Sex abuse victim learns of Pope's role
September 24th, 2010
09:32 AM ET

Sex abuse victim learns of Pope's role

Editor’s note: This story is drawn from CNN's one-hour special, “What the Pope Knew,” which aired Sept. 25 and Sept. 26, at 8pm and 11pm ET.

By Brian Rokus
CNN Special Investigations Unit

MORRISONVILLE, Ill. – Matt McCormick was in the seventh grade when Father Alvin Campbell gave him a ride home from a baseball game.  As they were driving along country roads, Campbell put his hand on McCormick’s thigh and “just left it there.”

It was the first time the priest had touched him. During the next three years, McCormick says, the abuse would go much further.

That was 25 years ago.  Just three months ago, he learned that Pope Benedict XVI played a role in keeping his abuser in the church when CNN told him about a letter signed by the pontiff – then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – refusing to defrock the pedophile priest.

Walking around the 1,000-person Illinois farming town where he grew up, McCormick pointed out where he was molested: inside the church school, inside the rectory, and inside the church itself.

Father Campbell was convicted in 1985 on multiple sexual assault charges. He served half of his 14-year sentence. He was released in 1992 and died 10 years later.

Before performing his duties as an altar server, McCormick and other boys were fondled by Campbell in a room just steps away from the altar.

“He thought it would be funny if we went out with erections under our gowns,” McCormick said.

Still, like other young victims of molestation, McCormick didn’t think of the priest as a monster.

“You don’t see him as a predator – you see him as a friend,” McCormick said, standing in the same church where he was abused. “You see him as somebody who supplies you with money, bicycles and games and trips ... His actions would be so slow and so subtle that by the time you realized what’s going on, you’re caught.”

Campbell would also discuss sexual topics with McCormick in the confessional.

“He used the cloak of Christianity in his role as a priest to embed himself with children of parishioners and he would molest them,” said Fred Nessler, an attorney who has represented hundreds of church sex abuse victims, including 10 who named Campbell as their abuser. “They groom children. First, luring them with the idea that they’re going to be around a priest and their parents usually think that’s a fine idea.”

Matt McCormick, age 14, in a school photo from 8th grade.

When he was 16, McCormick tried to kill himself with a knife and with an overdose of pills. His father had to break down the door to his room to save his life.

“I felt like a victim and I felt ashamed,” McCormick said.  “So [it was] denial, denial, denial until I got to the point that I could move away and not have to deny anymore because people wouldn’t ask.”

As a teenager he also drank heavily and used marijuana.

“A lot of the times he would get us into that frame of mind where you’re not quite yourself, where you’re a little out of it and that’s when the molestations would start,” McCormick said.

McCormick, now 41, is happily married. He’s received a settlement from the Catholic Church and has been one of only a handful of Campbell’s victims to speak publicly about the abuse.

But until CNN contacted him in June, McCormick had no idea that the case of Father Campbell had gone far beyond his local parish.

The priest was convicted in 1985 on multiple charges of sexual assault and sentenced to a 14-year prison sentence.  But Campbell’s bishop, Daniel Ryan, was bothered by a disturbing fact: Despite his criminal conviction and prison sentence, Campbell was still a priest – and refused to quit.

Ryan brought the case to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who today is Pope Benedict XVI. Ryan asked Benedict to forcibly remove Campbell from the priesthood.

In a personally signed letter, Ratzinger, citing Canon law, said he couldn’t defrock Campbell without Campbell’s permission – and instead suggested a local church trial, which would have taken years. It would be three more years before Bishop Ryan could persuade Campbell to request his own defrocking.

The Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln, Illinois, where Campbell served his prison sentence.

McCormick was speechless when he read the letter that kept his abuser an ordained priest.

“I think common sense should supersede Canon law,” McCormick said.

Video: Watch McCormick's reaction to the letter

Monsignor Charles Scicluna, the prosecutor for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, says things have changed in the church.

“Today, Canon law has a different scenario,” Scicluna said. “This thing would not happen under [today’s] Canon Law.”

After coming to terms with his own experience, McCormick now plans to start a foundation to support other survivors of sexual abuse.

“The children are the ones who will grow up to be the parishioners that fill the pews,” he said. “They’re the ones that need the protection. They’re the ones that need the safety net and they need the supervision and it’s not there.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI • Sex abuse

soundoff (918 Responses)
  1. K21H

    We need to praise God without the corruption of religions involved.

    September 24, 2010 at 10:56 am |
  2. D. Hodge

    My opinion does not amount to anything. It is what GOD says in his word that matters.

    The vatican should read the BIBLE. The pope is just a man aponted by men.

    Ephesians 6:12 (King James Version)
    "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places".

    Matthew 7:20 (King James Version)
    "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."

    1 Thessalonians 5:22 (King James Version)
    "Abstain from all appearance of evil"

    Sudy for yourself.

    GOD bless

    September 24, 2010 at 10:51 am |
    • Peter

      I always get a chuckle when I hear Protestants telling Catholics to read the Bible.

      And just who was it that gave you the Bible, sir? And not that King James Version mess, the real one.

      September 24, 2010 at 10:55 am |
    • K21H

      News Flahs: the bible was NOT written by God. that is all.

      September 24, 2010 at 10:57 am |
    • HotAirAce


      Re: one sect advising another sect to read the bible, this is not anywhere close to being as amusing as when believers advise atheists to read the bible. Nothing like asking us to read something we (OK, at least I) have relegated (l-iterally) to the trash bin.

      September 24, 2010 at 1:57 pm |
  3. cassarit

    I think we Catholics should start fighting back against this media assault even if it means adopting extrajudicial methods.

    September 24, 2010 at 10:48 am |
    • Luke

      I think you Catholics should stop molesting children.

      September 24, 2010 at 10:58 am |
    • sammy1974

      Maybe you Catholics should start fighting back against the hierarchy of your church which continues to escape responsibility for their actions; continues to treat victims like the enemy when involved in legal concerns with them; continues to protect & reward those who enabled abuse (example: Bernard Law); continues to deny, excuse & delay justice. Maybe you should start to actively & publicly support victims & donate to victims' groups. Maybe you could learn the all the facts regarding clergy abuse. And maybe you can stop blaming the messenger.

      September 24, 2010 at 11:04 am |
    • w5observer10

      Something I learned a long time ago.
      The Roman Catholic Church we now know is the offspring of a Pagan worshippers organization which existed before Jesus Christ walked this earth. They infiltrated Christianity, they protected the Mafia in Italy, they committed mass abortions on the nunery, and to cover up they sought and eventually got immunity from prosecution by establishing themselves through corrupt power-brokerage with governments. Now they can pretend to address criminal practices, by shuffling the perpetrators away from a specific jurisdiction, simply because, evil deeds do not really offend their original modus operandi.
      Many legal systems now adopt 'a confidentiality clause' between priests and their parishoners who confess to them the crimes they committed. Murderers, Rapists and Thieves have long been absolved of their crimes by Priests and witnesses are scared to buck the authority of the Roman Catholic Church by attending court. No other doctrine offers absolution/pardon and discourage an offender making his confession to the police.
      Tough on us for not recognizing the EVIL the Pope and his Organization represent.

      September 27, 2010 at 5:06 am |
    • daryl


      September 27, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
    • daryl

      Have at it cass, priests are only stronger than 12 year old boys!

      October 5, 2010 at 8:54 pm |
  4. cindy

    It goes without saying that abuse of children is a heinous crime and should not be tolerated. It is really remarkable that any man would defend a church law over the abuse of children. It shows me that he is not qualified to lead anyone, let alone the Catholic Church.

    September 24, 2010 at 10:48 am |
    • John in NY


      Please read the story again, it does not say that Cardinal Ratzinger defended anything, it simply said that he told the local bishop that the priest, who was already in jail for his crimes, needed to be defrocked via a local trail/hearing and not via edict from his office.

      When a teacher is convicted of molesting a child the local school needs to terminate them, they can't get the federal education department to do it for them.

      September 24, 2010 at 11:24 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @John NY

      As in another post, the actions of the rcc and pope-a-dope may have been legally correct (within the rules of the rcc) but they were morally bankrupt (by anyone else's rules and for the protection of others). Re: your Dept of Ed example, I would suggest that making a complaint against a teacher is substantially easier (practically and emotionally) than making a complaint against a local priest. Many businesses understand this and have what is often known as an "Open Door Policy" – we encourage employees to report abuse to their manager's manager, etc. until they get resolution, without the fear of retaliation. I suggest this is not the way the rcc works. It is a secret society run by men with their first priorty being the preservation of their society.

      September 24, 2010 at 11:52 am |
    • CatolicoMatt

      @ John IN NY If I was A Cardinal, incharge as he was, and it was your child?.............................................I would have flown to the ends of the earth, walked across firery pits, would accept being stabbed beaten or robbed, would endure any condition, and would have personally overseen the prosecution of that priest to protect future child. And then I would have beaten him for hurting your son. YOUR SON. So, ...........sleep on that.

      September 25, 2010 at 8:46 am |
  5. Dave

    Why is it only the catholic church abuse gets media coverage. There are over 1,200 reported cases of Rabbii's abusing children even leading to thier death but the there is no equal coverage of these incidents? Honest question!

    September 24, 2010 at 10:47 am |
    • John

      I have a thought. The Catholic church is set up in a way that churches and schools are not independent but rather part of a whole diocesan structure (almost like a franchise) which allows those who sue to go straight for the top and get big settlements. This starkly contrasts most other religions where the local church or synagogue is its own corporate body and and not a smaller part of a larger structure. You can't see Judaism, you can only sue the synagogue... You cannot sue the Southern Baptist Congregation, you can only sue the local First Baptist Church.

      September 24, 2010 at 10:50 am |
    • John

      But for something that happened in a Catholic Church you can sue the Diocese and now they are even trying to sue the vatican. Deep pockets

      September 24, 2010 at 10:52 am |
    • Pragmatism

      I agree with this sentiment. It is much easier to go after an organization if its part of a larger group. Hence you see more coverage of a food poisoning at a McDonald's then at a mom and pop diner. I remember when I was in college and in a Fraternity it presented a similar target like effect. People like to think they are "stickin it to the man". Which can sometimes result in an unfortunate miss allocation of media and resources.

      September 24, 2010 at 12:17 pm |
    • daryl

      Dave, where did you obtain your info on rabbis?

      October 13, 2010 at 7:10 pm |
  6. Frank

    It's time that popes be impeached! They are far from fallible, as we were taught as kids. Historically they have been murderers, lechers, and deviants!

    September 24, 2010 at 10:44 am |
    • Peter

      @ Frank: Thanks for that rant, crazy.

      September 24, 2010 at 10:48 am |
    • Truthspeak

      Frank, I couldn't agree more. The catholic church is no different than the Taliban. Except the Taliban are NOT perverts!

      September 25, 2010 at 10:23 am |
  7. John

    I don't think people are looking at the facts in the article. The Priest was already in jail – say that again- already in jail when the bishop wrote to the vatican requesting that the priest be de-frocked. Father was not working in a church or even saying mass. he was sitting in a jail cell. Cardinal Ratzinger told the local bishop that this was a local matter and should have been handled locally with a local trial. If you had a teacher in California who was convicted of molestation and in jail, you wouldn't write to Washington to have his teaching license removed, you do it locally. That is exactly what Ratzinger was saying – do this locally!

    September 24, 2010 at 10:40 am |
    • Vorpul


      The only thing that requires "locality" is execution of these twisted human beings. May your precious Catholic Church burn in HeII forever. Jesus will be the one putting the Church there, so don't go looking for him to help you. You are guilty, mr. unofficial-CC-rep...of sticking your defense of criminals where it is not wanted or needed.

      September 24, 2010 at 10:52 am |
    • John

      I'm not defending anyone, I'm just pointing out the facts. I'm actually a Methodist.

      September 24, 2010 at 10:54 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Pope-a-dope *may* have read the rules of the rcc correctly, and his advice might have been perfectly *legal* according to the rcc, but he apparently did not do the *moral* thing and actively, publicly and ruthlessly purge the rcc of childs mol-esters!! He showed no leadership!! He took the easy way out, in my opinion, to hide the rcc's history of child a-b-use and to protect the power structure, not to mention prop up the house of cards that religion is.

      September 24, 2010 at 11:43 am |
    • john

      I remind you that when this occurred Ratzinger was not Pope and was only a worker bee for another pope!

      September 24, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
    • HotAirAce


      Pope-a-dope was *not* just a workerbee: "Ryan brought the case to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who today is Pope Benedict XVI." He was in a position of power and refused to take direct action. Awating the next deflection...

      September 24, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
    • zk

      We can't burn the whole church down, because we do have many priest like Father Ryan...What we should do is hang those other one's. by their b.....lls.

      September 24, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
  8. stevie68a

    The abuse was ignored for decades, more likely centuries, to save the church's reputation. Now this criminal pope is acting
    like he never knew. What a racket! There is no reason for ratzinger to get away with this. I would love to see this guy in jail.
    He can decorate his cell with his golden dresses, and perform "blessings" on the other convicts. (a "blessing" consists of
    waving your hand in the air, anyone can do it).

    September 24, 2010 at 10:35 am |
    • RCC_Soldaten


      September 24, 2010 at 10:36 am |
    • CD6910

      Posting your hatred of the one, true, holy and apostolic Church adds nothing to the conversation.

      September 24, 2010 at 10:38 am |
  9. Peter

    Fr. Campbell's actions are completely indefensible. He should have been prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, both civil and ecclesiastical, but this CNN witch hunt after Ratzinger/Benedict is absurd.

    Honestly what sort of journalism is there? This article claims to be about the pope's role, but the only fact regarding the pontiff, who then was simply Ratzinger, is that he did not officially defrock Campbell. Should he have? Probably. Did not defrocking him cause the abuse of any other children? Absolutely not. There's not even a timeline that states when Ratzinger became aware of the abuse. How many years later was it? Ten? Fifteen? Twenty? Longer?

    The Church has a major internal problem in ending not only the abuse of children, but also its coverup. That said, to try and pin this on Benedict is poor journalism and simply dishonest.

    In addition, to say that "I'll never trust the Catholic Church again," is also sad. The Church has always had its issues. Hell, even one of Christ's apostles, the spiritual ancestors to today's bishops, betrayed Christ. But you don't leave Peter because of Judas.

    As a Catholic, these stories of abuse greatly disturb me and break my heart. I cannot even imagine being an actual victim or a friend or family to one. But let's go after the real villians here, and not the Pope.

    September 24, 2010 at 10:35 am |
    • Vorpul


      But the Pope IS one of the real villains! You are not very good at this, are you? Go impale yourself on a crucifix or something...

      September 24, 2010 at 10:47 am |
    • Peter

      @Vorpul: Is that so? Did you take the time to look at my comment or this article, or is reading just not your strong suit?

      September 24, 2010 at 10:50 am |
    • Vorpul


      You are the one without any imagination, so I guess you didn't imagine that someone would pick out your defense of the Pope as being retarded and criminal.
      So get a clue. Chances are that you are related to a victim, friends with victims, etc, yet you remain clueless because nobody is going to tell the pro-CC tard anything like the truth. You live in a box and darkness is your light.

      September 24, 2010 at 10:56 am |
    • Dave

      Very well-written post Peter. Thank you.

      September 24, 2010 at 10:57 am |
    • Peter

      @Vorpul: LOL! "Retarded and criminal"!! Tell me, what med/law school did you attend to be qualified to give that astounding diagnosis??

      You clearly don't want to deal with the facts, then again, neither would I if I was arguing your position. So why don't you run along and play with the children while the grown ups talk.

      Also "the darkness is your light"... one of the weakest attempts to sound intelligent while not being so I've ever heard.

      September 24, 2010 at 11:01 am |
    • Peter

      @ Vorpul:

      I couldn't care less whether you have time for me.

      Do I look forward to death?? Of course not, why the hell would I? Life is a gift from God, and I intend to take full advantage until He calls me home. But when that day does come, my soul will be prepared.

      And good luck slitting either the Pope's or my throat. The Pope is guarded by some of the most highly trained men in the world with more than just "funny uniforms." And me, well, I'm a Texan. Enough said. 🙂

      September 24, 2010 at 11:27 am |
    • Dave

      You JUST DON'T GET, do you?

      September 24, 2010 at 11:55 am |
    • Critter


      In reading your posts, I found myself nearly retching at your duplicity and falseness. Your pompous arrogance kind of adds to that as well.
      I'm with Vorpul on this one. You are a very disgusting "representative" of your "Church". I have no doubt that you are in league with Satan, if he exists. It fairly glows from your words. What a pathetic sort of loser you are to be doing and saying these things anywhere in the world, much less a back-alley blog like this. No words can do you justice, but one.

      September 24, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
    • CatolicoMatt

      @ Peter

      Excuse me sir, but any involvement in a crime carries a punishment. And the Pope knew, and therefore, the Pope should step down as the church leader. And if I was McCormick, I would deck the pope in public. Some men need one smack in the face to wake up. He knew about it, and did nothing. And this man's life was robbed of the gifts GOD himself put into his soul. Peter, awaken my friend. It is time to carry justice throughout to rid the church of evil.

      September 25, 2010 at 8:35 am |
  10. Rob

    Its a crime more heinous than muder. It should be re-hased, re-visited, re-examined, beat like a dead horse, forever..as to keep the Catholic church under such a bright spotlight that it has no choice but to respond to these incidents like a cop, judge or father would. .. and its not bashing Christianity..its an examination of a trend that seems to be shockinglly prevelant in one sect of Christianity...And for that matter it doesn;t bash the idelas Catholicism..it bashes the dirt bags who pretend to work within, and represent, the Catholic mantra... and whoever said they would never leave their kid alone with a priest/church member..sadly, I completely agree with you.

    September 24, 2010 at 10:31 am |
    • RCC_Soldaten

      You might want to make use of 'spell-check' when you post.

      September 24, 2010 at 10:36 am |
    • CD6910

      More heinous than murder? Absurd. And by the way I do believe there is another non-Catholic pastor in the news today molesting boys.

      September 24, 2010 at 10:36 am |
    • redone2deth


      I think I agree with you. But I can't help feeling that a blog is not as useful as actions on the parts of real people. Then again, I do not have any expectation of justice for any of the abuses done to me, so go ahead and vent. It can help sometimes...

      September 24, 2010 at 10:42 am |
  11. Marta

    Can someone please tell me, what's Canon Law? I'm at work and can't google it, right now.

    September 24, 2010 at 10:30 am |
    • CD6910

      The laws of the Catholic Church

      September 24, 2010 at 10:34 am |
    • RCC_Soldaten

      Wait until you get home.

      September 24, 2010 at 10:34 am |
    • Critter


      Canon Law is the extra-secular made-up rules of the Catholic Church – as opposed to the regular made-up rules and the whole made up religion. It's all BS, really...too bad you had to hear about it in an article like this one...

      September 24, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
    • edna

      Cannon Laws are Roman Catholic Laws set up to run their church. They are man made and include that the Pope is infallable.. (incapable of being wrong)... I am a very firm Christian, but left the Roman Catholic Church a long time ago when I started to read the Bible, and only God is infallable. They have their own set of heirarchy and make their own man made rules to follow. It is not biblical, and people are sinners and responsible for their own actions or inactions... by helping to continue a heinus crime.

      September 25, 2010 at 9:02 am |
    • Leslie

      That one puzzled me too. It is yet another one of those man made "laws" by a group of men in dresses. I am well past 80, attended a catholic school for 14 years and certainly got out of the group as soon as I could. The fellow I had such a crush on in high school would never give me the time of day. When I questioned that, I found it was because he was in such a fractured mental state because of being molested by one of the priests in our parish. As a young adult, he committed suicide. Anyone think there is no problem and everyone's just blowing hot air. Nope. All of it is true, all of it.

      September 27, 2010 at 10:24 am |
    • daryl

      Canon law is just like Conan law, fiction created when a need came up.

      October 8, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
  12. John in NY

    Did I read that story right, he is suing the pope because the pope wouldn't defrock the molester who was in jail?

    Now on the one hand it's mind boggling, although it does say the pope basically said they needed to follow the rules, but on the other what exactly are the damages to this man because a person locked up for their crimes against him, for which he has already accepted a cash settlement, was still legally a priest for a few years after being locked up?

    Sounds like a simple case of someone trying for a cash grab.

    September 24, 2010 at 10:30 am |
    • John

      thank you for making sense

      September 24, 2010 at 10:43 am |
    • Vorpul

      Isn't it sad when people talk to themselves?

      September 24, 2010 at 10:57 am |
    • John in NY

      "Isn't it sad when people talk to themselves?"


      Actually that is why I added the "in NY" to my name, I would read through comments and go "Nope, not me. Nope that's not mine either, etc..."

      September 24, 2010 at 11:17 am |
    • Dave

      "He had to follow the rules" amounts to, "the Church isn't responsible because the Church was handcuffed by the Church's own policies."

      If you can't see what's so fundamentally wrong about that position, I don't know how to explain it to you. Does making excuses for child abusers make it hard to sleep at night? It should.

      September 24, 2010 at 11:54 am |
    • edna

      John in NY... are you kidding me? No amount of money will ever make up for what was done to him. Let me pray that your children.. never.. never experience the hell that these survivors live daily. Not everyone is after money, and I am sure he would rather have had his life back that this man stole, that no settlement could soothe.... maybe, just maybe, he is being bold and holding accountable the person who let this happen, and is trying to protect others from ever having their lives ripped away from them.

      September 25, 2010 at 8:56 am |
    • daryl

      One big B.S. to you!

      October 8, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
  13. CD6910

    The rules regarding defrocking priests are not like the rules of firing someone. A priest is ordained through the sacrament of Holy Orders, hence, appointed by God to this vocation. So, it's not easy to let them go. The process is takes time and Cardinal Ratzinger was willing to start that process. Sorry if that offends people.

    September 24, 2010 at 10:29 am |
    • alan

      You are right, I don't know why people are looking for the "smoking gun" on a incident that happened 35 years ago.
      All the letter says is that he does not have the authority to defrock him. However, the police should have been involved,
      but even in the 70's the laws were not as strict as they are today. The man involved served 14 years in prison and is dead
      Why CNN want to attack the Pope on this issue by stirring up a letter dated over 35 years ago is not a mystery, this news
      network can only survive on sensationalism, yellow journalism and half truths , or it can not survive. A rat cannot
      live long outside of the the sewer.

      September 24, 2010 at 11:32 am |
    • claybigsby

      ok we get it...the rules the church abides by are garbage. But not even the church is above the law and im sure some 300lb black inmate would be happy to "defrock" this dbag or any for that matter that violate children.

      September 24, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'A rat cannot live long outside of the the sewer.'
      Oh I don't know, looks like one survived long enough in the Vatican to become pope.

      September 24, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
    • daryl

      So being a priest or pope to be, gives you the right to not be charged with sodomy by a court of law? How?

      October 7, 2010 at 11:20 pm |
  14. CD6910

    The rules regarding defrocking priests are not like the rules of firing someone. A priest is ordained through the sacrament of Holy Orders, hence, appointed by God to this vocation. So, it's not easy to let them go. The process is takes time and Cardinal Ratzinger was willing to start that process. Sorry if that offends people.

    September 24, 2010 at 10:29 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'The process takes time '
      How much time? I mean the cover-ups have stretched back for decades...DECADES!
      Why did they not start on the reform path after the first case of an abusive priest came up? How many came along before someone said 'you know, maybe we should actually be handing these guys over to the authorities and stripping them of their priesthood rather than covering it up and moving them'?

      September 24, 2010 at 1:21 pm |
    • CD6910

      The process I referred to is the time from when you find something out, investigate, determine what to do. Court cases take ten years, why should this be any different when you don't know the facts? You can't just defrock a priest when one person yells molestation.

      September 24, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
    • dulcius

      No, it doesnt offend me... It just underscores the fact that most Catholics beleive the rules of the church supercede the character of Christ. Anyone remember what the Bible said should happen if anyone harms one of these little children. God sent Christ to spread a message of love, peace, hope and furthermore spent much of His time on earth going against the very established religion of the day that place rules and canon above love. Anyone who says, well I wanted to do something to help but my hands were tied, cause Christ to weep. No church, no organization, no set of rules put in place by men can ever be places above that message that Christ came to bring. The Vatican is a city-state and a corporation. If Christ returned today, he would cast it to the ground as He did the moneychangers tables.

      September 24, 2010 at 8:10 pm |
    • AC

      Do those rules include moving the pedophlie to a different parrish without telling anyone there that they are at risk? If those rules do include this, then bravo. Your church has obeyed their rules. Why do no church defenders ever refer to Bilbical thoughts but only comment on "canon law"? It is obvious that your mother church puts canon law above Bible principles.

      September 25, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
    • daryl

      So, who does God tell to appoint a priest? Is there a voice that says pick him? How can a pope appoint so many child molesters unless he is trying too? Too many children, too many cases in too many countries to be untrue. I would like to defrock a few, especially the ones that get moved around when they are caught molesting and never get charged.

      October 7, 2010 at 11:06 pm |
  15. Another call to action

    While some might say that "death is too good for them", it certainly would put an end to their abuses wouldn't it?

    September 24, 2010 at 10:26 am |
    • RCC_Soldaten

      No it wouldn't would it? Did it stop murders in Texas or any other state that has/had capital punishment?

      September 24, 2010 at 10:33 am |
    • Vorpul


      If you were a child abuser and I bludgeoned you to death as you deserved, would you then be able to abuse anyone else?

      I think not.

      September 24, 2010 at 10:58 am |
    • Critter

      So death is not "too good for them"! That's a relief. I was actually worried there for a second or two...

      September 24, 2010 at 7:10 pm |
    • daryl

      Too many cases in too many different countries to be a coincidence. Preists teach zero birth control so they will have a steady choice of boys to molest.

      September 25, 2010 at 11:13 am |


    September 24, 2010 at 10:26 am |
    • I see you


      Clear as the misdirection you are trying to accomplish? Yes, I guess we are.

      September 24, 2010 at 10:28 am |
    • Blake

      We're clear that typing in all CAPS is not socially acceptable and it's clear that typing that way doesn't make your comment any more important than anyone elses.

      September 24, 2010 at 10:42 am |
    • Ralph in Orange Park, FL

      Catholic bishops and higher clergy who covered up for child molesting priests were accessories after the fact. Is that clear?

      September 24, 2010 at 11:08 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Is this the Gabriel that appeared to moh that resulted in the creation of islam? If yes, it seems that you will pros-t-i-t-ute yourself for any religion... If just a mere mortal, please stop deflecting and deal with the evil within your house of silliness...

      September 24, 2010 at 11:33 am |
    • laurab68

      Are you kidding me Gabriel?? So when a child gets molested and they have the guts to tell someone and that someone advises the molesters' higher ups and nothing gets done are you telling me that the higher ups have no responsibility in this?? Tell you what if you ever get assualted and you go to the police and the police do nothing, tell me how you feel then.

      September 24, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
    • SDCyclist

      Yes, Gabriel. Very clear. I agree. And that's why the Pope needs to resign. He's a criminal and has taken no real responsibility for (nor action on) his role in the abuse of children and the ensuing cover-up he orchestrated and continues to allow. As a good Catholic you should support your Church and ask that your Parish get involved in removing the Pope because he's a criminal.

      September 24, 2010 at 12:25 pm |
    • veggiedude

      Based on what you say, the Pope should be in jail now, for trying to cover it up for so long. That is called aiding and abetting.

      September 24, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
    • Pippo Schillaci

      No we are not clear. This abusive horror show goes back hundreds of years and the "Holy See" is definately as guilty as the offending priests.

      September 24, 2010 at 8:42 pm |
    • CatolicoMatt

      @Gabriel You need to realize that the whole church is responsible to correct this problem if it wants to exist. You make sure you reflect on your statement. The Vatican will have to go through a purification process if it wants to continue. Having a pope that know about this crime, and did nothing, should be removed. Period!

      September 25, 2010 at 8:30 am |
    • Disgusted

      No, Gabriel, and please don't shout. Your "holy mother church" was made aware of molestation within its ranks and chose to cover it up rather than to take action against the perpetrators. That made the church responsible.

      September 25, 2010 at 8:32 am |
    • daryl

      The head honcho (pope) knew about the abuses and hoped that they would go away if did nothing about them, well he was and is wrong, still. Too many countrys and too many 12 year and younger were molested and all that happened was to the clergy was to receive a little hand slap or moved to greener (young altor boys) pastures to start all over. The catholic church is a joke. Check out a web search of father murphy for 1 prime example.

      September 27, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
    • daryl

      Even when the abuser catholic is in a leadership position?

      October 12, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
  17. BullzFan

    There is a simple solution to this horrendous problem. Parents should never allow their kids to be alone with a priest. Not for any reason. Problem solved.

    September 24, 2010 at 10:19 am |
    • RCC_Soldaten

      ...or a teacher after school...or a day care worker unattended...or...

      September 24, 2010 at 10:30 am |
    • CD6910

      add...boy scout leader...grandfather/uncle/aunt/etc...ymca coordinator...piano teacher...dance instructor...youth football coach...

      September 24, 2010 at 10:40 am |
    • NL

      Come on, what organization out there is systematically shifting pedophile teachers and day care workers around so that they can avoid jail the way that the RCC does it's priests?

      September 24, 2010 at 10:41 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Never being alone with a child *is* standrd practice for at least a couple of organizations that I know of first hand – our local hockey and lacrosse organizations have such rules. Of course, Canadian hockey did go thru a very public abuse case and took corrective action. The abuser was punished (jail?, not allowed to coach in Canada for sure), but he did manage to find a coaching job in Europe...

      September 24, 2010 at 11:29 am |
    • CD6910

      Hate to open your eyes but the Catholic Church is not a single organization. The local diocese is run by a bishop; that is where much of the authority lies. And yes, many org's now have rules in place for non- one on one contact, but that was after molestation in their own org (boy scouts) or others like the Church.

      September 24, 2010 at 2:01 pm |
    • tjg

      Not so easily done; i.e., keeping children away from situations where they are alone with someone else. My 6th grade male teacher had his ways of touching the girls DURING CLASS. The girls in high school, who had passed through his class, knew all about it. Girls in my class knew it. It happened to me at least twice. All our parents knew it. He remained in his position many more years until his retirement, and nothing was ever said or done.

      September 24, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
  18. joe

    im ashamed to be catholic. priests are monsters that use the church as a mask to molest young boys. I would never let my kid in a church with a priest.

    September 24, 2010 at 10:11 am |
    • David Johnson

      I agree with you Joe. Better to leave them with a rabid pit bull.

      September 24, 2010 at 10:17 am |
    • Ben

      Stating "Priests are monsters" causes me to question who you claim to be.

      September 24, 2010 at 10:19 am |
    • RCC_Soldaten

      How do you feel leaving your child with a public school teacher or daycare worker where the odds of abuse are exponentially higher? They always move teachers around or place them on leave. Same with every other occupation. There are cover ups everywhere.

      September 24, 2010 at 10:21 am |
    • Julio

      It's sad that becase of a lot of twisted mind people have infiltrated into the church people labels them all as pedofiles; I know several prriests doing so much for other people that none of us will ever do...
      Certainly this cases are embarrising but you are only seeing the bad side becasue that is all the media is covering.
      Since the church is the only religious organiztion that still has not change it's position against the liberal agenda, then of course is the one to be attacked the most...

      September 24, 2010 at 11:00 am |
    • Luciano

      Wow Joe what a rational comment, "priests are monsters". or do you mean the priest referenced in the story was a monster. How can you call ALL priests monsters becuase of the actions of a very few, do some reserach don't let CNN's biased reporting thwart your thinking (i.e. why are they treating this as a headline story now, all they are trying to do is to give the Church some more bad press, coming on the heals of the positive press the Pope received with his historic visit to Britain, where by the way he met with victims of abuse, which I don't recall CNN reporting (wonder why???))

      September 24, 2010 at 11:10 am |
    • sammy1974

      AND priests molested many girls too.

      September 24, 2010 at 11:11 am |
    • benedictacc

      joe, you are a Catholic? Yeah, right, sure. No Catholic would have made such a statement.

      September 24, 2010 at 11:21 am |
    • Peacemaker

      Dear Joe, I understand your anger. I have been a Catholic since the day I was born, 58 years. In this time I have met 100's of wonderful men who are priests. Many are personal friends. NOT every priest is a monster. To say every priest is a monster, is like saying "every Muslim is a terrorist." And that's not true. Peace.

      September 24, 2010 at 11:45 am |
    • Samuel

      How many preists you know did that ? 10- 50 ? from millions ! If youare ashamed reconsider it. Hundreds of pastors do the same in other churches but have no superior to go after. hundred cases among 2 billions catholicin 50 years...it's nothing...sins happen, and we shouldn't condemn the whole instutution....between the 12 apostles, already one was a traitor...do we condem the whole ?

      September 24, 2010 at 11:54 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Oh I am sorry Samuel, how many Vatican cover-ups of abusing priests would you like there to actually be before we are allowed to start pointing fingers?

      September 24, 2010 at 1:15 pm |
    • Kat

      I agree. This and their heinous, archaic view of women have made me leave the Catholic faith. Who really do they allow and protect? Just grown men. Who, hopefully, didn't get into the religion early enough to be taken advantage of.

      September 24, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
    • no no no

      Hey Joe,

      Unbelievable!!! These people are still defending the catholic church. they used to say "it was only one priest' then "it was only a few priests" Now we know it is all the way to the top of the corporation, oops I mean church. Now they still defend it. Think for yourself people and if you really need the rituals that organized religion provides, go somewhere else. If you can stand on your own 2 feet and think how you should behave then forgo the brick and mortar church and go into the world a thinking Christian, who knows what God expects of you, and behave accordingly. You do not need a ":religion" to tell you how to act.

      September 25, 2010 at 5:20 am |
  19. Nancy Brown

    How many times do we need to go over this. Society and the church is now at a different time. We have corrected a lot since all this happened. Teachers now get fired and cannot teach. Police officers also get fired and priest now leave the church as priest. The whole country changed its knowledge and information on a lot of things we thought were right or that we didi not know how to handle back then. It is called growth and learning. If we do not learn from our mistakes, then yes it is a story. But you also got to tell the rest of the story of how we now have rules and plans in place that will help that this will never happen again.

    September 24, 2010 at 10:10 am |
    • Mary

      How many times do you care to apologize for spiritual leaders who betrayed the trust of children?

      September 24, 2010 at 10:26 am |
    • John in NY

      Nancy Brown,

      Excellent post

      September 24, 2010 at 10:32 am |
    • Tom

      Nancy, In fact times have not changed. There are still priests abusing children and these abuses are still being covered up. There are still practicing priests being protected by the church even though credible evidence would demand that they be reported to the police. The practice of moving priests to other locations once they have committed abuse is still going on (though now many are being transferred to 3rd world countries where there is less of a chance of being caught and or departed.) Space is not adequate here to cite examples so I suggest you look to the information provided by SNAP, (Survivors network for those abused by Priests.
      The PR campaign by the Vatican is nothing more than half gestures and empty words by old men bent on maintaining their power. By every definition it is still and has been organized crime. Unfortunately the Vatican is recognized as a "City State" with immunities afforded it as if it were an actual country (what other religion is offered that protection? Talk about power!)
      The Vatican has not changed, nor is there any indication that any real change will come about...only empty words. Sad, but to expect a cultural and moral change from such an old and established organization determined to protect itself at any cost is unrealistic. The only possible change will come from ordinary Catholics finally seeing the reality of the Vatican and forcing change from within. I will not hold my breath on that.

      September 24, 2010 at 10:46 am |
    • Luciano

      right on Nancy!

      September 24, 2010 at 11:04 am |
    • rdonov

      Nacy, Do we have rules in place that will keep this from happening again?? are you drinking the coolade?

      This is huge The story to air tonight is new, it is how this person found out the Pope covered this up and let a priest stay a priest after hurting children. The pope should not still be the pope.... if anyone in any kind of a leadership role religious or political is part of a coverup that hurts thousands of people they should be removed from the office they hold. Thank God we are no longer a society that thinks it is a good idea to keep everything quiet. I say if someone is a danger to children shout it from the roof tops over and over again until people are safe!

      September 24, 2010 at 11:16 am |
    • Peacemaker

      Dear Nancy Brown, we will keep putting these stories up front so everyone knows. Because they tell us, especially Catholics, what the Vatican has been up to. You really think, that the "new rules" will prevent pedophiles from abusing? I believe this is just the tip of an iceberg! Pedophiles are still "priests" we don't know what is going on in poor 3rd world countries who populace is not educated! Its like people say..... if you see ONE mouse........ you can bet .......there is a nest with dozens more! Don't be naive, this problem is still with the Church because of people like Ratzinger and others who have refused to oust the pedophiles!

      September 24, 2010 at 11:42 am |
    • Keith

      Nancy Brown, take you head out of the sand. Abuse is still happening, and it's still being covered up. Just keep drinking the Cool-Aide....

      September 24, 2010 at 11:43 am |
    • laurab68

      This whole thing makes me sick to my stomach. My first duty above all else to my children is their safety. This is just one of many reasons I do not do religion just as i would never introduce religion to my children. My children are bright and happy and as long as I live I do my utmost to I pray that this sort of thing never happens to them. Priest, nun, minister it wouldn't matter, if anyone ever touches my children, it's not the police they would have to worry about, it would be me and it would be their last day on this earth and lets just say their last day would not be a pleasant one!

      September 24, 2010 at 12:03 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'Teachers now get fired and cannot teach. Police officers also get fired and priest now leave the church as priest.'
      Teachers would have always been fired, as well as police officers, that has not changed. Don't try to paint the picture as all of those people would have been hushed up and moved.

      September 24, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
    • Mary

      Justice should still be done.... no matter how many years have passed. The Church looks even worse when it tries to avoid justice.

      September 24, 2010 at 9:38 pm |
    • no no no

      do you honestly believe that it is not going on anymore? Catholics are so afraid to question anything they just pretend everything is ok, just as they have been trained.

      September 25, 2010 at 5:13 am |
    • Grace

      We may not be so naive to trust these men as we once were, and yes we have grown. BUT, these pedifiles are cunning and clever. They gain trust because they are charming and sly. People who get a feeling that something is not right can't always believe that this person could be guilty of such a depraved action against our children. There will always be some who will evade detection, no matter what changes are made. It will take parents and other adult parishoners vigilence to protect our children. I thought I was mistaken when I felt my parish priest was interested in my son. At first I didn't understand why my son leaned away from him. when he begged me not to make him go with this priest, I said he didn't ever have to go. That he could lie or say what ever he wanted to but he didn't have to spend time with him. ( helping in the parish, yeah right!) It was too late though!

      September 26, 2010 at 10:09 pm |
    • Daniel McGann

      This sinful disease occurs in all faiths. It has its highest incidence among the Protestant clergy, but that won't make your headlines. The Catholic Church has always been under attack from within and from the world. The Catholic Chuch has always been the target of Satan, because its Christ's Church. But do not fear, our Lord said nothing shall ever prevail against it.

      September 26, 2010 at 10:35 pm |
    • formercatholic

      If only the Vatican had followed bible principles rather than cannon law, this would never happened.

      September 27, 2010 at 7:33 am |
    • Leslie

      And yet it is still happening!!

      September 27, 2010 at 10:05 am |
    • David

      What surprises me is that any of these child molesters are still alive and free. Child molester priests should be in jail, or dead. Anyone who excuses their actions invites the same on their own children.

      September 27, 2010 at 10:02 pm |
  20. DontUnderstand

    Can someone tell me WHY? the Vatican can not be held financially responsible for these cases of abuse? There they are setting safe from being used and the local church has to foot the bill. I can't imagine how horrible it was to be abused by the very men you where taught to revere. But not being a catholic I don't understand the laws that protect the Vatican.

    September 24, 2010 at 10:09 am |
    • Peacemaker

      Because the Vatican is considered, a country. You can't sue an entire country. Its very complicated, perhaps an international law attorney can answer better than I. Believe me, dozens of Catholic Diocese have gone bankrupt paying for the crimes of pedophiles.

      September 24, 2010 at 11:38 am |
    • SDCyclist

      For the same reason they were never held accountable for supporting the Nazi's in WWII. And, helping them escape Germany to Paraguay and Argentina once the war was over. Money. Lots of it. The Vatican (AKA, "The Holy See") is a country. I was hoping the Pope would have been arrested in the UK but that didn't happen. It just strike me as odd that Catholics aren't rising up and asking for the Pope to be arrested, or, at the very least, to resign. I don't understand why they seem to be okay having an admitted criminal as their leader. If it were any other world leader he would have stepped down the minute proof of his involvement and support was found. Which, it was. In abundance.

      September 24, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
    • Catie

      The Catholic Church has paid millions in medical treatment and cash to the victims and their families. That is always conveniently left out of these articles. Along with the fact that they agree to gag orders for 20 years, and then come back after the gag order expires to extort more money. I do not condone ever the abuse of children. But, some have turned around and used their horrible trauma to capitalize on it. They must have a lot of pain to do that. I just pray for everyone involved

      September 24, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
    • veggiedude

      You can't sue an entire country? I recall from history it has been done many times. The British had to pay the US for dealing in trade with the south during the civil war.

      September 24, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
    • Kate


      Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 – a law the Vatican is familiar with abusing already.

      September 24, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
    • Critter


      Aha! I thought it might be a treaty of some sort! Good show!

      September 24, 2010 at 7:08 pm |
    • MikeTX

      Thank you for at least asking a question, rather than just rant and rave like most people here, who obviously don't know what they are talking about.
      I work for a Catholic church, so I might be able to answer some of your question.

      One, the abuse took place in a parish and a diocese or archdiocese.
      The *vast* majority of money collected by a church stays in the parish or diocese/archdiocese. Little of the weekly collection money goes to the Vatican.
      The diocese/archdiocese should be held accountable monetarily for damages that happened within its boundaries. And yes, I completely agree the diocese/archdiocese should pay out to help the abuse person with their needs.

      Another point (I have only learned from looking it up. I don't have direct experience with this).
      Most of the money in the Vatican's coffers are ifunds set aside for ministries and emergency relief, such as in the earthquake in Haiti, and the like. Only a small fraction is kept for the running of the Vatican, and "free" money. So if this money was given out, it would be taken away from money given for disaster relief, missionaries around the world helping those with HIV/AIDS, TB, no education, no prenatal care, etc...

      And of those who I know will scoff, the Church DOES give 100s on millions away each year for these missions. There are literally thousands of priests, religious priests, brothers and sisters, and laity living and working in third world countries, and even in my country of the US helping those who either cannot afford healthcare, education, housing, or cannot get what they need from their home governments. I have met many people who live and work in India, Africa, South America, and North America. They give up their lives to help those who cannot help themselves, who governments will not help them, and many would die if not for these people if not for help from the Church.
      Taking money that is set aside for these ministries would harm others suffering.

      I don't condone what any of the abusing priests have done, nor any cover=ups by bishops or higher. They should all pay for their betrayal of these young people and to the Church in general.

      Just personally, I would never accept any sacrament from a priest who had done this and was still a priest, nor from a bishop who did not do anything about it. I consider them people who broke their vows to the young people, the Church, and to God, and have no right to give sacraments or spiritual counseling to anyone. I have talked so people in my parish, and many feel the same way.

      Sorry this post was so long, but I wanted to try to answer your question, and put in a few personal comments of my own. Many people won't believe a word I have written. That is their right, but as they do not know me, it really doesn't bother me.

      September 26, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
    • george in texas

      Many young volunteers that i know assciated with church have gone abroad to the 3rd world, and have come back to inform that these missionaries stationed abroad have only one purpose and that is to convert those unsuspecting native folks by hook or crook. service is a mere pretext. these young volunteer folks say it like it is. missionaries indulge in the most shameful activities abroad that would make these pedophile priests look like gentlemen.

      September 27, 2010 at 12:07 am |
    • Lee

      Have to reply to SDCyclist. You're notion that the Church supported Nazism is a lack of knowledge of history at the last, and an outright lie at the most. To say the Vatican supported the Nazi's is utter stupidity. Has no basis in history whatsoever. You can say the Church didn't do enough (although you could would be better to accuse the allies of the same who had armies at their discretion) but to say they supported the Nazis is an outright lie. Priests and nuns were put into concentration camps and killed for helping to hide Jews, helping with the resistance etc. Read"Tthe Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican" or "They Myth of Hitler's Pope" written by a Jewish Rabbi. Don't try and rewrite history to suit you own distaste for religion. If you expect honesty and transparency of others, than at the least be that yourself.

      September 27, 2010 at 1:19 am |
    • Bob

      You are leaving out an important aspect. While yes they do have lots of money to go to other places they are not donating that money. They are sending priests out there to get those people suffering to convert and follow a religion they dont want to under the threat of not getting any of that money. Even still once they say they pass on their word they are gone and take the money and supplies with them.

      September 27, 2010 at 7:47 am |
    • MikeTX

      George and Bob:
      I have met some of the people the Church have helped. A few are legal immigrants to the U.S., but most are people who have come here temporarily to get medical attention that can be better given here then overseas.
      Some are Catholic, some aren't. I have never heard of their possible conversion to Catholicism being a condition for getting the help they need.
      Just face it; there are people in the Church, other churches, and secular groups that simply want to help people give a better life, get a better education, get medical attention they need, with no strings attached. \

      I do prison ministry, just as a volunteer. I don't proselytize. If fact, we are forbidden to proselytize. If we are caught doing it, we are kicked out of the program, and can put the entire program in jeopardy.
      I am simply there for the needs of the inmate. If they want to pray, we pray. If they want to talk about religion and faith, Catholic or other, that's what we talk about. Most really just want someone to talk to. And we simply talk about whatever they want to talk about. A lot of it is just visiting with them, letting them know they haven't been forgotten. We also give them information on groups that can help them when they get out of jail, to get them back on their feet, so hopefully they can break the cycle of being criminals. We have a list of organizations for them to contact: some are Catholic, some are protestant, some are secular.
      We do this as volunteers simply to help them, hoping we can break the cycle that caused them to be in there in the first place.

      I prefer to think of the world as a place where people can and actually want to help people live a better and healthier life, regardless of who they are, what their religion is if they have any.

      September 27, 2010 at 9:55 am |
    • MikeTX

      I'm sorry. I didn't do a good job answering your question directly in my first marathon post.

      A parish or diocese of the Catholic church is a subsection of the Vatican, so to speak, like a state within the United States.

      An example: If a teacher is caught molesting a child, the school, local school board, county and maybe state are the ones that pay any compensation to the victim.
      You don't sue the federal government or the Secretary of Education. The local governing bodies are the ones directly responsible for the crime. The locals are the ones who are supposed to keep this from happening.

      Therefore, when a priest is caught, the parish and diocese are directly responsible for his actions.

      I hope that helps to more directly answer your question.

      September 27, 2010 at 10:01 am |
    • LF

      Like any multi-national organization, the Vatican's legal liability is limited by county or jurisdiction. Thus, lawsuits in the United States can and have laid claim to the US assets of the church it is very hard for the suits to get at the real center of the Church's financial resources. And, to top it off, the Vatican is it's own country.

      I do think the settlements in the US have had a significant impact on the US church, but i do not know that the impact has financially hurt the Vatican. Hopefully, the publicity has had some effect. You know Priest = Pervert......

      September 27, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
    • Arthur Baselice

      I believe in 1984 the vatican was given 'soverign immunity', I don't know why , maybe because it would be like insurance against the crimes they have committed against the vulnerable, It was a good move whose motives should be vetted and then revoked, I wonder why the Dali Lama and the Holy City of Lhasa doesn't have Soverign Immunity , maybe because the Dali Lama is truly a dedicated and Holy Man unlike the phony and his "Prada" shoes, Our Lord and Savior Jesus was born in a manger and died on a cross, look at the opulance that these so called men of God surround them selves with ? Make you wonder where they get the Money !!!!!

      September 27, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
    • Jason

      My question is how can anyone believe in a religion that the priests themselves do not truly believe in. If they did truly believe in that religion then they wouldn't be molesting little boys... I'm just saying...

      September 28, 2010 at 9:07 pm |
    • mark

      Once a man receives the sacrament of Holy Orders and is ordained, the sacrament cannot be undone regardless of how miserable the person is. The priest can be "laicized" or returned to the laity but he is a priest forever. The bishop can take away his privileges, but he cannot take back the sacrament of Holy Orders. Not even the Pope can do that! In days gone by, the entire Church tried to keep the priest in the pulpit. They demanded fidelity from the priest, promises to reform, sent them to counseling, transferred them to different environments/parishes, etc, etc. It didn't work in most cases. In retrospect, they should have been forcefully laicized, but that isn't how things worked then. Today, the system works in a more direct and forceful way-at least I hope so. Knowing that helps some victims of abuse. Some may never be helped. Still some are helped by money and some of them will not be happy even if the entire Church goes bankrupt.

      September 29, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
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About this blog

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.