KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Msgr. Robert Murphy, vicar general for the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese and a key official in deciding how the diocese responds to cases of sexual abuse, has himself been accused of sexual misconduct, The Kansas City Star reported this morning.
An NCR Editorial
The report of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice on the causes and context of sex abuse of minors by priests is an important landmark, flawed as it is, in understanding this awful crisis in our church.
Any attempt to quantify and explain a reality as ugly as sexual abuse of children by priests was bound to draw fire from many sides. The volatility of the response to the report is at once reflective of the severe limits of the study and the ongoing frustration of Catholics and the wider society in trying to understand how the leaders of an institution that professes Jesus could behave so badly when its own ministers were destroying the lives of the community’s children.
Catholics in Kansas City, Mo., learned in May something that Nicholas Cafardi has known for some time: “A review board” -- the confidential consultative body each bishop is supposed to have for advice on cases of sexual abuse by clergy -- “is only as good as the cases a bishop puts before them.”
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Bishop Robert W. Finn said today he had not seen a year-old letter from a Catholic elementary school principal warning of the odd behavior of a local priest who was arrested May 19 for possessing child pornography.
Finn said he only saw the letter from principal Julie Hess yesterday.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The principal of a Catholic elementary school warned the Kansas City-St. Joseph chancery office that a local priest “fit the profile of a child predator” six months before the diocese took any action to remove him from ministries dealing with children.
Fr. Shawn Ratigan, 45, was arrested May 19 on three counts of possessing child pornography, six months after the diocese took its first action to limit the priest’s involvement with children by moving him to a local home for religious sisters.
The letter, written by Julie Hess, the principal of Saint Patrick School, is dated May 19, 2010 -- nearly one year before the arrest. In her letter, Hess pleads with the diocesan vicar general, Msgr. Robert Murphy, to consider a list of incidents teachers observed at the school involving Ratigan that “raised significant red flags.”
ROME -- The Salesians of St. John Bosco removed two European members from their duties after it was discovered one belonged to a pro-pedophilia organization and another made remarks defending pedophilia.
The Salesian headquarters in Rome said a Dutch priest identified only as Father "B" and the superior of the Salesians in the Netherlands, Father Herman Spronck, had both been suspended.
"The Belgium-Holland Province officially announced that Father B no longer has permission to carry out any pastoral activity and that Father Spronck has been relieved of his office as delegate," the congregation said in a May 23 press release.
The Salesian provincial of Belgium-Holland, Father Jos Claes, said that to the Salesians' "great surprise," Father "B" was a member of a Dutch-based association that advocates legalizing sexual relations between an adult and child.
Father Claes said the association is "not compatible with our Salesian identity" and "we therefore condemn the membership and the opinions of Father van B."
Release of the John Jay College study on the causes of sexual abuse by Catholic priests signals the end of the U.S. bishops’ five-year, $1.8 million inquiry into the institution they govern and the priests in their charge. But the new study hardly quiets the fundamental questions that have dogged the church and its leaders since the crisis was first publicized in the mid-1980s.
One day after newspapers across the nation featured front page articles about a U.S. bishops' sponsored study on the causes of the clergy sex abuse scandal, which blamed much of the crisis on the sexual revolution of the 1960s, another clergy abuse news story was on the front page of The Kansas City Star: A local priest had been arrested for possession of child pornography.
In the last few days I have carefully read the entire 143-page John Jay report on the causes of clergy sex abuse in the United States and have again reviewed the executive summaries and conclusions of 17 of the 27 reports on clergy sexual abuse that have been published between 1989 and 2011.
WASHINGTON -- Because potential sexual abusers of minors cannot be pinpointed through "identifiable psychological characteristics," it is "very important" to prevent abuse by limiting the "situational factors" associated with it, according to a long-awaited report on the causes and context of sexual abuse by priests in the United States.
The report, released in Washington May 18, said there is "no single identifiable 'cause' of sexually abusive behavior toward minors." It encouraged steps to deny abusers "the opportunity to abuse."
Titled "The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010," it reports the findings of a study mandated in 2002 under the U.S. Catholic bishops' "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People."
The charter, adopted by the bishops during a historic meeting in Dallas, created a National Review Board and directed the lay consultative body to commission studies of the abuse problem's "nature and scope" and its "causes and context." The John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York conducted both studies.