Abuse of Power

ViaOliver, goodGod:

In a 1957 letter to an unnamed archbishop, Fitzgerald said, “These
men, Your Excellency, are devils and the wrath of God is upon them and
if I were a bishop I would tremble when I failed to report them to Rome
for involuntary layization [sic].” The letter, addressed to “Most dear
Cofounder,” was apparently to Archbishop Edwin V. Byrne of Santa Fe,
N.M., who was considered a cofounder of the Paraclete facility at Jemez
Springs and a good friend of Fitzgerald.

Later in the same letter, in language that revealed deep passion, he
wrote: “It is for this class of rattlesnake I have always wished the
island retreat — but even an island is too good for these vipers of
whom the Gentle Master said it were better they had not been born —
this is an indirect way of saying damned, is it not?”

The documents were sealed at the request of the church in an earlier
civil case involving Fr. Rudolph Kos of Dallas. Eleven plaintiffs won
awards in the case in which Kos was accused of molesting minors over a
12-year period. He had been treated at the Paraclete facility in New
Mexico. The documents were unsealed in 2007 by a court order obtained
by the Beverly Hills law firm of Kiesel, Boucher & Larson,
according to Anthony DeMarco, an attorney with the firm that has
handled hundreds of cases for alleged victims of sexual abuse in the
Los Angeles archdiocese and elsewhere.

According to Helen Zukin, another member of the firm, the documents
have been used in some cases to dispute the church claim that it knew
nothing about the behavior of sex abusers or the warning signs of abuse
prior to the 1980s.

In a September 1952 letter to the then- bishop of Reno, Nev.,
Fitzgerald wrote: “I myself would be inclined to favor laicization for
any priest, upon objective evidence, for tampering with the virtue of
the young, my argument being, from this point onward the charity to the
Mystical Body should take precedence over charity to the individual and
when a man has so far fallen away from the purpose of the priesthood
the very best that should be offered him is his Mass in the seclusion
of a monastery. Moreover, in practice, real conversions will be found
to be extremely rare. … Hence, leaving them on duty or wandering from
diocese to diocese is contributing to scandal or at least to the
approximate danger of scandal.” The advice was ignored and the priest
was allowed to continue in ministry, and was ultimately accused of
abusing numerous children, for which the church paid out huge sums in
court awards.

This scandal was never about priests. Never. It was about the church hierarchy that protected criminals at the expense of the faithful who truly believed that their religion was a way to accomplish good in the world.

Read the whole thing. There’s a lot of meat in there, including Fitzgerald’s idea to buy an island to house all these child rapists together so they couldn’t ever get at a kid again. It’s more humane than what I’d like to do to them. No word, though, on whether the bishops who kept them in place would have to share that tropical paradise.


5 thoughts on “Abuse of Power

  1. It doesn’t amaze me that people exist who would value their reputation above the well-being of children–that isn’t surprising at all.
    What *is* amazing is that not only do these people exist in large numbers, many of them felt a calling to the priesthood (WTF?), were then allowed into that priesthood (WTFF?), promoted through it (WTFFF?), and became ensconced so firmly in the church hierarchy that so many cases of abuse were swept under the rug.
    That is mindboggling. This is indicative of a systemic corruption in the church. It is rotten, from the top down. Rotten, rancid, stinking, pus-filled corruption.
    It makes Benedict’s anti-condom rant and the Brazilian incest excommunications completely predictable. That’s how these guys operate–take all the standards of decency and invert them.
    This would really make the baby Jesus cry. Seriously.

  2. I used to ocassionally drive by the Paraclete facility at Jemez Springs. A very nice retreat just outside a cute little touristy town in the mountains. Being sent there would be like a reward!

  3. I wonder which right-wing site will be the first to excise the quote “Kos was accused of molesting minors over a 12-year period” and use it re: the GOS.

  4. This — not just the assaults themselves, but also the coverup and the attempts to intimidate complainants and their families, is the very embodiment of a continuing criminal enterprise as mentioned in the federal RICO statute. And Benedict (at least during his pre-papacy assignment) and John Paul II abetted the scheme by sheltering the guilty, in some cases by personal action.
    A truly penitent Pope would turn over all Church records on this matter to investigative agencies in the various jurisdictions where these crimes took place, sell Church assets to (start to) pay reparations, and then abdicate and go into permanent exile. But we do not have a penitent Pope.

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