Vatican knew about child abuse decades ago


This video says about itself:

25 March 2010 — Activists spoke out in public near the Vatican Thursday, questioning the pope’s role in an ongoing abuse scandal.

From Assiociated Press:

1963 letter indicates former pope knew of abuse

By GILLIAN FLACCUS (AP) – 7 hours ago

LOS ANGELES — A 1963 letter to then-Pope Paul VI indicates the Vatican was aware of clergy abuse in the U.S. nearly five decades ago.

In the letter, obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday, the head of a Roman Catholic order that oversaw treatment of pedophile priests tells the pope he recommends removing pedophile priests from active ministry.

The letter is a summary of the Rev. Gerald M.C. Fitzgerald’s thoughts on problem priests that appears to have been requested by the pope after Fitzgerald’s 1963 visit to the Vatican. Fitzgerald headed the New Mexico-based Servants of the Holy Paraclete.

The letter was among several hundred pages of Paraclete documents given to the AP by attorneys for California clergy abuse victims who obtained the document during litigation. The documents were first made public last year after attorneys pursuing clergy abuse claims in Los Angeles got them unsealed.

A message left with the Paraclete was not immediately returned.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The head of a Roman Catholic order that specialized in the treatment of pedophile priests visited with then-Pope Paul VI nearly 50 years ago and followed up with a letter recommending the removal of pedophile priests from ministry, according to a copy of the letter released Wednesday.

In the Aug. 27, 1963 letter, the head of the New Mexico-based Servants of the Holy Paraclete tells the pope he recommends removing pedophile priests from active ministry and strongly urges defrocking repeat offenders.

The letter shows that the Vatican knew, or should have known, about clergy abuse in the U.S. decades ago, said Anthony DeMarco, a plaintiff attorney in Los Angeles who provided the letter. The release comes as plaintiffs in Kentucky are attempting to sue the Vatican for negligence for allegedly failing to alert police or the public about priests who molested children.

Yet the problem was very well known to Rome well before the 1960s. The 1917 code of canon law criminalized sexual abuse of minors. Five years later, the Vatican penned a document outlining detailed procedures for handling such cases. In 1962, that document was updated and has been used in many of the lawsuits by victims against U.S. diocese[s] and the Vatican itself.

The letter, written by the Rev. Gerald M.C. Fitzgerald, appears to have been drafted at the request of the pope and summarizes Fitzgerald’s thoughts on problem priests after his Vatican visit.

A message left with the Paraclete order at one of their two existing facilities in Missouri was not returned. A number for the second facility was disconnected. The offices of the Vatican spokesman were closed late Wednesday.

Fitzgerald opens the five-page letter by thanking the pope for an audience the day before and says he is summarizing his thoughts at the pope’s request on the “problem of the problem priest” after 20 years working to treat them.

He tells Paul VI that treatment for priests who have succumbed to “abnormal, homosexual tendencies” should include psychiatric, as well as spiritual, counseling — but goes on to warn about the dangers of leaving those individuals in ministry.

The letter also touches on priests who have consensual affairs with women.

“Personally, I am not sanguine of the return of priests to active duty who have been addicted to abnormal practices, especially sins with the young,” Fitzgerald wrote.

“Where there is indication of incorrigibility, because of the tremendous scandal given, I would most earnestly recommend total laicization,” he wrote. “I say ‘total’ … because when these men are taken before civil authority, the non-Catholic world definitely blames the discipline of celibacy for the perversion of these men.”

The letter proves that Vatican officials knew about clergy abuse decades ago and should have done more to protect children, plaintiff attorney DeMarco said.

The church has come under fire for transferring priests accused of sexual abuse to other parishes, rather than reporting the abuse to civil authorities and removing them from ministry.

The problem of clergy abuse has been known to Rome well before then. The 1917 code of canon law criminalized sexual abuse of minors. Five years later, the Vatican penned a document outlining detailed procedures for handling such cases. In 1962, that document was updated and has been used in many of the lawsuits by victims against U.S. diocese[s] and the Vatican itself.

Fitzgerald’s letter shows the pope knew how pervasive and destructive the problem was, DeMarco said.

“He says the solution is to take them out of the priesthood period, not shuffle them around, not pass them from diocese to diocese.”

The letter was released in Los Angeles by attorneys who represented more than 500 victims of clergy abuse in their record-breaking $660 million settlement with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 2007.

Attorneys working on the Los Angeles cases found it among court papers related to clergy abuse cases filed in New Mexico in the late 1980s and early 1990s and fought to get it unsealed.

Thousands more pages of confidential priest personnel files from the Los Angeles cases were to be released as part of the 2007 settlement after a review by a retired judge overseeing the process. The review, however, has dragged on for nearly three years.

The letter released Wednesday is different from a 1957 letter made public last year in which Fitzgerald seeks help from the Bishop of Manchester, N.H. in finding a placement for a priest leaving the treatment program.

Attorneys also released a 250-page, redacted transcript of the 2007 deposition of the Rev. Joseph McNamara, who took over the Paraclete after Fitzgerald. In the deposition, McNamara answers questions about the 1963 letter.

It’s Not About The Media: Blaming The Messenger In The Sex Abuse Crisis: here.

Australia: GODLESSNESS and secularism led to Nazism, Stalinism, mass murder and abortion, according to Anthony Fisher, the new bishop of Parramatta, who has used his inaugural Easter message to launch a scathing attack on atheism, while ignoring the sex abuse scandals besieging the Catholic Church worldwide: here.

Mexico: 10 Year Old Rape Victim Forced to Carry Child — Is This What Anti-Choicers Are Shooting For? Here.

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2 thoughts on “Vatican knew about child abuse decades ago

  1. Pingback: More Legion of Christ child abuse scandals | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Vatican criticized about clerical sexual abuse | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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