Mar 31

They were deaf, but they were not silent. For decades, a group of men who were sexually abused as children by the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy at a school for the deaf in Wisconsin reported to every type of official they could think of that he was a danger, according to the victims and church documents.

steven-geier-said-the-priest-who-molested-him-as-a-boy-told-him-he-had-to-keep-it-a-secret
Steven Geier said the priest who molested him as a boy told him he had to keep it a secret. Mr. Geier reported the abuse to three priests, including the Rev. Tom Schroeder

They told other priests. They told three archbishops of Milwaukee. They told two police departments and the district attorney. They used sign language, written affidavits and graphic gestures to show what exactly Father Murphy had done to them. But their reports fell on the deaf ears of hearing people.

This week, they learned that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, received letters about Father Murphy in 1996 from Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland of Milwaukee, who said that the deaf community needed “a healing response from the Church.” The Vatican sat on the case, then equivocated, and when Father Murphy died in 1998, he died a priest. Continue reading »

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Mar 31

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Christopher Hitchens, whose antagonism towards religion is well-established, had harsh words for the Catholic Church, and the Pope in particular, during an appearance on “Morning Joe” today.

The most recent scandal that has erupted over the priest who molested over 200 deaf boys, Hitchens said, proves that “the fatal taint” goes all the way to the top:

A school for children who can only use sign language. 200 of them have their childhoods completely wrecked by this priest, and entreaties are addressed to the man who is now Pope, Cardinal Ratzinger, the man who was saying at the time that the only problem with the scandal was there was a press campaign against the church. The abuse was not the problem, the torture the rape; only the revelation of it. Nothing happens except that he forgives the priest who asked for forgiveness before he dies.
I wrote then and I believe now that the fatal taint went straight to the top at that point, and now we have as head of the church someone who’s personally as well institutionally responsible for knowing of this, covering it up and protecting, not the children, but the predators.

Asked by host Willie Geist when the Catholic Church will reach a breaking point, considering how many of these scandals it has weathered in the past, Hitchens replied that the breaking point has indeed arrived:

The breaking point just came, when it became obvious from reports from Munich, and reports from Wisconsin, and reports now from Verona, in Italy, that the man who is now calling himself the Pope was the person individually responsible for the coverup. Continue reading »

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