Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Reportage: Murphy's Law

"He felt like Murphy was so powerful that he couldn't do anything," she said.


William R. Barker said...

* TWO PARTER... (My comments preceded by *)

The archbishop of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, apologized repeatedly Tuesday night for the way his archdiocese handled an abusive priest and he defended the Vatican which has come under fire for not disciplining or defrocking the man.

"Mistakes were made in the Lawrence Murphy case," said Archbishop Jerome Listecki at the end of a special holy week mass at St. John's Cathedral in Milwaukee.

"The mistakes were not made in Rome in 1996, 1997 and 1998. The mistakes were made here, in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, in the 1970s, the 1980s and the 1990s, by the Church, by civil authorities, by Church officials, and by bishops. And for that, I beg your forgiveness in the name of the Church and in the name of this Archdiocese of Milwaukee."

* OK. I "hear" what Listecki is saying, but the very LEAST he owes parishioners and indeed the public at large is to provide the names (identities - alive... dead... defrocked... still an active priest...?) of these various "mistake makers" in a public forum.

* Holy Water is fine and dandy, but I'm more of a Sunshine kinda guy.

* Sincerity demands a reckoning; forgiveness demands PUBLIC penance.

* (Or so saith Pope Bill I of the Holy Church of Barkerism.)

The Vatican says it did not know about the abuse until 20 years after civil authorities investigated and later dropped the case.

However, a recent New York Times story alleged that top Vatican officials, including the future Pope Benedict XVI, failed to act despite warnings from several American bishops.

* Ya know what, Rob... while I haven't been spending much effort on following the story, from snippets I've run across from sources I view as (comparatively) trustworthy, I'm not about to buy the Times' spin without a HUGE pinch of salt.

Jeff Anderson, a lawyer who obtained internal church paperwork, said it "shows a direct line from the victims through the bishops and directly to the man who is now pope."

* Yeah... he SAID. Let's see the documentation. (*SHRUG*)

The apologies are little consolation to many of the victims, three of whom shared their stories on "Larry King Live" Tuesday night.

* "LARRY KING LIVE...?!?!" Really, Rob... "Larry King Live?"

* (Three of 'em btw, huh? Not 13... not 23... not 30?) (Hey... just reacting "in real time" as I read the CNN report.) (*SHRUG*)

* To be continued...

William R. Barker said...


...said Donald Marshall, who said he was abused once during one of Murphy's regular visits to the Lincoln Hills School...

* "SAID...???"


The now-deceased Murphy is believed to have molested up to 200 boys.

* Ahh... originally I skipped right over that "believed" business. Hmm... I should be more careful!


Most of the alleged abuse...

* "ALLEDGED...???"

...students had warned church officials of molestation, according to documents that CNN has seen.

* Yeah...? No offense, but I'd like to see the documents for myself - in context!

* I mean, Rob... com'on... remember all those "documents" claiming Saddam had WMDs? (Both Clintons along with Bob Kerry publicly cited them before supporting the invasion of Iraq if I recall...)


Gary Smith said...

* Again... I'd be a hell of a lot more comfortable with depositions and testimony under oath and hearing both sides.

* Hey... don't get me wrong... I know this shit happens; I'm just applying the same standards to this as I do everything else. (*SHRUG*)

* Just to clarify if need be... my main beef is with this REPORTING so far. (*SHRUG*)

Three successive archbishops in Wisconsin were told of the abuse, but none reported it to criminal or civil authorities, said Anderson, who is representing five men who are suing the archdiocese.

* OK... but contrast to:

Smith and two other classmates eventually reported Murphy to the Milwaukee police. "They did nothing," said Arthur Budzinski, who said he was abused three times.

* Perhaps the police had assured the archdiocese that they had the matter in hand and could be depended upon to follow up... (*SHRUG*)

* Rob. I'm not giving the archdiocese a pass... but I'm following the sequence of the timeline and it doesn't necessarily support the inference CNN seems to be trying to get across.

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee, however, said that abuse was reported in fall 1973 to Milwaukee police, who turned the report over to St. Francis police, but no charges were filed.

* As I was saying... (*SHRUG*)

* Anyway... (*SHRUG*)


* I'd be interested in what other regulars here at Rodak Riffs have to say.

Rodak said...

The big question is what did the (now) pope know, and when did he know it. The next question is what did the cardinals who elected him pope know about what he knew and when did THEY know it.

The Vatican is not really denying that the alleged abuse was actual abuse. What the Vatican is doing is trying to decide whether to stonewall, or whether to come clean and allow sunlight to be cast upon what is clearly A SYSTEMIC, global problem within the Church. It seems probable that the priesthood attracts pedophiles for the same kinds of reason that ballet dancing, figure skating, and clothing design attracts homosexuals.

Moose said...

***The big question is what did the (now) pope know, and when did he know it. The next question is what did the cardinals who elected him pope know about what he knew and when did THEY know it.***

From what I've gathered from the documentation, it looks like the (now) pope knew about this 20 years after the fact when the perv was dying.

Now, you ask a legitimate question. The article you link doesn't provide adequate answers, it only passes off conjecture as stated fact via the author's wording (i.e. "The now-deceased Murphy is believed to have molested up to 200 boys.").

Again, this article that you post brings you nowhere near the answer to the question that I, as a Catholic, want to know.

Rodak said...

The New York Times article that spawned the current controversy makes it quite clear that the pope knew of this case when he was still Cardinal Ratzinger, and was complicit in stonewalling it. I posted the link I posted mostly to take advantage of the opportunity to deploy the pun on "Murphy's Law."

Moose said...

***The New York Times article that spawned the current controversy makes it quite clear that the pope knew of this case when he was still Cardinal Ratzinger, and was complicit in stonewalling it.***

No, it insinuated did not make anything clear or provide any documentation of this. There's a big difference.

Now, here they at least state they have the documents, although they don't show them. We'll see if/when they do.

What it comes down to, Rob, is that you believed the NY Times article without question...this is even after Bill pointed out the sloppy reporting and their insinuations without documentation of facts.

You may be anti-Catholic Church...I don't know.

Rodak said...

If you will go back to the NYT article, or to the link in my previous comment, you will find links to actual documents, sent to Ratzinger from Milwaukee. How can you say that this is all "insinuation" and producing no documents?
Obviously the Vatican would hold the key documents. If they want to release them, they will. If they want to stonewall, they won't. That's all I've been saying.

Here is the paragraph you want to go to. The words "two letters" in the NYTimes link you to actual documents:

"In 1996, Cardinal Ratzinger failed to respond to two letters about the case from Rembert G. Weakland, Milwaukee’s archbishop at the time. After eight months, the second in command at the doctrinal office, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, now the Vatican’s secretary of state, instructed the Wisconsin bishops to begin a secret canonical trial that could lead to Father Murphy’s dismissal.

But Cardinal Bertone halted the process after Father Murphy personally wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger protesting that he should not be put on trial because he had already repented and was in poor health and that the case was beyond the church’s own statute of limitations."

Rodak said...

If you are interested in my fundamental opinion concerning this whole mess within the Catholic Church just follow this link to the "Vox Nova" blog and read my comments there.

Rodak said...

Bottom line, it looks as though Ratzinger is going to let this guy Bertone be his Scooter Libby and take the rap for him. I don't really give a shit, except that kiddy rapists are the lowest kind of human beings and it is disgusting to see them protected by their co-religionists at the highest levels. It makes you wonder what somebody out there might have on Bertone, or on Ratzinger, along the same lines, doesn't it?

Rodak said...

As for this crack

"What it comes down to, Rob, is that you believed the NY Times article without question."

it doesn't "come down to" that, because, in point of fact I hadn't even read the NYTimes article until Bill refered to it, in commenting on my post. I have been listening to Catholics talk about it on TV and writing about it on blogs, but I hadn't read it.

As for the accusation that it's "sloppy reporting," I'd have to ask, How so? The Times got ahold of relevant documents and published them. They reported what persons with personal knowledge on these matters are saying, with names. They can't publish that which people won't give them. That doesn't mean that they should just drop the story.
In what way do you find this reportage "sloppy?" It is quite obvbious that Catholics, both in the U.S. and all over Europe believe it. Why shouldn't I?

Moose said...

***If you are interested in my fundamental opinion concerning this whole mess within the Catholic Church just follow this link to the "Vox Nova" blog and read my comments there.***

From the link:
"Is it not the case that many of the offenders are persons who discovered urges within themselves because of which they feared they would be mocked and scorned and marginalized in society, if such urges ever came to light? And did not some of these, suffering from such a “thorn in the flesh,” reason that if they entered the priesthood, the vow of celibacy would eliminate their fear by eliminating the possibility of such urges ever being acted upon and also make them objects of respect–even love and devotion–to Others–rather than pariahs?
And, in some of these, wasn’t the urge to find shelter from themselves a stronger motive than their vocation for the priesthood? And didn’t the vow of celibacy fail to provide the safe haven that was sought for this very reason? And finally, isn’t this problem systemic and quite widespread?"

See, this is a good discussion. Excellent points and insight. Thanks for sharing, I wish you would have started off with this.

I don't know how widespread or even systemic the problem is. But it is a problem that the Church has brushed under the carpet, if not from Rome then at least from an Arch-Diocesan/Diocesan standpoint.

It sickens me. It's one thing to have urges, it's another to act on them. Think about it, how many people (priest or laity) have these urges and don't act on them? I really don't know and I doubt we could get an answer.

My point of contention is that I don't think this incriminates the current Pope when he was a definitely looks bad for Bertone.

Anyway, your quote I posted above is something I can work with.

Thanks for giving the link.

Rodak said...

I wonder if you would be giving, say--Barack Obama--the same kind of pass if a letter of similar gravity, addressed to him, had been handled in a similar manner by his chief-of-staff? Somehow, I doubt it.
That said, at "Vox Nova," I was addressing a different issue than who should take the fall for the cover-up. I think that it is quite obvious that the Catholic priesthood attracts both gays and pedophiles in disproportionate numbers and I was suggesting why this might be.
Again, I posted the original CNN link not to make any particular point, but rather to make a pun--and I posted it without comment. Bill (and then you) read any motives of mine into the post out of your own imaginations.

Moose said...

If Obama never got this letter then I don't see how I would be able to criticize him for not responding to it. I may not approve of his policies but I try not to be a total partisan hack. But enough of these pretend examples and back to the matter at hand.

None of the documentation the NY Times links shows any evidence that Cardinal Ratzinger knew of these abuses....oh, it implies it but doesn't present factual evidence.

And I wasn't commenting your initial post, just your reply to Bill. I disagreed with that.

Your Vox Nova post, though it addressed a different issue, I thought was better.

Ok, the pun was pretty good.

Rodak said...

The Catholics who are criticizing, rather than defending, Cardinal Ratzinger, seem to be saying that if he didn't know about it, he should have; it was his job to know about it.
Since I'm not a Catholic, I leave it to Catholics to work that out. Bottom line: there has been perhaps as much pedophilia among Protestant ministers--but they all went to jail. The only question with the priests seems to be "why weren't they defrocked in a timely manner?" That's the scandal.

Rodak said...

Moose, you might be interested in this thread at Vox Nova. It's a great discussion of the issues involved.

Moose said...

Great! Thanks for the link, Rob.

I completely agree that, first and foremost, this is a criminal issue before an ecclesiastical one. If the Church is informed that one of their priests may be abusing children, they need to notify the authorities. They can still do their own investigations too. I always wondered why this isn't so.

Good discussion.

Rodak said...

Vox is an excellent blog.