Saturday, July 5, 2008

Denver Catholics Add Insult to Injury

The Archdiocese of Denver just agreed to pay $5.5 million in a settlement related to yet another case of systematic child abuse by Catholic clergymen. The priests involved are all dead, so the actual abusers cannot be brought to justice, but the victims aren't settling for excuses like that. After all, we all know by now that the Church was systematically involved in a massive cover-up, for which they must be held accountable.

I am glad they've settled this case. It's another five and a half million dollars a hideous institution no longer has available with which to further degrade society. I'm only sad that it isn't more, as five million dollars is just a drop in the bucket to the evil monstrosity that is the Catholic Church.

And yet, even while settling the case, the Archdiocese couldn't help but to add insult to injury, by lying to the victims and public once again.

One of the attorneys representing the victims, Jeff Anderson (you may remember him from the film Deliver Us From Evil, or from the list of filmmakers, victims, and attorneys who were honored with my Champion of Justice award), obtained as a part of the settlement, a series of documents, which he has released to the public--sadly, with names left out--revealing that Church officials did indeed know what was happening and instead of reporting the abuse to the police, covered it up and allowed it to continue.

We're all aware of these stories. There are so many of them, it's hard to be surprised. Everyone knows that the Catholic Church, operating under orders from the Vatican, covered up every single instance of child abuse that they could.

Quoted by the Denver Rocky Mountain News: "There's a lot of damning information in those documents," said Tom Koldeway, 47, who was molested by White for more than eight years. "They knew he was a pedophile before I was born."

So the Church has been dragged, kicking and screaming, into something closer to full disclosure. Archbishop Charles Chaput said that today's policy is to report pedophiles to the police. That's probably the case, but certainly not because the Church is any more enlightened. They're just terrified of further damaging their precious reputation if word of another cover-up happens to get out. But he added insult to injury by claiming that he didn't know why anyone would keep sexual abuse secret.

Here Chaput counts on his audience not knowing their history. Certainly, that's true of most Catholics, for no one who knew the Church's history would still be a Catholic, but it's not true of the rest of us. There were secret orders from high levels of the Church, issued directly from the Vatican, ordering this systematic cover-up and demanding that all reports of abuse had to be dealt with directly by Rome. Chaput knows this, of course, but chooses to ignore it in his statement.

Do I think that Chaput himself was involved in the cover-up? It's difficult to say, since Anderson's documents mentioned no names except for the now-deceased pedophile. Personally, I doubt if he was personally involved. He was not ordained as a bishop until later. But he is still a member of the organization that oversaw this abuse. Sure, he's apologized for it, but because his apologies are mixed with his lies about knowing why these tragedies weren't reported, I question his sincerity.

And the child abuse scandal is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to negative aspects of Catholicism. Yet they still receive tax benefits. Let's not rest until they lose those tax benefits. It's time they learn to take responsibility for their offenses. Personally, I think they need to pay more than the millions they've been paying. Let's make them feel the consequences of their evil.


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