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Old 03-27-2010, 05:24 PM   #16
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deaf kids!?!?!?!?! what does it take??!?!?


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For Years, Deaf Boys Tried to Tell of Priest’s Abuse
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN and DAVID CALLENDER

They were deaf, but they were not silent. For decades, a group of men who were sexually abused as children by the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy at a school for the deaf in Wisconsin reported to every type of official they could think of that he was a danger, according to the victims and church documents.

They told other priests. They told three archbishops of Milwaukee. They told two police departments and the district attorney. They used sign language, written affidavits and graphic gestures to show what exactly Father Murphy had done to them. But their reports fell on the deaf ears of hearing people.

This week, they learned that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, received letters about Father Murphy in 1996 from Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland of Milwaukee, who said that the deaf community needed “a healing response from the Church.” The Vatican sat on the case, then equivocated, and when Father Murphy died in 1998, he died a priest.

“That man should have been in prison for a very long time, but he was lucky,” Steven Geier, one of Father Murphy’s victims, said Thursday. “What about me? I wasn’t supposed to touch girls. What gave him the right to be able to do that? Father Murphy constantly thought about sex with children, and he got away with it.”

Young victims of sexual abuse are often so confused, ashamed or traumatized that they wait years to report the violations. Some never say a word. One of the remarkable aspects of the Father Murphy case is that young victims began alerting the authorities in the mid-1950s, when sexual abuse was hardly even a part of the public vocabulary.

In his ranch house in Madison, where he lives with his wife, Ann, and two dachshunds, Mr. Geier said through an interpreter that he entered St. John’s School for the Deaf in St. Francis, Wis., when he was 9. His father had helped build a Catholic church in rural Dane County, and his aunt was a nun. His family wanted him to get a good education in a Catholic school.

Mr. Geier, now 59, said that between the ages of 14 and 15, starting around 1965, Father Murphy molested him four times in a closet at the school. The priest, a hearing man fluent in sign language, said that God wanted him to teach the boy about sex but that he had to keep it quiet because it was under the sacrament of confession. Mr. Geier said he felt sick.

“First thing in the morning,” Mr. Geier said, “we took communion, and as he passed out the communion wafers, I thought about how many boys did he touch with those hands and all of the germs, all of the filth of his hands.”

Father Murphy may have molested as many as 200 boys while he worked at the school from 1950 to 1974, according to the accounts of victims and a social worker hired by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to interview him.

Mr. Geier said he first tried to tell the priest at his home parish in Madison, where he served as an altar boy, in 1966 when he was just 16. But the priest, he said, told him he did not want to hear about it, and to just forget about it. He told another priest while he was still a teenager, and yet a third priest years later, after he married.

That priest, the Rev. Tom Schroeder, 72, who led Masses for the deaf in Madison from 1970 to 1992, said in an interview Friday that he remembered Mr. Geier’s telling him about Father Murphy. Father Schroeder said that he told a nun, who told another nun who was a dormitory supervisor at St. John’s, but that the supervisor did not believe it and nothing ever came of it.

“I assumed that if enough people told her, she would finally believe it,” Father Schroeder said.

Internal church correspondence unearthed in a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and given to The New York Times, which made it public it this week, included a letter from the Rev. David Walsh, who served as a chaplain for the deaf in Chicago, saying that teenage students at St. John’s had told him in the late 1950s about Father Murphy’s abuse.

Father Walsh said he told Archbishop Albert Gregory Meyer of Milwaukee, who sent Father Murphy on a retreat and then put him back in the school to undo “the harm he had done.”

In the 1970s, a group of former students who were in a vocational rehabilitation program in Milwaukee began telling their hearing supervisors about Father Murphy, a sequence of events reported in two articles in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2006.

Among the supervisors was John Conway, now the deputy administrator of workers’ compensation for the State of Wisconsin. Mr. Conway, the students and others collected affidavits from 15 to 20 former students about Father Murphy’s violations. They were granted a meeting with Archbishop William E. Cousins.

“In my extreme naïveté,” said Mr. Conway in an interview on Friday, “I told them the archbishop would take care of this.”

He said they were surprised to find the room packed with people, including several nuns and teachers from the school, two priests who said they were representing the apostolic delegate in Chicago, and Father Murphy himself.

Arthur Budzinski and Gary Smith, two more victims of Father Murphy, said in an interview last week that they remember seeing Archbishop Cousins yell, and Father Murphy staring at the floor. The deaf men and their advocates were told that Father Murphy, the school’s director and top fund-raiser, was too valuable to be let go, so he would be given only administrative duties.

They were outraged. They distributed “Wanted” posters with Father Murphy’s face outside the cathedral in Milwaukee. They went to the police departments in Milwaukee, where they were told it was not the correct jurisdiction, and in St. Francis, where the school was located, Mr. Conway said. They also went to the office of E. Michael McCann, the district attorney of Milwaukee County, and spoke with his assistant, William Gardner.

“A criminal priest was an oxymoron to them,” Mr. Conway said. “They said they’ll refer it to the archdiocese.”

Calls to Mr. McCann and Mr. Gardner this week were not returned.

Mr. Conway said it was only when they filed a lawsuit that the archdiocese removed Father Murphy from St. John’s and sent him to northern Wisconsin to live at his family’s summer house. The lawsuit was withdrawn. Mr. Smith, one of two of the plaintiffs whose cases were still within the statute of limitations, received a settlement of $2,000, he and Mr. Conway said.

Father Murphy continued working in parishes and schools, with deaf people, and leading youth retreats in the Diocese of Superior for the next 24 years.
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Old 03-27-2010, 06:20 PM   #17
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I'm disgusted with this. I can't believe the Church cares more about standing by its celibacy rather than protecting children from monsters. It's honestly making me wonder if I should remain a Catholic or go join another church.
I have the same feelings. I only attend mass for spiritual reasons.

The above story makes me sick to my stomach.
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Old 03-27-2010, 11:18 PM   #18
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How can any ethical person continue to support the Catholic Church?
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Old 03-28-2010, 06:10 PM   #19
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Here is a supporter of the Church, blaming the families.

YouTube - Bill Donohue Blames Parents For Church's Child Sex Abuse
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Old 03-28-2010, 06:12 PM   #20
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ugh, Bill Donohue. Isn't he pretty much considered the Fred Phelps of the church supporters?
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Old 03-28-2010, 06:23 PM   #21
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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.
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Old 03-28-2010, 07:10 PM   #22
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Donohue is one of those types of Catholics that cry victim and discrimination whenever the Catholic Church is rightfully criticized. There are some Catholics who are turning a blind eye to these abuse cases because they see it as a leftist conspiracy to destroy the Church.
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Old 03-28-2010, 08:05 PM   #23
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I can't decide what's more appalling, that an organization that is supposed to be populated by disciples of a loving, just God would be set up in such a way that its first instinct is to cover up any wrongdoing, or that the Church views child abuse as a sin, but not a crime.
Agree 100%.

Sexual abuse of children is one of the most serious crimes I can think of, and all the Church has cared about the entire time is their image. They have lost so many people, including my 80 year old Irish Catholic grandparents.

I never had much use for the Church, my mom was raised Catholic but didn't push it on me, and my Dad was raised Albanian Orthodox, taught Sunday school in his 20s to keep his Dad happy, but never believed in any kind of institutional religion. My parents are 2 of the best people I have ever met, and they often get compliments from numerous people for how classy they are and how well they have raised my brother and I. So I am not much for the notion that good parenting, good values, doing the right thing and respect for others needs the Church to develop.

I went to Catholic High School, loved it. I loved my theology classes and teachers, loved learning about the history of the religion, the disciples, the big guys like Augustine and Aquinas, the watershed events like Vatican II, etc. In fact, my favorite teacher in High School was a theology teacher, a guy who was about 15 years Bono's senior but looked almost EXACTLY like him and was a huge U2 fan. In fact, he introduced me to "40" and would often tell us stories of the 10 U2 shows he saw on the 1st leg of the Joshua Tree Tour. He is from South Philadelphia, was raised as a devoted Catholic and left in disgust in 2004.

I also went to Catholic College(though we were often jokingly called Catholic in name only, and I agree with that) not because I required it or was committed to Church or anything, just because I liked the campus, the location, the people, etc. I only took the required 2 theology classes in college and both were with the same GREAT guy(if you overlook the fact that he left the priesthood to marry SOMEONE ELSE's wife!). One of the classes was "work, capital and God" my junior year, all about how the Church views economic relationships as well as issues like immigration, poverty, etc. It was awesome, and I think one of the things that sets the Catholic tradition apart is its commitment to truly understanding the whole person and society in meaningful ways. Everything we read from the Bishops or others on economic thought was always well thought out, researched, etc.

Throughout high school and college, I never went to Church except for holidays, weddings, funerals, etc but learned to respect what the Church had to say on many issues. Catholic social teaching, just war, care and service to others, economic opportunity, etc. My freshman year of high school, January 2002 to be exact, was when the clergy sex abuse scandal first broke with a front page story in the Boston Globe. It started with the "big 2" so to speak of Fathers John Geoghan and Paul Shanley; Geoghan was strangled in jail and Shanley is still there. It only got bigger from there, and the net result in Boston was Cardinal Bernard Law, who had knowingly shuffled pedophiles around for years, resigning(late 2002) but being promoted to a better job at the Vatican. This enraged many people, myself included, and showed the Church as an institution for what they were. The fallout was brutal- many victims were traumatized all over again, the most prominent one committed suicide and attendance at Church plummetted never to recover.

This period of widespread sexual abuse revealed coincided with what I term the emergence of Church as political hack movement. Just when they were losing all credibility by enabling child molestation, they started to deny communion to public officials who did not want to outlaw abortion for all of society, despite their personal views on the topic and the 1st amendment's clear language on separation of Church and State. At the same time, the Church said nothing of politicans who openly opposed them on the death penalty, just war, economic justice, the list goes on.

This singular focus on sexual celibacy is in short, exactly the problem in the Church and as someone else said, it speaks to the ultimate futility of going against nature. The Church leaders do not even follow it themselves, and one could argue that the reason many are so sexually deviant in the Church is their insistence on celibacy. If the church cared about abortions being reduced, they would let priests marry, realize that Jesus said nothing about condoms, etc.

I still like what Catholic teaching has to say about alot of things, but the institution is dead to me. I have plenty of respect for many individual priests I know, and a few at my college helped me out greatly when my Dad passed away last year. I also like what Bono says about the nuns in Africa. So not everyone associated with the Church is bad, quite the opposite.

Christmas eve, I will still go up to Mass with my grandparents. They live in the Charlestown section of Boston, a neighborhood that is gentrified to a great extent but historically Irish Catholic. Catholics committed to the Church still exist in Charlestown to more of an extent than alot of other places. Even with family members in from the suburbs for the night, people who do not usually go to church joining for Christmas and the Church full as a result, going to Catholic Mass in Boston today is sad. The priest who is excellent and has known my family for years, has to preface the appeal for donations for health care for retired priests by saying all of the "good, sick and retired priests" emphasis of course on good. Then he goes on to say how the scandal should have been handled and was not. As the Mass ends, he always laments how if we had half of the attendance we had on Christmas eve every week, that would be unbelievable.

This is Boston, one of the most Catholic cities in the US. Go on a typical Sunday and its quiet, stark, sad, 1/5 full. The damage to the Church and to its devotees from sexual abuse is palatable. It can literally be sensed, touched, felt, etc in the Archdiocese of Boston. I would imagine a big reason why this is so is the widespread and continuing cover ups reaching now to the highest levels of the Catholic Church.

Arrest the Pope? I doubt it will happen going on Law's precedent, but he should probably resign. I have never been a fan of him, and most Catholics I know who are more familiar with the Church than me have always strongly disliked him. Again, I have never been a real devotee of the Church and find some of their teachings absurd, but John Paul II was a great man and an inspiration to the entire world. This guy is an embarrassment at the time when the Church needs a savior.
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Old 03-28-2010, 08:16 PM   #24
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How can any ethical person continue to support the Catholic Church?
I wonder that myself.
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Old 03-28-2010, 08:21 PM   #25
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I guess some people are able to separate the beliefs/faith from the church itself? I know I couldn't do it.
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Old 03-28-2010, 08:22 PM   #26
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Donohue is one of those types of Catholics that cry victim and discrimination whenever the Catholic Church is rightfully criticized. There are some Catholics who are turning a blind eye to these abuse cases because they see it as a leftist conspiracy to destroy the Church.
This describes one of my friends perfectly.

An otherwise reasonable, normal guy once blurted out at dinner to me that he would have done the exact same thing as the Church given the circumstances.

I told him that is how you know your mind has been completely taken over by someone else and that he was out of his mind, making a statement that did not come close to reflecting his intelligence.

Well, everything with this guy is a conspiracy to destroy Catholics by the left. This completely ignores the fact that the down and out, discriminated against and beat upon Catholic is more than a thing of the past. Of course, there was a time, Irish, Italians, Poles, etc were viewed as threats because they were Catholic but if you look now, Catholics hold and have held some of the most prestigious positions in government, business, pop culture, the list goes on.

Donohue and others would be better staying silent as opposed to trying to defend what is completely indefensible from any standpoint whatsoever. They are digging their hole even deeper and they don't even realize it.
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Old 03-28-2010, 08:27 PM   #27
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I agree AW, FG, cori. I do feel for those who have a strong familial, cultural or spiritual connection to Catholicism though. Many must really be struggling to reconcile their connection to the church vs the damage done to the church by leaders who have let them (and society) down.
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Old 03-28-2010, 08:35 PM   #28
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I agree AW, FG, cori. I do feel for those who have a strong familial, cultural or spiritual connection to Catholicism though. Many must really be struggling to reconcile their connection to the church vs the damage done to the church by leaders who have let them (and society) down.
I do still have some familial and cultural connections, but as a non-believer from the age of 20 or so and outright atheist from the age of 30 or so, any spiritual connection, such as it was, is long since gone.

Now that I think of it I will complete the necessary declaration to formally renounce membership of the R.C.C. tomorrow - it was one of my many New Year's resolutions that I didn't get around so far.
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Old 03-28-2010, 09:11 PM   #29
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Now that I think of it I will complete the necessary declaration to formally renounce membership of the R.C.C. tomorrow - it was one of my many New Year's resolutions that I didn't get around so far.
When you do, pretend that you're still all devout, and that their loss will be another church's gain.

Seriously though, what's involved in making this official? I didn't realize there's a formal process. : dumbatheist:
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Old 03-28-2010, 11:08 PM   #30
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A Rebel from...
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