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March 25th, 2012
07:46 AM ET

New book accuses Vatican of hiding cases of sexual abuse of minors

By Rafael Romo, CNN

Leon, Mexico (CNN) - On the same day Pope Benedict addressed and blessed a group of 1,800 children in Guanajuato, Mexico, three Mexican authors released a book accusing the Vatican of hiding or ignoring cases of child sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests.

The book, "La Voluntad de no Saber" (Willing Not to be Aware), chronicles multiple cases of sexual abuse of minors committed by Marcial Maciel, a Mexican-born Roman Catholic priest who was influential at the Vatican.

Maciel, who died in January 2008 at age 87, was the founder and director of the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi movement.

The book was authored by Jose Barba, a former seminarian who says he was the victim of sexual abuse by a priest. Historian Fernando M. Gonzalez, a co-author, says the book is based on 212 documents leaked from the Vatican.

Alberto Athie, a former Catholic priest and whistle-blower, also contributed to the book.

According to the book, the Vatican had knowledge of multiple cases of sexual abuse committed by Maciel decades ago, but church authorities chose to do nothing about it.

Pope Benedict removed Maciel from active ministry in 2006 as a result of an investigation launched by his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.

Athie said the church either ignored or archived for years allegations of child sex abuse when he reported them during his years as a priest.

"How could this have been possible?" Athie said. "How can one explain it? I had to face a reality that I never imagined, that I never expected and I never looked for."

Gonzalez said the Vatican documents provide solid proof of a policy geared towards hiding cases of abuse.

"Anybody would have been able to perfectly learn about it by simply asking for the dossier (of sexual abuses cases). Be it John Paul II, Paul VI, John XXIII, any of them should have figured out that a series of denunciations was being hidden, euphemized, protected, delayed, silenced and distorted," he said.

Speaking to reporters Saturday, Cardinal Jose Francisco Robles, head of the Archdiocese of Guadalajara, defended the pope and the church.

"If there has ever been a pope who has faced (the sexual abuse problem) with realism and energy that's Pope Benedict," he said. "Nobody can accuse him of being complicit or lacking will."

Pope Benedict has not specifically addressed the accusations, but in his message to the children at Plaza de la Paz, or Peace Square, in the colonial city of Guanajuato, he spoke about the church's role in protecting children.

"I raise my voice," the pontiff said, "to invite everybody to protect and take care of children so that their smile never fades away, allowing them to live in peace and to look at the future with confidence."

Later, the 84-year-old pope on his first trip to Mexico, said, "You, my little friends, are not alone. You can count on the help of Christ and his Church."

- CNN Belief Blog

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

soundoff (181 Responses)
  1. Ronnie12345

    tom the pipers a bigot

    May 14, 2012 at 8:57 am |
  2. chile abuse prevention

    I don't even understand how I ended up right here, but I assumed this publish used to be great. I don't realize who you're but certainly you are going to a well-known blogger when you are not already. Cheers!

    April 12, 2012 at 4:00 am |
  3. Nikki Beach Koh Samui

    kind of liked this post 😛 not every part of it – there was some points which i found a little off but all in all it was a nice read, thank you for the post! 😛 Best regards!

    April 7, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  4. Fitri

    Good pctruie!Hair. Ha, ha. Your hair in that pctruie looks pretty darn good to me. I have that curly, curly hair that will never look kempt. Seriously. I wake up looking like sideshow bob (simpsons show) And that's no joke.LA. Hmmm. I don't have anything nice to say about that. No offense to LA girls, but I'm an East Coast, cold loving, prefer the mountains wilderness girl. Unfortunetly I only have the East Coast thing going for me right now with 3 months of cold.

    April 4, 2012 at 12:06 am |
  5. Andrew Feinberg

    I see a bunch of posts here arguing that Hitler was an atheist, despite his very public and very vocal assertions to the contrary. I honestly don't see how it matters one way or the other. An entire nation followed him because THEY believed he was Catholic. He had the support of the German people, the German war machine, the German churches, Italy, the Vatican, all of it, because, more than anything else, they believed he was a good religious man, just like them. It's that system of credulity and blind obedience that shows that the Holocaust wasn't caused by a lack of religion.

    If a lack of religion were the problem, then centuries of Christian rule leading up to that event wouldn't have yielded over a hundred million dead in wars of conquest and dogma, genocidal campaigns, witch-hunts, and death camps. Almost two thousand years of Christians killing and enslaving people for any reason and no reason, and yet some people have the audacity to ignore all that and say, "Clearly a lack of religion leads to atrocities!"

    Crazy is crazy. Religion clearly can't change that, nor can lack of religion.

    March 27, 2012 at 6:50 am |
    • Reality

      The "vomit-inducing" ped-ophilia and coverup will simply hasten the decline of all religions as they finally go extinct from their own absurdity.. It is time to replace all religions with a few rules like "Do No Harm" and convert all houses of "worthless worship" to recreation facilities and parks.

      March 27, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Reality

      The Twenty (or so) Worst Things People Have Done to Each Other:

      M. White, http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u (required reading)

      The Muslim Conquest of India

      "The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      Rank …..Death Toll ..Cause …..Centuries……..(Religions/Groups involved)*

      1. 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists/atheists vs. Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and "Shintoists")

      2. 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)

      3. 40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)

      4. 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)

      5. 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)

      6. 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)

      7. 20 million Joseph Stalin 20C (Communism)

      8. 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)

      9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

      10. 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)

      11. 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)

      12. 15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians vs. Pagans)

      13. 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C

      14. 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C

      15. 10 million Xin Dynasty 1C

      16. 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)

      17. 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans vs. Pagans)

      18. 8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C (Christians)

      19. 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)

      20. 7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

      *:" Is religion responsible for more violent deaths than any other cause?

      A: No, of course not – unless you define religion so broadly as to be meaningless. Just take the four deadliest events of the 20th Century – Two World Wars, Red China and the Soviet Union – no religious motivation there, unless you consider every belief system to be a religion."

      Q: So, what you're saying is that religion has never killed anyone.

      A: Arrgh... You all-or-nothing people drive me crazy. There are many doc-umented examples where members of one religion try to exterminate the members of another religion. Causation is always complex, but if the only difference between two warring groups is religion, then that certainly sounds like a religious conflict to me. Is it the number one cause of mass homicide in human history? No. Of the 22 worst episodes of mass killing, maybe four were primarily religious. Is that a lot? Well, it's more than the number of wars fought over soccer, or s-ex (The Trojan and Sabine Wars don't even make the list.), but less than the number fought over land, money, glory or prestige.

      In my Index, I list 41 religious conflicts compared with 27 oppressions under "Communism", 24 under Colonialism, 2 under "Railroads" and 2 under "Scapegoats". Make of that what you will."

      March 27, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  6. Prayer changes things

    Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    March 27, 2012 at 6:38 am |
    • Andrew Feinberg

      Nor is it unhealthy. Teaching a child that ghosts and demons are real and that they will be burned alive for all eternity if they're bad, that'll leave some emotional scarring.

      March 27, 2012 at 6:53 am |
    • Jesus

      Lying is a sin and you've been proven a liar over and over again on this blog. A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested Friday morning...

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      Plus don't forget. The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.!

      March 27, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • just sayin

      Teaching a child about the Truth of God will produce a well informed person prepared for eternal life. Love not fear is the key to a healthy relationship with God.

      March 27, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • WASP

      @just lyin': why teach cherry picked version of your faith? give the child the whole truth of "god"....not the watered down stuff. i grew up southern baptist, best education i ever had on why not to be religious. they would scream and shout of demons and hell; about the world burning and how all humans were evil. i was ana.lytical even at a young age. didn't buy into that crock then and sure as hell don't buy into it now.

      March 27, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  7. WASP

    ok now getting back on topic. the church should not have the power to supercede law when it comes to priests commiting crimes. if evidence is brought before the pope or other authority then it is their sworn duty to see to it that the men respocible are brought to justice. it's a bigger slap in the face when the church tries to hide criminals amoung it's ranks;less so then just handing them over to authorities to face a fair trial. the children hurt by these men and the many others not reported don't deserve to suffer with these injustices because the church doesn't want to face the fact that there is a problem. so many reports of preists abusing children get hidden by the church only to come out at a later time. the vatican should have to pay rest.itution for these violations of human rights.

    March 26, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  8. Lester Gester

    catholic engineer
    Christianity die a natural death?

    What the heck is a Catholic engineer? I personally know many engineers, but have never met a Catholic engineer!
    Was this guy's studies in university just Engineering 101, and then three and a half years of Catholic religious studies!

    March 26, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  9. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Proven

    March 26, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Jesus

      ~You've been proven a liar over and over again on this blog. A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested Friday morning...

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      Plus don't forget. The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.!

      March 26, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • cykill

      prayer does nothing that would not have happened anyway.

      March 26, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  10. Mike from CT

    So Jose Barba, who was abused by a person now dead, is now finally writing a book

    ITS SO UNRELIABLE. ITS ALL A MYTH. Maciel NEVER EXISTED. IF HIS CALMS AREN'T BACK BY 5 OTHER PEOPLE AND ACCEPTED BY PROF CROSSAN IT CAN'T BE REAL.
    AND IF IT IS BACKED BY 5 OTHER PEOPLE IF THEY DON'T HAVE EXACTLY THE SAME WORDS IN THERE BOOK THEN IT MUST BE FALSE.

    Surely you can see how ridiculous the above sounds. Why would you ever make an arguement like that?

    March 26, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  11. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    "The best thing is to let Christianity die a natural death.... When understanding of the universe has become widespread... Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity.... Christianity has reached the peak of absurdity.... And that's why someday its structure will collapse.... ...the only way to get rid of Christianity is to allow it to die little by little.... Christianity the liar.... We'll see to it that the Churches cannot spread abroad teachings in conflict with the interests of the State". (p 49-52)

    So, just sayin and nii, do you deny that Hitler spoke or wrote the words I posted?

    Hurry up. If you can prove Hitler never uttered or wrote those words, post your evidence. Cite it.

    March 26, 2012 at 7:03 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So, little troll, you can't post under your own name?

      Some soldier of Christ you are.

      March 26, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • catholic engineer

      Christianity die a natural death? The worst people in history from Nero to Napoleon to Stalin have tried to kill Christianity. The church's own hierarchy and some extremely minor personalities like Hitchens and Dawkins have tried. A mere glance at history should tell anyone this: the church always outlasts its enemies and is usually there to bury them. THis typically happens after a period of purification as the Orthodox church experienced under Stalin, and as the Catholic church is now.

      March 26, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Recovering Catholic

      The Christ-consciousness should not die (which is the truth in the hearts of all people) - organized religion should die, for it has wrought nothing but harm to the children of God.

      March 26, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Tom Piper'Sr.

      So I guess you do indeed believe that both Hitler and you never spoke or wrote the words the original poster posted? Is that what you're saying, SON?

      March 26, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • UnevolvedApe

      Tom, Tom..So you mean when a doctor gives you a dose of your own medicine, he becomes a little troll?

      March 26, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Catholic engineer..Education is the key to understanding the world, not religion...christianity, as with all religions indoctrinate the young in order to keep them fearful..the CC are masters it with all the talk of demons and hell. Bunk like that is the type of abuse that can shape a childs mind and that fear goes with them their entire life. There are some of us who manage to out grow and see it for what it is. You are unfortunately not one of those folks. I agree that religion will be with humanity for many generations to come but as with all things will evolve into something different from what we see today.

      March 26, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  12. Don't be stupid, be a smarty, come and join the Nazi Party.

    Can I point out the incredibly obvious? When the topic is "what Hitler said or believed", then Hitler's own words are indeed the relevant truth.

    March 25, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Thank you.

      March 25, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Nii

      The story of Hitler's Christianity is the funniest ever told by atheists. First of all if you admit every guy who says I believe in Christ is a Christian then Muslims will be Christians too. Lets get serious. There have been more brutal Christian rulers than Hitler. We exclude Him cos of doctrine.

      March 25, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So, Nii, do you deny those are Hitler's words?

      March 25, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Silence equals consent. I guess you do indeed believe that Hitler never spoke or wrote the words I posted.

      Holocaust denier, too?

      March 25, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Nii..so a person who declares they are Christian has to pass another test to prove it...faith is no longer acceptable...good to hear actually.

      March 25, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • just sayin

      Can I point out that Hitler was a total liar and not to believed on any topic.

      March 26, 2012 at 5:30 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Pot meet kettle.

      March 26, 2012 at 9:50 am |
  13. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    just sayin is caught. It can't deny that the quotes I posted are attributed accurately to Hitler. Said quotes blow its claims to hell.

    Poor little dolt. It's sad when a dimwit attempts to fight a battle of wits unarmed.

    March 25, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • just sayin

      Quoting Hitler as truth shows a complete lack of being able to grasp what the truth is. Hard core Nazis and fools believe the words of Hitler. The sane world knows the man by his actions.

      March 26, 2012 at 5:32 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And whom do you see doing so, moron?

      March 26, 2012 at 9:50 am |
  14. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    March 25, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • Jesus

      -.You've been proven a liar over and over again on this blog. A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested Friday morning...

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      Plus don't forget. The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!!...-

      March 26, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • Mike from CT

      J You've been proven a liar over and over again on this blog. you have yet to provide a source for your comment "prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time " and addressing the study

      A 1988 study by Randolph C. Byrd used 393 patients at the San Francisco General Hospital coronary care unit (CCU). Measuring 29 health outcomes using three-level (good, intermediate, or bad) scoring, the prayer group suffered fewer newly diagnosed ailments on only six of them. Byrd concluded that "Based on these data there seemed to be an effect, and that effect was presumed to be beneficial", and that "intercessory prayer to the Judeo-Christian God has a beneficial therapeutic effect in patients admitted to a CCU."[6] The reaction from the scientific community concerning this study was mixed. Several reviewers considered Byrd’s study to be well-designed and well-executed,[7] while others remained skeptical. A criticism of Byrd's study, which also applies to most other studies, is based on the fact that he did not limit prayers by the friends and family of patients, hence it is unclear which prayers may have been measured, if any.[8]

      March 26, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      J isn't lying about anything.

      just sayin and its clone Atheism is not have consistently maintained that prayer changes things. Can you prove they're right?

      March 26, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  15. fernace

    They have to deny & cover up because if they don't a 500+ year old Catholic secret skeleton will come tumbling out of the closet! There was a time when the Church was ambivalent about celebacy & in fact allowed priests to marry & have families! A team of a dictatorial doge & an overzealous pope decided celebacy was the only option for a priest in order to "truly serve God" (& be obedient to his "betters",i.e doge & pope)! Of course alot of affairs, illegitimate children, even secret families, ensued! There were many crackdowns & priests & monks seemed to fall inline, until the whispers began, about the altar boys! Seems the tradition lives on! Disgusting!!

    March 25, 2012 at 7:46 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.