The Hierarchy: Still Hiding


If you have any illusions that the culture of self-protection, clerical privilege and contempt for the victims of rape have finally disappeared from the Catholic hierarchy, I’m afraid you have to let go of them. The Los Angeles Archdiocese fought for years to prevent full access to their own documents that prove complicity of many in the hierarchy in the rape of hundreds of children. Now they have released them, guess what’s missing? The names of the bishops and hierarchs who permitted and enabled the abuse. It really is just like the CIA: Lynndie England goes to jail but Dick Cheney, who authorized much of what she did, goes on a book tour:

On many pages it appears that the names of supervisors, like pastors in parishes or the supervisors of religious orders, are missing.

For example, the file on Carlos Rodriguez, a priest serving in a parish in Central Los Angeles, includes a letter to him from his religious order, the Vincentian Fathers and Brothers, informing him that he is being sent to a treatment center in Maryland. Mr. Rodriguez was accused of molesting several teenage boys over the years. But while the letter makes clear that the writer is the priest’s religious superior, the name is redacted. Other documents in the file are similarly missing names of religious order supervisors.

To add to the bizarreness:

At the hearing before Judge Elias on Jan. 7, Mr. Hennigan, the archdiocese’s lawyer, said there were 30,000 pages, arguing that it would take too long for his team to go through and remove the redactions on everything they had already redacted. “We have 30,000 pages,” he said. “Every page has to be gone through. Every redaction has to be examined afresh.”

They finally released 12,000 pages. What happened to the other 18,000 pages?

Mr. Hennigan said the reason for the discrepancy was that the 30,000 number was a “wild guess” he had made based on how many bankers boxes of documents he had.

I don’t trust these criminals an inch. Mercifully, victims’ groups are filing a motion to compel the release of everything they cannot find. And we Catholics need to demand the names of everyone involved in this vast web of corruption and abuse. And Los Angeles can only be the start. What we need, and what we should be demanding in louder and louder voices, is the full release of all files from the Vatican office on these cases, which was run for years by … Pope Benedict XVI. And we need to ask insistently: How much did the Pope know? And who did he allow to rape and rape again?

(Photo: Supporter Maggie Storey holds a portrait of a boy called Eric, who went on to commit suicide at an older age, as Esther Miller (L rear) addresses the media outside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, where abuse victims and their supporters gathered in Los Angeles, California, on February 1, 2013, one day after the release of personnel files of priests accused of sexual misconduct. By Frederic J Brown/AFP/Getty.)