Skandalen om sex-misbruk av unge gutter har nådd pave Benedikt 16. Han var leder av Vatikanets kontor for «disiplinærnemnd» fra 1981-2005 og unnlot å gripe inn over en prest i Wisconsin etter rapporter om seksuelle overgrep. Presten Lawrence C. Murphy fikk holde på, år etter år. Tre biskoper ble varslet uten at noe skjedde. Kirken syntes mer opptatt av å beskytte seg selv.
Det dreier seg ikke om å la det som har skjedd ligge, men om at presten fikk anledning til å fortsette sine overgrep. Til overmål skjedde mange av overgrepene på en skole for døve.
Trolig står vi bare ved begynnelsen av skandalens virkninger, som allerede er store.
Den eneste farbare veien for Vatikanet er full åpenhet. Vatikanet har slåss med nebb og klør for å hindre NYTimes i å få tak i dokumentene.
Top Vatican officials — including the future Pope Benedict XVI — did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church, according to church files newly unearthed as part of a lawsuit.
Arthur Budzinski, at a cemetery behind St. John’s School for the Deaf, says he was first molested in 1960 when he went to Father Murphy for confession.
The internal correspondence from bishops in Wisconsin directly to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, shows that while church officials tussled over whether the priest should be dismissed, their highest priority was protecting the church from scandal.
The documents emerge as Pope Benedict is facing other accusations that he and direct subordinates often did not alert civilian authorities or discipline priests involved in sexual abuse when he served as an archbishop in Germany and as the Vatican’s chief doctrinal enforcer.
The Wisconsin case involved an American priest, the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy, who worked at a renowned school for deaf children from 1950 to 1974. But it is only one of thousands of cases forwarded over decades by bishops to the Vatican office called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, led from 1981 to 2005 by Cardinal Ratzinger. It is still the office that decides whether accused priests should be given full canonical trials and defrocked.
In 1996, Cardinal Ratzinger failed to respond to two letters about the case from Rembert G. Weakland, Milwaukee’s archbishop at the time. After eight months, the second in command at the doctrinal office, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, now the Vatican’s secretary of state, instructed the Wisconsin bishops to begin a secret canonical trial that could lead to Father Murphy’s dismissal.
But Cardinal Bertone halted the process after Father Murphy personally wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger protesting that he should not be put on trial because he had already repented and was in poor health and that the case was beyond the church’s own statute of limitations.
The New York Times obtained the documents, which the church fought to keep secret, from Jeff Anderson and Mike Finnegan, the lawyers for five men who have brought four lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. The documents include letters between bishops and the Vatican, victims’ affidavits, the handwritten notes of an expert on sexual disorders who interviewed Father Murphy and minutes of a final meeting on the case at the Vatican.
Father Murphy not only was never tried or disciplined by the church’s own justice system, but also got a pass from the police and prosecutors who ignored reports from his victims, according to the documents and interviews with victims. Three successive archbishops in Wisconsin were told that Father Murphy was sexually abusing children, the documents show, but never reported it to criminal or civil authorities.