Dozens of deaf men were abused as kids by a priest. As adults, they were betrayed by Cardinal Angelo Sodano and other Catholic officials who ignored their pleas for help. We grieve for these once-helpless children and struggling adults as Sodano prepares to lead a special liturgy tomorrow as the conclave begins.
Sodano is a dramatic symbol of almost everything that is wrong with the Catholic hierarchy, especially when it comes to addressing and stopping the sexual assault of children by clergy and the cover up these crimes. We hope he'll have the decency to let someone else lead the conclave's opening mass tomorrow. If he doesn't, we hope his colleagues will persuade him to step down.
Sodano has the distinction of occupying during the past 23 years the two senior most positions of power after the Pope, at one time simultaneously, of Vatican Secretary of State and Dean of the College of Cardinals, where he either enabled or ignored clergy child sex crime worldwide.
It was Sodano, according to knowledgeable sources, who blocked the investigation of the notorious Austrian pedophile Cardinal Hermann Groer.
It was Sodano who fiercely and publically defended another of the church’s most high profile sex offenders, Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legionaries of Christ. Just as with Groer, Sodano deliberately obstructed the investigation into Marcial in 1998, and then publically defended Marcial right up until 2005, even though the evidence of Marcial’s guilt, in spite of Sodano’s efforts to prevent justice, was absolutely incontrovertible.
But perhaps the saddest of the known actions committed by Sodano concerns yet another infamous child sex predator, Fr. Lawrence Murphy, who operated a boarding school for deaf children in Wisconsin. By 1995, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and other Vatican officials knew Murphy had
sexually assaulted at least 200 deaf children, according to Murphy’s own archbishop. That same year, one of Murphy’s victims wrote a heart wrenching letter to Sodano, detailing Murphy’s assaults against him and other classmates. It’s bad enough that Sodano ignored the pleas of deaf survivors of Murphy while he was well aware that Murphy was a serial child molester of disabled children.
But when the Murphy case was finally receiving worldwide attention, Sodano, who had known about Murphy’s guilt for years and the Vatican’s knowledge of it, used the Easter Sunday mass in St. Peter’s Square to call the abuse crisis, the Murphy case and the awful plight of his victims “petty gossip.”
For his fellow Cardinals to allow Sadono to occupy the highest and most visible position of honor during their selection of a new leader signals that they have little if any intention to usher in a new and desperately needed era of institutional responsibility, accountability and transparency. And while this group of Cardinals seems hardly the management team to put in charge of protecting children worldwide, surely there must be a more fitting individual than Sodano.
I nearly faint with grief. It’s hard for me to continue reading, and thus I know that all of you, the victims and members of SNAP, must need consolation and encouragement and HOPE, and our prayers for your continued strength and continued loud complaint, now. PLEASE DON’T GIVE UP, even in light of this heinous man being chosen to open the conclave, don’t lose COURAGE AND CONFIDENCE IN THE EFFECTIVENESS OF YOUR ACTIONS TODAY. PLEASE, I PRAY.
Sadly, if as you say Mr. Isley (and trust, me, I hope that you are wrong, but I have a hard time remaining hopeful), again, if as you say this conclave group of cardinals, do in fact have little intention of dealing with the whole issue of pedophelia in the catholic clergy and laity, that they have no intention of ever finding a way of permanently removing known predators from the Catholic Church, and instead will continue to refuse to heed the words of Christ in the Bible in Matthew 18:6, Mark 9:42 and Luke 17:2, then they and we are doomed for awhile longer to suffer these fools and criminals in our midst. I for one, will stop going and essentially stop being “a Catholic”, and I will miss all of the things that I had originally loved about the Catholic church and in being part of it. However, I am not so insane as to wish, encourage, not so insane as to harbor, aid and abet such heinous acts on any of the children on this earth, for any church. I want those of you reading this to know that all of this crisis in the Catholic church today, often reminds this American of all the political upheaval and incidence of lying, dismissal and denial of wrong doing commonly known as “Watergate”. But, because of the nature of these heinous crimes and the worldwide occurrance in the church of these crimes, I believe this denial, is worse. And, yet I continue to have hope for reformation of the Catholic Church because of remembering that with continued pressure and strength of conviction in the truth being known, President Nixon eventually (was brought to the understanding and eventual enlightenment that he must resign, and then,) resigned. And, I try to remember to bear in mind, the handling of America’s most recent discovery of an institutionalized pedophilia, at Penn State…and, to remember that with the bravery and willingness of victims to come forward, the destruction of more children was by the predator pedophile was STOPPED.
So, even if using Sodano as a “slight” or “dramatic” example of their current desire to continue in denial, and their possible intention of electing another Pope who will allow them to continue on that path, I believe there time “in power” and as “celebrities” of the church is coming to a close, sooner than even they are anticipating. I believe this because the population of the world is communicating all over the world now, and the majority of parents on this earth DO NOT WANT THEIR CHILDREN ABUSED.