Defending Papa Benedict

Pope Benedict has broken his self imposed silence to defend his record against attacks that he did not do enough to expose child molesting priests. London’s Daily Telegraph reports on the Pope Emeritus’ dialogue with a leading atheist about this issue here.

The critics have jumped in with unfounded accusations that he never exposed a pedophile priest. They don’t know how the Church works. It was never his job to be a one man pedophile police force. Within his area of authority Benedict did everything he could to root out the evil, but too often the diocesan authorities themselves obstructed and hid what was going on.

Nevertheless, the rot still goes on. This week a priest in Pennsylvania was charged with molesting a teenaged boy he met through Craigslist and the news reports about Fr. Curtis Wehmeyer in Minnesota make for depressing reading. The Vicar General in particular seems to be a classic case of an ignorant, arrogant, incompetent churchman of the highest order.

With Wehmeyer we have a priest who was caught cruising gay pick up spots, was reported for making lewd suggestions in a public bookshop to young men and had a camper in which he took young boys…and the Vicar General treats the whole thing with a sort of casual concern and doesn’t think the creep is a danger to kids. Geesh, after all that’s happened we still get such total idiots running the show?

What a broken down, incompetent, blind and deluded bunch we are…may the good Lord deliver us from ourselves. Lord have mercy.

  • FW Ken

    Sorry, Father, but you seem to be under the impression that these things will not ever happen. Of course they will, just as priests will be gluttons, spendthrifts, and liars. Sort of like lay people.

    In fact, the rate of offense is l by Catholic priests is half, and maybe more, than the rate committed by men in general. I’m sure you know that, but we need to remember and not play the victim to a society that hates us. Personally I don’t know why this priest in Minneapolis was still in ministry, but flirting with a young man in a porn shop isn’t a crime. In the old days, he would be sent off to a monastery to do penance. Too bad we don’t do that anymore.

    Look, sex offenders are part of my day job. I lock them up from time to time. I’m not soft on these guys. But we need to stay rooted in reality, or we don’t actually make the community safer for kids.

    • Zeke

      I have no doubt that the incidence of pedophilia in the Church is lower than in other institutions, but that’s not the point. In the secular world, these people are reported and removed from their jobs. It is the hypocrisy of the Church leadership that people hate, as well as apologists for them, certainly not ordinary Catholics.

      Claiming that “society hates us” is indeed playing the victim card.

      • FW Ken

        Actually, not. Public schools routinely move offending teachers around. It’s called “taking out the trash”. But nice try at changing the subject.

        This isn’t apologetics, it’s facts that those truly concerned with the welfare of children consider. It is true that the real scandal is what the bishops did and didn’t do, but even with that, actual facts are more complex than I suspect you would consider.

        • John Jones

          This pope and all the bishops never reported a single pedophile to civil authorities. That is a crime in most countries. To say that the same thing has happened in public schools or that the percetage is low is no excuse. Even today Canon Law still says that scandals like this are to be kept a secret within the Church.

          • FW Ken

            Yes they did. The priest in Oakland, Calif. was reported by the diocese for tying up four little boys and molesting them. He ended up with misdemeanor convictions, but was removed by the diocese immediately upon the allegations.

            Here’s the problem: police have often been called, but did nothing. Bp. Finn (one of his diocesan officials, actually) went to the police with the photos they had and were told they were not pornographic. I’ve had something like this in my work, and it’s very frustrating. Also most every week I see a case where Indecency with a Child is pled down to Injury to a Child. The former is a sex crime requiring registration as a sex offender; the latter is not. The untold story of the sex offenses is the law enforcement angle.

            You are correct in that the bishops, not all of whom responded appropriately, to be sure, are the real scandal. But even then, I have to ask why it’s always the bishop’s fault for not reporting information that other people have. Why didn’t they call the police.

            This whole issue stinks of clericalism, which certainly doesn’t make things safer for kids.

          • John Jones

            Can you give the name of this priest and a link to back up this story please?

            Is this the same Bishop Finn who was convicted of shielding a pedophile priest?


          • FW Ken


            August 1978: (Stephen) Kiesle is arrested and pleads no contest to lewd conduct, a misdemeanor, for tying up and molesting two boys. Sentenced to three years probation, record is later expunged.

            My mistake: it was two boys he tied up and molested and walked away with misdemeanor probation. Of course, that was before the explosion of 2002.

            Yes, that Bishop Finn. I didn’t say he did all he could (whatever that might mean), I said he didn’t do “nothing”. Anyway, he’s been in the crosshairs of liberal Catholics since he took office and started cleaning up the diocese. He stood up to the National “Catholic” Reporter and pretty much earned the ire of every libcat in the area.

            Here’s the deal: there is enough real dirt on bishops that you don’t have to go around making it up. What happens is that you start to look like your agenda isn’t the welfare of children, but engaging in good old anti-Catholicism (Fr. Longenecker recently posted on the disparity of sentencing base on religion) or, at best, good old American anti-authoritarianism/anti-clericalism.

      • Augustine

        No, they’re not, they’re moved from place to place and those responsible to deal with them hush up, much like in the Church, regrettably.

  • Charles Mac Kay

    Very true father I like what you say.

  • Keith

    Sorry Ken but you have grown far too complacent with the sin and evil that make up our human society and, thus, our Church. Despising sin and evil is what religion is all about. Recall what the angel Gabriel told Mary was the reason for her son to come into the world? Clearly, God was not surprised that we have sinned but thought he had to do something pretty dramatic about it. And the fact that his son was murdered was not something to react with a ho-hum, that’s the way it goes. The homosexual men that Fr. talks about are not to be regarded with a ho-hum attitude, they are an abomination.

    • FW Ken

      As someone who spends his days actually fighting this evil, I’m not interested in your self-righteous nonsense.

      And if you think the men are an abomination, then I suggest you read the scripture, which tell us that the acts are abominations, not the men. And you should know that the God who made these people loves them and grieves for the destruction they wreak in their lives and the lives of others. Remember that the judgement you render is the judgement you will receive.

  • Tom in SJ

    I will say this, if just one Catholic molests some poor innocent soul the media will scream it from the roof tops because the Catholic Church must be discredited at all costs. The Truth must be crucified as the world can not stand the light. This is not to excuse this abomination, but to understand how nothing we do will placate them. They have no interest in understanding the Catholic Church, except perhaps to learn any weakness.

    I apologize to all if I am brusque.

  • OneTimothyThreeFifteen

    I love the notion of the Holy Father as a ‘one man X police force’. (Insert your favourite hobby horse, ‘Liturgy’, for example). I hadn’t thought of it using such a great image before, but it’s so apt!

    It is a perfect description of how so many see him, Catholic (Traddie and Dissenter), Protestant, Atheist. You name it. How many times do we hear, ‘Why doesn’t ‘the Pope’ do something about it?’ or ‘How dare ‘the Pope’ tell me what to do!’. You can be sure they’re appeals to the OMPF at work.

    It’s probably neck-a-neck with impeccability as the commonest error about the infallibility of See of Peter, I reckon.

  • magpieinmadrid

    This is shoddy writing. Benedict did “everything he could”. Evidence? What did he do in, for example, the case of Lawrence Murphy? And if bishops did block justice, like Bishop Finn, why didn’t he get rid of them? To insult our intelligence by saying “that’s not how the church works” is ridiculous. If it doesn’t work like that, without accountability, it has ceased to be relevant today.

  • Pam Ruigh

    And a new fresh case will be revealed today by the Philly DA. When will this ever stop? It is extremely disturbing and until it stops any attempts at evangelization will fail.