The new Scandal stories revealed

The new Scandal stories revealed

The speculating is over and some of you were right on the money. The Dallas Morning News will report that various religious orders moved priests accused, and sometimes convicted, of abuse from country to country, while leaving them in ministry. I’ve also done a write-up on the story at Catholic World News.

One case involved a Salesian who was moved from Australia to Rome to New York and back to Australia in the 80s, after he was accused. Then in the 1990s he was accused again and convicted of a crime, but given community service. Once again he was accused, and so he was shipped off to Samoa, and the order assured his victims that he would have no contact with children. Want to guess how that turned out? When reporters showed up there, they found him surrounded by children at his church, handing out candy to them, and they also were told that he often tutors children alone in his bedroom.

The reporter also says that many other religious orders have done the same thing. The giant flush you hear is the Big Enema going global.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
18 comments
  • I wonder whether the entire series is going to be just more examples of the same or if they go into any kind of analysis.

  • Well, I’ve not seen but a small bit of the entire series, and it would be improper for me to comment beyond what’s already been made public. My guess, though, is that the news pages will simply report the facts. Analysis is in my department, up here on the editorial page.

    Reading some of the comments in the thread below, I’m startled by how jaded and cynical some folks have become. Al thinks the whole thing is BS unless it focuses on homosexuals in the priesthood. Others have said, in one way or another, that this is the same old same old. It’s not, and let me tell you why.

    This story lays out in much more detail than we have yet seen the global reach of the sex-abuse corruption and cover-up. As reporter Brooks Egerton pointed out in his NPR interview, this series of stories will document how the Catholic Church has used its global reach to help priests who have been accused of, admitted to, or been convicted of sexually abusing children not only escape justice, but in many, many cases return to active ministry—including working with children.

    To me, this brings to mind the post-WW2 “ratlines” through which Nazi war criminals escaped accountability and got to safe harbor in South America and elsewhere, where they received help starting new lives, and were never held accountable for their crimes against innocents.  Folks, we are talking about the Holy Roman Catholic Church, not a bunch of Nazi sympathizers or mafiosi.

    Ask yourself: just whose children did these scumbag priests abuse? Just who are these church officials helping them escape from. People like you and me, folks.

    I’ll have to wait like the rest of you to read the whole series, but I can’t help wondering, in tandem with what appears to be going on in Boston right now, if the series will increase chances of there being federal RICO prosecutions of bishops and dioceses. That really would be potentially devastating.

  • If there is a threat of RICO prosecution, I would expect some bishops to be hastily called to Rome permenently.  We have the precedent of Marcinkus to look to for that.

    Interesting that you thought of ratlines.  I did as well.  Could there be a thread that would tie both the present scandal and Operation Paperclip together?

    Details are good, but I have to say that after the Legionaires, the Salesians and the Franciscans are not a shocker.  What holds potential to break out of the mold is undeniable evidence of papal involvement.  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

  • Just heard that RICO is not going to go forth in Boston. Evidence doesn’t meet the criteria.

    Just keep working out your salvation in fear and trembling, find a holy priest to help you (they are out there, sometimes in far away parishes or small ministries like hospitals), and pray for our beloved Church.

    And whatever money you have to give, give it directly to good and real Catholic charities. IMO, a huge problem is that there is entirely too much money which funds an entirely too large bureaucracy and charities that either aren’t really Catholic or the CEOs of them (religious much of the time) make salaries they’d never make in the real world. I’m not even going to get into my feelings on the USCCB.

  • “Al thinks the whole thing is BS unless it focuses on homosexuals in the priesthood. Others have said, in one way or another, that this is the same old same old. “

    I think the point Al and others have been making, Rod, is that 90% of this would never have occurred if the priesthood had not been queered.  But of course, you are right.  There is manifest evil present among those higher-ups in the Church who have become so sub-human that they will knowingly inflict pain and misery and evil upon children and their parents.  And there is great evil in that those in the priesthood who practice sexual perversity are not being held to account.  But in the end – this IS just more of the same shuffling around of scum – only in places they evidently thought no one would find out about.

    Sadly, since us lay Catholics are just about powerless to affect anything at all going on in the Church, you are doing us all a great service by helping to expose the filth that evidently is seeking out new places in the world to putrify.

  • To Whom It May Concern,

    It seems to me the series will attract special attention because it will truly awaken the public to the international depth of the problem.  While not especially surprising to astute Catholics, most Americans are very insular in their outlook and seem to by and large think of this as a regional problem.  These articles should reduce the adoption of that concept substantially.

    Following the findings of the article to their logical conclusion, one must arrive at the thought that this level of cover-up and rotation of priests can no longer be explained away by a few bad apples ignored by asleep-at-the-wheel bishops.  It implies an actual network of individuals and priests with their bishop enablers all looking out for each other in a very organized way.  It is the only way one could explain such phenomena.

    In addition, the sight of the venerable mendicant and other religious orders tolerating or even tacitly endorsing such behavior will be heart breaking for those who have faithfully stood by their Church over the years of repeated scandal.  Images of children, especially in the third world, being repeatedly exposed to sexual predators will again play powerfully in the mind of the public.  After all, if you can’t trust your children with a discalced Franciscan with their pious vows of extreme poverty and chastity, how much more enmity would you have for the modern bishop in his ivory tower or parish priest in his rectory?

    Another direction the public will take is to question how Rome is involved in all of this.  Either way, Rome loses.  Individuals at the Vatican helped along those wicked priests, or they were so inept as to not even see it occurring under their very noses.  And how likely is it that anybody will believe the latter?

  • As for myself, I will withhold judgment until it all comes out.  But I suspect that it may be harder to pin this directly on Rome than some may think – these orders tend to have a lot of autonomy, and they don’t have to get the pope’s ok to transfer their members around.

  • In addition, the sight of the venerable mendicant and other religious orders tolerating or even tacitly endorsing such behavior will be heart breaking for those who have faithfully stood by their Church over the years of repeated scandal. 

    For St. Francis, just ONE breaking of the vow of chastity (which, in those days, of course, actually involved a woman) was enough to have one thrown out of the order.  As a result – it was very rare.

  • Christine K.: Well, frankly, like Al below, I donl>yawper1@comcast.net
    http://yawpings.stblogs.org
    208.35.252.24
    2004-06-18 13:24:16
    2004-06-18 17:24:16
    My initial reaction led to a post on my site that I’ve just taken off. I think the most sensible thing to do at this point is wait and see what the DMN actually prints. What we say now is nothing but speculation.

    However, we could discuss Bronson Havard’s eventual and devestating reply. That should be entertaining in a sick and twisted kinda way.

  • You know, tonight I’ll be praying for Samoan children – to keep them protected from evil in my Church.  That’s something I really never could have believed for most of my life…

  • Mr. John Hearn posted:

    … these orders tend to have a lot of autonomy, and they donntent>“this series of stories will document how the Catholic Church has used its global reach to help priests who have been accused of, admitted to, or been convicted of sexually abusing children, not only escape justice, but in many, many cases return to active ministry”

    Rod, you say that you haven’t read but a small part of the series, yet by the above allegation you suggest that the institution—“the Catholic Church”—is a criminal entity. 

    What’s your basis for that broad indictment? 

  • Blessed Laura Vicuna is a Salesian beata, who, among other things, suffered greatly because her mother was living in sin with a man who also tried to abuse her.
    I suggest that we invoke her prayers in this matter, as well as St. Maria Goretti.

  • I wonder when the other shoe will drop – the sexual abuse of young girls by lesbian nuns…  ?

  • Karen Liebrich?s book ?Fallen Order? was just published in London and will be out in a few months in the US. From the archives of the Piarists and the Inquisition, she documents how St. Joseph Calasantius, founder of the Piarists and a patron of Christian Schools, transferred child abusers from one school to another. He called child abuse ?ill vitio pessimo? but did nothing to help the victims and did not punish abusers who had family connections which were important politically to the Piarists.

    One of the central questions of the crisis is why church authorities for centuries have regarded sexual abuse of children as a sin but still been blind to the damage abuse does to the victims. My forthcoming book hazards a guess at moral nominalism as the source of the blindness: the abuser?s only sin was to disobey God, and his sin did no harm in the created order that had to be rectified.

  • I guess this scotches blaming The Situation on America’s hyper-sexualized culture or hyper-Calvinism (neither of which I necessarily deny as phenomena, BTW).

  • The moral vacuum at the top needs an explanation.  Particularly if, as Victor surmises, this can no longer be blamed on the decadent American culture.

    Are we ready for Pope Paul’s explanation yet?  It’s looking awfully smoky.

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