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FACT #1Analysis by Riccardo Cascioli-Avvenire:
The Catholic Church has ALWAYS taught that sexual abuse of minors is a damnable sin, of the worst kind, in which Jesus Christ himself said it would be better for someone who does this to tie a millstone around his neck and be thrown into the deepest part of the sea. Catholics involved in sexual abuse have not only failed in morality, but they have also failed in Catholicism, in that they are not practicing the Catholic Christian faith at all.
The total number of all priests accused of sexual abuse of minors is less than 5% of all Catholic clergy. That means more than 95% of Catholic clergy have never been accused and are doing their jobs correctly, living quiet and holy lives in service to their parishes.
In spite of what people say about clerical celibacy being a "cause" of these problems, actual statistics indicate that the majority of sex-abuse of minors is perpetrated by married men; step-fathers, uncles, cousins and live-in boyfriends. Statistically speaking, being a celibate man in the Catholic priesthood actually REDUCES your odds of sexually abusing minors. That's just a matter of statistical FACT.
In the overwhelming vast majority of cases where sexual abuse was reported in the Catholic Church, the alleged victim was a male between the ages of 12 and 18. Victims younger than 12 were almost never reported, and sexual abuse of females was also rare. This is not the clinical definition of pedophilia. It is however a type of predatory homosexuality that seeks to take advantage of underage young men. Therefore the term "pedophile priests" is a misnomer and not based on hard statistical data. A more accurate term should be "predatory homosexual priests."
Homosexual men are not allowed to become priests in the Catholic Church. In order for a homosexual to become a priest he must lie about his homosexuality just to get into seminary and remain "in the closet" indefinitely. If he is ever discovered to be gay, he would be fired and laicized (defrocked).
Sexual abuse of minors is slightly higher in Protestant churches according to data released by insurance agencies that underwrite them.
Sexual abuse of minors is significantly higher in non-religious institutions that deal with children, particularly public schools, where according to a U.S. government report, a child is literally over 100 times more likely to be molested in a public school than in a Catholic church.
The reforms implemented in the US Catholic Church after the sex-abuse scandal of 2002-2003 have been hailed by child protective services as the most comprehensive ever seen in a public institution and have been cited as a model for other institutions to follow.
It all began on May 15, 1974, when a former student of St. John's School for the Deaf presented a denunciation on abuses done to him and to other boys by Father Lawrence Murphy between 1964 and 1970, but -- as has been reported -- after an investigation, the judge in charge filed the case. The Diocese of Milwaukee instead immediately removed Father Murphy, with a temporary permission for reasons of health (until November 1974) which, however, became definitive.
A letter of the Diocese of Superior in 1980 explains that Father Murphy lived in Bounder Junction, Wisconsin, in his mother's house, continuing, however, to exercise his priestly ministry helping the local parish priest.
In the meantime, however, the denunciations to the Diocese of Milwaukee multiplied and between July and December of 1993. Father Murphy was subjected to four long interrogations by those in charge of the archdiocese assisted by expert psychologists in pedophilia. A clinical picture emerged of a "typical pedophile," recommending psychological treatment for sexual obsessions and also pastoral/spiritual support, in addition to a restriction in his ministerial activity.
Evident from the reports of the interrogations is that there were 29 denunciations of boys: Father Murphy admitted "contacts" only for 19 of the boys involved. Demonstrated in subsequent documents is that the Archdiocese of Milwaukee continued in its investigations seeking to speed up the reality and the breadth of the facts, and on July 17, 1996, Bishop Rembert Weakland wrote to the then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, requesting help with the case of Father Murphy and of -- not connected -- another priest, accused of sexual and financial crimes.
Bishop Weakland made reference to the denunciation of 1974 and explained, however, that only recently had he come to the knowledge of the fact that certain sexual crimes occurred during the sacrament of confession, so he officially asked a priest of the diocese, Father James Connell, to conduct an in-depth investigation (the decree is of December 1995).
An obstacle to ascertaining the facts -- said bishop Weakland -- was the understandable reticence of the boys and of the community of St. John's School to make public embarrassing circumstances. Bishop Weakland turned to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to have clarification on the jurisdiction in this case of "crimes of solicitation" (canon 1387), whether it belonged to the diocese or to the congregation.
From subsequent documents it would seem that the letter never arrived on Cardinal Ratzinger's desk and of the then Archbishop [Tarcisio] Bertone, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In any case, in the absence of a reply, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee went ahead and on Dec. 10, 1996, informed Father Murphy that on Nov. 22, ecclesiastical criminal proceedings were opened against him with a court-created ad hoc. The request of the accusation was the "destitution of Father Murphy from the clerical state."
The problem that was posed, however, was that of the prescription of crimes committed, for which the norm of Canon Law would have impeded to proceed. But the archbishop of Milwaukee was determined to single out an exception to the canon taking into account the physical and psychological situation of the victims, an intention endorsed later by Archbishop Bertone in the letter of March 24, 1997.
At the end of 1997, the process then passed to the Diocese of Superior, but the president of the court was the same as that of Milwaukee, Father Thomas Brundage. Evidenced clearly from the documents presented by The New York Times was the intention of the ecclesiastical authorities of Milwaukee and Superior to proceed in the most expeditious way possible to come to an act of justice and reparation for the victims and the community of St. John's School.
In the meantime, Father Murphy wrote a letter to Cardinal Ratzinger (Jan. 12, 1998), requesting the annulment of the process entrusted to him because the Instruction of 1962 provides for undertaking criminal action within a period of 30 days from the moment in which the accusation is presented. Father Murphy asserted, among other things, in addition to being repentant that he was gravely ill and in any case had been living in retirement for 24 years, for which he requested at least not to be reduced to the lay state.
On April 6, 1998, Archbishop Bertone wrote to Bishop Fliss of Superior, in the name of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, explaining that -- after having examined the affair carefully -- there was no fixed period for criminal action as invoked by Father Murphy, so that the process could continue even if -- added Bertone -- it is right to take into account article 1341 of the Code of Canon Law according to which a criminal sanction must be commuted only after having verified that it is not "possible to obtain sufficient reparation for the scandal, the re-establishment of justice, the emendation of the offender" with other means.
Bishop Fliss answered Archbishop Bertone on May 13, affirming that, in keeping with what the congregation indicated, there was the necessity of a prosecution of Father Murphy taking into account the gravity of the scandal and of the great pain inflicted on the Catholic community of St. John's School.
We arrive then at May 30 when there was a meeting in the Vatican between Archbishop Bertone, the undersecretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Father Gianfranco Girotti, and the American prelates concerned with the case. Evident from the minutes of the meeting is that in the congregation there were doubts about the feasibility and opportuneness of the canonical process, given the difficulty of reconstructing the events that happened 35 years earlier, above all that which concerned the crime in the confessional, and given that no other accusations resulted for the period from 1974 onward.
Hence Bertone, at the conclusion of the meeting, summarized the two essential lines to be held: a territorial restriction for the priestly ministry (in practice, Father Murphy had to stay in Superior) and decisive action to obtain the priest's repentance, including the threat of "resignation from the clerical state."
The bishop of Milwaukee wrote again on Aug. 19 to Archbishop Bertone to update him on the measures taken to activate the lines indicated by the congregation, and to inform him of the fact that his diocese would continue to be responsible for the expenses to maintain the therapies for the victims of sexual abuses. In the end, Father Murphy died on Aug. 21, closing the case definitively.
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