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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Friday, December 13, 2002

Statement by the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Boston

On the resignation of Cardinal Law.

Thanks to Gerard for blogging it today. I especially appreciate this part:

.... We have witnessed the trials and tribulations suffered by our sister Church, its dedicated clergy and devout laity, most especially the criminally victimized innocent children. Regrettably, the salvific ministry of consecrated clergy throughout the Roman Catholic Archdiocese has been overshadowed by the unspeakable, criminal behavior of a handful....

Not all Orthodox would refer to the Catholic Church as "our sister Church" and to our priesthood as having "consecrated clergy" engaged in "salvific ministry". God reward the people of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Boston for their ecumenical charity. Ut Unum Sint.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Fri. 12/13/02 08:31:56 PM
Categorized as Religious.


"Counsel for Trent"

From Peggy.

An insightful and moving piece today at OpinionJournal.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Fri. 12/13/02 05:38:51 PM
Categorized as Political.


Write to the New York Post

Here is my letter to Chris Shaw, cshaw @ nypost . com, news editor at the Post:

Subject: You have defamed the pope: please retract and apologize.
Dear Chris Shaw:
Re: http:// www . nypost . com / news / worldnews / 64391 . htm
Contrary to the headline and opening paragraphs of the referenced New York Post article, the pope did not give "his blessing" to moving child-molesting priests from parish to parish without notifying the congregation.
That's a reckless charge that is demonstrably false. In fact, any intelligent individual can discern the truth from the defamatory article itself.
The pope was DEFROCKING the priest, thus removing him utterly from ministry. And the phrase "previous condition" referred to is HIS HAVING BEEN A PRIEST, not a child molester.
The real kicker here is that the former priest, to whom the pope was supposedly giving free rein, was at that time (1999) in jail already on consecutive four-to-eight year prison sentences.
It seems to me that your reporter, Kate Sheehy, may have been hoodwinked by disgruntled Catholics who want desperately to drag the pope personally into a mess for which he was not responsible. Shame on them for what they are doing; and shame on you and your newspaper for defaming the pope.
Did Sheehy want a big scoop? Did she have a deadline that prevented her from thinking before writing? No matter. The truth is the truth -- and a falsehood is a falsehood. And your reporter wrote, and your newspaper published, a falsehood about the pope. And not just any falsehood: an outrageous falsehood claiming the pope was personally complicit in the despicable activity of enabling pedophiles to continue to prey on children.
You owe the pope, all Catholics, and your readers, a retraction and an apology.
You are, I see, the news editor; if you are not the right person to handle this, please forward this e-mail to the appropriate individual.
P.S. I am publishing this on my weblog, and I will also publish there any reply from you or anybody associated with the New York Post.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Fri. 12/13/02 01:08:40 PM
Categorized as Media.


"Pontiff Libel Watch"

The Media Minder has very kindly noted my New York Post Defames Pope John Paul II.

Canonist Pete Vere, blogging at Catholic Light, seems to agree with my assessment of the term "previous condition":

.... I should also point out that this is a standard request when a priest is reduced to the lay state, regardless of the reason for the reduction to the lay state, or whether or not the reduction is voluntary on the part of the priest. Thus I would assume that the word "his condition", in keeping with canonical Tradition, refers to his laicization, and not to the crime which led to his laicization. Again, this is pretty standard canonical jargon when a priest is laicized....

I am concerned about the long-term implications of this: Catholics will have to be defending the pope from this stupid misrepresentation of the facts from now until Kingdom Come. To wit, see this Reuters article in a New Zealand newspaper yesterday.

We can see from that article that the New York Post article was even more profoundly stupid than I had already thought: at the time the pope was supposedly endangering children, the defrocked priest in question was serving two consecutive four-to-eight year prison sentences.

It's time for the New York Post to (1) issue a retraction and (2) apologize to the pope, to Catholics, and to their readers for publishing such a reckless accusation.

But let me also note the role played by "Catholics" in this debacle, from an MSNBC article yesterday:

Pressure continued to build on Law after critics claimed Tuesday that had uncovered a “smoking gun” that showed that Law and other U.S. Catholic leaders who have been accused of covering up sex-abuse allegations were acting on the pope’s orders.
A group called the Coalition of Catholics and Survivors said it had come across the document from among thousands of personnel files the Boston archdiocese made public last week. A court hearing lawsuits against the archdiocese had ordered the release.
Joseph Gallagher, a co-founder of the group, said the document spelled out a Vatican policy of placing image ahead of child welfare.
In the document, John Paul says that a defrocked Catholic priest who had a history of molesting boys should leave the areas where his “condition” was known — or stay put as long as it caused no scandal.
“That would explain why [other] bishops have done the same thing as Cardinal Law — they’ve moved sexual offenders from parish to parish without notifying the parishioners,” Gallagher said.
The May 25, 1999, document is a translation of the pope’s order removing Robert Burns, a convicted pedophile, from the priesthood.
Donna Morrissey, a Boston archdiocese spokeswoman, said she could not comment on matters of litigation.
Roderick MacLeish, a Boston lawyer who last week released the archdiocese’s file on Burns along with those of other priests accused of sexual misconduct, said the order was noteworthy not only because it was relatively recent but also because of its use of the word “scandal.”
“Now, for the first time, we’ve seen documents from the Vatican that emphasize the word that we’ve seen so often here in Boston: ‘scandal,’” MacLeish said.
“This document says he is to be relocated to another place where presumably they wouldn’t know about him, unless the bishop or the cardinal of the appropriate diocese determines it will cause no scandal,” he said. “What about the children?”
MacLeish has said the files, which a judge ordered the archdiocese to turn over, help prove a central claim in his lawsuits against the archdiocese — that the church reassigned priests accused of sexual abuse without warning parishioners.
At the time the memo was written, the archdiocese said it was aware of at least six young men whom Burns allegedly molested while he worked in Boston from 1982 to 1991.
Burns came to Boston from the diocese of Youngstown, Ohio, where his problem had been noticed.
Burns pleaded guilty in 1996 to criminal charges that he had sexually assaulted two boys in New Hampshire. He was sentenced to two consecutive four- to eight-year terms in jail.
Meanwhile, a central figure of the scandal, the Rev. Paul Shanley, posted $300,000 cash bail Wednesday. Shanley, 71, has been charged in Boston with 10 counts of child rape and six counts of indecent assault and battery for allegedly abusing boys at a church in Newton from 1979 to 1989.
A former Boston Archdiocese leader, the Rev. Thomas Daily, now the bishop of Brooklyn, N.Y., said in a sworn deposition that the church knew Shanley had advocated sex between men and boys when it promoted him to lead a parish in 1983.

(Yes, I linked to the right article: the text I have quoted here is no longer on the MSNBC website at that URL. The webpage seems to have been completely redone, to keep up with the latest news.)

MSNBC was careful to note that it is "Catholics" making these wild charges against the pope: NYP was not so careful. Their article, dated Dec. 11, entitled Pope Gave His Blessing, begins thus:

Boston's Bernard Cardinal Law was just following orders from his boss - Pope John Paul II - when he sent suspected pedophile priests back to work in parishes with kids, a damning church document reveals....

That's why the New York Post needs to retract its foolish charges and to apologize for them. Now.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Fri. 12/13/02 11:57:00 AM
Categorized as Media.


Re: Church Mutual Insurance Company

I have received an inquiry concerning the source of the claim that "the Church Mutual Insurance Company has reported that it received over 700 claims from victims of sexual abuse by Protestant ministers during a 10 year period."

The source is Philip Jenkins' book Pedophiles and Priests. The book cites a CNN Presents report called "Fall from Grace", Nov. 14, 1993 (footnote 99 in chapter 3, footnote 100 in chapter 4). Here is the passage from the book:

The Church Mutual Insurance Company reported that by 1993 "it currently has open claims against four hundred non-Catholic clergy and has closed three hundred others since 1984. About half of them concern child sex abuse." (p. 51)

Please direct any complaints to CNN and Philip Jenkins. :)

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Fri. 12/13/02 10:36:01 AM
Categorized as Religious.


"Molly Ivins' Crimes Against Journalism"

The Mighty Barrister socks it to another Hate America Firster.

"If not for the 'unbearably bloody Crusades,' you, my dear Molly, would be typing your column on 'How to prepare flatbreads for Ramadan' from behind a burka."


.... The Crusades were wars, dear Molly, with two purposes: to take back the Holy Lands that the bloody Muslims took from the Christians by force and bloodshed, and to drive the Muslims from Europe, where they had taken hold by force and bloodshed. If not for the "unbearably bloody Crusades," you, my dear Molly, would be typing your column on "How to prepare flatbreads for Ramadan" from behind a burka. The deaths attributable to the Inquisition were primarily from the Spanish government, not by Christianity per se. Ethnic cleansing is a trait of a totalitarian regime, with the Communists in Russia and China - not Christianity - as its leading proponents. Slavery was mostly abolished by Christians, only to see a comeback in the New World, fuled by African (non-Christian) tribes who sold their fellow tribesmen and captured warring tribesmen into slavery ... and the list goes on and on....

Al Gore has been talking lately about a "fifth column" in the media — meaning right-wingers. I think he's looking in the wrong direction.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Fri. 12/13/02 09:52:04 AM
Categorized as Media.


Boston Will Be Getting a New Archbishop

From Guardian Unlimited today:

The Pope has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law as archbishop of Boston, the Vatican announced today.
Mr Law's resignation comes after a sexual abuse scandal in his Boston archdiocese. The Vatican said Pope John Paul II had accepted the archbishop's resignation following talks between the two today.
The Pope has appointed Bishop Richard Lennon as Mr Law's temporary replacement....

Let's pray that the Church of Boston will get a wise and holy shepherd, to lead it through very difficult times.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Fri. 12/13/02 08:16:15 AM
Categorized as Religious.


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