Thursday 25 March 2010


The matter of abuse by priests of the Catholic Church is one which this blog has covered before. It is no secret how much I despise the way that people entrusted with care of kids, totally trusted by their parents, abused that trust.

Now the whole subject has moved up a notch if
The Times is to be believed. It seems that the Pope himself has been involved in the cover up of at least one scandal.

It reports revelations that in the 1990s he, as Cardinal Ratzinger failed to defrock an American priest who molested hundreds of deaf boys, despite receiving letters from a number of American bishops pleading with him to act.

Internal correspondence from bishops in Wisconsin directly to the Cardinal warning him that failure to act could embarrass the church, have been found.

The particular case involves the priest, Lawrence Murphy, who allegedly molested up to 200 pupils in their dormitories, on excursions and elsewhere.

Fr Murphy wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger begging for leniency. He said that he had already repented and was in poor health and wanted to live out the rest of his life in what he called the “dignity” of the priesthood. “Dignity”, after molesting 200 kids is a bit steep, but these people’s minds seem to work in funny ways.

The worrying thing for Scotland is that it appears that Viceroy Spud, on instructions for Gordon Brown, presumably with some hopes of gaining political advantage from the situation, went to Vatican City to invite His Holiness to make a state visit to Scotland. Further to that, His Holiness was pleased to accept the Queen’s invitation, and he will arrive at Edinburgh Airport on September 16, to be greeted by the Duke of Rothsay, and taken to Holyrood House to meet the Queen and the First Minister, and then be taken to Glasgow for an open-air Mass.

If it is shown that the Pope did in fact allow such a man to continue as a priest, to avoid the disgrace, and the civil law in Wisconsin, which would undoubtedly have meant prison, what kind of a reception will the people of Scotland show this man?

We are by and large a decent people. Adherents of his Church were always going to line the streets and wave the flags of Scotland and the Vatican State. But peoples of other faiths too would surely have welcomed him as a head of state and head of a Church. Mindful of the respect that it is normal to pay such a person, I wonder what ordinary Scots would feel about a man who hid the truth about an abuser of 200 kids? I know how I feel.

Is this yet another example of something Brown touches turning to dust.

Pictured: The Pope alone and with the Viceroy in St Peter's, Vatican.



  1. I'm so incensed with this whole issue Tris that I couldn't write a post which was objective. The suffering so many have been forced to tolerate is beyond belief, yet someone in a posh cloak can just wave it away with a sorry.

    Not good enough, not nearly good enough.

    Priests should be allowed to marry or have a normal life. It's always amazed me that priests can lecture their flock on sexual and family issues when they have no experience themselves of a normal family life.

  2. Ah'm no sure objectivity is called for here. The Catholic experience is an entirely subjective one, starting at an age when objectivity is impossible. Aw thae lovely photies in oor 'Bible Stories' wi' that kindly Jesus wan takin' wee bairns by the hand. How's a wean tae take an objective view o' that?

    It extends intae real life. How's a wean tae take an objective view when the kindly priest takes them by the hand and...?

    The Catholic Church is a medieval powerhouse an' nothin' mair. It exists tae haud oan tae power. It exists tae haud oan tae wealth. It exists tae haud oan tae the power it has ower folks' minds.

    It's an edifice fae the time afore the Internet, a time when we mortals couldnae communicate wi' each other sae clearly.

    Let's be really honest here. Is kiddie-fiddlin' a new sport amongst priests? Is this the first we've heard o' it? Ah think not. The difference now is that it's no rumours, it's no whispers, it's no innuendo. Ye can go oan the Internet an' find facts, get names an' dates. There is freedom o' information an' the Church cannae hack it.

    We need another Reformation. Yin that finishes oaf the churches yince an' for aw'.

  3. I've avoided this subject myself as I'd just end up going into one and tarring all with a very wide sticky brush. Blogging is supposed to be a catharsis for me and this subject alone would tie me in knots.

  4. Is it true that the skull has backed out of tonights Question Time ? He was absent from pravdas Newsnight North Brtain ( live from that London for a budget special) last night aswell. We had to suffer McFail of Equitable Life and Bankers cover up inquiry fame instead.
    I suspect he went to the Celtic game against St Mirren in which case he will be in the sin bin with Mr Mowbray.

  5. Well said Sophia. You know my opinion from anent.

    The RC Church is nothing but a business, the first multi national profit based enterprise.

    It sells the impossible to the gullible.

    The business model it uses is a classic, later imitated by newer venture. It sell peace of mind, a paradise in the future if you do what you are told in this one and pay your dues. You can even by Papal Indulgences before you do them so as not to be bothered with a troublesome conscience.

    If this paradise of the hereafter does not actually exist, you cannot get a refund.

    If they can do that and get away with it, what they have to children is merely a consequence of their infallibility.

    Popes have, since time immemorial, have sold their blessings on incumbent rulers and pretenders too, if the price was right.

    Murphy should be crucified, like the thieves of yore.

  6. Typos sorry, I am incandescent.

    newer ventures

    buy indulgencies

    what they have done to children

    When missionaries took the bible to China and tried to convert the Chinese to Christianity one voice said to them

    "If the great God of yours is so all powerful, so wonderful, why has he waited so long to tell us who he is?"

  7. Another reflection

    Murphy crucified, naw, they would only beatify him.

    Nailed to front door of Ben Dover Hoose would be better.

  8. O/T I notice that Johnston Press will be supplying the news for STV. That's all media in Scotland now pro Labour.

  9. Anon:

    I think it's a consortium including the Herald and DCT.........

    But I've just seen the news and the Tories say that they will drop the deal. £8 million of public money a year going into it for 3 years.

    It must be the English government, because it's the Tories who say that they will scrap it.


  10. Yes SR. It is a nonsense that they are not allowed to marry. I know why, and I understand the principle behind it, but on the other hand it deprives them of what it seems most people need in their life. The love of a person close to them; the stability of family, and children and of course a sexual relationship.

    Church of Scotland ministers do the same job, just as well, with all the trappings of family.

    To enforce celibacy is unnatural.

  11. Great post Sophia. Of course you're right. The way it all works was never meant to have to deal with an internet world.

    If the Pope has been involved himself, then it would explain his leniency to other Archbishops and Cardinals who have turned a blind eye.

    I wonder what the future can be for the church when the hold father implicitly sanctions this kind of behaviour.

  12. Anon:

    I wonder what Spud's absence is all about.....

    Maybe he doesn't want to be questioned about this matter, as it could be dangerous...

    Criticise the Church and he'll lose votes, don't criticise it and you lose votes.... ewwwww hard one.

  13. Well Bugger.... typos and all, that was a great post.

    It is a business selling something none of us knows exists, or doesn't.

    There's no refund though if it turns out to be a scam.

    On the other hand some of the priests do good work. It's not all bad.

  14. Anon: I've always thought that it was an inappropriate name for the Scottish Office "Dover House". I mean there could be a farther place from Scotland, but not many.

    They should rename it Skye House or Harris House... or something like that.

    Better still close it down and reopen it as the Scottish Embassy.

    I don't think we want a wee streak like that nailed to the door though....euch, what a mess!

  15. QM: You take it easy. There seems to be a lot about. And this is not a subject for people who are sick....

    Get well soon.

  16. Sky House

    more like

    Away wae the Fairies House

  17. tris
    The takeover of STV News is confusing. Pravda said the Scottish government decided on who would do the news and STV said the Tories would overule it. If it's a Scottish government decision how could the Tories overule the decision ? They wouldn't be running the Scottish government if they won the UK election.

  18. Jim Murphy must have been impressed by the Pope. He pulled out of Question-Time.


  20. Anon:

    That is weird.... I can't see the Scottish Government wanting the JP (an English organisation) and DC Thomson ( a Tory stronghold) running the news agenda. It's bad enough ahving the BBC in Labour's pocket.

    I'll see what I can google....

  21. That's weird Brownlie. Maybe the poor wee thing has the flu?

  22. If anyone is offended by my post I'll withdraw immediately.

  23. Tris

    During the Second World War y father spent some years in West Africa, what is now known as Sierra Leone, Cameroun, Ghana and Nigeria.

    He was in the RAF but did come into contact with various elements of the Royal West African Frontier Force. These were the boys who knocked the stuffing out of the the Italian Army in Italian Somalieland,Abyssinia and later helped out in Burma.

    In Abyssinia they were the hard edge that captured the Italian Armies en masse.

    My Dad said the juju was greater than the Pope's.

  24. I knew a bloke who was out there too Bugger. He's a old fellow now, in his 80s but he talked a lot about it. It was a hard war for them, from what I heard. Not only the enemy, but the heat and humidity.

    Burma must have been even worse. Might have needed a bit of juju.....

  25. Abuse of children is filthy, and the child victims never EVER get over the experience, if this is institutional within the Roman Catholic Church [and I do not neccessarily say that it is], the there is urgent need to hold mass pan-European civil trials of the clergy, make them prove themselves innocent. Our children are too imporant to be made victims.

  26. Dean: I notice that the Vatican spin machine has gone out this morning with all guns blazing to protect the reputation of the Pope.

    Incredibly he was, as a cardinal, the man responsible for over 20 years, for the disciplining of priests. Letters which the Wisconsin courts have got hold of show that he was involved in this case. He really must take responsibility for the fact that before his alleged intervention, his department was going to allow a church court to deal with the matter. Canon law, church law, was more important than state law. Indeed it was more important that 200 disabled children who the fiend Murphy abused (and there’s no “allegedly” about that).

    The Church thinks itself above the law of the state in which it operated; Canon Law overrides state law; the Pope is infallible; the Vatican City operates out with the laws of any other country, but as a functioning state itself. A church court would only sanction priest for this kind of behaviour, not have him imprisoned (as it doesn’t have that right).

    According to the Archbishop of England (needless to say the BBC only covered England, as it has yet to discover Scotland’s existence) since 2001, the church in England has reported such cases to the civil authorities. Ken MacDonald, Director of Public Prosecutions in England from 2003-8, and himself a Catholic, said on the radio that in practice it didn’t happen.

    If the Vatican doesn’t do something about this it will grow, and explode. If they do, I’m not sure what the future of the Church will be.

    It is, I think, a crossroads. But we must always remember, as you rightly point out, that the people who suffer are the children. The dreadful, awful suffering of the kids at the hands of people they should be able to trust, people they called “father”, and people against whom no complaint, not matter how sickening was ever believed. I hope the Holy Father is mindful of that. To be honest, his prayers are hardly likely to be of any comfort to these children, now adults.

  27. Tris, the only way to solve this is for an EU level leagal investigation into the Catholic Church,

    there must be powers to;

    a] investigate the role of the Church in the EU member-states. Aiming to reveal the extent to which crimes have been covered up in the name of canonical law.

    b] specific inquries across all member-states, but coordinated at an EU level into the priesthood of the RC church. Every priest should be open to full inverstigation if the committees involved wish to

    c] An EU investigation on the role and conduct of the Vatican City, and if neccesssary investigate whether it should be 'blacl listed' and all EU member-state trade prohibited.

    It is the only way to solve this problem.

  28. Yes, Dean, you may be right, although there are countries out with the EU where these priests have worked their evil... Clearly the state of Wisconsin is case in point.

    You're right that it would probably have to be co-ordinated at a level above individual states... Ireland has demonstrated that the state cannot be trusted where the mother church is concerned.

    But who would do it Dean? The church is one of the most powerful and secretive organisations in the world. When it closes ranks on an investigator, I don't see anyone being able to get through.

    I’m not sure that we could allow canon law in the UK, or in the EU, but then the C of E has it does it not, and the Jewish faith has law and courts to regulate certain matters. Probably so do Muslims....

    I wouldn't like the task of setting this up... or seeking it through. Maybe a European Court could do it.

    Certainly something needs to happen to stop this, and we can't take their word that they will regulate it.

    I imagine any EU sanctions on Vatican City would be vetoed by Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Poland.... maybe more countries and Italy is the important one as it would have to provide the customs....

  29. Tris,

    Eurpol, the foundations and institutions of the EU already enable for us to establish a cross-border civil law investigation. It is essential that any such eurpol investigation have the authority to over rule member-state police forces.

    It is very doable, it would just take some initiative, and frankly I can see it eventually happening.

  30. Right Dean. I'd forgotten about Europol....(not having much to do with them myself!!!!)

    I agree something serious needs to be done. We simply can't have a secretive organisation based in a little principality, outwith our jurisdictions, allowing its members to get away with it crimes of the most serious order, scot free, or with only a stain on their work record.