Does your idea of a saint involve sacrificing innocent, vulnerable children to be preyed upon by hordes of ruthless sexual predators? Does it involve covering up for child rape on a massive scale? Does it involve creating the very conditions most likely to encourage child rape to flourish? Does it involve hearing detailed and heartfelt pleas from those already devastated by child rape, and refusing to even respond to their cries for help and for justice, ignoring the problem, suppressing the issue and punishing anyone who publicly reveals the truth?
Because the man the Catholic Church has decided to make a saint behaved like that for 27 years. They call it heroic virtue.
Can someone possibly be considered even vaguely heroic while knowingly, deliberately and callously throwing away the lives, the safety, and the innocence of hundreds of thousands of children?
Isn’t such behaviour enough to unquestionably and irrevocably undermine any and all claims to compassion, wisdom, reverence, leadership, morality, responsibility, and dare I say it, even humanity?
Isn’t it sufficient to be declared one of the worst villains in human history and not fit to live in civilised society?
It certainly would be if that person were not the symbol, figurehead and leader of the Catholic Church.
Let’s take the emotion out of the issue for Catholics for just a moment.
Lets pretend Queen Elizabeth II was guilty of allowing her household staff to rape thousands of children within Buckingham Palace.
If anyone revealed that a particular staff member had a problem with their behaviour around children, the rapist was quietly shipped off to Sandringham or Balmoral or other royal estates and allowed to rape new and unsuspecting children. This was done in compliance with rules long in place, but proudly reinforced as still being required practice by the Queen herself.
Any children who complained about such outrageous treatment were told that it was simply not possible that any rape had ever occurred, then raped again by additional staff members, physically abused, bullied and threatened into silence, and if all else failed paid a meagre amount of blood money and bound to secrecy.
Some rape victims wrote to Queen Elizabeth and begged her to protect them and others from the monsters in her household, but she refused to even acknowledge such appeals. Household members even wrote to her to complain about being raped themselves when children, but they also were ignored and their rapists were promoted.
Her head of household agreed with her policies but even he thought he better at least look into the case of one rapist, even if no action was taken and the rapist was able to keep raping in the meantime. The Queen summarily cancelled the investigation because the rapist was very obedient to her and brought in lots of money to pay household expenses and keep her in champagne and caviar.
Fervent monarchists felt secure in clinging to the image of a royal heritage that was superficial, dishonest, and designed to keep the monarchy in power. Even when revelations of the epidemic of rape within the royal household were finally revealed, thanks to brave victims and the media, monarchists refused to believe, covered it up, shouted down those that wanted to tell the truth, and called them anarchists and troublemakers. Anyone who mentioned the subject was branded a conspirator.
Then the royal household announced they were going to officially declare QEII “Great” because she was popular, a great communicator, had travelled abroad winning support, and even smiled and waved at the people where previous monarchs had largely stayed in their palaces, enjoying all the luxuries that come with monarchy. Queen Elizabeth “The Great” was especially known for talking to the French, a truly humanitarian step forward after centuries as traditional enemies, as well as a great photo op. But most importantly Queen Elizabeth the Great was honoured for freeing the Corgis. She had a soft spot for Corgis, having grown up amongst them, and they honoured her as a God, as well as a Queen. Of course, she didn’t free the Corgis personally, but she did speak up for them whenever she could. She could still remember her pain at being called Corgi Girl by all the other princesses and was determined Corgi would never again be a term of derision.
This move to declare the Queen “Great” couldn’t have come at a better time. After the announcement, the excited ravings of the deluded monarchists who simply ignored any facts inconsistent with their fantasy of a benign monarchy, drowned out those who were still trying to stop the rapes, which had continued despite the Queen having announced she was doing everything possible and taking the issue very seriously.
Strangely, no household members had lost their jobs, but the Queen talked at great length about their rights, their needs, their support and expended a great deal of sympathy on them, and herself, in having to deal with this issue.
She made the briefest of vague references to the children’s suffering and offered them all a discount on royal family memorial mugs at official palace shops, so that nobody could possibly accuse her of neglecting them.
Then finally the day of “Greatification” came. Now it was official just how Great QEII really was, especially since laws were introduced making it illegal to mention anything not in her authorised biography. Nobody would have listened to stories about her dark side anyway, as the self congratulatory shrieking of the monarchists was simply too loud.
Years later, the rapes continue unabated, but nobody talks about them. They don’t talk much anyway, since anyone who says anything not officially sanctioned by the palace will be burned alive at the stake.
Take the name of the Catholic Church out of the picture, replace it with a fictional alternative, and suddenly even Catholics should be able to see the truth about the behaviour of a man the Catholic Church is claiming is a saint. Whatever else he may have done throughout his life, nothing can possibly erase the stain of his complete and utter dereliction of his responsibility in this area, and his considerable addition to the suffering of innocents in this world.
The Catholic Church has never once addressed this issue honestly. There is no question JP II’s record on child rape is absolutely inconsistent with the barest minimum standard expected of anyone’s definition of a saint. But since they are determined to declare JP II a saint, no matter what, the Church must hoodwink all concerned with every possible excuse, evasion, diversion and denial.
A typical response is Cardinal Pell’s smugly dismissive comments to The Australian newspaper today.
Cardinal Pell denied John Paul had been guilty of any form of cover-up: “We know that in different parts of the world the matters weren’t as well handled as they should have been, but we can’t lay the blame for that at his feet,” he said.
Cardinal Pell is lying. He is used to getting away with making statements to the press which have little or no relationship to the truth.
Here is evidence which directly contradicts Cardinal Pell’s nonsensical claim. It comes in the form of a personal reminiscence published in the National Catholic Reporter on April 29, 2011 by Peter Isely.
Almost 20 years ago, a group of some 30 survivors of childhood sexual molestation by priests and I wrote to Pope John Paul II in painstakingly and excruciating detail of our harrowing experiences of being raped and sexually assaulted as youngsters while attending a boarding school for boys operated by the Capuchin Franciscan religious order in rural Wisconsin. The school, St. Lawrence Seminary, was one of a vast network of such Catholic seminaries across the United States. John Paul was keen to see a massive resurgence of places like St. Lawrence, in which priests raised children to become priests like themselves. Time magazine at the time dubbed our story “The Sins of Saint Lawrence.” It’s hard to imagine anymore when this kind of headline was novel, but it was. We delivered our letter, along with newspaper clippings, supporting legal documents, and videotaped depositions to the papal nuncio in Washington.
What we were hoping for from Pope John Paul II was justice.
What we received instead was a certified letter from the nuncio curtly informing us that our letters and documents had been acknowledged. We never heard anything more from either him or the pope. Since then, at least two of my seminary classmates, assaulted by the priest who molested me, have taken their lives waiting for papal justice. One shot himself on Christmas Eve 2002 in his parked car under a desolate freeway underpass.
It is likely John Paul, during his long tenure as pope, received hundreds, if not thousands of such letters. Not one survivor, in writing or in person, was ever known to have received a direct reply from him.
According to figures tabulated yearly by the American bishops, the number of priests who have sexually assaulted children over the past several decades, the vast majority committing their crimes while John Paul was pope, is just shy of a staggering 6,000 clerics. If the figure for the percentage of U.S. priests involved in the scandal is extrapolated worldwide, one can conservatively estimate that at least 30,000 Catholic clerics around the globe have sexually molested children.
This weekend with his beatification, the legacy of John Paul II will be, literally, sanctified by Pope Benedict as official church history. Part of that legacy, whose vast dimensions are still being uncovered, includes thousands of unprosecuted child molesting clerics, hundreds of thousands of child victims, and an institutional pattern and practice of concealing and transferring pedophile priests by dioceses and religious orders around the world.
Read the full article in The Australian.
Read the full article in NCR.
Article by Jason Berry in The Nation.