Clerical sexual abuse scandals continue

These two videos from the USA are called Dissident Female Catholic Bishop Calls for Pope to Resign over Sex Abuse Scandal.

From Reuters:

Preacher compares attacks on pope to anti-Semitism

Fri Apr 2, 2010 7:58pm

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Attacks on Pope Benedict and the Catholic Church over a sexual abuse scandal are comparable to the most shameful anti-Semitism, the pontiff’s personal preacher told a Vatican Good Friday service.

Father Raniero Cantalamessa, a Franciscan whose title is “Preacher of the Pontifical Household,” drew the parallel during a “Passion of the Lord” service in St Peter’s Basilica on the day Christians commemorate Jesus’ death by crucifixion.

His comments drew sharp criticism from some Jews and victims of sexual abuse by priests. …

“Shame on Father Cantalamessa,” said Elan Steinberg, vice-president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants.

“The Vatican is entitled to defend itself but the comparison with anti-Semitic persecution is offensive and unsustainable. We are sorely disappointed,” he told Reuters.

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre said: “These hurtful remarks were made in the presence of the pope and the pope himself should take responsibility and apologise for them.”

This week’s celebrations leading up to Easter Sunday have been clouded by accusations that the Church in several countries mishandled and covered up episodes of sexual abuse of children by priests, some dating back decades.

Shaken by the crisis, the Vatican has accused the media of an “ignoble” attempt to smear the pope at all costs. Some news reports have accused him of negligence in handling sexual abuse cases in previous roles as a cardinal in his native Germany and in Rome.

Victims of sexual abuse also criticized Cantalamessa. “It’s heart-breaking to see yet another smart, high-ranking Vatican official making such callous remarks that insult both abuse victims and Jewish people,” said a spokesman for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

As revelations of sexual abuse and alleged cover-ups have surfaced almost daily in Europe over the past weeks, the Vatican has said the guilt of individuals who committed crimes, however heinous, cannot be shifted to the pope or the entire Church.

See also here.

Translated from Dutch news agency ANP:

Former Mayor Leers escaped abuse

Published: April 3, 2010 07:18

Rotterdam – Prominent Christian Democrat Party member Gerd Leers escaped sexual abuse by a priest during his childhood . The former mayor of Maastricht says this in an interview published Saturday in the daily Algemeen Dagblad.

”There were little monks with sexual needs. I’ve seen, but never experienced”, says Leers.

He says that he has kicked a brother between his legs when he himself was harassed at his school. With a heavy keyring ”I was then beaten on the palms of my hands.”


He says that his faith did not suffer because of this experience, though he does make a remark about the Catholic church. ”How dare you criticize people so strongly about morals, while you tolerate such things?”, the former mayor says.

From the New York Times in the USA:

Exiled Pedophile Priest May Have Continued Abuse


Published: April 2, 2010

BOULDER JUNCTION, Wis. — The modest clapboard cottage projects a sense of simple rural peace, nestled amid tall pines on quiet Trout Lake. The house, in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, had been in the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy’s family for years, his getaway in the summer months and his sanctuary where he was sent to retire in 1974, at age 48, after victims of sexual abuse demanded he be removed from work at a school for the deaf near Milwaukee.

But Father Murphy’s time around Boulder Junction was not so secluded, according to recent interviews with people who live in the area and Roman Catholic Church documents.

Those interviews and documents suggested that Father Murphy, who is accused of molesting as many as 200 boys at the school near Milwaukee, also used his family’s lakefront cottage as a lure in his sexual advances, bringing youths from the school into his home beginning at least in the early 1960s.

What has recently come to light in fresh documents and interviews is that he was in the company of boys not only from the Milwaukee area but in the Northwoods region. Two in the area have accused Father Murphy of abuse, one at the isolated family cottage and the other, as late as 1978, at a youth detention center near Boulder Junction. …

Donald Marshall, 45, of West Allis, Wis., said last week in an interview that Father Murphy had molested him at the Lincoln Hills School for Boys, a detention center near Boulder Junction.

Irish Catholic Church has lost “all credibility” after abuse scandal, head of Anglican Church says: here.

7 thoughts on “Clerical sexual abuse scandals continue

  1. Deposition: Levada defends decision on Ore. priest

    By WILLIAM McCALL Associated Press Writer

    Posted: 04/02/2010 11:38:35 PM PDT
    Updated: 04/02/2010 11:41:35 PM PDT

    PORTLAND, Ore.—In a newly released court deposition, a top Vatican official who is a former Portland archbishop defends not telling Oregon parishioners about the sex abuse allegations against a priest he restored to duty.

    The official, Cardinal William Levada, is the current head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and has become a central figure in defending the Vatican in its handling of abusive priests.

    Levada was archbishop of the Portland Archdiocese from 1986-95.

    In 2006, Levada gave a deposition as part of the proceedings into sex abuse lawsuits aimed at the church.

    In a transcript of that testimony released by an attorney in the cases Friday, Levada defended his decision to restore to duty a priest who had gone through therapy for allegedly abusing teenage boys.

    Jeffrey Lena, a San Francisco-based attorney for Levada, deferred immediate comment and told The Associated Press he would be sending a statement about release of the deposition but it hadn’t arrived as of 11 p.m. PDT Friday.


  2. French bishops ‘ashamed’ of abuse

    NYT says pope knew about Munich case

    26 March, 14:06

    (ANSA) – Vatican City, March 26 – French bishops wrote to Pope Benedict XVI Friday voicing “shame” over the Catholic Church’s widening child sex abuse scandal after it appeared to move closer to the pope.

    “We all feel shame and dismay over the abominable acts perpetrated by some priests and religious,” the bishops wrote from their spring plenary session.

    But they also sent a “cordial message of support” to the pontiff “in the difficult period our Church is going through”.

    On Thursday the New York Times claimed Benedict in his past role as the Vatican’s pointman on abuse cases failed to act against a Milwaukee priest who abused some 200 deaf children as head of a school from 1950 to 1974.

    The Vatican daily l’Osservatore Romano reacted by saying the report was part of an “ignoble” campaign to smear the pope.

    On Friday the Italian bishops’ daily Avvenire, said the pope was the victim of a “ferocious” attack.

    On Friday the NYT returned to the issue of Benedict’s past, claiming that, as Munich archbishop in the 1980s, he had been aware of the case of a paedophile priest reassigned to Church work.

    Earlier this month the pope’s ex-No 2 in the German city took responsibility and claimed the future pontiff had not been informed.

    But the NYT said Benedict, then archbishop Joseph Ratzinger, was “copied in” to the letter transferring the priest.

    On Thursday the US daily claimed Ratzinger, as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, ignored appeals from US bishops in 1996 to defrock Father Lawrence Murphy.

    The Vatican replied by saying the pope was only informed of the case shortly before Murphy died two years later.

    The NYT accusations against the pope gained worldwide headlines Friday, picked up by the BBC, The Times, Al Jazeera, Le Monde and El Pais among others.


    Also on Friday, the Legionaries of Christ order issued an official apology to the victims of its founder, Mexican Father Marcial Maciel, who died in 2008 in disgrace after it emerged he had abused scores of seminarians over decades and fathered several children.

    After a long campaign by victims, Benedict ordered an internal probe which reached its conclusions earlier this month.

    The Legionaries said in their statement that they would accept “with filial obedience” any action resulting from the probe, whose findings remain secret.

    Back in Germany, the latest country after the US, Australia, Canada, Ireland, the Netherands and Austria to be touched by scandal, a fresh case emerged Friday of alleged abuse at an orphanage in Schleswig-Holstein, already reported to the police.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated Friday that “we must do everything we can in future to evert such terrible crimes”.

    German daily Der Spiegel asked Friday “Why is the pope still in charge?” after allegedly overseeing cover-ups.

    Italian conservative politicians rallied to the pope’s defence Friday with Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, a member of Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party, calling the “attacks” on the pontiff “scandalous and shameful”.

    On Thursday evening PdL heavyweights claimed there was a “very clear plot” against the pope.

    Benedict recently sent a much-awaited letter to Ireland expressing revulsion at decades of abuse and cover-ups, but did not announce any action against the hierarchy.

    The pontiff has accepted the resignation of one out of four bishops who offered to stand down after two damning reports.

    Another bishop resigned in a case that pre-dated the reports.


  3. Jews outraged at Vatican scandal comparison

    Philip Pullella

    Sat Apr 3, 2010 8:38am EDT

    * Preacher compares attacks on pope to Jewish suffering
    Fri, Apr 2 2010
    * UPDATE 3-Preacher compares attacks on pope to Jewish suffering
    Fri, Apr 2 2010
    * Preacher compares attacks on pope to anti-Semitism
    Fri, Apr 2 2010
    * Vienna Cardinal: Church must accept guilt on abuse
    Wed, Mar 31 2010
    * Catholic students attack media over abuse charges
    Wed, Mar 31 2010

    Pope Benedict XVI holds the crucifix as he celebrates the Chrismal Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican April 1, 2010. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico

    VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Jewish groups around the world have reacted with shock after Pope Benedict’s personal preacher compared attacks on the Church and pope over a sexual abuse scandal to “collective violence” against Jews.


    “I am absolutely totally astounded by this. This is folly,” said Amos Luzzatto, a former president of Italy’s Jewish communities.

    Rome chief rabbi Riccardo Di Segni, who welcomed the pope in the capital’s synagogue last January said: “This is really in bad taste.”

    The pope’s personal preacher, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, in a Friday sermon in St Peter’s Basilica, said attacks on the Catholic Church and the pope over a sexual abuse scandal were comparable to “collective violence” against Jews.

    Jewish leaders around the world used words like repugnant, obscene and offensive to describe the sermon, particularly, as Di Segni noted, it came on the day that for centuries Christians prayed for the conversion of the Jews, who were held collectively responsible for Jesus’ death.

    “How can you compare the collective guilt assigned to the Jews which caused the deaths of tens of millions of innocent people to perpetrators who abuse their faith and their calling by sexually abusing children?” demanded Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the international Jewish rights group.

    Cantalamessa, speaking with the pope sitting nearby, said Jews throughout history had been the victims of “collective violence” and drew comparisons between Jewish suffering and attacks on the Church.

    “The use of stereotypes, the shifting of personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt remind me of the most shameful aspects of anti-Semitism,” Cantalamessa quoted from the letter.


    A Vatican spokesman said the comparison “is absolutely not the line of the Vatican and of the Catholic Church.”

    This week’s celebrations leading up to Easter Sunday have been clouded by accusations the Church in several countries mishandled and covered up episodes of sexual abuse of children by priests, some dating back decades.

    Shaken by the crisis, the Vatican has accused the media of an “ignoble” attempt to smear the pope. Some reports have accused him of negligence in handling abuse cases in previous roles as a cardinal in his native Germany and in Rome.

    Victims of sexual abuse also criticized Cantalamessa.

    “This ridiculous attempt to hide the crimes of the (Church) hierarchy inside of Jewish suffering shows just how far this Pope seems willing to go to stop the truth from emerging,” said Peter Isely, a spokesman for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

    The Vatican has denied any cover-up over the abuse of 200 deaf boys in the United States by Reverend Lawrence Murphy from 1950 to 1974. The New York Times reported the Vatican and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, were warned about Murphy but he was not defrocked.

    The spiritual head of the Anglican Church, Archbishop Rowan Williams, said on Saturday the Catholic Church in Ireland had lost all its credibility over its response to the sex abuse scandals after an apology by the pope abuse in Ireland that disappointed victims.

    (Writing by Philip Pullella; Editing by Jon Hemming)



    Rev. Cantalamessa, you really messed up today. I know you didn’t mean to insult anyone when you compared the current attacks on the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict with the persecution of the Jews, but you did, and you did it big time. It seems that you are ignoring a few important points: first of all, there is no comparison because the Church persecuted the Jews for no other reason than their Jewishness, which the Church found intolerable, while the current attacks on the Church and the Pope—I wouldn’t quite call it “persecution”—are well deserved as the Church seems to have an endemic child abuse problem compounded with on obstruction of justice problem. This is not the first time this happens. It’s best to not even talk about the Middle Ages. Hopefully the Pope will make use of his power and swiftly remove any offenders from the Church and hand them over to the civil authorities for prosecution, as would be the case with any child molester. The attacks on the Pope are well deserved too. He was responsible for some of these cases before he became pope and he not only did not punish these priests, he moved them to other places where they were able to molest children again! So, it’s hard to feel sorry for the Church or the Pope these days. You also seem to have forgotten that of the 365 days of the year, this is the least appropriate day to make such comparison with the persecution of the Jews. Should I remind you of the forced conversion of the Jews, instituted by the Church centuries ago? Should I remind you of the incitement to violence in the faithful every Good Friday after sermons and Passion Plays? Should I remind you of the accusation of deicide which prompted countless acts of Christian violence toward Jews? Or the Good Friday prayer which asked God to lift the veil of the blind, perfidious Jews?

    It makes me wonder about your boss, Pope Benedict, too, because one needs to ask oneself the uncomfortable question of why he didn’t stand up as you were making this innapropriate comparison and distance himself and the Church from your comments. But then, maybe one should not be so surprised about this given his recent track record regarding the sexual predator priests, or his treatment of the whole Bishop Williamson affair, or his reinstating the Good Friday prayer referenced above, or his rush canonization process for the problematic wartime Pope Pius XII. In a way, seeing Pope Benedict looking at the floor today as you uttered those words reminded me of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, who also stood silently by the Syrian dictator Bashar Assad in 2001 as Assad let loose an antisemitic rant that was broadcast in the entire Christian world. Assad, like the Catholic Church before him, presented Jews as enemies of God. Also like Christians before him, Assad used the Christian blood libel of Jews as Christ-killers. Pope John Paul II did not see fit to stop him right then and there and thus appeared to implicitly accept Assad’s vitriolic statements.

    Perhaps this issue of silent popes is also endemic in the Church. After all, Pope Pius XI and his successor Pope Pius XII both stood by silently as the Nazis slowly and inexorably dehumanized, demonized, and exterminated millions of Jews during the Second World War.

    To wrap it up, Rev. Cantalamessa, as the sole and direct preacher to the pope I think you yourself need some advising. I would encourage you to think about these things, and next time you sit with Pope Benedict advise him better.

    Gabriel Wilensky

    Six Million Crucifixions:
    How Christian Teachings About Jews Paved the Road to the Holocaust
    Follow me on Twitter at
    Become a Fan on Facebook at


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