This morning I was reading the comments after an article on the LCWR investigation in the National Catholic Reporter and came across a link regarding the actions of Cardinal Levada while he was still in the United States. It turned out to be a very long article, documenting his acts and decisions while he was in charge of three different dioceses, Portland, San Francisco and Santa Rosa. It's a fact based article with numerous footnotes and describes the pattern of denial, obfuscation, and cover up which is the hall mark of how US bishops have handled the sexual abuse crisis. One particular section blew me out of the water:
4. Fr. Gregory Ingels, one of the priests that Levada - and the rest of the Catholic bishops in the US - relied upon to make policy in abuse cases is an abuser himself.
(Maybe the bishops thought it took one to deal with one. A theme that will keep recurring.)
Here are the details:
As San Francisco Faith reports, "Levada had known since 1996 of allegations that Ingels had orally copulated a teenage boy in Marin County in 1972. Ingels is a prominent canon lawyer and helped in drafting the U.S. bishops' 'zero-tolerance' policy toward sexual offenders."
Additionally, according to San Francisco Weekly, "Ingels was used - with Levada's approval - to advise U.S. bishops and their aides on the handling of cases of clergy sex abuse in their dioceses. Ingels served as an expert witness on behalf of the church in cases all over the country, helping defend against legal claims by alleged clergy abuse victims. In addition, court records show, Ingels provided legal advice and spiritual counsel to priests accused of molesting children; published scholarly articles on the abuse issue under the imprimatur of the Canon Law Society of America, a group devoted to the study of church law; and lectured on the topic at clerical gatherings in the United States and abroad." (How nice that the American Catholic bishops had such an erudite abuser to testify against victims, counsel other abusers, and give international advice.)
For two decades prior to his removal from public ministry, Ingels had worked on the Diocesan tribunal that considers requests for marriage annulments. In 2001, the Archdiocese made Ingels the "director of formation for the permanent diaconate," a post which the priest held until October 2002, when (in accord with the US Bishops' new zero-tolerance policy) Levada placed Ingels on leave. (Hoisted by his own petard. But don't feel to bad for him yet.)
Ingels was arraigned in May 2003 for the 1972 molestation (which occurred while Ingels was a deacon and chairman of the theology department at Marin Catholic High, two years before he was ordained). The priest had recently made "many incriminating statements" to the victim, who was (at the behest of police) secretly recording the conversation. According to the San Francisco Weekly, "Ingels acknowledged having had sex with the boy and could be heard, on tape, saying, 'What I did to you was terrible.'"
However, criminal charges were dropped in June 2003 when the US Supreme Court reinstated a statute of limitations provision for abuse cases. The same court ruling aborted an additional possible criminal complaint against Ingels for abusing Jane Parkhurst, a high school girl, for four years starting in 1973. In June 2005, the Archdiocese paid a $21.2 million civil settlement to the victims of five priests - including Fr. Ingels. (Pedophilia or ephebophilia are crimes of opportunity, not orientation, which is why Fr. Ingels could swing both ways.)
Levada's handling of the Ingels case was one reason why James Jenkins, the former head of Levada's independent review board (IRB), lost confidence in the Archbishop. As reported by San Francisco Weekly, "Jenkins learned that Ingels was among at least nine priests whose clerical privileges had been restricted in keeping with the new sex-abuse policy adopted by American bishops." At about the time Ingels was arraigned on criminal charges, Jenkins and other members of the review panel learned that he was living with former San Francisco Archbishop John R. Quinn at Quinn's residence on the campus of St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park.
Quinn moved to the century-old mansion on the seminary grounds after his unexpected retirement as archbishop in 1995. Ingels has been living with him in the elegant mission-style home, built as a summer residence for the late Archbishop Patrick William Riordan, since then, say persons who know the men. Neither Ingels nor Quinn responded to requests for comment for this article. Jenkins says that he and others of the six-member panel were especially disturbed by reports that a 'support group' for priests accused of sex abuse had held meetings at the residence. (The founder of one such group, Detroit-based Opus Bono Sacerdotii, confirmed recently that Ingels is an 'adviser' to it. 'Father Ingels may be the best canon lawyer in the United States, and we're grateful to have him,' said Joe Maher. 'He's an excellent priest, a very holy man, and he's a great help to us.') (This certainly beats living in a monastery in the Nevada desert.)
Jenkins says he and other panel members 'didn't believe that a former archbishop had any business keeping house with someone who had acknowledged on a wiretap that he had sodomized a 15-year-old boy,' and he and his colleagues saw the living arrangement as a source of scandal should it become publicly known. He says panel members conveyed those sentiments to Levada face to face, recommending that the archbishop order Ingels be moved elsewhere. 'We looked at the archbishop and told him in no uncertain terms that there needed to be daylight between Ingels and Quinn,' Jenkins says. Levada responded that he would consult with Quinn, Jenkins says. A week or so later, Jenkins says, Levada reported back that he had spoken with Quinn, and the former archbishop 'had seen no reason' for Ingels to move out." (Maybe Ingels is helping pay the power bill or something. One can imagine that mansions are pricey to heat.)
In Conclusion: If the past is prologue (and that's the safest bet, barring a miracle) then it will be business as usual in the Vatican and coverup will continue to be "a way of life" for the Roman Catholic Church Administration. (And no Vatican Investigation will be called to 'investigate' this particular 'way of life'.
Cardinal Levada is the same man who has called for the investigation of the LCWR. One of his reasons is that the LCWR is not, apparently, publicly teaching the Catholic line on homosexuality. If you read this entire article, it becomes very apparent that as far as Cardinal Levada goes, publicly teaching the official line is one thing, but living it is quite another.
Cardinal Levada is now safe in Rome, and will no longer have to deal with anymore depositions or get served with anymore summons. The last time he was served with a subpoena was before his last Mass in San Francisco. This subpoena was issued by the attorneys of 250 abuse victims in Portland and was served by the sister of one of the victims. Levada called this woman a 'disgrace to the Catholic church'.
In a San Francisco case, Levada ostracized a whistle blower preist who had turned his abusive pastor into the police. The diocese then told the police there was no criminality involved and then used a performance review by the abusive pastor of the whistle blower to further castigate the whistle blower. They even accused the whistle blower of engaging in a 'witch hunt'. Unfortunately for Levada it was all true and it cost his diocese 750,000 in settlements for the pastor's victims, and another undisclosed large sum of money to the whistle blower.
This is the same man who thinks the LCWR deserves a Vatican investigation? Isn't this the same CDF that let Maciel do his thing for fifty years before undeniable public evidence forced their hand? Does Levada truly think that congregations in the LCWR using Reiki techniques is a bigger scandal, a bigger disgrace to the church, than his own actions in Portland, San Francisco, and Santa Rosa? Or Cardinal Law's scandal in Boston, or the other 2/3rds of our bishops who engaged in the same behavior? How is this thinking possible?
I went back to the source, to the New Testament, to see if I could shine some light on this, at least for myself. I found myself standing at the foot of the cross and there was me, and the other women and John. I saw Jesus look down at us, and then I saw His eyes search the rest of the crowd, and suddenly he called out, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" He wasn't referencing His Father. He was referencing his disciples. His hand picked 'in persona christi' original priests. Eleven out of those twelve men, abandoned Him, left Him there to be abused and executed, showed their true colors. It was all about them.
I don't know that the percentages have changed much given what we know about clerical sexual abuse. We seem to have a whole lot more clergy abandoning Jesus, protecting themselves, than we do witnessing at the foot of His cross. As for the women, well, they weren't believed when they witnessed the very radical truth of the Resurrection. They had to defend themselves to Peter. That hasn't changed either.