Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Hey Kid. Want To Dominous My Vobiscum?

OK, it's not like we're...umm...obsessed with this or anything. We're just trying to be an equal opportunity blog. Yesterday we pointed out some of the more, shall we say eccentric elements of the Christian faith, and today we'd like to do the same for the Catholics, who, depending on whom you talk to, may or may not be Christians. There's that whole virgin Mary thing you know...very problematic. And the Pope. What's up with that?

Records of sex abuse claims against 126 priests show that church officials moved accused priests to parishes with congregations of lower socio-economic levels. "Poor people tend to be less finicky about their local pastors. Heck, most of them don't even speak English, let alone Latin," said Archdiocese attorney J. Michael Hennigan. "Besides, so what if you screw up a mexican or a black kid. It's not like they're going to be discovering the cure for cancer anyway for Chrissakes. Oh, excuse my French."

Raymond P. Boucher, the lead plaintiffs' attorney said, "The significance of these files is that they provide a little more information for the public about what these guys have been doing at the overnight prayer camp for troubled youth, but until the all the files are made public, we're not going to know for sure how many children are running around thinking they've been baptized with the miraculous rod of heaven, if you get my drift."

The records cover priests who were ordained as far back as the 1920s. Cardinal Roger Mahony, who has led the archdiocese since 1985, had overseen many of the men. "'Overseen.' So that's what the clergy are calling it these days, huh?" said Boucher.

A spokesman for Mahony has repeatedly insisted the cardinal wanted to reveal the information to promote reconciliation with victims, but was barred by confidentiality laws. "Yeah. That and he didn't want his cassock sued off," added Boucher.

In many of the files, there was little mention of child molestation. Instead, euphemisms such as "boundary violations" were used to describe the conduct. "I got my 'boundary' violated about six times before I was 12," said one litigant who declined to give his name.

One priest was convicted of molesting two boys and given probation. The conviction was later expunged from his record. A subsequent report was made in 1994 of "boundary violations," in which he allegedly patted the buttocks of a teenager. He entered alcohol treatment days later. "OK, let me get this straight," said Boucher. "He's been caught squeezing the merchandise on several occasions, so they send him to AA? Did he grab booty because he drank, or did he drink because he grabbed booty? That's what I want to know."

Another priest's file shows the archdiocese received repeated complaints that he engaged in "inappropriate sexual conduct with children" beginning in 1959, but that it did not appear to take significant action against him until 1994 when he was relieved of his duties. "Well, he wasn't so much relieved of his duties as he...uh...well, he died," said a spokesman from the archdiocese. "He was on our list though. He was definitely someone we wanted to talk to."

Many bishops have said they were misled by therapists to believe that a sexual attraction to young people could be cured. "We should have never listened to those guys. I can't tell you how many spinach and mayonnaise poultices I've applied to servers," said Cardinal Mahony. "And the aroma therapy! Wow. There were times they had the whole rectory smelling like a whore house...well...not that I'd know what a whore house smells like. But if I did know that would prove I don't like the little kids, right? I'm just talking hypothetically here."

As church officials' understanding of sex deepened, (no pun intended) accused priests were generally removed from their ministry and sent to "alternative seminaries" usually in places without strong criminal sexual conduct laws. Places like Mississippi and Alabama. "Hey. Down there by the time you're 13 you're likely to already have a kid or two. Just the place we were looking for," said Hennigan.

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