I have several links that Catholic readers have sent me in recent days. I’m going to be traveling on Saturday, and won’t be able to post. Maybe this’ll hold you. Here we go…
1. Phil Lawler wants to know why Msgr. Stephen Rossetti, despite a catastrophic record of failure in advising Catholic bishops on how to handle pederast priests, remains one of the bishops’ top advisers on the issue. Excerpt:
“Just as the banishment of lepers was fueled by medieval myths, the hysteria surrounding child sexual abusers is exacerbated by myths about those who suffer from sexual deviancies. Child molesters incarnate our deepest childhood fears… Our myths about child molesters come more from the projections of what lies within our own inner psyches than from the truth about who these men are.”
Does that quotation suggest that the author is motivated primarily by a desire to protect children from sexual abuse? Would it surprise you to learn that the author was–and to this day remains–one of the most influential voices advising Catholic Church leaders on the handling of sex-abuse cases?
The quotation comes from a 1995 article by Msgr. Stephen Rossetti in America magazine, with the revealing title: “The Mark of Cain: Reintegrating Pedophiles.”
”Reintegrating Pedophiles” was, in a sense, Msgr. Rossetti’s job from 1996 through 2006, when he served as director of the St. Luke Institute, the most prominent of the facilities treating American priests accused of abusing children.
2. Writing in National Catholic Reporter, Ralph Cipriano, who has been a strong critic of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia over clerical sex abuse, says that the conviction of Msgr. William Lynn in an abuse cover-up was a sham. His report is shocking, to say the least. Excerpt:
After sitting in on all 16 weeks of the two archdiocese trials, I came away with a different take than the district attorney on his “historic” prosecution of the church.
What I witnessed was a couple of show trials shrouded in official secrecy and staged for political benefit. While Lynn became the main focus of the prosecution, the men at the top of the church hierarchy who gave Lynn his orders were given a pass.
They include Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua, who died Jan. 31, 2012. The retired cardinal was deposed during the investigation but not prosecuted.
Also getting a pass were two former auxiliary bishops of Philadelphia: Edward P. Cullen, now retired bishop of Allentown, Pa., and Joseph R. Cistone, now bishop of Saginaw, Mich. The two bishops were never questioned about what they knew about the shredding of incriminating documents ordered by Bevilacqua in 1994, including a memo and a list that Lynn compiled of 35 abuser priests then in active ministry.
According to Lynn’s trial testimony, Cullen sat in on a high-level meeting with the cardinal, to which Lynn was summoned and told to turn over all copies of the documents before being dismissed. After the meeting, the cardinal ordered the shredding of the documents, according to formerly secret memos introduced as evidence during the first archdiocese trial. Cistone, in a handwritten memo, wrote that he witnessed the shredding.
While the top members of the hierarchy escaped prosecution, three clerics and a schoolteacher were sent to jail: at the first trial, Lynn and Avery; at the second trial, where Avery made his stunning declaration, Fr. Charles Engelhardt and former teacher Bernard Shero.
Avery is serving two-and-a-half to five years; Lynn, three to six years.
On June 12, Engelhardt and Shero are scheduled to be sentenced. Engelhardt faces a maximum of 37 years in jail; Shero, 57.
All four are in prison because of the testimony of one witness, Billy Doe. In my opinion, Doe was the least credible prosecution witness at both trial, and the one who told the most incredible story: a story that even some in the district attorney’s office didn’t believe; a story that changed every time he told it.
3. Remember when Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles ordered his predecessor, Cardinal Roger Mahony, to withdraw from public ministry because of his disgraceful handling of child sex abuse on his watch? Since then, according to the Los Angeles Times, a defiant Mahony has effectively said to the sitting archbishop, “Make me.” Excerpt:
When Archbishop Jose Gomez stripped his predecessor, Cardinal Roger Mahony, of public duties for mishandling clergy sex abuse cases, a church spokesman said the retired prelate’s life would remain largely the same with one exception: confirmations.
No longer would Mahony preside at springtime rites in which teenagers receive the sacrament that marks full passage into the Catholic Church, the spokesman said.
But three months later, Mahony is back doing confirmations. Since Easter, he has officiated at eight services, including one last week in which he anointed more than 120 youths at a Wilmington parish.
His presence has caused controversy, with some parents threatening to pull their children from the liturgies and at least one parish priest asking that Mahony not attend. It has also raised questions about why Gomez’s rebuke of Mahony, an unprecedented move that won him praise from victims and their supporters around the world, had so little lasting effect.
Yes, Mahony is a pathological narcissist — but it would appear that he’s also showing Gomez who’s boss in Los Angeles.