The surprise speech by Cardinal Angelo Sodano was the first time in recent memory that the ritual of a papal Easter Sunday Mass was changed so someone could address the pope at the start.
“Holy Father, the people of God are with you and will not let themselves be influenced by the petty gossip of the moment, by the trials that sometimes assail the community of believers,” Sodano said.
The change of protocol underscored just how much the Vatican is feeling the pressure from a growing scandal concerning sexual abuse of children by priests and reports of a possible cover-up that have inched closer to the pope himself
The change of protocol underscores just how much the Vatican realizes the recent crop of stories are gross exaggerations and sets of lies.
What a dirty little liar the Times has become. They repeat the same half truths, over and over again, in an attempt to smear the Pope:
Shaken by the crisis, the Vatican has several times accused the media of trying to smear the pope. Some reports have accused him of negligence in handling abuse cases in previous roles as a cardinal in his native Germany, and in Rome.
The Vatican has denied any cover-up over the abuse of 200 deaf boys in the United States by Reverend Lawrence Murphy from 1950 to 1974. The New York Times reported the Vatican and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, were warned about Murphy, but the priest was not defrocked.
They repeat that sentence, over and over, day after day, in story after story, in that same abbreviated form. They know it is completely misleading, but they have said it – almost exactly the same way – for over a week now.
The priest was never defrocked because he died in the middle of his defrocking trial. Four months before he died, the Vatican agreed to let the trial be suspended, because there was virtually no chance he would survive the trial. The priest-abuser had had a stroke and presumably would find it very difficult to even participate in a trial. The Vatican would have been happy to have defrocked him, if he had lived.
After the abuser was caught in 1974, he was promptly removed from all contact with children and all duties as a priest. At that point, he went to live in his mother’s house in the archdiocese of Superior Wisconsin. He never lived among religious people or priests after 1974. He never had another assignment at a church. He was sent home to mama. Although there is some evidence that he later tried to trick people into letting him get close to deaf kids again, it is clear that the church basically wanted nothing to do with him after 1974.
The defrocking trial was not even requested by the local bishop until 1996 – almost 20 years after the priest-abuser had been caught in 1974. The defrocking trial would have done nothing to remove him from contact with children. That had already been done by the actions of the local bishop in 1974. The defrocking trial was only begun in 1996 because the then archbishop of Milwaukee (Rembert Weakland) says he only learned then that abuse of the confessional was involved. Abuse of the confessional was a long-established automatic reason for defrocking. So he started the proceedings. The Vatican, which is notoriously slow on each and every issue that confronts it, did delay a while before acting. But no serious person believes it was because they were trying to do anything shifty; it was because the Vatican is notoriously slow in everything they do. Since the priest had, in effect, been removed from the ministry by the actions of the local bishop, and the children were protected, I can imagine there was no rush to defrock him.
The Times are dirty, dirty liars because they pretend that the defrocking was the only thing that could happen to the priest, and that the lack of a defrocking was keeping the priest in place. They know how to put half truths and falsehoods out there to make someone look bad. They know they are not telling the whole story. They never mention that the local bishop had already taken the necessary steps to keep him from working with children, and that the defrocking was basically a formality.
Who was the source for the Times’ allegations? One of the major ones is Rembert Weakland, the disgraced bishop of Milwaukee who did not feel it was necessary to even request a defrocking trial for 19 years. Hmmm. The Times does not think that it was weird for Weakland to not request any Vatican action for 19 years. If it was so desperately needed, how come the Times does not say a thing about Weakland’s delay, preferring to sling misleading half truths at the Pope?
In the Times stories, Weakland comes off as a normal bishop, bravely trying to get the Vatican to do something about these awful child abusers. But the evil Vatican won’t do it, so poor Weakland has to suffer.
But in fact, Weakland is one of the most notorious bishops in church history. He seems to have stonewalled and threatened those who reported child abuse to him. He threatened libel action against teachers who reported child abuse in his schools, and he called the victims “squealers”. He even said “Not all adolescent victims are so innocent. Some can be sexually very active and aggressive and often quite streetwise.” Even the placid Supreme Court of Wisconsin felt it was necessary to reprimand him in an opinion.
Not only that, but this from an article by Rod Dreher:
It is especially galling when you consider the case of Fr. William Effinger, who died in prison several years ago, where he was sent for sexually assaulting a child. Weakland knew Effinger was a serial pederast, yet reassigned him from parish to parish. After Effinger went to jail in 1993, the boy he molested sued the archdiocese, but the suit was thrown out because the statute of limitations had expired. Weakland directed his lawyers to countersue the boy’s family, and the archdiocese thereby recovered $4,000 in court costs from the victim.
Weakland also used $450,000 of church money to pay off his ex-gay lover – hush money.
Weakland was a darling of the Catholic Left. Two influential old friends in the liberal Catholic press, Peggy Steinfels and Fr. Thomas Reese, editors, respectively, of Commonweal and the Jesuit journal America, rushed to his defense when the news broke Thursday morning, describing Weakland as a victim of a “sexual witch hunt.”
And, when Weakland published an autobiography last year, the Times published a glowing review, which omitted to tell the readers about most of Weakland’s problems.
That is the person the Times relies on for their information.
It is the dirtiest “journalism” I have ever seen.
It is particularly dirty because the Times has a known antipathy to the Catholic church. They hate the church, they hate this Pope, and have issued a constant stream of negative articles in an attempt to “get” this Pope.
Why? This Pope, and the conservative Pope preceeding him have been the most effective in moving against child abusers.
Is that their real reason?
Do they want to shift the crimes of local bishops – who may be their ideological allies – to the Pope, who is not?
Look at the chart above, prepared by the John Jay School of Criminal Justice, who did a study of priestly abusers. John Paul II took charge in 1978 – and the abuse started falling. And abuse has virtually disappeared in the American church – last year there were only six credible cases of abuse.
The Times may think they are clever by doing this bit of ju-jitsu, but in fact they may have just revealed the whole ugly mask behind their consistent attacks on the Vatican. They want their liberal bishops to be triumphant, and any amount of lying, stealing and cheating by the Times is justified in their holy war.