The Catholic Church Sex Scandal and The Missing Link
By Charlie Toye
The Boston Globe wrote an outstanding book about its investigation of the recent sex scandal in the Archdiocese of Boston. This was primarily focused on the horrible activities of the priests who committed the sexual abuse crimes. The Attorney General of Massachusetts wrote a report on his investigation of the cover-up of the sex crimes by the hierarchy of the archdiocese over the last 60 years. What is missing is how such an evil calamity could possibly be perpetuated for such a long period of time under the watchful eyes of the Holy See and the Vatican curia?
It must be remembered that the thousands of pages of evidence collected during the investigation came from the Catholic Churchís own records. The release of these records was not accomplished through the generosity of the Church, but only after bitter court battles between the lawyers of the victims, the Church lawyers, and grand jury investigations. The Church did everything in its power to keep its records of crimes secret in order to cover-up the terrible atrocities that were perpetrated on the victims, the children of the faithful.
Former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating resigned from the National Review Board for the Office of Child and Youth Protection that he chaired and the US. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) had recently established. Mr. Keating related the Churchís cover-up schemes to those techniques used by the Mafia. Mr. Keating was correct: the payment of hush money, the use of patsies (doctors and institutes) to shift responsibility, the intimidation of the victims and their families, the secret contracts used to protect the image of the priests and the Church could easily be from a chapter in the Mafiaís handbook on deceptive management procedures. The Church cover-up is about secrecy, image, and power and not about God, morality, or the Catholic faith. The Church records in the public domain clearly show that the Vatican knew what was going on and apparently did nothing to stop it.
It is a mystery how such horrible crimes could be perpetuated in front of the Vatican for such a long time? In one way or another, virtually all of he bishops who served in the Archdiocese of Boston over that period of at least 60 years were aware of the evil situation they were operating under. Unfortunately, there are no indications in the public records that any of them did anything substantial to stop such horrific sexual abuse activities, or if in fact they did, then obviously, they completely failed.
Bishop John B. McCormack of New Hampshire learned the Mafia techniques so well while serving under Cardinal Law that he carried them with him to New Hampshire when he was appointed diocese bishop. He eventually got caught on criminal charges, but skillfully managed to negotiate his way out of them. This probably earned him a round of applause in the Old Boysí Club of the Princes of the Church.
The laws in Massachusetts were much weaker than those in New Hampshire so Cardinal Law could play the arrogant and forceful defiant role he engaged in at the beginning of the sex scandal investigations - until the tide turned.
What happened to him is like a skit taken out of C. S. Lewisí book, The Scewtape Files, when, after winning the heart of his victim, Satan eventually turns the tables on him and exposes his evil doings so that he is disgraced and humiliated all the way to hell. Of course, thanks to the overwhelming generosity of the Church, Cardinal Law has it made.
Cardinal Law played many roles during the sex scandal investigation of his Archdiocese. He was the poor misguided archbishop who never followed up on the orders he gave to his subordinates because he thoroughly trust them to complete their assignments, he never reviewed the personal files of the habitual sex abusers he transferred because he always trusted his staff to keep him informed. He had three different personal files for each priest in three different locations and one of these files was under lock and key and held by a trusted bishop. This is quite an elaborate personnel system for a religious organization to establish and then have the boss ignore it, because he had absolute faith in his staff.
But, the best role the Cardinal played was that of a comic in a seemingly Good Cop, Bad Cop vaudeville act. The Cardinal was the Good Cop and his finance committee the Bad Cop who rejects the Cardinalís recommendations to fund the settlement claims of the victims. However, the judge saw through this ludicrous scheme and reminded the Cardinal that as Archbishop, he has all the authority he needs to legitimately settle the financial aspect of the cases. The gross mismanagement of the entire sex scandal by this Harvard boy reduces the intellectual, social, and moral image of the city of Boston, that is probably a far more drastic loss to society than the total evaporation of the moral authority of his administration.
The missing link in all of this fiasco is what is the relationship between the Vatican and the Catholic Church in America, or in Ireland, or Asia, or the other places where sexual abuse is being exposed in the Church because of such felicitous antics of its Princes. Many of them preferred medical remedies to spiritual ones when it came to habitual sinners. Is that because they donít know what habitual sin is or do they fear the lose of the Church image more than their moral responsibilities? The Executive Summary of the Massachusettsí Attorney Generalís investigative report concerning the sex abuse of children in the Boston Archdiocese stated:
"4. Archdiocese Officials Did Not Provide All Relevant Information to Law Enforcement Authorities During Criminal Investigations
"In the very few cases where allegations of sexual abuse of children were communicated to law enforcement, senior Archdiocese managers remained committed to their primary objectives - safeguarding the well-being of priests and the institution over the welfare of children and preventing scandal - and often failed to advise law enforcement authorities of all relevant information they possessed, including the full extent of the alleged abuser's history of abusing children."
Comment: Well, the culprit for all of this mess seems to have been found in the recent 1962 document "Crimen Sollicitationis" ("the crime of solicitation"), issued March 16, 1962, by the Vatican's Holy Office, now called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the signature of Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani. This might not be the complete solution, but it certainly is significant part of the puzzle. The document can be found on the internet: www.cbsnews.com.hdocs/pdf/criminales.pdf
This 1962 document recommends secrecy as the means to use for handling sexual abuse cases in a way that would protect the image of the Church. The article initially starts with the sexual sins of priests relating to Confession, but then broadens out to other areas of sexual abuse in the Church as follows:
"FROM THE SUPREME AND HOLY CONGREGATION OF THE HOLY OF1CE
"FOR PATRIARCHS, ARCHBISHOPS, BISHOPS AND OTHER DIOCESAN ORDINARIES "EVEN OF THE ORIENTAL RITE"
ON THE MANNER OF PROCEEDING IN CASES OF SOLICITATION
"The Vatican Press, 1962
"On the manner of proceeding in cases of the crime of solicitation
"[This text is] to be
diligently stored in the secret archives of the Curia
as strictly confidential. Nor is it to be published nor added to with any commentaries.
1. The crime of solicitation takes place a when a priest tempts a penitent, whoever that parson is, either in the act of sacramental
Confession, whether before or immediately afterwards, whether on the occasion or the pretext of confession, whether even outside the times for confession in the confessional or in a place] other than that (usually)
designated for the hearing of confessions or [in a place chosen for the simulated purpose of hearing a confession. [The object of this temptation
Is to solicit or provoke (the penitent] toward impure and obscene matters, whether by words or signs or nods of the head, whether by touch or by writing whether than or after (the note has been read) or whether he has had with [that penitent] prohibited and improper speech or activity with reckless daring (Constitution Sacrum Poenitentiae 1)
"2. [The right or duty of addressing] this unspeakable crime in the first instance pertains to the Ordinaries of the place in whose territory the accused has residence (V. below, numbers 30 and 31),"
Comment: Right from the beginning this document is declared to be so secret that it will be buried in the depth of the secret archives of the Curia as being strictly confidential. This is because the entire hierarchy of the Catholic Church is sworn to secrecy regarding its procedures for handling sexual abuse cases."
Secrecy is the name of the game as the document indicates herein:
"11. Because, however, what is treated in these cases has to have a greater degree of care and observance so that those same matters be pursued in a most secretive way, and, after they have been, defined and given over to execution, they are to be restrained by a perpetual silence (Instruction of the Holy Office, February 20, 1867, n. 14), each and everyone pertaining to the tribunal in any way or admitted to knowledge -of the matters because of their office, is to observe the strictest secret, which is commonly regarded as a secret of the Holy Office in all matters and with all parsons, under the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae ipso facto and without any declaration [of such a penalty] having been incurred and reserved to the sole person of the Supreme Pontiff, even to the exclusion of the Sacred Penitentiary, are bound to observe [this secrecy] inviolably. Indeed, by this law the Ordinaries are bound ipso jure or by the force of their own proper duty. The other helpers from the power of their oath which they must always take before they undertake their duties. And these, then, are delegated, are interpolated, and are informed in their absence means of the precept in the letters of delegation, interpolation, [or/ of] information, imposing upon them with express mention of the secret of the Holy Office and of the aforementioned censure.
"12. The aforesaid oath, the formula for which is to be found in the appendix of this instruction (Form A) must be used (by those, obviously, who will use it habitually, once for all. "
Comment: Thus, the secret of the Holy Office calls on all the power of the Pope to provide the ultimate form of secrecy in the handling and disposing of sexual abuse cases according to Canon law which the document frequently reference. The document is designed to enforce, in the most extreme way, the secrecy required in the 1962 Church document regarding sexual cases issued in 1867. Therefore, the policy of secrecy for crimes of the Church was nothing knew to the Vatican or the hierarchy in 1867 as it was when this document was prepared in 1962. Hence, secrecy was firmly embedded in the culture of Church and practiced by the Old Boys Club of the Princes, for many, many years.
What about the faithful who are the victims in most cases? How do you keep them quiet? Well certainly, one way to do that is to impose the "secret" on them. After all, who would want to have to go to confession only to the Pope and confess that he broke the "secret of the Holy Office" -- ouch! That should do it!
The 1962 document doesnít miss a trick, as is indicated in the following:
"13. The oath of keeping the secret must be given in these cases also by the accusers or those denouncing [the priest] and the witnesses. To none of these, however, is there subjection to a censure, unless by chance toward these same persons some censure has been expressly threatened upon the person himself, for his accusation, his deposition or of his violation (Excussiois?) [of such] by act. The accused, however, should be most seriously warned that even he, with all [the others], especially when he observes the secret with his defender, is under the penalty of suspension a divinis in case of a transgression to be incurred ipso facto"
Comment: So now all parities are well controlled in a complete entanglement of secrecy and conspiracy, and as the Attorney Generalís report indicates, this is done to protect the image of the Church!
The very last section of is document broadens the scope of sex abuse to include the issues relevant to the current scandal in the Church as follows:
"THE WORST CRIME
"71. By the name of the worst crime is understood at this point a signification of any obscene external deed, gravely sinful, in any perpetrated by a cleric or attempt with a person of his own sex.
"72. Those things that have
been stated concerning the crime of solicitation up to this point are also
valid, changing only those things necessary to be changed by their very
nature, for the worst crime if someone by chance in the presence of the
Ordinary of the place, concerning which may Cod prevent) happens to be
accused, having accepted the obligation of the denunciation from the positive
law of the Church, unless perhaps it has been joined with the crime of
solicitation in sacramental confession. In decreeing penalties, however,
against delinquents of this type, besides those, which are found spoken of
above and they should also be kept before one's eyes (Canon 2359, ß2)
"73. To have the worst crime, for the penal affects, one must do the equivalent of the following: any obscene, external act, gravely sinful, perpetrated in any way by a cleric or attempted by him with youths o either sex or with brute animals (bestiality)
"74. Against accused clerics
for these crimes, if they are exempt
religious, and unless there takes place at the sane time the crime of
solicitation, even the regular superior can proceed, according to the holy
canons and their proper constitutions, either in an administrative or a
judicial manner. However, they must communicate the judicial decision
pronounced as well as the administrative decision in the more serious cases to the Supreme Congregation of the Holy Office.
"FROM THE AUDIENCE OF THE HOLY FATHER. MARCH 16, 1962
"Our Most Holy Father John
XXIII, in an audience granted to the most
Eminent Cardinal Secretary of the Holy Office on March 16, 1962,
approved and confirm this instruction, ordering upon those to whom it
pertains to keep and observe it in the minutest detail.
"At Rome, from the Office of the Sacred Congregation, March 16, 1962.
"Place of the seal A. Cardinal Ottaviani
Comment: As one can easily see, the 1962 document ties all the loose ends of the Churchís cover-up scheme together and is a very powerful instrument in preserving the image of righteousness in the Catholic Church during the course of such horrific and despicable sex crimes. Once this mindset is established, then the means of compliance justifies its end and anything goes! That appears to be the case in the present sex scandal. The Mafia type techniques provide a perfect scheme for filling this objective. Naturally, the United States Conference of Bishops is up in arms over the release of this document as indicated below:
"1. NEWS BRIEFS Aug-8-2003
"By Catholic News Service
"USCCB says critics are 'distorting' 1962 Vatican sex abuse document
"WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The U.S. bishops' communications office has sharply repudiated claims that a 1962 Vatican instruction on church procedures to deal with priests accused of using the confessional for sexual solicitation provided a "ground plan" for a church cover-up of sexual abuse. Those making this claim ... are taking the document entirely out of context and therefore distorting it completely," said the statement issued late Aug. 7 by the Department of Communications of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops."
Reply: How can you take that document out of text, its objective of secrecy couldnít be emphasized anymore? The statement continues:
"The 1962 document has no bearing on civil law. It does not forbid the civil reporting of civil crimes," the statement added."
Reply: What a remarkable falsehood? If the accuser violates his "secret of the Holy Office" oath, then he is immediately excommunicated and can only be absolved by the Pope. How can he possibly tell anyone? By innuendo, as stated in paragraphs 11 and 13 above, no one talks! Obviously, to implement secrecy, many victims of the present sex scandals were required to sign contracts and be sworn to secrecy. The facts of such tactics speak much louder then the above hollow lie. Once again the dear Princes are at it. When will they learn to tell the truth?
"Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, in a statement posted Aug. 7 on his archdiocesan Web site, said, "It is hard to understand how anyone could construe this severely punitive document (against priests who commit the crime of solicitation) as a 'blueprint for deception' by Pope John XXIII." The document in question, titled "Crimen Sollicitationis" ("the crime of solicitation"), was issued March 16, 1962, by the Vatican's Holy Office, now called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the signature of Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani. It was replaced by a new instruction issued in 2001."
Reply: Of course from 1867 to 2001 is only 134 years in which secrecy has been the official Church policy for the handling of sexual abuse cases -- and still is. Where can one find the new "instruction" Bishop George mentioned above? Why isnít it given on the USCCB web site if it is going to be referenced? Maybe, it too is classified as CONFIDENTIAL?"
The following are some objections to the 1962 document given by the bishops:
1. Some bishops claim that since the 1917 Canon Law was revised in 1983, this 1962 document is no longer viable.
Reply: However, this document didnít amend or revise Canon Law in 1962, but provided an atmosphere in which certain sexual abuse cases must be conducted and was a supplement to the 1867 document it referenced. That atmosphere as described in the 1962 document is total secrecy. The Mafia techinques used to enforce this document over the years are natural responses to the conspiracy of secrecy. The motivation for such deceptive action is, as the Attorney General rightfully concluded, to protect the image of the Church.
This conclusion seems to logically explain many of the immoral actions taken by the hierarchy concerning their disgraceful handling of the sexual abuse cases, such as the use of multiple personnel files to hind the facts of the sexual crimes that were committed.
2. Secrecy has been used as an excuse to protect the reputation of those involved in the sexual abuse cases.
Reply: But wouldnít an innocent person want his reputation cleared and his innocence known to all? I believe the reply to this question would be mostly affirmative, unless, excessive intimidation, threats, or deception were used as scare tactics or methods of deceptive consolation. There are plenty of examples of such tactics recorded in the statements of the sex-abused victims.
3. The Conference of Bishops also claims that the 1962 document does not prevent compliance with civil laws requiring the reporting of sexual abuse crimes.
Reply: On the contrary, paragraph 11 of the 1952 document, given above, explicatively states that silence is to be "perpetual" as stated in the 1867 document. The oath of the "secret of the Holy Office" is taken for life.
Secrecy in the Church, designed to cover-up hideous crimes did not begin with the 1867 document issued by the Vatican, but many centuries earlier. Secrecy is use to protect the image of Church as noted above. That image is the image of its founder, Jesus Christ. But that concept is a fallacy because the result is just the opposite. Evil deeds cannot be used to promote the message of Our Savior. That is the illogical reasoning that C. S. Lewis warns us against and seems to be an incomprehensible stumbling block for the hierarchy to overcome.
Secrecy has been deeply woven into the very fiber of the Catholic Church. Neither the USCCB nor the Vatican has issued any documents in relationship to the sex scandal to either refute or revoke this concept. The hierarchy seems to be incapable of policing itself. The safety of the children of the Catholic community apparently rests in the civil laws of society rather than with the moral fortitude of the Princes of the Church. Catholics must look to district attorneys instead of their own bishops. The proof of this is in the large number of court cases that have to be settled. Passing more sturgeon laws in this area will help, but not curb the problem in the hierarchy until the mindset of the Princes is drastically change. Unfortunately, that is not going to happen in the administration of Pope John Paul II. His administration balked at the idea of releasing Church documents to civil authorities. An American bishop even recommended that such documents be given to the American Nuncio who enjoys immunity from civil laws. It seems to be quite obvious that Catholic leaders do not object to dong everything possible to secure the secrecy of the Church in an effort to cover-up crimes.
It is overwhelming evident that faith, morality, and justice were never considered as the primary objective by the Princes involved with the handling of the sex abuse scandal, image, power, and prestige were the driving factors -- and still are!
If you still are not convince
that secrecy, deception and conspiracy are still not with us today read the
Abuse reports hidden by Law regime
BY Eric Convey and Tom
Mashberg, Boston Herald
Tuesday, August 12, 2003
Top aides to Bernard Cardinal Law compiled detailed annual reports on the extent and cost of clergy sexual abuse starting in the mid-1990s, and the Archdiocese of Boston went to great lengths to shroud the data in secrecy, records made available yesterday reveal.
Suggested by rules embraced by the church in 1994, the reports are a detailed roadmap of a crisis Law insisted under oath last year was only vaguely familiar to him.
The reports summarize efforts
to identify predatory clergy, treat the priests and their victims, compensate
accusers, and track ``unmet needs and trends'' in the crisis.
``The material . . . was collected with the utmost attention to confidentiality,'' the first report, for the period July 1, 1994, to June 30, 1995, states. ``The total report is not stored in any word processors.''
The reports - first alluded to in Attorney General Tom Reilly's July 23 report on the church scandal - show in stark clarity the degree to which clergy sexual abuse was known to a handful of clerics and others at the chancery.
Among the striking details:
In 1998, the archdiocese paid
out more than $1 million of its own money to settle molestation cases that
were not covered by insurance. In other years, the church's out-of-pocket
costs ran into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Treating priests and victims also was costly, sometimes surpassing $300,000 in one year.
For three years, from 1994 to 1997, the church struggled to find a safe location to house its troubled priests, settling finally in 1997 on Georgetown's Baldpate Hospital.
Confronted with the issue of how to encourage recalcitrant problem priests to agree to laicization - the formal term for removing someone from the priesthood - a committee dealing with the abuse issue recommended the equivalent of buyouts. ``Commonly referred to as a `golden handshake' or `parachute,' this option might be a useful tool to bring closure to some situations that may linger for some time to come,'' says the report for the 12 months ending June 30, 1996.
Between 1994 and 1998 the church held 17 meetings with the psychiatric staff of Massachusetts General Hospital chaired by Dr. Ned Cassem, a Jesuit priest who was department head. In a May deposition, Cassem did not mention the meetings and said material church officials asked him to review on alleged abusers failed to convey the depth of the problem.
So extensive was the archdiocese's grasp of the abuse problem during Law's last decade, the reports show, that the church's own clergy abuse task force was sought out for consultation by the dioceses of Burlington, Vt., and Providence, and by religious orders.
The documents are sure to revive questions about Law's candor under oath during multiple depositions in civil suits last year.
For example, Law said during a deposition released on Nov. 19 that while some priests posed a ``major problem . . . I was not facing a major problem with the priesthood.''
Law said during the November 2002 deposition that many matters regarding clergy abuse were handled by subordinates. He said ``delegation'' was a management tool.
Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who deposed Law last year, said: ``I believe Cardinal Law in his deposition was careful, calculated and evasive in what he said - as far as how severe the problem truly was within the Archdiocese of Boston.''
Law's name appears nowhere on the reports, which seem initially to have been assembled by the Rev. Brian Flatley, a personnel official.
But rules requiring the reports, promulgated by the U.S. Conference of Bishops, say diocesan bishops are responsible for them.
The reports carefully track the amount of money spent by the church on the crisis. Most costly to the archdiocese were settlements for victims, which between 1995 and 2000 totaled more than $21 million for 150 complainants.
About $13 million was
recovered from insurers, the reports indicate.
The average settlement per victim rose from $53,000 in 1995 and 1996 to a high of $227,500 in 1998, before falling to $125,800 in 2000.
The 54 pages, covering 1994 through 2000, were filed in Suffolk Superior Court by the Greenberg Traurig law firm in the case of Gregory Ford of Newton versus Law and the archdiocese. Ford is suing for alleged abuse by the Rev. Paul R. Shanley. His lawsuit is one of a handful that were not halted by the $55 million settlement offer the archdiocese made on Friday.
Carmen L. Durso, a member of the five-lawyer steering panel for those talks, said of the reports, ``and this from an organization that swears it isn't practicing secrecy?''
Susan Gallagher, a victims'
rights advocate, said of the reports last night: ``When people intentionally
fail to keep documents on word processors, it's more evidence of a concerted
conspiracy to conceal crimes against children.''
Robin Washington contributed to this report.
Ah, but there is more! On July
31, 2003, Bishop Oí Malley, a Franciscan, became the official successor to
Cardinal Law as the Archbishop of Boston. Reported to be noted for his
humility, compassion, and determination to get the job done, he was portrayed
by the media as being a saving knight in Franciscan dress.
Only nine days in office and on August 9, the new Archbishop makes a swift offer of $55 million to settle 545 sexual abuse cases. He had bought in new lawyers and quickly got up to speed on what had to be done.
Woo there, hold on a bit! Did the Vatican send us an honest man or a sly fox in Franciscan clothing? Letës see, the August 12 article above states that the Archdiocese paid $21million to settle 150 cases and Oí Malley offers $55 million to settle 545 cases. I will let you do the math to find the answer.
Ah, the fox is in the hen house!
August 11, 2003
By Charles R. Toye
21 Copeland Ave.
Reading, MA 01867
Tel. 781 944 0956