"The system of the Catholic clergy, for which I have great respect and to which I have given many years of my life, selects, cultivates, protects, defends, and produces sexual abusers." - Richard Sipe
Richard Sipe, a former Benedictine monk and mental health counselor, lived in the catholic system for 18 years where he counseled his fellow priests. Sipe did a 25 year study examining celibacy in the priesthood.
What he found was that at any one time, no more than 50% of priests practice celibacy.
"They know that celibacy is not practiced" they being Vatican authorities, Sipe said, "you may not be keeping your celibacy but as long as it's secret, it's okay."
Reverend Lawrence Murphy
Reverend Lawrence Murphy sexually abused over 200 deaf children at St. John's school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The narrative is framed by the first known case of a priest being publicly accused of molestation — Father Lawrence Murphy of Milwaukee's St. John's School for the Deaf. There, we learn through the signed testimonials of four former pupils — Terry Kouhut, Gary Smith, Pat Kuehn and Arthur Budzinski — the boyish and beloved priest systematically raped and abused more than 200 pupils during his unstoppable 24-year tenure.Not only were these young men unable to speak out about the abuses Father Murphy perpetrated on them, but in many cases, their own families did not know how to sign which put Father Murphy as interpretor between mother/father and son, leaving them absolutely no opportunity to tell.
His own moral depravity wasn't enough, Reverent Murphy enlisted older boys in an organized system of abuse. These older boys, who had been molested by Murphy, used threats to force little 7 year old boys to perform oral sex on him. In the documentary it was said these older boys were prepping the younger boys for Father Murphy.
Murphy eventually left the school of the deaf, but served as parish priest in another church near his cabin where he lived. This new church was never told of the accusations of pedophilia. Father Murphy continued abusing little boys.
Although deaf and unable to speak, these young men found their voice by plastering this image of Father Murphy in their deseperate attempt to stop him from hurting other little kids.
One of the biggest crimes featured in the film is that of Father Lawrence Murphy, who abused over 200 deaf children in a Milwaukee school that he was in charge of. The victims, years later as adults, brought the first public protest against clerical abuse in the United States. It ended up becoming a lawsuit against the pontiff himself.
"This wasn't a conspiracy, this was worse than a conspiracy - the policy was to keep this absolutely secret" - Fr. Tom Doyle, Canon Lawyer
Father Tom Doyle, a Canon lawyer, became aware of the Murphy case and was asked to evaluate some of the information. The Vatican knew there was prior reports about Murphy - but failed to act.
Initially, Father Doyle attempted to work within the system, but was told "we don't turn our priests in, this is our problem, we take care of it."
Father Thomas Doyle, a canon lawyer at the Vatican, co-authored a report to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1985 warning that if the Church did not act on the problem of sexual-predator priests it would end up costing over one billion dollars. For his efforts he was made a military chaplain and sent to an American Air Force base in Germany. The corporate culture of the Catholic Church is to protect itself from scandal at all cost. To the men who run the Church, this means hiding their dirty secrets at all cost. They hoped that by paying the money, everyone would just go away. That didn’t happen.
At one point during the documentary, Fr. Doyle is asked if he ever represented the church. He replied "yes, I represent the church every time I step into the courtroom, because I represent the people and the people are the church."
Money is the root of all evil
Patrick J. Wall, Former Benedictine Monk, found out during his ordination that there were treatment centers around the world for priests who sodomized and raped kids. There were 55 child molesters in his monastery - more than 70 in the archdiocese. He was shocked that this information wasn't known publicly and was even more shocked by the special assignment he was tasked with.
Patrick Wall became the "fixer" for the church. He would travel to sites where priests were accused of childhood sexual abuse, given a budget of $250,000 to settle with the victims, (if you could get a confidentiality signed) and was to clean up the mess - remove the offending priest, put in a new priest and get everything back to normal.
"I thought I was going there to uncover the crimes, heal the wounds, offer pastoral care. I thought I was going to care for the afflicted, you know, what we are ordained for. But the people sending me in obviously had ulterior motives."In 1985, Patrick Wall had a budget of $7 million dollars for the year to cover up childhood sexual abuse. He was never told to report abuse to authorities.
Many of the priests were sent to treatment centers, like the First Servants of the Paracletes. However, when Fr. Wall found out it didn't stop, that offending priests were allowed to stay in ministry, he left the priesthood.
First Servants of the Paraclete Center was opened by Father Fitzgerald to treat pedophile priests. He believed sexual predators who abuse children should be removed from the priesthood and forced to live a life of prayer and penance.
From the 1950s to the 1990s, the Servants of the Paracletes spent more than $80 million dollars treating more than 2000 pedophile priests.
The order, the Servants of the Paraclete, closed the New Mexico facility where many Los Angeles priests were sent amid a flood of lawsuits in the mid-1990s. A lawyer for the order indicated in a 2011 civil court filing that all treatment records were destroyed.
In the recent release of files from the Los Angeles Arch Diocese, letters from the Servants of the Paraclete to then Cardinal Roger Mahony, stating:
"Once more, we ask you to PLEASE DESTROY THESE PAGES AND ANY OTHER MATERIAL YOU HAVE RECEIVED FROM US," the acting director of the order's treatment program wrote to Mahony in 1988 in a letter detailing therapists' reports about a prolific molester. "This is stated for your own and our legal protection."
Cover-up at the Highest Level
Prior to his election to Pope, Cardinal Razinger served as the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) from November 1981 through April 2005.
In 2001, Ratzinger put out a teaching approved by then pope John Paull II stating every sex abuse case that involves a minor comes to Ratzinger's desk.
The year before the Globe story, then-German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was designated to oversee complaints against priests from all over the world. In that job, he ordered that every sex abuse case in the church be brought to his attention, which means that the man who is now the head of the Roman Catholic Church was once in a position to know more than any other single individual in the church about the extent of the issue of pedophilic priests.The CDF has documents from 4th century councils in Spain, that talks about sex abuse and children.
When will we stop protecting the pedophiles and start protecting the innocent children?
Next Showing - Wednesday, February 6, 2013, 8pm (EST) - HBO
This synopsis of the documentary is powerful - in one scene you actually see where the young men confront Father Murphy at his cabin where Fr. Murphy admits to abusing them. This excerpts shows the young man shouting at Fr. Murphy telling him to go to jail - but Father Murphy quickly goes back in his house.
Thanks to SeaTurtle who pointed out there is another good write up here: Nostra Maxima Culpa by Andrew Sullivan.
He says this better than I ever could:
The detail I cannot quite recover from is that he picked out for abuse those deaf boys who had parents who could not use sign language – so that even if the boys had the courage to say what had happened to them, their parents would not understand. It’s things like that that simply chill you, haunt you, force you to confront the pre-meditated, profound assault on human souls that the Catholic Church, from the Pope on down, enabled, perpetuated, and lied about for so long – and still hasn’t been held fully accountable for.