Here is a profile of 10 criminal cardinals going to the Conclave in Rome to elect the next leader of the most criminal organization in existence, the Pope:
1. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York.
For flash and visibility, the archbishop’s post in New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral offers a level of media-conferred power second only to that commanded by the pope himself. (Pope John Paul II famously dubbed the New York post as “archbishop of the capital of the world.”) In the wake of Benedict’s abdication, Dolan fast became the subject of talk, perhaps generated by his own noise machine, that he was a contender for the church’s top spot.
Just days before he took off for Rome, however, Dolan sat for three hours of questioning during a legal deposition for a case brought by survivors of sexual abuse by priests in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee during Dolan’s tenure there. According to New York Times reporter Laurie Goodstein, lawyers for the plaintiffs, who claim to have been abused by priests when they were children, sought to ascertain when Dolan first learned of the allegations against the priests in relation to when he made those allegations public. It appears the plaintiffs seek to show that Dolan deliberately stalled in order to let the clock run out on the statute of limitations governing the prosecution of such crimes. In the meantime, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee declared bankruptcy, apparently a result of settlements made with abuse claimants.
An excerpt from Goodstein’s report:
In the Milwaukee Archdiocese, 575 people have filed claims saying that they were abused, over many decades, by Catholic clergymen. About 70 said they were victims of the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy, who, church records show, admitted having molested deaf studentsat a boarding school outside Milwaukee, said Jeff Anderson, a lawyer in St. Paul who represents 350 of the 575 plaintiffs.
Upon receiving the shocking news of Pope Benedict’s resignation, I speculated that recent revelations in the sexual abuse scandal involving the cardinal archbishop of the City of Angels might have something to do with the timing of the unusual papal retirement.
What is clear, though, is that Mahony repeatedly failed to act on concerns about the sexual abuse of children by priests that were brought to him by pastors and church officials throughout the diocese, and that when he did, his actions were designed to avoid criminal prosecutions of the predator priests.
When Ratzinger won election to the papacy, the man he chose to replace himself in his old job of top Vatican enforcer was Levada, the former archbishop of Portland, Oregon and former archbishop of San Francisco.
Like Ratzinger before him, he valued the reputation of the church above the welfare of its victims and, like Ratzinger, has made a specialty of tormenting feminist nuns -- most recently claiming control over the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an umbrella group for most orders of U.S. sisters.
Such was Levada's brutality, in fact, that he punished a priest who reported a child-abusing fellow priest to the police -- a move that came back to haunt him when the whistleblower, Father Jon Conley, brought a defamation case against the archdiocese after paving the way for the family of an abused child to win a $750,000 settlement from the archdiocese. (Politics Daily contributor Jason Berry told the sordid tale here in 2010.)
4. Cardinal Angelo Sodono, Dean of the College of Cardinals.
In an unprecedented speech on Easter Sunday 2010 that opened the Vatican’s religious services for the day, Sodano blamed the church’s pedophilia scandal on people with “visions of the family and of life that run contrary to the Gospel,” according to the Associated Press.
"But it's not Christ's fault if Judas betrayed" him, Sodano said. "It's not a bishop's fault if one of his priests is stained by grave wrongdoing. And certainly the pontiff is not responsible."
5. Cardinal Justin Rigali, former Archbishop of Philadelphia.
The level of abuse experienced by children in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia under Rigali’s predecessor, the late Anthony Bevilacqua, is epic. As described by the National Catholic Reporter’s Tom Roberts: “Bevilacqua oversaw priests who were involved in nothing short of sexual torture of youngsters.”
As Robert Huber of Philadelphia magazine recounted: “Instead of being reported to the DA’s office, pedophile priests were moved -- sometimes repeatedly, from parish to parish to parish. Abusive priests kept right on abusing children.”
6. Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz, former Archbishop of Santiago, Chile.
James Hamilton, now a 47-year-old medical doctor, told the Times that he filed an official complaint against Karadima two years later for abuse that began when he was a teenager and went on for 20 years. Hamilton says he never heard back from the diocese.
In 2010, Errázuriz claimed that he had opened an investigation into the complaints against Karadima in 2005, then shut it down to await further evidence, according to an AP report.
He reopened it in 2009, not long before four men came forward claiming to have been abused by Karadima -- one said he was 14 when the abuse began -- and criminal complaints were filed. A total of eight men ultimately came forward with accusations against the priest.
The AP reported that, after a criminal investigation of Karadima was initiated, Errázuriz sent a letter that was read aloud to all parishes in the archdiocese. It read, in part:
"He is a priest who has worked fruitfully and generously nearly his whole life," Errázuriz said of Karadima. Nevertheless, "There is no place in the priesthood for those who abuse minors, and no excuse that can justify this crime."
As part of a 2008 settlement with victims of child sex-abuse by priests in the Archdiocese of Chicago, Cardinal George released the deposition he had given in the case. It revealed some of the details of a coverup at the highest levels of his staff.
For instance, wrote Chicago Tribune reporters Margaret Ramirez and Manya Brachear, George’s testimony revealed “evidence of his repeated refusal to follow recommendations and promptly remove abusive Chicago priests from ministry.” These were priests like Rev. Daniel McCormack and the Rev. Joseph Bennett, who were accused of molesting dozens of children.
In fact, George said in his deposition, his vicar of priests, Edward Grace, actually coached the pedophiles on how to beat the rap, according to the Chicago Tribuneaccount:
Rev. Edward D. Grace, and Auxiliary Bishop George J. Rassas withheld information about abuse allegations.
Grace coached Joseph Bennett on how to handle questions involving a victim's knowledge of Bennett's private parts, according to a memo included in the deposition. Grace also advised McCormack not to talk to police when first arrested in August 2005, the cardinal said.
George served as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2007-2010.
8. Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
The former Archbishop of Quebec is said to be a frontrunner for the papacy, but Canada has not been immune to the clergy sexual abuse scandal. While Ouellet has not been accused of covering for pedophilic priests -- indeed he issued an apology in 2007 for the sex-abuse scandal -- he has been criticized for refusing to meet with the victims of abuse by priests. One notorious case in his archdiocese involved children at a school for the deaf, with allegations dating from before his tenure as archbishop. Some 30 clergy at the school of Clercs de Saint-Viateur stand accused of abusing and raping children from 1944 to 1982.
Adding insult to injury is that, acting as the papal legate, Ouellet traveled to Ireland to meet with victims of sexual abuse by Irish priests.
9. Cardinal Sean Brady, Primate of all Ireland.
While the widespread scandal of the sexual and other abuse of children in schools run by the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland cannot be laid at the feet of any one bishop (a recent reportdamned four in the Archdiocese of Dublin alone), Brady played a special role in the scandal in 1975 when, as a priest, he met with children to hear their complaints of sexual abuse, and then swore them to secrecy. As reported by the BBC:
Brendan Boland was 11 years old when he was sexually abused by Fr Brendan Smyth. Back in 1975, he reported the abuse to Fr (now Cardinal) Sean Brady and two other priests, hoping to end the abuse of him and others. After giving evidence to them he was sworn to secrecy.
Cardinal Brady signed two reports about the abuse of Boland and another boy and passed them on to his bishop, but the police were never informed.
It was not until 1994 that Smyth was convicted of dozens of offences against children over a 40-year period.
When confronted, during a visit to Chile (where parishioners were reeling from that country’s priest sex-abuse scandal, about the church’s role in the sexual victimization of children, Bertone played the Vatican’s favorite card: blame the gays.