Feb 9, 2006

What did the Cardinal know, and when did he know it?

Back in the 1980s, Cardinal Mahony wants us to believe, he and his fellow bishops had no idea that men who committed sex crimes against boys were incurable (see "Treating priests who abuse: Then and now," The Tidings, January 20, 2006).

This is why, he also wants us to believe, in 1988 he assigned Michael Wempe to the chaplain's office at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after the priest completed six months of "treatment." And why the Cardinal left Wempe there till 2002, when the clergy sex volcano erupted nationwide and the prelate just happened to ask him to retire.

But there's one small problem with what the Cardinal wants us to believe: in 1985, three years before he returned Wempe to ministry, he and every other U.S. bishop received a secret, 92-page report telling them to sack accused priests immediately, turn them in to the police, and never to send a proven molester out to a new parish (L.A. New Times, May 16, 2002).

There's more: the 1985 document said child molesters have little chance of being cured.

The Cardinal, to be sure, sent Wempe to a hospital, not a parish. But according to the San Francisco Chronicle (May 17, 2002), he did shuffle Fr. Michael Baker among nine different parishes even after Baker had admitted to Mahony in 1986 that he had molested boys.

And, flouting the report to the bishops, the Cardinal never reported Baker to the cops; he sent him for therapy. Plus, in 2000 he secretly paid $1.3 million to two men whom Baker allegedly victimized as boys from 1984 till 1999. The Chronicle article says the Cardinal has told three different stories about his 1986 meeting with Baker.

Oh, one more thing: the secret 1985 report warned the bishops that sex abuse cases could cost the Church in the U.S. $1 billion within 10 years. As U.S. Sen. Everett Dirksen used to say, "A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money!"


Blogger Clayton said...

But the defense has argued that Wempe was cured by treatment. Guess the bishops had the right idea back in the 70's

4:12 AM  
Anonymous James Isabella said...

Where did the 'report' that the bishops received come from?

9:25 AM  
Blogger BaronVonMadman said...

"What did the Cardinal know, and when did he know it?", my question exactly! Today, close personal friend and favorite soccer coach of Pope Benedict XVI...Giovanni Trapattoni was fired by Stuttgart! Did Mahony have anything to do with this? Just wondering.

10:19 AM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear James Isabella, Thanks for writing!

Back in 1985, Dominican Father Thomas Doyle, then a canon lawyer at the Vatican embassy, and two others wrote a 92-page secret report on pedophile clergy that went to all U.S. bishops. The report warned against relying on treating the offenders and reassigning them to parishes, because the repeat-offense rate for pedophiles is so high. The report urged bishops to remove accused priests right away and report them to the law. Google on "Tom Doyle" and "1985" and "report" and you'll find lots of references, although many of them are from the dissenter side.

7:58 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Baron,

It is not the opponents of reassigning priest offenders who bring up, "What did they know, and when." The bishops who reassigned the offenders are the ones who bring it up, when they say, "Back then, nobody knew." Catching a bishop, or anyone else, in an inconsistency is not blaming him for anything besides that inconsistency. And remember, coaches in soccer and every other sport are hired to be fired!

8:09 PM  
Blogger Joseph said...

Too bad in '85 we didn't really have everything in word processing. Today with everything on computers, it is nearly impossible to keep secrets anymore.

I would really like to see the actual report.

I still think the LA Cathedral looks like square rock.

12:51 PM  
Blogger M. Alexander said...

The bishops knew and they didn't care. I think we can all agree on that! Such unpleasantness interferes with the champagne lifestyle they lead. I'd like to see the lot of them sacked and then we can start from scratch.

I would start with every priest (and I hope there were some) who reported a molester and had his "career" derailed by his courage and honesty.

Then we would really see something like what Catholicism is about!

Baring ANY priests having made reports I'll take the 4 SSPX bishops. Collegialize that!

1:33 PM  

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