Ecclesiastical judge in Wisconsin priest’s trial speaks out 

Over at Catholic Anchor, the ecclesiastical judge in the case of the Wisconsin priest who molested hundreds of deaf children is speaking out. His long piece on what really happened there suggests that there has been much sloppy reporting attempting to establish a tenuous link between the horrific case of Father Lawrence Murphy and Pope Benedict, decades after Murphy sexually abused scores of deaf children.

This short excerpt won’t be enough to catch you up on the case if you haven’t been following it, but if you have, then I think it’s worth reading:

[I]n a letter from [Milwaukee] Archbishop Weakland to then-secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone on August 19, 1998, Archbishop Weakland stated that he had instructed me to abate the proceedings against Father Murphy. Father Murphy, however, died two days later and the fact is that on the day that Father Murphy died, he was still the defendant in a church criminal trial. No one seems to be aware of this. Had I been asked to abate this trial, I most certainly would have insisted that an appeal be made to the supreme court of the church, or Pope John Paul II if necessary. That process would have taken months if not longer.

Second, with regard to the role of then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), in this matter, I have no reason to believe that he was involved at all. Placing this matter at his doorstep is a huge leap of logic and information.

Third, the competency to hear cases of sexual abuse of minors shifted from the Roman Rota to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith headed by Cardinal Ratzinger in 2001. Until that time, most appeal cases went to the Rota and it was our experience that cases could languish for years in this court. When the competency was changed to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in my observation as well as many of my canonical colleagues, sexual abuse cases were handled expeditiously, fairly, and with due regard to the rights of all the parties involved. I have no doubt that this was the work of then Cardinal Ratzinger.

If you’re following this gut-wrenching story closely, I strongly recommend that you read the whole thing.

About The Author

David Freddoso

Bio:
David Freddoso came to the Washington Examiner in June 2009, after serving for nearly two years as a Capitol Hill-based staff reporter for National Review Online. Before writing his New York Times bestselling book, The Case Against Barack Obama, he spent three years assisting Robert Novak, the legendary Washington... more
Pin It
Favorite

More by David Freddoso

Latest in Nation

Friday, Apr 20, 2018

Videos

Most Popular Stories

© 2018 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation