Should The Catholic Hierarchy Be Punished For Running A Criminal Organization?
Quick, someone call the vice squad!
Yesterday's NY Times excused?... criticized? Pope Ratzinger for spending his time as the Nazi Cardinal in Munich pursuing ideological dissidents rather than a clergy riddled with child molesters. Easily the most reactionary pope since Hitler's boy Pio, Ratzinger didn't have a problem with priests raping young boys-- as long as they stuck with conservative dogma. When he ran the Munich diocese that was also the birthplace and heartland of the Nazism that he once fully and openly embraced, the future Pope had hundreds of child rapists and mentally unbalanced priests in his ranks and he never said a word beyond, "don't get caught, boys."
Vatican experts say there is little evidence that Benedict spent much time investigating more than 200 cases of “problem priests” in the diocese, with issues including alcohol abuse, adultery and, now under the microscope, pedophilia... Three decades ago it was common practice in the church to ignore or cover up incidents of molestation, or, in severe cases, to transfer priests to faraway parishes. Even outside the church, both victims and law enforcement authorities were less likely to take decisive steps to expose and combat abuse.
Church apologists are claiming he was never into "management" and was too "spiritual" to bother with the mundane tasks of keeping his employees from raping the faithful's small sons and daughters. I had never heard of one of his predecessor's favorite priests, a serial child rapist and right wing sociopath named Maciel until I read about him on Digby's blog today.
Marcial Maciel Degollado was a vicious, corrupt and drug addled old queen who surrounded himself with handsome young men as dedicated to far right-wing lunacy as he was. His right-wing army was called the Legion of Christ and seems to have been mostly dedicated to raping young boys. Even after Maciel was found out, he was never defrocked. A resident Fox News wingnut, Rev. Jonathan Morris, was one of Maciel's disciples and fits in perfectly with the Fox ideology of course. But don't get the idea that Maciel was gay. He just liked sex, fathering children all over the world with various women who he kept in high style with the money he stole from the suckers who give their hard earned cash to this institutionalized fount of corruption.
Morris, a baby-faced priest in his 30's, is a native of Michigan, who also writes an online column for FoxNews.com. He is a member of the Legion of Christ, an ultra-secret organization that many feel borders on being a cult. Its founder, Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, was a very close friend of Pope John Paul II, a friendship that stood him in good stead in the 1990's when he was accused of eight counts of sexually molesting young boys over a 20 year period.
In addition to raising millions of dollars for the Church, the Legion of Christ, through an intensive recruitment drive, including a website called Vocation.com, has managed to do something the Church values even more highly: Recruit young men to the priesthood.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), acting for Pope John Paul II, refused to open an investigation into the allegations against Father Degollado until just before the papal elections. After he was elected Pope, he reversed course and closed it down again. Needless to say, this did not go over well with SNAP (The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests).One cannot help but wonder if Ratzinger shrewdly manipulated Maciel's victims as pawns in the papal succession struggle. For years, Ratzinger ignored and rebuffed these victims. Suddenly, as the papal election neared, he reversed course.
At the time, some speculated that Ratzinger re-opened the probe as a calculated move toward the center, an effort to moderate his extreme image, and attract votes for his papal bid.
Now that Ratzinger is ensconsed as head of the worldwide church, he coldly tosses these victims aside again. Now, those skeptics must feel vindicated.
This decision is a severe blow to the optimists who had hoped that Pope Benedict might "grow into" his position, and somehow prove to become more compassionate than his reputation and track record would indicate. (David Clohessy, SNAP National Director, 5-21-05)We don't need to be lectured on morality by these sick & corrupt criminals in frocks
Father Degollado founded the Legion of Christ in Mexico in 1941. Since then, the order has grown into a very wealthy, extremely conservative organization that includes 650 priests and 2500 seminarians.
Yesterday's Times is more circumspect of the Catholic cult's criminal behavior but did mention that Maciel's boys, "[a] powerful Roman Catholic religious order acknowledged in a statement on Friday that its founder, a close ally of the late Pope John Paul II, molested seminarians and fathered several children, and it expressed 'sorrow and grief' to anyone 'damaged by our founder’s actions.' Sounds dandy; let;s just move on, right? Isn't that what conservatives always say when they get caught? Let's move on.
For years, the Vatican ignored complaints against Father Maciel, who enjoyed a strong cult of personality. But in 2004 Cardinal Ratzinger reopened a stalled investigation into the order when he was the head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office, sending a Vatican official to interview Legionaries and accusers of Father Maciel worldwide.
The Legionaries’ statement offered no concrete changes to the management or traditions of the order, but in a rare case of a religious order disavowing its founder, it said, “We accept and regret that, given the gravity of his faults, we cannot take his person as a model of Christian or priestly life.”
The statement continued, “We had thought and hoped that the accusations brought against our founder were false and unfounded, since they conflicted with our experience of him personally and his work.”
Their experience of him personally? They all were forced to wear their hair parted on the same side, wear the same outfits and Maciel is said to have slept with most-- if not all-- of them. They must be referring to a different "experience of him personally." Maciel is estimated to have had sex with hundreds and hundreds of young boys in his care and it is widely assumed that every member of the Legionnaires of Christ who did not flee the organization, was taking part in the same kinds of activities with children. The U.S. spokesperson for the organization says they're taking a wait and see approach and waiting for Ratzinger to tell them what to do. "We'll have to wait for the indications of the Holy See," he said.
Juan Vaca, 73, who was sexually abused by Father Maciel in Mexico when he was 10 and for years tried to get the Vatican to investigate Father Maciel, said he was disappointed by the statement. “It’s very tepid, very general, nothing new,” he said.
Mr. Vaca, who left the Legionaries in the 1970s and is now a professor of psychology at Mercy College on Long Island, said, “They have to amend all these errors and mistakes by facts and actions, not words and promises.”
He said he did not expect much from the apostolic delegation. “They are communicating in secrecy,” he said, “and they will get everything under secrecy.”
In Mexico, the order reaches the upper echelons of business, the church and government, and for most of his life, Father Maciel was treated as something of a saint. The Legionaries’ acknowledgment that he had fathered at least three children out of wedlock and molested several boys, confirming the worst accusations and long-held suspicions among many Catholics there, seriously damaged the order’s reputation.
Elio Masferrer, a Mexican scholar who heads the Latin American Association for the Study of Religions, said the statement, with its vague plea for forgiveness, still did not address the damages done to victims by Father Maciel, or the civil crimes he committed.
“They think of the sexually abused as if they were people in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Mr. Masferrer said. “The strategy is not to forgive the sinner; it is to protect the sinner.”
Mr. Fair, the spokesman for the order, said the statement had not gone into detail about possible crimes committed by Father Maciel in order to protect the privacy of the victims. He also said that the timing of the statement was not connected to the Vatican’s investigation.
And in a related matter...
UPDATE: The Priest And Papal Pal Was Also Sexually Molesting His Two Young Sons
You think I'm making it up? The L.A. Times covered Rev. Maciel today, the same predator priest the Vatican-- including Pope Benedict-- has been covering up for! Why? The right-wing organization Maciel founded and ran has $20 billion in assets that managed to rip off from suckers. And, of course, raping children is considered a perk of organized religion.
Two years after the death of the Rev. Marcial Maciel, a Mexico native, scandals continue to unfold: Just the other day in Mexico City, two brothers came forward, claiming tearfully that not only was Maciel their father, he had also sexually abused them... "I was 7, lying in bed with him like any child that age. He pulled down my underwear and tried to rape me... He made us masturbate him and took pictures of us doing it."
...As the Catholic Church is rocked by scandals about abusive priests and the failure of its hierarchy to confront them, Maciel in many ways embodies the insidiousness of the problem.
Maciel was dogged for years by allegations that he sexually molested young men studying to be priests, had affairs with women and was a drug addict. He evaded sanction thanks in large part to the privileged status granted him by the late Pope John Paul II. Only in 2006 did John Paul's successor, Benedict XVI, discipline Maciel by ordering him to stop functioning as a priest; by then, Maciel was 85.
Maciel was popular at the Vatican because the Legion was one of the fastest growing orders in the Catholic Church, able to produce wealth and recruit priests at a time of declining memberships and severe shortages in the clergy -- and because it espoused the conservative brand of Catholicism that recent popes have favored.
Today the Legionaries, as they are known, operate in nearly 40 countries with 800 priests, 2,600 seminarians and a lay branch called Regnum Christi ("Christ's Kingdom") that has more than 75,000 members.
Though blessed by John Paul, the Legion had detractors the world over who, quite apart from the abuse allegations, criticized the secretive group's cult-like practices. Seminarians were cut off from their families, their mail routinely intercepted; barred from criticizing Maciel and instructed to report anyone who did; and made to adhere to a military-style discipline. A cult of personality developed around Maciel, revered as a hero destined for sainthood.
In Mexico, the key to Maciel's success was his ability to ingratiate himself with the country's top entrepreneurs and richest families. Charismatic, persuasive and good-looking in his younger days, Maciel amassed so much money from his benefactors that the Legionaries for Christ are sometimes ridiculed as the Millionaires for Christ... He told Mexico's wealthy that God loved them more than the poor, just what they wanted to hear... [Pope] John Paul praised Maciel as a Jesus-like model for youth.