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Rising Allegations Of Sexual Abuse Plague Catholic Church

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Allegations of sexual abuse involving the Roman Catholic clergy in the United States rose sharply last year to nearly 700 from around 400 in 2009, according to a church report Monday.

The vast majority of the allegations, 653, involved alleged abuse that occurred decades ago but whose “victims/survivors are just now finding the courage to report” them, the study said.

Thirty accusations were made by current minors, but only eight were deemed credible, said the US church’s annual report on implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

The number of victims was up sharply from 2009, when there were some 400 new allegations of clergy sex abuse in the United States.

Payouts were also up, rising from $104 million in 2009 to around $124 million last year.

Most of the allegations, 574, were against priests — nearly half of whom are already deceased. Some 275 of the accused priests had already faced earlier accusations, the report said.

Five allegations of sexual abuse of minors were made against international priests from Bolivia, Colombia, Mexico — accused of molesting two children — and the Philippines.

More than half the victims were between the ages of 10 and 14 when the alleged abuse began; one fifth were aged between 15 and 17 years, while another fifth were younger than 10.

Most victims were boys — 83 percent — and two-thirds of the alleged incidents occurred or began between 1960 and 1984, the report said.

That time period coincides with the “heyday of the sexual revolution,” Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said in a statement which ran as a full-page ad in the New York Times.

Donohue also denied what he called “a common belief fostered by the media that there is a widespread sexual abuse problem in the Catholic Church today.”

“The evidence is to the contrary… from 2005 to 2009, the average number of new credible accusations made against over 40,000 priests was 8.6,” he said.

Donohue also referenced research from a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, Charol Shakeshaft, saying sexual abuse of children was 100 times more likely in schools than by priests, and adding that there “has been a slew of stories” detailing abuse allegations in the Orthodox Jewish community.

Most victims were not children but teens, he added, citing an article in the Boston Globe that said that because “more than three-quarters of the victims were post-pubescent… the abuse did not meet the clinical definition of pedophilia.”

The annual report is based on an audit of Roman Catholic dioceses and eparchies conducted every year since the archbishop of Boston admitted in 2002 to protecting a priest he knew had sexually abused young members of his church.

Days after last year’s report, a story in the New York Times accused Pope Benedict XVI of being aware, when he headed the church’s morals watchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, of at least one huge sex scandal involving a US priest, but doing nothing about it.

The alleged cover-up centered on the archdiocese of Milwaukee, where a now-deceased priest is accused of molesting hundreds of boys at a school for the deaf from the 1950s to the 1970s.

The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in January.

Last year, another US priest was arrested and charged with trying to hire someone to murder a Texas teenager who accused him of sexual abuse, and a widespread clergy sex scandal also came to light in Europe last year, further damaging the Roman Catholic church’s reputation.

Source: Agence France-Presse


It’s A Miracle! Catholic Church Suspends 21 Priests Suspected Of Child Abuse

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Archbishop of Philadelphia acts after grand jury named dozens of clergymen accused of paedophilia.

The Philadelphia archdiocese has suspended 21 Roman Catholic priests who were named as suspected child abusers in a scathing grand jury report last month.

Cardinal Justin Rigali, the archbishop of Philadelphia, said the priests had been removed from ministry while their cases were reviewed. The names of the priests were not being released, a spokesman for the archdiocese said.

“These have been difficult weeks since the release of the grand jury report, difficult most of all for victims of sexual abuse but also for all Catholics and for everyone in our community,” Rigali said.

The two-year grand jury investigation into abuse in the archdiocese of Philadelphia resulted in charges against two priests, a former priest and a Catholic schoolteacher who are accused of raping boys. A former high-ranking church official was accused of transferring problem priests to new parishes without revealing they had been the subject of sex abuse complaints.

Since 2002, when the national abuse crisis erupted in the archdiocese of Boston, US dioceses have barred hundreds of accused clergymen from public church work or removed them permanently from the priesthood. However, the archdiocese of Philadelphia has only taken action now.

The grand jury named 37 priests who remained in active ministry despite credible allegations of sexual abuse. After the release of the report, the second such investigation in the city in six years, Rigali vowed to take its calls for further reforms seriously.

In addition to the 21 priests placed on leave on Tuesday, three others named by the grand jury were suspended a week after the report’s release in February. Five other priests would have been suspended but one was already on leave, two were “incapacitated and have not been in active ministry” and two were no longer priests in the archdiocese but were members of another religious order that was not identified.

“The archdiocese has notified the superiors of their religious orders and the bishops of the dioceses where they are residing,” the cardinal said.

The remaining eight priests of the 37 named in the report were not being put on leave because the latest examination of their cases “found no further investigation is warranted”, Rigali said.

“I know that for many people their trust in the church has been shaken,” he said. “I pray that the efforts of the archdiocese to address these cases of concern and to re-evaluate our way of handling allegations will help rebuild that trust.”

In 2005, a grand jury said there was evidence of abuse by at least 63 priests and that church officials had transferred offenders to other parishes and dioceses. The Philadelphia archdiocese formed a panel to handle abuse complaints, but the 2011 grand jury found it mostly worked to protect the church, not the victims.

Rigali responded by appointing former city child abuse prosecutor Gina Maisto Smith to re-examine complaints made against the serving priests that internal church investigators had previously been unable to substantiate.

“Cardinal Rigali’s actions are as commendable as they are unprecedented and they reflect his concern for the physical and spiritual well-being of those in his care,” said the district attorney, Seth Williams. “We appreciate that the archdiocese has acknowledged the value of the report and seen fit to take some of the steps called for by the grand jury.”

Peter Isely of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said Rigali should have suspended the priests much sooner.

“There’s a simple reason that dozens of credibly accused child molesters have recklessly been kept in unsuspecting parishes for years, instead of being promptly suspended. It’s because Rigali and his top aides want it that way,” he said.

“They have taken and still take steps to protect, above all else, themselves, their secrets and their staff, instead of their flock. That’s what two separate Philadelphia grand juries, working with two prosecutors, after two long investigations, found over the last six years.”

Terence McKiernan of BishopAccountability.org said Rigali’s move to suspend the priests “was forced on him by the Philadelphia grand jury report, and is an act of desperation, not transparency”.

He said: “In Philadelphia, a Catholic official had to be indicted before the archdiocese finally began to comply with its own policies. We have no reason to believe that Philadelphia is unusual. In other US dioceses, credibly accused priests are no doubt still in ministry and review boards are protecting priests instead of protecting children.”

Source: The Guardian


Vatican Demanded Irish Bishops Cover Up Abuse

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

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 with the potential to fuel more lawsuits worldwide against the Vatican, which has long denied any involvement in cover-ups.

The letter, obtained by Irish broadcasters RTE and provided to The Associated Press, documents the Vatican’s rejection of an Irish church initiative to begin helping police identify pedophile priests.

The letter’s message undermines persistent Vatican claims that the church never instructed 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.

Catholic officials in Ireland declined AP requests 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. A key argument employed by the Vatican in defending dozens of lawsuits over clerical sex abuse in the United States is that it had no role in ordering local church authorities to suppress evidence of crimes.

“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.

To this day, the Vatican has yet to endorse any of the Irish church’s three major policy documents since 1996 on reporting suspected child abuse to civil authorities. In his 2010 pastoral letter to the Irish people condemning pedophiles in the ranks, Pope Benedict XVI faulted Ireland’s bishops for failing to follow canon law and offered no explicit endorsement of Irish child-protection efforts by the Irish church or state.

O’Gorman — who was raped repeatedly by an Irish priest 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.

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.

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 children since the 1930s.

Irish church leaders didn’t begin telling police about suspected pedophile priests until the mid-1990s. 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 the January 1997 letter seen Tuesday by the AP, the Vatican’s diplomat in Ireland at the time, Archbishop Luciano Storero, told the bishops that a senior church panel in Rome, the Congregation for the Clergy, had decided that the Irish church’s year-old 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.” He said canon law — which required abuse allegations to be handled within the church — “must be meticulously followed.”

Without elaborating Storero, who died in 2000, wrote that mandatory reporting of child-abuse claims to police “gives rise to serious reservations of both a moral and a canonical nature.”

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

The Vatican’s child-protection policies today remain in legal limbo. It currently advises bishops worldwide to report crimes to police only in a legally non-binding lay guide, but it does not mention this in the official legal document provided by another powerful church body, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which continues to stress the secrecy of canon law.

The central message of Storero’s letter was reported second-hand by two priests as part of Ireland’s mammoth investigation into the 1975-2004 cover-up of hundreds of child-abuse cases in the Dublin Archdiocese. The letter itself, marked “strictly confidential,” has never been published before.

Source: Associated Press

Actions Of Pedophile Priests Bankrupt Milwaukee Archdiocese

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

The Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee, which faces more than a dozen civil fraud lawsuits over its handling of clergy sex abuse cases, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Tuesday.

Archbishop Jerome Listecki, speaking on the first anniversary of his installation, said the move was necessary to fairly compensate victims and to continue the “essential ministries” of the church.

“As a result of the horrific actions of a few, there are financial claims pending against the archdiocese that exceed our means,” Listecki said at a news conference at the Cousins Center in St. Francis, which houses the archdiocese headquarters.

He said the recent failure to reach a mediated settlement with victims and a court decision absolving its insurance companies of liability in the cases “made it quite clear that reorganization is the best way to fairly and equitably fulfill our obligations.”

Victims’ advocates and plaintiffs attorney Jeff Anderson characterized the filing as a ploy to protect the church and delay justice. They note that the move puts the civil fraud cases on hold, including the scheduled deposition of retired Auxiliary Bishop Richard Sklba, who has been called the “go-to-guy” for then-Archbishop Rembert Weakland in the handling of sex abuse cases.

“This is about protecting church secrets, not church assets,” said David Clohessy, national director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “The goal here is to prevent top church managers from being questioned under oath about their complicity, not ‘compensating victims fairly.’”

Milwaukee, with an annual operating budget of about $24 million, is believed to be the eighth Catholic diocese in the United States to declare bankruptcy in response to the clergy sex abuse scandal. The others are: Tucson, Ariz.; Portland, Ore.; Spokane, Wash.; Fairbanks, Alaska; Wilmington, Del.; San Diego; and Davenport, Iowa.

Some of those cases have concluded; others are still pending. Legal experts say it is difficult to make generalities about them, because the facts and financial circumstances differ from diocese to diocese. The effects on parishioners also have differed. In Tucson and Spokane, for example, parishes were asked to pay a portion of the settlements – almost like a tax, said Charles Zech, director of Villanova University’s Center for the Study of Church Management.

Listecki said Tuesday that the filing would serve as a kind of final call for all sex abuse claims, allowing the archdiocese to determine its current and future financial obligations to victims. He said it would have no effect on schools and parishes, which are separately incorporated, although that would ultimately be decided by the bankruptcy judge.

The archdiocese created a special e-mail, reorg@archmil.org, where parishioners can send questions about the process, and said they would be answered periodically on its website, www.archmil.org.

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WikiLeaks cables: Vatican Refused To Engage With Sex Abuse Inquiry

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Leaked cable lays bare how Irish government was forced to grant Vatican officials immunity from testifying to Murphy commission.

The Vatican refused to allow its officials to testify before an Irish commission investigating the clerical abuse of children and was angered when they were summoned from Rome, US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks reveal.

Requests for information from the 2009 Murphy commission into sexual and physical abuse by clergy “offended many in the Vatican” who felt that the Irish government had “failed to respect and protect Vatican sovereignty during the investigations”, a cable says.

Despite the lack of co-operation from the Vatican, the commission was able to substantiate many of the claims and concluded that some bishops had tried to cover up abuse, putting the interests of the Catholic church ahead of those of the victims. Its report identified 320 people who complained of child sexual abuse between 1975 and 2004 in the Dublin archdiocese.

A cable entitled “Sex abuse scandal strains Irish-Vatican relations, shakes up Irish church, and poses challenges for the Holy See” claimed that Vatican officials also believed Irish opposition politicians were “making political hay” from the situation by publicly urging the government to demand a reply from the Vatican.

Ultimately, the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone (equivalent to a prime minister), wrote to the Irish embassy, ordering that any requests related to the investigation must come through diplomatic channels.

In the cable Noel Fahey, the Irish ambassador to the Holy See, told the US diplomat Julieta Valls Noyes that the Irish clergy sex abuse scandal was the most difficult crisis he had ever managed.

The Irish government wanted “to be seen as co-operating with the investigation” because its own education department was implicated, but politicians were reluctant to press Vatican officials to answer the investigators’ queries.

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Pedophile Priest Hotline Overwhelmed on First Day

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

An abuse hotline set up by the Catholic Church in Germany melted down on its first day of operation as more than 4,000 alleged victims of paedophile and violent priests called in to seek counseling and advice.

The numbers were far more than the handful of therapists assigned to deal with them could cope with. In the end only 162 out of 4,459 callers were given advice before the system was shut down.

Andreas Zimmer, head of the project in the Bishopric of Trier, admitted that he wasn’t prepared for “that kind of an onslaught.” The hotline is the Church’s attempt to win back trust in the face of an escalating abuse scandal that threates the papacy of German-born Pontiff Benedict XVI in Rome.

On the same day as the hotline was launched came allegations of serial abuse perperated against children by Bishop Walter Mixa – an ally and friend of the pope – when he was a priest overseeing a Catholic childrens’ home in the 70′s and 80′s.

The leader of Germany’s Roman Catholic bishops said in a Good Friday message he hoped Christianity’s most solemn day would mark a “new start” for a church buffeted by scandal.

Archbishop Robert Zollitsch said Good Friday, when Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Christ, must “mark a new departure which we so badly need.”

It comes in the wake of a wave of damaging allegations about cases of paedophile priests.

Pope Benedict XVI allegedly knew about one particularly disturbing paedophile case in the United States. The Rev. Lawrence Murphy spent years molesting children at a school for the deaf in Wisconsin, but when the case came to the attention of the Vatican many years later, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then led by Cardinal Ratzinger before he became pope, declined to take action.

The pope, however, made no mention of the scandal during his pre-Easter mass at the Vatican on Thursday.

An Austrian victim support group has received reports of 174 more cases of maltreatment and sexual abuse in Roman Catholic institutions since creating a hotline two weeks ago, the group said Friday.

The Platform for Victims of Violence by the Church set up the special number amid a spate of paedophile priest scandals in Europe and the United States which have engulfed the Vatican.

“We are learning daily about the methods of education in Catholic institutions in Austria during the 1960s and 1970s,” Holger Eich, a psychologist from the group, told a press conference alongside a victim.

“They can be summed up in one word – sadism.”

Source: Telegraph UK

Pope Protecting Pedophile Priest Responsible For Ruining Over 200 Lives

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

Source: Agence France-Presse

A US man claiming he was abused by a predator priest accused of molesting scores of deaf boys said Thursday Pope Benedict XVI knew about the latest sex scandal to rock the church and should be held accountable for it.

“The pope knew about this. He should be held accountable,” Arthur Budzinski said outside the Archdiocese of Milwaukee after a New York Times report said Vatican officials, including the future pope, failed to act on warnings that Father Lawrence Murphy was abusing boys at a school for the deaf here.

Murphy is believed to have molested as many as 200 boys at St John’s School for the Deaf in Wisconsin between 1950 and 1974.

The New York Times published documents Thursday which show that top Vatican officials, including then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — who was elected pope in 2005 — never took action against Murphy, despite many warnings from US bishops.

Budzinski, who is deaf and attended St John’s, said in sign language, which was spoken to reporters by his daughter, that Murphy would come into the boys’ dorm at night, take them into a closet and sexually molest them.

Budzinski, who is now 62, said he told then archbishop of Milwaukee William Cousins and other officials about the abuse in 1974.

The archbishop shouted at him and Budzinski “left the meeting crying,” he said.

According to the documents published in the New York Times, in the 1990s — years after the alleged offenses occurred — then Archbishop of Milwaukee Rembert Weakland and another Wisconsin bishop wrote “directly to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope,” about Murphy.

Ratzinger failed to respond to the letter, and a canonical trial authorized by his deputy was halted after Murphy wrote to Ratzinger begging that the proceedings be stopped, the Times said.

“While church officials tussled over whether the priest should be dismissed, their highest priority was protecting the church from scandal,” the newspaper said.

Murphy died in 1998, having never been defrocked.

The allegations that the Vatican turned a blind eye to Murphy’s abuse follow months of other child sex scandals coming to light in Brazil, Ireland, Austria, The Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland, as well as the pope’s native Germany.

Two revelations in Germany concerned the pope and his brother Georg, the first having authorized lodging for a known abuser and the second having headed a boys’ choir whose members had earlier suffered abuse.

Brazilian Faithful Rocked By Catholic Church Sex Scandal

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Child sex scandals roiling the Roman Catholic church spread to Brazil Tuesday after the Vatican said three priests were under investigation following allegations of child abuse.

The Vatican’s acknowledgement takes controversies that have rocked the church in the United States and more recently in Europe to the country with the largest Catholic population in world. About 74 per cent of Brazil’s 140 million people identify as Catholics.

SBT television last week aired video from a hidden camera showing father Marques Barbosa, 82, having sex with a 19-year-old boy in the northeastern state of Alagoas.

After the act, the priest’s face is identified as he looks toward the camera and says “Who’s there?” “Who is it?”

The report on the program Conexao Reporter also included charges by three former altar boys that they too had been sexually abused by local priests.

After the show was aired, Alagoas bishop Valerio Breda ordered the removal from church work of priests Luiz Marques Barbosa, Edilson Duarte and Raimundo Gomes.

“One was removed from his parish and faces charges in the civil justice system,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told AFP, adding that the other two had been suspended from their duties pending an investigation.

Graphic video of Marques Barbosa’s abuse last year with a victim identified as Fabiano is being sold on the streets of the town of Arapiraca, website Alagoas 24 horas reported.

Elsewhere in Latin America, a Spanish religious instructor was reported to have been jailed in Chile for possession of pornographic images of children.

A prosecutor said the priest, Jose Arregui, 53, would be tried for child pornography possession on March 24, the newspaper La Tercera’s website reported.

Paedophile priest scandals have rocked several churches in Europe since the Irish government released two explosive reports in November.

Revelations followed in Switzerland, The Netherlands, Austria and Germany – the homeland of Pope Benedict XVI.

Both the pope and his older brother Georg Ratzinger were caught up in the spiralling scandal in Germany.

The pope’s former diocese of Munich confirmed a report that, as Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger in 1980, he had approved housing so that a known paedophile priest could seek therapy, while Georg directed a boys choir whose members later suffered abuse.

Vatican spokesman Lombardi charged at the weekend that there had been a “dogged focus” on the Ratzinger brothers in a bid “to personally implicate the Holy Father in questions of abuse.”

“It is clear that these efforts have failed,” he added.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

Church Suspends Priest At Center of Scandal Involving Pope

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

The priest at the center of a German sexual-abuse scandal that has embroiled Pope Benedict XVI continued working with children for more than 30 years, even though a German court convicted him of molesting boys.

The priest, Peter Hullermann, who had previously been identified only by the first letter of his last name, was suspended from his duties only on Monday. That was three days after the church acknowledged that the pope, then Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger, had responded to early accusations of molestation by allowing the priest to move to Munich for therapy in 1980.

Hundreds of victims have come forward in recent months in Germany with accounts of sexual abuse from decades past. But no case has captured the attention of the nation like that of Father Hullermann, not only because of the involvement of the future pope, but also because of the impunity that allowed a child molester to continue to work with altar boys and girls for decades after his conviction.

Benedict not only served as the archbishop of the diocese where the priest worked, but also later as the cardinal in charge of reviewing sexual abuse cases for the Vatican. Yet until the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising announced that Father Hullermann had been suspended on Monday, he continued to serve in a series of Bavarian parishes.

In 1980, the future pope reviewed the case of Father Hullermann, who was accused of sexually abusing boys in the Diocese of Essen, including forcing an 11-year-old boy to perform oral sex. The future pope approved his transfer to Munich. On Friday, a deputy took responsibility for allowing the priest to return to full pastoral duties shortly afterward. Six years later, Father Hullermann was convicted of sexually abusing children in the Bavarian town of Grafing. Father Hullermann’s identity was revealed Sunday, when a man whose marriage he was scheduled to perform in the spa town of Bad Tölz stood up in the pews and began shouting as the head of the congregation was speaking in vague terms about the scandal.

But even after the revelations of last week, parishioners there, where Father Hullermann had been working, described him glowingly, calling him friendly, down to earth and popular with churchgoers, especially children and teenagers.

Father Hullermann’s story is one of a beloved priest with a damaging secret church officials helped him hide.

School records in the town of Grafing show that he taught religion six hours a week at a public high school starting Sept. 18, 1984 — less than five years after he was moved from Essen for abusing boys. The only mention of the case in the church records there said that lay elders were informed of “criminal proceedings,” though locals said there were rumors that it had something to do with children.

Rupert Frania, the priest in charge of the congregation in Bad Tölz, where Father Hullermann spent the last year and a half, said in an interview on Sunday that his superiors did not tell them about the priest’s history of sexual abuse.

“They should have told me before,” said Father Frania, who said he first heard about Father Hullermann’s conviction last week as the story was about to become public.

The statement by the archdiocese said that there was “no evidence of recent sexual abuses, similar to those for which he was convicted in 1986.”

In June 1986, the priest was convicted of sexually abusing minors and given an 18-month suspended sentence with five years of probation, fined 4,000 marks and ordered to undergo therapy.

Repeated attempts to contact Father Hullermann at his home in Bad Tölz were unsuccessful.

“He is not here at the moment,” Father Frania said.

Significant questions remain unanswered, especially about the pope’s involvement during his time as archbishop and how closely he supervised decisions about the priest. Nor have any of the victims in Grafing as yet come forward publicly.

Even before this latest case, the European sexual-abuse scandal had deeply damaged the church’s reputation in the pope’s home country, Germany. The congregations in Bad Tölz and in Garching an der Alz, where Father Hullermann worked for 21 years, responded with shock and anger, but also with a strong defense for a priest lauded for his approachability, good humor and ability to connect with parishioners on everyday issues.

Read the rest of the story at: German Priest in
Church Abuse Case Is Suspended
(NY Times)

CNN on Peter Hullermann and the involvement of Pope Benedict XVI

Sinead O’Connor: I’d Help Jesus To Burn Down The Vatican

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

PLEASE allow me to express my astonishment upon reading the statement made on the evening of March 1 by the Bishop of Ferns, Denis Brennan.

His statement attempts to dictate to us — in the same way the Inquisition did — how Christians should behave. It says directly that it would be anti-Christian of us to feel that the church should pay its own bills for its own abuse with its own billions that it throttled from our grandparents, whom it also abused, physically, emotionally, psychologically and sexually.

Evidence of sexual abuse by clergy, according to the Murphy report, can be traced as far back as 320 AD and the first treatment centres for paedophile priests were created in 1940, named Servants of the Paraclete.

These centres were opened all over the world.

I would like to know exactly whose idea this latest plan was and from where were issued the instructions or permission for Bishop Brennan to make such a statement.

The statement and its attempted manipulation of good Catholic people could be described as unbelievable and stupid.

But in my opinion, the only word that does it justice is ‘evil’.

How long do they expect us to restrain ourselves? We have put up with this bull dung for hundreds of years.

A true Christian is someone who, in any given situation, is supposed to ask themselves what would Jesus do, then try to do that.

How an organisation which has acted, decade after decade, only to protect its business interests above the interests of children can feel it has the right to dictate to us what Christians should do is beyond belief.

From the Pope on down, through the Vatican and therefore through the lower echelons, the whole organisation, in my belief, is utterly anti-Christian and evil, as proven by centuries of torture, bloodshed, burnings, terrorism, and coverings-up of “the worst crime” known to man.

And if Jesus Christ is to be seen in the vulnerable of this world, then all the church has done is crucify the man over and over and over again.

If Christ was here, he would be burning down the Vatican. And I for one would be helping him.

Sinead O’Connor

Source: Irish Independent