…And the Lord seemed to sleep…

The dome of St. Peters strick by lightning on the night of the Papal resignation
The dome of St. Peters struck by lightning on the night of the Papal resignation

The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI came as a shock to the Catholic Church and the world.  In the last month pundits have examined and speculated on the reasons for his sudden retirement and the tremor that went through the Catholic faithful in the aftermath of the announcement.

In what is being touted as his farewell speech, the Pontiff sited failing health and energy as the reason for his unconventional departure from the throne of Saint Peter.   Canon Law (Canon 332, No. 2) states “If it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is required for validity that the resignation is made freely and properly manifested but not that it is accepted by anyone.” In other words, he can leave and no one has the right to say “No you can’t go!”  It seems that the only restriction is that he can’t take his red shoes with him into retirement.

Catholics have an expectation the their Pope will die in office.  The departure of Benedict, without benefit of death, opens many wounds that should be addressed by the Conclave.  It should be noted that the last Pope to “retire”  St. Celestine V, was imprisoned by his successor and died in a papal prison.   Scholars believe that the line  “who made from cowardice the great refusal” in Dante’s  The Divine Comedy was a reference to Celestine V.

So here we are on the first night of the Conclave.  Ballot 1 resulted in black smoke.  Tomorrow we will see up to four more polls of the assembled Cardinals.  These men are as far removed from the teachings of their Lord as can be.  Take a look at the media coverage during the last month.  Think of the image that is being presented by the princes of the church in their blood-red, silk cassocks and hand tied fine lace.  Each in what seemed to be different patterns of finery.  Is this what the successor of Peter should look like?  Or are we seeing the excesses of royalty in a church wracked with scandal?  These men are addressed by grand titles such as “Your Eminence”.  Have they become the modern-day Pharisees, enamored of their titles?

These men are sweeping away the numerous scandals and crises in the church as they prepare to crown a new monarch.  They talk of looking to the future (why look at the carnage in their wake?).  They ignore the sex abuse crisis that has seen children and vulnerable adults preyed upon by sexual predators.  The church continues to protect these monsters.  As much as Cardinals would like the “scandal” to be over, new stories come forward every day detailing the loss of innocence, faith and trust.

The Vatican Bank has been a scandal for decades.  Can you believe that the bank run by the Vatican is considered to be one of the most corrupt in the world?  It has consistently failed to be in compliance with international standards.  The Pope’s bank has been involved in laundering money for years!  Can someone tell me why the Vatican needs to be running a bank?  Are there no Italian Banks that can serve the needs of the Curia, while adhering to Italian law and international banking practices?

The fact that the Vatican is a sovereign nation unto itself also makes me wonder what these men in red silk are up to.  Although, most of these men are citizens of other countries, they are voting for the head of state of another nation.  Should Cardinal Dolan’s American citizenship be revoked because he is an official of a foreign government?

It seems that the men in red silk are a little taken with themselves.  They parade around in their finery, vote under the watchful eye of Renaissance masters and try to look like humble servants of the church.  I wonder if Jesus was alive today if he would be throwing these pretenders to the throne of Peter out of the temple, exposing them as the frauds that they really are.

Benedict spoke of his concern that the “Lord seemed to sleep”.   I would theorize that it is  Catholics who are sleeping.  They allow crisis after crisis, scandal after to scandal to go unabated.  There are no consequences for the princes of the church. Perhaps the forces at work in the Vatican are not those of light and salvation.

Benedict XVI should be wary in his retirement. He did not have the good sense to die.  Celestine V was imprisoned by his successor,  Pope Boniface VIII. He was seen as a threat that could be used to destabilize the Holy See.  He would die in his prison cell, some scholars think he was murdered by order of Boniface.

In the meantime, the world is glued to their smart phones, computers, iPads, tablets and televisions waiting for white smoke to rise from the makeshift chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel.   I guess we will know who will be wearing red shoes soon enough.

RCC Playbook III – The Church is the Real Victim!

The Church is the Real Victim

There is nothing more offensive to me personally as the defensive tactics embraced by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.  In this installment of the “Playbook,” we will take a look at how the RCC spins the sexual crime crisis to make the RCC look like the victim.  Ignore the RCC  sex crisis, banking crisis,  involvement in murders and kidnappings, Vatican leaks, gay witch hunts, reprimand of nuns to deflect attention away from the sex crisis, loss of parishioners, the arbitrary closing of parishes, insensitive detached and out of touch leaders.  Ignore it all!   The real victim here is Catholicism.   (Adjust your sarcasm dials and buckle in.)  And the ALLEGED victims of sexual abuse are the source of all the woes of the church.

1. Alleged Victims are hell-bent on the destruction of the church.  The hierarchy of the church and the ultra-conservative groups that support it are painting the goals of survivors being solely focused on the destruction of the church.  They contend that we will not be placated until the Bishops’ Chryslers, their summer houses, and their extravagant lifestyles are destroyed.   They want to tell the faithful that victims of abuse want to tear down schools and churches, destroy parishes and bankrupt the church until god (lower case intended) is banished from society.

Groups like the Catholic League spit out statistics in support of such claims on a regular basis.  Those statistics, for the most part, are unsubstantiated.  When I wrote to the point of contact at the Catholic league to fact check a particularly virulent rant from Bill Donohue (Catholic Hater in Chief), there was just no reply.  I guess when you are spinning propaganda to support your local Archbishop the truth is not required.

2. The media is picking on the Catholic Church.  You hear this everywhere a church leader or the head of some ultra-conservative church organization or group of church apologists get together in front of a microphone. This is all a vast left-wing conspiracy. The best article I have read in this vein is by John P. Martin called “Church scandal hits close to home.” The article stands on its own merit.  I first read this article while keeping up with Susan Mathew’s Blog,  Catholics4Change.  It first appeared on Philly.com.

Bloggers Note:  Do you think if the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and it’s shills would be getting negative media attention if they were not so wholly inept, involved in protecting predator pedophiles, running corrupt banking systems, punishing nuns for doing good work, covering up kidnappings of teenagers and funding the extravagant excess of the princes of the church?

3. Trial Lawyers are keeping this issue alive!   If you read the Catholic apologists’ blogs and press releases from groups like the Catholic League, you would discover that the “scandal” is being perpetuated by the likes of Jeff Anderson and Marci Hamilton. Their spin is that the trial lawyers and scholars are trying to keep the scandal alive for their own personal enrichment.   “There is really good money in those settlements.”    Anyone look at the stable of lawyers, PR guys, media consultants and risk management types in the employ of various dioceses, religious orders and Catholic organizations lately?  By some accounts, the cost of defending Monsignor Lynn ran upwards of $11 Million!  I think, in fact, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church is keeping Trial Lawyers (and PR guys and media consultants) alive.  Just a thought…

4. These crimes are the work of homosexuals bent on the destruction of the church.  Let’s just blame it on gay priests.  I have covered this before.  Simply put, just before you are gay, does not mean you are a pedophile.    The church would like you to believe that the “gay subculture” in the priesthood is from where this deviant behavior emanates.   But, if this was true, can someone explain to me about the priests who have preyed on girls?  You see, with the excuse generators that operate in many of the Chancery buildings around the world it is really true that the devil is in the details.  I would imagine that there are gay priests in the church who are doing God’s work and looking after parishioners without trying to slide their hands inside an altar boy’s cassock.

5. The behavior of these pedophiles is a direct result of the excesses of Vatican II and the liberalization of Catholicism.  Once again the boys in the curia are counting on the gullibility of parishioners that blindly follow their roman collared handlers.    People, if there are documented cases of pedophilia in the church dating back before Vatican II, which ran from 11 October 1962 until 8 December 1965, how can blame the “liberalization of the church”?  Put down the church bulletin and the letter from the bishop on the annual fund drive and think.  Canon law has articles covering crimes against children by clergy going back hundreds of years.   This crisis is not a post-Vatican II product.  This kind of behavior and the cover-ups by the church have been going on for centuries.  It is built into the fabric of the clergy to protect their institution and avoid scandal at all costs.   Even if it is at the expense of a child.  The big difference today is that we have social networks that can reveal the true nature of those who will commit heinous crimes against children and those institutions that will protect those predators.

The next installment will cover the methods employed by the bishops of the church to keep priests one step ahead of the sheriff or two steps outside of the jurisdictions that could prosecute them.

Prophecy

I had a conversation with a Victims Assistance Coordinator from the Diocese of Scranton in August.  She is a very kind woman named Joan Holmes.  She has consistently reached out to me since my initial notification to the Diocese of the events that occurred when I was 13 years old.  While I still think that the position she holds within the diocese has more to do with collecting information on victims and less to do with assisting them, she has been very helpful to me in a number of ways.  She is the only person in the Diocese that I have had consistent, albeit infrequent contact.

What struck me during the conversation was her use of the word “prophet”.  She told me that I was speaking truth and that is what a prophet does.  In looking up the word in the dictionary I found the following:

NOUN  1.  somebody who interprets divine will: somebody who claims to interpret or transmit the commands of a deity 2.  somebody predicting the future: somebody who predicts the future “prophets of economic doom” 3.  advocate of something: somebody who advocates a cause or idea 4.  inspired leader: somebody considered to be an inspired leader or teacher [ 12th century. Via French and Latin < Greek prophētēs “somebody who speaks beforehand” < phētēs “speaker” ]

I certainly do not see myself as a conduit for a deity.  That would require me to have faith that one exists. The Catholic Church has proven to me that you should not take on faith anything that they say.   I may be able to see myself in the third definition, an advocate for a reform of the legal system to protect children and vulnerable adults from sexual crimes and the follow-on cover-ups in the Catholic Church. I keep going back to what Joan told me. Her view was that a prophet is someone who tells the truth. If that is so, why aren’t the Bishops of the world prophets? Why hasn’t the Catholic Church been an institution that supports prophets and the truth? Why have they been such an astounding failure at telling the truth? Why do we keep seeing the cycle of discovery, denial, contrition, deflection and distance played out as the game plan from the Bishop of Rome down the line?

Lets see how revelation of sexual crimes plays out in the latest hotbed of the sexual crime crisis in the Catholic Church.  I suspect it will be just as it has been  in Boston, Los Angeles, Ireland, Germany, and Belgium to name but a few. The story breaks and the first thing we hear is that the cases are isolated and that the church itself is innocent (denial). Then comes the uproar and a contrite bishop comes forward to say that he knew nothing of the abuse but now that it is made public that the church will support victims and take action against the perpetrators. Then the tide turns, Bishops or their mouthpieces begin to point out that the sexual abuses are a reflection of society, that these men are sick, gay, or that other institutions have similar problems. This is not an isolated Catholic problem! Finally, they try to put distance between themselves and the victims. They play the “we are protecting the confidentiality of the victims” card.  That loosely translates to trying to silence the victim through any means available. Or they just get nasty and start the campaign, usually through people like Phil Donahue, that paints survivors as money hungry opportunists looking for a quick score at the expense of the poor parishioners that support the local dioceses.  As we are seeing with the reports coming out of Europe in the past few days, we have an instance of the same playbook being taken out and put into action in a different city/country.

I recommend the pope  be decisive and end this debate once and for all.  He should go on tour. “The Pope Benedict XVI Last Apology Tour”. We could have satin jackets made up, collectible plates and spoons, maybe some T-shirts. I bet red shoe sales would go through the cathedral ceiling!  In each city the local Cardinal can warm up the crowd and get them whipped up in a frenzy, tell them that new processes are in place and that the problems of the past are in the past. Groupie nuns can go crazy at the front of the crowd trying to get their pictures taken with the MAN.  “Benny 16” is seriously “the goods”, he is happening, he is a rock star! When they finish the 3 month 71 city tour, the Holy See can claim that all is well and that a return to normalcy is the way to go. There is only 1 small problem. The status quo for the church included priests who committed varying degrees of sexual crimes on innocents while the hierarchy of the church shielded the predators from prosecution to save the Holy Roman Church from scandal. The problems of the past are not in the past. We see new allegations every week. We hear of new victims coming forward after years. We hear of very senior clergy admitting to abuse. One, a Bishop,  even has admitted to abusing his own nephew.

The truth, which seems to be completely lost on the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, is that victims are victimized over and over because the church does not have any idea on how to fix the problem. Even if they did, they do not have the will to fix the problem. Society must enforce established secular laws on institutions like the Church and force them to comply to the standards of decency and the rule of law. (Is it me, or is the previous sentence a real head scratcher? We have to force the church to be ethical, do the right thing and protect innocent children and vulnerable adults.) If they do not comply, they need to be sanctioned. They need to be punished. They need to pay a dear, real price for their complicity and obstruction in the protection of predators and the isolation of victims. They can’t be sanctioned for arrogance by anyone but the people partially filling the pews on Sundays.   

Warning! I am beating the drum again. We need to enact legislation in each state that does not currently have it, to pass laws that will allow victims to seek redress for their grievances against the men and women who committed crimes against them and the institutions that supported, shielded and protected them from being turned over to civil authority.  Criminal behavior should be met with societal sanctions. (Again scratching my head because this all seems just all too obvious, even though it is not really playing out that way in the real world.)

I do not want to be a prophet. I do not want to be the guy in the blogosphere that is screaming at the top of his lungs about the injustice and stupidity in all of this. I do not want to be the one standing up for the other survivors. But, until the Bishops start being prophets and telling the truth, I have no other choice. Until Catholic Institutions lay bear their sins and seek real penance for the wrongs they have inflicted on the victims and their families, I cannot be silent. Until the Bishops, from Benedict on down, open the files on the predators and open the doors to those who are paying an incredible price for being the targets of pedophiles I have to be one of the voices that is shouting out.

How screwed up is it that we need prophets to show us that the direction the church is taking the faithful is the wrong way?  How many other voices are willing to join in?  What, exactly, are you doing?

Posting the Pope not for everyone

I have received some feedback on the campaign to reply to Pope Benedict XVI’s letter to the Irish people (Dear Mr. Ratzinger: Letters from Ireland, ). Some have enthusiastically embraced the idea and plan to write a note to the Pontiff to express their opinion of his prose to the Irish nation. Others think it is a bad idea because, in their opinion, it does not move the ball forward. Some initially embraced the idea and then had a change of heart. I respect all these positions and, believe me, I understand that, for some people, writing a letter to the Pope may only lead to frustration and despair.  I will not question the decision of any survivor to support or not participate in this campaign.

I am willing to write a letter for a couple of reasons. First, I think when voices, or in this case letters, are brought together they send a message. The message here is that the pastoral letter from the Pope was an exercise in deflecting responsibility for the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, specifically in Ireland and generally around the world. This is a method of protest to inform the Holy See that more affirmative and genuine action is needed to deal with the crisis worldwide.

I personally believe that writing a letter, expressing my concern, displeasure, and outrage at the Vatican policy of simply brushing this crisis off as a thing of the past will be cathartic for me.

That said, I have no illusions that the letters will get past some low-level Vatican bureaucrat working for some harried monsignor in the Holy See’s mail room. I have no illusions that anyone above the rank master altar boy at St. Peters will actually read my letter. I do not expect an answer from a Vatican official, Cardinal or the Big Guy himself. I will not be crushed two months from now when I have no overseas letter with some cool pontifical postage affixed. I am simply adding my humble missive to the universe of other letters that will be posted on 15 May in hopes that the numbers of letters arriving at the Vatican City Post Office are of a quantity large enough to merit a whisper in the halls that there is a lot of mail coming in and that people in Ireland and the rest of the world are tired of the Pope doing everything but the right thing in dealing with the sexual abuse crisis. Perhaps enough letters will arrive to warrant at least a sampling of letters to determine the sense of outrage over the Pope’s leadership deficit and the Holy See’s inability to grasp the magnitude of displeasure in the handling of these abuse cases.  Whatever happens, the act of writing and mailing the letter is enough for me (it seems oddly poetic that I will put my letter in the box at the Post Office on Battlefield Boulevard). 

I can apply the same reasoning for mailing a letter to the Pope that I do to publishing a post on this blog.  I write it for myself. I am doing so to exorcise a demon, to be a voice for change and to help myself get to a point where I feel I have done what I can for myself.  If it is read by others, that is fine.  If it helps one other survivor deal with the “great terrible secret”, I consider that a major win.  If I educate someone along the way, all the better.

When I asked the leadership of SNAP to endorse the “Dear Mr. Ratzinger” campaign, the response I received was that it was not seen as a productive way to effectively communicate SNAP’s message or advance the cause of victims of clerical abuse. The SNAP leader who replied indicated that he , in concert with others, did not see how it could help, so they were going to pass on supporting the idea.  I was not surprised.  I am unsure about SNAP’s willingness to operate outside the comfort zone established by the organization’s leadership. They seemed to be committed to a model that is more restrictive in the types of actions that they will endorse or embrace.  I would think that they would support any effort, that was not harmful to survivors, to bring attention to the lack of a focused effort on the part of the Catholic Church to deal honestly with the sexual abuse crisis.  In the end, it is what works for the individual that matters to me. 

For me, writing the letter is a good thing.  My voice joins with those of others, survivors and supporters alike, and sends a message that we are not standing idly by.  I am not trusting that those anointed by mortals are keeping the best interest of children and vulnerable adults at heart.  The hierarchy of the Catholic Church has failed us all, repeatedly, for generations.  I will not pass up an opportunity to voice that sentiment and send it into the world.  If it falls on deaf ears, so be it.  I will keep stirring the pot. 

Calculate your postage for a letter to Vatican City at the U.S. Postal Service Website.

“Dear Mr. Ratzinger” Campaign

I have a new hero in Ireland. Her name is Emma Somers. She is a free-lance writer and she has come up with the most elegant and simple way to reply to Pope Benedict XVI’s letter to the Irish people regarding the sex crisis in the Catholic Church. We are all going to drop him a line, compose a letter, fire off an email, send an epistle, you choose the form it takes as long as the message is sent. I know this is starting as an Irish initiative, but I would like to see a more international effort  supporting Emma’s campaign.  This is a show of support for Ireland’s concerned movers and shakers who are done with the abuse committed by clergy and covered up and denied by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.  This is a show of support for survivors worldwide. This is a pontifical “WAKE-UP” call to the Holy See.

Emma’s WordPress Blog is called “Dear Mr. Ratzinger: Letters from Ireland“.  The rules are simple (I hope she forgives me for cutting and pasting):

No 1: Read the pope’s letter

Please do not post a response unless you have read the pastoral letter from the pope — or at least the parts directed at you (eg victims, young people, parents, etc). It is posted here.

No 2: Write your reply

It may be one line, it may match the pope’s 4,000 words — either way, you can get your message across. Feel free to borrow from other letters here if you have trouble articulating your feelings.

No 3: Share your reply

If you are comfortable sharing all or part of your reply, please post it as a comment on “Dear Mr. Ratzinger“. Your letter may inspire others to put pen to paper.

No 4: Post  your reply on Saturday 15th May 2010

 
This is the most important part. DO NOT FORGET TO POST OR EMAIL YOUR LETTER! For the biggest impact, we will send our letters on the same day and show the Vatican Ireland cares about victims of clerical child abuse.

Note: (For you Americans out there, Post=Mail, find a stamp and mail the thing)

Participants are invited to meet at the GPO on O’Connell Street, Dublin, at 2pm on Saturday 15th May to post our letters as a group. (If you would like to be sent a reminder for this, please email dearmrratzinger@gmail.com with ‘Reminder GPO’ in the subject line. Your email will not be passed on or used for any other purposes.)

If you can’t make it to the GPO, all you need to do is post or email your letter before 5pm on Saturday 15th May. (Again, for a reminder, please email dearmrratzinger@gmail.com with the word ‘Reminder’ in the subject line.)

Address for letters: Pope Benedict XVI, Apostolic Palace, 00120 Vatican City
-or-
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
00120 Via del Pellegrino
Citta del Vaticano

Address for emails: benedictxvi@vatican.va

No 5: Spread the word

Please pass “Dear Mr. Ratzinger: Letters from Ireland” on to anyone you know who might be interested in having their voice heard or help friends and family who are not online to get involved in the campaign.

Consider this “Spreading the Word”!  I need a Canadian and an Australian to get the word out in your neck of the woods. 

For those of us that can’t make it to the GPO in Dublin on the 15th because of lack of funding, expired passports, or Icelandic volcanos,  I recommend similar gatherings at post offices around the world.  Talk amongst yourselves and come up with an appropriate location, preferably near a mail box, post box, container approved by your local postal authority or free WiFi hotspot.   

If you are going to meet, let me know where and when and I will spread the word.

Why are you still reading this?  Go to Emma’s Blog, Dear Mister Ratzinger: Letters from Ireland, you have reading and writing to do.

Circling the Bishops’ Wagons… SNAP Midwest Press Release

I am not one for press releases.  This one, however, crystalized many of the thoughts I have been trying to sort out this week. Please give it a careful read.

For immediate release: Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Statement by Peter Isely, Midwest Director of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (414-429-7259)

America’s bishops have joined the “circle the wagons” chorus, more intent on protecting prelates’ reputations than on protecting children’s safety.

Instead of exposing predators and helping victims, America’s bishops busy themselves with self-congratulations and public relations. They tout their plentiful but largely ineffective policies, panels and procedures which were adopted as public relations moves. Since 2002, they have done little but water down and increasingly ignore their pledges of greater openness, confident that ‘the wave has crested’ and they have little to fear from more victims, lawsuits, prosecutions or media exposes.

Once again, bishops still refuse to use the words “bishop” or “cover up” when talking about a crisis caused by bishops covering up. This statement, like so many others, tries to minimize this crisis, blaming only the predators and ignoring their corrupt supervisors.

The Holy Vader’s Letter to Ireland (or, Vatican example of passive aggressive prose)

The Holy Vader
Scary, isn't it?

From the Death Star (Vatican): Emperor, oops, POPE Benedict XVI  has issued a pastoral letter to the people of Ireland concerning the findings of two reports commissioned by the Government of Ireland.  The letter was meant to be a way of communicating with  the faithful in Ireland on the never-ending sex crisis in the church.  Pope Benedict, who bears a striking and oddly appropriate likeness to Emperor Palpatine (of Star Wars notoriety), is hoping that this letter will be a salve on the wounds in the church in Ireland.  

The pastoral letter did not really accomplish it’s mission. People in Ireland have not been receptive to the “his Holiness'” advances (pun intended). Instead of a letter that is contrite and makes a statement of the committment of the Holy See to take immediate and decisive action to weed out perpetrator priests and the bishops that hid their actions and victimized the survivors, the pope (or his subordinates) developed a rambling passive aggressive missive that, at the end of the day, does nothing to correct the wrongs committed by priests in Ireland or anywhere else. The way the letter was crafted is telling. The passive voice is used throughout, almost qualifying each statement. He carefully lays blame for the crisis firmly within the borders of Ireland, “I must also express my conviction that, in order to recover from this grievous wound, the Church in Ireland must first acknowledge before the Lord and before others the serious sins committed against defenceless children.” The Vatican is not complicit in any of this…

 “In recent decades, however, the Church in your country has had to confront new and serious challenges to the faith arising from the rapid transformation and secularization of Irish society. Fast-paced social change has occurred, often adversely affecting people’s traditional adherence to Catholic teaching and values.” It is not a church problem, it is the heathen secular society in Ireland that allowed this situation to manifest itself.

 “On several occasions since my election to the See of Peter, I have met with victims of sexual abuse, as indeed I am ready to do in the future. I have sat with them, I have listened to their stories, I have acknowledged their suffering, and I have prayed with them and for them.” Come sit with me for a while. Virginia is nice this time of year. I would love to bend your pontifical ear for a few hours. You may have indeed heard what you were told, but did you listen? You have acknowledged suffering, WOW! What is missing in the letter is the passage that says (and this is what I wish I saw, not what was written): “I have removed from ministry all credibly accused priests, deacons, nuns and laity in the church to protect children. Where there were substantiated instances of abuse, I removed the offending perpetrator from church service and turned over to the civil authorities all evidence held by the local Diocese or by the Holy See relevant to the case, regardless of the statutes of limitations. I have directed (ordered) bishops to go to the parishes to seek out other victims and inform the parishioners of the predator that was in their midst, even if it was 20, 30, 40 years or more ago. I have removed from positions of authority all representatives of the church who enabled the predators to continue to target children by either ignoring credible reports, hiding evidence, unduly influencing or coercing victims, moving predators from parish to parish or moving known dangers out of one diocese to another to stay one step ahead from law enforcement.”

 This from the man who headed up the Congregation for the Dorctine of the Faith during the papacy of his predecessor, John Paul II. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the arm of the Vatican that, among other things, investigates Sex Crimes committed by priests under its mandate to oversee matters of canon law. More importantly it is the propaganda arm of the Vatican. The spin on the sex crisis is mastered from the office once held by Cardinal Ratzinger, now the successor to the See of St. Peter.

 We will see this “expression of papal sympathy” again and again. Coming soon to Germany, perhaps? One must wonder about then Cardinal Ratzinger’s knowledge of predator priests in the Archdiocese of Munich. It will also manifest itself in the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Western Europe, Africa and South America. This is a global crisis that will not be dealt with effectively as long as the Papal strategy in dealing with the crisis is based on trying to get people in the pews for the Sunday Morning Magic show, money in hand for the offering plate. It will not be solved until the Pope takes immediate and decisive action to remove predators and all the bishops and high level officials that have had a hand in covering up the criminal activities of predators in priestly garb.

 This crisis will not end until civil authorities take criminal and civil action against predators and their protectors. As long as civil authority bows down to the church and allows them to “deal” with the predators internally, the environment of secrecy will prevail, the abuse will continue and church will go merrily down the path of denial, distraction and deception.

 Oh by the way, if the Pope or his advisors are reading this, I would still like to nominate St. Rita as the Patron Saint of Victims/Survivors of Church Sex Crimes. Thanks….