Rorate Caeli

Pope's critics must get their facts straight

By George Cardinal Pell

THE evil of sexual abuse has no place in the Catholic Church and no one should doubt Benedict XVI's resolve to see it eradicated. His unprecedented pastoral letter to the Catholics of Ireland reflects his deep compassion for the victims of sexual abuse and his strong commitment to seeing that justice is done.

The Pope has met victims of sexual abuse in Australia and elsewhere. He has heard first-hand what they have suffered.

He is a man of immense compassion and goodness, and is personally committed to doing all he can to bring justice and healing to the victims.

In his pastoral letter, the Pope warns priests and others in the church who have abused children that they will have to answer to God and the courts for what they have done.

He directly addresses those who have abused children: "You have betrayed the trust that was placed in you by innocent young people and their parents, and you must answer for it before Almighty God and before properly constituted tribunals."

Read the rest of the article HERE.


  1. Anonymous3:28 PM

    What did Pope Benedict know about the LC and when. 1978?...

  2. I love Cardinal Pell! :)
    How right he is!

  3. (I don't even know what an LC is and don't care)

    The public are not unaware of the double-standard being applied to the church's imperfections of personnel in these times. We know that exactly the same criteria for persecution could be applied to the teaching profession, to government social agencies, and to members of secular you? I wonder myself what you know, and how long you've known it.

    God bless and save Pope Benedict XVI; Our Lady of Victories, intercede for him.

  4. So, when is Pope Benedict XVI going to remove that disgraceful icon of what's wrong with this abuse and its cover-up - Cardinal Brady?

  5. Anonymous10:20 PM

    I firmly believe that this is the first Pope during modern times that is taking this issue seriously.

    I applaud him and all in the heirarchy that are moving to prevent and how accountable those who step over the line.

  6. Why should the Pope remove someone he didn't appoint? After all, in the post-Ultramontanist era, "Rome" has no control over these collegialists, so let them be hoist by their own petard, I say. I'm sure the local people and courts will exact far more just retribution than the Pope ever could.

    Assuming, that is, that these claims happen to be true, which I for one am not at all sure that they are. Being a Californian, I remember all too well the famous McMartin Pre-school case that started the whole paranoia to begin with. What a witch-hunt that was, people arrested, businesses closed, children "remembering" all kinds of heinous abuse under the direction of psychologists, lives ruined, and not a word of it turned out to be true.

    Now we're continually asked to believe every McMartin word that comes out of a Diocese of McMartin, Cardinal McMartin abused such and such, Pope McMartin's brother is a McMartin monster, and on and on and on and on. Quite frankly, I'm skeptical of the continuing validity of these claims. Where does the water keep coming from after the well has run dry...unless someone has buried a hose in the bottom of the well and keeps turning on the tap when it suits them?

  7. Adam,
    Are you in danger of allowing yourself to be wound up by allegations that largely came to light 15 years ago? Are you allowing yourself to be influenced by the "synthetic rage of militant secularists who see a chance to advance their agenda" by using the hurt of those abused twenty years ago? Do you even know Sean Brady? He is a holy and humble man: the "man in the arena" holding out with his silence and dignity against malign forces. I have witnessed good and holy people in his diocese weeping as a result of the venom being poured on this man's integrity.

    Letter to the Editor of the Irish Times; 20th March 2010

    Madam, – In 1975, the year the then Fr Seán Brady conducted his investigation on behalf of the Bishop of Kilmore, I was preparing to become a fully fledged professional social worker for the Eastern Health Board. My fulltime post-graduate course at UCD. led to the British qualification in professional social work which was the qualification required to practice in both Ireland and the UK. We were a class of 30 or so mature students who had already gained experience working for the health boards, the prison service, the psychiatric services and housing authorities. We were rigorously selected and supervised on our fieldwork placements. I completed the course and was adjudged competent to carry out all the duties that might be required of a social worker irrespective of the setting,including child protection.

    Child protection was one of our concerns, but I can honestly say that at no time during the course was child sexual abuse ever mentioned. We were drilled in recognising what was called “non-accidental injury” and warned to be vigilant. Even as a fully qualified social worker I hardly knew that child sexual abuse existed, never mind knowing how to deal with it. There were no guidelines and no protocols, not even for professionals working for the health boards. If I had to deal with a case, which mercifully I did not, it would not have occurred to me to go to the Garda Síochána – and I was the health board representative.

    I suspect that psychologists and psychiatrists did not go to the Garda either. We were profoundly ignorant of the nature and extent of child sexual abuse and paedophilia. It was not talked about; it was not written about; victims did not speak out; they were not interviewed on radio. Thirty-five years on, knowing what we know now, that seems incredible, but it was true for me and I suspect it was true for most of my professional colleagues whose job it was to know these things. We were all truly ignorant and with what we know now were terrible consequences. It puts Fr Seán Brady’s response into context. – Yours, etc,

    MOIRA HIGGINS, Charleville Road, Rathmines, Dublin 6.

  8. John McFarland3:40 AM

    Since there is not a scintilla of evidence of any serious effort to root out sodomy, clerical or otherwise, from the Church, I hope you'll forgive me if I refuse to take seriously either the apologies and protestations about feeling the victims' pain, or the righteous indignation over the enemies of the Church's seeing their opportunities and taking them.

    To be sure, there's hypocrisy and to spare among those beating the Church with this stick. But they are not the only hypocrites in the piece.

  9. Johnny Domer6:44 AM

    Every leading prelate in the world should be writing op-ed pieces like this to every major newspaper in their respective country/region. We need the Cardinal George's and Cardinal Vingt-Trois's of the world to follow the example of Cardinal Pell and dispel these falsehoods being leveled at the Holy Father.

  10. The emerging problem of paedophile clergy was known about in the 1950s, work was being done & more effective solutions were being proposed by the 1960s. However, with the problem becoming significantly worse, those responsible for making such decisions opted for compromises & left the priests concerned more or less where they were. There were cover-ups and victims were intimidated into silence by various means. Many of these have been exposed, but not all, thanks to due legal process.

    Some people seem to imagine that the accusations being levelled now are baseless and that the hierarchy knew nothing about it. This is patently dishonest at worst and plain naive at best.

    Time to wake up - the church is mired in corruption &, in the current pope's own selected word, "FILTH" which has been accelerated by the new post-conciliar pastoral and liturgical paradigms. These have facilitated the downplaying of original and mortal sin and have propagated the psychodynamic notions of self-realisation through non-culpability. Seminary & parish life together with the secular world have run parallel developments of liberal attitudes towards sex and have culturally relativised what were once traditional Roman Catholic norms, values & mores. Novel post-conciliar ecumenical & interreligious modes have provided further dynamic to this universal erosion of Roman Catholicism.

    Additionally, clergy & hierarchy dress like lay people and slop around in casual manner. Both the ordained & the lay unprecedentedly trespass on the domains of the other to the greater detriment of customary socio-cultural identity within the church. Proximity has replaced professional distance and etiquette. Roles are mutually confused with disastrous consequences - liberation theology perhaps providing the worst illustration where priests have become arms-bearing military & freudio-jungian approaches in seminary education that have produced guiltless un-Catholic un-priestly behaviour.

    Those who are in the mediated hot seat today are there on merit - it is time they faced up to their divinely mandated responsibilities & end the denials. They know perfectly well what has been going on behind the scenes: in the dioceses and in the parishes.

    Yes - time to confess and atone in public. Time to clear up this most unholy of disasters with crystal-clear honesty. Time to eradicate the guilty parties. Time to restore tradition both in liturgy & in pastoral principle. This is certainly no time for compromise & certainly not the moment for futile "damage-limitation" exercises. We have had enough of those.

  11. Anonymous12:27 PM

    Bishop Magee was private secretary to three popes...

    Pope accepts Irish bishop's resignation

    ...he was chosen by Pope Paul VI to be one of his private secretaries. On Pope Paul's death he remained in service as a private secretary to his successor, Pope John Paul I. As private secretary to three Popes - Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II, Magee is the only man to hold such a position in Vatican history...

  12. Anonymous5:30 PM

    Bishop Magee was private secretary to three popes....

    Bishop John Magee stepped aside in March 2009 after an independent report found his Cloyne Diocese had put children at risk of harm.

    "I take full responsibility for the criticism of our management of issues in that report," he said on Wednesday.

    The 2008 report cited an inability to respond appropriately to abuse claims.

    It was conducted by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSC), a body set up by, but independent of the Catholic Church.

    The inquiry was separate to last year's Murphy report on decades of abuse mishandling in the Dublin archdiocese and the Ryan report, which detailed physical and sexual abuse at Catholic-run orphanages and industrial schools in the Irish Republic.

    Bishop Magee was born in Newry, County Down, and served as private secretary for three popes.

    The NBSC inquiry examined how the Cloyne diocese dealt with a series of complaints of sexual abuse against two priests.

    One woman reported "Father B" in 1996 as saying she had a year-long sexual relationship him and that she had seen him kissing her 14-year-old son.

    Three other complaints of abuse were made against this priest between 1995 and 1997, and in 2005 a woman claimed that she had sex with the priest from the age of 13.

    The conclusions of the report were a devastating critique of child protection practices in the diocese.

    It said child protection practice was inadequate and in some respects dangerous as it apparently focused on the needs of the accused rather than victims.

    It failed to act effectively to limit the access to children by individuals against whom a credible complaint of child sexual abuse was made.

    The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, said he wanted to acknowledge Bishop Magee's "long and varied ministry".

    "I assure him of my prayers at this time and wish him good health in his retirement," he said.

    "However, foremost in my thoughts in these days are those who have suffered abuse by clergy and those who feel angry and let down by the often inadequate response of leaders in the church."

  13. Anonymous5:48 PM

    Then-Cardinal Josef Ratzinger:

    "How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him..."

    The Church is like "a boat about to sink, a boat taking in water on every side."

    Pope Benedict XVI: " vast areas of the world the Faith is in danger of dying out like a flame..."

    The Ordinary Form of the Rome Rite is, with few exceptions, offered in "banal" fashion at one parish after another.

    We dress like slobs — T-shirts, flip-flops, shorts — at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and chatter before, during and following Mass.

    What has become of us?

    During the past 50 or so years, our Church's leaders, Popes, Cardinals, bishops and priests, have brought about the collapse of the Church (at least the Latin Church).

    They exchanged the Traditional Roman Liturgy for the banal Novus Ordo Liturgy, which was manufactured on-the-spot.

    They approved shocking liturgical novelties that turned the Roman Liturgy upside down.

    In turn, their spiritual children arrive at Mass dressed like slobs.

    Our leaders allow their spiritual children to conduct themselves irreverently during Mass.

    Why not? As not a few of our leaders conduct themselves improperly during Mass.

    Our leaders pray and worship with non-Catholics.

    Our Popes visit Lutheran parishes, synagogues and mosques.

    Is there any wonder as to why millions of Catholics have lost the Faith?

    Is there any wonder as to why millions of Catholics regard the Catholic Religion as little more than just another religion?

    Is there any wonder as to why millions of Catholics conduct themselves disgracefully during Mass?

    Only when Rome returns to the Traditional Roman Liturgy and Roman Tradition, such as refusing to pray and worship with non-Catholics, will the laity follow.

    But as Rome has signaled that the Novus Ordo Mass, collegiality and ecumenism/interfaith endeavors are here to stay, then the crisis of faith is here to stay.

    "Filth" will continue to abound within the priesthood.

    The Catholic Religion will continue to die in vast areas of the world.

    We must pray that the Holy Father returns to the Traditional Roman Mass — the Mass that he was ordained to offer.

    Then, and only then, will the beginning of the end arrive truly for the crisis of faith.

  14. Anonymous10:11 PM

    Jean, I believe by LC is meant the Legionaires of Christ.


  15. Anonymous4:41 AM

    Pope Benedict XVI sent investigators to the LC to fix any problems years before the public was concerned with it. The problem of society is the heresy of angelism - treating human beings as if they were angels. Just beacause there are a FEW bad eggs in the Church, does not make the Church itself evil. Every institution has this problem. Also, Pope Benedict XVI inherited this problem from his predecessors. And he was cleared of that German scandal by an archbishop who took responsibility. Also, the reason why the Irish didn't like his letter was becuase the tens of thousands of Irish, who never knew abusing priests or children that were abused, were looking for an excuse not to go to Mass anymore. You didn't see people treating Ven. John Paul the Great this way. This is beacause people truly hate what the Church stands for in these confusing times. We the Church have the most hospitals, orphanages, charities, schools, and universities that help people and most important of all, we save souls. Not to mention we are the biggest religion in the world at 1.3 billion. You don't see society talking about this because it goes against all they're about.

  16. "..a FEW bad eggs in the Church..."

    This view is a totally out-of-date cliche. The Church is full of rotten eggs these days. From the hierarchy down to the laity it has tens of millions of people who no longer know what Roman Catholicism stands for and who attend liturgies which feed their anthropocentric protestantism. The leaders have lost their moral authority generally speaking and speak out of both sides of their mouths. Catastrophic Sunday attendances & thousands of church & chapel closures together with the rampant sexual & financial corruption which exists are illustrative of an institution which is rife with corruption.

    Additionally, my own personal experiences of The Church & its people which are quite considerable in my lifetime reflect this downward spiral into moral & spiritual decay. Moreover, the monastery of which I remain an oblate has shrunk from over 40 young members in the early 1960s to a small aging group of 12 elderly men who have had to suffer internal divisions resulting from VII; the onslaught of liberalism; vernacularisation; openness to the world and a massive sodomite scandal that took down one of its abbots. The parish I grew up in has been wrecked by the Neo-Catechumenal Way & the NO; all the Catholic schools in the diocese have been secularised. The Salesians once thriving have disappeared altogether & the Benedictines who ran the main town parish I lived in left because they no longer had many members remaining to run anything. On my extensive travels there have been similar stories to relate.

    This is why I can agree wholeheartedly with Fr Paul Marx OSB (RIP) who stated that The Church is in a state of chaos - yes, unremitting & ever-worsening chaos!


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