Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Thursday, March 03, 2016

Cardinal Müller, Klaus Mertes SJ, and Spotlight

Cardinal Müller, the head of the CDF (aka the Inquisition), has given his opinion of the film Spotlight ... Muller on 'Spotlight' cover-up: Most priests 'bitterly wronged' by abuse generalizations

His creepy minimizing of the badness of clergy sex abuse and its cover-up comes as no great surprise to me (he has some creepy ideas about women and marriage as well). Here's a bit of what Müller said ...

"The vast majority of priests have been bitterly wronged by the generalizations regarding abuse," he said, recalling that criminal statistics showed that most sexual abusers were found within the family circle. "They are fathers and other relatives of the victims. One cannot, however, draw the inverse conclusion that most fathers are therefore possible or actual perpetrators."

He is wrong. Fr. Anthony Ruff OSB of Pray Tell wrote a bit about this in a comment a few years ago (12/3/2013 - 5:48am ) ... Sure abuse happens in families .... let’s compare family members’ total contact with children with that of Catholic priests. Of course there is way more abuse in families – but how much more, and is it proportionate? What we really need – but I’m not aware of such data – is a comparison of the rates of child abuse by married Protestant and Orthodox clergy with the rates among celibate Catholic clergy. I know of no proof that the Catholic rate is equal or lower, and I suspect it is higher. I can’t imagine that all these Protestant ministers have been abusing children and somehow the media missed it. The obvious difference between Catholic and Protestant clergy is celibacy ...

And Professor Patrick Parkinson has written ... [B]etween 1% and 2% of the male population would be expected to be convicted for some form of sexual offence over their lifetime (including sex offences against adults). If those figures are similar for Australia, then Cahill's research would indicate that the rate of convictions for Catholic priests who studied at the seminary in Melbourne is much higher than in the general population (3.7% of those ordained between 1940 and 1966 and 5.4% of those ordained between 1968 and 1971) ..... [R]ates of reported child sexual abuse by priests and religious in the Catholic Church are many times higher than for clergy and paid pastoral staff such as youth workers, in other denominations .... The figure for the number of victims in the Catholic Church was exactly 10 times that in the Anglican Church ...

Back to Müller ...

"For me hushing something up means deliberately preventing a recognized criminal offense from being punished or not preventing a further offense from occurring," Müller said. "Now, as we all know, in past decades the state of knowledge regarding sexual abuse was very different from that of today. Unfortunately, no one had their eye on the long-term consequences of sexual abuse in those days, as, thank God, we have today. Seriously admonishing the perpetrator was often thought -- somewhat naively perhaps -- to be enough."

Because back in the "olden days" of the cover-up ... we're talking like the late 90s in Spotlight ... no one could have been expected to realize that raping children was a bad thing???? Perhaps the fact that it was a crime would have been the first clue.

As the article goes on to state, Müller himself has been accused of covering up abuse ...

Jesuit Fr. Klaus Mertes, the whistleblower who first unveiled the abuse in the Jesuit College in Berlin during his tenure as headmaster in 2010, has called for Müller to step down .... According to Mertes, when Müller was Bishop of Regensburg from 2002-2012, he ignored the German bishops' conference's guidelines which recommended that priests sentenced for sexual abuse of minors should never again be allowed to work with children or young people and reinstalled a priest in a parish who had served a prison sentence for abuse.

"Instead of stepping down, Bishop Müller, who covered up and obscured sexual abuse when he was in the highest position in the church in his diocese, has climbed the hierarchical ladder just like that," Mertes said. "… He still continually speaks of 'malicious press campaigns' against the Catholic church. Not a sign of remorse .... "In my opinion, that is intolerable -- above all, intolerable for the victims," Mertes continued. "How can this man, who is the head of the Congregation finally responsible for abuse, of all things, ever again be credible?"

Read more about Jesuit Klaus Mertes in a past article at US Catholic - What the pope should learn from the sex abuse scandals in his home country ... and in a past interview with him in Der SSpiegel - SPIEGEL Interview with Top Jesuit Priest: 'We Kept Quiet about Sexual Abuse for Too Long


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