Halp Catholic beavers, I have a question that needs some clarification

dbzeag

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So I was reading this article:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37182162/ns/world_news-europe/print/1/displaymode/1098/

The Vatican on Monday will make its most detailed defense yet against claims that it is liable for U.S. bishops who allowed priests to molest children, saying bishops are not its employees and that a 1962 Vatican document did not require them to keep quiet, The Associated Press has learned...

...The Vatican is expected to assert that bishops aren't its employees because they aren't paid by Rome, don't act on Rome's behalf and aren't controlled day-to-day by the pope — factors courts use to determine whether employers are liable for the actions of their employees, Lena told the AP.
Because they are not getting paid by the Holy See in Rome, that takes all US bishops off the burden of the Vatican? They don't act on the Vatican's behalf? How exactly can a bishop make than claim when direction and commands come directly from the pope and with threats of excommunication (fancy word for firing) if they are not followed?

Certainly the Vatican does not rule over people daily or direct the bishops daily what to do and what not to do. The Holy See does, however, dictate behaviors and actions members of the cloth should follow to be a part of the Catholic church and these behaviors should be followed every second of every day or to ask for forgiveness.

Maybe I am not seeing this clearly, or there is an easy explanation I am missing.
 

Phoenix

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Well, it's probably legally true that bishops aren't "employed" by Rome and that therefore the Vatican cannot be liable for their actions.

However I know this isn't the point you're driving at, and I don't know how bishops' actions can be condoned by Catholics or how it can be stated that they have no connection with the Vatican. Just saying that technically speaking they will have a case.
 

dbzeag

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Well, it's probably legally true that bishops aren't "employed" by Rome and that therefore the Vatican cannot be liable for their actions.

However I know this isn't the point you're driving at, and I don't know how bishops' actions can be condoned by Catholics or how it can be stated that they have no connection with the Vatican. Just saying that technically speaking they will have a case.
No, I was actually just sticking to your first point. I thought one of the jobs of the bishops and priests was to disseminate the Word to the people, but that the direction and word from the pope was to be spread as well. And that locally, bishops would indeed "act for Rome" because how else can directions from the Vatican reach a billion people?
 

dbzeag

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Apparently it doesn't have to go as high as the pope?

(San Francisco) In 1997, the Rev. John Conley walked into a dimly lit church rectory to find a disheveled boy standing there and someone else crawling out a back door. The boy told him he had been wrestling with the parish’s head priest.
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Conley told church leaders and police. After complaining loudly when the archdiocese decided not to remove the Rev. James Aylward, Conley ended up being disciplined himself.

Conley said the San Francisco archbishop wanted to send him to a hospital “where they send priests who are disturbed.”

“He said, ‘Father Conley, you do know what wrestling is, don’t you?’” Conley recalled. “And I said, ‘As a matter of fact, I do know what wrestling is. It’s usually in a gymnasium with all the lights on. It is not a 60-year-old man and a 14-year-old boy in a hallway.”

The archbishop is now Cardinal William Levada, the highest-ranking American at the Vatican and head of the office that defrocks pedophile priests.

While Levada, 73, has played a key role in several church sex-abuse reforms, in several cases as archbishop in California and Oregon he kept some accused molesters in the church and failed to share some allegations with police or parishioners.

According to interviews and hundreds of pages of personnel files, deposition transcripts and court records over a 20-year period reviewed by The Associated Press, Levada allowed molesters to remain in the priesthood, didn’t respond to pleas to notify parishioners of an abusive priest and worked with an alleged abuser to establish a lay review board.

Aylward later admitted to a history of inappropriate conduct with boys and was removed from the ministry. The archdiocese maintains Conley, who was a federal prosecutor before becoming a priest, was disciplined because of anger management problems, not because he reported suspected abuse.

Levada’s supporters say it’s unfair to judge him outside the context of the era, when not only the church but the justice system was more lenient toward abusers and more likely to believe that they could be rehabilitated.

Pope Benedict XVI has recently vowed to take action on the issue, after a round of scandals worldwide left the Vatican initially blaming the media and abortion rights and pro-gay marriage groups. Critics of Levada say his past could imperil reform as the Vatican navigates what could be a transformative moment in its history.

“You don’t rise to that level by upsetting the apple cart,” said James Jenkins, who resigned as chairman of the San Francisco lay review board after becoming disillusioned with Levada’s handling of several abuse cases. “To think that he is going to turn his back on the very conservatives that supported him to get to that position is laughable.”

Bishop John Wester, former vicar for clergy in San Francisco, counters that Levada is a strong reformer.

Levada was appointed to lead the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by Benedict, who – as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – held the post until becoming pope in 2005. Many of the scandals date to the tenure of Benedict’s more popular predecessor, John Paul II, who is now widely seen as having dragged his feet on eliminating sex abuse from the church.

As an archbishop, Levada established one of the first boards in the nation where congregation members reviewed clergy abuse claims and helped develop the church’s “zero tolerance” policy in the U.S. In his current role, he has suggested that bishops worldwide adopt the U.S. standards and report abuse to police when required by civil law. He also played an important role in the Vatican’s decision earlier this month to take over the scandal-plagued Legionaries of Christ, whose founder sexually abused seminarians and fathered at least one child.

“He knows on the ground what that experience is,” Wester said. “It’s very complicated, because you’re dealing with the victims and the perpetrators and as an administrator he had to respond to all of those people.”

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Levada would have no comment when asked to respond to a set of questions about his actions in Portland and San Francisco.

Levada himself has acknowledged mistakes, without referring specifically to priest sex abuse or particular cases. In an interview with “PBS NewsHour” last month, he said he was “learning by doing” as a bishop and “I certainly could have done some things better than I did.”



When he became archbishop in Portland in 1986, Levada inherited an explosive scandal.

The Rev. Thomas Laughlin had served six months in prison for sex crimes and parishioners were outraged that he was still a priest. Levada met with the families and wrote directly to Ratzinger, petitioning successfully for Laughlin’s removal from the priesthood.

Levada told PBS it “was a very good learning experience for me. … I was helped to take a closer look at every case that came before me.”

Two years later, the archdiocese called police when it received a report that another priest had molested a 17-year-old boy. Levada sent the cleric to inpatient therapy, prepared a press release and dismissed him from ministry in 1990 after he admitted abusing others.

“I think he had a really good sense that the Laughlin scandal had been handled really, really badly,’” said Kelly Clark, a Portland attorney who deposed Levada. “I think he decided he was going to try to keep his shirt clean.”

In a 2006 deposition, however, Levada said he received complaints about at least six other abusive priests but only reported one to police because the others were from the past. No announcements were made in parishes where molester priests had served.

“So many of these cases involved abuse that happened decades before,” Levada said of making parish announcements. “It seems to me that what you’re suggesting would affect a priest’s ability to minister and affect his reputation among the people.”

Levada also allowed at least two priests accused of abuse to return to ministry in the 1990s after therapy and allowed a Jesuit priest with a history of “sexual problems” into the Portland archdiocese.

In another case, a man who says he was victimized by the Rev. Rocco Perone as a boy in the 1950s said that in 1989 he asked the archdiocese to make an announcement about Perone so other victims could come forward. Levada spoke with the head of the priest’s order, but no announcement was made.

The man, who is now 67 and said he requested anonymity for his family’s sake, said that when the church refused to make a parish announcement, he began to call his old Catholic school classmates and found that some of them had been abused as well.

“It was quite an emotional reunion” during litigation, the man said, “because we’d all been victimized and I think at the time each of us thought that we were the only ones.”

The archdiocese settled with Perone’s victims in 2003. Perone died in 1992.

Vatican attorney Jeffrey Lena said the archdiocese received a clear indication from authorities that historical cases didn’t need to be reported because they fell outside the statute of limitations. He defended Levada’s reliance on therapy as part of the accepted practice at the time, in both secular and religious circles.

Church files contain a 1983 memo from the sheriff’s department in Multnomah County, which includes Portland, Ore. It details reporting requirements and mentions not only that children need to be protected from abuse, but that the abusers themselves also need “our help and support.”

“The mentality has completely changed now, and that’s the point,” Lena said. “When you judge a person, you have to judge them in the context of the times.”



After being promoted to archbishop of San Francisco in 1995, Levada developed a reputation as a reformer on sex abuse.

Aside from establishing a review board, Levada was one of four U.S. bishops who worked with the Vatican in 2002 to implement the “zero tolerance” policy in the American church. In 2003, he issued a 10-page public apology to victims and their families.

“He was ahead of the curve. But as he says, it was a learning process all the way along the line,” said Maurice Healy, spokesman for the archdiocese. “I think one of the reasons he was named to the current post is because he was so immersed in understanding, in dealing with it.”

At the same time, however, Levada allowed at least two previously accused molesters to remain in ministry until 2002, when the U.S. bishops passed their new standards.

One was the Rev. Gregory Ingels, a prominent canon lawyer who helped establish the review board and provided input on the 2002 charter.

Levada knew in 1996 that Ingels had been accused of abuse, but the archbishop said in a 2005 deposition that Ingels did not have contact with children. He also said he was sure Ingels would not reoffend.

Ingels was not criminally charged with abuse until 2003, after he was removed from the diocese. The charges were dismissed after California’s extended statute of limitations was ruled unconstitutional, but Ingels apologized in a taped phone call with the victim. The archdiocese settled a lawsuit filed by another Ingels accuser for nearly $3 million.

A message left at a listing for Ingels in Minnesota was not returned.

Ingels was in a desk job throughout Levada’s tenure, Lena said.

“Is the guy an excellent canon lawyer? Did he do a good job? The answer to all those questions is yes,” Lena said. “Those who seek blood would have the guy shipped to a desert island. Others think, a bit more charitably, that they might still have something to offer. This guy did.”

One priest Levada did punish was Conley, who called police when he suspected Aylward had sexually abused the teen in the church rectory. The archdiocese concluded that Aylward’s behavior was inappropriate but not sexual; authorities investigated but did not file charges.

Aylward publicly apologized, but Conley told church leaders he was disgusted that Aylward was not removed. He publicly called Aylward a pedophile and accused the archdiocese of a cover-up.

Conley was removed from the parish and transferred to a retreat center for what the archdiocese said were behavioral problems, angry outbursts occasionally directed at parishioners and disparaging remarks about the archbishop.

The archdiocese also said calling Aylward a pedophile even after he was cleared in investigations had jeopardized the priest’s reputation.

Healy, the archdiocese spokesman, said the church was trying to find the truth and do what was best for the parish – and that Conley’s disruptive behavior had to be handled.

“Hindsight is 20-20,” Healy said. “If we knew what Aylward had done, we would’ve removed him immediately.”

Conley sued for defamation, claiming he was disciplined and penalized for reporting the abuse. The archdiocese settled in 2002 for an undisclosed sum that included his retirement benefits.

Attempts to reach Aylward were unsuccessful. The boy also sued the archdiocese, which settled the case for $750,000.
 

my little brony

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the fact that anyone is protecting these worthless fucks is disgusting

everyone involved in covering this up needs to have their dicks chopped off, including the pope if it goes that high. throw the bastards in jail for the rest of their lives while we're at it
 

Coqui

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No, I was actually just sticking to your first point. I thought one of the jobs of the bishops and priests was to disseminate the Word to the people, but that the direction and word from the pope was to be spread as well. And that locally, bishops would indeed "act for Rome" because how else can directions from the Vatican reach a billion people?
Think of it this way. (Hypothetical situation) There's a discrimination suit against Victoria Secrets because some girl couldn't be a model for them. The Limited can't be sued for the actions of Victoria Secrets, but the suit will be filed against Victoria Secrets (even though The Limited is the parent company)
 

dbzeag

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Think of it this way. (Hypothetical situation) There's a discrimination suit against Victoria Secrets because some girl couldn't be a model for them. The Limited can't be sued for the actions of Victoria Secrets, but the suit will be filed against Victoria Secrets (even though The Limited is the parent company)
Then these settlements, where is the money coming from? If they are settled at the local level that they are filed against, I guarantee these local parishes do not have the millions they are successfully paying out in settlements. The "parent companies" are chipping in on the bill.
 

Coqui

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Then these settlements, where is the money coming from? If they are settled at the local level that they are filed against, I guarantee these local parishes do not have the millions they are successfully paying out in settlements. The "parent companies" are chipping in on the bill.
You have parishes that belong to diocese. Diocese belong to archdiocese, and so on. I don't know all the levels but you get the point regarding levels still within the US.
 

Phoenix

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You have parishes that belong to diocese. Diocese belong to archdiocese, and so on. I don't know all the levels but you get the point regarding levels still within the US.
I wonder if the Vatican is even legally the "parent company" of individual parishes in the US (or indeed any country)? I doubt it.
 

dbzeag

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I guess I have another question then. If this company has separate levels that are autonomous, how is it the top leader on the US Catholic church set up to run a task force for removing priests that are accused of molestation was actually he himself accused of molestation in the 60's?
 

dbzeag

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I wonder if the Vatican is even legally the "parent company" of individual parishes in the US (or indeed any country)? I doubt it.
Does this mean individual parishes or parishioners can act independently from the direction of the Holy See not only in financial and social matters, but of moral and spiritual matters, too?
 

b_sinning

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I believe any religious organization should make it their policy to do everything possible to help end this type of abuse in and without of their organization. If any foul play is suspected then they should work with authorities to find out the truth rather than shelter possible guilty people. They should be held to higher moral rules than a typical organization and not less.


But I also believe if they get caught breaking the laws that they should be punished more than a typical person. Like how a trained solder is held to higher standards when it comes to fighting civilians because they are trained to know better and also are more dangerous typically.
 
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Coqui

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I guess I have another question then. If this company has separate levels that are autonomous, how is it the top leader on the US Catholic church set up to run a task force for removing priests that are accused of molestation was actually he himself accused of molestation in the 60's?
Accused of and found guilty of are two different things. I don't know if he really did it or not so I can't say so.
 

dbzeag

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Accused of and found guilty of are two different things. I don't know if he really did it or not so I can't say so.
He was not found guilty because the priest that was trying to turn him in was threatened upon excommunication to keep quiet.
 

dbzeag

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Was the priest told the crime as part of a confession?
No, see the second story I posted. The priest caught him just after the act, with a disheveled 14yo boy in the hallway of the church and the bishop sneaking out the back.
 

dbzeag

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Can you prove that?
In 1997, the Rev. John Conley walked into a dimly lit church rectory to find a disheveled boy standing there and someone else crawling out a back door. The boy told him he had been wrestling with the parish’s head priest.
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Conley told church leaders and police. After complaining loudly when the archdiocese decided not to remove the Rev. James Aylward, Conley ended up being disciplined himself.

Conley said the San Francisco archbishop wanted to send him to a hospital “where they send priests who are disturbed.”

“He said, ‘Father Conley, you do know what wrestling is, don’t you?’” Conley recalled. “And I said, ‘As a matter of fact, I do know what wrestling is. It’s usually in a gymnasium with all the lights on. It is not a 60-year-old man and a 14-year-old boy in a hallway.”

The archbishop is now Cardinal William Levada, the highest-ranking American at the Vatican and head of the office that defrocks pedophile priests...

...Conley was removed from the parish and transferred to a retreat center for what the archdiocese said were behavioral problems, angry outbursts occasionally directed at parishioners and disparaging remarks about the archbishop.
 
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