Friday, March 19, 2010

Church Scandals

Catholics are not alone with the problem of sex abuse scandals. Here in WNY, it's all we hear about in our local news regarding our government. Maybe if we let people elect their leaders.. this type of thing would not happen. Oh.. we already do that. Simply "google" "youth minister sex abuse" and hundreds of articles will pop up that didn't make the headlines on CNN.. probably because they don't sell as many newspapers as anti-Catholicism does. Perhaps Protestant ministers should be allowed to marry.. that would stop the sex abuse. Oh wait.. they can be married. Perhaps allow women to be ordained? No.. they have that too.

Churches, like anything where man gets a say... have many faults. We are made up of sinners... BUT.. with the chance to become saints. People don't realize when they ramble off these stories about clergy abuse... everyone gets hurt. --- The many people who practice their faith are now targeted and demonized for attending a Church that "allows" such abuse. The many priests and religious who have never harmed a child now become the victims of verbal and even physical assaults as they are painted as criminals because of their vocation.

I don't deny these abuses have happened.. are happening. I don't deny that they have to be prevented at all costs... but I don't agree with what the media is doing -- selling newspapers by singling out one group and making them be the only representation of a global organization.

I agree completely with the Pope's stance to deal with these matters privately. This does not mean the police/authorities are not to be involved. It means that these issues, when brought to light, are not plastered all over the front page news and become headlines for every talk show across the globe. It means the matter will be handled by Church officials with the cooperation of local authorities to address the matter.

Below I have pasted an expert from Father Z's blog, What Does the Prayer Really Say? -- where Father comments on a recent article from the Catholic News Agency. I ask that you pray about this whole crisis... not fuel the fire and allow more people to be hurt in the rampage.

Accused Munich priest resigns in sex abuse case wrongly linked to Pope [wrongly]

Munich, Germany, Mar 17, 2010 / 03:35 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Tourism chaplain for the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising has been immediately suspended from ministry after more allegations that he sexual abused minors. While some news reports have tried to link Pope Benedict XVI to the charges, a subordinate in the archdiocese has claimed responsibility for failures in responding to the case. [It is necessary to repeat here something not mentioned in any news stories I have read. The role of the Vicar General in German dioceses is very strong. They handle most personnel issues for the bishop.]

A statement from the archdiocese said that it had been presented with evidence the clergyman committed sexual abuse since an episode in 1986.

The accused, known as Priest H., had held youth services and took young people camping despite a ban on his contact with children, says.

Archbishop of Munich and Freising Bernhard Kellner on Monday announced that he would be suspended from service with “immediate effect.”

Priest H. reportedly abused at least two children in Essen in 1979 and in Bavaria in 1985. He was sentenced to 18 months probation in the latter case.

One victim, 41-year-old Wilfried Fesselmann, is from Gelsenkirchen in North Rhine-Westphalia. He said that he was 11 at the time of the alleged abuse.

According to Fesselmann, the priest invited “nice children” to sleep in the rectory. Priest H. gave Fesselman an alcoholic drink and forced him to perform an oral sex act.

Priest H.’s superior, Prelate [This is "Monsignor". "Prelat" is the German title for Monsignor.] Josef Obermaier, resigned on Monday. A spokesman for the archdiocese said he accepts responsibility for “serious errors in the course of his supervision.”

Some media reports have tried to link Pope Benedict XVI to the scandal because he was Archbishop of Munich and Freising between 1977 and 1982.

Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See’s Press Office, released a statement on Saturday morning on the issue. He said that a recent communiqué from the Archdiocese of Munich answers questions about Priest H. He stressed that the document shows [NB] that as archbishop the future Pope Benedict was completely "extraneous" to the decisions made after the abuses were verified. [This is because the Vicar General handled it.]

The archdiocese said during Pope Benedict’s tenure as archbishop Priest H. was in the pastoral care of the vicar general at the time, Fr. Gerhard Gruber.

"Gruber assumes full responsibility for these mistaken decisions," the archdiocese reported.

Fr. Lombardi’s statement also criticized media coverage of the charges.

"It’s rather evident that in recent days there are those who have sought – with a certain tenacity, in Regensburg and in Munich – elements for personally involving the Holy Father in the questions of the abuses. For every objective observer, it’s clear that these efforts have failed."

The Vatican spokesman concluded by reaffirming that "despite the tempest," the Church sees the course to follow "under the sure and rigorous guide of the Holy Father."

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