Tuesday, June 08, 2010

More Catholic abuse news

I don’t have time to post about each case of clergy sexual abuse. There are too many new stories each day, despite what Phillip Jenkins would have us think in his USA today op-ed, How serious is the ‘predator priest’ problem?

The U.S. Catholic Church is still shuddering from the effects of the sexual abuse crisis. Most Catholics are still critical of the church's handling of the matter, and one in 10 are considering leaving the faith altogether. Some believe that clerical celibacy is at the core of the crisis, while others blame the all-male character of the priesthood. Reading such accounts, though, it's easy to forget that we have not the slightest idea how serious the abuse problem is among Catholic priests as opposed to other professionals dealing with children.

News flash Mr. Jenkins, we don’t care how big Catholic clergy sexual abuse is in comparison to similar abuse in the public sector. We care about how the Catholic church protects its pedophile priests at the expense of our child. We care because the Catholic church does not. We don’t see this behavior in the public sector.

Atheist Revolution reported on Pastor Oliver O’Grady, a Catholic priest who was bought off by his church with a $94,56 annuity that pays 788 per month for ten years. Catholic parishioners are upset. A post in the Irish Times suggests that the O’Grady, who molested 25 children in the United States, should get nothing. I agree.

A story in the Boston Glob called Mistrust, deep divisions await O’Malley in Ireland suggests that the Irish public and parishioners are upset because of the poor handling of sex abuse cases in Ireland.

“He’s going to find a very divided church,’’ said Colm O’Gorman, an Irish clergy sex abuse victim and the founder of the organization One in Four. “On the one side, he’ll find those who are still very resistant to change and unwilling to acknowledge the extent of a very clear and deliberate coverup, and on the other side he’ll find those who are significant reformers.’’

Apparently O’Mally, the Cardinal out of Boston, got the call to go to Ireland because he wrote a letter to the Pope.

A story out of German goes after the top Roman Catholic bishop for allegedly allowing a pedophile priest to be reappointed to a parish job in the 80s.

Prosecutors in the southwestern city of Freiburg said charges of aiding and abetting sexual abuse had been filed against Robert Zollitsch, head of the German Bishops' Conference and archbishop of Freiburg.

Zollitsch, 71, was head of church personnel in Freiburg when a Cistercian priest was given a parish job in Birnau despite charges of child abuse against the cleric being known to church authorities, prosecutors said.

I am often reminded by readers that not all Catholic Priests are monsters. I know this to be true. Many are fine examples of the best in human kindness and service. The number of priests who abuse is small, but the institutional misdirection by the Catholic church on behalf of the abusive priests is pervasive. Take the case of Los Angeles’ Cardinal Rodger Mahony, an internal investigation cleared Mahony of hindering clergy sexual abuses cases. Yet if you live in LA like I do, you know this man worked to hide the scope of clergy sexual abuse in Los Angeles. We’ve seen the stories for 15 years now. Why did it take 8 years to do the investigation? The Feds are looking into the case. I do not think they will be as kind.

The memo was released in response to questions about District Attorney Steve Cooley's handling of the priest abuse investigation, which began in 2002. Cooley is in the final week of a campaign to become the Republican nominee for California attorney general.

Cardinal Roger Mahony has come under fire for his handling of several abusive priests during his tenure in the Los Angeles archdiocese and agreed to pay $660 million in 2007 to more than 500 alleged clergy abuse victims.

Catholic scholars think Pope Benedict XVI reign will be defined by his handling of he clergy sexual abuse scandal. They like how he’s handled things. Time Magazine was not so kind.

Benedict now seems to understand the stakes. But Alberto Melloni, a church historian at the University of Modena, says other power brokers in the Vatican think the church can just ride out the storm. "They don't realize the deep bitterness among the faithful, the isolation of the clergy. We can't predict where this is going to wind up."

And if this is not enough to make you think Phillip Jenkins’ op-ed was off target, all you need do is read the story of Sister Margaret McBride as told by Dan Thomasson in the Abilene Online. The Catholic church lives in a reality that is out of step with the rest of the world. It is time we stop catering to it.