Off-Season Trash: Who Will Be the First Corrupt Leader to be Ousted?

I’m starting a pool: Who will be the first top leader to be ousted for his role in a corruption scandal?

Will it be A, Pope Ratzinger, for sending a pedophile priest for the “gay cure” then back to working with children rather than to prison back when he was an Archbishop?

A widening child sexual abuse inquiry in Europe has landed at the doorstep of Pope Benedict XVI, as a senior church official acknowledged Friday that a German archdiocese made “serious mistakes” in handling an abuse case while the pope served as its archbishop.


In Munich case, a priest from Essen, “despite allegations of sexual abuse, and in spite of a conviction — was repeatedly assigned work in the sphere of pastoral care by the then-Vicar General Gerhard Gruber,” who worked under Benedict when he was the archbishop.

The priest, identified only with the initial “H,” was moved to Munich in January 1980, where he was supposed to undergo therapy, a decision that was taken “with the approval of the archbishop,” according to the archdiocese’s statement. Benedict was archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982.

Or will it be B, Timmeh Geithner, for helping Dick Fuld defraud investors?

Well, it is folks, as a [pdf] newly-released examiner’s report by Anton Valukas in connection with the Lehman bankruptcy makes clear. The unraveling isn’t merely implicating Fuld and his recent succession of CFOs, or its accounting firm, Ernst & Young, as might be expected. It also emerges that the NY Fed, and thus Timothy Geithner, were at a minimum massively derelict in the performance of their duties, and may well be culpable in aiding and abetting Lehman in accounting fraud and Sarbox violations.

We need to demand an immediate release of the e-mails, phone records, and meeting notes from the NY Fed and key Lehman principals regarding the NY Fed’s review of Lehman’s solvency. If, as things appear now, Lehman was allowed by the Fed’s inaction to remain in business, when the Fed should have insisted on a wind-down (and the failed Barclay’s said this was not infeasible: even an orderly bankruptcy would have been preferrable, as Harvey Miller, who handled the Lehman BK filing has made clear; a good bank/bad bank structure, with a Fed backstop of the bad bank, would have been an option if the Fed’s justification for inaction was systemic risk), the NY Fed at a minimum helped perpetuate a fraud on investors and counterparties.

This pattern further suggests the Fed, which by its charter is tasked to promote the safety and soundness of the banking system, instead, via its collusion with Lehman management, operated to protect particular actors to the detriment of the public at large.

And most important, it says that the NY Fed, and likely Geithner himself, undermined, perhaps even violated, laws designed to protect investors and markets. If so, he is not fit to be Treasury secretary or hold any office related to financial supervision and should resign immediately.

Enter your bet below and win a shiny hubcap!!!!

… what’s that you say? The correct answer is C, none of the above? Or rather, D, Eric Holder will be the first to be ousted, because he argued to uphold the Constitution and limit Presidential abuse of power?

(Shiny hubcap from / CC BY-SA 2.0)

116 replies
  1. Peterr says:

    Boy, this is a tough one.

    In the NYT story on Benedict, I was particularly struck by this passage:

    The former vicar general took full responsibility for the decision to reinstate the priest to pastoral work. “I deeply regret that this decision resulted in offenses against youths and apologize to all who were harmed by it,” he said, according to a statement posted on the archdiocese’s Web site.

    There was immediate skepticism that Benedict, as archbishop, would not have known of the details of the case.

    The Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, who once worked at the Vatican Embassy in Washington and became an early and well-known whistle-blower on sexual abuse in the church, said the vicar general’s claim was not credible.

    “Nonsense,” said Father Doyle, who has served as an expert witness in sexual abuse lawsuits. “Pope Benedict is a micromanager. He’s the old style. Anything like that would necessarily have been brought to his attention. Tell the vicar general to find a better line. What he’s trying to do, obviously, is protect the pope.”

    Doyle is a straight shooter, and was well-respected in church circles until he started speaking up about sexual abuse being covered up in the Roman Catholic church.

    Doyle’s remarks about the vicar general’s line sound like some of what we heard in the Plame case about Karl Rove and others famous for their attention to detail yet suddenly their memory fails and documents disappear.

    • scribe says:

      It is. I’ve been calling pretty much every twist and turn in the torture cases since 2004, though not all on-line, and it all makes me sick. Trust me, the last role anyone wants to play is the Cassandra.

      But, Benedict ain’t prescient. He just got caught covering for a predator.

        • emptywheel says:

          Yup, cuz we haven’t had a hubcap competition for at least a month. And this seemed appropriate in honor of the Gentleman of his Holiness and friends.

          • R.H. Green says:

            Yup is right. I had thought the Wheel of Fire was a feature of the book of Revelation, relating to folks getting their just reward in the great judgment, and appropriate enough for a priest. But no, WIKI says it originates in Greek mythology as punishment for Ixion, who was bound to the wheel for lusting after Zeus’s wife(Snicker). It also opines that the wheel appears in Aristotelian tragedy to refer to the central flaw in a protagonist’s character. So much for Pope, Geithner and Holder.

  2. dakine01 says:

    Since we must always look forward rather than back to the past, I’m betting on Pope Prada but not because of the abuse scandal from the article you link but rather for his failures to do anything about the physical and sexual abuse (combined with the gay prostitution scandals) from his brother’s choir.

    But as always, I might be an idiot.

    • posaune says:

      Wow! Great post, EW.

      My money’s on Benedict (or Joseph or whatever name will be used for the criminal complaints).
      1) Because, it’s an EU type thing, that will expand, and those Spaniards who aren’t the Escriva types will want to go after him.
      2) The Irish Church will be eager and willing to “prove” that is wasn’t just them.

  3. Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle says:

    The only way Holder is going anywhere is if he resigns(and by extension really wants to stick it to Obama and Emanuel). Why isn’t he going anywhere? The same reason Timmeh!! isn’t. Obama won’t likely be able to get anyone confirmed by the Senate.

  4. scribe says:

    Wellll, the NYT isn;’t getting its’ stories straight, et again. From Deutsche Welle’s English language service (saves me the time and trouble and reluctance to go all the way in translating):

    Pope Benedict XVI, in his position as bishop of Munich and Freising, approved the re-housing of a priest accused of child sex abuse in his diocese in 1980, it was revealed Friday.

    “It was decided in 1980 to give H. [the priest] accommodation in a rectory so that he could receive therapy. The archbishop took part in this decision,” the diocese of Munich and Freising said in a statement.

    The diocese confirmed that the priest in question was in Munich to undergo therapy after sexually abusing young boys. According to the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, he was accused of forcing an 11-year old boy to perform oral sex.

    At the time, “The Archbishop” was the now-Pope, just so that’s clear.

    From the same article:

    The development is the latest in an ongoing sex abuse scandal rocking the Catholic Church in Germany. The church came under heavy criticism after an elite Jesuit school in Berlin admitted to the systematic sexual abuse of its pupils by two Roman Catholic priests.

    More alleged victims have since come forward, including a former member of the prestigious all-boys choir in Regensburg led from 1964-1994 by the pope’s brother, Georg Ratzinger.

    Keep in mind, too, that there is no First Amendment in Germany and their press is quite reluctant to go this far for fear of libel suits, if they were not absolutely sure on every fact. FWIW, they rarely if ever even print the name of convicted criminals, let alone unconvicted defendants. Very, very careful. That same reluctance and care is why their press generally has a superb reputation for nailing stories. I suspect, when all is said and done, that those red Prada shoes and the fancy fur hats were just the tip of the iceberg with this Pope.

    But, if I were a betting guy, I would put my money on Holder. Popes don’t quit, least of all over someone else’s gay sex (think back to the Borgia popes, who fathered whole families), and Timmeh has too many friends. After all, if Lloyd Blankfein doesn’t have to show up (and gets no grief for blowing it off) when Obama summmons the heads of the major investmnt banks to the White House for a chewing-out, what makes you think the banksters’ little tool Geithner would suffer for anything he did pre-Treasury?

    • Peterr says:

      That’s in the NYT story, scribe. There are two separate decisions that the NYT, DW, and other outlets describe. First was the decision to provide housing to H while he underwent treatment; second was the decision to allow him to serve a parish as their pastor. Every account I’ve seen agrees that Benedict — then Archbishop Ratzinger — approved the first decision. What is at issue is whether he approved of the second.

      That’s what Doyle was laughing at in my comment @1 — the idea that Ratzinger would have been in the dark about that second decision.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The pope’s brother’s Sgt. Schultz-like claim, “I no nussink” about the abuse in his institution that raged for years is not persuasive. One would think that after the scandal in America, the church would have looked globally inside itself, rather than lawyer up, argue with its insurers, and act like this was piddly shareholder concern that will have dissipated by the next AGM.

      But no, Benedict and the others you name will not have consequences. As you suggest, it is more likely to be Holder for being the nail that sticks up by trying to do his job (however meekly he seems to be attempting that) in a world that rewards (and confuses) management of appearances over management of reality. That’s one reason that journalistic dust mites such as Dana Milbank and David Brooks remain so gainfully employed, while Dan Froomkin is a Huffingtonposter.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I have to agree the European press has covered this better. Der Spiegel has a series on it, too, though not specifically on Benedict’s possible involvement. As with the paedophile scandal in the US, what began as a scandal in Bavaria has leaked to hundreds of church schools and other facilities in Germany, Holland and elsewhere.

    No coincidence, perhaps, that Benedict this week “reaffirmed” the church’s position on celibacy for its priests. That rather guarantees in this day and age that the priesthood’s candidates will be less psychologically whole and adjusted, and less aware of the lives it seeks to foster, both in and outside the church.

    Its denial of a fundamental part of what makes us human – of a drive so strong that it assured that mammals would outlast the dinosaurs rather than be trodden underneath – is a mistake. Instead of channeling that drive into healthy directions, as other religions have done, the Roman church allows it to percolate underneath and to destroy the church’s foundation, by the acts done furtively to relieve it and by the sometimes more heinous acts done to cover it up.

    Celibacy should be a choice, not a minimum disavowal of life required of the priesthood. Holiness lies in what one does, not in what one refuses to do out of loyalty to an ancient rejection of Roman excess and a mistaken belief that discarding the world is the way to become a spiritual leader of it.

  6. Jeff Kaye says:

    When the camerlengo intones “Joseph Ratzinger” three times, and later white smoke appears over St. Peter’s Square, the German press will forget the government and financiers caved to Greek communist unions in the streets and embrace the new scandal. Hasn’t Ratzinger taken some terrible falls in recent months? Now, he must take the big fall for the sake of Church and Heimland. Why do you think they elect their popes quite old?

    [In Europe, the stand of the Greek workers is HUGE. They are sending a message that the workers will not pay for the bankers’ follies. The UK Guardian reports today that the German government is quietly changing its insistence it would not bail out the Greeks, the better to push Greek austerity measures. Now they’re going to cough up billions. In the end, it’s to get the workers off the streets, and end the general strikes. But it may be too little, too late; we’ll see. In the meantime, expect a resurgence of nationalism. That means getting rid of national embarrassments, like JR.]

    As for Holder and Geithner, they need ‘Fear not, till Birnam wood Do come to Dunsinane.’

  7. JohnLopresti says:

    [Parody] Perhaps the first to get a pink slip will be, not the traditionalist Ratzinger BXVI, but the director of the overseas outpost of the Vatican known as the VATT. It took some imagination to conceptualize how this would occur. However, here is the theory, carefully developed. VATT is a telescope in a building atop an Arizona mountain where clergy may view space close up. The prediction is some extraterrestrial in 2010 will bring a manuscript to the VATT directorate; on the much traveled parchment*s surface is a rare record of a theocentric congregation in a distant planet where a similar rule of celibacy was kept in persistance beyond the years of its usefulness. The history which the extraterrestrial document depicts is strikingly similar to earth*s own annals. It seems there was a crumbling of agrarian institutions followed by reversion some fringe settlements near civilized centers, back into nomadic conditions. The ongoing implosion of that distant planet*s social order ultimately resulted in reliance on barrons and feudal ecclesiasts whose strong castles and churchyards afforded some shelter from the sweep of nomadic pillagers. The vicars commissioned to celibates the tasks of writing and preserving science such as it was before the onslaught of the wild tribes.

    Whereas the dismal threats subsided incrementally over several centuries the churchyard hierarchies did not reconfigure, having enjoyed their **mission** as the celibate keepers of records. As society became once again more organized the sociologic gap between the celibate clergy and the civilian populace at large became more tension filled. Soon the celibates were largely marginalized, yet could not find within their own consciences the way to relax their own rule of celibacy. The next development was as predictable on that distant orb as on earth; all forms of sexual ingrown behavior spread among the celibate hierarchs.

    Unfortunately, the outcome of the rare parchment story is not fully available yet; and the director of the VATT apparently has been quoted as saying the still redacted portions of the document show that on that distant planet the clergy was able to set its course aright only by ending celibacy. Evidently, the VATT leadership was warned by the papacy to cease promulgating such syncretistic concepts and to cease advertising the discovery of the rare document.

    Reportedly, the document was transferred to the original vatican observatory in Italy, which actually was the first such astronomy facility in the pope*s organization, but modern smog had ceased to let the heavens be seen in the site in Italy. Arizona skies still permit astronomic observation to continue, and the papacy has invested generously in the Arizona site on Mt. Graham. Evidently, the extraterrestrial parchment currently is kept in the parent observatory*s sock drawer alongside labeled meteorites, various obsolete sceptres, and the like.

    I doubt traditionalist Ratzinger will overcome the orthodoxy which has fostered celibacy in his organization; rather, I predict the VATT director will be disciplined for publicizing the document which clearly shows there is a demonstrated effective way to end ecclesiastic sex abuses. I suspect the emails are stored on a parallel computer system; however, I will try a google search for the contents of the redacted part of the document. [endParody]

    • freepatriot says:

      if extraterrestrials are bring the manuscript here for the Pope to read, why do they need a telescope ???

      jes askin, is all

      anybody else get the feeling that the Catholic Church has jumped the shark ???

  8. freepatriot says:

    I choose answer E: nobody will be held accountable, but ain’t it sweet that them DFHs still believe in accountability …

    (duckin & runnin)

    leave my new hubcap on the couch, I’ll pick it up if I ever leave the liquor cabinet again …

  9. Jeff Kaye says:

    Unnoticed in the hullaballoo over Holder and the Amici Curiae in Rumsfeld v Padilla/Newman, no one has pointed out that Philip Heymann was, along with Holder and others, signatory to the brief.

    Heymann was, of course, Deputy Attorney General of the United States from 1993 to 1994, and Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice between 1978 and 1981. But he is also currently, along with former American Psychological Association PENS task force member Robert Fein, and former CIA official John MacGaffin, one of a three-member panel advising Obama’s task force on interrogations. He was also a major contributor to the CIA’s Intelligence Science Board study, Educing Information. He teaches at Harvard.

    The Intelligence Science Board is a CIA-related government agency, quite secretive (try and Google info on this “government” agency).

    So no one has noticed Heymann, a primary Obama advisor, at the top of government-making policy on interrogations, as a signatory of the brief with Holder, Reno, and others. Of course, he is no danger of being outed by me. They will not attack him, as he’s protected by CIA links and the IC. The attacks on Holder are pure politics, and I don’t think Holder will fall under their particular blows. He is a made man from DoJ. Margolis has his back, too. I believe Obama wants him there, as well.

  10. Peterr says:

    I like the lead in the Süddeutsche Zeitung (German, translation mine): “It is not a question of belief, but of believability.” They then cite a new poll, showing 67 percent of German Catholics and 71 percent of Germans as a whole believe the church has lost its believability because of the latest revelations.

    When your job depends on your believability, those poll numbers are deadly.

  11. JohnLopresti says:

    ACS has posted an observation demarcating the 4th anniversary of the oral argument utter nonparticipation of associate Justice Thomas. Maybe CT will decide during 2010 that he would like to do other things than remain in silence. Surely, Obama can think of a replacement who is known for voluble vocalization on the bench.

    • Minnesotachuck says:

      Thomas’s non-participation may be the result of the vestigial level of intelligence that is embodied in the old saw “It is better to keep your mouth closed and have people think you’re stupid than to open it and remove all doubt”.

  12. freepatriot says:

    and what exactly is this “OFF SEASON” stuff that our host mentions in her title

    was Michigan eliminated from a tournament or sumtin ???

    (duckin an runnin again)

  13. qweryous says:

    Not being much of a betting person I’ll let others prognosticate.

    The odds may be tipping in Ratzinger’s favor.

    Commentary titled “Catholic child abuse in proportion”
    published in the Guardian by Andrew Brown helpfully asks the question:

    “Many Catholic priests and religious have abused children in their care. But is the church’s record worse than the world’s?”

    Brown’s commentary was the subject of discussion both at the Guardian’s site and at Pharyngula in the post “A fine example of apologizing oneself right into a defense of the indefensible” where it was brought to my attention.

    In a fine example of missing the forest because the trees are blocking the view, Brown concludes with:

    “Certainly the safeguards against paedophilia in the priesthood are now among the tightest in the world. That won’t stop a steady trickle of scandals; but I think that objectively your child is less likely to be abused by a Catholic or Anglican priest in the west today than by the members of almost any other profession.”

    EDIT: The Guardian website profile of Brown is here LINK :

    • prostratedragon says:

      Thanks for the profile link, which anticipated my first reaction: Surely no one with anything resembling any kind of philosophical training could make so specious an argument without having to dodge lightning for the next month. In a religious context he’d have to go to remedial Sunday school.

      As to the topic, I fell into a gaze at that graphic for about 30 seconds, at which time it asked me, “May I help you?” This was my reply, edited from a flow of glossolalia:

      D.: Walking away from a dream job need not be the same as giving up the dream. But it’s just too easy to argue the contrary.

      C.: No.

      B.: My pick. Tim’s magic carpet (weren’t we all wondering wtf was up?) should not have flown right before the examiner’s report, but in the wake of the next natural disaster/celebrity scandal after. Jumpy much, someone? True, he’s another made man, but occasionally those are the guys who have to take one for the team.

      A.: Wouldn’t that take both many hurried and anxious conclaves and throngs of the faithful protesting in streets and squares? Actually as the scale of this ugly business becomes clear, we could very well see the latter, and soon, but without the former to react to the incumbent isn’t going anywhere, though Easter could be … indicative, somehow. Any other outcome that is not perfectly transparent would be a disaster for the Catholic Church. (That of course does not require them to elect transparency.)

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Brown is a Brooksian apologist. The “rest of the world” doesn’t have the Holy Mother Church’s aspirations or pretensions, nor does it have its obligation when acting in loco parentis for its minor or adult charges in its schools, hospitals, seminaries and convents. It is also an institution that recruits some of the world’s most talented intellectuals and empathists. It is not a statistical collection of individuals, which is the population Brown uses for his statistical terminological inexactitudes.

      That the church as an institution repeatedly fails so miserably at self-analysis and correction suggests that it values other things, such as protecting its brand and its coffers, more highly. That it fails to address the attribute – enforced celibacy – that enhances sexual repression and the potential for predatory sexual behavior – is itself a scandal.

      • qweryous says:

        Brown is a Brooksian apologist.

        Yes indeed.

        I thought about posting this on the Judy Miller’s Editor thread, but it seemed the only connection was crappy journalism- and Brown’s Guardian profile does not have the words ‘journalist’ or ‘reporter’ in it.

        I was hoping for a Brooks thread, but had to settle for the mention of Ratzinger.

  14. Sara says:

    I would certainly agree with Peterr that Doyle is a straight shooter, and very much to be trusted, but I suggest there are clear reasons why one should pay close attention to the nuance in his comments.

    This is one of those stories that has taken nearly 30 years to emerge from the secret closets where the RC church (and yes others) kept sexual and other forms of abuse of minor children. American and other Journalists first began to cover parts of the story in the 1980’s when some of the first abuse civil cases actually ended up in public courtrooms before civil Juries, (something that had long been avoided with secret payoff’s) and in turn successful civil cases forced a few local prosecutors to file criminal charges and win Jury verdicts. The American Journalist who first picked up the sad but intrigueing story, and developed the first comprehensive series of articles was Jason Berry, a Lousiana native who mostly wanted to write about Jazz and Cajan Culture, but who got the backing of the National Catholic Reporter — an independent and progressive Catholic Weekly Paper edited and owned by lay people, and Berry worked the story out from its initial Lousiana roots to a national story, eventually bringing together his reporting in “Lead Us Not Into Temptation” Doubleday, (1992) — since republished in paperback by U of Illinois Press. One of Berry’s key sources for his book, and for pieces in his many series was eventually to be Thomas Doyle, a young Dominican Canon Lawyer — but it took a good deal of time for Berry to develop his source.

    Doyle was essentially a Ronald Reagan Republican type, appointed in the early days of the Reagan years to a very significant job in the Catholic Hierarchy. He was one of four American Priests selected to assist the Papal Nuncio in Washington DC with the tasks and the bureaucratic flow of papers between the US Church and the Vatican — papers about creating dioceses and selecting candidates for Bishop or Archbishop, and negotiating issues of state that arise from time to time between Washington and the Vatican. In that position, virtually all the papers about civil and criminal legal matters (such as sexual abuse of children) passed over his desk as they worked their way to Rome. To make long (multi-book length) story short, beginning in the mid 80’s, Doyle dealt with the defense lawyers hired to represent US diocese and individual Priests, reporting through channels to Rome as cases progressed, and as they progressed, and he learned the dimensions of the matters, both the Defense Bar involved in these cases, and eventually Doyle himself, confronted the moral core of the issue — and changed sides. As of the late 1990’s, Doyle had left Church Diplomacy behind, became a military chapalin, and an expert witness for Plaintiff Cases, an expert on Canon Law and rules of Church Administration. To draw the picture ultra clearly — when Doyle — the young diplomatic bureaucrat — was sending briefs on emerging sexual abuse cases in the various states to Rome on behalf of the Papal Nuncio in the mid 1980’s, and reporting on his conversations with the Church’s Defense Lawyers representing Dioceses and Priests, he was actually sending those papers to the desk of Joseph Ratzinger, and when Rome had questions, they came to Doyle from Ratzinger’s office. In otherwords, he knows exactly what Ratzinger knew and when he knew it — and he knows what questions Ratzinger raised, and the subsequent orders he sent as to how to proceed to the American Church officials. And he eventually came to trust Jason Berry as a principled Journalist, and it is Berry who eventually published the story of Doyle’s journey from well placed bureaucratic functionary with a Reaganisk world view, to key Plaintiff’s Expert Witness on Canon Law and Church Administration in perhaps 500 abuse cases in the US courts.

    Yes, I think Ratzinger is in trouble, deep trouble, but I doubt if he will resign, and there are no processes by which he can be fired. If necessary, they will secret him in an obscure chapel and apartment somewhere in the Vatican, and make him unavailable for years. If you thought you saw stonewalling during the Bush years, you ain’t seen nothing yet. They can’t change the way they deal with crimes against lay persons, including minor children who raise claims of sexual abuse, because to do so will bring down a whole house of theological cards that has been centuries in the making. Some of those cards were laid on during the Counter-Reformation, others date back to the 3rd Century and the Romanization of Christianity. They are all dedicated to not doing this.

    Yesterday, one of the sites that publishes day to day commentary on the abuse story posted part of a brief from a case now in court in Texas, and as part of the brief, included translation from the Latin of an aspect of an internal (or Canon Law) “trial” for any accused sexual Priest. In essence, the Plaintiff’s lawyer published the formula. And since this is a site that does obscure details, I recommend reading this brief, which you will find at:

    The brief is fairly dense reading especially if you have to find the Common Law terms for some of the obscure Canon Law — but it does take one inside the Theology of the matter, and the process by which it is executed today. Yes, what prayers are said when you sign an agreement that makes a crime into a secretly absolved sin that is not subject to adjudication in a Civil or Criminal Court, and thus not reportable to authorities you do not actually recognize as having legitimate authority. All the law and the processes that derive from it retain so much of the pre-Reformation, pre-Treaty of Westphalia, pre-enlightenment, pre-French Revolution and certainly pre-Common Law belief system — essentially there is nothing to debate, nor much reason to assume pressure will bring about reform. It might bring about some additional public relations spin — but nothing of any consequence.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The last pope to resign was Gregory XII in 1415, though the first was Benedict’s namesake, Benedict IX in 1045. The only other one was the most famous, Celestine V in 1294. Not much precedent, though I don’t think papal infallibility extends to what was done before becoming pope.

    • klynn says:

      Excellent historical summary Sara.

      I studied at the Vatican back in the late 80’s when a case was getting a fair amount of press attention.

      I could not wait to end my studies. The sense of a presence “other than holy” was disturbing.

    • qweryous says:

      Having now gone to the link you provided-some of that reads like other documents that have been posted here. Documents that were written to enable,conceal, and also to excuse indefensible behavior.

      Assuming the filing is correct and accurate, and that the sources it is based on are the same; it is another case of what was imagined was not as horrible as what was actually done.

      Does the Vatican and the church hierarchy ( not sure if that is the right term?) understand how the long play of these events coupled with the new media makes it possible for people to know what has been done?

      Edit: It seems I did not use the words evil, criminal, and inexcusable; so I corrected that oversight.

      • PJEvans says:

        I think it’s interesting, possibly in the Chinese-curse sense, that they’re trying to make rules intended to apply to clerics apply to everyone, including minors and the incompetent, who can’t legally consent to anything.
        That’s why I think someone needs to bring down a very large hammer on them, including the ‘ending-your-tax-exemption’ one, at least for everything that isn’t actually a church or a monastery/convent (maybe doing it for all churches, since there are others that are as politically pushy).

        • qweryous says:

          “That’s why I think someone needs to bring down a very large hammer on them.”

          The ongoing legal battles and the criminal battles have been to a significant degree small hammers smashing fingers and toes. Over thirty years the damage and pain inflicted by the small hammers are beginning to accumulate.

          The church is no longer able to fight and win the small battles.
          Thirty years ago it didn’t have to fight the small battles, now it loses them.

          As the obstruction and criminality are consistently proven (and seldom disproved) at higher and higher levels, the attrition and accumulated damage becomes worse. At the same time public recognition of the same, both by members of the faith, and others, grows.

          When the tactics and the strategy that the church has used no longer work (including denial, infallibility, and labeling victims (including, as you point out, MINOR VICTIMS) as fellow perpetrators and thus assigning blame to the victims; then what is left?

          How can the church put this all back in the container?

          The day of reckoning nears, the only question is the when; and whether the church continues to deny the approach of the reckoning.

          They have brought death by a thousand cuts upon themselves by their own decisions and doctrine.

          After saying that, big hammer works for me too; that would perhaps help to mitigate the suffering of the victims.

      • Sara says:

        “Does the Vatican and the church hierarchy ( not sure if that is the right term?) understand how the long play of these events coupled with the new media makes it possible for people to know what has been done?”

        No, I don’t think they comprehend Google and the Internet, though by this time they probably have heard of the sites people following all this tend to check regularly.

        When it all began back in the 80’s there was no Internet yet. If you wanted to follow cases you had to be lucky and have a local paper that picked up the stories (Mpls was lucky, we had a couple of large cases here, St. Paul is home to Jeff Anderson, the lawyer who working on a shoestring as a solo practioner brought one of the first US cases and got a Jury Verdict, and the tendency is to follow local lawyers — Jeff has done over 700 cases now, and has two active cases against the Vatican that are on pre-trial appeal. The Star-Tribune had an investigative reporter, Joe Riegert, who wrote the book on the connection between US abuse cases and their Irish Church roots. Joe has been bought out and retired now, but he is still working on investigations. He has done two books on the subject. Joe is an old friend from back in Civil Rights Days — he covered much of the movement. Also was a grand ole friend of Molly Ivins. So given these connections, the Strib tended to cover what Jason Berry was finding in the Lousiana cases, and elsewhere. But we were lucky, most parts of the country didn’t cover what was characterized as a local Lousiana story. When Boston broke in 2002 Berry’s book was out of print, and the NCR (National Catholic Reporter) had to step on it and get up a website with all Berry’s series on it — Journalists didn’t know how to cover the story, and most had never heard of the NCR. It was nearly 20 years between Berry’s first stories, and the deluge that was Boston. And I suspect Boston would have been “local” if it had not been for the Net and by 2002 the existance of sites such as “Abuse Tracker” that ran on the Poynter Institute server with former E & P editor, Greg Mitchell as the initial web master. Greg used Poynter to run seminars for Journalists covering the Religion Beat, teaching them how to investigate within a Catholic Cultural Frame of Reference. After a couple of years at NCR, Abuse Tracker is now housed within a secure private foundation, “Bishop’s Accountability” that posts literally every legal document that sees the light of day, and is now international. Want to read the 5000 pages on the Irish Investigations, well “Bishop’s Accountability” had them scanned and up within a day of their being issued. I notice that within the last month they have brought on board German Translators. Some of the Plaintiff’s attorneys have been donating their case files to Bishop’s Accountability for scanning and posting after the legal processes are complete, and I suspect others will do the same eventually. It will be THE repository on this subject, I think, and the way it evolved would make an absolutely fascinating case study of how the Net changed things. What ten years ago would have been in secret church files under lock and key is now available world-wide, 24 hours a day, and is supported by an excellent internal search engine specific to the topics. (Yep, works with Latin Phrases).

        Bob in AZ writes…
        “I just think its some kind of poetic justice that this happens with Ratzinger as Pope. I never regarded his “election” as authentic, anyway– he had spent years in a critical position under his predecessor, and had put himself in a position to get himself selected as the next pope. Pure political manipulation. Now maybe he will get his just desserts.

        But also, perhaps no one understands canon law as well as Ratzinger. If anyone can figure out a way out of this, he’s the one. And if anyone knows what needs to be changed, and how to change it, he knows better than anyone. So I will follow this with interest.”

        Yea, I agree that Ratzinger deserves this problem, every aspect of it. It is why I thought it so important to post details of who Father Thomas Doyle really is — after all, he was Ratzinger’s correspondant in the US Papal Nuncio throughout the 1980’s when all the early US Cases were the subject of the day. He is one of very few living persons who can testify as to what Ratzinger was given to read. It was extremely important that Doyle spoke out when he did, giving notice that he probably knows the actual memos and documents, and can put dates on them. Yes, someone can authoratively contradict the current Pope and the Vatican PR Machine.

        Today the Vatican PR machine turned on the “poor pope, he is being unjustly accused” tune. It played at the top of the charts for a couple of hours, but then the Swiss announced that they had started an investigation and in the first day had found 60 Abuse Cases, and planned to set up a Hotline. Yep, in the land of Cookoo Clocks, good chocolate, sharp pocket knives, and watches and no Muslim Minarets. The Swiss news didn’t exactly drowned out the Vatican PR (want to say Vatican Rag,) — but it was counterpoint. In the meantime, a German Newspaper had found the then 11 year old boy who brought the complaint in 1980 that caused the priest from Essen to be moved to Ratzinger’s Munich, (he is now 40), and he claims he was guaranteed the priest would be sent to a mental facility, and removed from service. The hole gets deeper.

        I suspect the reason the Cardinals voted for Ratzinger was simply because they had been following his lead on all these cases for years, (and most of those coming public now have long been known in inner circles), and they figured any degree of radical change would prove difficult for them. It was a vote to defend the status quo, not to change direction, not to question anything. Ratzinger was known, and they thought he was a safe harbor. Very Conventional Wisdom. Protect the Church and its assets, keep the society of the ordained on a pedestal, subject to a unique legal system, keep the laity in it’s lesser powerless place by disrespecting any act or note of contrary thought. I don’t think Ratzinger has the capacity to question any of this.

        I still think the most insightful view of Ratzinger is in Gunter Grass’s literary autobiography, “Peeling the Onion”. The English translation came out about two years ago, and got loud public criticism (Give back your Nobel Prize for Literature Gunter) from the neo-con political right for two reasons, in general they don’t like Social Democrats, and among other things Grass once served as a speech writer for Willy Brandt, and also has penned numerous Social Democratic screeds over the years. The other complaint was that in “Peeling” Grass makes clear that his service of a little more than a month in the German Army in early 1945 as a 17 year old, was in an SS unit, not as some had assumed, in the regular German Army. He had been drafted, saw a few days of combat against the Russians around Dresden, lost his gun, got wounded, and was captured by the Americans in a temporary hospital. But because he had been in an SS Unit, the Americans put him in a POW camp for nearly a year. The camp was out in the open, shelter was a hole in the ground under a half pup tent, and his “bunk” mate was another 17 year old anti-aircraft gunner from Bavaria named Joseph Ratzinger. In typical Grass manner, he strings his Ratzinger stories throughout “Peeling” and understanding them depends entirely on whether one has read Grass’s novels, for he moves quickly from discussion of a plot line or characters in a novel written years after the POW Camp months, back to a discussion with Ratzinger in their hole, where they entertained themselves playing dice while waiting for the Americans to serve up the 800 calories they were allowed per day.

        Both boys were thoroughly Nazified — believers in the Authoritarian Hitler system. Along with others, they refought aspects of the war — if only General so and so had done this….if only Hitler had ordered that, but gradually they accept defeat and look ahead, Ratzinger with a transfer of his love of order and authority from Hitler Youth and the Army to the Church’s order and authority, Grass with his desire to become an artist, actually a poet or sculptor. At one point during their encampment, the Americans bring in large posters depicting the horror of the concentration camps as they found them — the pictures which would be entered as evidence at Nuremberg, and Grass reflects on how they differently saw them. Grass searches his memory for bits and pieces of hints, that if followed up might have revealed to him Nazi policy and practice. Ratzinger discounts them all as improbable propaganda. They discuss, they play more dice as they discuss. They eat their 800 calories. Eventually the Seminary prevails on the Americans to parole Ratzinger so he can continue his education — Grass stays on for additional months, dreaming of classical German Food, writing poetry, and sketching when he can find paper. Eventually he gets put on a rubble removal team, and is rewarded with additional calories.

        I think this sketch of Ratzinger in the midst of a running dice game in a minimally covered hole in the ground in a field of POW holes in the summer and fall of 1945 gets his essence better than much else that has been published. My suspicions are that the real reason for the heavy neo-con attack on “Peeling” actually has much more to do with this pre-papal sketch than it did with whether Grass was in the SS or the Regular German Army for a few weeks when he was 17 in 1945. I recommend — but you do need to have a taste for Grass’s literary art and know something of his novels to get the point.

        • klynn says:

          Another thank you Sara. I had not heard about the book.

          I must admit, before your comment, much of what I had read of Ratzinger’s sermons had me conclude he must have been (may still be) a Nazi.

          • Sara says:

            “I must admit, before your comment, much of what I had read of Ratzinger’s sermons had me conclude he must have been (may still be) a Nazi.”

            I haven’t read many of his sermons, probably none. One thing I did read some years ago was his argument against Liberation Theology, when as the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he pronounced against a group of Latin American Liberation Theologians, forbidding them from writing or publishing for several years. Back in the late 60’s and early 70’s I had found the genre of Liberation Theology of great interest — it picked up on issues the Civil Rights Movement had raised for me — some in an American Cultural Context, others much more international. And because Liberation Theology attempted to forge a synthesis between early Marx, the Humanist, and something of the Social Gospel and apply it to toneing down the hostile Cold War rhetoric, I had found Liberation speculation somewhat fruitful. I found much of Ratzinger’s approach to denouncing Liberation Theology quite reminiscent of Nazi form. He did not seek to engage them in a dialogue, to argue what he considered their weaknesses or fallacies, rather he came down like an authoritarian ton of bricks — don’t write, don’t speak, and certainly don’t publish…or else I will excommunicate you. Maybe even think up some medieval torture…for I am the Inquisition.

            Among other things, I cannot draw worth a damn, wish I could because I can imagine great cartoons I would love to draw on paper, but no talent at all. But once shortly after Ratzinger was elected Pope, and I was listening to some commentators run on about who he was and why he was elected, I visualized the following. As Pope, all done up in his richly embroidered duds, and leading a procession, the old guy, expected to have a short transitional papacy has a “senior moment” and switches from a walk that is a slow stroll into a full on Goose Step. Title: Senior Moment.

            And to Ishmael…

            Yes, I too love that story about the Jehovah’s Witness “wedonotdothat” arms refusal during Hitler Youth military training camp. The boy he describes is perfect in every way — properly made camp bed, absolutely perfect Uniform, boots polished to a high shine, no flaws in his marching, carries his spade as part of a labor mission at just the perfect angle, but then will not, cannot make his hands grasp a gun, so off to the concentration camp with him…with the full support of the Hitler Youth Brigade.

        • Ishmael says:

          The parallels between the post-war Church and post-war Germany are interesting – both struggle with coming to terms with both silences in the face of atrocities and abuses, and suppression of the truth – the silence and suppression (and denials) spread on a continuum of responsibility from those with power and those who participated in varying degrees. German society has come much further in this respect than has the Church, and has done much more to atone for the collective wrongs, although there is still of course denial.

          “Peeling the Onion” contains a recollection from Grass about an encounter with a young unnamed Jehovah’s Witness, who was conscripted into forced military training with Grass and other young Germans. Unlike the others, he refused to even touch his rifle during training, throwing it out of his hand. “We do not do that”, he would say. He was repeatedly punished by the commanders and harassed by the other boys for his refusal to bear arms, until he was sent away to a concentration camp. Grass says in the memoir that everyone was glad to see him go, that his act of conscience had made them feel guilty, and with his absence they could go back to their comfortable acquiescence to authority, and no longer be confronted with the doubts that the institution of Nazism was monstrous. In the way you can only do in German, Grass coins the word “Wirtunsowachnicht”, an amalgam of the words in German that the young Jehovah’s Witness had said over and over “We do not do that”, as a symbol of the need for individual conscience, and a reminder of his own failures in confronting his Nazi past. The Catholic Church’s conduct in the abuse scandals needs its own word to say, “We do not do that”.

          • skdadl says:

            In the way you can only do in German, Grass coins the word “Wirtunsowachnicht”, an amalgam of the words in German that the young Jehovah’s Witness had said over and over “We do not do that”, as a symbol of the need for individual conscience, and a reminder of his own failures in confronting his Nazi past. The Catholic Church’s conduct in the abuse scandals needs its own word to say, “We do not do that”.

            Yes. That is a burning memory from the book.

            But it is not only the Catholic Church that needs to find such words.

            Nice to see you always, Ishmael.

    • bobschacht says:

      I just think its some kind of poetic justice that this happens with Ratzinger as Pope. I never regarded his “election” as authentic, anyway– he had spent years in a critical position under his predecessor, and had put himself in a position to get himself selected as the next pope. Pure political manipulation. Now maybe he will get his just desserts.

      But also, perhaps no one understands canon law as well as Ratzinger. If anyone can figure out a way out of this, he’s the one. And if anyone knows what needs to be changed, and how to change it, he knows better than anyone. So I will follow this with interest.

      Bob in AZ

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      Once the penitent, kneeling on both knees and having first touched the Holy Gospels of God, has read and signed the formula of abjuration, [the bishop or his delegate] absolves him, wearing at least the purple stole, and, while sitting, will recite the psalm Miserere or De Profundis with the Gloria Patri.

      The kneeling really gets me. I love visiting Cathedrals and Catholic Churches, and one time I had a few hours to kill in San Jose, Costa Rica, so I did so. I got there before services were beginning, and there were probably 200 people walking on their knees from the front door to the alter. On marble floors. Some were so exhausted by the time they got close to the alter that they were crawling. It was really a mind-blower for me. I asked the taxi driver why they were doing this, and he explained that perhaps they had a sick relative…

  15. SaltinWound says:

    My money is on Tony La Russa. A micromanager except when it comes to knowing his players do steroids.

  16. HeyYou says:

    (completely off-topic – as usual).
    I miss looseheadprop, and EPU’s. In fact, I can’t remember the last time someone complained that their posting had been EPU’d. Can anyone tell me what happened to either of these?

    • bobschacht says:

      EPUs are fading because Old threads don’t die as fast as they used to. When I was living in Hawaii, I could not finish reading the comments until everyone else had moved onto a new diary. I spent a lot of time in EPU land. But right now, I have 4 EW diaries open that have had comments in the past 12 hours. That is good, because sometimes EW puts up a new diary while a previous one is still attracting a lot of interest. Also, commenters, even ones that everyone looks forward to reading, are no longer embarrassed about returning to an old thread.

      So, old threads do die, but not as suddenly.

      Bob in AZ

      • emptywheel says:

        EPU was always more an FDL FP thing than an EW thing, anyway. We’ve always hung around long after the bar closed at this joint. It’s like Irish bars where there’s always a “Afters” for regulars.

  17. skdadl says:

    My wishful thought, o’ course, is that we could pin something on Harper. That’s not beyond all imagining; we are having a teensy constitutional crisis at the moment (contempt of Parliament, transfer of prisoners to abuse, maybe even to you-all), and you never know — Canadians can sometimes turn on a dime.

    I’d settle for Peter MacKay (defence minister now, former foreign minister, total sellout) or Rick Hillier (former CDS), both of whom would be easier candidates.

    • PJEvans says:

      I saw a ‘Vette earlier today with this plate: Kour Fet

      (Just for amusement purposes. The best plate I’ve seen was TIPYCNU, with a custom frame that read ‘My other car is N TYLER 2’.)

      • scribe says:

        Remember those Isuzu jeepy things about 20 years back that had a tendency to roll over unexpectedly?

        At the time, I saw one of those in NYC with the plate “ITIPEZ”.

        • PJEvans says:

          That’s good!

          I have a friend who got ‘BALROG’, first for his car (a Charger), then for his motorcycle. He said he went to buy gas once, back when receipts were hand’written and had the plate number on them, and spelled it carefully for the clerk. Who didn’t drop a stitch, asking ‘Is it any relation to ‘NAZGUL’?’

    • freepatriot says:

      freep, the other end of the telescope miniaturizes.

      how does having a really small telescope help ???

      what are we talking about here

      munchkin astronomers ???

    • PJEvans says:

      Personally, I suggest pitchforks. (YMMV.)
      Followed by exorcism of every facility owned by the Catholic Church, in whole or in part, just to clean the spiritual taint.

    • freepatriot says:

      How exactly do you oust a pope?

      when I want to oust a cat. use a catapult

      dare I suggest we invent the “pope-a-pult”

      bet we could get record distance outta ratzy

      (I’m goin straight to hell for that one …)

          • PJEvans says:

            Yep. They have some really strange history. Or mythology, in some cases (including the stuff about the bishop of Rome being the pope (and important) from the beginning – he was just another bishop for several centuries, and there weren’t any popes during that time).

          • freepatriot says:


            turns out, the catholic church has always been a freak show

            here’s my favorite

            that is still a operating institution of the catholic church

            turns out, the women ain’t the threat

            it’s the lil boys ya gotta look out for …

            I’m thinkin Jeus would be “stunned stupid” by what has become of Peter’s church

            I dint see this in the gospels …

        • freepatriot says:

          Probably not straight to hell


          I was hopin for an “express”, but I figure I’ll get stuck on the local

          an purgatory is prolly full of small, “one horse” towns

          at least my journey is predictable

    • Thegryphon says:

      historically, you have to get elected Holy Roman Emperor, then get your army over the Alps ;p

  18. bobschacht says:

    Probably by coincidence, I watched the Filipino film classic, *Jose Rizal* tonight. All the anti-papists in the crowd will find much to add fuel to their fires, but actually Jose didn’t want to get rid of the church, he just wanted Filipino priests and bishops, rather than Spanish ones.

    Pope Benedict plotted and schemed to get his job. And now it will be his unexpected duty to attempt to rescue the papacy from centuries of abuse. Good luck with that.

    Bob in AZ

  19. jdmckay0 says:

    Ok, so long as this is a trash thread…

    I have my nearly 90 yr old parents a couple blocks away. Dad’s got Parkinsons: manageable tremors, 1 yr old new hip, and he’s on a walker he pushes as fast as I can walk. He’s sharp as ever, just a little slower.

    Mom (87) is the energizer bunny!!! 105 lbs of unbridled & unpredicatable energy: when she’s at her best, nobody is better. When she’s at her worst Satan heads for the hills. She’s best described as Carol Burnett on acid.

    For some reason, having been a tea totaller her entire life, she’s taken to 3 glasses of wine while preparing dinner… every single night. That’s enough to get her smashed. She wobbles, cries though cooking, and carrying served dinner plates to their dining area (LR coffee table in front of TV) is a balancing act which, having watched for 3+ years, still amazes in that no dinners have ended up on the floor. Funny thing is, though… she’s flat out smashed when they sit down, but an hour later she’s sober as can be. I can’t explain, nor change it.

    As I said, Carol Burnett on acid.

    Anyway, she gets dinner in front of dad, they both sit down, and she turns on FOX cable w/volume maxxed out… who ever is on: O’Reilly, Beck, whatever… she just loves it, can’t get enough. Dad cringes, turns off his hearing aids.

    So anyway, w/that backdrop… and in the sentiment of laughing at absurdity, I stopped by last evening around 8pm as I always do, they were just starting to eat. Mom was tanked. Geraldo was on (didn’t know he still had a TV gig). He was doing a show on Biden’s snub by Israel last week, they showed film of Hillary saying “it was insulting”.

    Geraldo brought on his expert panel to dissect this event. First was Jesse Ventura: he said (my paraphrase) “There’s never gon’a be peace ’cause all these fights are about religion, every fight is about religion, and as long as we have religions there’s going to be no peace.”

    Next up to respond is Huckabee, clearly pissed. His response is predictable: “Problem is not religions, just unrightious ones.”

    Ok, but reason I’m even bothering w/this… Geraldo’s next expert on this latest ongoing Israel/Palestinian embroglio, no other then that noted and learned ME Oracle of wisdom: Rod Blagojevich. Yes, that Rodney.

    I dun’o… I just kind’a looked at that and had the deepest, most thoroughly indulgent belly laugh I can recall. A cleansing guffaw, off the charts absurdity, what can I say.

    Dad looked at me w/mouth full of food, asked if that was “that Illinois idiot”… I nodded yes. He blew out that mouthful in a similar response.

    Ok, that’s all. :) bye bye.

    • bmaz says:

      Blago is a force of nature. It would be a lesser life without Rod; I’m glad he is around. Quite frankly, despite everything, I am not sure Blago is any worse, less serious or more corrupt than about every politician in Washington DC. Hell Blago is a piker compared to many of them.

      • jdmckay0 says:

        Blago is a force of nature. It would be a lesser life without Rod; I’m glad he is around.

        lol!!!… I know what you mean. :)

      • posaune says:

        I’m with you on that one. I’m really gonna miss Blago if they put him away.
        Who else carries his hair brush locked in a brief case with a nuclear code?

    • emptywheel says:

      Great story. Can’t believe Blago still has a gig.

      Btw, if I may ask, how did your dad’s hip replacement go with the Parkinsons? Or was it on the non-Parkinson’s side? My mom, who is about 8 years post diagnosis but still highly functional, got a knee replaced a year and a half ago. It had to have been the stupidest idea going, since it was on the tremor side. So I sort of wonder whether people CAN get new joints while they’re exposed to persistent tremors.

      • jdmckay0 says:

        Btw, if I may ask, how did your dad’s hip replacement go with the Parkinsons?

        Unqualified success.

        Or was it on the non-Parkinson’s side?

        No, at time of surgery this was tremor side (left)… although in last 6 weeks or so tremor is emerging on the other side. It’s going to get him sooner or later, but right now he’s trucking along pretty good.

        My mom, who is about 8 years post diagnosis but still highly functional,

        Dad had this surgery about 7 yrs PD, also quite functional.

        got a knee replaced a year and a half ago. It had to have been the stupidest idea going, since it was on the tremor side.

        Well, knees are a lot tougher (especially at more advanced age)… there’s more that can go wrong, and a more precise surgery.

        So I sort of wonder whether people CAN get new joints while they’re exposed to persistent tremors.

        For my dad, Parkinsons was virtually a non issue: he did have tremors, but not too bad (treated w/Sinemet). Aside from Parkinsons/hip, my dad had -0- other health issues… even at 88. He skipped rope 450 times every morning until he was 82 (eg: diagnosed)… he has amazing heart/pulminary etc, which contributed greatly to his success (no cumadin/blood issues, clotting complications, swelling receded quickly for someone his age, etc. etc.).

        And… he worked his butt off in rehab (really great rehab clinic). They had him on stationary bike 4 weeks after surgery, which surprised me. When I first saw this, I spoke w/head PT (she was superb)… asked how long she left him on there? She said: “until he falls asleep.” :)

        Anyway, FWIW (how old was your mom? I’m guessing well younger than my dad)… I really researched this surgery in advance: available surgeons, incidents of post-surgical infection (biggest risk for my dad), devices… everything. We got the right surgeon, right rehab joint (and they most certainly aren’t all the same), and although a couple episodes of worrisome pain in rehab, he got through it pretty much w/out a major hitch. Really proud of him!!!

        Knees, even more so.

        I’m skeptical whatever problems your mom had were do to tremors, regardless what (I’m guessing) surgeon said.

        • PJEvans says:

          FWIW, my mother, non-Parkinson’s, had a knee replaced at 83, and six months later could walk up the stairs. (Her surgeon was quite pleased.)

  20. JohnLopresti says:

    The ACS mention of the Hudson case is one I plan to research again.

    I give Ratzinger credit, however, for snubbing Bush*s formal dinner reception when the torture issue was increasingly salient.

    • bmaz says:

      I fail to see why he or the Catholic corporate entity church should be given one paltry ounce of credit for that; if they had put half the effort into fighting torture as they do coddling and protecting their institutionalized child molesters and misogyny, perhaps it could have made a difference.

  21. JohnLopresti says:

    bmaz, agree there could be more first person appreciation of family values among the sectarian leadership community; which is what my fictionalized note, above, addressed. I can understand the great zeal which is produced in a preacher who is addressing such matters by dint of making a stupendous eschatological leap of conceptualization, however strained.

    sara, I recall many raised eyebrows among US liberal theologians with respect to the kind of middle east practice which was liberation theology central America style, finding a religious cause of action for civil engagement. Still, that narrow geographic region still is benefitting from the legacy of some of the liberation theologues. It was a sad time, though one with some positives.

  22. qweryous says:

    A late contribution to this thread.

    Denver Archbishop Chaput delivered the following address, titled “The Vocation of Christians in American Public Life” on Monday, March 1, 2010 at Houston Baptist University. The complete transcript and a youtube link to the video of the speech can be found here LINK:

    An excerpt wherein President JFK is criticized:

    “Fifty years ago this fall, in September 1960, Sen. John F. Kennedy, the Democratic candidate for president, spoke to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association. He had one purpose. He needed to convince 300 uneasy Protestant ministers, and the country at large, that a Catholic like himself could serve loyally as our nation’s chief executive. Kennedy convinced the country, if not the ministers, and went on to be elected. And his speech left a lasting mark on American politics. It was sincere, compelling, articulate – and wrong. Not wrong about the patriotism of Catholics, but wrong about American history and very wrong about the role of religious faith in our nation’s life. And he wasn’t merely “wrong.” His Houston remarks profoundly undermined the place not just of Catholics, but of all religious believers, in America’s public life and political conversation. Today, half a century later, we’re paying for the damage.”

    Archbishop Chaput’s role in the 2004 presidential election campaign was both well known and the subject of this story in The New York Times: “Group of Bishops Using Influence to Oppose Kerry” By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK and LAURIE GOODSTEIN
    Published: October 12, 2004 LINK:

    An excerpt:

    ” DENVER, Oct. 9 – For Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, the highest-ranking Roman Catholic prelate in Colorado, there is only one way for a faithful Catholic to vote in this presidential election, for President Bush and against Senator John Kerry.”

    It was not just a statement by Archbishop Chaput, there was a significant effort both by some in the church and by the Bush campaign. (from the same NYT article mentioned previously) another excerpt:

    ” The efforts of Archbishop Chaput and his allies are converging with a concerted drive for conservative Catholic voters by the Bush campaign. It has spent four years cultivating Catholic leaders, organizing more than 50,000 volunteers and hiring a corps of paid staff members to increase Catholic turnout. The campaign is pushing to break the traditional allegiance of Catholic voters to the Democratic Party, an affiliation that began to crumble with Ronald Reagan 24 years ago.”

    One of the particular focuses of this presidential campaign was the possible nomination of Supreme Court justices, which had not happened in the first Bush term. Many conservatives viewed this as a way to among other issues, overturn Roe v. Wade.
    Bush was reelected.
    The second Bush term produced Supreme Court Justices Alito and Roberts.

    The interesting discovery was one of Archbishop Chaput’s more recent assignments as described in “Denver Archbishop Chaput Investigating vast sex-and-money Church scandal” by John Tomasic at “The Colorado Independent”. LINK:


    ” Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput will be traveling this week and next and maybe into the fall. He has been asked by the Pope to look into the sex and money crimes of an extremely influential Mexican colleague, Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the rich-kid founder of the Legionaries of Christ Catholic order, an arm of the faith that professes a staunch conservative line intent on recapturing the Catholicism of the pre-Vatican II era — that chimeric time before the corruptions of modern life compromised the Holy Church and the members of its flock….

    …Maciel scored a $650 million budget for his special insider order, which goes a long way to explaining why his crimes have only surfaced in the last few years and especially now, of course, after his death at 88. No fear: Denver’s Archishop will put it all right.

    ” Jason Berry, an author and journalist who has followed the case, has described Maciel as “the greatest fundraiser of the modern church.” Maciel will be as sorely missed by Church accountants as he is loathed by the seminarians he targeted for abuse.”

    Thanks to Sara’s previous comments in this thread Jason Berry has already been introduced.

    An embedded link at the Colorado independent story leads to this story by Jason Berry “Vatican investigates Legionaries of Christ and subtitle-
    The Catholic Church looks into cult allegations — and $1,000 hams” .
    By Jason Berry — Special to GlobalPost Published: July 19, 2009 20:54 ET LINK:,1

    An Excerpt from Jason Berry’s article:

    “…For decades, the Legion shunned the media while Maciel cultivated relationships with some of the most powerful, conservative Catholics in the world. He also forced his priests and seminarians to take vows never to criticize him, or any superior. The legion built a network of prep schools and an astonishing database of donors. In Maciel’s militant spirituality, Legionaries — and their wing of lay supporters, Regnum Christi — see themselves as saving the church from a corrupted world. Behind the silence he imposed, Maciel was corrupt — abusing seminarians and using money in ways that several past and present seminarians liken to bribery, in forging ties with church officials.
    “The issue facing Benedict has no precedent in modern church history: whether to dismantle a movement with a $650 million budget yet only about 700 priests and 2,500 seminarians, or to keep the brand name and try to reform an organization still run as a cult of personality to its founder. Excessive materialism and psychological coercion tactics continue Maciel’s legacy….

    Another excerpt from Jason Berry’s story at Global (link above) illustrates why the Colorado Independent title seems to have been accurate in using the words “vast sex-and-money Church scandal”:

    ” Maciel, who died last year at 87, was the greatest fundraiser of the modern church. He courted rich supporters in building dozens of elite prep schools and several seminaries and universities, backed by a 60,000-member lay group called Regnum Christi (Kingdom of Christ). The Legion and RC distribute promotional videos in which Pope John Paul II appears with Maciel, celebrating the movement’s resurgent orthodoxy.

    The Legion’s biggest benefactor is Carlos Slim, the Mexican billionaire who is by some accounts the world’s richest man. Slim recently lent The New York Times $240 million in its financial struggle. The Oriol family, among the wealthiest in Spain, aided Maciel early and often.

    Harvard Law professor Mary Ann Glendon, the U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican under the last President Bush, scoffed at the abuse allegations Maciel faced before his punishment. So did William Donahue of the Catholic League.

    Bill Bennett, the conservative Reagan-era official and CNN contributor, has been a featured speaker at Legion fundraisers. Jeb Bush spoke at a 2007 gathering in Atlanta.

    The Legion typically pays its speaker and draws support from commercial sponsors, explained insiders in Rome.”

    The reader is encouraged to follow the provided links and read all the stories in full at the sources.

    Oh and this is not an entirely O.T. comment as according to Jason Berry at Global Post.Com:

    “In 2006 Benedict ordered Maciel to “a life of prayer and penitence” after an investigation of pedophilia charges that shadowed him for years. Ex-Legionaries from Mexico and Spain filed the allegations in 1998 in the tribunal of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was elected pope in 2005.”

    For purposes of clarification, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope Benedict XVI on April 19, 2005.

    • jdmckay0 says:

      For purposes of clarification, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope Benedict XVI on April 19, 2005.

      Not clear to me entirety of connection between Ratz & Maciel… is there more in your links?

      I spent 1st 2 years of High School in Seminary… thought I wanted to “do good”, was brought up Catholic and thought that was way to do it. Took me 2 years to conclude, at age 15, that those fuckers were nuts… just-plain-nuts.

      And that’s exactly what I told ’em: “you fuckers are nuts.”

      I still Marvell at the wisdom of those simple words… “out of the mouths of babes” and all. :)

      • Sara says:

        ” “you fuckers are nuts.” ”

        I would agree, at age 15 you were putting it together and drawing exactly the right conclusion.

        The Marciel Story is scheduled to come to a head in the next week or so. There has been a five Bishop Committee investigating the Legion now for about a year and a half, and their reports are due in Rome within the next week or so. One date I have seen is tomorrow, others say end of March.

        In the last month a little new information has been added to the pot. A woman with three sons came forward in Mexico claiming to be Marciel’s wife, and claimed that two of her sons were Marciel’s boys. She claims that Marciel told her he was a secret CIA agent (explained why he was not home a good part of the time, and she could not contact him) but that they had been married for some 25 years. Both of her sons with Marciel had been abused by Marciel, as was her eldest son who Marciel legally adopted. There is quite a story about efforts to claim over 20 million from Marciel’s estate, apparently secret negotiations were underway until about the first of this year, but broke down, and the “wife” and sons have now gone public. This latest Mexican “marriage and family” is different from the Spanish “marriage and family” who came forward just after Marciel died in 2008. That — the Spanish Family — includes an adult daughter who lives in a fancy Madrid Condo Marciel brought for her some years before he died. Some reporting suggests as many as six wives and families. Last week when everything was breaking in Germany and Rome, Jason Berry reportedly was in Mexico City working his sources, and indicated there was much more story to come.

        As to the relationship between Ratz and Marciel….It is also a story about the relationship between JPII and Marciel which Ratzinger spent years covering up for JPII. The complaints about Marciel date back before 1996 which is when Jason Berry teamed up with Gerald Renner, the Religion Editor of the Hartford Courant. Together they produced a series on Marciel that was published years before Ratzinger became Pope based on the claims of nine former members of the Legion from a Seminary in Hartford. They eventually extended the series into a book, which sadly was published just after Renner died — but Renner is responsible for much of the investigative reporting in first CT, and then the rest of the US, and Berry has done the International Reporting. Their book came out about the time JPII died, and as with most of Berry’s work, the evidence is pretty Iron Clad, so soon after Ratzinger’s elevation, he re-opened an investigation of Marciel, and soon thereafter announced he was withdrawing from all public life to a life of Prayer and Penance at a Monestary in Rome. That was in 2006, and he died in 2008. At the time of his death, the wives and families had not yet come forward, though they were rumored. In otherwords, all the abuse that had been reported during JPII’s years never affected the status of Marciel and the Legion, but the arrival of wives and kids on the scene did move Ratzinger to move Marciel out of leadership of his order, and since his death, appoint a committee of Bishops to investigate the order. That is the report due next week.

        If you go to “Bishop’s Accountability” website, and use their search engine, you can access everything that has been reported about Marciel and the Legion, as they have done a great job archiving the reporting. And there has been lots of reporting, not just Berry and Renner’s stuff.

        Marciel and the Legion are not universally popular within the US RC Church, as at least six Bishops have ordered them not to work or live in their dioceses. I believe some United Kingcom Bishops made the same call in recent years. You gotta wonder what the attraction was between Marciel and JPII — and the Vatican relationships apparently date way back to the times of Pius XII. Marciel clearly had friends in high places, but he also collected a number of enemies who over the years have been sources for Berry, Renner and others.

        It will be fascinating to see what transpires over the next weeks — between everything happening in Ireland, Germany, Austria, Holland and Switzerland, and things breaking in Rome, and now the Legion Report, Ole Ratzinger has his hands full, particularly because he can pretty much count on anything of merit being on the Internet before it lands on his desk.

        Add to this Ratzinger’s seeming “mission in life” to make Pius XII and JPII into Saints via some sort of swift highway, and it is a bit headscratching to figure what is going on. Apparently one of JPII’s necessary miracles fell apart recently — someone supposedly cured had a relapse, and thus was not a qualified miracle. Small problem with the Fast Track to Sainthood. Speculation is that Sainthood for Pius XII and JPII is an effort to draw a line under investigations of the knowledge in the Vatican of the details of the Holocaust, and failure to speak up, and in the case of JPII — a similar line under his role in ignoring the abuse issues until they were forced on him. Sainthood as a way to shut up the critics so to speak. Don’t know. Vatican motivations are obtuse.

        • qweryous says:

          Thank you for answering some questions I was about to ask.

          Important and powerful people that few have heard of: add
          Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado to that list.

          Reading the reports of this situation mirrors others which happened previously.

          Look some more and find some more, not apparently having found what was to be found when looking for the first time. Or alternately looking past what was at first found, only to be at some later point be forced to admit that there was in fact something requiring action.

        • jdmckay0 says:

          She claims that Marciel told her he was a secret CIA agent

          That’s funny to me… whether Marciel actually was a spook (eg: he had a “higher calling” -g) or it was his standard CIA-CYA cover story (what ever happened to “I had to work late at the office”, or “The Lord had me in prayer ’till (xxx)”) to his Mrs., I dun’o. Self deception can take as many forms as there are people under the sun, and (at least to me) what seems intrinsically obscure to many is the fact, regardless of the story line (content), this process leads always to manifest human depravity.

          IMO there really is useful admonition to “The straight and narrow”. The trick is finding that, as there’s a whole lot of “fingers pointing the way” which (AFAIC) are detours from that destination. My personal addendum to that above referencede Koan:

          Don’t mistake the finger pointing the way for the way… ’cause all you’ll end up with is the finger.

          Sara said:

          Both of her sons with Marciel had been abused by Marciel, as was her eldest son who Marciel legally adopted.

          Is this established by the son’s account, or “wife”, or all of ’em ///???

          You gotta wonder what the attraction was between Marciel and JPII

          hmmm… maybe they were (cough) “lovers”? (ok, sorry… I’ll invoke Marcy’s “the coffee hasn’t kicked in yet excuse” for that one).

          Or, more seriously and just off top of my head… given Marciel’s fund raising skills & given RCC’s interesting nexus between declarations of lifelong poverty and rather admirable skills at attaining control of mindboggling sums of cash…

          I’m thinking maybe “tree of life” and “money tree” are a hybrid they took mutual interest in.

          Reminds of quote from a link Faster posted a few days ago regarding (not entirely dissimilar) story about Melvin Sembler, his ties to Bush (and other’s fund raising), not to mention his “rehab” biz’ practicing similar long standing abuse-as-means-to-recovery (in the name of gawd)… all before W’ gave him an Italian Ambassador gig, (oh shit, where was I… oh yea)… the quote:

          But where Melvin Sembler, 74, demands attention is as an object lesson in how cruelty can be redeemed by the transformative power of political donations.

          Anyway, sorry for getting long in the tooth on this one so early in morning. It’s like deja-doodoo all over again. Sometimes, just got’a marvel at the absurdity of it all.

          I do take comfort in fact gravity/entropy (etc.) doesn’t take days off… eg. there is fundamental reliability in creation. For this, we can thank god (ok, sorry). The irony (a word which does not do justice to the magnitude of…) that self-appointed guardians of the faith, through both their actions and “teaching”, so thoroughly guide, convince and obscure their flock from apprehension of simple reality… (scratches head).

          Anyway, thanks for bringing this stuff to my attention… I’m glad to know it.

          (are you same Sara who blogged w/Marcy on Next Hurrah?).

          • Sara says:

            “Sara said:

            Both of her sons with Marciel had been abused by Marciel, as was her eldest son who Marciel legally adopted.

            Is this established by the son’s account, or “wife”, or all of ‘em ///???

            You gotta wonder what the attraction was between Marciel and JPII

            hmmm… maybe they were (cough) “lovers”? (ok, sorry… I’ll invoke Marcy’s “the coffee hasn’t kicked in yet excuse” for that one).

            Or, more seriously and just off top of my head… given Marciel’s fund raising skills & given RCC’s interesting nexus between declarations of lifelong poverty and rather admirable skills at attaining control of mindboggling sums of cash…

            I’m thinking maybe “tree of life” and “money tree” are a hybrid they took mutual interest in. ”

            Well let’s see if I can put some detail into this.

            There was, apparently, a very large age difference between Marciel and his Mexican wife. They hooked up when he was well into his 50’s, and she was about 18, but she already had one infant son. All three sons are now middle aged. The eldest biological child with Marciel (in the family, the middle son) seems to be the “leader” in first negotiations with the post Marciel Legion — he was apparently asking for 26 million as a shut-up fee — and when that didn’t work out, telling the whole story in public. It was also the “middle son” who first discovered his father’s other identity. The abuse of the sons occurred when they were between the age of seven and about sixteen, and all three atest to the same patterns.

            The public knows about one additional wife, the Spanish Wife and daughter in Madrid. Published reports of rumor (in otherwords unverified reports) suggest six wives. All of them seem to have been very well provided for, and neither of the two identified wives were independently wealthy or worked.

            What I find interesting is that from the 80’s onward the Vatican received numerous reports and complaints from former Legion Seminarians and priests trained by and ordained as members of the Legion. All those reports go into a seeming black hole up to a year or so before the death of JPII, which includes the publication of Jason Berry and Renner’s book on the Legion. It was only after JPII’s death that the tale of the wives surfaced, and the Spanish Wife went public — only then did Ratzinger re-open the investigation, and quickly remove Marciel from public life. In otherwords it seems one can screw as many Seminarians as you want, but take a wife and establish a family, and attention is paid.

            As to JPII…aside from reading press reports over the years (and that’s lots of Ink) I have only read carefully one book on JPII, and that is Carl Bernstein’s (Watergate’s Bernstein) “His Holiness: John Paul II and the Hidden History of our Time” published in 1996. Bernstein’s interest was in JPII’s leadership both in Poland and Rome, in shapeing the ending of the Cold War, and in this respect it is less a work about matters spiritual than about the psychology of Mass Leadership…but ironically mass leadership based on the tightening of Authoritarian Organization, and in a number of ways, turning it into a higly disciplined oppressive organization. And while Bernstein does not mention the Legion, Marciel or any of the other principles — he probably didn’t know of them in the early 90’s when he did his research — he clearly outlines a shadow into which they clearly fit. Yes — the money Marciel could raise, particularly before 1989 and the end of Communist regimes in E. Europe was welcome and needed by JPII for his efforts, but more than money was important — a very tight authoritarian organizational form was also a necessity.

            • jdmckay0 says:

              Thanks for details Sara.

              A lot of what you’ve written hit news today: the German thing in NYT, heard bunch more on radio driving today, my wife emailed saying she say a lot on CNN.

              Can they impeach a Pope?

      • qweryous says:

        Yes the last link has some details.

        I may have an additional comment here- or perhaps a seminal diary in a day or two. There does seem to be more on this. Just google maciel vatican 1998 to get a start.

        This link is the one I’m referring to:

        Vatican investigates Legionaries of Christ and subtitle-
        The Catholic Church looks into cult allegations — and $1,000 hams”
        By Jason Berry — Special to GlobalPost Published: July 19, 2009 20:54 ET LINK:

  23. Sara says:

    You know the funny season (Ides of March) has arrived when you check out the latest German news.

    The German Press works under strict rules regarding privacy and personal identity, thus the Pedophile Priest who Ratzinger accepted in Munich was Identified yesterday only as H. Well German rules don’t apply to the international press, apparently, so this Sunday the International Media with all its sat trucks and all showed up at Bad Toltz where this priest had recently been moved without announcement. He now has a first name, Peter, and an age, 62. They were prepared to video him saying Sunday Mass, but the Mass was suddenly cancelled. All sorts of surprised mass goers were interviewed — putting the lie to the Munich Bishop’s statement that Peter H had been removed from ministry. New York Times, BBC, Radio Netherlands, CNN International, European Herald Tribune, other French papers, and two Irish Papers were all part of the press mob on the hunt.

    Apparently the locals in Bad Toltz are a bit pissed that the Bishop secretly sent them a Pedophile, and transferred out another long serving priest they apparently rather liked. Bad Toltz is right on the first range of the Alps south of Munich, close enough to commute to Munich should you like living in ski country in the hills. It is quite Upper and Upper Middle Class, but with a significant tourist trade both in winter for sports, and summer for alpine hiking and the like.

    One thing for sure, the Vatican needs to learn that the old line media and the world of the Internet feed on each other, and even in a smallish town like Bad Toltz some local observer will find the media mob at the local church of interest, go check it out, and report on the main stream media mobbing the local church with pedophile priest who is supposed to be out of ministry to a world wide audience long before the big media themselves get their video edited and packaged for a report. Telling a falsehood so as to protect whatever just won’t work these days, as observers are everywhere.

    Ireland is also in a tizzy again. Looks something like the Cardinal Bernard Law case — but this is about Ireland’s Cardinal Primate Brady having failed to report to the local police a very serious case (78 rape convictions, perhaps more not charged) back in the 1970’s. where Brady was the principle investigator for a Tribunal. There are demands from all sides for his resignation. You can get the sense of it just by reading the reports and editorials in the Irish Press. The Smythe Case is a huge case — it also has a US chapter, as the guy was moved to Rhode Island at one point, and offended there costing the Providence Diocese quite a bit of money. It also brought down one Irish Government two decades ago, when the attorney General pidgonholed the case files, got found out, and the Government fell.

    By the way, I really enjoy reading the Irish Press — forgot just how well they sling the English Language. You may be reading about a really terrible series of events, but you suddenly sit back and appreciate just how well written it all is.

    • jdmckay0 says:

      They were prepared to video him saying Sunday Mass, but the Mass was suddenly cancelled.

      certainly must’ve been a coinky dink. :)

      Apparently the locals in Bad Toltz are a bit pissed that the Bishop secretly sent them a Pedophile, (…)

      sheesh… it’s like an ongoing shell game of “find the pedophile, where’s the pedophile”. Unbelievable.

  24. Leen says:

    “Or rather, D, Eric Holder will be the first to be ousted, because he argued to uphold the Constitution and limit Presidential abuse of power”

    If this choice is on the list. I vote Holder.

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