God, These People Are Liars

The New York Times is stung by Cardinal Levada’s harsh words for them. (see post below for Levada’s statement)

In response, they publish a story in which almost every single paragraph is a lie, or misleading in some way. It’s really remarkable. These people have really gotten very sick.

Here are some excerpts:

Cardinal Levada singled out several Times reporters and columnists for criticism, focusing particularly on an article describing failed efforts by Wisconsin church officials to persuade the Vatican to defrock a priest who had abused as many as 200 deaf boys from 1950 to 1974.

You must realize how deeply deceptive that paragraph is. They know you won’t read to the end of the story; they want to get their unfounded allegations in first, before you have a chance to figure out they are lying and stretching the truth.

In fact, the Vatican was all for defrocking the priest. They never stood in the way. They started the trial. A defrocking trial is the long way around, though. The local bishop has things he can do immediately – no defrocking trial is necessary. Here, the Vatican did start the defrocking trial – completely contrary to what the Times has just inferred. In a post below, you can read the words of Father Brundage, who was the prosecutor at that trial. He says the last thing the Vatican could be accused of is NOT starting a defrocking trial.

The defrocking trial only “failed” because the guy died. So the Vatican decided not to put on a useless trial during the last four months of the guy’s life.

The Times article drew on documents obtained from lawyers suing the church that showed that Vatican officials had at first ordered a secret canonical trial, then asked the archdiocese to suspend it after the priest pleaded for leniency to Cardinal Ratzinger. Wisconsin church officials protested the suspension, but followed it. The priest, the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy, died a few months later.

First of all, note the use of the word “secret” to imply that the church was trying to get away with something. It could hardly get away with something, because the deeds were done prior to 19747, the victims had already gone to the police back then, and everything was already public. No defrocking trial was even requested by the local bishop until 1996. Some of the victims involved had gone to the police and they had been ignored. In the Catholic process governing these things, the word secret is used because the process protects the identities of the boys who were abused, not because it attempts to hide the identity of the priests. Remember that in the case from Munich, the parents of the kid involved asked the Church NOT to go to the police, because then everything would become public. Children can be cruel, and you can imagine the teasing that a kid would get in the schoolyard after  it became known that he gave Father X a hummer.

Second, note that the Times was relying on documents that were provided by people who have a financial interest in suing the Church. So of course they might be tempted to hand over incriminating evidence, but withhold exculpatory evidence. Real reporters disclose the fact that there is a financial interest at stake.

Third, they mislead you by saying the trial was suspended after the priest-abuser asked for clemency. What they don’t tell you is that the guy was dying, and would be stone cold dead within four months. So starting a long defrocking trial would be useless. He would be dead long before it was over.  

But they don’t tell you any of that. They want to mislead you. They leave you with the impression that the Vatican blocked the trial from occuring, in an attempt to let the priest off.

Now, you might ask yourself the following question: Why in the world would the Vatican move heaven and hell to protect a child abuser? It seems like insane behaviour, doesn’t it?  They never knew the guy, he had been effectively removed from the priesthood in 1974, and had been accused of horrific things. Why would the bureaucrats in the Vatican want to stand up for a creep like this? They wouldn’t. Was there some sort of sick, world wide conspiracy to do everything possible to protect every child abuser, worldwide? Not likely. There is absolutely no reason for the Vatican to much care about this obscure little priest in the wilds of Wisconsin.  The only possible reason might be some misplaced attempt at Christan charity. There is absolutely no reason for the Vatican to act as the Times is implying they acted. So their whole story is simply unbelievable on its face.

Fourth, who are these mysterious “Wisconsin church officials” ? They don’t want to mention the name of the archbishop involved, because you might Google it. But it was Rembert Weakland, a man who used $450,000 of his diocese’s money to secretly pay off his gay lover, who was blackmailing him. He was one of the very worst of the cover-uppers in the scandals. He threatened teachers with libel suits if they continued to accuse his priests of abuse; he called kids who told on priests “squealers” and the Wisconsin Supreme Court even reprimanded him for his awful behavior. And, he tried to excuse his abuser-priests by saying that maybe the kids were coming on to the priests very aggressively. Can you imagine?

It also appears that Weakland may only have sought help from the Vatican because by 1996, the media was on his case. This would be a way to appear to be going after abuser-priests without going after them.

Now this is not to say that Ratzinger and the Vatican were perfect. There was  some sort of six month delay between the time that Weakland sent the request for defrocking and the time the Vatican took it up. But the priest involved had been removed from the archdiocese 20 years before. Weakland’s reason for requesting the defrocking trial was NOT to protect children, but because he had found out that the priest-abuser had, in the 1970’s taken advantage of information gained in the confessional to help abuse his victims. That is a direct violation of serious canon law, and required a defrocking of the priest. But there was no urgency to defrock him. As far as the Vatican knew, the guy was removed  from all contact with children. So far as they knew, the priest had not abused since then. So, a defrocking was almost a formality.

Now – this guy should have gone to jail in 1974 for a very long time. Neither Weakland (who took over in late 1977) nor his predecessor did anything about it. THAT is the real scandal here.

But the Times does not tell you any of this.

News coverage of the abuse has clearly touched a nerve in the Vatican. As the church grapples with abuse cases that have come to light in several European countries, Benedict has come under scrutiny for how he and his subordinates handled sexual abuse allegations against priests while he served as an archbishop in Germany as well as when he was the Vatican’s top doctrinal enforcer.

It appears the Times was infuriated by the fact that Cardinal Levada took them head on. Levada essentially demolished them, and made them look stupid. So the Times is the one that has had their nerves touched. The grossly misleading quality of this article is proof of that. No sane editor would ever have printed such an obviously misleading article. And scrutiny of the Pope is  fine, by the way. But lying in order to get your political enemies is another story altogether.

In 1980, when the pope was archbishop of Munich and Freising, he approved the transfer of a priest who had abused boys to therapy and was copied in on a memo saying that the priest had been allowed to resume pastoral duties shortly after his therapy began. The priest was later convicted of molesting other boys.

The writers of this article are clever, manipulative little people. The use of the word ‘transfer” is intended to make you think this was just like earlier scandals, where they would “transfer’ a priest from church to church, without warning people they had a pervert on their hands. But Ratzinger did not approve a transfer of that type at all. The church council approved a request for the guy to live in Munich while he was undergoing psychiatric treatment. That is all we know at this point. For all we know, they did not even know the nature of the treatment he was undergoing. It is not quite clear.

Later, the  Vicar General approved the priest-abuser’s return to the priesthood with no restrictions. The Vicar General says that he did this without Ratzinger knowing about it. Ratzinger was a theologian and a scholar; it is entirely likely that he left the day to day business to the Vicar General. And yes, it appears that Ratzinger was copied on a memo, but as several people who work in these organizations have said, that means nothing. Just because his name was on a memo does not mean he saw it, or had any knowledge of what his staff people were doing. It was a very large diocese, with thousands of priests and employees.

The Times then has this  curious quote:

“This is different, because it’s the pope and because it’s a pope who is most self evidently beyond accusation, particularly in this area,” said a senior Vatican official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly.

That, my friends, sounds like an entirely made up quote. You learn to spot them after several years of reading the Times. It’s too red meat; it is exactly what the creepiest of the Times readers want to hear.

Later on, after they have poisoned the well by getting you to lean one way, they finally let on that the guy was dying. But they do it in such a way that you are merely confused. They are talking here about the priest-judge in the defrocking trial:

But he also said he was not second-guessing the decision to suspend the trial. He said a canonical trial would be “useless if the priest were dying.” “Have you ever been to a trial? Do you know how long they take?” he said. “If the man had had a miraculous recovery and doctors said he’d live another 10 years, I’m sure a letter would say fine, ‘Start the trial.’ ”

But because you have not been given the full set of facts earlier, this just sounds confusing. So the reader reads on.

At that point a canon lawyer who sat in on the interview but declined to speak on the record intervened about the nuances of the unfinished trial, effectively deflecting questions about why it had been suspended.

What bastards! We know why it was suspended. Because the guy was dying. And yet, they want you to believe that the Vatican was deflecting questions about why it was suspended. As if they were trying to hide something. What tools.

Then, they pull one sentence out of a 2,400 word essay to make Levada seem as if he thinks there is no need for defrocking or criminal trials, because he is an airhead and believes the magical God in the sky will take care  of everything. Which is not at all what Levada meant.

Cardinal Levada said that although Father Murphy never faced judgment in a criminal or canonical court, the priest had not evaded it altogether.

“As a believer,” he wrote in his statement, “I have no doubt that Murphy will face the One who judges both the living and the dead.”

Then, the liars talk about the new processes that Ratzinger put in place to deal with the sex abuse scandals:

Those norms ushered in a flood of abuse trials, many of which are still unresolved.

Really? How many? What percentage? Why are they unresolved? They want you to believe that the Vatican is just sitting around. And remember, in an earlier article, they told us that only 20% of the priest-abusers get a defrocking trial. And they meant you to think that only 20% were punished in any way. But why do only 20% get a trial? Because a defrocking trial is a long drawn out affair. The Vatican prefers the local bishop takes his own initiative and deal with the guy. Most of the power is in the local bishop. Refer him to the District Attorney. That can be done quickly. Remove the guy from all priestly duties. That can be done quickly, by the local bishop. No need for a long drawn out defrocking trial. That’s the very last step. And so the fact that only 20% get a trial is a good thing. There is nothing standing in the way of harsh discipline by the local bishop, then. But the Times wanted you to believe it was only the Vatican that could do anything at all about a priest-abuser.

Guess what?  It looks like the Times it trying to cover up for the local bishops. I wonder why? Well, look at Weakland.

But the stupidest thing of all is the Times wants you to believe this: Only when the Vatican holds  a defrocking trial do the children become safe. But defrocking is almost a symbolic thing. It does not protect the children. The guy can go out and abuse children without his collar. What is of extreme importance is the steps the local bishop takes to remove the guy from contact. And whether or not the local bishop refers him to the prosecutor. Did any of that happen here? We don’t know, because the Times wants to obscure the real abusers and throw all blame on someone 5,000 miles away.

In a related letter in 2001, the future pope reminded bishops to adhere to secrecy in ecclesiastical trials, which caused some confusion about whether clerics should report abuse to the civil authorities. In recent weeks, Benedict and the Vatican have emphasized that the clergy should report evidence of crimes to the civil authorities.

This again is a grossly misleading paragraph. There was no confusion. Only the media, which is perpetually confused, got confused. Those who have some understanding of the way the church works knows very well what was said. And I have addressed the ‘secret” thing above. 

And then, in the very last paragraph, the paragraph that is sure to be the least read, the Times writes

He said it should not be seen as leniency that some 60 percent of the abuse cases that the congregation had considered since 2001 did not result in trials. In cases of “moral certitude” trials aren’t necessary, he said, and other disciplinary measures can be taken, while murkier cases requiring more evidence might require trials.

“A canonical trial is an instrument appropriately used, but it would not be the normal procedure,” he said.

There. They admit it. All of their nonsense about 20% in the earlier articles was absolute BS.

This is really disgusting work by the Times.

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