March 25th, 2011
04:06 PM ET

Jesuits pay record $166.1 million in child abuse case

By Michael Martinez, CNN

The Society of Jesus' Pacific Northwest unit and its insurers have agreed to pay a record $166.1 million to about 470 people who were sexually and psychologically abused as children by Jesuit priests from the 1940s to the 1990s, the victims' attorneys said Friday.

Blaine Tamaki, an attorney in Yakima, Washington, described the payment as "the largest settlement between a religious order and abuse victims in the history of the United States."

The Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus is now in federal bankruptcy court in Portland, Oregon, the attorneys said. Insurers will pay $118 million, and the Jesuits' Pacific Northwest province will pay $48.1 million, Tamaki said.

"The $166.1 million is the largest settlement by a religious order in the history of the world," Tamaki said. "Over 450 Native American children ... were sexually abused repeatedly, from rape to sodomy, for decades throughout the Northwest. Instead of teaching these children how to read and write, Jesuit priests were teaching them distrust and shame.

"Instead of teaching the Native American children the love of God, these Jesuit pedophile priests were molesting these young children," Tamaki told reporters.

The Rev. Patrick Lee, provincial superior of the Jesuits' Oregon Province, declined to comment on the settlement, citing in a written statement the ongoing Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

"The province continues to work with the creditors committee to conclude the bankruptcy process as promptly as possible," Lee said.

Jesuits are the world's largest order of Catholic priests and are considered the most educated in the priesthood as they run prestigious universities, said Patrick Wall, a consultant to the victims' attorneys and a former priest and Benedictine monk who's now an expert on Catholic clergy abuse.

Jesuits number about 19,000 worldwide, according to the Society of Jesus in the United States.

The settlement also asks the Jesuits to provide a written apology to the victims, Tamaki said.

The abuse primarily took place in Jesuit-operated mission schools and boarding schools on Indian reservations in Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Oregon, and some of the children were abused by Jesuits serving in dioceses throughout the Northwest, Tamaki said.

Most of the abuse occurred in the 1960s, so many of the alleged victims are now in their late 40s and early 50s, Tamaki said.

None of the 57 Jesuit priests accused of sexual abuse by the victims has been charged with any crimes, Tamika said. He added that less than a handful each of Jesuit brothers and nuns in the Jesuit schools also are accused of child sexual abuse by the victims.

"This same province has settled claims before, but this is the big whopper," Tamika told CNN.

The Jesuits' Pacific Northwest province filed for bankruptcy protection in February 2009 after Tamaki filed 21 federal lawsuits against them in Washington and after another attorney, John Manly of Newport Beach, California, had spent years filing other child sex abuse lawsuits against the Jesuits' regional unit, the attorneys said.

"There is no question that the number of cases filed, and the establishment of prolific abuse, triggered the bankruptcy," Manly said in a statement. He represented almost 200 claims out of Alaska.

During the press conference Friday, Manly told reporters that the settlement was "a small step for this country recognizing the holocaust that occurred to Native Americans at these boarding schools.

"What you had at these boarding schools was nothing less than a Slobodan Milosevic-style cultural assassination using rape as an offensive weapon to control people," he said. "They can deny it, they can pretend like it didn't happen, they can minimize it, but that's what it is."

One abuse victim, Katherine (Hansen) Mendez, 53, was abused as a child at St. Mary's Mission boarding school in Omak, Washington, according to a statement issued by Tamaki.

Mendez, a Yakama tribal member who didn't attend Friday's press conference, was 11 when she was sent to St. Mary's Mission by a state foster worker and was abused for a year by the Jesuit priest who ran the school, she said in the statement.

"I kept the sexual molestation hidden in the dark, in my soul, for years and years. Finally, when I came forward and saw that others did too, it was as if the blanket that had hidden our secret was pulled off and we could move into the light again," Mendez said in a statement.

Another victim, Clarita Vargas, a member of the Colville tribe in Washington, attended Friday's press conference and told reporters that she attended the same boarding school from second to eighth grade during the 1960s and early 1970s.

She said the same Jesuit priest held a movie night in his private office and quarters, and "he would purposely select a child to molest," Vargas said.

"I was a victim of physical and sexual abuse by one of the priests," Vargas said.

About the settlement, she said, "It's a day of reckoning and justice. ... This will continue to allow us on a path for healing. There is a generational trauma in Indian country."

She later added: "When I think about how important this is to us, I can only say my spirit was wounded and this makes it feel better."

Thirty-eight of the claims handled by Tamaki involve sexual abuse by a Jesuit priest who resides in a private retirement facility financed by the Jesuits, Tamaki said.

Forty-nine of the almost 100 victims represented by Tamaki were sexually abused when they were 8 years old or younger, he said. The remaining victims were ages 9 to 14 during the abuse, he said.

Most of the victims were abused during the 1950s, 60s, and 70s at reservation mission schools, including Sacred Heart Mission in Desmet, Idaho; St. Ignatius Mission in St. Ignatius, Montana; St. Paul's Mission in Hayes, Montana; and St. Labre Mission in Ashland, Montana, Tamaki said.

Theo Lawrence, who attended St. Ignatius Mission, had wanted to talk with reporters Friday, but he died this past week, Tamaki said in statement.

Lawrence was in third grade when the molestation began allegedly by a priest and a nun who worked with the Jesuit missionaries, according to Tamaki.

Before he died, Lawrence provided a statement for Friday's press conference: "The nun or one of the brothers would send me to the rectory to see (the priest). He would give me candy or call me special - and then he would molest me. They all did at various times," his statement said.

Lawrence said that he was scared to tell anyone because all of the boys were told repeatedly that "men of God don't talk. We were scared that if we uttered even one word, we would go to hell," his statement said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Courts • Sex abuse

soundoff (360 Responses)
  1. Reality

    The continuing "vomit-inducing" ped-ophilia and coverup by those supposedly "ordained by some god" will simply hasten the elimination of all religions as we know them. 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 26, 2011 at 3:14 pm |




      When the archaeological, geographical and epigraphic evidence is reviewed in detail, it is clear that the infamous cities of Sodom and Gomorrah have now been found. What is more, this evidence demonstrates that the Bible provides an accurate eyewitness account of events that occurred southeast of the Dead Sea over 4,000 years ago.

      March 26, 2011 at 10:07 pm |


      Breaking News!!

      Too many vested ideological interests of scientists and philosophers alike looking for a natural explanation of origins have interfered with a balanced objective scientific approach to Darwinism. As a simple change in wind direction at the battle of Lepanto in 1571 brought victory to Christianity over the Ottoman Empire, so new winds of change in scientific data are about to bring defeat to Darwinism.

      The Russian Academy of Sciences has just published details of research directed by sedimentologist Guy Berthault showing that sedimentary rocks form very rapidly – two thousandths of the time attributed to them by the geological time scale.

      Although the volume of scientific evidence against evolution theory has been acc-u-mulating ever since Darwin’s theory was introduced, the certainty of its downfall is now confirmed by these recent discoveries in stratigraphy.


      March 26, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
    • Reality


      Your "references" come from the Associates of Bible Research. Might want to find some real studies!!!.

      Start with the New Torah for Modern Minds:

      "Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

      "When I grew up in Brooklyn, congregants were not sophisticated about anything," said Rabbi Harold Kushner, the author of "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" and a co-editor of the new book. "Today, they are very sophisticated and well read about psychology, literature and history, but they are locked in a childish version of the Bible."

      "Etz Hayim," compiled by David Lieber of the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, seeks to change that. It offers the standard Hebrew text, a parallel English translation (edited by Chaim Potok, best known as the author of "The Chosen"), a page-by-page exegesis, periodic commentaries on Jewish practice and, at the end, 41 essays by prominent rabbis and scholars on topics ranging from the Torah scroll and dietary laws to ecology and eschatology.

      These essays, perused during uninspired sermons or Torah readings at Sabbath services, will no doubt surprise many congregants. For instance, an essay on Ancient Near Eastern Mythology," by Robert Wexler, president of the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, states that on the basis of modern scholarship, it seems unlikely that the story of Genesis originated in Palestine. More likely, Mr. Wexler says, it arose in Mesopotamia, the influence of which is most apparent in the story of the Flood, which probably grew out of the periodic overflowing of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The story of Noah, Mr. Wexler adds, was probably borrowed from the Mesopotamian epic Gilgamesh.

      Equally striking for many readers will be the essay "Biblical Archaeology," by Lee I. Levine, a professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. "There is no reference in Egyptian sources to Israel's sojourn in that country," he writes, "and the evidence that does exist is negligible and indirect." The few indirect pieces of evidence, like the use of Egyptian names, he adds, "are far from adequate to corroborate the historicity of the biblical account."

      Similarly ambiguous, Mr. Levine writes, is the evidence of the conquest and settlement of Canaan, the ancient name for the area including Israel. Excavations showing that Jericho was unwalled and uninhabited, he says, "clearly seem to contradict the violent and complete conquest portrayed in the Book of Joshua." What's more, he says, there is an "almost total absence of archaeological evidence" backing up the Bible's grand descriptions of the Jerusalem of David and Solomon.

      The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "litany of disillusion" about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

      The reaction to the rabbi's talk ranged from admiration at his courage to dismay at his timing to anger at his audacity. Reported in Jewish publications around the world, the sermon brought him a flood of letters accusing him of undermining the most fundamental teachings of Judaism. But he also received many messages of support. "I can't tell you how many rabbis called me, e-mailed me and wrote me, saying, 'God bless you for saying what we all believe,' " Rabbi Wolpe said. He attributes the "explosion" set off by his sermon to "the reluctance of rabbis to say what they really believe."

      Before the introduction of "Etz Hayim," the Conservative movement relied on the Torah commentary of Joseph Hertz, the chief rabbi of the British Commonwealth. By 1936, when it was issued, the Hebrew Bible had come under intense scrutiny from scholars like Julius Wellhausen of Germany, who raised many questions about the text's authorship and accuracy. Hertz, working in an era of rampant anti-Semitism and of Christian efforts to demonstrate the inferiority of the "Old" Testament to the "New," dismissed all doubts about the integrity of the text.

      Maintaining that no people would have invented for themselves so "disgraceful" a past as that of being slaves in a foreign land, he wrote that "of all Oriental chronicles, it is only the Biblical annals that deserve the name of history."

      The Hertz approach had little compet-ition until 1981, when the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the official arm of Reform Judaism, published its own Torah commentary. Edited by Rabbi Gunther Plaut, it took note of the growing body of archaeological and textual evidence that called the accuracy of the biblical account into question. The "tales" of Genesis, it flatly stated, were a mix of "myth, legend, distant memory and search for origins, bound together by the strands of a central theological concept." But Exodus, it insisted, belonged in "the realm of history." While there are scholars who consider the Exodus story to be "folk tales," the commentary observed, "this is a minority view."

      Twenty years later, the weight of scholarly evidence questioning the Exodus narrative had become so great that the minority view had become the majority one. "

      March 26, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Newsflash..opps sorry.. this is CNN, the National Enquirer is on another site.

      March 26, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • Newsflash



      Your "references" come from the $3.00/ month Associates of Bible Research. Might want to find some real studies!!!.

      LOL, You are funny Reality! If you read the article, you would find it was a "REAL". The whole thing is there, with all the doc-u-mentation listed, to PROVE it was real!
      It also lists all References used:

      Archi, A. 1997 Ebla Texts. Pp. 87-89 in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East, vol 4, ed. E.M. Meyers. New York: Oxford University Press.
      Astour, M. 1992 Zoar. P. 1107 in The Archaeology of Ancient Israel, ed. A. Ben-Tor. New Haven: Yale University Press.

      Ben-Tor, A.
      1992 The Early Bronze Age. Pp. 81–125 in The Archaeology of Ancient Israel, ed. A. Ben-Tor. New Haven: Yale University Press.

      Bietak, M.
      1997 The Center of Hyksos Rule: Avaris (Tell el-Dab'a). Pp. 87–139 in The Hyksos: New Historical and Archaeological Perspectives, ed. E. D. Oren. Philadelphia: The University Museum.

      Bilkadi, Z.
      1984 Bitumen—A History. Aramco World November–December: 2–9.
      1994 Bulls From the Sea. Aramco World July–August: 20–31.

      Clapp, F.G.
      1936a Geology and Bitumens of the Dead Sea Area. Bulletin of Petroleum Geologists 20: 881–909.
      1936b The Site of Sodom and Gomorrah. American Journal of Archaeology 40: 323–44.

      Coogan, M.D.
      1984 Numeira 1981. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 255: 75–81.

      Dever, W. G.
      1992 Palestine, Archaeology of (Bronze Iron Ages). Pp. 109–14 in The Anchor Bible Dictionary, vol. 5, ed. D. N. Freedman. New York: Doubleday.

      Donahue, J.
      1980 Geology. Pp. 47–52 in Preliminary Report of the 1979 Expedition to the Dead Sea Plain, Jordan, eds. W.E. Rast and R.T. Schaub. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 240: 21–61.
      1984 Geologic Reconstruction of Numeira. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 255: 83–88.
      1985 Hydrologic and Topographic Change During and After Early Bronze Occupation at Bab edh-Dhra. Pp. 131–40 in Studies in the History and Archaeology of Jordan 2, ed. A. Hadidi. Amman: Department of Antiquities.

      Donner, H.
      1992 The Mosaic Map of Madaba. Kampen, Netherlands: Kok Pharaos.

      Gentry, P.J.
      1999 Personal communication, October 1.

      Harris, G.M., and Beardow, A.P.
      1995 The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah: A Geotechnical Perspective. Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology 28: 349–62.

      Howard, D.M., Jr.
      1984 Sodom and Gomorrah Revisited. Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 27: 385–400.
      1988a Siddim, Valley of. Pp. 499–500 in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, vol. 4, ed. G.W. Bromily. Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmans.
      1988b Zoar. P. 1203 in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, vol. 4, ed. G.W. Bromily. Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmans.

      Kitchen, K.A.
      1991 The Chronology of Ancient Egypt. World Archaeology 23:201–208.
      1996 The Historical Chronology of Ancient Egypt, a Current Assessment. Acta Archaeologica 67: 1–13.

      McCreery, D.W.
      1980 Paleobotany. Pp. 52–53 in Preliminary Report of the 1979 Expedition to the Dead Sea Plain, Jordan, eds. W.E. Rast and R.T. Schaub. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 240: 21–61.
      1981 Flotation of the Bab edh-Dhra and Numeira Plant Remains. Pp. 165–69 in The Southeastern Dead Sea Plain Expedition: An Interim Report of the 1977 Season, ed. W.E. Rast and R.T. Schaub. Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research 46, ed. J.A. Callaway. Cambridge MA: American Schools of Oriental Research.

      MacDonald, B.
      1997 Southern Ghors and Northeast 'Arabah. Pp. 64–66 in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East, vol. 5, ed. E.M. Meyers. New York: Oxford University Press.

      Mazar, A.
      1990 Archaeology of the Land of the Bible. New York:Doubleday.

      Miller, J.M., and Hayes, J.H.
      1986 A History of Ancient Israel and Judah. Philadelphia: Westminster.

      Mulder, M.J.
      1992 Sodom and Gomorrah. Pp. 99–103 in The Anchor Bible Dictionary, vol. 6, ed. D.N. Freedman. New York: Doubleday.

      Neev, D., and Emery, K.O.
      1995 The Destruction of Sodom, Gomorrah, and Jericho:
      Geological, Climatological, and Archaeological Background. New York: Oxford University Press.

      Polotis, K.D.
      1993 Deir 'Ain 'Abata. Pp. 336–38 in The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land, vol. 1, ed. E. Stem. New York: Simon & Schuster.

      Rast, W.E.
      1981 Settlement at Numeira. Pp. 35–44 in The Southeastern Dead Sea Plain Expedition: An Interim Report of the 1977 Season, ed. W.E. Rast and R.T. Schaub. Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research 46, ed. J.A. Callaway. Cambridge MA: American Schools of Oriental Research.
      1987a Bab edh-Dhra and the Origin of the Sodom Saga. Pp. 185–201 in Archaeology and Biblical Interpretation, ed. L.G. Perdue, L.E. Tombs and G.L. Johnson. Atlanta: John Knox.
      1987b Bronze Age Cities Along the Dead Sea. Archaeology 40: 42–49.
      1992 Bab edh-Dhra. Pp. 559–61 in The Anchor Bible Dictionary, vol. 1, ed. D.N. Freedman. New York: Doubleday.

      Rast, W.E., and Schaub, R.T.
      1974 Survey of the Southeastern Plain of the Dead Sea, 1973. Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan 19: 5–53, 175–85.
      1978 A Preliminary Report of Excavations at Bab edh-Dhra', 1975. Pp. 1–32 in The Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research, vol. 43, ed. D.N. Freedman. Cambridge MA: American Schools of Oriental Research.
      1980 Preliminary Report of the 1979 Expedition to the Dead Sea Plain, Jordan. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 240: 21–61.

      Schaub, R.T.
      1992 Safi. Pp. 895–96 in The Anchor Bible Dictionary, vol. 5, ed. D.N. Freedman. New York: Doubleday.
      1993 Bab edh-Dhra. Pp. 130–36 in The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land, vol. 1, ed. E. Stem. New York: Simon & Schuster.
      1997a Bab edh-Dhra. Pp. 248–51 in The Oxford Encyclope-dia of Archaeology in the Near East, vol. 1, ed. E.M. Meyers. New York: Oxford University Press.
      1997b Southeast Dead Sea Plain. Pp. 62–64 in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East, vol. 5, ed. E.M. Meyers. New York: Oxford University Press.

      Schaub, R.T., and Rast, W.E.
      1984 Preliminary Report of the 1981 Expedition to the Dead Sea Plain, Jordan. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 254: 35–60.
      1989 Bab edh-Dhra: Excavations in the Cemetery, Directed by Paul W. Lapp (1965–1967). Reports of the Expedition to the Dead Sea Plains, Jordan, 1. Winona Lake IN: Eisenbrauns.

      Shea, W.S.
      1983 Two Palestinian Segments From the Eblaite Geographical Atlas. Pp. 589–612 in The Word of the Lord Shall Go Forth, ed. C.L. Meyers and M. O'Connor. Winona Lake IN: Eisenbrauns.
      1988 Numeira. Archaeology and Biblical Research 1:12–23.

      deVries, B.
      1991 Archaeology in Jordan. American Journal of Archaeology 95:253–80.

      What you quoted, a "$3.00 ? a month Associate of Biblical Research", is all you could find to try and diqualify the article? The Associate of Biblical Research is an organiztion that reports on discoveries that are made having BIBLICAL significance. Sorry, Reality, your statement is seriously flawed.

      You post rubbish all the time that cites so called scholars "opinions and theorys....mine had at least refutable sources.
      Mine also had proof to support what it said, including maps, diagrams, and pictures from the archeological digs.

      You will go to any length to try and "disprove" even when given evidence. Which tells me alot about you.

      One more thing. You post junk. You should spend more time reading and educating yourself. I think you post so much junk, that you believe it and have lost your reasoning capabilty to be balanced when it comes to truth that is presented with REAL evidence!

      March 27, 2011 at 9:41 am |
    • Reality


      Considering 1.5 million Conservative Jews and their rabbis after careful analyses of all the facts, have put Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses and the horn-blasted walls of Jericho on the myth pile in their New Torah for Modern Minds, they have vitiated all the attempts by the "rednecks" to find archeological evidence of early Judaism. So continue to pay your $3.00/month to the Associates in their futile attempts to find said evidence. It is simply a waste of your money.

      March 27, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  2. chief

    Come on CNN .... you got a faith based rapper on the front page..... this story should be there..... fox news wont report it either, but then again they have those stupid catholics come home commercials.. oh yeah they are non profit...

    March 26, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
  3. Agustin

    Shame. Jesus said the tree is known by its fruit. Roman Catholic fruits are corrupted hence Roman Catholic is corrupted; its of the devil... flee while there is still time.

    March 26, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • RightTurnClyde

      Every tree has some bad fruit .. the bigger the tree the more likely it will bear some bad fruit. But the Catholic church (and the Anglican and Methodist and Lutheran and Baptists) have done a lot of good work (hospitals, universities, schools, homeless shelters, elder care. They do in places nobody else wants to go (Calcutta, Africa, China, . and for people who haven't got a penny. They do for no pay and nothing other than food and a bed. All of the people posting nasty messages on these boards are well fed (fat), pampered, secure, literate, (have a computer), warm, clothed, privileged. You claim to be Christin and yet the only thing I see on these boards is condemnation and anger and (yes, hate). You can read your bible all day but if you don't get the message it is a worthless book. You need to expand your being (a lot) and learn some forgiveness and forebearance and see a big picture. Nobody says the few mavericks are right or good. Everyone admits it was not managed well. Take the pole out of your own eye: drugs, alcohol, anger, hatred, small mindedness, blame

      March 26, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Ken

      Try to be fair. Blame and punish the criminals, but not the innocent. You are being so quick to cry for justice yet you offer none yourselves.

      March 26, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • chief

      re rightturnclyde.... have you lost your mind? you say... " learn some forgiveness and forebearance and see a big picture. Everyone admits it was not managed well."

      WASNT MANAGED WELL ...are you a complete idiot or ped priest? is the big picture to weigh the good against the bad and call it a "cost of goods" you right off? tell those 470 native americans that "hey there are people being fed in calcutta, you need to expand your being...

      you need to quit trying to redirect the topic ... if ALL catholics spent as much time caring kids that have already been born as they do the unborn.... this wouldnt be an issue

      March 26, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  4. Sandra

    Cnn loves nothing more than a free forum for bashing the Catholics...all 1.2 billion of us. Priests are pedophiles at the exact same rate as the general male population. But that doesn't make good headlines. If you all hate Catholics so much, why are you wasting your time on here? I don't particularly care for genocidal civil wars, so when it happens you won't find me mouthing off about the Rwandans or the Serbs.

    March 26, 2011 at 9:40 am |
    • chief

      the nerve of CNN to have an article about 450 native american being brutally abused by priests and the church paying them out a settlement, the nerve... it seems to me that CNN should not report on these things or redirect the problem like you moron that post crap about people hating catholics.... its not catholics people hate, its people abusing kids.... and for its people that love the church more than the kids that have been abused

      March 26, 2011 at 10:49 am |
  5. HNS1956

    I posted a news article about the Jesuits a short time ago. I'd like to share my experiences with the Jesuits.

    For 11 years I worked with and for the Jesuits here in Chicago at Loyola Press. I miss being there. A place were I met some amazing Jesuits. First, the amazing Fr. George Lane, S.J. In Chicago he is a hero to many. Following is a bit of his story:

    Holy Family Church is a "modern miracle story" today. Father George Lane, S.J., described it in a story he told when accepting the Gutenberg Award of the Chicago Bible Society in 2004. In 1984, the main sanctuary was closed because the roof leaked and plaster was falling. From that time until Easter 1994, the congregation held worship services in a chapel at the north end of the building. At Christmas of 1987, the pastor told the parishioners of Holy Family that the big old church would be torn down and replaced with a small structure that would be more appropriate to the 150 or so parishioners. This news did not sit well with the parishioners, nor with Father Lane, who was living in the rectory at that time. In late June of 1988, the provincial superior, Father Robert Wild, told Father Lane that he could work with the people to save the church, if that were at all possible. In the fall of 1988, the Holy Family Preservation Society was incorporated, an architect was chosen and a development director named. In the summer of 1990, Father Wild told Father Lane and the parishioners that the Preservation Society had to have $1 million cash in the bank by Dec. 31, 1990, or the money would have to be given back and the church torn down. Father Lane and board member, Dick Barry, decided to reenact or replicate Father Damen's strategy to save the church from the Chicago Fire of 1871. A prayer vigil was held from Dec, 26 until Dec. 31, with the deadline on Dec. 31. The motto and plea was to "Say Prayers and Send Money." And the money came pouring in. But it was obvious that a more dramatic gesture was needed. An open house was held on Sunday, Dec. 30th, the feast of the Holy Family. The media were told of the open house and from noon to 5 o'clock, between 2 and 3 thousand people came to see the church. Each one had a story – my grandparents were married here, I was baptized here, etc. -and each one had a check or a cash donation. By the midnight deadline, a total of $1,011,000 had been received. The people had saved their big old church through the intercession of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Fr. Lane is also the man who anointed me with the sacrement of the Anointing of the Sick, the night before my open heart surgery. He was also the president of the company who made the rounds every morning to say hello to everybody, and he shared jelly beans and peanuts. I also met two other amazing Jesuits, who are writers. Fr. James Martin

    , S.J. He wrote "My Life With the Saints" a wonderful book that is a amusing and poignant book about a man and his faith and what he learned. Fr. James is also the funniest Jesuit I ever met. There's Fr. Gary Smith, S.J. who authored two of my favorite books ever. "Radical Compassion" and my favorite, "They Came Back Singing." "They Come Back Singing," Father Smith's book about being a

    missionary in Africa through Jesuit Relief Services, and his life-changing experienc

    Sudanese refugees. This book moved me so. Meeting Fr. Gary was a true blessing. So why am I writing this? These are the Jesuits I know. Three men that helped change my life and helped me rediscover my spirituality. I admire the Jesuits and their mission. This is how I will always remember these three remarkable men of God.


    March 26, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • chief

      yip-ee ...maybe you should tell you happy shiney story to all those that were abused at the hands of the priests.... that should make it all better

      March 26, 2011 at 10:50 am |
  6. prophet

    the big question is that whilst these terrible people have done what they did they still had a lot of money so if they had not done these things then why didn't they give that mopney to the poor as the doctrines that they adhere to is all about being kind to the poor and this is the same with Joseph Ratzinger and his clergy, why don't they give the wealth of the catholics to the poor, why, because they are deceivers.

    March 26, 2011 at 9:11 am |
  7. purveyors

    I just love seeing pious people being dragged through the mud and being forced into bankruptcy. I don't think there is any punishment to dire for folks to do things like this to others who trust in them completely. I for one would like to see all churches abolished and start with the Catholics first.

    March 26, 2011 at 9:05 am |
  8. Reality

    The continuing "vomit-inducing" ped-ophilia and coverup by those supposedly "ordained by some god" will simply hasten the elimination of all religions as we know them. 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 26, 2011 at 8:28 am |
    • Sophia Ver

      ...that will come sooner than many people think!!

      March 26, 2011 at 8:56 am |
    • Mel

      Yeah, right! That's what the Jews, the Romans, the Vikings, the Arabs, the Turks, etc. thought. We are still here. See you in the next two thousand years!

      March 26, 2011 at 10:10 am |
    • Reality

      Summarizing it all for the Iowa faithful:

      Saving 2 billion lost Christians to include the Republican "wannabee" presidents:
      There was and never will be any bodily resurrections i.e. No Easter, no Christianity

      Saving 1.5 billion lost Muslims:
      There never was and never will be any angels i.e. no Gabriel, no Islam

      Saving 15.5 million Orthodox followers of Judaism:

      Abraham and Moses are myths.

      Added details upon request.

      Some things need to be "hammered" home in order to eliminate 2000 years of the Christian Three B Syndrome i.e. Bred, Born and Brainwashed in Christianity.

      To wit:

      Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:

      Adulterous preachers, priest and preacher ped-ophia, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      March 26, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
  9. syzito

    Sports are generally for idiots that don't have a real life .

    March 26, 2011 at 8:11 am |
  10. NotAFanoftheRCC

    Remarkably, this news item doesn’t come as a surprise. My favorite line was that they wanted to avoid prosecution because they would go bankrupt. I’ll have to remember that particular piece of logic – I could rob a bank and then tell the judge that I can’t go to jail because I’ll lose my freedom. Right….

    This church is morally bankrupt – it’s about time that it starts becoming financially bankrupt too.

    I don’t deny that there are bad people in all religious orders guilty of very bad things. My question, however, is why is it that the RCC is CONSISTENTLY in the forefront of scandal after scandal regarding these atrocities?

    Organizations are judged by their representatives and their rule of conduct. Church authorities and their attendant hierarchical officers and agents are a direct reflection of the church and its teachings. The fact that the RCC has consistently hidden criminals (even throughout history) is indicative of the fact that they would rather save face and avoid embarrassment then allow their personnel to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. If an organization lacks the necessary moral fiber to deal with felons and abusers then it has no freeness of speech on the world scene.

    We can waste all sorts of time discussing WHY this church should be done away with. Perhaps we should start a discussion on HOW to do so.

    The easiest method to do so would be to TAX THE CHURCH AND ITS PROPERTY. Tax exemption was initially granted because religious organizations used to be the main method the state had to care for the indigent et al. The state has now taken over that avenue of caring for citizens. As such, the exemption of the church should be withdrawn. As society is becoming more and more secular and organized religion less and less relevant, support for this criminal organization will be insufficient to keep it operating as a world body. Ergo, no more church.

    March 26, 2011 at 7:43 am |
    • Mel

      Your idea would backfire! If you start taxing the churches then you'll have to allow them to be more actively involved in state matters. You can't tax a person and at the same time keep them away from getting politically involved. Don't forget, "No Taxes Without Representation!"

      March 26, 2011 at 7:56 am |
  11. Frederica

    I'm from Asia, too, and my whole family/clans were rescued by Catholic Church. Religion-hating Westerners are losing all memories, I guess.

    March 26, 2011 at 6:24 am |
    • Ichiro

      @Frederica – what did they rescue you from?

      March 26, 2011 at 6:43 am |
    • Frederica

      @Ichiro: the third try to reply. They saved us from poverty and ignorance. The priests and nuns were incomparably wonderful humans.

      March 26, 2011 at 7:31 am |
  12. Priyath

    Mother molesting her child in front of a webcam
    Mother encouraging her boy to fight
    Military man killing a child
    group of boys gang R#ping a 11 year old girl

    These are some of the things that happen in the US and are done by people there. I am a Sri Lankan Catholic and I have never seen or heard these kind of issues here. Yes I have been an alter boy, Yes I have attended Sunday school but nothing of this sort has ever happened.

    Clergy come from the society, not from another planet. If there is something wrong with the clergy there is something wrong with that society.

    March 26, 2011 at 6:21 am |
    • Tyrone

      Maybe you were not "cute" enough. The Catholic Church is pretty well stuffed with these bad priests. If they did not harm you, consider yourself lucky. I have not heard of any countries where they have not done their evil deeds.

      March 26, 2011 at 6:50 am |
    • Frederica

      @Tyrone: Lucky kids are those whom Catholic Church took care of. They did far greater things everywhere, making the world civilized.

      March 26, 2011 at 7:29 am |
    • Mel

      That's exactly what I've always said.

      March 26, 2011 at 7:50 am |
    • Sophia Ver

      Priyath: The clergy should give the GOOD EXAMPLE in a society and not imitate their worst criminals. BTW, may I suggest some research on child molestation cases of the RCC in Asia; surprising facts, but often hidden from the public eye.

      March 26, 2011 at 7:56 am |
  13. Gerrie Warner

    While on the subject of religion I though I would mention that Draw Mohammad day is comming up shortly ... thus my avatar image of a mohamad holding a surfboard!! 🙂

    March 26, 2011 at 6:09 am |
  14. Gerrie Warner

    Seriously people – leave religion and start using you brain for what is was developed over millenium for! How does Critical thinking strike you?!!?

    March 26, 2011 at 5:51 am |
    • gerald

      So atheists aren't ever sxl perverts? Ya right.

      March 26, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • Evolved DNA

      gerald.. all segments of society, including atheists of course, are as capable as each other to cause harm, including being se-x offenders. This just proves to me that belief in a god is of no more value than not believing..In fact there is no difference at all. What the real problem is that a supposed church, who dares tell the world they are sole distributor of morality, prove to the world in fact that they are nothing of the sort. They appeared to hide and attempt to suppress the truth, and cause more harm in the process., more concerned with covering their backsides and keeping the sancti-ty of the organization intact.

      March 26, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
  15. Doug

    It is good to see people who know history. And as you remember when the Catholic Church changed the 4th Commandment from the seventh day(Saturday-see your calander) to the first day(Sunday) in the Fourth Century(this was done to get Sun Worshipers into the church-Emperor Constantine included), there has been unabashed and unlimited crimes against humanity. 50+ million as a matter of fact. Three hundred and fifty thousand Hugennaughts(Christian seventh day Sabbath keepers) in France in 1543(actually started the French Revolution to out law religion in that country), Waldenses and Albigenses(Sabbath Keepers) of the Alps who went there because of genocide by the Catholics for not keeping Sunday. Spainish Inquistions(untold millions of people were killed because they were Sabbath keepers and or didn't believe the Papacy was "infalable" "king of heaven, king of earth andking of the regions under the earth" hense the Triple Crown that he wears on occasion. The Papacy has been a monsterous king for centurys and has he ever been tried or punished for his wrongs or the Catholic Church? The extent of the religious intolerance is what actually caused us to come to this New World and seek religious freedom. Martin Luther knew the extent of the wrath of the Papacy for simply stating that only God can forgive sins and the Pope is falible(as we all so plainly see now); they threatened his life. My wife's family were the Seventh-day Amish(which don't exist today) of the Swis Alps where they went because of religious persecution, however were hunted down even there, a few escaped to Pennsylvania. Thank God.
    In my Bible it says "Fallen, Fallen is Babylon the Great. It has become a dwelling place of demons,a haunt of every foul spirit and a haunt of every foul and hateful bird;" "Come out of her my people, lest you take part of her sins, lest you share in her plagues;" Rev 18:2,4. "Render to her as she herself has rendered and repay her double for her deeds;" "so her plagues come in a single day,"Rev 18:6,8.
    If you are a follower of Christ remember He said, "If you love me keep my commandments and I will send another Comforter, even the Spirit of Truth." John 14:15-17 Keeping Saturday as Holy not Sunday is part of that, in fact Jesus said in 1John 1:4 "He who says 'I know Him." but disobeys his commandments is a lar, and the truth is not in him;"
    Yes the Catholic Church did bank roll Hitler to the extent of 275 million dollars (which was alot of money during the Depression). Why would they do that? To exterminate the Sabbath keepers?
    To me this is all according to God's plan and if I read it right, the Catholic Church will go down fast.

    March 26, 2011 at 5:13 am |
    • Tyrone

      Do you have any links to any of this? I would like to read more. The RCC is the worst criminal organization in the world and deserve every bit of scorn and prosecution we can provide.

      March 26, 2011 at 6:54 am |
    • gerald

      Ah the revisionist history of the seventh day adventists whose Elen G White and other "prophets" tried ot predict the end of the world a couple of times. That's pretty quite proof that the roots of adventism are of the devil. Ever heard of Justin Martyr? His discription of Christian worship services of his time proves your fourth century theory pretty much wrong about chaning the day to Sunday. Paul in Acts 20 proves it wrong as well. But you must revise history to try and prove your 19th century Johnny come lately sect has legitimacy. It does not.

      March 26, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • gerald

      Tyrone, sorry, there are as many or more child molesters in protestant sects including seventh day adventism. Check out the work of Phil Jenkins if you don't believe me. And there is plenty of cover up. I just read a story about a man who was a pastor and went from Church to Church abusing little girls. There are 70 insurance claims per week among mainly protestant Church for abuse. Why is there very little in the news about who the abusers are? Now my point is not two wrongs make a right. I condemn any child abusers, Catholics in my perspective are the worst as they cause the greatest scandal and are accountable to a higher degree by God. Point is stop pointing fingers when 4 point back at your denominations.

      March 26, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  16. The Truth

    Catholic Christianity is a fraud. Catholic cult existed before birth of Eisa(pbuh) as catherine godess worshipping sect of Roman Pagan Catholicism. They hanged Eisa and his religion (10 commandments of Moses(pbuh)) and named Eisa(pbuh) after their Pagan Gods Zeus and Krishna as Jesus Christ. This is the truth.

    March 26, 2011 at 3:39 am |
    • The Maverik

      If Christianity i8s fraud as you say, what about Islam and other religions ??? Are they fraud too ??? Are they all written by someone's hand ??? If so then all religions are fraud including Islam, Buddhism etc...etc...they are written for a purpose not for a cause.

      March 26, 2011 at 5:43 am |
    • Mel

      Well, "thetruth", at least these pedophile criminals a) never killed their victims, unlike your Muslim terrorists, who have killed millions in the name of Allah, b) accepted that they did commit a crime, albeit they did criminally tried to hide it at first, c)never, NEVER claimed they were doing God's work while committing it, and never, NEVER justified in any other way, unlike your Muslim terrorists, and d) are paying for it now, in every possible way. Can you claim that your Allah-loving terrorists are worse than that? Your people have killed children as young as babies!

      March 26, 2011 at 7:46 am |
    • Sophia Ver

      Yes, Maverik. The only truth are the pure teachings of the Bible.

      March 26, 2011 at 7:53 am |
    • popeye

      All religion is a lie (fairy tales, christain mythology, saints, gods, flying horses, virgin birth, virgin on the ridiculous), a flock of sheep following liars.

      March 26, 2011 at 10:25 am |
  17. Daniel

    So shameful and heart-rending.

    March 26, 2011 at 3:08 am |
  18. Frederica

    A new great era for Church can come if Catholics start reading the Bible and start anew, having settled everything that must be done rightly. A clean house with a Bible in the center.

    March 26, 2011 at 2:20 am |
    • thes33k3r

      OR maybe you're wrong and we can start anew by admitting that the bible is a book written, compiled, copied, translated and changed many times over by.....you guessed it, human beings. Just so you know..I read it cover to cover over a decade ago. Reading it was part of the impetus for my eventual freedom from religion.

      March 26, 2011 at 3:27 am |
    • JohnD63

      The Catholic church – One of the most corrupt and abusive organizations in the world!

      March 26, 2011 at 4:50 am |
    • Jim

      Or maybe we can say we're done with it. Nothing like protecting child molesters at the expense of children. I'm sorry but if you think the bible has any relevance after this. I grew up Catholic and will never go to church again. I'm done with it. This episode has pulled the curtains back and revealed that it's all just another way to control people and take their money. Like all the other religions are.

      March 26, 2011 at 4:57 am |
    • Sophia Ver

      I am afraid the Roman Catholic Church is beyond repair – and BTW the Bible says so too (Revelation chapter 18).

      March 26, 2011 at 7:45 am |
    • Jcork

      What thes33k3r, JohnD63, Jim and Sophia Ver said.

      I think there are so many other things we could put "in the center." Like...reason, science, evidence, progress...HUMANITY!

      March 26, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  19. fsmgroupie

    shave the pope's head and you'll find 666 seared onto his skull-he is the head enabler

    March 26, 2011 at 2:04 am |
    • Sandra

      Say that about a Muslim and you'll be beheaded.

      March 26, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • popeye

      The pope was busy trying to hide these crimes, he should be imprisoned, the catholic church is like any other cult. Iin Ireland the government investigated the church and the Ryan report showed how the whole church was either invloved directly in abuse of children or helping hide the crimes and moving the priests (and nuns) from parish to parish haring more children.

      March 26, 2011 at 10:16 am |
  20. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Ignatius Loyola is rolling..............

    March 26, 2011 at 12:57 am |
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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.