Saturday, April 24, 2010

More Spin From John 'The Apologist' Allen

This is the portrait of a man who is a clerical restorationist, not a Vatican reformer. No amount of John Allen spin can change this picture.

The following is an extract from John Allen's Friday article in the National Catholic Reporter. The abuse crisis must really be generating serious angst in Vatican circles because John is really starting to blow his cover as an objective insider. Objective? I think not. Insider? Most definitely.

Ratzinger and Castrillón
Finally, a footnote about the impact of the Castrillón episode: Ironically, resurrecting that 2001 letter may have doomed Castrillón, but it could actually help Pope Benedict XVI. (Only in the minds of people who seriously need to hang on to the notions of a papacy that cares about something other than the papacy.)

Throughout the most recent round of media coverage, there's been a serious mismatch between Pope Benedict's actual record on sex abuse -- as the senior Vatican official who took the crisis most seriously since 2001, and who led the charge for reform -- and outsider images of the pope as part of the problem. (John, you are asking us to ignore all kinds of information which point directly to Cardinal Ratzinger in favor of your obvious agenda to exonerate Pope Benedict. Unfortunately for you, elevation to the papacy does not magically erase Ratzinger's past.)

While there are many reasons for that, a core factor is that the Vatican had the last ten years to tell the story of "Ratzinger the Reformer" to the world, and they essentially dropped the ball. That failure left a PR vacuum in which a handful of cases from the pope's past, where his own role was actually marginal, have come to define his profile. (There was no ball to drop because Ratzinger held the ball and he didn't drop it. Most likely because it was thoroughly stuck to his fingers and he wanted to be Pope. There are only a 'handful of cases' because the records from the CDF are still secret.)

One has to ask, why didn't the Vatican tell Ratzinger's story? (Most likely because there was no perceived need to invent 'Ratzinger the reformer' until now.)

At least part of the answer, I suspect, is because to make Ratzinger look good, they'd have to make others look bad -- including, of course, Castrillón, as well as other top Vatican officials. (Interesting Freudian slip. To 'make' Ratzinger look good, is not at all the same as showing Ratzinger was good.)

Lurking behind that concern is a deeper one, which is that to salvage the reputation of Benedict XVI it might be necessary to tarnish that of Pope John Paul II. (It didn't take long to tarnish the reputation of JPII when it came to defending their own criminal actions. The issue is these guys made their own personal decisions to continue the corruption and the lies--including Ratzinger. Blaming JPII is the Vatican's version of the Nuremberg defense.)

In this case, however, Castrillón has inadvertently licensed the Vatican and church officials around the world to use him as a foil, effectively waiving a cardinal's traditional immunity from criticism. (You and they wish. Hoyos has also pointed the finger directly at Ratzinger as an accomplice, has laid down a challenge to other Cardinals to either shit or get off the pot, and made no bones about the fact he isn't going down alone.)

From here on out, when spokespersons insist that Pope Benedict fought inside the Vatican for reform, the world will have a much clearer picture of what his opposition looked like. At stake wasn't just the question of cooperation with the police. Castrillón was part of a block of Vatican officials who thought the sex abuse crisis was fueled by media hysteria, that "zero tolerance" was an over-reaction, and that removing priests from ministry without lengthy and cumbersome canonical trails is a betrayal of the church's legal tradition. (The truth is more likely that Hoyos was using all those excuses to maintain his own clerical power and that of Vatican Cardinals. Exposure of corrupt Cardinals like Groer, Trujillo, Rode, and Sodano would not bode well for the future of Hoyos, Bertone or Ratzinger and there might not have been a Pope Benedict XVI, and the real truth might have put an end to the restorationist agenda.)

That's important to keeping the record straight, because the truth is that the real choice in Rome over the last ten years vis-à-vis the sex abuse crisis was never between Ratzinger and perfection -- it was between Ratzinger and Castrillón. (Uhm, I don't think so. I think it's pretty obvious they were all on the same page when it came to protecting their version of Catholicism which generates great wealth for them as individuals. For Benedict, for whom wealth wasn't much of a motivator, the system generated great power of another sort.)


I'm not the only one who thinks John Allen is sipping too long and hard at the Vatican trough. Here are a couple of very good comments which also take John the Apologist to task:

John, time to come back to the Christian faith and get out of the Vatican! You write: "That's important to keeping the record straight, because the truth is that the real choice in Rome over the last ten years vis-à-vis the sex abuse crisis was never between Ratzinger and perfection -- it was between Ratzinger and Castrillón." You've been there too long and it is affecting your thinking. Throughout this entire crisis, the choice has always been between Ratzinger and Christianity [not Castrillon-----he's lost]. Admittedly, Ratzinger, as far as we know at this point, never wrote a congratulatory letter to someone who obstructed justice in a felony. WOW--------that makes him a Master Reformer! I don't think so! For decades Ratzinger has held positions of power in the Vatican and was very knowledgeable about what was going on in the back rooms. Did he ever hold a press conference and expose all the sexual rot that he knew about? Did he ever publish an article in a religious periodical demanding reform? Did he ever publicly reprimand and cause a demotion of an offender at the hierarchical level? Did he ever call for a Third Vatican Council to begin a restructuring process in the hierarchy of the church? Of course not! That's why he was made Pope; he was one of the good ole boys! And for this, you give him the status of Reformer Exemplar! Wake up, John, and smell the rot all around you!

One does wonder how many in the Vatican actually are Christian. And then there is this one which lays out some pretty damning evidence:

I'm sorry, John, but your attempt to rewrite history doesn't work. Ratzinger's letter to all the bishops reserving prosecution of child sex abuse by priests to his jursdiction came out months before Castrillon's letter supporting secrecy was distributed with JP 2's approval and without Ratzinger's objection. Ratzinger's letter places child sex abuse cases within the pontifical secret in which only priests participate and any information leaking from the proceedings was to be punished by excommunication. There was no language allowing referral of crimes to civil authorities;the pontifical secret implies it is forbidden and Castrillon'sletter was consistent with Ratzinger's.

Bertone, Ratzinger's past and current chief assistant strongly supported the maintenance of secrecy in 2002. Ratzinger also refused to answer questions from reporters at that time, even slapping a reporter on the hand for asking them.
Whatever "Ratzinger the Reformer" did for ten years was done behind this wall of secrecy which was precisely the problem.
Ratzinger may indeed wish to change this policy now. But it is dishonest to pretend he wasn't part of it. After all, he was always JP 2's loyal assistant.
The problem then and now was the reservation of all church power to the clerical boys club which believed it was above scrutiny. Regrettably Ratzinger has been making it worse, most recently in his new canon law reserving governance to priests and bishops.
If he were sincere in changing the system, he would eliminatethe cleric-only proceedings that caused the problems. He would write a new canon law in which priests and bishops are forbidden from exercising governance without the participation of lay men and women.

There are some other less apologetic articles which have recently come out in the evil media and if one has time on this lazy Saturday they are worth reading. There is this article from the Houston Press, and this article from Newsweek, and this article from

Finally, totally off topic, I must admit to great disappointment with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. My own Governor Bill Richardson is now susceptible to racial profiling when he attends Diamond Back games in Phoenix. I have a suggestion for Governor Richardson. New Mexico should pass a law which allows police to stop any car with Arizona license plates if there is suspicion of illegal immigrants. Police should be instructed that said illegals could be in the trunk of any Arizona car. If some poor white snow bird gets stopped six times on the way to Albequerque maybe they would get the point of their own immoral law.


  1. Ah, yes, it's all about PR: Brave New W...umm....Vatican!

    Yes, left is right. And up is down. And there is NO contradiction....

    To me it's very simple. Good versus evil. Right versus wrong. The Gospel versus weeds.

    But we have entered a strange universe, like a hall of mirrors. Where "reality" itself is in question. The Vatican would "control" our perceptions of reality. But we, the educated, now thinking for ourselves, refuse to cede our ability to think, to seek the "fruits" that Jesus said were the indelible marks of his followers.

    Where are the fruits?


    Oh, yeah, they've been indicted too!

    (couldn't resist that last one...)

  2. As is frequently spat at me by the fanatical, brainwashed sheep - conditioned into OBEDIENCE uber alles by the Church:

    "There is a saying in the Church:

    'Only God can fire a pope'"

    God's Response:

    As Pharaoh brought the curse of death upon the 1st born of Egypt (including his own son) by his very words from his own lips....

    "So it is written; so let it be done".

    His ignored warning:

    "The priests, the ministers of my son, by their wicked lives, love of money, riches, honors, pleasures & worldly pursuits, have become cesspools of impurity....Vengeance is hanging over their heads".

    They have made their own noose, by their own words & deeds.

    Of course, this is but the beginning of sorrows, as when God allows the complete & total destruction of the Vatican & its Administration, the global financial/business/political fallout will send the 'world' into a tailspin.

    The merchants & kings of the earth who have committed fornication with 'her' will weep....and be made desolate. And all who depend on them.

    The choice is simple: faith in God alone, or in the 'thing' destroyed in Revelations 17-18.

    I gently suggest that ppl wakeup...quickly. While there is still time. Those whose loyalty is with what shall be destroyed will be destroyed too....emotionally, mentally, spiritually.

    Anon Y. Mouse

  3. The time is certainly coming when we will all have to decide between the power of love, or the love of power. It's pretty obvious what choice the Vatican has made.

  4. Anon Y. Mouse:

    To me the verse that rings in my ears is this one: "I have heard my people's cry." Said to Moses. From the Burning Bush.

    This is what I am following. That same voice. That same compassion. That same call. That same warning: Take off your shoes. For this is Holy Ground.

    I honestly think we are engaged in something sacred. For which we must prepare and remain vigilant. Patient. And humble.

  5. I thought the smug quip about Sinead O'Connor was tawdry of John. He could have just as well have used his own name, or most people on the planet, but he shows disdain and disrespect for her, hence it taints not Sinead, but John Allen.

    Colleen, thanks for sorting out the sordid drama in the Vatican.

  6. You say the only reason there is not more dirt on Ratzinger is that the CDF records are secret. This is to presume guilt without any proof. In addition, the CDF did not handle sex abuse cases until 2001 and there is no evidence that Ratzinger has not been serious about his campaign to root out "filth" since then.

  7. Colleen, I haven't had time to read "real" blogs this week--only news-type ones.

    Now that I'm doing so, I'm amused and a bit amazed that you and I have blogged about precisely the same stories in the past several days. Synchronicity at work in a big way here, I think.

    I wonder how soon the pressure on the media will be effective and we just won't be reading further stories about any of this. It's clear to me from the self-defense NY Times has just published that it's intense.

    And it all centers on assuring that no negative information will come out about Benedict. The clumsy and obvious way they're now using Castrillon Hoyos would be hilarious if it weren't so malicious, and if it didn't imply we're too stupid to see the game being played.

  8. The CDF has always handled cases which involve abuse of the confessional, so they had plenty of cases previous to 2001. All cases were centralized in the CDF at that point.

    The time lines suggest that the CDF got serious about expiditing cases only after world wide media exposure. Benedict, as both head of the CDF and now Pope, has avoided dealing with any corruption within the Vatican itself, or acknowledging the Vatican has any blame.

    If Hoyos is correct about Ratzinger being present at the meeting with JPII when the letter to French Bishop Pican was authorized, Ratzinger was willing to swallow his own conscience--again. Just as he did when allegations against Frs. Maciel and Buressi became the province of the CDF in the late nineties. Ratzinger took no action in either case until for years. In both these cases the stumbling blocks were Cardinal Sodano and JPII.

    Why if Ratzinger was such a crusader did he not go public? Because these cases stalled in the CDF, both these predators were free to abuse for years more--and collect big bucks for their respective orders.

    It really does give the appearance that Ratzinger only acted towards the end of JPII's pontificate to clean up his own record and then only on high profile cases, in order to further his own cause for the papacy.

    In the meantime some of the most egregious of bribe taking corrupt Cardinals are still in his employ. Benedict hasn't really cleaned up anything unless it's been to his advantage. That's my take, obviously you prefer another.

    More is coming, and yes it will come from victims lawyers because it sure isn't going to come from the Vatican.

  9. "there is no evidence that Ratzinger has not been serious about his campaign to root out "filth" since then."

    Guess anonymous did not read any of the links.

    Somebody prove to me that Benedict is not a drag queen!!! Where is the evidence that he is not???? Somebody prove to me also that his secretary is not his lover!!!

    Somebody prove to me that the folks in the Vatican are Christians and not Pharisees!!

    As I have been reading all of the data about the sexual abuse by priests, the one thing that is very clear in my mind is that for decades and decades this crime continued against children and it was only possible because of people such as Ratzinger in high positions not taking the high moral ground or truly being Christian about it. Prove to me he acted in good Christian conscience regarding this matter! Ratzinger has proved himself, and all those around him aided him, they aided each other in covering up sex crimes internationally.

    What is so different morally between a serial rapist and those enabling a serial rapist to continue to rape? What are the similar characteristics of a serial rapist and serial rapist enablers? They both desire SILENCE from their VICTIMS. They both PROTECT each other.

    Who has the worse crime - a serial rapist, or the enabler that allows for the serial rapist to continue raping?

  10. Butterfly, you have hit on the question the Vatican doesn't want asked and refuses to address. Victims have repeatedly stated the enabling is the greater crime because it produced more victims and more assaults. I agree with their assessment.

  11. Another point of the lack of Benedict getting rid of the filth in the Church is that the serial rapist enabler Cardinal Law is still in Rome, Italy protected by Benedict and the serial enablers. Rome is filled with enablers of sexual abuse, enablers of serial rapist, enablers of sexual molesters of children and adolescents and young seminarians.

  12. Coleen, for the most part, my eyes are on the pictures leading your posts. To use an old cliche, clothes make the man.

    One big difference between Benedict and his predecessor is that Benedict and his underlings lack the sense to realize that these vestments look just appalling to modern Western eyes.

    However small the real differences in worldview between Benedict and John Paul II, our mental picture of John Paul II is much different.

    Simple and dignified:

  13. I agree with that assessment as well Colleen, that the enabling is the greater crime, for the crimes would have ceased without the enabling.

    The other night I watched a program about prisons on MSNBC. A serial rapist in a New Mexico prison was interviewed. He has admitted to over 28 victims. He was caught a few times only and the other remaining victims never came forward. (This suggests to me that there are far more many victims from sexual abuse in the Church than those reported.)

    The serial rapist is just now recognizing what he has done wrong to the victims in addition to the rape. He is just getting the sense that aside from the rape of his victims, the other crime he committed that kept his victims in FEAR was that he would go through their purses after the rape and say to the victim that he knew where the victim lived and that if they spoke to the police he would come after them and their children too.

    The similarity I see here is that the serial rapist was able to keep the majority of his victims from speaking and going to the police by threatening them severely, which is EXACTLY what the Church did to the victims by threatening them with expensive lawsuits and excommunication.