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Old 01-18-2011, 11:19 PM   #166
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It's such a weird way to rationalize the changes in attitude towards children's welfare since the 70s. I was a young child in the 70s, and I'd agree there've been some noticeable sea changes since then, most of which gained ascendance during the 80s--the enhanced legal empowerment of children; the increased awareness of both adults and children that child molesters are more likely trusted relatives, clergy, teachers et al. than scary, hairy, candy-bearing strangers in scuzzy cars...etc. I'm too lazy to look it up now, but remember the story last year about the pedophile-priest case from the 70s where the victim said he'd reported it to the police at the time, and they blew it off too? I think that's pretty telling and emblematic of the way social attitudes were in those days. Because A) those kinds of figures were automatically considered Respectable People and B) even though everyone knew there were Creepy People among the Respectables too, still the implicit assumption was that there must be something wrong with YOU if you didn't pick up on that and avoid them accordingly. But to frame this in terms of Kinsey, Free Love or whatever--ridiculous, absurd, in fact it'd be laughable as well, were the topic not so deeply painful. And needless to say, no excuse for persisting with institutional coverups decades after the legal and social status quo had changed dramatically and for the good of all children.
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:06 AM   #167
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Really interesting, albeit long, article in this week's NYT magazine about the Church's sex-abuse scandals in Ireland, and the enormity of their implications for Irish culture and society:
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[Irish] politics at the beginning of the [20th] century centered on two debates: British rule and religion. There were those—like the playwright George Bernard Shaw and the poet William Butler Yeats—who thought that the potential break with England constituted an occasion for Ireland to cut the strings to the Catholic Church and to embrace a progressive, international sensibility. Others wrapped Irish patriotism together with Catholicism, agrarian traditions and the Gaelic language, and they won the day. Eamon De Valera, the political leader, drafted a constitution side by side with the all-powerful archbishop of Dublin, John Charles McQuaid, which gave the Catholic Church a special role in state affairs and which to this day begins with the words, “In the name of the most holy trinity.” Thus the 20th-century image of “Irishness” came into being: rural, charming, locked in an eternal, tragicomic struggle with the church. The archbishops of Dublin became something like grand inquisitors, wielding great power. The church’s heavy influence on Irish society kept the wider world at bay for a surprisingly long time. Eamon Maher told me that in the 1970s, his parents found it profoundly disorienting when the evening recitation of the rosary suddenly had to compete with American shows like 'Dallas,' and “the world of wealth, flash cars and extramarital affairs.” Contraception was illegal in Ireland as recently as 1980, and until 1985 condoms were available only with a prescription.

As secularism advanced in other parts of the world, successive popes relied on Ireland as a bulwark and pushed Irish leaders to keep the church in the country’s structure. In 1977, Prime Minister Garret FitzGerald noted that in a private meeting, Pope Paul VI stressed to him “that Ireland was a Catholic country—perhaps the only one left—and that it should stay that way” and that he should not “change any of the laws that kept the republic a Catholic state.” That continues to this day, according to Ivana Bacik, a senator for the opposition Labor Party who has been a leader in the effort to extricate the church from the state. As she put it, “In no other European nation—with the obvious exception of Vatican City—does the church have this depth of doctrinal involvement in the affairs of state.”

According to Abbot Hederman, the hierarchy of the church in Ireland believed that the nation had a special role as a kind of citadel of Catholicism: “Ireland was meant to be the purest country that ever existed, upholding the Catholic ideal of no sex except in marriage and then only for procreation. And the priest was to be the purest of the pure. It’s not difficult to understand how the whole system became riddled with what we now call a scandal but in fact was a complete culture. Because you had people with no understanding of their sexuality, of what sexuality even was, and they were in complete power.” The sexual mistreatment and corporal punishment that went along with the code of purity were hidden in plain sight all along. A careful reader of James Joyce’s “Dubliners” knows this is part of Ireland’s cultural past, but violence in church-run schools was tolerated late into the 20th century. The novelist Colm Toibin, who was in a Christian Brothers school until age 15, told me: “At times it didn’t feel like there was a line between sexual abuse and corporal punishment. Every Friday one of the brothers would take a boy in front of the class, and whichever way he hit you he’d always put his hand on your testicles. We would laugh, but in fact you were in a permanent state of fear. I would vomit in the morning before going out to school. They would hit you across the face if you got a sum wrong. I suppose they did teach me to read and write and that I should be grateful, but I’m not.”
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In Ireland the stakes for the Vatican are tangible. The abuse reports have led to popular demands that the state disentangle the Catholic Church from the country’s infrastructure. More than 90% of primary schools are under church patronage—even though they are state-financed—so that parents generally have no choice but to place their children in a school with what is called a Catholic ethos. Most public hospitals are also controlled by the church, which means that certain procedures that would be commonplace elsewhere have been problematic in Ireland. These include not just abortions—which in December the European Court of Human Rights decreed that Ireland must permit in cases where a woman’s life is at risk—but also vasectomies, among others.

Nonetheless, Ireland is the first country to bring the force of its federal government to bear against the church, according to Thomas Doyle, a Dominican priest who was once a canon lawyer for the Vatican embassy in the US and later represented sexual-abuse victims and also served as an expert consultant to the Irish investigations. “There have been three commissions in Ireland, and all were government funded, all chaired by judges,” he says. “In other places with a traditional Catholic presence and where there has been sexual abuse, there is intense interest in what is going on in Ireland. Quebec has now begun an investigation. There are signs of it beginning in the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Italy, Spain and France.” Ireland, then, provides a model for investigative legal action on a host of fronts.
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In proportion to its population, Ireland easily ranks as the country with the most reported cases of sex abuse within the church. It is second only to the United States in the total number of cases, despite a population approximately one-hundredth that of the US. Of the two reports published in 2009 detailing the findings of civil investigations, the so-called Ryan Report examined abuse in institutions that were run by the Catholic Church, while the Murphy Report detailed abuse within the Diocese of Dublin. The reports fill five volumes and run more than 2500 pages. Sample entries from the Murphy Report include an account of a priest who digitally raped a girl during confession and then washed his hands in a bowl at the altar; a priest who probed a girl vaginally and anally with a crucifix; and a priest who routinely forced altar boys to drop their pants and beat them and then masturbated. The Ryan Report entries that detail the desolate existence of the mostly poor children in so-called industrial schools read like a cross between Charles Dickens and Dan Brown: “I was beaten and hospitalized by the head brother and not allowed to go to my father’s funeral in case my bruises were seen” and “I was tied to a cross and raped while others masturbated at the side.”
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As impressive as the decline in Irish Church statistics has been, the 40% or so of Irish Catholics who go to Mass regularly outpaces some other once-traditionally Catholic countries. Clearly a lot of Irish want a faith community. But what kind, and under what conditions?

The Rev. Tony Flannery, an organizer of the Association of Catholic Priests, told me he recently attended meetings about the future of the church with members of a rural parish. “These were Irish people of 60, 70, 80 years of age,” he said. “And I was amazed at the radical nature of what they were saying. They want women more involved. They want to take their church back from Rome. The child-abuse business has shaken the Catholic Church structure here in a way I would never have felt possible in my lifetime. So for the likes of me, that’s an upside to all that has happened. There’s an openness now, among priests and laity.” I asked him if he thought the openness extended in any way into the hierarchy, and he laughed. “Oh, no,” he said, “no indication of that at all.”
That quote from Abbot Hederman is interesting, if a bit improbable-sounding--is he suggesting that the Vatican literally, intentionally shaped Ireland to be some sort of designated sexual-repression learning laboratory? or more that this was a kind of national-pride myth that Irish clergy collectively told themselves? But, what really caught my eye about it was that it's the only passage in the article which appears to take a stab at explaining how such an extreme and pervasive culture of sadism and brutality, transmitted through Church institutions, managed to take root in this particular country--above and beyond the now globally familiar theme of celibacy-as-status-symbol tending to attract pedophiles.
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Old 02-14-2011, 05:04 PM   #168
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“In our roles as theology professors we can no longer remain silent,” began 144 leading Catholic theologians from Germany, Switzerland and Austria in a bluntly frank open letter to the Roman Catholic hierarchy. The letter was made public Feb. 3 and has since been published on the internet and quoted in major media.
Among other demands, the statement calls for ending celibacy requirements for priests, opening the priesthood to women, and in general introducing significantly more democracy into the church’s structures in the German-speaking world and beyond. “We feel that we have the responsibility to contribute to an authentic new beginning,” the theologians continue, referring to the “unparalleled crisis year of 2010.”
Last year, the scandal of the physical and sexual abuse of minors by clergy rocked the German church and caused Catholics to exit it in unprecedented numbers. “There can be no calm after the storm,” the letter states.
“2011 must be a year of renewal,” says the letter, released just weeks before Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to visit his homeland.
The letter’s authors include prominent Catholic religious scholars such as Peter Hünermann and Dietmar Mieth, both of the Catholic Theological Faculty of Tübingen University, Germany, and younger scholars such as Judith Könemann from the Rhineland university city of Münster. Könemann, one of the letter’s eight authors, told the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung that they had originally expected only 50 or so signatures. “But it obviously hit a nerve,” she said. The signatories account for more than a third of the Catholic theology professors in Germany.
The letter calls on Catholic bishops to engage in a meaningful dialogue on reform, saying that the Catholic church can only proclaim the “peaceful and loving God Jesus Christ” when the church itself is credible. In recent years, the letter says, the church has lost this credibility. Moreover, the church has to show more respect for individual Catholics -- for their freedom, dignity and intellect, the letter says.
The religious scholars list a number of specific demands: more synodal structures at all levels of the church; the participation of laypeople in the choosing of priests and bishops; the inclusion of married males and females in the priesthood; the protection of individual rights and nurturing of a culture of rights within the church; and tolerance toward single, divorced, unmarried and gay people.
A general call for more democracy in the church permeates the message: “Those things that affect everyone should be decided by everyone. Those things that can be decided locally should be decided there.” The letter takes the church to task for “self-righteous moralizing” that is simply out of place in a body that has itself been guilty of violence and abuse against its own believers.
The letter claims that reforms are necessary in light of the scandals as well as the shrinking number of priests. Only about 100 priests were ordained last year in Germany, and 99 and 92 in 2009 and 2008 respectively. In the early 1960s there were more than 500 in West Germany alone.
The demand for ending the celibacy requirement has recently gained popular support, for example, from leading Catholic politicians in the conservative Christian Democratic Union, the party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Catholic politicians also wrote to the German bishops last month, criticizing the church’s rigidity and inability to constructively field criticism.
The German bishops welcome the contribution of the theologians to dialogue about the future of the church, said a Feb. 4 statement released by Jesuit Fr. Hans Langendörfer, secretary of the German bishops’ conference.
“The church in Germany has to examine with new intensity where its path leads,” Langendörfer said. “The church should recognize and discuss the mistakes and failures of the past, as well as current deficits and calls for reform.”
He noted that several issues raised in the letter are in “tension” with core church theology and teaching and these will “require urgent further clarification.”
Langendörfer said the bishops will discuss the issues addressed in the theologians’ letter at their plenary meeting in March.
But Auxiliary Bishop Hans-Jochen Jaschke of Hamburg, Germany, spoke out sharply against any attempt to apply pressure on the Catholic church from outside of its structures. Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg, Germany, argued for maintaining the celibacy requirement as it uniquely binds priests to Christ.
The Central Committee of German Catholics, an umbrella organization for lay representatives of various Catholic organizations in Germany, struck a middle position, arguing for relaxing the celibacy requirement when and where there was an acute shortage of priests.
Grass-roots Catholic organizations like Wir sind Kirche (“We Are Church”) have translated the letter and are organizing a worldwide petition to support it. “It’s not just in Germany where the church has these problems,” says Christian Weisner of Wir sind Kirche. “The abuse scandals of the past few years have revealed the larger crisis of the Catholic church.”
The church, Weisner said, remains an olds boys’ club that thinks it can cover up its misdeeds with impunity. “The church promised to look into the sources of the scandals but nothing has happened. The bishops promised us a dialogue but they haven’t delivered,” he said. “It’s very disappointing.”
The last time the Catholic church experienced such an internal uprising was 22 years ago. At the time, 220 Catholic scholars in the Cologne Declaration criticized Pope John Paul II’s authoritarian leadership style. The pope had pushed through a conservative candidate of his own choosing to lead the Cologne archdiocese despite fierce opposition in Germany.

144 theologians confront hierarchy | National Catholic Reporter


There's no way the Catholic Church could go back to the way it was before the crisis hit. Change must come.
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Old 02-14-2011, 05:07 PM   #169
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The religious scholars list a number of specific demands: more synodal structures at all levels of the church; the participation of laypeople in the choosing of priests and bishops; the inclusion of married males and females in the priesthood; the protection of individual rights and nurturing of a culture of rights within the church; and tolerance toward single, divorced, unmarried and gay people.
About fucking time . I'm glad to see this. I hope drastic change of this sort does come about.

Angela
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Old 02-24-2011, 05:25 PM   #170
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TWO GERMAN lawyers have initiated charges against Pope Benedict XVI at the International Criminal Court, alleging crimes against humanity.
Christian Sailer and Gert-Joachim Hetzel, based at Marktheidenfeld in the Pope’s home state of Bavaria, last week submitted a 16,500-word document to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court at the Hague, Dr Luis Moreno Ocampo.
Their charges concern “three worldwide crimes which until now have not been denounced . . . (as) the traditional reverence toward ‘ecclesiastical authority’ has clouded the sense of right and wrong”.
They claim the Pope “is responsible for the preservation and leadership of a worldwide totalitarian regime of coercion which subjugates its members with terrifying and health-endangering threats”.
They allege he is also responsible for “the adherence to a fatal forbiddance of the use of condoms, even when the danger of HIV-Aids infection exists” and for “the establishment and maintenance of a worldwide system of cover-up of the sexual crimes committed by Catholic priests and their preferential treatment, which aids and abets ever new crimes”.

Charges initiated against Pope for crimes against humanity - The Irish Times - Wed, Feb 23, 2011
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Old 02-24-2011, 06:43 PM   #171
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Crimes against humanity? Totalitarian regime? Seriously?

Those terms have quite specific definitions, and for good reason. I can see where it might be thought-provoking in the abstract to examine the Catholic Church, in isolation from the wide array of contexts it operates in, as a kind of totalitarian state in microcosm, but to generalize about actual global reality based on a thought experiment like that seems absurd. Maybe if I read the document I'd think differently, but my initial reaction, based on some familiarity with those concepts, would be that this is pretty out there.
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Old 03-14-2011, 06:13 PM   #172
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I´m Catholic but I disagree with some of their rules and thoughts such as not using condom and that homosexuals have the devil inside
And I can´t believe how the church can covers up pedophilia.....
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Old 03-14-2011, 06:32 PM   #173
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Originally Posted by ShipOfFools View Post
I didn't watch the video, but anybody with common decency wouldn't blame the victims of child abuse. Where are their rights?

You see, THIS is why I'm a Unitarian Universalist, instead of a Catholic. I believe in God, but I don't believe in a God that hates sex...or women...or gay people...or children. I'm sure that God doesn't approve of what these priests are doing.
I DO agree with this
And as regard the priests who think that people from other religions, homosexuals and so on have the devil inside....I don´t think that God approves of it......
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:32 PM   #174
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Newsweek's Vatican correspondent on the reaction among Irish and European clergy to the Vatican's silencing and disciplining of a dissident Irish priest:

The Daily Beast, April 11
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The Vatican has been watching Father Tony Flannery for a long time. The popular Irish Catholic priest has candidly voiced his liberal—and critical—views on the church, becoming a beacon of reason to his many of his loyal readers. He questioned celibacy and was an advocate of ordaining women into the priesthood, frequently writing about how women priests could help the church bring more Catholics to mass. Flannery publicly supported Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny’s harsh criticism of the Vatican’s handling of the Irish church sex scandal. To many, Flannery channeled the pop vox of today’s Catholics who wanted to keep the faith, but couldn’t easily navigate the church’s tough stance on issues like contraception and divorce.

But to his critics, his writing bordered on heresy. The Vatican clearly has had enough of Flannery and last week silenced the 65-year-old priest. Just days before Easter, Flannery, a prolific and longtime columnist for the Redemptorist Order’s monthly magazine, Reality, was told he can no longer write on any of the church-doctrine issues. Reality editor Gerard Moloney has also been reprimanded for allowing Flannery’s prose to make it into print. Future editions of the magazine will now have to be reviewed by a Vatican-approved theologian. In the meantime, Flannery has reportedly been sent to a monastery for six weeks of prayer and contemplation.

The Redemptorists Order, formally known as the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, are seen as one of the church’s most liberal wings.
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Father Flannery may be gone for now, but his stifling has sent a shock wave through the wider community of priests in Europe, lighting a fire under many who are now standing up against the Vatican. A growing number of Catholic bloggers say the movement has the makings of what could be considered the beginning of a Catholic Spring uprising. In Ireland, the 800-strong Association of Catholic Priests, which Flannery co-founded, sent a stern warning to the Holy See that actions like censoring a popular voice would not be tolerated. “We affirm in the strongest possible terms our confidence in and solidarity with Father Flannery and we wish to make clear our profound view that this intervention is unfair, unwarranted and unwise,” warned a statement on their website. “We wish to register our extreme unease and disquiet at the present development, not least the secrecy surrounding such interventions and the questions about due process and freedom of conscience that such interventions surface.”

Similar warnings were launched from Austria’s We Are the Church group, which has thousands of priests as members in countries across Europe. Group leader Father Brendan Butler told The Daily Beast that the move amounted to a return to the Inquisition and that the current Holy See governing body is worrying. “They are trying to bring our church back into rigid authoritarian centralized structures where all dissent is dealt with in a ruthless manner.” Another popular columnist, Father Gabriel Daly, countered with an op-ed in another popular trade magazine for priests called Doctrine Life that seemed to be tempting the Vatican to shut him up, too. “Aided by secrecy and the unchallenged exercise of power, the Curia has established effective control over the whole church,” he wrote in this week’s edition. “There is little or no concern for those faithful Catholics who are quietly appalled by what is happening. They are seen as simply wrong.”

Even those close to the Vatican’s hard line on church doctrine are uneasy with the move to silence Flannery. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin told La Stampa newspaper in Italy that removing Flannery’s voice was moving toward “heresy hunting.”

The Vatican has not made a comment on its decision to take action against Flannery, but Pope Benedict XVI did allude to trouble in his Holy Thursday chrism mass in Rome. He told some 1600 priests who attended the mass that changes to church doctrine like the ordination of women is nothing more than a “desperate push,” and he made mention of a “certain group of priests” who were calling for disobedience as a way to make change. “Is disobedience a path of renewal for the church?” he asked during his homily.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:06 PM   #175
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In the meantime, Flannery has reportedly been sent to a monastery for six weeks of prayer and contemplation.
REALLY? He is the one who needs to be sent away? Of all people?

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He told some 1600 priests who attended the mass that changes to church doctrine like the ordination of women is nothing more than a “desperate push,”
Yes, what a tragedy it would be to let women be ordained. Because we all know how well the men of the Catholic church have been handling things thus far, right ?

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and he made mention of a “certain group of priests” who were calling for disobedience as a way to make change. “Is disobedience a path of renewal for the church?” he asked during his homily.
I dunno, I seem to recall learning that the more rebellious religious folks throughout history have managed to make things more interesting.

But hey, I'm just a woman, what do I know?

Pun intended and otherwise, to those standing up against the Vatican: Give 'em hell, guys.
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:21 PM   #176
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If a "Catholic Spring" really does take place, that would be awesome. I'd be glad to take part in it.
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Old 04-12-2012, 08:35 PM   #177
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If a "Catholic Spring" really does take place, that would be awesome. I'd be glad to take part in it.
Already happened... 500 years ago.

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Old 04-12-2012, 08:41 PM   #178
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Already happened... 500 years ago.

Excellent analogy INDY - if you look at the state of Christianity today it's no surprise people are worried that Arab Spring will lead to more fanatical splinter groups.
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Old 07-24-2012, 06:58 PM   #179
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New York Times, July 24
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Msgr. William J. Lynn, the first Roman Catholic Church official in the United States to be convicted of covering up sexual abuses by priests under his supervision, was sentenced Tuesday to three to six years in prison.

“You knew full well what was right, Monsignor Lynn, but you chose wrong,” said Judge M. Teresa Sarmina of Common Pleas Court as she imposed the sentence, which was just short of the maximum of three and a half to seven years. Monsignor Lynn must serve at least three years before he is eligible for parole. Monsignor Lynn, 61, was found guilty on June 22 of child endangerment after a three-month trial that revealed efforts over decades by the Philadelphia archdiocese to play down accusations of child sexual abuse and avoid scandal. He was acquitted of conspiracy and a second child endangerment charge. Monsignor Lynn served as secretary for clergy for the 1.5 million-member archdiocese from 1992 to 2004, recommending priest assignments and investigating abuse complaints. During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence that he had shielded predatory priests, sometimes transferring them to unwary parishes, and lied to the public to avoid bad publicity and lawsuits.

The conviction of a senior official, followed by a prison sentence, has reverberated among Catholic officials around the country, church experts said. “I think this is going to send a very strong signal to every bishop and everybody who worked for a bishop that if they don’t do the right thing, they may go to jail,” said the Rev. Thomas J. Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. “They can’t just say ‘the bishop made me do it.’ That’s not going to be an excuse that holds up in court.”
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The sentence was a victory for the Philadelphia district attorney, R. Seth Williams, who said outside the courtroom, “Many people say that the maximum still would not have been enough.” Prosecutors argued that the gravity of Monsignor Lynn’s crime—giving known sexual predators continued access to children, causing lifelong anguish and damage to some—was “off the charts.”

Monsignor Lynn’s lead defense lawyer, Thomas Bergstrom, called the sentence “unbalanced.” Last week, the defense argued that a long prison sentence would be “merely cruel and unusual.” Monsignor Lynn’s lawyers said they would appeal the conviction, saying that the child endangerment law at the time of the events in question did not apply to supervisors and that the judge erred in allowing testimony about accusations that were beyond the statute of limitations.
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During the trial, Monsignor Lynn’s lawyers argued that he had followed the instructions of Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua, who was the archbishop of Philadelphia from 1988 to 2003 and who died in January. Monsignor Lynn’s conviction was for lax oversight of one former priest, Edward V. Avery, who spent six months in a church psychiatric center in 1993 after an abuse episode. Doctors said he should be kept away from children. But Monsignor Lynn sent him to live in a parish rectory and did not warn parish officials. In 1999, Mr. Avery engaged in oral sex with a 10-year-old altar boy. Mr. Avery pleaded guilty to the assault just before Monsignor Lynn’s trial and was sentenced to two and a half to five years in prison.
A step forward, I guess?
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