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Deaf victim of sex abuse is suing pope, and going public with his story for the first time
September 23rd, 2010
09:10 AM ET

Deaf victim of sex abuse is suing pope, and going public with his story for the first time

Editor’s note: A one-hour CNN special, “What the Pope Knew,” will air Sept. 25 and Sept. 26, 8pm and 11pm ET. This story is drawn from that exclusive report.

By Scott Bronstein
CNN Special Investigations Unit

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin – Terry Kohut has kept a dark secret for nearly 50 years. Now he is breaking his silence, becoming a key figure in the sex-abuse crisis in the Catholic Church and the growing controversy over what Pope Benedict XVI did about it.

When Kohut was barely a teen, and for years afterward, he says, he was sexually molested and assaulted by the headmaster and priest of the school where he lived, St. John’s School for the Deaf, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. What occurred there is one of the most notorious cases of sex abuse in the Catholic Church.

Kohut was not alone. From 1950 to 1974 the headmaster of St. Johns, Father Lawrence C. Murphy, raped and molested as many as 200 deaf boys, according to court and church documents.

Kohut has now filed the first sex-abuse lawsuit against the Vatican actually naming Pope Benedict, previously known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as a defendant.


Ratzinger was once head of the Vatican’s powerful CDF, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, charged in certain circumstances with investigating the sexual abuse of minors by priests. And though church records show the abuse by Father Murphy was brought to the attention of Ratzinger and the CDF years ago, a church trial against the headmaster was stopped and he was allowed to remain a priest.

The Vatican’s “policy of secrecy” in abuse cases, and its “directives to conceal the sexual abuse of children” by priests, the lawsuit says, helped bring about the abuse of Kohut and others by Father Murphy.

Kohut has never before gone public or spoken about what Father Murphy did to him. He has remained anonymous in the suit, listed only as “John Doe 16,” one of dozens of men alleging abuse.

In an exclusive interview with CNN, Kohut, 60, spoke with his hands and through an interpreter, describing how the abuse by Father Murphy started.

“I went into his office, the door was closed,” he said. “And Father Murphy said, ‘Take your pants down. And so I did… you know, he was always in his black attire with a white collar, and you know … I was questioning why he would ask me to do that. Here he is, a priest, and – I have to obey him. And he proceeded to touch me.”

What happened to Kohut and the other deaf boys -– and the handling of the Murphy case by Ratzinger’s office - are central issues in a widening examination of the church’s role in covering up sexual abuse by priests. Did that approach reach as high as the man who would become the pope?

“I think what the Murphy case shows is the deference that Cardinal Ratzinger and Pope Benedict would give to the priests,” said David Gibson, a pope biographer and author of “The Rule of Benedict.” Ratzinger, like other Vatican officials “would always accede to the priest’s wishes first, rather than the victim’s wishes, rather than justice for the victims. They were secondary to what the priest wanted and what he felt was best for keeping things quiet and taking care of the institutional church.”

Steven Geier and Carl Nelson were also deaf students who say Father Murphy sexually assaulted them repeatedly. They say Father Murphy would prowl the dorm at night, visiting boys in their beds, raping and sexually assaulting them. He would also routinely assault and molest his victims in one of the church’s most sacred places – the confessional – church documents show.

Father Murphy is believed to have picked out victims who were especially vulnerable, or had been through tragedy already in their young lives. Terry Kohut fit that pattern. His older brother was electrocuted and died when he was just 10 years old. The next year, their father hanged himself. And the following year Kohut’s only close companion, his dog, died. “It all really tore me up…. I saw Father Murphy and I thought that he could be a second father. But to my shock he took advantage of that.”

Minnesota attorney Jeff Anderson is the lead lawyer in Kohut’s lawsuit. Anderson has filed hundreds of lawsuits for sexual abuse victims of priests, and has obtained a massive trove of internal Vatican documents to build his case against the pope. He says numerous abuse cases show that Vatican officials all the way to the top, including then Cardinal Ratzinger, did little to help the victims, and were mostly interested in protecting the church from scandal.

Father Murphy was “one of the worst pedophiles” in U.S. history, says Peter Isely, a leader in SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Isely, of Milwaukee, says he himself was raped repeatedly by a priest as a child. He has led groups of victims to Rome to criticize the church and demand accountability – especially in the case of Father Murphy.

“This is the story of a man raping and assaulting 200 deaf children,” he says. “To think that there are all these children being raped -– these disabled deaf children - who can’t even scream out, can’t speak out. It’s monstrous.”

“It wasn’t easy living in the dorm,” said Geier, 60, through a deaf interpreter. “There were no parents there. No police. We were stuck. It was like a prison. You can’t get out.”

Groups of boys tried to tell local police and even the local District Attorney in Milwaukee about what was being done to them, according to Kohut, Geier, Nelson and others CNN interviewed. But no one ever believed their story, and local police even drove them back to the school, returning the boys to Father Murphy.

After years of allegations and reports of abuse, and threats of lawsuits, local bishops finally moved Father Murphy in 1974 to remote northern Wisconsin. There, more abuse allegations later surfaced.

On July 17, 1996 the Archbishop of Milwaukee, Rev. Rembert Weakland, wrote to then-Cardinal Ratzinger at the CDF, describing Father Murphy’s abuse and his “use of the confessional to solicit sinful actions.” Rev. Weakland asked Cardinal Ratzinger how to proceed.

After eight months and two more letters to the Vatican, Rev. Weakland heard from Cardinal Ratzinger’s secretary, telling him to proceed with a secret church trial, which could result in Father Murphy being defrocked, or removed from the priesthood. The trial preparations were under way, and the case was moving ahead. One church document describing the local investigation results said the Murphy situation “may very well be the most horrendous, number-wise, and especially because these are physically challenged, vulnerable people.”

But as the secret trial preparations moved ahead, on Jan. 12, 1998, Father Murphy wrote a personal letter to Cardinal Ratzinger.

“The accusations against me were for actions alleged to have taken place over twenty-five years ago,” Murphy wrote. “I am seventy-two years of age, your Eminence, and am in poor health. I have repented of any of my past transgressions.” The priest basically asked to be left alone, writing “I simply want to live out the time that I have left in the dignity of my priesthood. I ask your kind assistance in this matter.”

After Father Murphy’s personal letter to Cardinal Ratzinger, and despite the entreaties of the local archbishops and the detailed case file against Father Murphy, something seemed to change. Cardinal Ratzinger’s secretary wrote again to Archbishop Weakland, but this time the letter and approach from Rome struck a different chord, seemingly sympathetic to the Father Murphy.

Cardinal Ratzinger’s secretary described Father Murphy’s personal letter, and then asked Archbishop Weakland “to give careful consideration” to “pastoral measures” instead of a trial, such as counseling and supervision “destined to obtain the reparation of scandal and the restoration of justice.”

The local archbishops disagreed, and one wrote back to Rome that “scandal cannot be sufficiently repaired, nor justice sufficiently restored, without a judicial trial against Father Murphy.” And in May 1998, Archbishop Weakland and several other Milwaukee officials flew to Rome to meet with Cardinal Ratzinger’s team about the case. Notes from the Wisconsin Archdiocese log of that meeting state: “It became clear” that Cardinal Ratzinger’s office “was not encouraging us to proceed with any formal dismissal…”

Finally on August 19, 1998, Archbishop Weakland wrote that he would follow the CDF’s suggestion and stop the trial of Father Murphy, and instead “put together a pastoral plan” for him.

That meant Father Murphy remained a priest for the rest of his life. He died in 1998 and was buried in Milwaukee with the full dignity and honors of a Holy Roman Catholic priest in good standing, angering many who knew what he had done.

The Vatican has called the Murphy case “tragic,” issuing a statement earlier this year saying it “involved particularly vulnerable victims who suffered terribly from what he did. By sexually abusing children who were hearing-impaired, Father Murphy violated the law and, more importantly, the sacred trust that his victims had placed in him.”

The Vatican pointed out that more than two decades passed before Murphy’s abuse came to the attention of local church officials, police, and the Vatican.

Its actions, the Vatican stated, were taken “in light of the facts that Father Murphy was elderly and in very poor health, and that he was living in seclusion and no allegations of abuse had been reported in over 20 years.”

In a rare interview, Monsignor Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s prosecutor, told CNN he understands the frustration and anger in the Murphy case.

“If the case would have been decided today with the knowledge we have, the judgment may have been different… We’re talking about human judgment here.” Asked whether the judgment by Cardinal Ratzinger was faulty in the Murphy case, Monsignor Scicluna replied, “I wouldn’t say faulty because it is a judgment that took care of reparation, of scandal in the sense that it expected a public admission of guilt and it also ensured that Father Murphy be kept in a ministry which did not constitute a risk.”

Asked if the Murphy decision were a mistake, Monsignor Scicluna said, “No, I wouldn’t call it a mistake. I would call it a different take on a very difficult case.”

But Terry Kohut and other victims say justice for them could not even begin without Father Murphy losing his title and good standing as a priest.

Kohut, whose lawsuit alleges that through a policy of secrecy “the Holy See knowingly allowed, permitted and encouraged child sex abuse by its priests, including Murphy,” has a question for the pope today:

“I would ask him why? Why did you stop that trial? Why did you give pity to Father Murphy? I mean what about me, what about the 200 other boys?”

Steven Geier agrees and has his own message to the Pope:

“I believe this pope knew everything. He knew it was happening. I feel like all he did was ignore every deaf child who was abused by Father Murphy. In their eyes the church comes first, not the kids. They asked us to forgive them, forgive Father Murphy and there is no way that we could ever forgive him. Tell the pope to stop all this bull-.”

Kohut has written numerous letters to church officials about the abuse. Some of them were sent to top Vatican officials, including Cardinal Ratzinger.

In a letter to Father Murphy in 1995, Kohut wrote:

“I would lay awake every night, shaking in fear that this would be a night you would touch me. Can you imagine that? Can you? Jesus on the Cross on the wall saw you coming every night to molest us. He must have been shocked and grieved every time. I hope he cried like we did, because we were innocent children.”

Kohut says Father Murphy never responded.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Pope Benedict XVI

soundoff (1,247 Responses)
  1. Church Burner

    They will bury them selves. the truth will come out faster now then ever. And soon the world will see that the Church was created for the propose of creating pedobears. It Breeds them, Protects them, Lures them. God may be real but religion is just a tool for man to use against man

    September 23, 2010 at 10:39 am |
  2. Mya

    Bravo to this man for his courage.

    Why anyone still patronizes the Catholic Church is mind-boggling.

    September 23, 2010 at 10:39 am |
  3. BossMan1985

    This is so sad, because these priests are so protected that they can do whatever they want and get away with it. This one person that scared a generation of 200 boys for the rest of their lives. Action is needed ASAP, we are worried abou terrorist when our children are being attacked by our own.

    September 23, 2010 at 10:37 am |
  4. Disgusted

    Anybody who puts a dime in the collection plate in a catholic church is in support of pedophilia.

    September 23, 2010 at 10:36 am |
    • heynow

      Your ignorant

      September 23, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
    • John Matthew Halloran

      disgusted, hear, hear!!

      September 27, 2010 at 2:19 am |
  5. Mom of 2

    And this is EXACTLY why I baptized my children in the Episcopal church. All the time wasted in the CCD classes my parents made me go to........ What a bunch of crap! I still remember, as a young teen, the priest yelling at me in the confessional when I said it had been 3 yrs. since my last confession!!! All that has EVER mattered to the Catholic church is money, power, fear, and control!!! Our ancestors fell for it, but I'm done with this church! Oh, yes, I teach my children about God, and Jesus, and the Angels that EACH of us have guiding and guarding us daily.... But I know what God really wants for us is to LOVE OURSELVES AND EACH OTHER!!! He doesn't really care if we eat a chicken sandwich on a Friday in March.

    September 23, 2010 at 10:36 am |
    • squiddy79

      And this is EXACTLY one of the many reasons I don't affiliate myself with any organized religion!!!!!!!!

      September 23, 2010 at 10:49 am |
  6. Peacemaker

    As a Roman Catholic, I am ashamed of the way the Vatican has handled the pedophilia problem. The Victims have been re-victimized by the Vatican and hierarchy! IT.....IS......... WRONG....... TO ......ABUSE........ CHILDREN......... PERIOD! NO EXCUSES!

    To Catholics who are apologetics: STOP IT! Living in denial, trying to explain abuse away....... is a SIN!

    The Vatican wont allow women priests........ nor married priests....... but...... for God knows how many years they turned a blind eye to the PEDOPHILE-PRIESTS....... by moving them from parish to parish, and HIDING THEIR CRIMES!

    CATHOLICS WHEN WILL WE, THE LAITY STAND UP AND SHOUT.......... NO MORE?!

    September 23, 2010 at 10:36 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Peacemaker,

      Why do you think that women should be priests?

      Jesus Christ, our high Priest, uses men who are configured to Him in Persona Christi to help Him continue with His Priesthood here on earth. The Church is the Bride of Christ…..Jesus was the Son of God, not the daughter. The Bible does not condone women to marry women or men to marry men…and yet you, as a Catholic, believe that women can stand in for Christ and be the ‘Bridegroom’ of His Church?
      You can read Catholic literature free on line….it could help dissolve your confusion about Catholicism….

      September 24, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  7. Chris

    About time, this Pope needs to be sent to prison for allowing this culture of molesting priests to exist for decades, first in his own locality in Germany, and then in his responsibilities as Cardinal in Rome. Once Murphy was sent to northern Wisconsin, these additional molestations that happened are completely the fault of Rome, and the Catholic Church financially benefited by their concealment of Murphy's crime, which is a crime and is the very definition of RICO, commmiting a crime for financial gain, whether the crime was intentional or not, the Catholic Church's responsibility was to have Murphy arrested, and regardless of any criminal outcome, at the least, terminated and never allowed to become a priest and be near young children again. By concealing his behavior they committed crimes solely for their own financial gain, and Ratzinger and the rest of his lot that participated in this criminal enterprise belong in prison for a very long time!

    September 23, 2010 at 10:35 am |
    • Peacemaker

      I agree with you.......... Ratzinger needs to be jailed!

      September 23, 2010 at 10:37 am |
    • bakergc

      Do you seriously think the Pope is going to ever be questioned on this. No way. The catholic church will protect itself tooth and nail. They are all about maintaining power and $. This case will drag on until benedict kicks the bucket. I say the Pope gets on his face and begs all these men forgiveness for his decision. Give him 1000 lashes and make public all abuse reports so that those monsters can be put on trial. That would be a start.

      September 23, 2010 at 1:22 pm |
  8. Benjamin

    Fr. Murphy abused all these boys before 1975. All this time Ratzinger was in Germany. Now it's Ratzingers' fault. Using this logic, anyone can be blamed for crimes another person commits, even if you are across the Atlantic in a different country.

    September 23, 2010 at 10:34 am |
    • Vince

      Take a reading comprehension course. Ratzinger was a Cardinal at the time and one of the officials who allowed this priest to continue his abuse.

      September 23, 2010 at 10:36 am |
    • Benjamin

      You take a reading comrehension course. When Ratzinger's department got notification of the case, Murphy was retired.

      September 23, 2010 at 10:40 am |
    • waterman

      Ratzinger knew about what Murphy was doing, and allowed him to retire with full honors. He did not think any kind punishment was needed for the minor crime of serial child abuse. He is now "shocked" that abuse was going on. He is on the same level as a Chicago politician.

      September 23, 2010 at 10:44 am |
    • Try it

      So he should be let off the hook by Ratzinger (the head of the CDF at the time) because he was retired? He should not be held accountable for molesting over 200 kids? He should be buried - as he was - with full Church honors? Why are you supporting this pedophile and the men who covered for him?

      September 23, 2010 at 10:47 am |
    • Benjamin

      All the abuse occurred before 1975. Ratzinger was notified over 20-years later in 1996 (Ratzinger did not come to Rome until the early 1980's). Fr. Murphy was retired and he died two years later in 1998. To blame Ratzinger for Fr. Murphy's abuse is totally illogical. Only someone totally uneducated or completely biased against the Church can blame Ratzinger in this case.

      September 23, 2010 at 11:09 am |
    • Peacemaker

      Ratzinger was already part of the Vatican hierarchy! Inform yourself.

      September 23, 2010 at 11:12 am |
    • Benjamin

      Fr. Wright is guilty in this case and those who knew but did nothing to stop him. This includes Bishop Weakland. Ratzinger had nothing to do with the abuse. Ratzinger was notified of Fr. Wright's abuse 20 YEARS LATER in 1996, 2 years before Wright died. Ratzinger was accross the Atlantic ocean in Germany when the abuse occurred. He did not go to Rome until the early 80's. He was not notified of the abuse until 1996. This story is so fallacious.

      September 23, 2010 at 11:33 am |
    • Linda

      Why does it matter if it was 20 years later Benjamin? Or if he was in Germany? Bottom line is he KNEW and he allowed him to be buried with honors. That was like r*ping every victim again.

      September 23, 2010 at 11:57 am |
    • Haha

      Benjamin loves his little boys.

      September 23, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
    • Benjamin

      Linda: Ratzinger did not know until 1996, 20 years after the fact and 2 years before Fr. Wright died. Only a complete idiot will blame Ratzinger for any of this.

      September 23, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Benjamin: You must realise that he knew about it and excused the priest from trial. Whether or not he was in country or out, and at whatever time he found out, he could have brought the issue to light and recognised the claims made by the children. Instead, with full knowledge of the events, he excused the priest. Now you might say that wouldn't stop the abuse of Kohut, but it might have encouraged other victims to step up and other archbishops etc to be more vigilant. Not to mention it would send a message to the world that abuse is not tolerated within the church's walls.

      September 23, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
    • Benjamin

      Frogist: You don't seem to realize that the abuse took place between 1950 – 1975. Ratzinger was notified in 1996. The priest was RETIRED and died in 1998. To blame Ratzinger is foolish. No one wants to blame the priest b/c he is dead. So let's blame the Pope. Bullcrap.

      September 23, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
    • Quincy

      "After years of allegations and reports of abuse, and threats of lawsuits, local bishops finally moved Father Murphy in 1974 to remote northern Wisconsin. There, more abuse allegations later surfaced."

      Think of the hierarchy of the RCC. The Bishops meet regularly with the Cardinals. The Cardinals meet with the Diocese, and each level through to the Vatican. If a lawsuit was threatened, let alone more than one, it was discussed with the higher-ups prior to his relocation. At the very least, concern was expressed to the CDF, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The very organization the the Pope headed when he was a Cardinal. The Pope might not have had first hand knowledge at the time of the relocation, but I'm sure there was correspondence concerning Fr. Murphy prior to the letters requesting a religious trial in 1996. It might not have been specific in naming Fr. Murphy, but if the Vatican looked for letter/s from the Bishops covering the school for the deaf's geographic region, I'm sure they existed at one time.

      September 23, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
    • Frogist

      @ Benjamin: To blame Ratzinger is not foolish as it was through the actions of his office that the trial did not proceed. And according to the article the Archbishop and other Milwaukee officials still think a trial was warranted in 1998. How could you know more about the laws of the church than them? These men are blaming both the priest and the Pope. I really wonder if you have some kind of motive for not seeing the facts presented in the article?

      September 24, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
    • PJ

      Ratzinger is an evil old man who has helped Pedophiles for decades. He should be tried by the World Court. We are ashamed that is is head of our Church; however he carries no credibility when it comes to morals.

      September 25, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  9. SS Kang

    All organized religions are gangs using the word "God". Jesus never knew of christianity. Christianity is a business created centuries after Jesus. The picture and character of Jesus portrayed by christianity is almost opposite of the real "Jashua".
    Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh has rightly exposed the devil couple of priests and politicians. Beware of organized religions. Just meditate and seek yourself.

    September 23, 2010 at 10:34 am |
    • Raj

      That is why Rajneesh was Killed by these religious punks.
      "Anybody who give you belief system is your enemy". This is the truth about religions.

      September 23, 2010 at 12:17 pm |
  10. disgusted821

    Jesus was shocked, was grieved, and did cry every time. And I believe Murphy is suffering for his crimes now, in the afterlife.
    @Canuck – These priests are not what the church is about (I'm not Catholic, but am Christian). Some Christians have misused and abused the name of Christ, but this does not change what He actually taught, and actually did.

    I pray that if he hasn't already that Mr. Kohut will meet the true God of the Bible, and realize that Murphy may have used Jesus name, but did not know Him.

    September 23, 2010 at 10:33 am |
    • Make sense

      All his sins are already forgiven because he used to pray Jesus. People who pray Jesus have no fear and no accountability in hereafter. They are born again people. The world should learn from these masterpieces....Christianity is GRRRREAT...wow

      September 23, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Make sense,

      Being born again [Baptized] does not mean that you can sin all you want because the Holy Spirit now resides in your soul; committing sin causes your body [a vessel] to become unclean. The Holy Spirit cannot be in an unclean vessel. One must repent and have true contrition [sincerely and with the grace of God to not commit those sins again] before one’s soul can produce good fruit in the body of Christ. Jesus Christ very specifically explains His plan in the Bible on how we can ‘remain in Him and Him in us.’

      September 25, 2010 at 3:29 pm |
  11. krippendorf

    This is a tragic situation, but entirely predictable in a system in which the church is embedded in the state (and, in the case of the Vatican, IS the state) or believes itself to be exempt from the state's rules. Americans should be very, very wary of the Christian Right's attempt to co-opt government to impose their own ideology, from the safety of their tax sheltered organizations.

    September 23, 2010 at 10:33 am |
    • Frogist

      @krippendorf: I agree with you on that one.

      September 23, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
  12. waterman

    The Pope was the former "enforcer". He knew about these cases in detail and decided to ignore and excuse them. Now he acts all shocked that there things were going on. He even tried to blame the victims first. Is anyone surprised that the religious leader of billions, who is supposed to tell them what is moral and what is not, has the same moral standards as your average politician?

    September 23, 2010 at 10:33 am |
  13. rivirivi

    Pedophiles are to be called justly : Monsters who prey on Children and ought to be shot on sight. One dead monster means at least 1,000 children safe because they attack that many during their miserable life span. That the Catholic Church has condoned and hidden these things happening to our most beautiful and precious children is a travesty, an injustice so far gone that the Pope must donate all the Catholic Church riches, all the gold rings all the precious stones, all the gold and silver items, and trillions of monies, otherwise paid or donated to the Catholic Church by the same parents of all the same abused children. The Pope must resign and the Vatican and all those leeches gone and the Vatican burned to the ground. A new Catholic Church should be built in its place and every single one priest or applicant must be throughly investigated and his life and findings good or bad shown to the public, then and only then could we somewhat trust in them priests again. Shame on you Pope and all your demented monsters who prey on children that your church has aided over the souls and well being of billions of little children. That is all I have to say, except that I need to take a break to puke!

    September 23, 2010 at 10:32 am |
    • Cecilia Welsh

      Well said! I couldn't agree more with you!!!

      September 23, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
    • guest21

      you're an idiot

      the catholic church is not condoning any of these horrendous acts. it only takes a few horrific members to make decisions like this that cover it up, it does NOT mean the entire catholic church knew about it or supported it in any way, even if the current pope did know about it (and he absolutely should be ex-communicated and put in jail for that)

      the situation is inexcusable for anyone, especially for priests, but as many have posted, the church is not the only place where you find a small percentage of members performing sick acts - what about elementary school teachers taking advantage of children?
      do not sit there and ignorantly blame the entire catholic church for something a small percentage within the church did/knew about.

      September 23, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
  14. Angie

    Catholicism baffles me. I don't mean any disrespect by this, but what on earth is so terrible and sinful about marriage?! Let the priests get married!!!!

    September 23, 2010 at 10:32 am |
    • WL

      How would this help? You think only single people are capable of being pedophiles? These priests are SICK!!!

      September 23, 2010 at 11:01 am |
    • Pablo

      The Catholic Church does not say there is anything sinful about marriage. It elevates marriage to a sacrament. Marriage is a holy, sacred thing in the Catholic Church. In the Bible, it speaks of those who have renounced marriage for the kingdom of God, and those who can should do so. It is not like the priests get blindsided. They usually have up to 8 years of seminary before being ordained, and they willingly give up everything to follow Christ. I have never once met a bad priest, nor have I met a single Catholic (priest, bishop or laity) that is not very angry about the abuse. What I've notice most about the nasty, smug people attacking the church on these posts is that none of them seem to have a clue about what the church teaches. One earlier was writing about how the church thinks it is sinless, blah, blah. You people don't know anything. If you hate the Catholic Church so much, don't read the Bible, use a calendar, celebrate Christmas or Easter, as these all spawn from the "evil Catholic Church". Also, don't use the many charities, hospitals, schools that the church has given to the world. From someone close to many on the inside, the fact that many of you think the church officials are all in a giant sinister world-wide cover-up are silly and pathetic. Was it handled poorly? Yes it was! It was handled extremely poorly. Very wrong. But quit lumping the many good that I know with the few that have given the church a bad name.

      September 23, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
    • heynow

      No disrespect taken – A pedophile is a pedophile married or not – marriage does not people pedophiles. If this is true what about all the single people are they all pedophiles?

      September 23, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
    • heynow

      Pablo – Bless you! You are a light shining in the darkness of hate.

      September 23, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  15. Mike71

    The catholic church, a pedophiles dream come true.

    September 23, 2010 at 10:32 am |
  16. wayne

    everyone has known for years about what these so called priest and men of god while vowing good works have been pedofiles,and incestuais corrupt and very cowerdly and the priest look at former popes and do as one did before

    September 23, 2010 at 10:31 am |
  17. blahh

    i can understand this guy's anguish toward the church. But the offenses occurred from 1950 to 1974. the current pope was not the pope then. father murphy committed the offenses. you simply cannot put all the blame on the pope. sure, the pope could have been more open about the catholic church's problem and made some changes, but it was more than the pope. the pope did not molest. i just don't see how a lawsuit will prevent future molestations by the church.

    September 23, 2010 at 10:30 am |
    • Vince

      Are you not capable of reading?! It was THIS pope who was in charge of letting this priest get away with these crimes. At the time, THIS pope allowed the criminals to go fre. Here, since you didn't read the article I pulled this for you:
      "He says numerous abuse cases show that Vatican officials all the way to the top, including then Cardinal Ratzinger, did little to help the victims, and were mostly interested in protecting the church from scandal." Cardinal Ratzinger is today's pope.

      September 23, 2010 at 10:34 am |
    • Mya

      The current pope IS the former Cardinal Ratzinger – they are the same person.

      That's why the crap has been hitting the fan. The same person you know as the Pope is the same person that excused Rev. Murphy and ignored all of the pleas of the deaf kids.

      September 23, 2010 at 10:45 am |
    • heynow

      Check your history – during this time period psychologists were under the belief that pedophilia could be cured. After being sent to a psychologist the offending priest was given a clean bill of health and was returned to the Church.

      September 23, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
  18. Charles

    All I can say is, to those people who say "Stop attacking the church!!!" Well, the church needs to stop violating the law, perpetrating horrendous crimes, and molesting children. Stop covering them up. Stop living in denial of what they've done. Or, what, you would rather we NOT report on this? You would rather we say, "Oh, well, live and learn! La-de-da!" Sorry, but I'm not so quick to let things go. Maybe you are, but I don't. Call me crazy, call me "bitter," say that I'm incapable of "letting it go," call me all these things. But I REFUSE to be okay with grown men molesting (at this point in history) THOUSANDS of children. And remember, these are just the ones we KNOW about. Even as I type this, even as you READ this, somewhere out there an adult in power is molesting a child. RIGHT NOW. In the U.S. and abroad. Are YOU okay with that? Who's the sicko now?

    September 23, 2010 at 10:29 am |
    • DenverGrl

      The victims deserve justice, even if the perpetrator is dead. These people are messed up for the rest of their lives. They deserve some compensation of some sort.

      September 23, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
  19. NoWay

    The lawyers are hungry!!

    September 23, 2010 at 10:29 am |
    • Vince

      So we should just allow this to go unpunished because lawyers are involved? You are sick to support pedophiles.

      September 23, 2010 at 10:37 am |
  20. Kim

    This is why I hate the Catholic Church. Makes me sick. And they're all so damn "morally-righteous."

    September 23, 2010 at 10:29 am |
    • Aaron

      What you are feeling is hate for yourself alsp and it makes you feel lower than others.

      September 23, 2010 at 11:26 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Kim,
      Please explain 'morally righteous?'

      Seems that Catholics are the only ones who believe they will be judged by God. Many non-Catholics say they are saved because they say they are....'I asked Jesus into my heart and now I am saved', and 'I don't have to follow Jesus' Commandments because I never could do it perfectly enough and, anyway that would be doing works'; they say commandments are just to show what sin looks like! What twisting.....!

      September 25, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
    • Vincent

      CatholicMom...I love you for your comments! Thank you! Let's hope these negative people change theri way of thinking.. Like you, we are many and know we will face God one day. They don't know it or want to accept it but they will too. That's my satisfaction, that they will beg at the end. and God will listen but it will be too late to enjoy Life as God's gift. Let's hope some do trade Hate for Love. Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful!

      September 25, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
    • Whatajoke

      @Vincent:
      LOL! You go on and on and on and on about living the word, and "forgiving" and "loving" and then show your true colors condemning those who don't believe what you believe. "Your" satisfaction....make me laugh, sinner.

      September 27, 2010 at 9:42 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.