12 April, 2010

The Frustratingly Poor Quality of Press Coverage

The Frustratingly Poor Quality of Press Coverage

The whole world now knows about Father Stephen Kiesle of Oakland, the priest who tied up young boys and molested them sexually and whose request to be defrocked came before then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. The press is swarming with assertions that, as the Washington Post headlined its story, "Future pope balked at defrocking priest." This, we are led to believe, is the smoking gun. Raztinger signed the letter in 1985. That is HIS signature. Case closed. Here are the documents.
In talking to reporters, I raised the question: Why was this case in front of Ratzinger in the first place. It does not make sense. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was given jurisdiction over cases of the "graviora delicta" of sexual abuse only in 2001. Before that time, it is a bit unclear who had immediate jurisdiction in Rome, although one point – which I also made to reporters – went unmentioned then and in all the reporting about the future Pope’s role in handling sex abuse cases, namely, the local bishop has the authority to remove a priest from the clerical state. Recourse to Rome is necessary only to dispense a priest from his vow of celibacy, so that he can subsequently be married in the Church.....

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America Magazine

17 comments:

  1. Is the press going overboard in it's efforts to demonize Ratzo and the red hats? Sure they are, there's blood in the water.

    If it hadn't been for the press, nobody would know anything about the problem. No priests would have been removed from responsibility for children. Catholic mothers would still be sending their little boys off to spend time alone with the local priest. The problem would remain unaddressed forever. You know what else Tim? Bottom line is, you'd be fine with that. You'd go about your business, keep your mouth shut about any suspicions you might have and not ask any embarrassing questions and so would all Catholic priests and that is why all Catholic priests, whether they engage in abuse of their position by any perverse deed or not are just as guilty as those that do.

    So now Tim, wounded to the depths of your soul because you "didn't do anything", are offended by the low blows of an opportunistic community of journalists and seek redress. You are just as guilty as the most flagrant and brutal child rapist that ever lived because you had ample warning over the last several decades that this was going on and you did nothing. You let the abuse continue. It's just the same as if you were there and participating and you know it's true.

    Shame on you. Shame on all Catholic priests. You failed yourselves, you failed your oaths, you failed your God and now you seek to shift the blame to those who may or may not get it exactly right when exposing your all too real atrocities in print. You should all be turned out into the street, blinded, branded and lamed, that you never have the ability to harm a defenseless innocent again, as an example to those that would.

    What horrible spineless worms you are.

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  2. Interesting points reddog. I guess the same should be said of the rest of the world. When my wife and her sister were being abused by their father, the family was trying to look like the perfect family to the outside world, and guess who came to their rescue.

    You know the answer, just like I do. NOBODY!!! NO BODY!!! Not the Church, not the teachers who saw these kids every day, and not the parents of their friends.

    Nobody saw this happening right under their own eyes. Why was that? Well, you probably remember the adage applied to children in the 50's, and 60's. "Children are to be seen and not heard." I was never abused, but I knew that as a child, so what voice did an abused child have then? - NONE, ZERO BUPKES.

    Since then we have all learned a lot, including the Church, and Wow, the media saved us all from the abusing priests. It does not matter that the abusing clergy formed a very small part of the abusing populace, and that those who were abused are belatedly getting help.

    What about the ones like my wife, and her sister? Did the press expose the abusing father, uncles, mothers, and neighbours?

    Of course not. There is no identifiable target to go after, and no papers to sell. No sensation or drama. Well, there was for my in laws, and the drama is being lived out in senseless anger at the weakest members of the family, just like in the old days, every day as the last generations dysfunction comes forward to the next generation.

    While you take your venom out on the Catholic Church for reasons only you know, or maybe you don't, who is looking after the majority of abuse victims. Refer above. NOBODY!!! NO BODY!!!

    Abuse should never happen to a young person, or to an adult for that matter. Responsibility has to be taken by those who perpetrated it, and if it was hidden, then that too should be made accountable.

    But, to tar all priests with this as you are trying to do is a lot like the courses being taught at one of our Canadian universities to teach the white folks about their hegemony, and how they brought all the troubles of the world on the poor non-whites.

    If you are not going to look at the good with the bad, and see that there is inherently more good than bad, then you are looking blindly, and the same eye with which you look should look into the mirror, and try to figure out what is really bugging you, that you have to go on the attack all the time.

    This kind of anger is not good for your health reddog, and I am concerned for you, brother.

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  3. There are some members of secular society, teachers, health care workers, policemen, social workers, probation officers, etc. who are required by law to report suspected abuse. Some do, it usually turns out badly for them, so they keep quiet.

    My friend was a high school English teacher. She had a student who admitted to her that her father was chronically sexually and physically abusing her, after repeatedly attending class in an emotionally withdrawn state, with severe contusions, abrasions and lacerations plainly visible. My friend reported this. A social worker came and the girl was removed from her family and placed in custodial care. Within a few days, she was returned to her family and was back in class, beaten worse than ever. The girl begged her to keep quiet, that she would be 18 years old in a year and a half and to just leave her alone until then. My friend reported the situation again. The girl was immediately transferred to another teachers class and she, herself, was transferred to another school, disciplined for being a trouble maker and her employment record was amended to show that she was a teacher of below average performance and that any further aberrant behavior on her part would result in dismissal. No administrator wanted her at their school after that and she ended up teaching at a remote continuation and adult ed site in a high violent crime, drug and gang infested area. That's where she spent the rest of her career. She did her job. The gang bangers loved her, their English improved and she walked the streets in perfect safety. She learned there are other more effective but less official routes for reporting abuse upon innocents and that a more lasting and effective justice could be obtained for them.

    If they valued righteousness more than reputation, the Church could have developed an "informal" system of dealing with abuse in their ranks. The problem would have been quickly solved with little or no publicity. They did not.

    The moral of this story is, you want Christianity, you're better off getting it with drug traffiking gang bangers, from the business end of a tire iron or TEC 9, than a Catholic priest and you'll also get more social justice from them than the police or courts.

    Funny World. Nothing amusing about Catholic Priests though. They're scum. Just because the secular World is too, is no excuse. That's why we're supposed to have religion. By lumping them together, you only show your cowardice and craven, bestial nature.

    ReplyDelete
  4. reddog: FYI... I have three times gone to the police with allegations brought to me about other priests. I am not a popular soul at the annual company Christmas party, but I could care less. If today someone came to me with another allegation, I would go to the police (or CAS if they were the appropriate agency - depends on age of victim) again in a heartbeat.

    I am not unique as a priest. I know others who have done the same. I know that they would do it again without hesitation if the need arose.

    The problem is not that there are predatory priests... there will always be a few in every profession and vocation. The problem is that the Bishops have FAILED SPECTACULARLY in fulfilling their obligations to deal with these affairs justly and properly.

    I also point out that the Police have similarly failed. When they did not take steps to deal with one of the cases that I brought to them (I even brought a letter written by the priest asking a 13 yr old boy to come and cut the grass at his house,with the promise of some pretty perverted sexual acts offered as payment - he was already suspended from the priesthood so he had his own house) and complained about the lack of police investigation, the investigating officer from the Surete du Quebec started to attack me, asking why I was 'persecuting' someone who was 'obviously mentally ill'.

    Hope I haven't damaged your twisted view of we priests but I thought it important to make these points so that I might offer evidence that not all of us are scum, craven, cowardly or bestial in nature.

    Fr. Tim

    P.S. Please offer a prayer on my behalf over the next 48 hrs. It seems that I being taken to the woodshed on Friday as I've been summoned to the Bishop's office. When I asked what the subject of the meeting was about, I was told it had to do with my reporting the most recent offender (who is now facing 8 criminal counts involving 3 victims. The Bishop seems to believe that I should have left it with him to deal with. I chose to walk a different path as I had no confidence that the case would be referred to the Police. Should be a fun meeting.

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  5. BTW... the reason that I am so passionate about this issue and have brought the police into these cases comes from sources:

    1. I was a CAS protection worker when I graduated with my first Social Work degree. I know the damage that adults can do to children from first hand experience.

    2. I was sexually assaulted for a number of years when I was a child. It was not by a priest but by someone my father hired to help care for we kids when my mother was undergoing cancer treatments. I was told that if I ever 'squealed' about what happened to me that it would 'break my mother's heart' and she would die hating me. Fun pile of shit to load on the shoulders of a 4-5 year old kid. It was only in the past year that I ever told anyone about what happened to me... meaning I carried that load for over 45 years before I was able to break the silence.

    I have NO SYMPATHY, CHARITY or CONCERN for the consequences to any priest, minister, or garbage collector who inflicts such a devastating abuse on ANY child. It is for this reason, and this reason alone that I really, really take offense at your portrayal of priests as you do. SOME are as you describe... the overwhelming majority are just like you or me - ordinary good men doing the best they can in life.

    However, I do not edit or block your comments (even when they are hateful) because I believe that you have something valuable to offer to these discussions. I would however ask you to consider toning down your language, even if I continue to post your offerings without change.

    Fr. Tim
    Fr. Tim

    Fr. Tim

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  6. wow... what a stutter!

    S..s..sorry.

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  7. Good for you, Tim.

    I know from personal observation and experience that all but the most glaring cases of physical and sexual abuse that show up in hospital emergency rooms are purposefully never documented or reported.

    It doesn't help that some nurses are victims of domestic abuse and police officers not uncommonly abuse members of there own families. Hospital administrations frown on getting involved in situations that involve allegations of abuse and always feel vulnerable because they know they have their own skeletons in the closet. It's a sad World, isn't it?

    On a slightly unrelated note, I am convinced that one of the main reasons that nuns got pushed out of the hospitals that they founded and ran was because of their principled stands on ethical issues of medical practice within their facilities. It certainly had nothing to do with standards of care or economics of sound business practice, as they had no peer in these areas.

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  8. Tim,
    You have had a tough childhood. What do you think about the alleged world-wide coverup of sexual abuse in the RCC lasting many decades? What about the directive issued in 1962 ordering bishops to follow a code of secrecy in such cases? Is that within your prerogative to comment or not on it?

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  9. Iam so sad to say I;m ashamed ,in my opinion I feel the Hierarchy of the church was missing in action and has been for many years.I once tried to talk to my priest about the Christian Brothers debacle on the East coast and was sarcastically put down.I always assumed that priests were naturally from the more intelligent part of the gene pool so it never fails to amaze me that a group of vulnerable orphans were left in the care of an institution ran by men only ,where were the social workers , the H/keeping staff ,delivery people ,All sworn to silence? were they so naive they didn't think for a minute how opportunistic this situation would be to every pedophile in the country?and what about the payouts where did Bernard Law get the money for the payouts is this money from the collection plates? who authorized it ? Can bishops make monetary decisions without lawyers and accountants knowing where the money came from?Oh yes yes yes lots of people better hit the confessional jamanne

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  10. Hi Tim,

    One of the many sad consequences of this scandal is that it tars every priest in the Church with same brush. As critical as I am of the hierarchy on this issue, I believe that the ministries of many good men and women will suffer as a result.

    Good luck on Friday. I am convinced you are one of the good guys.

    Cheers...Martin

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  11. "Fr. Tim said:....2. I was sexually assaulted for a number of years when I was a child. It was not by a priest but by someone my father hired to help care for we kids when my mother was undergoing cancer treatments. I was told that if I ever 'squealed' about what happened to me that it would 'break my mother's heart' and she would die hating me. Fun pile of shit to load on the shoulders of a 4-5 year old kid. It was only in the past year that I ever told anyone about what happened to me... meaning I carried that load for over 45 years before I was able to break the silence."

    My heart goes out to you Fr. Tim! I cannot comprehend how a person can do that to a child, to any child. It is so sad.
    Lots of hugs,
    Lina

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  12. "Anonymous said... Hi Tim,

    One of the many sad consequences of this scandal is that it tars every priest in the Church with same brush. As critical as I am of the hierarchy on this issue, I believe that the ministries of many good men and women will suffer as a result.

    Good luck on Friday. I am convinced you are one of the good guys.

    Cheers...Martin"

    I totaled agree with Martin's post.

    I for one do hope the Bishop does not send you away as a being part of you being disciplined or take your computer away from you. I must not be the only person here that is a little worried what will become or happen to you.

    I wonder if the clergy is something like the army, once your part of the Catholic clergy all they expect you to say is...yes sir?

    I haven't been good at prayer lately. I am going through sort of a personal crisis in my (Roman Catholic) faith. If anything, your situation is paving a way for me to slowly moving back to prayer.

    I hope all goes well for you on Friday Fr. Tim.

    Lina

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  13. Brother Wayne:

    See AP article here.
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100412/ap_on_re_eu/eu_church_abuse

    Next, get a copy of Crimen Sollicitationis or look here at wikipedia for some guidance.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimen_sollicitationis

    Here's an English translation of Crimen.
    http://www.sarabite.info/crimen.pdf

    Go for it, brother.

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  14. Wayne:

    What about the world wide coverup of sexual abuse period?

    Father Tim has just told you something that he has kept secret for most of 46 years.

    My own Dear Wife was sexually abused when she was a child, as was her sister, by their father. My wife only started to deal with it 15 years ago, at about age 46(over 30 years after the fact). Her sister now approaching 60 has never touched it (now 45 years after the fact).

    The cover up of sexual crimes against children is far broader than the Catholic Church, though sadly it includes the Catholic Church.

    It does dishonour to Fr. Tim and to My Dear Wife and her sister and all victims of abuse to waste energy on this. It revictimizes them.

    History cannot be changed, but the future can. Our energy as Catholics should be to ensure that our Church is doing all it can to make sexual abuse from this day forward not happen. Much has been done already. More is needed.

    You know how the Boy Scouts have kept their sexual abuse stats down? They refuse to allow homosexuals as leaders. you know what the RCC is doing in part to prevent this in the future? You probably guessed it, screening out sexually active homosexuals when accepting applications for the seminary.

    The gays and human rights folks will have a field day with the Human Rights complaints that follow, but the numbers in this case don't really lie.

    Priest by and large that commit sexual offences are not pedophiles. They are largely homosexual acts called eubophilia, against 11-17 year olds.

    Watch how slippery the slope gets now.

    Wayne, we don't need your judgment. We need your prayerful intercession.

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  15. I am sorry to hear Tim was sexually abused when he was a youngster. Also, likewise, I am sorry to hear your wife and her sister also were sexually abused when they were children. Those kinds of things do cause painful memories that I'm sure one would rather forget, and the emotional scars that are difficult to deal with. I would pray that anyone who has been through that, that God would provide healing and peace.

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  16. Tim,

    "P.S. Please offer a prayer on my behalf over the next 48 hrs. It seems that I being taken to the woodshed on Friday as I've been summoned to the Bishop's office. When I asked what the subject of the meeting was about, I was told it had to do with my reporting the most recent offender (who is now facing 8 criminal counts involving 3 victims. "

    You do have a lot of courage for doing the right thing, and that needs to be recognized and commended. I pray you are not "being taken to any woodshed". You should be commended.

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  17. Dear Wayne:

    Our prayers are not dissimilar.

    When my wife came forward about what had happened to her, which did not surface for her (having long been buried) until her first child left home to go away to school 15 years ago, her family rejected her, because she had let out the family secret. They rejected me because I knew it now.

    It is often a trauma, like a female child leaving home, that awakens in a woman, abuse from her own childhood, as she knows she can no longer protect that child from the evils of the world. This happens, even though in her conscious she has no immediate knowledge that she had been abused.

    She cried for months, off and on, first with no knowledge why, and then the memories of what had happened, including some of the specific hows, surfaced for her. She spent years and a lot of money seeking help, and found it, though the strength that had gotten her through and continued for her was her faith in God and his love for her, particularly His Son Jesus.

    Her sister has denied much, spoken little, and separated herself from the family, including taking aim at my wife, for what she thinks my wife has done to her. But, it is her sorrow and her own shame that are haunting her.

    Two other sisters and two brothers have dealt with the second hand smoke of the sexual abuse, as well as the emotional and physical abuse that they received as children, leaving one mess of a family, where dysfunction is normal, and normal is beyond comprehension.

    My Dear Wife has tried to reach out unsuccessfully to her siblings, having been refused contact by a few, and having cordial contact with a few. Denial is the order of the day.

    But, one day the chickens will come home to roost.

    So, you can see why I am not interested in limiting talk of abuse to the Catholic Church. It has happened, and sadly some more may still, as sinful people pursue their sinful pleasures at their whim. But, this world wide epidemic of lack of respect for the beauty of each of God's creatures, particularly but not limited to His human ones, which is manifesting in the stealing of childhood innocence, the innocence that Jesus calls us to come to Him with is heart wrenching.

    This does not go away by quoting scripture, but by prayer and supplication, by praise and worship, and by using the gifts of knowledge and wisdom that God has given us, all of which is in fact scriptural.

    I join my prayer with yours for healing and peace for all abuse victims, and also join you along with My Dear Wife in your prayer for Father Tim, that God will give him Wisdom to speak today to his Bishop, and that above all God's will be done in his meeting.

    ReplyDelete

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