Tom Doyle on Pope John Paul ll’s blindness

DownloadedFile

Tom Doyle OP was the ultimate insider as an American canonist, a prelate on the way up the food chain. Very early on he warned the US hierarchy about the gravity and the ticking time bomb of the sex abuse scandal. He was assured that his warnings would reach John Paul ll.His persistent defense of the abused cost him him canonical career but probably saved his priesthood.

 

In an NCR article worth reading he laid out the whole sorry mess of episcopal denial and the institutional circling of the wagons by largely JP ll bishops, the grey men whose prime loyalty was to the church and not the victims. As we now now this became the worst scandal of the Catholic Church since the Reformation and cast a cloud over JP ll’s whole pontificate. Many sites have reprinted his comments which gives a more balanced approach to John Paul’s term as pope.

 

Doyle pulled no punches and stated quite boldly:

 

The past 30 years have led me to the opinion that his sainthood is a profound insult to the countless victims of sexual assault by Catholic clergy the world over. It is an insult to the decent, well-intentioned men and women who were persecuted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith during his reign, and it is an insult to the memory of Pope John XXIII, who has the misfortune being a canonization classmate.

http://voicefaithful.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/

 

 

Here is Doyle’s conclusion written on Holy Thursday of this year.

 

This was in 1985, not 2002. It is hard to believe that this pope, who was supposed to be one of the smartest men alive at the time, could not have understood the gravity of significant numbers of priests raping and violating little children. The excuse that he did nothing because of his “purity of thought” is as ridiculous as the excuse that he wanted to preserve the priesthood for which he held such high esteem.

Joaquín Navarro-Valls, John Paul’s press officer, said Friday that he didn’t think the pope or anyone else understood the gravity of the crisis. Other than the fact that this assertion is also ridiculous, a number of people in the church did understand the gravity: the mothers and fathers of the children who were violated and even the general public, who were clamoring for action even back in the mid-’80s.

 

Navarro-Valls said after 2002, Pope John Paul immediately began taking action. Other than making nine recorded public statements, all of which were sufficiently nuanced to be innocuous, and calling a meeting of the U.S. cardinals to tell them what everyone already knew, he did nothing positive.

 

He did, however, do a few negative things. He was ultimately responsible for short-circuiting the investigation of Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado. He refused to investigate the accusations against Cardinal Hans Hermann Groër of Vienna. He promoted the careers of some of the bishops and cardinals who intentionally inflicted horrendous damage on victims and expended vast amounts of donated money to stonewall the process of justice, e.g., Cardinals Bernard Law, Roger Mahony and George Pell, to name but a few. Perhaps the most egregious nonaction was completely ignoring the pleas of thousands of victims, many of whom wrote directly to him. Victims and victims’ groups bombarded the Vatican with letters and requested audiences or at least recognition by the pope, especially at the World Youth Day celebrations. Not only were their requests ignored, but not one ever even received an acknowledgement of the receipt of their communication.

 

The sexual abuse scandal of our era has been the Catholic church’s worst nightmare, and it has been going on for 30 years. The enormity of it all challenges the English language for words that can accurately describe it. The spectrum of large numbers of priests, bishops and even cardinals from around the world sexually violating children, one of the vilest crimes imaginable, challenges the capacity to grasp the enormity of such evil. Yet it not only happened, but it was enabled by those who have professed to follow the Gospel and lead others on the same path.

 

On Sunday, the institutional church will accord its highest honor to the one man who, more than any other alive, could have ended the nightmare and saved countless innocent and vulnerable victims. But he did not. It was not a question of he could not, but he would not.

 

The red book on my shelf may be a relic, but it is also a reminder of the very dark side of the institutional church, a side John Paul helped reveal.

 

Thomas P. Doyle is a priest, canon lawyer, addictions therapist and longtime supporter of justice and compassion for clergy sex abuse victims.

6 Comments »

  1. 1

    In addition to being a longtime friend of SNAP, it should be known that Doyle has a very lengthy record of dissent and animosity against the Catholic Church. In the past Doyle:

    has falsely claimed the Catholic Church was established by Constantine;
    has dismissed Catholic thought as “childish, unrealistic beliefs” and ”magical thinking”;
    has misled Catholics on numerous important issues, including the history of the Church, the role of the laity, the training of seminarians, and the Church’s requirement of celibacy;
    has been removed as a military chaplain because he contradicted his archbishop regarding the Mass;
    has once sought an endorsement from the ”Holy Orthodox Catholic Church,” unrelated to Rome, as a way to keep his military job;
    has demeaned priestly vestments as “dresses”;
    has actively participated in an error-laden, anti-Catholic film;
    has falsely tagged the Church as a “monarchy”;
    has falsely claimed that a 1962 Vatican document was “an explicit written policy to cover up child sexual abuse by the clergy” (read the truth here); and
    has apparently denied the historicity and doctrine of the Real Presence of the Eucharist by referring to it as a “symbol”.

  2. 2
    wmgrace Says:

    49: Some groups, like the United Nations Committee on Torture, will not give up easily, their defence of the victims. And so, this story is bound to be around for a long time.

    What you must know but perhaps need reminding of, is that some large powerful organizations, governments or institutions (like the church) will stop at nothing (legality is not a consideration, in all situations) to minimize any threat to the power and control they wield over their constituents. They wouldn’t blink an eye in destroying a mere career or two, smearing a reputation, or imprisoning in some cases. These are only a few of the obvious and well-known methods of ensuring submission and compliance within their kingdoms. Tom Doyle is not unlike truth-tellers Snowden, or Manning (and Ellsberg in a previous era); they are all bearers of bad news, for their respective organizational facades, and as such they are now all prime targets.

  3. 3

    WM: You are guilty of the fallacy of begging the question. It is true that some organizations will stop at nothing…but that’s not an argument. With that premise, you can convict any organization you wish. Accuse them of anything and then employ that argument.

    Also, you are right to compare Tom Doyle with Snowden. He’s an arrogant punk. Here’s a good response to his silly appearance on Ted Talks:

    Listen, no one is defending these pedophile priests or the bishops that simply moved them around. The idea that JP II is somehow to blame is what is in question. You have not made your case, or Ted, or whoever. Your case would never hold in a court of law. You are speaking in generalities, as is Doyle. Today, if any priest is accused of a sexual misconduct of some kind, he is immediately removed (suspended) and essentially treated as if he were guilty until he is cleared. Is that just? What does one do when a teacher is accused of some sort of sexual misdemeanour? Do we proceed cautiously and wait for more evidence? What is the just course of action? Protecting the guilty is inexcusable, but do you “KNOW” that the Pope knowingly protected the guilty? If you do, provide the evidence? The very fact that he is canonized, after thorough research into his life and alleged holiness, says a great deal. The fact that Doyle and Ted and Dowd speak in generalities also says a great deal.

  4. 4

    Doyle writes: “The sexual abuse scandal of our era has been the Catholic church’s worst nightmare, and it has been going on for 30 years. The enormity of it all challenges the English language for words that can accurately describe it. The spectrum of large numbers of priests, bishops and even cardinals from around the world sexually violating children, one of the vilest crimes imaginable, challenges the capacity to grasp the enormity of such evil. Yet it not only happened, but it was enabled by those who have professed to follow the Gospel and lead others on the same path.”

    First of all, he is right that it was a horrible nightmare. But “spectrum of large numbers”? Phil Jenkins, Protestant historian, numbers it as less than 1%, which is lower than what we find among psychiatrists, certainly lower than what we find in the Muslim world, and lower than what we find among Rabbis. That’s no excuse, of course, but it shows that something is bugging Doyle, there’s other issues behind his passion.

    Now, “challenges the capacity to grasp the enormity of such evil…it was enabled by those who have professed to follow the gospel…” I’m not going to deny this. But there is a greater evil in the world, and it amounts not to sexually violating young children, but murdering them in the womb. That is an evil the enormity of which challenges the mind. And YET, how many priests, bishops, Cardinals, do we see speaking out against this? The other day there was the National March for Life in Ottawa. How many bishops were there? Some were there indeed, but compared to the number of bishops there are in Canada, it was a tiny minority. Same for priests. Why? Where is the outcry? Ted asks that question with regard to wars overseas. These are good questions. But let me ask: Was Ted at this rally? Where is his outcry? He too is silent. It is much easier to speak loudly and boldly when you are thousands of miles out of the range of a bullet’s trajectory.

    Yes, people are too comfortable, including clergy. But so too is Ted, and so are you WM, assuming that you are not Ted. There’s never a mention of this issue on this blog. Why not? Because it would make Ted unpopular among the lefties.

    We only see in others what we see in ourselves.

  5. 5

    On Sunday, the institutional church will accord its highest honor to the one man who, more than any other alive, could have ended the nightmare and saved countless innocent and vulnerable victims. But he did not. It was not a question of he could not, but he would not.

    How? The victimization already happened by the time he was Pope. In the late 90s, that’s when it started to become public, because the victims were old enough to understand and decided to act.

    There is a dark side to the institution, precisely because it is made up of human beings. Marriage is an institution, and there is a dark side to that institution as well. Why? Because it is made up of human beings, who are stupid, dull of mind, sinful, stubborn, and did I mention sinful? Oh, I forgot to mention sinful. But that’s the miracle of all this: Christ chooses to heal, to bring salvation, through the unworthy hands of sinful, stupid, blind human beings. That’s his humility. We tend not to do that, we choose the best instruments for ourselves, and we toss imperfect ones in the garbage, or fire them, etc. Not Jesus. So there is a dark side of the institutional Church. Were you expecting anything else? Have you never studied Church history? Is it ever going to be different?

  6. 6

    Pope Francis took questions from seminarians today. Here’s part of an answer he gave:

    “…And there is something else that I would like to stress: if only the academic part is seen, there is the danger of sliding into ideologies, and this makes one fall ill. And it also sickens the concept of Church. To understand the Church, one must understand her from study but also from prayer, from community life and from apostolic life. When we slide into an ideology, and go on this path, we will have a non-Christian hermeneutic, and hermeneutic of the ideological Church. And this doesn’t do one good, it is a sickness. The hermeneutic of the Church must be the hermeneutic that the Church herself offers us, that the Church herself gives us: to understand the Church with the eyes of a Christian; to understand the Church with the mind of a Christian; to understand the Church with the heart of a Christian; to understand the Church from Christian activity. Otherwise, the Church isn’t understood or it is understood badly. Therefore, yes, it is important to stress academic work because you were sent for this, but not to neglect the other three pillars: the spiritual life, the community life and the apostolic life. I don’t know if this answers your question …”

    Hmmmmm. Hermeneutic of the ideological Church. Sound like anyone we know, Ted?


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