Category Archives: canon law

Dirty Data Sinks The U.S. Bishops John Jay Report

Conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2004, the John Jay Report was commissioned and informed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB ) under the new Archbishop of Washington D.C. Wilton Gregory. The report relied on voluntary information provided by Dioceses — the very Dioceses responsible for the systematic cover-up the study sought to explain away. In the end, they found a total of 4,392 priests sexually assaulted minors across the nation from 1950 to 2002.

During their data collection, John Jay College never visited the Secret Archives of any Diocese. Instead, Cardinals and Bishops voluntarily sent in data to the College, who destroyed it after the report was complete. The bishops did not include themselves in the study (only Deacons and Priests), despite over two dozen bishops being accused. Upon its release, John Jay’s findings garnered legitimate skepticism from academics and survivors alike. New evidence proves us skeptics were right. The investigation surrounding the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report released last summer was one of the first times law enforcement raided the Secret Archives without warning, cornering the church into a “you’ll share them, or we’ll share them for you” situation. This catalyzed the Church to finally let Dioceses share their lists of known perpetrators from the Secret Archives.

Dioceses across the nation have now published names of 4,397 clerics from 122 Dioceses who sexually assaulted minors, with 75 Dioceses left to report. These numbers directly contradict the figures the Dioceses provided in 2004 by John Jay College. According to the new lists, the ratio of perpetrators to Dioceses is about 25 known perpetrators for every Diocese.  Only one U.S. Diocese thus far has the temerity to declare zero clerical offenders in it’s history.

If the remaining 75 Dioceses and hundreds of Religious Orders ever share their information, it would far exceed the numbers reported by John Jay College. We aren’t talking about new perpetrators that sprouted up since 2004 either; most of the recently named offenders were active during the time frame that the John Jay Report evaluated. This new data proves that not only was the John Jay Report problematic — it was plain wrong.

After the Pope’s directive at the end of February’s Vatican summit to stop releasing all Dioceses’ lists of known perpetrators to the public, it’s unclear whether we will ever see the remaining lists. Whether we see them or not, the numbers already provided demonstrate that the bishops underreported their records of known perpetrators in 2004 by 100% to suppress any scandal.

Now, more than ever, John Jay College needs to right this wrong in underreporting. It is time for the John Jay College to recall their 2004 report and recognize the Bishops used John Jay to cover up the chronic criminal conduct of clerics in the United States.

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Church 101 for Child Protection Advocates

Here are some lessons from the masters I have studied: Fr. Thomas Verner Moore OSB MD, Fr Gerald Fitzgerald s.P. and Fr. Aquinas Walter Richard Sipe O.S.B. 1. The sexual assault of minors is about power, not sex. 2. Child porn, child sexual assault and child trafficking are fruit of the same crime. 3. The cases are about criminal conduct, not belief.

The Catholic Church is a monarchical system that promises salvation to followers that adhere to the teachings. The system is fueled by a three tiered taxation engine rooted in powerful myths.   Nota Bene, the first teaching against clerical sexual abuse of minors is from the Didache in 60 A.D.

The Catholic Church is a consortium of churches in union with the Bishop of Rome. Each church is rooted in a specific language/culture called a Rite with the Roman Rite representing 95% of the 1 billion worldwide followers.

The Catholic Church is also a secular State known as Sanctae Sedes or the Holy See. The Holy See has diplomatic missions in hundreds of countries called Nunciatures staffed by representatives appointed by the Pope. The Nunciatures, Dioceses and Parishes are connected to the Holy See through the Vatican Bank or I.O.R. The Holy See rules by soft power and has not maintained a military force since the creation of the Italian State.

The core Governmental principle is that Power flows down and money flows up. At the top of the pyramid is the Bishop of Rome aka the Pope who holds universal jurisdiction where he alone teaches, governs and sanctifies the world. The world is organized by Dioceses which are geographic regions established by the Pope. Only the Pope appoints the Bishop of a Diocese, the Bishop reports to the Pope and pays annual taxes to Rome.  Each Diocese is a geographic region of parishes established by the Bishop. Only the Bishop appoints Priests to the parishes, the Priests report to the Bishop and pay annual taxes to the Diocese.  Laity do not have the capacity to govern. Respondeat Superiori is a common law principle that closely expresses the Roman model of Church polity. One of the key cases to be aware of is Hosanna-Tabor v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 565 U.S. 171 (2012).

A general norm of roman structure is to adapt to the local civil laws (canon 22) in so far as they are not contrary to Codex Iuris Canonici. Roman Catholic institutions adapt to State law and incorporate to what most closely represents Church Polity.  Corporation Sole is a common listing in the annual Official Catholic Directory (O.C.D.) delivered to the I.R.S. and a document that is judicially noticeable.

There are three types of Roman Catholics: Clerics, Religious and Laity. Clerics (Patricians) are men ordained as Bishops, Priests or Deacons to teach, govern and sanctify the Religious and Laity.

Religious (Centurions) are vowed men and women following a Rule under a Superior. If male religious are also Clerics they can serve in parishes under the jurisdiction with faculties (permission) of the Diocesan Bishop. Religious men can be either Priests or Brothers. Religious women are referred to as Nuns or Sisters traditionally running schools and hospitals. Religious Institutes also are in the O.C.D.

Laity (Plebs) are all the baptized (99%) whose job is to pray, pay and obey. They achieve salvation through participation in the seven sacraments which are only provided by the Clerics.

Insurance is a requirement of all institutions with each Diocesan Bishop or Religious Superior as the autonomous administrator. Dioceses and Religious Institutes rely upon commercial insurance companies as well as risk sharing pools as Catholic Mutual Group and Catholic Risk Retention Group.

Once rumor or direct knowledge of child sexual assault comes to a Bishop or Religious Superior there are several traditional management options. An initial investigation is conducted by the Vicar for Clergy or a trusted Priest and a confidential report (canon 489) is created for the Holy See and the Secret Archives which only the Bishop and Vicar General (2nd in command) have access.

First and most common option is to quickly change the assignment, a geographic solution. A second is to command the offender to see a sympathetic psychiatrist or psychologist. Upon further offenses the Cleric or religious is ordered to the Servants of the Paraclete, Saint Luke Institute, House of Affirmation, Saint John Vianney Institute or Southdown. Final solutions are being sent to a monastery for prayer and penance or involuntary laicization. All of these management decisions have document trails maintained in the Secret Archives, their retention policy is in to maintain these files in perpetuity.

The Church has a closed loop system of Treatment Centers created in 1947 for Clerics and Religious. The purpose is to evaluate, report back and recycle clerics and religious back to ministry. Initial evaluations as well as monthly and final reports are sent back to the Bishop or Superior with the most common diagnosis being Pedophilia, Ephebophilia or N.O.S. (not otherwise specified).

The Church in the past faced minimal criminal exposure with a few exceptions of Fr. Donald Roemer in 1981 or Fr. John Goeghan in 2002 or Fr. Donald McGuire S.J. in 2006. There currently are 12 Grand Jury reports and charges against Bishops for failure to report and consumer protection violations for knowingly employing sex offenders. A Key case was Stogner v. California 539 U.S. 607 (2003).

Myth is Power: The Pope is the descendant of St. Peter and St. Paul, his teachings ex-cathedra are without the possibility of error. Every Bishop chosen by the Pope is a successor to the Apostles. Every Priest ordained by a Bishop is ontologically changed to be a little less than the angels, set apart to provide the sacraments necessary for salvation. Rome is the one, true, holy, catholic (universal) and apostolic church. Obedience and Secrecy are the highest virtues while creating scandal is a deadly sin.

At least 64 high level documents from the 1st to 21 century demonstrate a Tradition of superior knowledge by Catholic Bishops of child sexual assault by clerics. Here is a short sampling. Didache of 60 A.D. ; Council of Elvira of 309 A.D.; Book of Gomorrah by Cardinal Peter Damian O.S.B. Cam. in 1051 A.D.; Sacramentum Poenitentia by Pope Benedict XIV in 1741 A.D; Instructio de Modo Procendi in Causis Sollicitationis by Pope John XXIII in 1962 A.D.; Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela by Pope John Paul II in 2001 A.D.

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Not-So-Great Expectations for the Canonical Trial of Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron OFM Cap.

It’s time for the people of Guam to lower their expectations of the canonical church trial of Archbishop Anthony Apuron.

Make no mistake: there will be extreme secrecy cloaked under the “pontifical secret” and sovereign immunity.  And while the procedure is called a canonical “trial,” it is nothing like any criminal trial you have experienced or seen on television.

1.       There will be no jury impaneled to publicly decide innocence or guilt.

2.       There will be no judge in a black robe responsible to the People conducting a fair and impartial trial.

3.       Secrecy is king.  There will be no public hearing.  The process began in secret, will be conducted in secret, decided in secret and the findings will be kept in secret Vatican archives.

4.       The outcome will only be known when the Holy See serves its decision on Anthony Apuron through the Papal Nuncio of the country and bishop where Apuron is domiciled.

5.       The procedure is based on the Code of Canon law and SST (Sacramentum Santitatis Tutela) promulgated in 2001.

6.       No matter the outcome, this is a test for Pope Francis and his commitment to discipline Bishops in the protection of minors.

7.       Apuron will not be present in Rome for any of it.

 

What to expect

Pope Francis is the only church official who can bring an action against Apuron.

Whenever the Pope becomes aware of a Bishop who has sexually abused children, he appoints investigators—known as auditors—to gather the facts and circumstances around the matter.  A likely candidate is Revered James Conn S.J., J.D., J.C.D.

The Pope then reviews the matter and decides whether to commence a Judicial or Administrative action.

If the Pope takes Administrative Action, then the Pope may instruct the Congregation for Bishops to order Apuron to a life of prayer and penance in a Capuchin monastery far from Guam. This does two things: reduces scandal, and allows Apuron to continue as a bishop, priest and Capuchin.

If Pope takes Judicial Action, then the Pope may instruct the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith and Cardinal Mueller as Prefect to proceed following SST.  Mueller will then appoint Chicago Jesuit, Reverend Robert Geisinger S.J., J.C.D. as promoter of justice to instruct the matter.

Archbishop Apuron will be informed in writing of the charges and advised to retain a Canonist—a canon lawyer who will defend him and submit paperwork on his behalf to the Vatican.

The Promoter of Justice or his delegate will build on the Auditors’ investigation and delve deeper into the facts and circumstances, including taking depositions and gathering documents from Guam.

Archbishop Apuron will then review the written Acts (the entire file) of the case.

Then comes the decision: whether the Pope, through the CDF, will allow Apuron to remain a Bishop, Priest and/or Capuchin.

Pope Francis could laicize Apuron, removing him as a Bishop and Priest while allowing him to remain a non-priest Capuchin Friar (a “Brother”), able to live anywhere in the world and work for the order. Or the Pope could remove Apuron completely and demote him to be a lay person.

No matter the decision—it will be rendered in secret, likely signed by Cardinal Muller as Prefect and served on Apuron through the Papal Nuncio and the local Bishop wherever Apuron is living. If Apuron stays in Fairfield, CA, that bishop is Jaime Soto of Sacramento.

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The Habit Does Not Make The Monk

One of the first lessons in the monastery is: “The Habit does not make the monk.”

Why? People are easily distracted by holy garbs, nice shoes, tailored clothes, and expensive cars. White collar criminals who use their position of trust to commit crimes against children depend on this. They need children and the public to be easily distracted.

Do not be distracted by a monk’s habit, a doctor’s white coat, or a judge’s black robe. By putting on a habit, one is not instantly infused with wisdom and understanding. Rather, it comes from years of listening to people, prayer, reflection and learning to recognize the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Why do I bring this up?

Recently, my eyes have been opened to other versions of the white collar crime I know as “solicitation in the confessional.” Crimens Sollicitationis—simply put—is the confessor’s abuse of power over the penitent.

Apparently, this kind of crime is not limited to Catholicism.

Very recently, a Rabbi was discovered to have been using the Mikvah—the ritual bath—to film the unsuspecting faithful. In the age of the internet and file sharing, one has to be concerned for those unknowingly filmed.

Even more recent is a reminder from Hollywood: actors can and do use their star power and the burning desire of unsuspecting minors for stardom to access, groom, sexually abuse and coerce them into silence.

We must remain vigilant and put children first.  The habit does not make the monk.

 

 

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The Chancellor Shows Courage

Before the recent revelations of child porn sitting in the Secret Archives of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul, most people never stopped to think about the role of a Archdiocesan Chancellor. Some may have an image of Thomas Beckett or a librarian type. But most, honestly, just scratch their head.

So, what is a chancellor supposed to do? And how did St. Paul Chancellor Jennifer Haselberger stumble upon child porn in Archbishop Nienstedt’s secret archives?

The office of Chancellor in the Roman Catholic Church is first and foremost to “take care that the acts of the curia are gathered, arranged and safeguarded in the archive of the curia”. (1983 CIC 482)  This sounds a lot like a librarian, but the job also includes maintaining the entire inventory, or catalogue, of both the historical, secret and criminal archives.

What makes this job different than that of a librarian is that the cover up of clerical sexual abuse of minors in Saint Paul goes back to (at least) Archbishop Leo Binz in the 1960s. The cover-up documents have been stored at the Chancery on Summit Avenue as mandated by the Pope in the code of canon law. For instance, Father Jerome C. Kern’s file contains evidence the Archbishop was aware Kern was sexually abusing minor boys in 1969.

But why is there an explosion now when the Archbishop knew of the child porn in 2003?

The answer is simple: Chancellor Jennifer Haselberger.

Haselberger was the first lay female ever appointed Chancellor in St.Paul. She does not belong to the clerical “caste” and apparently she didn’t absorb the “Tradition of clerical immunity.” When she found the porn in the secret vaults, Haselberger followed her conscience and called law enforcement.

When the Archbishop was about to transfer Father Jon Shelley, Haselberger naturally reviewed the files under her care. She found a Saint Luke Institute report, an investigation by the Vicar General Kevin McDonough, and the porn vault. She found evidence that there were three computers, half a dozen morally disturbing searches and thousands of nefarious images sitting in the archives. There was nothing ambiguous about it.

What Now?

First, the Haselberger experience informs us that all church archives need to be reviewed by independent prosecutors in law enforcement. These prosecutors answer to the people, not the Pope.

Second, this 2013 experience teaches us that the Roman Catholic Church has not learned and in fact may not have the capacity to learn how to protect children in their care.

Third, we must press our leaders. Experience tells us that St. Paul is NOT unique. Are there priests who have been accused of sexual abuse of minors in ministry today?  We must press church leaders to make public what they know, urge prosecutors to demand files, and implore Catholics to withhold contributions until they and we can be assured that there are no criminals in active ministry.

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Catholic Clergy Child Abuse Investigations Since 2005 … and a Papal Resignation

The German Pope’s resignation today as the Bishop of Rome (for health reasons) is the final lie in his Papacy. Since 2005, Benedict XVI’s church has been the subject of  more civil and criminal inquiries of the Church since the time of the Protestant Reformation.

Just look at the sheer volume of child abuse and financial abuse inquires during Benedict XVI’s reign. The real story is how these worldwide child abuse inquires brought on the first resignation of a healthy Pope in eight centuries.

Click on the links to read the full reports.

Germany

German Bishops Halt Child Abuse Inquiry

Australia

Australian Prime Minister Julian Gillard announces National Inquiry of child abuse in the Roman Catholic Church

Belgium

Report on wide spread child abuse in Belgian Church

Bishop Roger Vanghuewe resigns after child abuse accusations  

Mexico

Reverend Marcial Maciel, Founder of the Legionaries of Christ, was removed in 19 after first being removed as head of the Order for sexually abusing children in the 1950’s

United States

Los Angeles – Cardinal Roger Mahony’s 1985-2011 coverup of 128 priest perpetrators is revealed and Benedict XVI remains silent

Milwaukee – In the midst of planning for Bankruptcy and moving assets to shield them from child sex abuse survivors, Archbishop Dolan pays for the perpetrators silence.  Pope Benedict XVI rewards Dolan and promotes him to Cardinal

Philadelphia – After two grand Jury Reports Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua knowingly keeps priest perpetrators in ministry, orders the destruction of the evidence and his Vicar for Clergy is criminally convicted

New Hampshire

Ireland

Cloyne Report   

Ferns Report 

Murphy Report

Ryan Report 

Amnesty International Report

Italy

Genoa

Vatican Bank inquiry

Verona

Vatileaks and Monsignor 007

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Peeling back the thin, sacred veneer

The calendar year opens today with simultaneous court appearances by two of the largest Roman Catholic Archdioceses: Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

In Philly, jury selection begins in the criminal trials of priests accused of sodomy and child sexual abuse. These cases will continue to expose the “omissions” of Cardinals Anthony Bevilacqua and Justin Rigali.

In Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times and Associated Press will argue for the release of unredacted secret personnel documents of priests and bishops accused of sodomy, rape and sexual abuse of minors.  These documents expose the “acts of commission” by Cardinals Manning, Mahony and Levada.

This opportunity in L.A. for public accountability does not come twice in a lifetime.  The Cardinals’ fingerprints are on these documents.  If produced unsanitzed, they peel back the thin, sacred veneer covering the Cardinals’ business practices.

Not since Judge Sweeney ordered Boston’s Cardinal Law to turn over the documents in 2001 have we been at such a crossroads for child protection.

It is a tragic hour in some ways—that hour when the hierarchy is driven to reckon with themselves.  When every avenue of procedural distraction has been cut off and when documents are produced that these men penned that prove their acts of omission and commission and how they protected their own reputations over the safety of children.

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