Sunday, April 11, 2010

Quote of the Day

The Pope cannot blame the local bishops this time - they desperately tried to get the priest fired.

He cannot claim he was out of the loop: his signature is on the letter.

He cannot get an underling to take the fall: it's his name and his office behind the unconscionable delay and behind the actual, despicably callous and self-serving reasons to protect a man who tied children up and raped them.

It's over now.

When we look at this Pope we see a man who knew that one of the priests he had authority to fire had restrained and raped children. Yet he did nothing for years, and finally sided with the priest. He had more sympathy for the relatively young age of the rapist, rather than the innocence and trauma of the raped children.

We see a man utterly corrupted by power and institutional loyalty.

So when does he resign?

– Andrew Sullivan
The Third Strike
The Daily Dish
April 10, 2010

Update: The Third Strike, Ctd. - Andrew Sullivan (The Daily Dish, April 11, 2010).


Dan said...

Hmm. Well, here's another quote after examining the actual facts:

"So to review: This was not a case in which a bishop wanted to discipline his priest and the Vatican official demurred. This was not a case in which a priest remained active in ministry, and the Vatican did nothing to protect the children under his pastoral care. This was not a case in which the Vatican covered up evidence of a priest's misconduct. This was a case in which a priest asked to be released from his vows, and the Vatican-- which had been flooded by such requests throughout the 1970s -- wanted to consider all such cases carefully. In short, if you're looking for evidence of a sex-abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, this case is irrelevant."

Phil Lawler, Director,

Michael J. Bayly said...

Hi Dan,

Children tied up and raped by a priest is not evidence of a sex abuse crisis in the church?! Well, if that's not evidence, what on earth is?

Also, are you saying that the evidence of this case that Andrew Sullivan clearly lays out here does not constitute "actual facts"?

Sullivan even notes that the Vatican itself "specifically acknowledges the 'grave significance' of the charges," and that "not even the most reactionary of Vatican apologists can muster a coherent defense on this one." Except, it seems, Phil Lawler!



Michael J. Bayly said...

The mainstream media's reporting of how the Vatican is responding to this particular case can be viewed here.

It seems that statements contained in this article by Vatican lawyer Jeffrey Lena are what Phil Lawler utilized for his piece at

It still doesn't answer the question of why then-Cardinal Ratzinger failed to respond to the various letters sent to him by Bishop Cummins about dismissing Stephen Kiesle, the priest who had been charged with molesting/abusing children.

Don't these letters refute Lena's contention that "[This] abuse case wasn’t transferred to the Vatican at all"?

Why would Ratzinger hesitate dismissing Kiesle, even if he did believe that it was Cummins' responsibility to ensure that Kiesle did no further harm?

Like many people, I'll be watching with interest how this all plays out.



kevin57 said...

I saw the BBC's reporting on this situation yesterday and they said reports around the Vatican suggest that a "zero tolerance" policy for cases of pedophilia are going to be mandated throughout the Church universal. Even if true, this gives me pause for at least three reasons:

1) "Zero tolerance" does not get at the root of the problem, in my opinion;

2) "Zero tolerance" allows for LOTS of tolerance for enabling bishops;

3) This purported new policy will again be a "top down" decision, not allowing for the kind of dialogue that just might, among other things, help solve #1 and #2 above.