Vast. Incomprehensible in scope. Enormous.
Those words are not at all hyperbolic efforts to describe the horror of the crimes committed against children and others by members of the clergy in one country after another (the United States of America, Canada, Italy, Ireland, Belgium and Germany) that have been revealed in the past ten years. It is now the turn of The Netherlands to take its place in the pantheon of locales where the systematic abuse of children and others by members of the clergy, dating back about two decades before the dawning of the age of conciliarism, has been at least partially investigated for the whole world to see.
Here is a summary of the Deetman Report about the situation in The Netherlands, noting that some are dissatisfied with it because it was underwritten by conciliar authorities in that country rather than by civil authorities in the process of conducting a criminal investigation:
What makes this report even more tragic is that the man who supervised its writing, John Deetman, a Protestant, suggested that some of the problems could have been avoided if priestly celibacy, long a bone of contention amongst the liberal Dutch conciliar clergy, had been made optional, once again demonstrating that investigations of this sort, no matter how extensive their scope or the magnitude of their findings, ignore the simple truth that the problem of clerical abuse is caused by sodomites, men who are committed to the pursuit of their own perverse pleasures as they take full advantage of the opportunities provided them by means of their clerical authority and ready access to victims. Sodomy is at the root cause of these crimes. Period.
Perhaps even more significant than the predictable pattern of institutional denial and self-protection exhibited by conciliar authorities (and by their Catholic predecessors) in The Netherlands is the devastation that an institutional silence about the extent of these crimes has visited upon the Faith of millions of millions of people who are as yet attached to the structures o the counterfeit church of conciliarism. Although John Deetman went out of his way to say that there was not a "culture of silence" in The Netherlands, an outside observer would be very justified to conclude that there would not be such outrage at the scope of the abuse uncovered in The Netherlands if a culture of silence had not been maintained, one, that is, that kept the laity in the dark as abusers were shifted from one place to another without any warning about their history of predatory behavior.
Alas, predators can never be placed back into pastoral ministry. The conciliar authorities do not realize this. Sadly, neither did their Catholic predecessors.
Father Gerald Fitzgerald, the founder of the Servants of the Paracletes, warned the Catholic bishops of the 1950s not to place predators back into any parish assignments, going so far as place a $5,000 deposit towards the purchase an island to isolate these men as he did not believe that they were capable of reforming their behavior, that the best that could be done for them was to keep them away from possible future victims as they made reparation for their sins and attempted to save their immortal souls:
As early as the mid-1950s, decades before the clergy sexual-abuse
crisis broke publicly across the U.S. Catholic landscape, the founder of
a religious order that dealt regularly with priest sex abusers was so
convinced of their inability to change that he searched for an island to
purchase with the intent of using it as a place to isolate such
offenders, according to documents recently obtained by NCR.
Fr. Gerald Fitzgerald, founder of the Servants of the Paracletes, an
order established in 1947 to deal with problem priests, wrote regularly
to bishops in the United States and to Vatican officials, including the
pope, of his opinion that many sexual abusers in the priesthood should
be laicized immediately.
Fitzgerald was a prolific correspondent who wrote regularly of his
frustration with and disdain for priests "who have seduced or attempted
to seduce little boys or girls." His views are contained in letters and
other correspondence that had previously been under court seal and were
made available to NCR by a California law firm in February.
Fitzgerald's convictions appear to significantly contradict the claims
of contemporary bishops that the hierarchy was unaware until recent
years of the danger in shuffling priests from one parish to another and
in concealing the priests' problems from those they served.
It is clear, too, in letters between Fitzgerald and a range of
bishops, among bishops themselves, and between Fitzgerald and the
Vatican, that the hierarchy was aware of the problem and its
implications well before the problem surfaced as a national story in the
Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Los Angeles archdiocese, reacting in
February to a federal investigation into his handling of the crisis,
said: "We have said repeatedly that ... our understanding of this
problem and the way it's dealt with today evolved, and that in those
years ago, decades ago, people didn't realize how serious this was, and
so, rather than pulling people out of ministry directly and fully, they
Indeed, some psychology experts seemed to hold the position that
priest offenders could be returned to ministry. Even the Paracletes, as
the order developed and grew, employed experts who said that certain men
could be returned to ministry under stringent conditions and with
The order itself ultimately was so inundated with lawsuits regarding
priests who molested children while or after being treated at its
facility in Jemez Springs, N.M., that it closed the facility in 1995.
Whatever discussion occurred during the 1970s and 1980s over proper
treatment, however, for nearly two decades Fitzgerald spoke a rather
consistent conviction about the dim prospects for returning sex abusers
to ministry. Fitzgerald seemed to know almost from the start the danger
such priests posed. He was adamant in his conviction that priests who
sexually abused children (often the language of that era was more
circumspect in naming the problem) should not be returned to ministry.
In a 1957 letter to an unnamed archbishop, Fitzgerald said, "These
men, Your Excellency, are devils and the wrath of God is upon them and
if I were a bishop I would tremble when I failed to report them to Rome
for involuntary layization [sic]." The letter, addressed to "Most dear
Cofounder," was apparently to Archbishop Edwin V. Byrne of Santa Fe,
N.M., who was considered a cofounder of the Paraclete facility at Jemez
Springs and a good friend of Fitzgerald.
Later in the same letter, in language that revealed deep passion, he
wrote: "It is for this class of rattlesnake I have always wished the
island retreat -- but even an island is too good for these vipers of
whom the Gentle Master said it were better they had not been born --
this is an indirect way of saying damned, is it not?"
The documents were sealed at the request of the church in an earlier
civil case involving Fr. Rudolph Kos of Dallas. Eleven plaintiffs won
awards in the case in which Kos was accused of molesting minors over a
12-year period. He had been treated at the Paraclete facility in New
Mexico. The documents were unsealed in 2007 by a court order obtained by
the Beverly Hills law firm of Kiesel, Boucher & Larson, according
to Anthony DeMarco, an attorney with the firm that has handled hundreds
of cases for alleged victims of sexual abuse in the Los Angeles
archdiocese and elsewhere.
According to Helen Zukin, another member of the firm, the documents
have been used in some cases to dispute the church claim that it knew
nothing about the behavior of sex abusers or the warning signs of abuse
prior to the 1980s.
In a September 1952 letter to the then- bishop of Reno, Nev.,
Fitzgerald wrote: "I myself would be inclined to favor laicization for
any priest, upon objective evidence, for tampering with the virtue of
the young, my argument being, from this point onward the charity to the
Mystical Body should take precedence over charity to the individual and
when a man has so far fallen away from the purpose of the priesthood the
very best that should be offered him is his Mass in the seclusion of a
monastery. Moreover, in practice, real conversions will be found to be
extremely rare. ... Hence, leaving them on duty or wandering from
diocese to diocese is contributing to scandal or at least to the
approximate danger of scandal." The advice was ignored and the priest
was allowed to continue in ministry, and was ultimately accused of
abusing numerous children, for which the church paid out huge sums in
While Fitzgerald told anyone who would listen of the futility of
returning sexually abusive priests to ministry, that conviction became
less absolute as the order, today headquartered in St. Louis, grew and
the scope of its work became more complex. Fitzgerald, by most accounts,
was deeply motivated by a sense of obligation to care for priests who
were in trouble. Originally a priest of the Boston archdiocese for 12
years, he became a member of the Congregation of the Holy Cross in 1934,
and started the Servants of the Paraclete in 1947. His concern at the
time was primarily for priests struggling with alcoholism. As his new
order matured and its ministry became known, bishops began referring
priests with other maladies, particularly those who had been sexually
abusive of children. The order for years was the primary source for care
of priests in the United States with alcohol and sexual problems.
At times, Fitzgerald appears to have resisted taking in priests who
had sexually abused youngsters. In his 1957 letter he requested
concurrence from the cofounder archbishop "of what I consider a very
vital decision on our part -- that for the sake of preventing scandal
that might endanger the good name of Via Coeli [the name of the New
Mexico facility] we will not offer hospitality to men who have seduced
or attempted to seduce" children. "Experience has taught us these men
are too dangerous to the children of the parish and neighborhood for us
to be justified in receiving them here."
In September 1957 the bishop of Manchester, N.H., Matthew F. Brady,
sought Fitzgerald's advice regarding "a problem priest," John T.
Sullivan, who seemed sincerely repentant and whose difficulty "is not
drink but a series of scandal-causing escapades with young girls. There
is no section of the diocese in which he is not known and no pastor
seems willing to accept him," Brady wrote. The "escapades" involved
molestation of young girls. In at least one instance, he procured an
abortion for a teenager he had impregnated. In another case, he fathered
a child and provided support to the mother until she later married. The
charges of molesting girls would follow him the rest of his life.
"The solution of his problem seems to be a fresh start in some
diocese where he is not known. It occurred to me that you might know of
some bishop who would be willing to give him that opportunity," Brady
wrote in his original letter.
Fitzgerald responded that in his judgment the "repentance and
amendment" in such cases "is superficial and, if not formally at least
subconsciously, is motivated by a desire to be again in a position where
they can continue their wonted activity. A new diocese means only green
Fitzgerald added that the Paracletes had "adopted a definite policy
not to recommend to bishops men of this character, even presuming the
sincerity of their conversion. We feel that the protection of our
glorious priesthood will demand, in time, the establishment of a uniform
code of discipline and of penalties."
He acknowledged the degree of deference with which Catholic clergy
were treated even by civil authorities. "We are amazed to find how often
a man who would be behind bars if he were not a priest is entrusted
with the cura animarum [the care of souls]," he wrote.
Sullivan apparently had already been pulled from active ministry. In
October 1957, less than a month after contacting Fitzgerald, Brady wrote
a response to the bishop of Burlington, Vt., among the first of more
than a dozen bishops approached by Sullivan for the next five years,
warning against accepting him.
Brady then wrote a letter that he sent out time after time to bishops
inquiring about Sullivan after he had requested acceptance for
ministry. "My conscience will not allow me to recommend him to any
bishop and I feel that every inquiring bishop should know some of the
circumstances that range from parenthood, through violation of the Mann
Act, attempted suicide, and abortion.
"Father Fitzgerald of Via Coeli would accept him only as a permanent
guest to help save his soul but with no hope of recommending him to a
According to a 2003 Washington Post story, Sullivan, who had
bounced around from diocese to diocese for nearly 30 years, "was
stripped of his faculties to serve as a priest after he kissed a
13-year-old girl in Laconia, N.H., in 1983, when he was 66. He died in
1999, never having faced a criminal charge." After his death the church
paid out more than a half-million dollars in awards to Sullivan's
victims, including three in Grand Rapids, Mich., and one in Amarillo,
Texas, two dioceses that did not heed the warnings of the bishops in New
Hampshire. The victims said they were abused when they were between 7
and 12 years old.
In April 1962, Fitzgerald wrote a five-page response to a query from
the Vatican's Congregation of the Holy Office about "the tremendous
problem presented by the priest who through lack of priestly
self-discipline has become a problem to Mother Church." One of his
recommendations was for "a more distinct teaching in the last years of
the seminary of the heavy penalty involved in tampering with the
innocence (or even non-innocence) of little ones."
Regarding priests who have "fallen into repeated sins ... and most
especially the abuse of children, we feel strongly that such unfortunate
priests should be given the alternative of a retired life within the
protection of monastery walls or complete laicization."
In August of the following year, he met with newly elected Pope Paul
VI to inform him about his work and problems he perceived in the
priesthood. His follow-up letter contained this assessment: "Personally I
am not sanguine of the return of priests to active duty who have been
addicted to abnormal practices, especially sins with the young. However,
the needs of the church must be taken into consideration and an
activation of priests who have seemingly recovered in this field may be
considered but is only recommended where careful guidance and
supervision is possible. Where there is indication of incorrigibility,
because of the tremendous scandal given, I would most earnestly
recommend total laicization."
But by 1963, Fitzgerald's powerful hold on the direction of the order was weakening. According to a 1993 affidavit by Fr. Joseph McNamara, who
succeeded Fitzgerald as Servant General, the appointment of a new
archbishop, James Davis, began a new era of the relationship between the
order, which was a "congregation of diocesan right," and the
archdiocese. Davis and Fitzgerald apparently clashed over a number of
issues. Davis was far more concerned than his predecessor about the
business aspects of the Santa Fe facility and demanded greater
accountability. He also demanded greater involvement of medical and
psychological professionals, while "Fr. Gerald [Fitzgerald] distrusted
lay programs, psychologists and psychiatrists," favoring a more
spiritual approach, according to McNamara.
McNamara said Fitzgerald was eventually forced from leadership by a
combination of factors, not least of which was a growing disagreement
with the bishop and other members of the order over the direction of the
Paracletes. After 1965, said McNamara, Fitzgerald "never again resided
at Via Coeli Monastery, nor did he ever regain the power he had once
Nor did he get his island. In 1965 Fitzgerald had put a $5,000
deposit on an island in Barbados, near Carriacou, in the Caribbean that
had a total purchase price of $50,000. But the new bishop apparently
wanted nothing to do with owning an island, and Fitzgerald, who died in
1969, was forced to sell his long-sought means for isolating priest sex
When asked for comment, a spokesman for the Paraceltes referred NCR to historic accounts previously written about the order. (Bishops were warned of abusive priests.)
Father Gerald Fitzgerald was a prophet. Like most prophets, however, he was ignored and then shunted off to the side. He knew full well that the protection of the innocence of souls was far more important than making abusive clergy "feel good" about themselves and/or attempting to victimize the victims again by blaming them for having been abuse or having had the temerity to speak out about the crimes, both civil and moral, that had been committed upon them. No, it was more important to protect the abusers and to reassign them. It was easier to take refuge in the belief that it is best to shield the faithful from these matters so that they were not be "scandalized" by them, heedless of the simple truth that it is a moral obligation on the part of those who have information about serial abusers to make it known to others precisely to protect possible future victims. And I, for one, know all too well from past and current reporting on these matters that just one report of predatory behavior can bring forth other leads to help confirm that allegations of a more recent vintage did not come out of nowhere. This is precisely what happened in the case of "Bishop" Daniel Leo Ryan of Springfield, Illinois, nearly fifteen years ago now (see
Roman Catholic Faithful Accuses Bishop Ryan of Harassment and More Witnesses Emerge in Bishop Ryan Case).
In addition to the courageous founder of the now-defunct Roman Catholic Faithful, Inc., one of the champions of true justice in the case of Daniel Leo Ryan was attorney James Bendell, whom I am privileged to count as a friend. As noted a few weeks ago, Mr. Bendell, whose legal work helped to confirm the predatory ways of the Society of Saint John, prepared an excellent study ( Pray for the Children) about the activities of the Society of Saint John's in the Diocese of Ciudad del Este in Paraguay that conciliar authorities in the Diocese of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, have taken very seriously and acted upon to forbid any of the Society's clergy from working there after one conciliar presbyter had worked closely with them because he "didn't believe" the documented reports about them (see Vancouver Sun report).
Credibility is almost always on the side of the victims, not that of those accused of predatory behavior. Victims must suffer shame and humiliation by coming forth with their stories, which is why so many of them refuse to speak out at first, sometimes refusing to so for decades and only then with reluctance and misgivings. Predators seek to claw back at their accusers. Father Urrutigoity accused me of doing the "devil's work" by submitting a special report to the Diocese of Scranton eleven years ago now on several other aspects of his morally corrupt community's operations. Defenders of Daniel Leo Ryan protested vigorously that Stephen Brady and others, including me, were "destroying the Church" by bringing forth such allegations. And on and on and on as almost no one cared for the next victim. It cannot and it must not be that with us at any time in any situation. Only a false "peace" can be purchased by silence on these matters.
To be sure, an examination of our own consciences
will reveal that at least some of us (my hand is raised right now) have
given scandal to others by our public words and actions. The mind does
not want fathom the horrible truth that one or more souls might have
lost the Faith or have been turned away from any real consideration of
converting to It by things we may have said or done to them or in their
presence, which is why we need to pray to Saint Mary Magdalene and Saint
Augustine and Saint Camillus de Lellis, Saint Mary of Egypt and Saint
Margaret of Cortona and even Saint John of God, who had a rough patch in
his life, that our prayers and penances and mortifications and
sacrifices offered to God through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of
Mary will help to win back the souls who we may have scandalized.
It is a terrible, terrible thing to reckon with the
fact that one might be responsible for the loss of a single soul. It is
thus the case that that while decry the insensitivity to the loss of
souls demonstrated by the conciliar "bishops," we must never
lose sight of how we might have demonstrated this insensitivity in our
own lives. The loss of the Faith in a single soul is indeed very much a
matter of the Faith!
May Our Lord have mercy on
us as approach the celebration of Christmas in but five days as we call to mind the great love that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour has for us by becoming Man in Our Lady's Virginal and Immaculate Womb in order to be born for us and thus to suffer and die for us that we might have
the very life of Sanctifying Grace in our souls in this life and thus be
able to enjoy the blessedness of Heaven in the next.
May Our Lady help us to
persevere in our own personal Advent practices as we approach Christmas in give days so that we can welcome the Baby Jesus with hearts purified of even the slightest attachment to sin, no less any excuses that we may have made for our sins.
In this world of such evil in which we have played our own roles on so many occasions, may we continue to live as penitentially as possible as we seek to make reparation for our sins and those of the whole world, including the sins of the conciliarists against the Faith and of anyone in the underground church in this time of apostasy and betrayal who dares to grow righteously indignant when actions that are indeed quite serious to God coming to public light. We cannot minimize sin and get to Heaven. While we must be charitable to our fellow erring sinners, the most charitable thing that can be done for one who gives signs of predatory behavior is to remonstrate with him that he must cease his actions at once lest we become his accomplices in his future sins.
May the Rosaries we pray each day help to bring about the restoration of the Church Militant on earth and of Christendom in the world.