worst one.”

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The Irish Times – Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Perversion of justice if oath stopped report to gardaí

ANALYSIS: Had the complainants or church authorities gone to gardaí in 1975, Fr Brendan Smyth’s abuse could have been stopped then, writes CAROL COULTER, Legal Affairs Editor

WHEN SEÁN Brady heard allegations in 1975 from two children that they had been abused by Fr Brendan Smyth, it was not the first time Smyth’s activities had been revealed. They had been known to his superiors in the Norbertine order for a number of years prior to then.

Born in Belfast in 1927, Smyth joined the Norbertines in 1945 at the age of 18, and was ordained in 1951. He spent short periods in Scotland, Wales and the US, before returning to Ireland, where he had no formal ministry, but did summer relief work and work in hospitals.

From the beginning of his ministry he organised activities that would bring him into contact with children – for example choirs, catechism classes and altar boy training sessions.

When he was first convicted of child sex abuse in 1994, the then Norbertine abbot, Fr Kevin Smith, who resigned following the controversy, acknowledged that the order had made mistakes in dealing with Smyth. He said his “problem” with children emerged soon after his ordination, and the policy of the order at the time was “frequent reassignment”, which he acknowledged was inadequate.

Fr Smith also revealed that between 1968 and 1993 Smyth was referred repeatedly by his order for treatment in England, Belfast and Dublin. During this time he abused hundreds of children, among them a number of children in Langdon, North Dakota, where he served for a time in the 1980s.

In 1994, Fr Smith admitted that on two occasions Smyth was sent to do parish work in the US, where the bishops were not told of his paedophilia. There he set up “server training sessions” for altar boys.

It was reported that six boys were abused there. One of them subsequently sued. The case was settled without admission of liability for a reported six-figure sum from church insurance funds.

Following the 1975 complaints, the diocese of Kilmore took steps to remove Smyth from ministry as a diocesan priest. However, he continued to minister as a priest of the Norbertine order, and no meaningful restrictions were placed upon him.

Following Smyth’s conviction in 1994, Norbertine priest Fr Bruno Mulvihill told The Irish Times that he had repeatedly tried in the late 1960s to inform senior members of the order about Smyth’s paedophilia, but to no avail. He said that in the late 1960s a “strict decree” was issued in Rome that he was not to leave the abbey premises alone or without permission, but this was ignored.

Smyth did not come to the attention of the police until 1990, when complaints were made to the RUC by a Belfast family.

On May 4th, 1993, the British attorney general wrote to the then Irish attorney general, Harry Whelehan, addressing the letter to him personally and seeking Smyth’s extradition. However, he was not informed of the letter for seven months. By then, Fr Smyth had returned to Northern Ireland voluntarily and handed himself over to the RUC.

On January 21st, 1994, Smyth was convicted in Belfast of a number of offences against children. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment.

More charges followed, and in September 1995 he was convicted on 16 charges relating to offences alleged to have taken place against 13 children in various locations in Northern Ireland between 1968 and 1988. He was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.

In 1997 he was extradited to the Republic to face 74 charges against 20 injured parties between 1969 and 1991. He pleaded guilty in the Circuit Criminal Court on July 25th that year and was sentenced to 12 years’ jail.

Three weeks later, on August 22nd, he died suddenly of a heart attack in jail. He was buried in Kilnacrott Abbey in a pre-dawn ceremony at 4.15am in the presence of a number of Norbertine priests and a handful of local people.

The two children interviewed by the then Fr Brady in 1975 were a boy (10) and a girl (14). The latter subsequently initiated a civil case for damages against Cardinal Brady, the Bishop of Kilmore and the Abbot of the Norbertines.

The case, which began in 1997, was mentioned in the High Court last December when the statement of claim was amended.

Had the complainants who came forward in 1975 or those in authority in the church who heard their complaints brought their allegations to the Garda, it is arguable that Smyth could have been stopped then.

What is particularly serious is whether the complainants were prevented from going to the Garda by the oath of secrecy they took. This would amount to a perversion of the course of justice.

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Cardinal Sean Brady

Cardinal Sean Brady said he was following bishops’ orders

The head of Ireland’s Catholic Church must examine his conscience over his dealings with a paedophile priest, an Irish cabinet minister has said.

When Cardinal Sean Brady was a priest in 1975 he was at meetings where children signed vows of silence over complaints against Fr Brendan Smyth.

Green Party leader John Gormley said it was “a case of evil triumphing while a good man stood back from a situation”.

The environment minister said it was “a deeply regrettable situation”.

“I suppose it is a matter for the Church authorities themselves and Cardinal Brady and his own conscience. He will have to deal with that,” he said.

Mr Gormley said it was very clear none of those involved in the inquiry had reported matters to police and an “evil character” like Smyth was able to continue his abuse for many years.

Brendan Smyth

Smyth was at the centre of one of the first paedophile priest scandals to rock the Catholic Church in Ireland.

The Northern Ireland-born cleric was eventually convicted of dozens of offences against children over a 40-year period.

But despite allegations being previously investigated by church officials, including the current Irish primate, Sean Brady, as far back as 1975, it was almost 20 years before he was jailed.

On Tuesday, the Catholic Church in Ireland released more details about why Cardinal Brady asked the two victims, aged 10 and 14, to sign secrecy agreements.

The church said two boys were asked to sign oaths “to avoid potential collusion” in evidence-gathering.

It added this would ensure that the complaints could “withstand challenge.”

The church statement does not explain why either Cardinal Brady or his superiors at the time did not share their information with the police.

I am advised that the administering of an oath requiring these children not to disclose the abuse to anyone else may also have constituted an offence
Roisin Shortall, Irish Labour party

Critics of the cardinal have accused him of colluding with clerical child sexual abuse and pressuring victims to remain silent.

The Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) said Cardinal Brady’s position had become untenable.

“Cardinal Brady is personally implicated in collusion with clerical child sexual abuse,” RCNI director Fiona Neary said.

“In recent public statements regarding clerical child abuse he did not make public his role in pressuring and bullying victims to remain silent. He did not make public his own failures to disclosure a known abuser to civil authorities.”

“Sexual abuse that could have been prevented was not, and Brendan Smyth continued to abuse children.”

The opposition Irish Labour party added to the pressure on Cardinal Brady by calling for the police to investigate his role.

The party’s spokeswoman on social and family affairs, Roisin Shortall, said the cardinal was “hopelessly compromised by what had emerged”.

“I believe that there should be a Garda (Irish police) investigation to determine whether or not the failure to report Fr Smyth’s crimes to the civil authorities was, itself, a criminal offence,” she said.

“I am advised that the administering of an oath requiring these children not to disclose the abuse to anyone else may also have constituted an offence.”

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By Steve Rosenberg
BBC News, Scharbeutz, Germany

Norbert Denef

Norbert Denef now campaigns to draw attention to abuse

Germany’s northern coast is still in the grip of winter.

In the seaside town of Scharbeutz, the almost deserted beach looks more like a glacier, with thick carpets of ice spreading out along the sea.

Norbert Denef loves the Ostsee, even in winter. He lives just a few minutes from the beach and often comes here for walks, or even for a morning dip in the icy waters.

“This place is like a therapy for me,” Mr Denef explains as we stroll along the shore.

He moved to Scharbeutz last year to begin a new life, away from the memories which have been haunting him since he was a child.

“When I was 10 years old, the local Catholic priest selected me to be an altar boy,” he says.

“I was very excited. After the service he took me up to his apartment. I felt so proud. Then he locked the door, sat down and undid my trousers. He performed a sexual act on me. At that very moment he murdered my soul.”

Shame and silence

For the next five years, Mr Denef was subjected to sexual abuse by the priest, a friend of his parents.

All my life there hasn’t been a day when I haven’t had a picture in my mind of what happened
Norbert Denef

Then, following an intervention by the church organist, the clergyman was transferred to a different diocese.

But Mr Denef’s ordeal was not over. The organist began abusing him and continued doing so for three more years.

“All my life there hasn’t been a day when I haven’t had a picture in my mind of what happened,” he says.

“Sometimes it’s just a noise or a smell which triggers the memory.”

For 35 years, Mr Denef suffered in shame and in silence. He told no-one what he had experienced.

He got married and had children. He could not bring himself to share his secret with them.

“Until the age of 40, I thought I was the only one who’d suffered this. I felt I was in a dark place, in solitary confinement.”

Scandal spreads

It is clear today that Mr Denef was not the only victim.

In recent weeks more and more Germans have been coming forward with their own stories of abuse.

Suddenly, the scale of physical and sexual in Germany’s Roman Catholic Church looks much larger.

the Benedictine-run Ettal Monastery in Ettal, Germany, 12 March 2010

Allegations have emerged at several Roman Catholic institutions in Germany

So far there have been more 170 allegations of sexual abuse relating to Catholic institutions in Germany.

They include Jesuit colleges and a Bavarian monastery where priests are alleged to have abused children as far back as the 1950s.

Another is the Regensburg boys choir school. Pope Benedict XVI’s brother, Georg Ratzinger, who led the choir for 30 years, has admitted slapping choirboys.

But he has denied any knowledge of sexual abuse during his time there.

Mr Denef finally decided to reveal his secret when he realised his own family was on the point of breaking apart.

“I went on one holiday with my wife and children and I didn’t speak to my kids at all for the three weeks we were there. I felt totally burned out. My wife told me to do something about it.”

He took a long time building up the courage to tell them.

“I spent a year in front of the mirror, practising trying to say the words ‘I was sexually abused.’ I tried to force those words from my lips.”

Gag order

Going public with his ordeal led to fresh pain. Mr Denef says he was disowned by his brothers and sisters who wanted no more to do with him.

After he reported the two offenders to the church authorities, Norbert says he was eventually offered 25,000 euros (£22,650) in compensation – on condition that he never speak about the abuse.

The gag order incensed him and he refused to sign that clause.

“I vowed never to remain silent again,” he says.

For every 10 people you hear saying they were abused, you can be sure there are another thousand victims staying silent
Norbert Denef

He wrote to the Pope – at that time John Paul II – asking for help, and received a letter from Rome.

It contained no apology. Instead, a Vatican official wrote that the Pope would pray for him and encouraged him to return to the family of the Church.

The letter drove Mr Denef into a deep depression. He attempted suicide.

“I felt like a light was switching off inside me. I tried to drown myself. But suddenly I felt a great inner strength pushing me out of the water. I wanted to live again.”

Since then, he has campaigned to highlight the problem of abuse in the Catholic Church.

The 60-year-old has also lobbied the German parliament, to try to bring about a change in the law.

“Most important of all, the statute of limitations for sex crimes should be extended,” he says.

“At the moment you can’t prosecute many of the offenders, because they committed their crimes so long ago.

“This itself is a crime. It puts more pressure on victims to stay silent.”

Mr Denef expects the scale of the scandal to grow.

“What we hear now is only the tip of the iceberg,” he says.

“For every 10 people you hear saying they were abused, you can be sure there are another ten thousand victims staying silent.”

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BBC NEWS
Dutch bishops order abuse inquiry

Dutch religious leaders have ordered an independent inquiry into alleged sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests.

Earlier, the Vatican defended its response to child sex abuse allegations in a number of European states, saying it had reacted rapidly and decisively.

In the latest revelations, the head of an Austrian monastery confessed to abusing a boy more than 40 years ago.

Separately, Pope Benedict’s brother said in an interview he slapped pupils in the face at a German choir school.

The Dutch investigation will be opened “as soon as possible”, it was announced after Dutch bishops met to discuss abuse claims by about 200 alleged victims, some from several decades ago.

Monastery resignation

The Dutch Catholic Church offered its apologies to the victims: “To the victims of abuse in Catholic boarding schools, the religious leaders and bishops offer their deep-felt condolences and apologies,” a statement said.

Allegations first centred on a school in the eastern Netherlands, with people saying they were abused by Catholic priests. This prompted dozens more alleged victims from other institutions to come forward in recent days.

It also emerged on Tuesday that the head of a Salzburg monastery, Bruno Becker, had offered his resignation on Monday after confessing to having abused a boy 40 years ago, when he was a monk.

Church authorities accepted his resignation immediately.

The German, Austrian, Irish and US churches have all been damaged by sexual abuse scandals, and suggestions that senior clergy covered up what was happening.

No ‘culture of silence’

Earlier on Tuesday, a Vatican spokesman said in a statement the sexual abuse scandals were especially deplorable given the educational and moral responsibilities of the Catholic Church, but that the institutions in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands had shown that it wanted to be transparent.

“They have demonstrated their desire for transparency and, in a certain sense, accelerated the emergence of the problem by inviting victims to speak out, even when the cases involved date from many years ago,” said Father Federico Lombardi.

“By doing so, they have approached the matter ‘on the right foot’, because the correct starting point is recognition of what happened and concern for the victims and the consequences of the acts committed against them.”

He denied the Vatican had tried to erect a “wall of silence” around the scandals surfacing in many countries.

On Monday, the German justice minister said Vatican secrecy rules were complicating investigations of the cases.

Allegations of sexual abuse are being investigated in 18 of Germany’s 27 Roman Catholic dioceses, where former students from a number of Catholic schools have alleged sexual abuse by teachers.

The worldwide media publicity given to the scandals has proved disconcerting to the Vatican, says the BBC’s David Willey in Rome.

Papal link

It is doing its best to limit the moral damage caused to the church by stressing that paedophilia is a problem not limited to Catholic institutions and teachers, but which must be tackled in a broader context within civil society, our correspondent adds.

The Pope’s own elder brother, Father Georg Ratzinger, admitted he slapped pupils in the face at the German school where he led the choir, but never beat them to an abusive extent.

“Pupils told me on concert trips about what went on. But it didn’t dawn on me from their stories that I should do something. I was not aware of the extent of these brutal methods,” he told the Passauer Neue Presse.

“At the start, I also slapped people in the face, but I always had a bad conscience,” he said, adding he was relieved when corporal punishment was banned in 1980.

He denies any knowledge of sex abuse cases involving members of his choir.

Last week, the Regensburg Diocese said a former singer in a church choir that was run by Father Ratzinger from 1964-1993, had alleged there was abuse there in the early 1960s.

Story from BBC NEWS:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/8558311.stm

Published: 2010/03/09 18:05:57 GMT

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‘God told me I’d be raped

2010-02-11 09:29

Neels Jackson

Pretoria – The wife of gospel singer Louis Brittz, who was raped by a robber on Monday night, has told how the Lord had warned her that she was to be raped.

A beaten-up Hettie Brittz told how the Lord had not left her alone and how she had felt her soul and spirit had been undamaged by the experience.

Despite her nightmare experience, which came after armed robbers overpowered her family in their home in a security complex in Centurion, she was still planning to swim the Midmar Mile this coming weekend.

She said she had been looking forward to it for a year and would not allow this incident to take away her enjoyment of life.

Robbery

Her husband was still working when the robbers stormed into their house on Monday evening. They took him to the bedroom where Hettie was already in bed.

In the room, Louis told her “in the name of Jesus” (and in English so that the robbers would understand), that the men would take their things but not hurt them.

They were forced to lie on the floor where Louis told Hettie that if this was the end, they would see each other again in heaven.

Later the robbers took him away. One stayed with Hettie where she lay with her hands tied, half under the bed.

She said while she was lying like this, she heard the Lord tell her: “Hettie, you are my bride”.

She answered: “Yes, Jesus, I know.”

She said the Lord then told her that the man would rape her but not hurt her. The rapist was also not violent.

Antiretroviral treatment

But the examination that she had to undergo in hospital afterwards was bad. She had to drink medication that made her very nauseous. She was also given anti-retroviral treatment to fight HIV infection.

But for her, these were “battle scars in a war which we can’t lose”.

Louis too saw the event as an attack in a spiritual war.

The Lord existed outside of time and space, said Hettie. What had happened to her now was relevant 2 000 years ago when Jesus died on the cross for the rapist too.

It will also be relevant in ten years’ time when they bear witness to all that has followed the attack.

She said this didn’t mean the rape was unimportant. It was also not unimportant to the Lord. He said after all that he collected people’s tears and that the blood of believers was precious to him.

She knew the Lord was not unfeeling. He had prepared her and she had felt him holding her undamaged soul and spirit despite what had happened to her body.

Not bitter

She said she knew people would say she was living in denial. She herself was a therapist, however, and knew what trauma involved.

She knew there would be times when she became angry but she suspected she would not become bitter. The Lord would protect her against it. Bitterness would do nothing to the rapist but would eat at her.

Both she and Louis felt sorry for the rapist. They thought he was pathetic. He probably had never experienced the love of a woman.

- Beeld

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Damon Winter/The New York Times

A church service was held outdoors in the courtyard at St. Martine de Tour church in the Delmas neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. More Photos >


January 18, 2010

Amid Rubble, Seeking a Refuge in Faith

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Five days after Haiti’s devastating earthquake, an evangelical pastor in a frayed polo shirt, his church crushed but his spirit vibrant, sounded a siren to summon the newly homeless residents of a tent city to an urgent Sunday prayer service.

Voice scratchy, eyes bloodshot, arms raised to the sky, the Rev. Joseph Lejeune urged the hungry, injured and grieving Haitians who gathered round to close their eyes and elevate their beings up and out of the fetid Champ de Mars square where they now scrambled to survive.

“Think of our new village here as the home of Jesus Christ, not the scene of a disaster,” he called out over a loudspeaker. “Life is not a disaster. Life is joy! You don’t have food? Nourish yourself with the Lord. You don’t have water? Drink in the spirit.”

And drink they did, singing, swaying, chanting and holding their noses to block out the acrid stench of the bodies in a collapsed school nearby. Military helicopters buzzed overhead, and the faithful reached toward them and beyond, escaping for a couple of hours from the grim patch of concrete where they sought shelter under sheets slung over poles.

In varying versions, this scene repeated itself throughout the Haitian capital on Sunday. With many of their churches flattened and their priests and pastors killed, Haitians desperate for aid and comfort beseeched God to ease their grief. Carrying Bibles, they traversed the dusty, rubble-filled streets searching for solace at scattered prayer gatherings. The churches, usually filled with passionate parishioners on a Sunday morning, stood empty if they stood at all.

In a sign of the importance of churches here, President René Préval gathered religious leaders along with political and business leaders at the police station that has become his headquarters. He asked the churches in particular to focus on feeding people, but he gave little guidance on what the government would do to help.

Not far from the makeshift evangelical church at Champ de Mars, parishioners gathered outside the ruins of the capital city’s main cathedral to hear an appeal for forbearance from a bishop.

“We have to keep hoping,” said Bishop Marie Eric Toussaint, although he acknowledged that he had no resources to help the many who were suffering and that he found it hard to state with any confidence whether the cathedral would ever be rebuilt.

Built in 1750, the cathedral, once an architectural centerpiece of the city, is now but a giant pile of twisted metal, shattered stained glass and cracked concrete. Bishop Toussaint said the quake had toppled the residences where priests stayed, crushing many of them.

The Sacre Coeur cathedral, another grand structure, also lay in ruin, with a large, perfectly preserved Christ on a cross bearing witness to the destruction below — and a woman’s body lying across the street atop a mattress, her head resting on a pillow, sheeting draping over her.

“It may seem like a strange moment to have faith,” said Georges Verrier, 28, an unemployed computer expert, his eyes moving from the body to the church. “But you can’t blame God. I blame man. God gave us nature, and we Haitians, and our governments, abused the land. You cannot get away without consequences.”

Sounding a similar note, a self-appointed preacher at Champ de Mars stood on a crate during the makeshift service and proclaimed the earthquake punishment for a long list of sins that he enumerated in a singsong. “We have to kneel down and ask forgiveness from God,” he said.

Vladimir Arisson brushed the self-appointed preacher away with rolled eyes. Mr. Arisson stood propping up his severely wounded girlfriend, Darphcat Charles, whose head was wrapped in bloody gauze, her eyes bruised and her face swollen, infected and grimacing. “My position is God bless, and send us, please, oh Lord, a doctor to plug the hole in my beloved’s head.”

Another man attending the evangelical service introduced his wife, eight months pregnant, who sat on the pavement blank-faced. “A concrete block fell on her stomach, and we don’t know if the baby is still alive,” said the man, Ricot Calixte, 28. “Prayer can help, I think. As I still breathe, I have faith.”

Around them at the service, the clapping and amens intensified in the tent city that boasted no real tents, only tarps at best. The central encampment at Champ de Mars is Mr. Lejeune’s makeshift church, which in its now destroyed home counted 200 active members, three of whom had been killed and many of whom are missing.

“Here we start every day with what I call my ‘cup of hot coffee service,’ ” he said before the Sunday prayers. “We don’t have the real beverage, of course. This is a prayer to wake us up and fortify us as we look ahead and think, ‘What, oh what, next?’ ”

He paused, wrinkling his nose at the wafting odor of human waste, and added: “A church in a bathroom, that’s what we are. For the moment.”

Marc Lacey and Damien Cave contributed reporting.

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