I have not had a chance to review the latest media stories about the scandal in the Catholic church, but something about it makes me extremely skeptical. It smells like a media set-up of sorts.
A few things to remember:
1) The last time around, John Jay college of Law did a study of Catholic priest-abusers. If found that rather than a crisis of pedophile priests, it was really a crisis of homosexual priests taking advantage of their position. Most of the victims were not small children, most of them were teenagers. Most people understand this, but the media deftly changed it from a “homosexuals in the priesthood” scandal to a “pedophile scandal”. Here is the basic takeaway: The media seeks to shift blame from local homosexual priests and bishops, who were really responsible for the crimes, and somehow hang it on the Vatican.
Lavender Mafia has also been used to refer to a faction within the leadership and clergy of the Catholic Church that protects and advocates for the acceptance of homosexuality within the Church and its culture.. This has been popularised by the liberal novelist and Catholic priest Andrew Greeley in the clerical context.
Cozzens describes “a heterosexual exodus from the priesthood”, and claims this is partially because of unrestrained gay subcultures in some seminaries, which puts potential heterosexual seminarians off from joining the priesthood.. Randy Engel documents the history of homosexuality in the Catholic Church and the Vatican. Michael S. Rose describes how discrimination operates against people who are heterosexual, including screening out genuine candidates with traditionalist views in favour of those with progressive views..
3) Although the church is being heavily criticized for not referring these people to the civil authority as criminals, in fact when they DID refer them, the civil authorities did not seem much interested in going after them. In the famous case from Germany, the priest was charged criminally, but the court gave him only 18 months, and then suspended the sentence and let him go! This is inconceivable nowadays, but apparently back then, there was not much interest in pursuing these crimes. Even the New York Times admits as much today.
Father Murphy not only was never tried or disciplined by the church’s own justice system, but also got a pass from the police and prosecutors who ignored reports from his victims, according to the documents and interviews with victims.
4) In the horrible case from Milwaukee, the Bishop involved was Rembert Weakland. He is one of the most notoriously gay bishops in the church. And the media seem to be ignoring him altogether. I wonder why? :
Weakland’s retirement was overshadowed by revelations that he paid $450,000 of diocesan funds to a former lover to fend off a threatened lawsuit.
In May 2009, in the process of writing a memoir, Weakland came out as gay – one of the most senior Catholic clergymen to do so.
In 1984, Weakland responded to teachers in a Catholic school who were reporting sexual abuse by a local priests by stating “any libelous material found in your letter will be scrutinized carefully by our lawyers.” The Wisconsin Court of Appeals rebuked him for this, calling his remarks “abrupt” and “insensitive.” In 1994, Weakland said those reporting sexual abuse were “squealing.” He later apologized for the remarks.
According to a deposition released in 2009, Weakland shredded reports about sexual abuse by priests
5) The Catholic church is not highly centralized, as they like to claim. It is highly decentralized, and local Bishops have an enormous amount of power when it comes to disciplining their priests. The Vatican mechanisms for getting involved in local disputes are very creaky, cumbersome and they take long, long periods of time. The Vatican is not governed like a corporation. It is more like a non profit organization that has chapters in several cities. The chapters often do exactly as they like. So the fact that the Vatican did not do such and such is not surprising. The system is really set up to keep them from getting involved. And until very recently, it was hard for the Vatican to have any idea what was going on in their dioceses.