Readers of my posts on this site will know I have written extensively of the child abuse scandal which has engulfed the RC church globally. Several of the articles in the past have mentioned the important contributions made by former New Orleans-based lawyer Ray Mouton, now a bestselling critically-acclaimed author, since he represented the first RC priest accused of child abuse in the 1980s. He was one of the co-authors of the notorious ‘Manual’ – a 100-page document – drafted in May/June 1985 warning the church about the scale of abuse and strongly advising it to change all its policies regarding the issue. They were ignored and the document was shelved.
Ray Mouton has written a fictional story about this matter in the unforgettable novel ‘in God’s House’ review elsewhere on my site. In the wake of the Papal resignation today he has just issued the following statement:
Statement of author Ray Mouton re:
Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI
This resignation could not have come soon enough and it should be followed by the resignations of most of the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church – Cardinals in Rome and around the world, and Archbishops, Bishops, Vicars and Chancery officials who have covered up sex crimes against children by priests, nuns and religious, for there are few, if any, in the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church who have not been either complicit in the cover up of felony crimes of priests or had guilty knowledge that such crimes were being covered up.
Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger has been at the center of the cover up of the current clergy abuse crisis and scandal since 1981 when he was appointed Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith that is an office that is the successor to what was previously called the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office and prior to that was called Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition.
This office has always had all authority and responsibility for what are defined under Church law, canon law, as “moral delicts” of clergy – what the Church calls sins and the secular world calls crimes. The present Pope held this Vatican office for 24 years as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, a period of time that spans from the first public prosecution of a priest in the U. S. in 1984 to 19 April 2005 when he ascended to the papacy and assumed the name Pope Benedict XVI. The current clergy abuse crisis and scandal happened on this man’s watch.
While Ratzinger was still a Cardinal in charge of clergy abuse matters, Cardinal Bernard Francis Law of Boston resigned in disgrace on December 13, 2002. At that time the present Pope was the person making all decisions relating to clergy abuse matters. The decision was taken to promote, elevate and exalt the disgraced Cardinal Law by naming him Archpriest of Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore, the largest church in Rome dedicated to Mary, a basilica painted in gold leaf that claims part of Christ’s crib as its relic, and has a villa as the residence of the Archpriest. Cardinal Law was also appointed to all important Vatican commissions, including the one that selects Bishops, and Cardinal Law had the privilege of celebrating mass on the altar of St. Peter’s on one of the official 9 days of mourning following the death of Pope John Paul II.
Ratzinger was Pope when Cardinal Roger Mahony in Los Angeles authorized a 660 million dollar settlement of civil claims in July 2007, a sum that represents the wholesale rape of girls and boys over decades. Pope Benedict XVI did not act to replace Cardinal Mahony nor was Mahony reprimanded, but rather he was allowed to serve as Archbishop of the largest diocese in the U. S. until he reached retirement age four years later in 2011. In fact, Mahony was not removed from public life until January 31, 2013.
One need look no farther than the action and/or inaction that Joseph Ratzinger took in regard to disgraced Cardinals Law and Mahony when Ratzinger was a Cardinal and Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith and later when he was Supreme Pontiff to clearly understand Ratzinger’s attitude of placing paramount emphasis on protecting prelates in the hierarchy of the Church with total disregard for the victims of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy.
Clergy abuse in the Roman Catholic Church did not begin during Ratzinger’s tenure in Rome for documents prove it was widespread as far back as 306 AD.
The clergy abuse crisis and scandal will not end with Ratzinger’s resignation as welcome as his resignation is among the faithful and the public.
Until all documents relating to clergy abuse through the past years, decades and centuries are released by the Church in every diocese in the world and the Vatican - all bishops who have covered up crimes of priests must be mandated to follow Ratzinger’s example in resigning their positions, there will be no path for the Church to follow to begin to recover from their fall from grace in sacrificing innocent children to protect the reputation of the Church, its priests and bishops, and the moral authority, credibility and trust the institution once had will continue to erode.
The problem of clergy abuse in the Roman Catholic Church is an “institutional problem” and until the Church addresses it as an institutional problem and all men who serve in the hierarchy of the institution who have covered up crimes resign as Ratzinger has done, the Church cannot heal itself nor provide any meaningful atonement to hundreds of thousands of children who had innocence, God’s greatest gift, ripped from their hearts.
In God’s House, the novel I worked on for 12 years is a book about truth, not facts, and it tells the whole truth of the entire saga of the current clergy abuse crisis and scandal that began in the deep south of the United States in 1984 and continues to devastate every Catholic diocese in the world today.
For 29 years I’ve monitored developments in this crisis, a scandal that goes to the very foundation of the faith for none of the actions of the hierarchy of the Church have conformed to the teachings and example of Christ’s life from which the Church claims its moral authority.
In the beginning in 1984 there were isolated fires of scandal that burned on the horizon out of view of most people.Then the fires of the crisis began to spread and finally covered the Catholic world as the crisis and scandal devastated the United States, Canada, Ireland, Australia, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and severely impacted every Catholic diocese on earth.
Finally the flames of the fire are scarring the walls of the Vatican. It’s a fire that cannot be extinguished by one guilty man’s resignation. The Church has always viewed truth as its enemy. Until the institution embraces the truth, does what it mandates of the its faithful – fully confesses all of its sins by releasing all documents relating to sex abuse and accepts the resignations of all who have ever covered up crimes, and the Church accepts the severe penance the courts and public will mete out – only then will the Church be in a true state of grace and be able to begin to rebuild the ruin it created when members of the hierarchy charted a disastrous course for the Church by making fateful, faithless decisions that placed the Church, criminals, and men who empower and enable criminals above the welfare of children.
If he were thrown into the sea with a millstone tied to his neck, he would be far better off than facing the punishment in store for those who harm these little children’s souls.
Ray Mouton/February 11, 2013/France