Who could argue with that? I certainly didn't.
Somewhere along the line, Pete's been co-opted by people who are not as sensible as Pete was. They have a markedly different agenda: they are gunning for the Pope, and Isely's been duped.
"The goal of Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, was to keep this secret," [Isely] said, flanked by photos of others who say they were abused and a poster of Ratzinger. "We need to know why he (the pope) did not let us know about him (Murphy) and why he didn't let the police know about him and why he did not condemn him and why he did not take his collar away from him."
Church and Vatican documents showed that in the mid-1990s, two Wisconsin bishops urged the Vatican office led by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger - now the pope - to let them hold a church trial against Murphy. The bishops admitted the trial was coming years after the alleged abuse, but argued that the deaf community in Milwaukee was demanding justice from the church.Ratzinger was not a member of the Congregation for Clergy (which is directly responsible for priests in the overall sense), nor the Congregation for Bishops. He was head of Congregation for Doctrine. So the first question is "Why did Weakland write to Cong. Doctrine rather than Clergy or Bishops?" (The answer is below, in the CNS News story.) It is very important to note that Ratzinger's Congregation did NOT have full control of priest-pedophile issues until 2002, by the way. (Noted below is the fact that Ratzinger himself won for CDF the ability to laicize priests convicted under Canon Law.)
UPDATE: the first complaint came in in 1974. It is not yet clear whether ANY civil/criminal complaints were filed in this matter.
The second question is: why the Hell does Isely complain that Ratzinger 'did not inform Milwaukee police and the Milwaukee DA'? Did we not have an Archbishop right here in Milwaukee at the time? Or an auxiliary Bishop (or two)? Since the local DA was a Catholic and his wife worked at a Catholic high school, it shouldn't have been too hard to find McCann's home phone number, right? IIRC, one could also find a listing for "Milwaukee County Office of District Attorney" if you wanted to reach McCann during the day. He'd probably take a call from Rembert Weakland.
Finally, Isely complains about "secrecy." He's right: the Vatican did want to keep the matters confidential, but not for the reasons Isely (and his pals) want you to believe. The Vatican kept these things confidential for the protection of the victims AND as a guard against unwarranted calumny of the priests. Canon Law is like American jurisprudence--innocent until proven guilty, and all that stuff. As you will also see (below), Canon Law has a statute of limitations--just like lots of States in the USA.
This is exactly the same as the practice at the local newspaper: they do NOT publish the name of someone charged with incest (e.g.) to protect the child. Similarly, the local newspaper does NOT publish the names of arrested suspects until charges have been filed.
Yes, the newspaper knows all about libel--unless it's the Church which does not publish names.
Charlie Sykes is right. Something about this story smells funny.
Has anyone called E. Michael McCann about this? Anybody? Bueller?
More here from Airstrip One (England...)
I do, however, get the very strong feeling that the Pope’s enemies, including his enemies in the Church, are trying desperately hard to discover serious complicity on his part in a child abuse case. Because that would be just so convenient, wouldn’t it?
Thompson cites the CNS story, which has a few interesting facts, too. Like the following:
Archbishop Weakland wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger about the case in 1996 because he thought it might involve "solicitation in the confessional," a sin which because of its gravity involved the doctrinal congregation.
Later in 1996, the doctrinal congregation told Wisconsin bishops to begin a canonical trial of Father Murphy, the Times article said. But it said that process was halted after Father Murphy wrote directly to Cardinal Ratzinger, saying that he had repented and was in poor health, and that the allegations went beyond the church’s own statute of limitations for such crimes.
UPDATE: As it turns out, the trial was NOT "halted."
Also worth noting:
Vatican officials who spoke on background said the New York Times story was unfair because it ignored the fact that, at the urging of Cardinal Ratzinger himself, new procedures to deal with priest abusers were put in place in 2002, including measures making it easier to laicize them.
At some point in time, the JS will stop using NYSlimes stories as "fact-based."