Tuesday, September 27, 2005
The Roman Catholic Church of Corruption
Commentary by Mel Seesholtz in the Online Journal:
September 27, 2005—Dante reserved the lowest circle of hell—the circle of treachery—for those who violated trust. He placed quite a few priests, church leaders, and popes there. They’ll be getting lots of company . . .
The larger than usual headline of the Philadelphia Inquirer last Thursday read, “An ‘Immoral’ Cover-up.” A grand jury indicted the Philadelphia archdiocese in a 418-page report detailing rampant pedophilia and sexual abuse as well as decades of well planned, sinister cover-up orchestrated by two Philadelphia cardinals, (the late) John Krol and (recently retired) Anthony Bevilacqua. Krol was and Bevilacqua is an outspoken critic of homosexuality and civil rights for gay and lesbian Americans.
Here are just a few of the documented examples of what predator priests did under the protection of Krol and Bevilacqua:
- An 11-year-old girl was repeatedly raped by a priest who took her for an abortion when she became pregnant.
- A fifth grader was molested by a priest inside a confessional.
- A teenage girl was groped by a priest while she lay immobilized in traction in a hospital room.
- A priest offered money to boys in exchange for sadomasochistic acts of bondage and wrote a letter asking a boy to make him his “slave.” The priest remains in ministry.
- A sadistic priest enjoyed having children play the roles of Jesus and other biblical characters in parish Passion plays. He made them disrobe and whip each other until they had cuts, bruises and welts.
- A priest falsely told a 12-year-old boy his mother knew of the assaults and consented to the rape of her son.
The grand jury found that many victims were abused for years and that many priests abused multiple victims, sometimes preying on members of the same family. Father Albert T. Kostelnick had 18 victims. Father James J. Brzyski, whose conduct the report described as a “criminal rampage,” abused 17 victims, many of them from a single parish. Father Nicholas V. Cudemo abused 16 victims and was allowed to stay in his pastoral role for decades after the first abuse report in 1966.
And how did the archdiocese respond to the grand jury’s painstakingly documented report? In a truly disgusting display of perverted self-interest and bunker mentality, they claimed to be victims.
Even more disgusting is that no criminal charges can be filed against the priests or against “Prince of the Church” Bevilacqua, despite the evidence presented in the grand jury’s report:
After reviewing thousands of documents from Archdiocese files and hearing . . . from over a hundred witnesses, we, the Grand Jurors, were taken aback by the extent of sexual exploitation within the Philadelphia Archdiocese. . . .
For any who might want to believe that the abuse problem in the Philadelphia area was limited in scope, this Report will disabuse them of that impression. The Jurors heard from some victims who were sexually abused once or twice, and from many more who were abused week after week for years. . . . Indeed, the evidence arising from the Philadelphia Archdiocese reveals criminality against minors on a widespread scale—sparing no geographic sector, no income level, no ethnic group. We heard testimony about priests molesting and raping children in rectory bedrooms, in church sacristies, in parked cars, in swimming pools, at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, at the priests’ vacation houses in the Poconos and the Jersey shore, in the children’s schools and even in their own homes. . . .
Cardinal Bevilacqua, Cardinal Krol and their top aides all abdicated their duty to protect children. They concealed priests’ sexual abuses instead of exposing them. . . .
There is no doubt that the cardinals and their top aides knew that Philadelphia priests were abusing children. There is no doubt that these officials engaged in a continuous, concerted campaign of cover-up over the priests’ sexual offenses. . . .
Sexually abusive priests were either left quietly in place or ‘recycled’ to unsuspecting new parishes—vastly expanding the number of children who were abused. . . .
Documents clearly established that Cardinal Bevilacqua knew that the priests had admitted abusing minors. They also established that he alone was responsible for subsequently placing or leaving the priests in parishes where they would present a severe danger to children. . . .
Cardinal Bevilacqua had a strict policy, according to his aides, that forbid informing parishioners . . . The Cardinal, in fact, encouraged that parishioners be misinformed. . . .
Cardinal Bevilacqua was trained as an attorney . . . The Grand Jurors find that in his handling of priests’ sexual abuse, Cardinal Bevilacqua was motivated by an intent to keep the record clear of evidence that would implicate him or the Archdiocese. To this end, he continued many of the practices of his predecessor, Cardinal Krol, aimed at avoiding scandal, while also introducing policies that reflected a growing awareness that dioceses and bishops might be held legally responsible for their negligent and knowing actions that abetted known predators. . . .
To protect themselves from negative publicity or expensive lawsuits—while keeping abusive priests active—the cardinals and their aides hid the priests’ crimes from parishioners, police and the general public.
Archdiocese officials at the highest levels received reports of abuse . . . They chose not to conduct any meaningful investigation . . . They left dangerous priests in place or transferred them to different parishes as a means of concealment . . . They never alerted parents of the dangers poses by these offenders . . . They intimidated and retaliated against victims and witnesses . . . They manipulated "treatment" efforts in order to create a false impression of action . . . They did many of these things in a conscious effort to simply to avoid civil liability.
Moreover, while treating abusers gently, with good wishes and promotions (Bevilacqua included one molester, the Rev. Albert Kostelnick [who had the greatest number of victims], at a 1997 luncheon honoring priests, and promoted him, even though the church had received a constant stream of abuse allegations against him, including an eyewitness account from a fellow priest) the grand jury found that the cardinal had lashed out at those within the diocese who tried to raise an alarm. After a seminarian came forward to report an abuser priest, “Cardinal Bevilacqua ordered an investigation—of the seminarian.” Bevilacqua refused to allow the seminarian to complete his studies and forced him to seek ordination outside the diocese.
And what did Bevilacqua have to say when he testified before the grand jury? As the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, “in his testimony before the Grand Jury, Cardinal Bevilacqua was still attempting to evade responsibility for placing known sexual offenders in parishes where they had easy access to hundreds of children . . . He often suggested he might not have known all the facts and that he delegated the handling of these matters to his Secretary of Clergy. He repeatedly claimed to have no memory of incidents and priests we will never forget.”
Despite overwhelming evidence against priests, cardinals and numerous members of the church hierarchy, the statute of limitations has run out. So the Catholic Church has once again gotten away with crimes against humanity while the depravity and cover-up continue at the highest level.
Pope Benedict XVI’s widely publicized—and strategically timed—plan to purge seminaries of gays is a transparent attempt to shift blame from the corrupt, immoral Church to “homosexuals.” The facts about pedophilia and homosexuality in no way support the pope’s initiative.
The clinical separation of homosexuality and child molesting was acknowledged by the appearance of the words “pedophilia” and “pedophile.” From the Oxford English Dictionary:
Pædophilia. An abnormal, esp. sexual, love of young children.
1906 H. ELLIS Stud. Psychol. Sex V. i. 11 Paidophilia or the love of children . . . may be included under this head [sc. abnormality]. 1926 Med. Jrnl. & Rec. CXXIV. 161/1 One must keep clearly in mind in dealing with pedophilia the distinction between that mediating homosexuality, and the much more pure perversion which is our subject. . . . Hence pædophiliac, -philic adjs., pertaining to or characterized by pædophilia; also as n., a pædophilic person.
1927 Psychoanal. Review XIV. 191 It is only in rare cases that one encounters an individual who has pedophilic predilections and at the same time is suffering from venereal disease. Ibid., Krafft-Ebing . . . in his attempt at psychological explanation falls back on ‘a morbid disposition only’ on the part of the pedophalic [sic] as the motivating factor.
1960 Spectator 8 July 69 The . . . survey . . . shows the paedophiliac to be a type altogether distinct from the adult-seeking homosexual. . . .
1976 Publishers Weekly 26 Apr. 52/1 He contacted fellow pedophiliacs and through them was able to sample many kinds of young girls.
Kathryn Conroy is assistant dean of Columbia University’s School of Social Work. She recently pointed out in The New York Times, “What is forgotten in all of the hysteria about priest sexual abuse is that pedophilia is about a sexual attraction to children (most often, regardless of their sex) and about access.” Dr. Conroy also made the most pertinent point in relation to the pope’s ruse:
Reliable studies show that pedophiles (those adults who sexually abuse children) are overwhelmingly heterosexual. In fact, homosexuals are statistically underrepresented as those who sexually abuse children. . . .
Further, women have far lower rates of sexually abusing children than men do. So if the church were really serious about protecting children from sexual abuse by priests, gays would not be excluded from the priesthood and ordination would be extended to women.
Aside from ordering an “Apostolic Visitation,” the revered Pope John Paul II did virtually nothing about the church’s sex scandal or its predator priests. Given the nature of the Vatican and the plethora of mass-media reports, John Paul II had to know about the massive immoral cover-up carried out by his underlings. Joseph Ratzinger was an ideological clone of John Paul and one of the most politically conservative cardinals. His nickname was “God’s Rottweiler” and “the Enforcer.” He’s now Pope Benedict XVI. Like Cardinal Bevilacqua and his predecessor Cardinal Krol, Benedict XVI isn’t interested in protecting children from predator priests or acknowledging the corruption rampant in the church’s hierarchy. The Vatican is interested solely in protecting itself, its power, and its political campaign against gay and lesbian people.