The Pope Is Not Above The Law – Christopher Hitchens

“Of course, of course: The future pope had his eyes fixed on ethereal and divine matters and could not be expected to concern himself with parish-level atrocities.” – Christopher Hitchens

One by one, as I predicted, the pathetic excuses of Joseph Ratzinger’s apologists evaporate before our eyes. It was said until recently that when the Rev. Peter Hullermann was found to be a vicious pederast in 1980, the man who is now pope had no personal involvement in his subsequent transfer to his own diocese or in his later unimpeded career as a rapist and a molester. But now we find that the psychiatrist to whom the church turned for “therapy” was adamant that Hullermann never be allowed to go near children ever again. We also find that Ratzinger was one of those to whom the memo about Hullermann’s transfer was actually addressed. All attempts to place the blame on a loyal subordinate, Ratzinger’s vicar general, the Rev. Gerhard Gruber, have predictably failed. According to a recent report, “the transfer of Father Hullermann from Essen would not have been a routine matter, experts said.” Either that — damning enough in itself — or it perhaps would have been a routine matter, which is even worse. Certainly the pattern—of finding another parish with fresh children for the priest to assault—is the one that has become horribly “routine” ever since and became standard practice when Ratzinger became a cardinal and was placed in charge of the church’s global response to clerical pederasty.

So now a new defense has had to be hastily improvised. It is argued that, during his time as archbishop of Munich and Freising, Germany, Ratzinger was more preoccupied with doctrinal questions than with mere disciplinary ones. Of course, of course: The future pope had his eyes fixed on ethereal and divine matters and could not be expected to concern himself with parish-level atrocities. This cobbled-up apologia actually repays a littlebit of study. What exactly were these doctrinal issues? Well, apart from punishing a priest who celebrated a Mass at an anti-war demonstration — which incidentally does seem to argue for a “hands-on” approach to individual clergymen — Ratzinger’s chief concern appears to have been that of first communion and first confession. Over the previous decade, it had become customary in Bavaria to subject small children to their first communion at a tender age but to wait a year until they made their first confession. It was a matter of whether they were old enough to understand. Enough of this liberalism, said Ratzinger, the first confession should come in the same year as the first communion. One priest, the Rev. Wilfried Sussbauer, reports that he wrote to Ratzinger expressing misgivings about this and received “an extremely biting letter” in response.

Cardinal Ratzinger slaps reporter.

So it seems that 1) Ratzinger was quite ready to take on individual priests who gave him any trouble, and 2) he was very firm on one crucial point of doctrine: Get them young. Tell them in their infancy that it is they who are the sinners. Instill in them the necessary sense of guilt. This is not at all without relevance to the disgusting scandal into which the pope has now irretrievably plunged the church he leads. Almost every episode in this horror show has involved small children being seduced and molested in the confessional itself. To take the most heart-rending cases to have emerged recently, namely the torment of deaf children in the church-run schools in Wisconsin and Verona, Italy, it is impossible to miss the calculated manner in which the predators used the authority of the confessional in order to get their way. And again the identical pattern repeats itself: Compassion is to be shown only to the criminals. Ratzinger’s own fellow clergy in Wisconsin wrote to him urgently — by this time he was a cardinal in Rome, supervising the global Catholic cover-up of rape and torture—beseeching him to remove the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy, who had comprehensively wrecked the lives of as many as 200 children who could not communicate their misery except in sign language. And no response was forthcoming until Father Murphy himself appealed to Ratzinger for mercy — and was granted it.So now a new defense has had to be hastily improvised. It is argued that, during his time as archbishop of Munich and Freising, Germany, Ratzinger was more preoccupied with doctrinal questions than with mere disciplinary ones. Of course, of course: The future pope had his eyes fixed on ethereal and divine matters and could not be expected to concern himself with parish-level atrocities. This cobbled-up apologia actually repays a littlebit of study. What exactly were these doctrinal issues? Well, apart from punishing a priest who celebrated a Mass at an anti-war demonstration—which incidentally does seem to argue for a “hands-on” approach to individual clergymen—Ratzinger’s chief concern appears to have been that of first communion and first confession. Over the previous decade, it had become customary in Bavaria to subject small children to their first communion at a tender age but to wait a year until they made their first confession. It was a matter of whether they were old enough to understand. Enough of this liberalism, said Ratzinger, the first confession should come in the same year as the first communion. One priest, the Rev. Wilfried Sussbauer, reports that he wrote to Ratzinger expressing misgivings about this and received “an extremely biting letter” in response.

For Ratzinger, the sole test of a good priest is this: Is he obedient and discreet and loyal to the traditionalist wing of the church? We have seen this in his other actions as pope, notably in the lifting of the excommunication of four bishops who were members of the so-called Society of St. Pius X, that group of extreme-right-wing schismatics founded by Father Marcel Lefebvre and including the Holocaust-denying Richard Williamson. We saw it when he was a cardinal, defending the cultish and creepy Legion of Christ, whose fanatical leader managed to father some children as well as to shield the molestation of many more. And we see it today, when countless rapists and pederasts are being unmasked. One of those accused in the Verona deaf-school case is the late archbishop of the city, Giuseppe Carraro. Next up, if our courts can find time, will be the Rev. Donald McGuire, a serial offender against boys who was also the confessor and “spiritual director” for Mother Teresa. (He, too, found the confessional to be a fine and private place and made extensive use of it.)

This is what makes the scandal an institutional one and not a matter of delinquency here and there. The church needs and wants control of the very young and asks their parents to entrust their children to certain “confessors,” who until recently enjoyed enormous prestige and immunity. It cannot afford to admit that many of these confessors, and their superiors, are calcified sadists who cannot believe their luck. Nor can it afford to admit that the church regularly abandoned the children and did its best to protect and sometimes even promote their tormentors. So instead it is whiningly and falsely asserting that all charges against the pope—none of them surfacing except from within the Catholic community — are part of a plan to embarrass him.

This hasn’t been true so far, but it ought to be true from now on. This grisly little man is not above or outside the law. He is the titular head of a small state. We know more and more of the names of the children who were victims and of the pederasts who were his pets. This is a crime under any law (as well as a sin), and crime demands not sickly private ceremonies of “repentance,” or faux compensation by means of church-financed payoffs, but justice and punishment. The secular authorities have been feeble for too long but now some lawyers and prosecutors are starting to bestir themselves. I know some serious men of law who are discussing what to do if  Benedict tries to make his proposed visit to Britain in the fall. It’s enough. There has to be a reckoning, and it should start now. – Slate, Washington, 29 March 2010

6 Responses

  1. Times of India, Chennai, 12 May 2010

    Lisbon, Portugal: The abuse scandal represents the greatest threat to the Roman Catholic Church and the crisis was “born from sins within the church” not outside, Pope Benedict XVI said on Tuesday on a trip to Portugal.

    He called for profound purification and penance within the church as well as pardon and justice.

    In some of his strongest comments to date, Benedict said the Catholic church had always suffered from internal problems, but that “today we see it in a truly terrifying way.”

    “The greatest persecution of the church doesn’t come from enemies on the outside, but is born from sins within the church,” the pontiff said. “The church needs to profoundly re-learn not only penitence, accept purification, learn forgiveness, but also justice.”

    Benedict was responding to journalists’ questions submitted in advance aboard the papal plane while en route to Portugal, where he began a four-day visit on Tuesday. His comments appeared to repudiate the Vatican’s initial response to the scandal, in which it blamed the media as well as pro-choice and pro-gay marriage advocates for mounting a campaign against the church and the pope in particular.

    Since then, however, Benedict has called for penance and promised the church would take action to protect children and make abusive priests face justice. As far as the church’s purification is concerned, Benedict has already been cleaning house, accepting the resignations of a few bishops in recent weeks who either admitted they sexually abused youngsters or covered up for priests who did.

    Just last week, the pope took control of the conservative Legionaries of Christ order after it was discredited by revelations that its founder fathered at least one child and sexually abused young seminarians.

    More bishop resignations have been tendered and the Vatican official in charge of handling sex abuse cases has said he would not be surprised if the pope asks for more.

    While the abuse scandal greatly overshadowed the pope’s press conference, Portugal has not experienced the wave of priest abuse claims that have emerged in other European countries, including the pontiff ’s native Germany, as well as Austria, Belgium and Ireland among others. – AP



    Snapshots of Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse of children

    In an investigation spanning 21 countries across six continents, The Associated Press found 30 cases of Roman Catholic priests accused of abuse who were transferred or moved abroad.

    Here are snapshots of the cases:



    Vadeboncoeur, a 69-year-old priest, served a 20-month sentence in Quebec in the 1980s after pleading guilty to sexual abuse and sodomy of four teenage boys.

    Afterward, he moved to a small parish in Normandy, France — and was convicted in 2005 of raping an adolescent boy. He was sentenced to 12 years in a French prison, where he is now.

    The bishop at the time, Jacques Gaillot, said he tried to give the priest a second chance.

    “That was my first mistake,” Gaillot told The Associated Press. “Retrospectively I realized that I was wrong to take him in, and I was wrong not to say anything.”

    A 1987 letter to Gaillot from Vadeboncoeur’s Canadian superior, Pierre Levesque, clearly spelled out Vadeboncoeur’s sex crimes and concerns that he would abuse again. But Levesque also supported Vadeboncoeur’s move to France and said “the hard lesson Vadeboncoeur endured had beneficial effects on him.”



    A French priest and humanitarian doctor, Lefort was convicted in 2005 in France of raping and abusing six minors in Senegal in 1994 and 1995. According to his supporters’ Web site, he now works in the library in the bishop’s office in Puy en Velay.

    A witness at his trial said there were similar allegations in Mauritania, where he lived before Senegal.

    After the allegations surfaced, Lefort moved back to France and worked in different parishes. Catholic authorities didn’t restrict him from working with minors while the investigations were still pending. French observers say such procedure was standard at the time, but has changed in the past two to three years.



    The now-deceased former cardinal was accused in 1995 by former pupils and monks in his care of sexually molesting minors in the 1970s and 1980s at the Goettweig monastery in Austria.

    Groer stepped down as Vienna archbishop soon after the first allegations were publicized and relinquished all his religious duties for the Catholic Church in 1998, at the request of Pope John Paul II.

    Upon stepping down, Groer was sent to a monastery in eastern Germany, in the Dresden diocese. He did not commit any known abuses while in Germany.

    Groer later returned to Austria, where he died in 2003. He never admitted guilt.



    The Swiss priest has admitted to abuse with “children and adolescents” in the 1970s in the Cistercian Abbey in Mehrerau, Austria, and a church in Birnau, Germany.

    Mueller was dismissed from his post in Mehrerau and Birnau for sexual abuse, and then was hired by the Basel diocese in Switzerland in 1971, although diocese officials knew about his past abuse. They hired him under condition that he was monitored by another priest and given medical treatment.

    Basel officials have told the Swiss daily Blick that four alleged cases have been reported against Mueller.

    In 1987, Mueller was called back to Birnau. He joined the Chur diocese in 1992 as a priest in the small Swiss town of Schuebelbach. The Chur diocese said it didn’t learn about his past until being contacted by a victim on March 15 of this year. The bishop then confronted Mueller, who resigned last month.



    Poveda Sanchez, a 50-year-old Spaniard, worked in the Italian diocese of Porto-Santa Rufina and is now in Spain.

    The bishop, Gino Reali, said under questioning by an Italian prosecutor Dec. 1, 2008, that the priest came under suspicion for sending sexually explicit telephone messages to several children in the diocese in 2005. The bishop said the priest denied sending the messages but said other people may have used his cell phone.

    The bishop said he ordered the priest back to Spain and not to return to Italy. He said he ordered a formal investigation.

    Poveda Sanchez was transferred to the Spanish diocese of Getafe, outside Madrid. That diocese says it was not informed in advance of the problems in Italy. Caramella Buona, an Italian nonprofit organization working with abuse victims, said Sanchez was accused of having abused four minors in the parish of Our Lady of Fatima in Aranova, in Rome.

    The Getafe diocese said he was assigned to work in his hometown of Belmote de Cuenca in a non-pastoral job, then in 2007 was named parish priest of Valdelaguna and in 2008 of Belmote de Tajo.

    The Getafe diocese said it learned of the probe in 2008 from the priest himself, and transferred him to work at a nursing home in Aranjuez.



    Smyth was an Irish visiting priest at Our Lady of Mercy in East Greenwich, R.I., in 1965-68. Providence diocese spokesman William Halpin said the Americans were told the move was to ease Smyth’s difficulties with asthma.

    Smyth’s stay ended abruptly following allegations of abusing children.

    The late Bruno Mulvihill, a priest in Smyth’s Norbertine order, has said he spoke of his concerns about Smyth to Archbishop Gaetano Alibrandi, the papal nuncio in Ireland, and the then-bishop of Kilmore, Francis McKiernan. In a statement to Irish police in 1995, Mulvihill said: “Archbishop Alibrandi was not interested in listening to my complaints.”

    After more complaints in 1975, McKiernan barred Smyth from ministry in the diocese of Kilmore. The Rev. Sean Brady, now leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, interviewed two children who complained about Smyth. Brady said this year that he accepted their accounts as true, but did not notify police.

    In 1979, Smyth went to North Dakota at St. Alphonsus Church in Langdon.

    Smyth was charged with multiple offenses in Northern Ireland in 1991, but fled to the Republic of Ireland, mostly staying at Kilnacrott Abbey. He returned to Northern Ireland in 1993 and pleaded guilty the following year to indecently assaulting five girls and two boys.

    In 1997, Smyth was extradited to the Republic of Ireland, where he pleaded guilty to sexually abusing 20 boys and girls between 1958 and 1993. He died of a heart attack one month into his 12-year sentence.



    This priest is mentioned in a July 2009 report by an Irish commission on priest abuse in the archdiocese of Dublin.

    The priest was first sent for treatment by the Servants of the Paraclete in Stroud, England. There was another complaint after he returned to Ireland.

    The priest was persuaded to go to New Mexico for treatment in 1982. He briefly returned to Ireland, was accused of making a pass at a 16-year-old boy and went back for treatment in Jemez Springs.

    In April 1983 the then-archbishop of Dublin, Dermot Ryan, got Bishop Mark Hurley of Santa Rosa, Calif., to allow the priest to work in Eureka, Calif. After complaints of inappropriate conduct in 1985, Hurley withdrew the priest.

    In June 1987 an official from Sacramento telephoned Monsignor Alex Stenson in Dublin about the priest, saying: “Urgent to get him out of the USA to anywhere.”

    The priest was suspended, and laicization was approved in March 1988. The priest applied to work with a non-church homeless project in Stockton.

    “The bishops decided to let him go to the USA. They, in effect, set him loose on the unsuspecting population of Stockton, California. There is no record that they notified the bishop of Stockton of his arrival,” the report concludes.



    Maguire sought to become a priest, he said, to deal with his impulses. “Since priests don’t have sex, it wouldn’t matter whether he was attracted to boys or girls,” according to a report by an Irish commission.

    He initially worked in Japan. He was sent to Ireland in 1974 after a nun in Japan complained of his inappropriate conduct with young males. The report quotes a letter from a member of the Missionary Society of St. Columban in Japan to group’s head in Ireland:

    “Bishop Hirata was most understanding but said that it would be best that Pat slip out of Japan quietly.”

    In 1974-75 Maguire worked in the diocese of Raphoe in northwest Ireland, where he got altar boys to stay with him overnight. He was then sent for treatment in Stroud, England, where he was diagnosed as a pederast, a man who commits sodomy on boys.

    He resumed pastoral work in England in 1976. Following a complaint, he was assigned to office work in Dublin in 1979. That year, a woman complained that she found Maguire in bed with her two sons.

    Maguire went to England for treatment in 1982. In 1983, he was appointed to parish duties in the Dublin district of Ballymun, “highly” recommended by a superior of the society. But after complaints, he was sent to England in 1984 for more therapy.

    Maguire got a parish appointment in England, where he was accused of sexually abusing a 21-year-old man with a mental illness. The Columbans brought him back to Ireland.

    Maguire is now living in a Columban residence in Meath, northwest of Dublin, where he is “monitored very carefully,” Bishop Philip Boyce of Raphoe told an Irish newspaper in November 2009.


    FATHER VIDAL (pseudonym)

    He had several affairs with women in Britain and sought a post in Ireland.

    The report from an Irish commission looking into Dublin archdiocese abuse cases said Vidal’s bishop wrote to Archbishop John Charles McQuaid saying: “As you will appreciate, it will not be advisable for him to work in this diocese again.”

    In 1973, a nun informed the Dublin archdiocese that Vidal was having sexual affairs with a woman and her daughter, aged 12-14. At the time of his laicization in 1979, Vidal acknowledged a physical relationship with the girl from the age of 13. He married her in 1980, but they separated in 1985. He got a divorce in California in 1992; she got a divorce in Ireland in 1997 after divorce was legalized there.

    In 1985, Vidal contacted the archdiocese saying he wished to return to the ministry. After Vidal spent time at a monastery, Auxiliary Bishop Dermot O’Mahony arranged for the priest to go to the Sacramento diocese in California. O’Mahony did not disclose the priest’s past.

    Vidal worked as a priest in Sacramento, retired to Ireland in 2003 and died the following year.



    Javier was accused by two altar boys (one 18 and another 19 at the time) of molesting them in 2001-02 at a Catholic school about three hours west of Manila, in the Philippines.

    Javier left in 2002. The former bishop of his diocese told the AP that Javier went to the U.S., where his parents and a sister live. “We allowed him,” the former bishop said. “His mother got sick and he went there to take care of her.”

    Ryan Mau, the parish secretary at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Rowland Heights, Calif., said Javier was the parish’s associate pastor for two years, starting sometime in 2003. Javier died on Jan. 23, 2008.

    The AP has copies of two letters sent in June 2002 by the lay leaders at the St. Columban parish in Olongapo to then-Bishop Deogracias Iniguez and other diocesan leaders about the alleged abuse.

    Frustrated by the lack of action, one of the lay leaders, Olet Enriquez, e-mailed the Vatican in September 2003 to report the alleged sexual harassment. He said he got an unsigned reply telling him to take his case to the papal nuncio in Manila. He said he sent a lengthy follow-up letter to the same Vatican e-mail address in January 2004, restating the case, but never got a reply.



    Garcia was expelled from the Dominican order in 1986 after a nun told police that an altar boy had been found in his bed in a Los Angeles rectory. The priest left for his hometown in the Philippines in Cebu province, where he continued to serve and in 1997 was given the title of monsignor.

    Monsignor Pedro Quitorio, media director of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said he had not heard about the Garcia case but that it should be looked into.

    Garcia told the Dallas Morning News that he did have sex with the boys, but claimed he was the one who was “seduced and raped,” a charge his accusers called absurd. A plaintiff, Paul Corral, said he had obtained a financial settlement.



    Skelton was studying for the priesthood in Michigan in 1988 when he was convicted of sexual misconduct with a 15-year-old boy and dismissed from his seminary.

    He went to the Philippines, where he was ordained a priest in 2001 in the diocese of Tagbilaran in Bohol province. Today, at 48, he is parochial vicar of St. Vincent Ferrer parish in the town of Calape, according to the diocese directory. Reached on his cell phone, Skelton declined to comment.

    The bishop who ordained Skelton said he wouldn’t have made him a priest if he had known about the criminal conviction. But he added: “The priest is trying to live well. If he has really changed, the heart of the church is compassionate.”

    The archdiocese of Detroit, after learning Skelton had been ordained, sent a letter about his conviction to then-Bishop Tumulak in early 2003. Tumulak said he doesn’t remember if he received the letter. In any case, he added, it would have been too late.

    Informed of the case, current Bishop Leonardo Medroso said he would investigate. But he added: “He was convicted, and that means to say he has served already the conviction. So what obstacle can there be if he has already served his punishment or penalty?”



    A lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by Maramba in the U.S. more than than 30 years ago was settled this month. The settlement was the third reached with the diocese of El Paso, Texas, and others in allegations of sexual abuse by the same Filipino priest.

    Maramba’s lawyers said he was not party to the settlement.

    “Since Father Maramba was not a party to the proceedings that resulted in the reported settlement, there is nothing to deny or admit other than that he was assigned to the parish of Las Cruces in 1976-77,” said the statement from the law firm Saguisag, Carao & Associates. “That a settlement was reached does not in any way indicate fault on the part of any party.”

    Maramba served at St. Genevieve Church in Las Cruces, N.M., from 1976-77 and at the Newman Center in Silver City, N.M., before being recalled to the Philippines in 1977 by his abbey.



    After Tamayo was accused of abusing Rita Milla in the Los Angeles area, the church urged Tamayo to stay in the Philippines and mailed him checks, court documents show.

    Milla has maintained that she was molested by Tamayo at a church in Carson, Calif., when she was 16. After she turned 18, she said, she had sexual intercourse with Tamayo and he introduced her to six other priests who also abused her.

    After she was impregnated in 1982 by another priest at a Los Angeles-area church, Milla said, Tamayo suggested she get an abortion, then devised a plan to send her to the Philippines to have the child.

    Milla returned to California after giving birth to her daughter, Jacqueline. She sued the archdiocese in 1984, and won a $500,000 settlement.

    Tamayo later went to the Philippines. In 2004, Milla’s lawyer released documents showing the church mailed him checks. In three letters, church officials advised him not to reveal the source of the payments “unless requested under oath,” noting that he was “liable for personal suits arising out of your past actions.”

    Tamayo admitted he had sex with Milla and publicly apologized years before his death in 1999.



    Woodcock accused of molesting at least 11 boys at four different church facilities in New Zealand before being sent by the church to Ireland.

    He was extradited to New Zealand in 2004, pleaded guilty to 21 sexual abuse charges involving 11 victims and was sentenced to seven years in jail. He was paroled in September 2009.

    Society of Mary spokeswoman Lyndsay Freer told the AP “some families (of Woodcock’s victims) asked for him to be sent offshore … he was sent to Ireland for intensive psychotherapy. He had no permission to exercise his ministry or to be involved with youth.”

    Woodcock was suspended from his ministry in the New Zealand branch of the Society of Mary in 1987, according to Freer. He was removed from the priesthood in 2001, she said.



    Brothers Moloney and McGrath of the Australian branch of the St. John of God Order were both jailed in New Zealand for the sexual abuse of scores of children at a special school in the southern city of Christchurch in the 1970s. The order had transferred them to Australia, but they were extradited back to New Zealand by police to face sexual abuse charges.

    Moloney was sentenced in 2008 to two years and nine months, and becomes eligible for parole later this month. At that time, the St. John of God Order said he will be deported to Australia.

    “He’s a brother (in the order) but won’t have any active ministry. He will be in a retirement home,” the order’s spokesman, Simon Feely, told the AP.

    St. John of God shifted McGrath to Australia “before the prison term and prior to the order knowing of any court case (over abuse charges),” Feely told the AP.

    “McGrath was sacked by the (St. John of God) brothers several years ago. He is not a member of the order. They removed him,” Feely said.

    McGrath was found guilty of 22 charges against nine victims aged 7 to 15 and sentenced to five years in 2006. He was paroled in February 2008, and reportedly is living in New Zealand.



    Jeyapaul has been charged in Minnesota with two counts of criminal sexual conduct in connection with his work at a small church in the Crookston diocese in 2004-05. The charges stem from accusations that he groped a 14-year-old girl and forced her to perform oral sex on him.

    Jeyapaul returned to India before the charges were filed and continues to work in the diocese of Ootacamund. After initially saying he would not return to the U.S. to face the charges, he and his bishop have since said they would go back if his extradition was requested.



    Nelson was convicted in a New York court in 2003 of fondling a 12-year-old altar girl in the Brooklyn diocese. He was sentenced to four months in prison and has since returned to his church in the diocese of Kottar in southern India, where he works in the bishop’s office.



    Godugunuru was forced to return to his native India and then transferred to Italy after pleading no contest to assaulting a 15-year-old girl in Bonifay, Fla. He now ministers to a parish in a medieval town of about 4,000 in Tuscany, where he hears confessions, celebrates Mass and works with children.

    The bishops supervising him said they were aware of the case but believed he was innocent.

    “The evidence that has been given does not support the accusation,” Monsignor Rodolfo Cetoloni, the bishop of the Montepulciano diocese, told the AP last week.

    Cetoloni said he saw no reason for any restrictions.

    Godugunuru was charged with fondling a parishioner in her family’s van on June 23, 2006. The priest had been visiting friends and was allowed by the diocese to assist at the Blessed Trinity Catholic Church in Bonifay.

    The priest was arrested the next month on charges of lewd or lascivious battery on a minor, subject to up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The priest denied the accusation but pleaded no contest in a deal that required him to return to India, undergo counseling, not supervise minors for a year and not return to the United States.



    The 75-year-old Pezzotti was accused in abuse cases that date from 1959 at a now-closed Holliston, Mass., boarding school run by his Xaverian religious order.

    Allegations against him surfaced in early 1993, but Pezzotti had already been sent to a remote area of Brazil’s Amazon to work as a missionary with the Kayapo Indians in 1970. Pezzotti was removed from Brazil for good and sent to Italy in 2008 after photos of him holding naked Kayapo children surfaced on the Internet, prompting one of his American victims — Joseph Callander — to contact the church and demand his removal.

    In a 1993 handwritten note of apology from Pezzotti to Callander, the priest admitted passing “through a rather difficult moment” in the 1960s, and said he “asked to leave Holliston and to go to Brazil to change my life.”

    “Upon my arrival in Brazil, confiding in God’s mercy, I owned up to the problem,” Pezzotti said.

    Pezzotti now lives in the headquarters of his order in Parma, Italy. Reached by telephone, he declined comment.

    “I don’t see why I have to talk about it. Everything was resolved and I don’t feel like talking,” Pezzotti said.



    Brazilian police in Salvador in August 2009 said they were seeking Piazza’s arrest on abuse allegations made by eight boys. Police also accuse him of allowing foreign visitors to abuse boys.

    Piazza ran an award-winning shelter for homeless children.

    After three decades in Brazil, Piazza left in 2007 for missionary work in Mozambique. Brazilian prosecutors say Piazza has refused to respond to the charges.

    Interviewed in Maputo, Mozambique, this week, Piazza said the charges were false and part of a campaign to blackmail him by “political circles” in Brazil that he did not identify.

    “This is propaganda in order to earn money,” Piazza told the AP, saying people in Brazil had asked him for money.

    He said he has been in Mozambique for about seven months living in a Jesuit residence and helping with “economic projects.” He said he was not working with children.



    A Colombian, Diaz pleaded guilty to sexually abusing three boys while a priest at St. Leo’s Church and Our Lady of Sorrows Church in New York in the mid-1980s.

    Diaz was sentenced in April 1991 to five years’ probation and four months of an “intermittent sentence.” He was deported and resumed work as a priest in Venezuela.

    He was suspended from the priesthood in 1996 for 20 years after 18 boys in Venezuela accused him of molesting them.

    Monsignor Francisco de Guruceaga, the bishop who hired Diaz in Venezuela, said it was not clear to him when the priest arrived that he had been charged with abusing children. De Guruceaga said Diaz told him he had problems with relationships with women, not molesting children.

    Diaz returned to Colombia in 1996 and found work again as a priest. Colombian prosecutors say Diaz was charged in 2001 with molesting one more boy and pleaded guilty later that year.



    Arregui, a Spaniard, is a member of the Clerics of Saint Viator. He was convicted in Chile on March 24 possessing child pornography and was sentenced to no fewer than 817 days in prison, without access to computer equipment.

    Arregui came to Chile in January 2008 and has been jailed since Aug. 14, 2009, when Chilean police determined that he had downloaded child pornography.

    Police found he had stored more than 400 hours of child porn videos, including ones he made with a hidden camera in three schools in Spain. The Chileans concluded from the children’s accents that they were Spanish, and alerted Spanish authorities, who began their own investigation early last year.

    Ignacio Pelaez Marques, a Madrid lawyer for the Saint Viator order, said Arregui left just because he wanted to teach in Chile. He was employed at Saint Thomas University in Santiago.

    The lawyer said there were never any complaints about Arregui from students in Spain. The Saint Viator order also denied any knowledge of pedophilia, saying Arregui left by his own volition to teach in Chile.



    Cox had been bishop in La Serena, in northern Chile, for seven years when he was removed in 1997 amid rumors that he was a pedophile. He was first moved to Santiago, then Rome, then Colombia, and finally Germany.

    In 2002, Santiago Archbishop Francisco Javier Erraruriz said Cox had agreed to be removed for “inappropriate conduct.” Erraruriz said Cox had shown “affection that was a bit exuberant,” especially toward children. The archbishop acknowledged the rumors, but said, “I’m not aware of any formal allegation backed by evidence and by someone willing to take responsibility.”

    Erraruriz said Cox volunteered to be confined to a Schoenstatt convent in Colombia to continue “praying to God for his pardon for the errors he has made.”

    Cox was given an administrative job in Santiago until 1999, then sent to Rome for psychiatric treatment, then in 2001 transferred to Colombia. He was later seen in Switzerland and then in a Schoenstatt sanctuary in Germany.



    Aguirre was sent out of Chile twice amid abuse allegations and eventually sentenced to 12 years in prison.

    The judge determined that the church had been aware of abuse allegations as early as 1994. Cardinal Carlos Oviedo sent Aguirre to Honduras, where he worked at a girls’ school. A mother accused him of abusing her daughters, then 13 and 16. He left Chile the next day — Sept. 30, 2002, again for Honduras.

    Santiago Archbishop Francisco Javier Erraruriz in 2002 defended the decision to send Aguirre to Honduras the first time.

    “According to what I’ve learned, the preachers are always accompanied by someone, and the effect is very positive. … The response seems to have been adequate in terms of his recuperation. Only afterward, with time, could we see that they were insufficient.”

    Erraruriz sent Aguirre a letter in Honduras ordering him to come back and face justice. He was convicted in July 2003 of sexual abuse of nine teenage girls and the statutory rape of another.

    One of the girls, identified as Paula, was quoted by the Chilean La Nacion daily as saying “I thought it wasn’t that bad to have sex with him because when I told priests about it at confession, they just told me to pray and that was it.”

    She said one of those she confessed to about her sex with Aguirre was Bishop Cox, who himself was facing allegations of pedophilia.



    In 1988 police began investigating reports that Rivera had molested children at two parishes in the archdiocese of Los Angeles — but Aguilar Rivera fled to his native Mexico before he could be arrested. U.S. authorities charged him in absentia with 19 felony counts for molesting 10 children and issued an arrest warrant.

    Over the next 10 years, U.S. authorities sent repeated queries on the case to Mexico, but no action was taken.

    Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony wrote to then-Bishop Norberto Rivera to ask for assistance in apprehending the priest. In his reply, the Mexican bishop said he had told Mahony of the priest’s “homosexual problems” in a confidential letter before Aguilar Rivera joined the Los Angeles archdiocese. Mahony replied that he had not received the letter.

    Once in Mexico, Aguilar Rivera continued to act as a priest at least until 1994, when he was accused of abusing a teenage boy as a priest at the San Antonio de la Huertas church in Mexico City.

    Aguilar Rivera was laicized last year, according to Bishop Accountability, a church watchdog group.



    In 1989 Galvan pleaded guilty in Colorado to sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl. Galvan had the girl clean the rectory and his private room and on several occasions fondled her in his room, according to the girl’s attorney, Alan Higbee.

    Galvan pleaded guilty in March 1989 to third-degree sexual assault and was given a suspended one-year jail sentence in a deferred judgment in which the charge was later dismissed. The girl settled a lawsuit against the Pueblo diocese for more than $90,000.

    In 1992 Galvan became a priest at San Cayetano Church in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and stayed for five years. He transferred to Mexico City in 1997, where he is now an assistant pastor at the Parroquia Nuestra Senora del Sagrado Corazon y San Cayetano.



    The diocese of Orange in Southern California received reports that the Rev. Eleuterio “Al” Ramos had abused children as early as 1975 and sent him for psychotherapy while allowing him to remain in ministry.

    More allegations of abuse were reported in the late 1970s, and Ramos was eventually sent to St. Luke’s Institute in Maryland for about six months of treatment. Parishioners were told he was being treated for alcoholism.

    Church officials transferred him to another parish upon his return, and he served in two more parishes between 1980 and 1985.

    In 1985 Ramos called diocese officials to report that he had “slipped” and had an “incident” with a 17-year-old boy. Ramos assured his superiors that the parents were “not going legal.” Two months later, he was transferred to Divine Providence Church in the Diocese of Tijuana, Mexico.

    The diocese of Orange provided Ramos with a car, paid him $332 a month and paid for car insurance valid in the United States. Ramos was to meet with his psychiatrist once a month and pay the $100 fee and obtain Mexican car insurance.

    Ramos remained in Tijuana until at least 1993, when, according to an internal memo, diocese officials in California strongly urged Tijuana Bishop Emilio Berlie to remove him from active ministry, despite resistance from Berlie.

    Ramos eventually returned to the U.S. and lived in a trailer in Whittier, Calif., before his death in 2004.



    Tully, a member of the Xaverian Missionary Fathers order, served two stints in Sierra Leone, the second after being sentenced to probation in the U.S. in connection with charges of groping adolescent boys.

    Tully first worked as a missionary in Sierra Leone between 1979 and 1985, according to sources who knew him in that African nation.

    In 1991, in Franklin, Wis., Tully was accused of escorting three teenage boys to a baseball game, giving them alcohol and groping one of the youths. He pleaded no contest and was convicted of disorderly conduct in 1992.

    He was sentenced to two years’ probation and barred from unsupervised contact with juveniles. He was transferred to the Institute of the Living for therapy in Hartford, Conn.

    In 1994 Tully returned to Sierra Leone and remained there until a civil war forced him to be evacuated in 1998. He then returned to the U.S.

    In 1998 William Nash told the Xaverians that Tully abused him while he was a 21-year-old student at the Xaverian Seminary in Milwaukee between 1986 and 1988. Nash received a $75,000 out-of-court settlement in 2005 from the Xaverians.

    Soon after another alleged abuse victim in the Boston area came forward in 2002, Tully was moved from the U.S. to Rome and was assigned to a non-ministerial position. He was laicized in January 2009 and now lives in New Jersey.



  3. Times of India, Chennai, 12 April 2010
    Pope May Be Arrested For Crimes Against Humanity On London Visit by Marc Horne

    Richard Dawkins, the atheist campaigner, is planning a legal ambush to have the Pope arrested during his state visit to Britain “for crimes against humanity”.

    Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, the atheist author, have asked human rights lawyers to produce a case for charging Pope Benedict XVI over his alleged cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic church.

    The pair believe they can exploit the same legal principle used to arrest Augusto Pinochet, the late Chilean dictator, when he visited Britain in 1998. The Pope was embroiled in new controversy this weekend over a letter he signed arguing that the “good of the universal church” should be considered against the defrocking of an American priest who committed sex offences against two boys. It was dated 1985, when he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which deals with sex abuse cases. Benedict will be in Britain between September 16 and 19, visiting London, Glasgow and Coventry, where he will beatify Cardinal John Henry Newman, the 19th-century theologian.

    Dawkins and Hitchens believe the Pope would be unable to claim diplomatic immunity from arrest because, although his tour is categorised as a state visit, he is not the head of a state recognised by the United Nations.

    They have commissioned the barrister Geoffrey Robertson and Mark Stephens, a solicitor, to present a justification for legal action.

    The lawyers believe they can ask the Crown Prosecution Service to initiate criminal proceedings against the Pope, launch their own civil action against him or refer his case to the International Criminal Court.

    Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, said: “This is a man whose first instinct when his priests are caught with their pants down is to cover up the scandal and damn the young victims to silence.”

    Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great, said: “This man is not above or outside the law. The institutionalised concealment of child rape is a crime under any law and demands not private ceremonies of repentance or church-funded payoffs, but justice and punishment.” SUNDAY TIMES, LONDON

    Paedophile priest’s accuser describes sexual abuse


  4. New York Times, New York, 11 April 2010
    Worlds Without Women
    by Maureen Dowd

    When I was in Saudi Arabia, I had tea and sweets with a group of educated and sophisticated young professional women.

    I asked why they were not more upset about living in a country where women’s rights were strangled, an inbred and autocratic state more like an archaic men’s club than a modern nation. They told me, somewhat defensively, that the kingdom was moving at its own pace, glacial as that seemed to outsiders.

    How could such spirited women, smart and successful on every other level, acquiesce in their own subordination?

    I was puzzling over that one when it hit me: As a Catholic woman, I was doing the same thing.

    I, too, belonged to an inbred and wealthy men’s club cloistered behind walls and disdaining modernity.

    I, too, remained part of an autocratic society that repressed women and ignored their progress in the secular world.

    I, too, rationalized as men in dresses allowed our religious kingdom to decay and to cling to outdated misogynistic rituals, blind to the benefits of welcoming women’s brains, talents and hearts into their ancient fraternity.

    To circumscribe women, Saudi Arabia took Islam’s moral codes and orthodoxy to extremes not outlined by Muhammad; the Catholic Church took its moral codes and orthodoxy to extremes not outlined by Jesus. In the New Testament, Jesus is surrounded by strong women and never advocates that any woman — whether she’s his mother or a prostitute — be treated as a second-class citizen.

    Negating women is at the heart of the church’s hideous — and criminal — indifference to the welfare of boys and girls in its priests’ care. Lisa Miller writes in Newsweek’s cover story about the danger of continuing to marginalize women in a disgraced church that has Mary at the center of its founding story:

    “In the Roman Catholic corporation, the senior executives live and work, as they have for a thousand years, eschewing not just marriage, but intimacy with women … not to mention any chance to familiarize themselves with the earthy, primal messiness of families and children.” No wonder that, having closed themselves off from women and everything maternal, they treated children as collateral damage, a necessary sacrifice to save face for Mother Church.

    And the sins of the fathers just keep coming. On Friday, The Associated Press broke the latest story pointing the finger of blame directly at Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, quoting from a letter written in Latin in which he resisted pleas to defrock a California priest who had sexually molested children.

    As the longtime Vatican enforcer, the archconservative Ratzinger — now Pope Benedict XVI — moved avidly to persecute dissenters. But with molesters, he was plodding and even merciful.

    As the A.P. reported, the Oakland diocese recommended defrocking Father Stephen Kiesle in 1981. The priest had pleaded no contest and was sentenced to three years’ probation in 1978 in a case in which he was accused of tying up and molesting two boys in a church rectory.

    In 1982, the Oakland diocese got what it termed a “rather curt” response from the Vatican. It wasn’t until 1985 that “God’s Rottweiler” finally got around to addressing the California bishop’s concern. He sent his letter urging the diocese to give the 38-year-old pedophile “as much paternal care as possible” and to consider “his young age.” Ratzinger should have been more alarmed by the young age of the priest’s victims; that’s what maternal care would have entailed.

    As in so many other cases, the primary concern seemed to be shielding the church from scandal. Chillingly, outrageously, the future pope told the Oakland bishop to consider the “good of the universal church” before granting the priest’s own request to give up the collar — even though the bishop had advised Rome that the scandal would likely be greater if the priest were not punished.

    While the Vatican sat on the case — asking the diocese to resubmit the files, saying they might have been lost — Kiesle volunteered as a youth minister at a church north of Oakland. The A.P. also reported that even after the priest was finally defrocked in 1987, he continued to volunteer with children in the Oakland diocese; repeated warnings to church officials were ignored.

    The Vatican must realize that the church’s belligerent, resentful and paranoid response to the global scandal is not working because it now says it will cooperate with secular justice systems and that the pope will have more meetings with victims. It is too little, too late.

    The church that through the ages taught me and other children right from wrong did not know right from wrong when it came to children. Crimes were swept under the rectory rug, and molesters were protected to molest again for the “good of the universal church.” And that is bad, very bad — a mortal sin.

    The church has had theological schisms. This is an emotional schism. The pope is morally compromised. Take it from a sister.


  5. Times of India, Chennai, 11 April 2010
    The Burning Issue: Pope did not punish paederast priest for “the good of the Universal Church”
    by Laurie Goodstein & Michaelluo

    The priest, convicted of tying up and abusing two young boys in a California church rectory, wanted to leave the ministry.

    But in 1985, four years after the priest and his bishop first asked that he be defrocked, the future Pope Benedict XVI, then a top Vatican official, signed a letter saying that the case needed more time and that “the good of the Universal Church” had to be considered in the final decision, according to church documents released through lawsuits.

    That decision did not come for two more years, the sort of delay that is fueling a renewed sexual abuse scandal in the church that has focused on whether the future pope moved quickly enough to remove known pedophiles from the priesthood, despite pleas from American bishops. As the scandal has deepened, the pope’s defenders have said that, well before he was elected pope in 2005, he grew ever more concerned about sexual abuse and weeding out pedophile priests. But the case of the California priest, the Rev. Stephen Kiesle, and the trail of documents first reported on Friday by the Associated Press, shows, in this period at least, little urgency.

    The letter that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, later pope, wrote in Latin in 1985, mentions Father Kiesle’s young age — 38 at the time — as one consideration in whether he should be forced from the priesthood. The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said it was wrong to draw conclusions based on one letter, without carefully understanding the context in which it was written.

    “It’s evident that it’s not an in-depth and serious use of documents,” he said. Earlier Friday, Father Lombardi suggested that the pope would be willing to meet with sexual abuse victims. But John S Cummins, the former bishop of Oakland who repeatedly wrote his superiors in Rome urging that the priest be defrocked, said the Vatican in that era, after the Second Vatican Council, was especially reluctant to dismiss priests because so many were abandoning the priesthood. The letters and memos, released to The New York Times by Jeff Anderson, a co-counsel representing some of the priests’ victims, reveal a rising level of exasperation among church officials in Oakland about the delays from the Vatican.

    Bishop Cummins wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger in February 1982: “It is my conviction that there would be no scandal if this petition were granted and that as a matter of fact, given the nature of the case, there might be greater scandal to the community if Father Kiesle were allowed to return to the active ministry.” NYT NEWS SERVICE


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