Emeritus Pope Benedict denies cover up, deaf victims in Wisconsin still wait
Statement by Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director
(See SNAP’s international statement by Barbara Dorris).
Today it is being reported that Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI has finally spoken about his involvement in the cover up of sexually abusive priests. Apparently, there wasn’t any. Why? Because he didn’t “try” to cover up for abusive priests.
The well-established truth, however, is that Benedict exercised authority over, knew of, was involved in, or neglected to take action concerning tens of thousands of priests who raped, sexually assaulted or abused hundreds of thousands of children across the globe over several decades.
This is especially and most grievously true in the pedophile priest case which has come to symbolize the entire wretched history of cover up and deception by the Vatican: Fr. Lawrence Murphy. Murphy, as is now well known, sexually assaulted over 200 deaf children at St. John’s School for the Deaf in Milwaukee. Benedict knew of Murphy’s crimes, in detail, yet secretly ruled that the pedophile be left in the priesthood, unsupervised and untreated until his death.
Murphy is hardly the only case Benedict was directly involved in, but it is the one case in which he can still make an effort at amends which might mean something to those harmed. It’s not likely, given his continual denial, but he can reach out and offer a sincere apology to these courageous men and women. (See deaf survivor Steven Geier’s statement when the Benedict resigned.)
Appallingly, many of these same victims of Fr. Murphy are still being denied justice today by the Church. In Federal Bankruptcy Court the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has launched yet a new wave of motions in its nearly three year effort to prevent restitution to survivors of priest abusers, including many deaf victims of Murphy.
There is a famous story that when Galileo was forced to recant by the Catholic Inquisition under threat of torture that the earth moved around the sun, he uttered under his breath, Eppur si muove: “It moves, anyway.”
Benedict can publish and pronounce as many revisionist histories of the sex abuse crisis as he wants in his final years.
The cover up happened, anyway.
SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 23 years and have more than 10,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Visit us at SNAPwisconsin.com and SNAPnetwork.org.