Did the Pope really cover up the priest sex scandals?

Im a Catholic but i read this link on another question.This upsets me greatly.Did our Pope really do this?If true,this sends a message that the Church says "its no big deal" or that sex abuse isnt sex abuse and then victims feel double victimised,shame,like they are stupid for feeling like someone done something bad againt them,they might question themselves and their mind might deceive them that it was their own faults,they might reason if Gods Holy men are saying im stupid for feeling this way then they must be right and i must be wrong,they might get hate,selfhate,feel abandonment ,suicide etc.

I cant believe this happened.This is something that i'd expect from a government maybe but not from Gods men.

It just reemphasises the importance that you shouldnt trust anyone too much and be naive.

Do people have no idea of the traumatic effects on peoples psych that it has on people when they are not believed?

You know,when i first read about these things what happened,I read a Catholic priest say "havnt people got over this yet?".

I was shocked and appalled to read that.Like he didnt care and belittled it like it was the victims fault and they should get over it and stop being 'trouble makers'.

I then reasoned,well if highest men of God are saying this,the Jesus too must think that cause they represent him cause he picked them so their minds must be closest to His.I then got it in my mind that Jesus was also thinking its no big deal and making the victims feel ashamed of themselves for thinking it was.I thought Jesus also thought that abuse wasnt abuse and that it was only the "secular"/worldly people who thought this was abuse.

So,i cried much tears about this and wondered who really is Jesus(His character)?

My sister told me that Jesus does not support this,that it is abuse,to not doubt my thoughts that it is abuse and not ok,and that we shouldnt look at man to find Christs character cause man is fallible even Gods men.

So,i tried to believe and trust what she was saying.

But it wasnt easy.One hand i had my sister(Catholic) saying it wasnt right.Other hand i heard many other Catholics online saying "its all the corrupt media" "media just wants to villify the Church" "why cant people just get over this" so i was very confused as to is this bad or is this really the 'victims' fault.

Thats what really upset me and cofused my mind-how other Catholics got angry at the mention of it and defended it.I cant undestand why anyone could do this any who has children I mean it is our Church,but the people are the Church and the children.Even when your young like me and dont have children,i still know i dont want them hurt externally or psychologically /emotionally.

I felt more faith again in humanity when i read the views of catholic psychologist Dr Thomas Plante whos views are similar to mine and my selfdoubts a bit lessened.

So..did the Pope really sign a letter refusing to defrock the preist that abused this man?Wouldnt this man have felt betrayed?

I know Cardinal Pell (my country) moved the priests around but i would not have expected such from from our Pope who i see as a kind,good man.

I'd understand if he did it cause of not having the full understanding/awareness of the effects of these situations have on a persons psych.Then i'd understand.But if he did it for another reason that would upset and confuse me.

Priests should also be suported and not deemed guilty without investigting but in the meantime shouldnt work near people.

I dont get though why victims want money cause what does money do.I just wish it all never happened.

Many great bishops are now doing much to ensure safety of childrens.

What is your opinion and what is your opinion on Thomas plantes opinions?

Please dont give angry answers though but go to another question if angry.







I dont think its fair to suggest that the Pope is a pedophile cause he didnt do that stuff.

Update 2:

It is weird though that the Baptist priest cases rarely got such reporting in the media.Is that cause of media bias or is that cause of God did that because Catholic Church is the true(in my opinions) Church so God was behind all this coming out so they Chruch would get purified?

Some say media is bias to Catholics but why would media prefer baptist over catholic-it doesnt make sense cause doesnt media just care about whatever stories will make the money?

Some of the media were moneyhungry opportunists that said cruel unfair things about the Church.But i think other of the media were just being a voice/advocate for the victims to say "what happened to you does matter and wasnt right".

Update 3:

I wont vote best answer but leave it for YA vote cause there was too many good answers to pick one.

Update 4:

Thankyou very much Cecile,Mara,Missmousie,John,Skepsis for your deep,well thought-out answers.

14 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Best Answer


  • John S
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    Wow!, that's what we call a "wall of text" To be honest, I skimmed it, but didn't read every word.

    As a Catholic, I'd say this...

    FIRST, yes the abuse is horrible and I agree that it shows one should believe in the FAITH not the men. Another wards, our faith as Catholics should not be based on the holiness of men, but on truth and on God.

    So your question is.. DID the Pope really sign a letter to NOT defrock or remove the Priests?

    It is a complicated issue....

    Before he was Pope, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger -- he stated that Canon Law did not ALLOW him to remove the Priests without their permission. That the Vatican does not have this power, as it stands. Cardinal Ratzinger was Pope John Paul the 2nd's expert on Canon Law. If he didn't see a way to allow this, according to Church law.. then we should believe him that there isn't. Kind of like if a Supreme Court Judge said it is illegal to do something.

    SO, People are expecting the Vatican to break its own laws or enact new ones to allow it to remove Priests. What the media and anti-Catholics are saying is partially true. He didn't remove them. But it was NOT because of some cover-up intent on allowing Priests to continue to molest. NO.

    It was much more complicated then that.

    The problem then became that the Vatican moves very slowly. Sometimes contemplating a philosophical position for centuries. Change takes time.

    Secondly, the current Vatican leadership is full of academics... men who did not grasp the PR problems not acting quickly would cause. They thought more about Canon Law then about the victims. Otherwise they would have moved quicker to amend Canon Law to allow some leeway in how they dealt with it.

    Instead they used the existing tools they had at their disposal to deal with a new problem.

    So if they are guilty of anything it is not adapting quickly enough. But NOT necessarily of cover-up.

    Even moving Priests around is a complicated issue. To a modern world, it seems like what one would do to cover something up.

    But to an institution founded on forgiveness.. it is EXACTLY what you'd do if you thought the person had repented and God had given them the grace to avoid that sin. Moving is what you'd do to help both the victims and the predator avoid further problems.

    ALSO, back in the 60s, 70s, and into the 80s.... Psychologists recommended that sexual predators be moved away from their victims as the primary way to treat them. The "experts" at the time thought relocation was the best step to fixing the issue.

    Now we know better then that. However, most of these crimes occurred before 1990.

    In some cases, by the time Ratzinger found out about it, the Priests were so old they were no longer involved in the Parish OR in some cases, had died.

    Some people still want the Pope to defrock or remove them, but the Church in her mercy, decided to allow them to remain Priests, even though they no longer had any role in Parish life. -- Anotherwards, they were retired and away from children.

    AGAIN... the Vatican misjudged the public outrage over this method of handling older pedophile priests.

    This issue is like an onion. It has many layers and aspects to it. Some cases were

  • Misty
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    <<Did the Pope really cover up the priest sex scandals?>>


    There is a lot of assumption that goes into that claim. Also, many, many people, including Catholics, do not understand the roles and inner-workings of the Church. Who reports to who and just how it all works.

    We must remember that the Church is global. There are many rules and regulations throughout the world. They all differ, age of consent differs, etc.

    Also, it is easy after the fact to see how puzzle pieces fit together but it isn't always that obvious when it is happening. Take for instance a cheating husband...we always hear 'the wife is the last to know." This is because, in part, because she trusts him and she isn't looking for it. But after she finds out she might then say "oh, now it makes sense why he said this, or did that." At that point the clues now seem to obviously point to an affair, yet at the time they were happening she didn't see it at all.

    In the case of the Church, it is easy to line up all the evidence and allegations and say this person should have known. But that doesn't mean he did.

    The Church has internal procedures which were followed. Were they good procedures? Not always, sometimes they left gaping holes for pedophiles to exploit. When many in power realized this was happening they worked to change the procedures to make priests who commit crimes held accountable, they changed the procedures to have more of an alliance with local law enforcement.

    The Church is not just a big company in which the head knows everything that goes on. That would be impossible.

    If a local government agent committed a crime, we wouldn't assume the Governor knew, or the Senator for that State...and we'd certainly understand that the President couldn't know and wouldn't be responsible.

  • Mara
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    I don't know. I don't think most people can be certain of what he knew when it was actually happening. There was the 2001 letter he sent out to the world's bishops, as the head of the CDF, saying that information about cases of sexual misconduct was subject to pontifical secrecy under threat of excommunication. Bishops have since said that's why they didn't go to the police. If that is what was meant by the directive, then that doesn't look good for the Pope.

    Also in the case of Marcial Maciel (founder of the Legionnaires of Christ), some say Benedict took swift action against him once he became pope. However, Maciel wasn't even defrocked. He caused a tremendous amount of pain, yet he was only sentenced to live the rest of his life at prayer in a monastery. Bishops who have been implicated in cover-ups have sent in resignations, only to be denied by Benedict. And whose he has accepted- their punishment is really nothing more than an early retirement. He is said to be eager about cleaning this up, but those don't seem like very harsh penalties considering what these men have done.

    But you're right in that victims have been re-victimized by the bishops and priests who have covered it up, and by the laity who tell people to "get over it" or have the audacity to imply that it's somehow the victim's fault. Sometimes it's the latter part that I have the most difficulty with. This is a miserable mess for all involved,and no one wants to believe that the people they respect so greatly (the ordained) are capable of this kind of stuff. But to go to such lengths to defend your church, to sink as low as to slight victims- I just can't understand it.

    The media does blow things out of proportion, but they did not make everything up. The Church has given them plenty to work with. A few years ago the Vatican said this just was an "American" problem. Since then they have pointed fingers at other religions, other Christian denominations, homosexuals, liberals, the media, those who support abortion, women's ordination and same sex-marriage. It's as if they are not taking it seriously. They are playing the victim. They think as soon as the pope says "I'm sorry" to a new country he visits, everyone should just let it go. Meanwhile people's lives have been destroyed.

    Edit: Just read Thomas Plant's article. He's right in that it was a minority of priests who molested or raped minors. And priests are no more likely to abuse than other men. It is in no way a homosexual problem, since gay men are no more likely to abuse than heterosexual men. He's also right in saying that the Vatican didn't handle these cases properly and right now the victims need a tremendous amount of compassion since they've been through what no one should ever have to. The only thing I took issue with was that he said since these cases happened years ago and not much was known about pedophilia, it wasn't that much of a stretch to understand these men being treated in psych centers and being reassigned in parishes. Ok, but many of these men continually abused in different parishes. You would think they would have done more after awhile to prevent this from happening. They knew these men were doing it again and again, and many times they were re-assigned without warning the new parish. That's absolutely heinous and evil.

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  • 9 years ago

    >>Did the Pope really cover up the priest sex scandals?<<

    Based on my research, no. The John Jay study found that less than 12% of victims reported the abuse to the Church within a year, and that most victims waited decades. Even when a victim reported abuse to the local bishop, it wasn't until mid-2001 that bishop was required to notify the Vatican. Ratzinger simply wasn't in a position to know until mid-2001, and by then there was very little abuse happening.



    >>So..did the Pope really sign a letter refusing to defrock the preist that abused this man?<<

    The Pope wasn't pope at the time. He didn't have the authority to defrock the priest. The law didn't allow for it. That's what he was saying in the letter.

    "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."


  • 9 years ago

    Sam Miller, prominent Cleveland businessman – Jewish, not Catholic – is fighting mad about & concentrated effort by the media to denigrate the Catholic Church in this country.


    I’m going to say things here today that many Catholics should have said 18 months ago. Maybe it’s easier for me to say because I am not Catholic, but I have had enough, more than enough, disgustingly enough.

    During my entire life I’ve never seen a greater vindictive, more scurrilous, biased campaign against the Catholic Church as I have seen in the last 18 months, and the strangest thing is that it is in a country like the United States where there is supposed to be mutual respect and freedom for all religions.

    This has bothered me because I too am a minority in this country. You see, unfortunately and I say this very advisedly the Catholics have forgotten that in the early 1850′s when the Italians, the Poles, the Latvians, the Lithuanians, all of Catholic persuasion, came to this country looking for opportunity because of famine, (particularly the Irish) they were already looked upon with derision, suspicion and hatred. Consequently the jobs they were forced to take were the jobs that nobody else wanted bricklayers, ditch diggers, Jewish junkmen, street cleaners, etc.

    This prejudice against your religion and mine has never left this country and don’t ever forget it, and (sic) never will. Your people were called Papists, Waps, Guineas, frogs, fish eaters, ad infinitum.

    and etc..............

    Meaning, the media hype on anti-catholicism means bundle of money, profit for New York Times. We can't get carried away with that 1.7% catholic pedo cases without loving the 98.3% holy men and women of the Catholic faith. Compared to 10% of the protestants pedo, the Baptist are the super star and to mention the 23,720 JW cases. Off course the protestants did something to hide their pedo cases, just like the catholics; but it did not spiral as sensationalistic news, there's no money. Good example, in our school systems, the No. 1 molestations generators: they transfer their questionable teacher to another district; same in the govt and corporation, either they got promoted or demoted; all of these means the alleged molesters were not found guilty YET, since our system has to protect the innocent, so the shuffling takes place until the case is proven guilty. Pope Benedict fired errant priests without question...

  • 4 years ago

    Cardinal Law's new job was not a promotion but a sideways move. Cardinal Law is a stubborn Irishman, who was brought up in the tradition that the state has no authority over the church. He was rudely awakened to the fact, that in the modern world all the people are citizens of the state and are not immune to the inquiry of the state.

  • 9 years ago

    There is no evidence that he did.

    All of the recent "evidence" put forward by the Media was almost immediately proven wrong by the real facts. The Media, of course, never admits wrong and never apologises. It just waits for the next unsubstanciated claims to surface so they can create new headlines.

    Here is an "On Faith" column from the Washington Post entitled "Media decides, then reports": http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/guestvo...

    Here is George Weigel's column detailing the Media's feeding frenzy on the Catholic Church: http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2010/03/sco...

    Here is Father Thomas Brundage's account (he was the judge) of the trial of Father Lawrence Murphy and the misreporting of the media: http://catholicanchor.org/wordpress/?p=601

    See also:



    With love in Christ.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    "i would not have expected such from from our Pope who i see as a kind,good man."

    Are we talking about the same guy here?

    "I dont think its fair to suggest that the Pope is a pedophile cause he didnt do that stuff."

    While calling him a pedophile is a stretch, since pedophilia is a physical attraction to people under the age of 13, he's still a disgusting human being and doesn't deserve any "holy" title.

  • 9 years ago


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