Skip to comments.Washington Post: Archbishop Burke ‘Kicked Upstairs’ Because of Handling of Abuse Allegations
Posted on 04/28/2010 8:34:27 AM PDT by marshmallow
The web site of The Washington Post has published the astounding-- and completely unsupported-- claim that Archbishop Raymond Burke, former Archbishop of St. Louis and current Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, was kicked upstairs because of improper handling of sexual abuse allegations.
Some prelates acted in ways that constituted cover-ups, writes Anthony Stevens-Arroyo. Many of them have accepted blame for errors and made public statements of apology. Others, like Cardinal Law, formerly of Boston and Archbishop Burke, formerly of St. Louis, have been kicked upstairs to the Vatican. Not only have no apologies come directly from them, one wonders if such prelates might be liable for criminal action in the USA for obstruction of justice concerning the way they handled pedophilia cases.
Contrary to the reckless claim by Stevens-Arroyo, Cardinal Law-- who was indeed the subject of an investigation by law-enforcement officials in Massachusetts-- has apologized repeatedly for his mishandling of abuse cases. No responsible journalist or civil official has ever accused Archbishop Burke of obstruction of justice.
Washington Post article: Benedict Not to Blame
If ANYONE is aware of child sexual abuse in my State and they do no report it they're criminally liable. I suppose an argument could be made if the knowledge was gained as part of the Church Confessional, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
Why on Earth shouldn't these people be held to answer for what is a crime in all 50 States of the Union?
You should pose your question to the appropriate District Attorneys.
Perhaps I will. Thank you.
If ANYONE is aware of child sexual abuse in my State and they do no report it they're criminally liable.
Great question. Don't be surprised if you get castigated as being an official anti-Catholic bigot just for asking it.
Instead of 'kicking' these people 'upstairs', and I say this on the assumption that these accusations are founded, they should be defrocked and summarily turned over to the authorities for prosecution.
I have absolutely no patience or sympathy for child abusers and I have even less for those who by action or inaction enable them.
Uh-oh, you have used the word “defrocked.” Watch for the usual suspects to complain that you are using Anglican propaganda...
I'm not Catholic and have no idea what the proper terminology is. Apologies in advance are sent to anyone whom I may have offended with my ignorance.
Bunny Law is not at The Vatican. He is at a small church in Rome.
If anything, Burke was too strong. My sister lives in St. Louis, so I have second-hand information.
His speciality is canon law. He is in the place most suited to his skills.
Law was in fact, called to testify before a grand jury which was convened by the Massachusetts Attorney General to determine whether he would be prosecuted. However, the investigation did not lead to charges against leaders of the archdiocese. The Mass. Attorney general himself said that state laws on conspiracy, obstruction of justice and being an accessory to a crime would make it difficult to prosecute someone for putting another person in a position to commit a crime. Also, Massachusetts has no law requiring the reporting of a crime. In addition, the statute of limitations on some offenses had run out.
Law was then yanked and sent to Rome.
This is one of those cases where the demons throw one canard so outrageous that everyone accidentally injests the real poison:
Cardinal Law wasn’t moved upstairs at all. By ancient tradition, the Bishop of Rome (better known by his nickname, “the Pope”) is selected by the priests of Rome. Therefore, whenever ANYONE is made a papal elector (active cardinal), he is given the formal position as a pastor of a church in Rome. Usually cardinals have a much more critical job, such as being archbishop of a major arch-diocese, so a “parochial vicar” tends to the day-to-day duties of the parish. When Cardinal Law was relieved of his duties as Archbishop of Boston, he reverted to his role as pastor of his church in Rome... which just happened to be, by virtue of the prominence of Archdiocese of Boston, a very nice church.
But Law was relived of his duties, not “kicked upstairs.”
One thing to consider is that when many of these cases occured mandatory reporting laws were not in place. That being said no matter when these happened the church officials should have done the morally right thing and reported any suspected criminal acts to the proper authorities. As should all persons or institutions.
Cardinal Law was effectively demoted, even if that was not the intention - St. Mary Major is one of the Major Basilicas in Rome, but that's definitely a lower position than being a Cardinal Archbishop of a large archdiocese.
Abp (and surely soon to be Cdl.) Burke, on the other hand, was raised to the second highest judicial post in the Church (right below the Pope himself). That's no demotion. Beyond that, it could put him in a decision-making role if any of these cases come up in a canonical trial.
The Post's writer has not even a slight clue.
>> I’m not a ‘Catholic basher’ by any means but I simply do not understand how the laws, which are in virtually every US State, requiring ANYONE who knows about child sexual abuse to report it to the relevant authorities under pain of criminal punishment are not being applied to these people. <<
Catholic basher? Maybe not. But there is a very simple answer to your question:
Nearly all of these instances (better than 97%) occurred prior to 1990. When they occurred, there was no such law on the books. As a Catholic, I have grave issues with how the bishops handled these cases, because they turned to psychologists, instead of ancient canon law and the sacraments to deal with these cases. Psychology, particularly at the time, was not friendly to religion, in general.
The priests should have been removed from any and all pastoral duties, according to the canon laws first established by the Nicene Council, and availed of the graces of the sacrament of penance. Instead, following the advice of the lay psychologists, they were sent for treatment, until they were certified, “recovered;” Rather than treat their crimes as sins, they were treated as symptoms of evil.
Thanks very much for the information.
If that's true then I understand. However I believe that one has a moral obligation to report something as reprehensible as criminal child sexual abuse to the authorities whether one has a legal responsibility to do so or not.
While I don't presume to speak for the Almighty I can't imagine any circumstances where such behavior would please Him.
The priests should have been removed from any and all pastoral duties, according to the canon laws first established by the Nicene Council, and availed of the graces of the sacrament of penance. Instead, following the advice of the lay psychologists, they were sent for treatment, until they were certified, recovered; Rather than treat their crimes as sins, they were treated as symptoms of sickness (corrected per your post #18).
I've been saying virtually the same thing for years:
....Sin, confession, and church displine of the same is (or should be) an area inside of [the American bishops'] competence. What's telling isn't that the bishops received bad advice on how to act. What's telling is what authority the bishops recognized and sought out, when looking for advice...Moreso, I would accuse that the bishops have rejected scriptural authority in favor of (to modify your term) modern pshrinkology. They didn't define the issue (and it's treatment) as a sin problem to be repented of. They treated it as behavior modification....
-- Alex Murphy, April 2, 2008
I would have expected a religious order to recognize that raping a child is fundamentally a sinful behavior, before they would believe it to be aberrational behavior. It should be a warning sign to everyone that if a religious order looks to "the Psychs" for expert advice on dealing with known sinful behavior, instead of looking in their Bibles for solutions, they prove themselves to be scripturally deficient if not illiterate. "Religious" order, indeed!
We should not expect "psychological treatment" will end sinful behavior. That's what many bishops have believed, however, and look at what fruit it has yielded - $3,000,000,000 awarded in damages and settlements by Catholic dioceses within the United States alone.
The only thing that ends sinful behavior is repentance. Check your Bible if you don't believe me.
-- Alex Murphy, May 20, 2009
[Faithful Departed author Philip] Lawler points out that while less than five percent of American priests have been accused of sexual abuse, some two-thirds of our bishops were apparently complicit in cover-ups. The real scandal isn't the sick excesses of a few dozen pedophiles, or even the hundreds of priests who had affairs with teenage boys -- the bulk of abuse cases. No, according to Lawler, it is the malfeasance of wealthy, powerful, and evidently worldly men who fill the thrones -- but not the shoes -- of the apostles. In case after case, we read in their correspondence, in the records of their soulless, bureaucratic responses to victims of psychic torture and spiritual betrayal, these bishops' prime concern was to save the infrastructure, the bricks and mortar and mortgages. Ironically, their lack of a supernatural concern for souls is precisely what cost them so much money in the end.
-- excerpted from the "Inside Catholic" blog article and 'Catholic Caucus' thread Kneeling Before the World
....The thesis of this book, writes Lawler, is that the sex abuse scandal in American Catholicism was not only aggravated but actually caused by the willingness of church leaders to sacrifice the essential for the inessential; to build up the human institution even to the detriment of the divine mandate. Bishops again and again responded to the crisis as institutional managers, employing public relations stratagems to evade, deceive, and distract attention from their own responsibility. Lawler several times invokes the terse observation of St. Augustine, God does not need my lie. The bishops lied, says Lawler, and many of them are still lying. This is offered not as an accusation but as a conclusion that he believes is compelled by the evidence.
The first aspect of the scandal, the sexual abuse of children, has been acknowledged and addressed, Lawler writes. The second aspect, the rampant homosexuality among Catholic priests, has been acknowledged but not addressed, and later even denied....The third aspect of the scandal has never even been acknowledged by American church leaders. The third aspect, the malfeasance of bishops, is today the most serious of all.
-- excerpted from "Paved with the Skulls of Bishops" by Richard John Neuhaus
"...the scandal was never really about the 4% abusers in their ranks. The real scandal was that 66% of bishops covered for the 4%, negatively affecting 95% of the dioceses in the United States - actions which cost the Catholic Church over three billion dollars paid in settlements and awards to the victims."
-- Alex Murphy, September 29, 2009
The catch is that the priest in question was lionized as a folk hero by liberal press, being on the front page of Washington Post-Owned Newsweek. A Paul Simon song even seems to refer to him:
The mama pajama rolled out of bed(Paul Simon has implicitly denied any specific reference was intended by this song.)
And she ran to the police station
When the papa found out he began to shout
And he started the investigation
Its against the law
It was against the law
What the mama saw
It was against the law
...Me and Julio down by the schoolyard
In a couple of days they come and take me away
But the press let the story leak
And when the radical priest
Come to get me released
We was all on the cover of Newsweek
When Cardinal Law tried to have the priest disciplined for his inappropriate politics (i.e., being a supporter of the North American Man-Boy Lovers' Association), the Boston press went ballistic that these were trumped up charges by a supposedly reactionary bishop against a kindly, loving, heroic priest.
To his eternal infamy, Law was too cowardly to do anything.