Friday, December 11, 2009

The Vatican Responds To Dublin's Murphy Report

Cardinal Brady explains Heads with mitres may roll in Ireland. I suspect this is so to insure that heads with mitres in Rome will not.

The Vatican response to the Murphy report was made shortly after the meeting between Pope Benedict and Cardinal Brady and Archbishop Martin ended. As I surmised consisted of another papal apology castigating individual priests perpetrators, questioning local leadership, and completely white washing the Vatican and this particular Pope of any complicity or accountability. There is not one victim's attorney who believes the Vatican isn't complicit and a direct accomplice. Neither do I

Pope 'shares outrage and shame' at Murphy report
PADDY AGNEW in Rome and ELAINE EDWARDS, Irish Times, 12/12/09

Pope Benedict shares the "outrage, betrayal and shame" felt by the Irish people over the Murphy report into the handling of allegations of child sex abuse in the Dublin archdiocese, the Vatican has said.

In a statement issued after the Pope held a meeting with Cardinal Seán Brady and Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, the Vatican also said the Pope was "disturbed and distressed" by the contents of the report published last month. (I could be snarky here and wonder if this isn't another use of mental reservation, and Benedict was 'disturbed and distressed' about something else entirely--like the Dublin hierarchy got caught red handed implementing his policy.)

He will write a pastoral letter to the Irish people about sexual abuse in Ireland and the Vatican's response to the crisis.

The Pope held a 90-minute meeting with the two church leaders this morning to discuss the “painful situation of the church in Ireland” in the wake of the publication of the Murphy commission report.

"The Holy Father shares the outrage, betrayal and shame felt by so many of the faithful in Ireland, and he is united with them in prayer at this difficult time in the life of the church," the statement said.

"The Holy Father was deeply disturbed and distressed by its contents. He wishes once more to express his profound regret at the actions of some members of the clergy who have betrayed their solemn promises to God, as well as the trust placed in them by the victims and their families, and by society at large."

The statement said the Pope was asking for prayers for the victims of "these heinous crimes" and promised that the Vatican would "develop effective and secure strategies to prevent any recurrence".

It said the Pope and the Vatican took the issues raised by the report "very seriously" including "questions concerning the governance of local Church leaders with ultimate responsibility for the pastoral care of children".

Pope Benedict was accompanied by a delegation of Curia heavyweights including, among others, the secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the prefect for the Congregation of Bishops, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, the prefect for the Congregation For the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal William Levada, the prefect for the Congregation of the Clergy, Cardinal Claudio Hummes and the prefect of the Congregation of Consecrated Life (Religious Orders) Franc Rodé.

When John Paul II met the US bishops in the Vatican to discuss the US clerical sex abuse crisis in April 2002, he issued a strong statement in which he said, “people need to know that there is no place in the priesthood and religious life for those who would harm the young”. (Unless they have attained the rank of bishop or even higher.)

The crisis over clerical sexual abuse in Ireland will likely result in a major shake-up of the Catholic Church, Archbishop Martin said after the talks with Pope Benedict.

I think that we are looking at a very significant reorganisation of the Church in Ireland," he said. (If the reorganization is only in Ireland and only shuffles bishops around, it isn't go to do much for the global church or change a thing in the Vatican.)
Not much more to say about this statement, and speaking of statements, the Vatican has finally, more or less, come out with a statement which would apply to the Ugandan homosexuality bill. It was given at a United Nations panel on gay violence by Archbishop Migliore

Statement of the Holy See

Mr. Moderator,

Thank you for convening this panel discussion and for providing the opportunity to hear some very serious concerns raised this afternoon. My comments are more in the form of a statement rather than a question.

As stated during the debate of the General Assembly last year, the Holy See continues to oppose all grave violations of human rights against homosexual persons, such as the use of the death penalty, torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. The Holy See also opposes all forms of violence and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons, including discriminatory penal legislation which undermines the inherent dignity of the human person. (This statement continues to give the green light to the criminalization and imprisonment of homosexuals. Uganda equates homosexuals with pedophiles so I guess the Ugandan bill isn't discriminatory under this reasoning.)

As raised by some of the panelists today, the murder and abuse of homosexual persons are to be confronted on all levels, especially when such violence is perpetrated by the State. (Except in Uganda gays aren't to be murdered, they are to be executed. The Church could have, had they really wanted, demanded an end to the executions on the basis of current Church teaching regarding capital punishment. They didn't for a reason. See next italics.)
While the Holy See’s position on the concepts of sexual orientation and gender identity remains well known, we continue to call on all States and individuals to respect the rights of all persons and to work to promote their inherent dignity and worth. (Refusing to deal with this issue on the moral arguments against capital punishment allowed Archbishop Migliore to restate the Vatican's notions about homosexuality--the very same notions behind the anti gay bigotry in Uganda.)

Thank you, Mr. Moderator.


  1. Colleen, thanks for this prompt report. I'm still formulating my full response. My headline though, is clear: B16 "shares the outrage and shame2 - but what about the blame? This is not about responding to specific abuses, or even of better governance. Reorganising the Irish church won't cut it.

    We have been promised a response "soon" outlining the steps that will be taken to "prevent" a repeat of the scandal. Unless that response tackles the root causes, the problems my be reduced but cannot be ended.

    These root causes, as clearly shown by numerous reputable analysts, are the insistence on an all-male celibate clergy; obsessive and excessive control and abuse of power; and completely inappropriate methods of selection and training of candidate priests.

    As head of the church, Benedict should be accepting blame for these institutional factors at the heart of church culture. Personally, he should also be accepting responsibility for his part in reversing the renewal impetus of Vatican II, asserting instead the damaging emphasis on central control; for reinforcing the insistence on secrecy in a letter to bishops in (I think 2002)dealing specifically with procedures for dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct; and for his attempts to place the blame on the "gay priests" - even though there is no evidence that they are more likely than others to offend, and some that they (if out, and thereby integrated in their pyscho-sexual personality)may be significantly less likely - as are women.

    It is not just the Irish hierarchy that need to be reorganised - but the entire church structure, governance and procedures.

  2. The hierarchy and curia won't do anything that endangers their prerogatives or implements and reform.

  3. No, I don't for a second suppose they will take the steps that are necessary - left to their own devices.

    That is all the more reason why we need to find ways to reform the church ourselves - either by pushing them, or (as Colleen has suggested) even by leaving them behind.

    All over the wordl, oppressed people have found the means to impose better governance on dictatorial regimes. It has even happened before in the Catholic church - mostly notably at the reformation. It can happen again.

  4. Colleen, thank you for--day in and day out--seeking and speaking truth in a culture so intent on spin, that it pushes us all to spin rather than engage in truth-telling.

    I agree with you wholeheartedly: the cover-up of the abuse crisis begins and ends with the Vatican. Bishops do not act independently of the Vatican in anything these days, particularly not in matters as serious as this.

    And thanks for noting what some folks are missing, re: the Vatican statement about Uganda. It does not oppose the criminalization of homosexuality. It opposes only acts of violence done to gay folks. The Vatican continues to work anyplace it can in the world to remove rights from LGBT people, and it has refused to endorse U.N. action to condemn criminalization of homosexuality in various nations.

  5. Meanwhile, the People's Church continues to live in spite of the abject misery inflicted on it by the Cleric's Church: (Walla Walla, WA) (Grand Rapids, MI) (Sacramento, CA) (Chicago, IL)

    Feliz fiesta de la Virgen de Guadalupe!

    The face of the future US church is here.

    Jim McCrea