The Trial of the Catholic Church: A Tale of Moral and Financial Bankruptcy


The potential financial bankruptcy of the Catholic Church is rivaled only by the apparent moral bankruptcy reaching from parish priests all the way to the Papal offices of the Vatican. Tens of thousands of cases have emerged in dozens of countries from Asia to Europe and from Australia to the Americas. No country seems immune, and the vulnerability of the victims seems only contingent on the number of clergy.

Over the past week, stories have surfaced of sexual abuse that was actively hidden and aided by the current Pope while he was archbishop of Germany. Joseph Ratzinger, archbishop of Munich and Freising, now Pope Benedict XVI, ignored repeated warnings regarding a priest accused of sexually abusing boys. While Ratzinger was in charge, the accused priest, Peter Hullerman, was briefly transferred to Munich for therapy.

Dr. Werner Huth, a psychiatrist from Munich, told the New York Times: “I said, For God’s sake, he [Hullerman] desperately has to be kept away from working with children… I was very unhappy about the entire story.” His warnings, which he states were repeated to Benedict’s senior aids, went unheeded.[1] Soon after, he was allowed to return to parish work and interact with children. In 1986, Hullermann was finally convicted of sexual abuse yet was still allowed to continued working with altar boys. He was finally suspended, just this month.

As in Boston, where Cardinal Bernard Law was caught actively lying about what he knew, and what he did to cover up the abuse, the Catholic Church is rallying in protection of the Pope, directing attention instead on underlings, and treating the institutionalized pedophilia as isolated and unfortunate incidents.[2] Pope Benedict XVI has admitted that the Church has been “severely shaken” by repeated allegations of high-level cover-ups of sexual abuse,[3] but his letter of apology to Irish victims, released March 20, 2010, was poorly received and deemed inadequate.[4] The letter promises an internal Vatican investigation and a year of penitence.

Adding insult to injury, Bishop Brennan, of County Wexford, Ireland, asked Irish Catholics to help pay the 10 million-Euro ($13.5 million) settlement to some of Ireland’s more than 15,000 abuse victims. The church admits complicity in the cases having actively hidden information from authorities for more than 30 years to protect priests from prosecution and the church from embarrassment.[5] As the Catholic Church is very involved and influential in Irish politics and governance, Irish authorities were also culpable in the cover up and depraved indifference to the continued abuse of the children.

In one such case, Father Bill Carney, accused of abusing 32 named victims and suspected of many more, is still free.[6] Named in the Murphy report, Ireland’s official report into the sexual abuse allegations, Father Carney pleaded guilty to two cases of sexual assault in 1983 before being allowed to continue as a priest and predator, victimizing the youth of his parish for several more years. The Murphy Report states that the Church handling of the situation was nothing short of catastrophic, with no obvious concern for the welfare of children. In addition, there was no attempt by the Garda, the Irish Police, to arrest him because the Catholic Church has so much power and influence in Irish government. The lack of separation between Church and State limited the peoples’ right to investigate and prosecute. In 1992, the Church finally defrocked Mr. Carney, who refused to comply with this judgement. The Catholic Church paid him 30,000 pounds to go away quietly.

These revelations follow closely on the heels of massive scandals in Canada, and most famously, the United States Boston Diocese. While the media coverage of the Boston diocese debauchery put the first cracks in the wall of protection that the church provided its pedophiles, a multitude of cases around the world, and scores of others throughout the US, including over 1,000 in Los Angeles alone that cost the Church $660 million in settlements, are tearing down those walls and eroding the very foundation of the institution. Receiving less attention in the media are recent cases in at least 19 other countries spanning the globe, with victims numbering well into the tens of thousands, thousands of which are in Australia alone.[7]

Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Croatia, The Czech republic, France, Haiti, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, The Philippines, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom are all among the other countries trying to salvage the lives of so many of their youth destroyed by the systemic and institutionalized atrocities perpetrated by the Catholic Church.[8] These are not isolated incidents. The actions of the Church have been purposeful and coordinated in perpetuating the illegal actions of their colleagues. The complicity, at all levels of the administration, has been criminal rather than only immoral and unethical. They have acted with depraved indifference to the victims while aiding and abetting the perpetrators before, during, and after the execution of the offenses.

With the number of victims being equal to the casualties of an international conflict, the war waged on the children of the world by the Catholic Church has been utterly one sided without any chance of defense by the innocent and hapless victims. With hundreds of additional allegations surfacing in Europe since the start of 2010, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, said the scandal of abuse in the country’s churches and schools posed a “major challenge” that could be resolved only through a full and frank inquiry into all cases.[9]

With the vast number of repeated sexual abuse cases reaching epidemic proportions, the unyielding anti-contraception and anti-abortion doctrine of the Church, affective not only in spreading deadly diseases but also in increasing the number of children, may appeal to a hidden agenda rather than simply doctrinal dictate. In the Philippines alone, a predominantly Catholic nation, hundreds of priests have committed sexual abuse against innumerable children in their care. In one case alone, 20 priests from a single parish were found guilty of such crimes.[10] Twenty priests in one parish! It is difficult to accept that others in the institution were not aware while this was happening on such a large scale. According to the record, the Church offered the Filipino victims an apology with a promise that it will never happen again, much like in the case of Ireland, Canada, US, etc. Despite the hundreds of church officials implicated, only a few dozen actually face any charge.

The abuses are not only committed by priests, bishops and cardinals. Horrific acts of physical and psychological abuse, as well as sexual abuse have been committed by nuns, in addition to their complicity in hiding and covering up the actions of others. Homes for unwed mothers and orphans are rife with reports of inhumane cruelty, with ritualized debasing of the defenseless inhabitants.[11]

Increasing numbers of disenchanted Catholics have responded to the Vatican’s growing crisis of credibility by “deregistering” from the church. A growing number of individuals are joining a movement of ex-Catholics, called Count Me Out, who have chosen to leave what is swiftly becoming a defunct and discredited organization. The lack of responsible leadership, and demonstrated depravity of its agents, has crushed the once oppressive authority of the now archaic institution and annihilated its moral capital.[12] “The ordinary person is concerned about the culture of secrecy, something that has been confirmed by the drip, drip of revelations. People will be less inclined to listen to the church on a wide range of social issues now,” says Lorcan Price, a practicing Catholic.[13]

Thus far, the Catholic Church has played the role of co-victim, aligning itself with the abused against the pedophiles it worked so hard to protect. “We are visibly seeking to heal our wounds caused by sexual abuse and moving forward as promised,” stated Bishop W. D. Gregory after the $85 million Boston settlement in 2003.[14] The recent letter from Pope Benedict to the Irish victims was seen as focusing too narrowly on lower-ranked Irish priests and neglecting the Vatican’s responsibility in the scandal.[15] Even while dealing with recent sexual scandal within the very walls of the Vatican, there seems to be a concerted effort to avoid and evade.[16]

Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on settlements in the small fraction of cases that have been adjudicated, and perhaps billions on out-of-court settlements to keep quiet the church’s proclivities. Members are leaving the Catholic Church in droves, taking their tithes and offerings with them, and the Church faces crippling financial burdens as charges and civil suits mount worldwide at an unprecedented rate. The financial impact that the Church has struggled with over past settlements could be minuscule in comparison to the demands for justice and compensation being discovered.

With the recidivism rate of sex offenders well above 50 percent,[17] a conservative estimate due to the lack of reporting, trust in the institution’s rehabilitation is in serious doubt. As members of the clergy have been repeatedly relocated internationally, and actively protected by the Church administration, responsible action dictates that any activities involving interaction between officials of the Catholic Church and minors of either gender should be suspended indefinitely pending the full prosecution and settlement of all reported cases globally. Public funding of any such programs operated by the Catholic Church must also be suspended until such an investigation and prosecution has been completed.

The Catholic Church is not in decline, it has fallen off a cliff. It is a cliff of its own design, but it is a cliff nonetheless. The people of the world, their political representatives, their law enforcement and their courts, must execute their responsibilities and demand full accountability and compensation from, not only the individual perpetrators of these heinous crimes but also the entire organization, including the Vatican, that protected and aided these pedophiles. Letters of apology, hush money, and empty promises will no longer suffice. The Catholic Church, and Pope Benedict XVI, must stand trial.

References

1. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/03/19/earlyshow/main6314082.shtml
2. http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2010/03/21/abuse_coverup_must_have_consequences/
3. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/03/19/earlyshow/main6314082.shtml
4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ukVQli1HTE&feature=player_embedded
5. http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/parishioners-asked-to-help-fund-sex-abuse-compensation-448349.html
6. http://www.atheistmedia.com/2010/03/bbc-newsnight-how-paedophile-priest-was.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+AtheistMedia+(Atheist+Media)
7. http://brokenrites.alphalink.com.au/nletter/bccrime.html
8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholic_sex_abuse_cases_by_country
9 – http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/17/catholic-church-abuse-germany-ireland
10. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholic_sex_abuse_cases_by_country
11. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/08/08/sunday/main567365.shtml
12. http://www.gaire.com/E/f/view.asp?parent=1258475
13. http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2010/0319/Pope-letter-on-Catholic-sex-abuse-scandal-meets-Irish-skepticism
14. http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2003/03-178.shtml
15. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2010/0320/breaking16.html
16. http://www.atheistmedia.com/2010/03/irish-react-to-popes-letter.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+AtheistMedia+(Atheist+Media)
17. http://www.sexoffender.com/sorecidivism_review.html

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15 Responses to The Trial of the Catholic Church: A Tale of Moral and Financial Bankruptcy

  1. Ole Ole Olson
    +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Ole Ole Olson
    March 22, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    That final picture of the Pope is sheer perfection!

  2. Pingback:

    +2 Vote -1 Vote +1uberVU - social comments

  3. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Savo Heleta
    March 23, 2010 at 3:06 am

    Great article!

    I think that decades-long rape, torture, and abuse of children around the world by Catholic priests who were protected by the Vatican need to be investigated by the International Criminal Court as these are global crimes as bad as war crimes and crimes against humanity…

    My post on this can be found here: http://bit.ly/aKIIqd

  4. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1Stuart
    March 23, 2010 at 6:20 am

    A WORLDWIDE MESSAGE

    THE END OF
    FALSE RELIGION
    IS NEAR!
    click link
    http://jehovantodistajat.fi/e/kn37/article_01.htm

  5. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Stuart
    March 23, 2010 at 6:21 am

    When you see Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies, then know that the desolating of her has drawn near.—Luke 21:20.
    In 70 C.E., the Roman armies returned, attacked the city of Jerusalem , and destroyed its temple. Divine judgment was executed upon that Jewish system of things. Something similar is about to take place in our day. Elements within the United Nations will be involved in the execution of divine judgment. Just as the Roman armies of the first century were designed to maintain the Pax Romana (Roman Peace), the United Nations of today is intended to be a peacekeeping instrument. Although the Roman armies tried to ensure relative safety throughout the then known world, they became the desolater of Jerusalem . Likewise today, Bible prophecy indicates that militarized powers within the United Nations will see religion as a disturbing element and will act to destroy modern-day Jerusalem—Christendom—as well as the rest of Babylon the Great.—Rev. 17:12-17. w 9/15/05 12, 13
    (Note modern day Jerusalem is Christendom, they like Jerusalem at one time had the truth but have rejected the truth and have become an apostate nation)

  6. -4 Vote -1 Vote +1Mary
    March 23, 2010 at 8:20 am

    My answer to this is,why judge the many on behalf of the few. The Catholic church is at the forefront of charity work throughout the world. But unfortunately this does not sell papers. When did you last read, for example ”In India today several nuns went hungry so that others might eat”,as I said, this doesn’t sell papers — scandal does. One must bear in mind that at the time those crimes were being committed sex was a taboo subject – not just in Ireland but throughout the world, and so for a Bishop to come out and say such a thing, he is the one who would have been treated as a spreader of pornography. I firmly believe their hands were tied.

    • +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Cath
      March 25, 2010 at 1:16 pm

      and my answer to you is this, Are you serious? Did you not read the article? Did you not understand the magnitude of the defilement of the children by the catholic priests who are even now being protected by their own.
      I put it to you that their hands were not tied, nor were they made dumb by their allegiance to the church, I put it to you that they blatantly ignored what was carrying on right under their noses. A child being molested is NOT something that should ever be kept quiet about, a Bishop put his own neck before that of the abused children’s right to innocence. Better to be accused as a spreader of pornography than to condone the abuse of innocent children by remaining silent. Perhaps if the bishop had spoken up way back then, the catholic church would not be in its present predicament?
      The catholic church should be investigated by the police in every country until every single paedophile inside the church has been caught and brought to trial.
      Child abuse is rape not only of the child’s body but of that child’s mind. Care to imagine how many of those abused children went on to have normal healthy lives?
      Not many I warrant.

  7. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Jean Bean
    March 23, 2010 at 8:51 am

    Look at the last picture. If a picture is worth 1000 words, just two comes to mind. This dude is Evil, and RUN-

  8. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1P. Neisman
    March 23, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Yes agreed that last picture of the Pope says it all, the Catholic Church has been brought into the light of grand corruption, sexual abuse of the congregation and rampant sins against humanity. This is no longer a church organization it has become a pedophile religion. The more this bunch of sexual abusers denies, hides, conceals and protects these criminal priests the more people will leave this church forever. These criminals must be brought to justice, fined and put in prison for life if they are to maintain any sense of decency. This church of pedophiles is a disgusting display of demonic extremists.

  9. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Tom
    March 23, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    u won’t publish my comment because it is objective, so much for this sites integrity.

  10. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Stuart
    March 24, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    The Catholic religion is a false religion. It will be soon be wiped off the face of the earth along with all false religion! Its about time!

    • -1 Vote -1 Vote +1kayla
      March 27, 2010 at 10:29 am

      No, you are wrong, the Catholic church will survive this horrific period in it’s history. It has survived other horrific periods as we all well know. I, as a Catholic, am deeply ashamed of the disgusting behavior of too many priest towards innocent children. But I was raised Catholic and placed in the presence and care of Priests and Nuns and was never phyisically or sexually abused. So there are still decent, God-fearing clergy in the Church. I don’t usually listen to Sinead O’Connor, but I recently read something that she said and it struck me to my very heart. She essentially said that these people who run the church, must not really believe in an all-seeing, all-powerful God, otherwise they would know that God was watching and would have behaved as true Christians!! Her comments are haunting me, and I am terrified to think that perhaps my church is now in the hands of non-believers, because if you know God is watching, how could you behave like this!!?

      • +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Cath
        March 30, 2010 at 6:38 am

        I believe you have to face the truth of a situation in order for you to move on and give yourself freedom from the constraints that religion has imposed on you. Sinead O’Connor has indeed made a very powerful statement.
        The men who run the church and Vatican City are very rich, very powerful and apparently very exempt from every law that applies to us mere mortals.
        The rulers of the catholic church do not practise what they preach, they just expect you and others like you to follow their edict and do as they say not as they do. Do they deny themselves anything? I don’t think so, they are possibly the richest religion on the planet, these are extremely powerful men with a wealth of riches at their disposal. The fact that they have settled large sums of money on abuse cases and bought the silence of the families in question indicates that they believe they can buy their way out of any situation. Where is their contrition? where is their remorse? where is their moral code? why has the sexual age for consent in Vatican City never been changed since it was set at 12 god knows how many hundreds of years ago? Why is there even an age of consent issue? Aren’t they all supposed to take a vow of celibacy? These people have not practised what they preach in a very long time, they expect you to do that. They don’t have to believe in what they are preaching just so long as you do, that way the followers will always keep the provision rolling in to maintain their life styles in the manner they have become accustomed. Vatican City is a business plain and simple.
        If its the case as you say that your god is all seeing and all powerful, why didn’t this all powerful being strike down these paedophiles as they were in the act of defiling yet another innocent child? Why did this so called benevolent god stand back and watch? It has to indicate surely with such strong evidence that there is no god watching because he is a manipulation created by man to control the masses and give them someone to cry out to when they are in pain, very altruistic and noble I’m sure but who answers the children’s cries because I can guarantee you they are in extreme pain.
        Real people answer those cries, real people who are not blinded by religion and ages old scripture that has no bearing on this age or life we live now. We answer those cries and we tell you that your church should fall. We tell you that your church is a front for the biggest paedophile ring on the planet and it has to stop NOW! It should not be allowed to continue after such revelations have been disclosed. It should be eradicated and buried never to raise its ugly head again.
        I was born into the catholic faith and divorced myself from it at the age of 17. I have led a much happier guilt free life since and I take responsibility for my own actions and govern my own behaviour. I do not go and confess my ‘sins’ and wait for punishment to be handed out to me. I accept that I have done wrong (not sinned) and I correct where I can and apologise where I cannot correct my errors in judgement.
        I accept I am human and therefore culpable. I don’t ask for forgiveness from an imaginary being I ask for forgiveness from those I may have wronged.
        I am one individual, by name tag and absence of any faith I am an atheist, I am godless but I have a social conscience, I have empathy for those who suffer at the hands of others and I have morals. I did not need a church and religion to teach me my moral code I learned through my mistakes the way to live my life to my best ability and not hurt those around me. Doe’s that make me a non-believer? in god yes, absolutely, in myself? No. I have faith in myself to do right by me and those people around me who have need to trust in me.
        Perhaps it’s time you started to question the role religion plays in your life instead of questioning how the paedophile priests and non-believers have infiltrated your church.

  11. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1kayla
    March 27, 2010 at 10:21 am

    When pictures of the leader of any religious institution, let alone my religious institution, around children makes your skin crawl, you know something is very, very wrong. The pictures of these children in the presence of the Pope makes me fear for them, they are like lambs to the slaughter. My church really needs to get it’s house in order. I didn’t want Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope, but I prayed he would bring about positive change in the Church. I now doubt that he is even capable of doing this. The Catholic Church needs to undergo a serious cleansing and I’m afraid the broom may have to sweep from the top downwards. I no longer believe in celibacy. God has given us sexuality for a reason, and it seems to me that lifelong repression of this gift cannot be good for anyone involved!! May God protect these children from sick and depraved pedophiles!

  12. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1Dan
    March 28, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Pedo Benedict and his church need to keel over and die already!