Catholic religious order abuse files may go public

From the AP:

Less than three months after the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles released the files of priests accused of sex abuse, attorneys for alleged victims are back in court seeking similar records kept by more than a dozen religious orders.

A hearing Tuesday will begin the process of determining if — and in what form — the records kept by religious orders such as the Jesuits, Vincentians, Salesians and Dominicans, among others, will be made public.

The continued legal battle comes after the Los Angeles archdiocese unsealed under court order the files it kept over the years on 120 of its priests who have been accused of sex abuse in civil lawsuits. The church agreed as part of a $660 million settlement to release the documents, but attorneys for individual priests fought for five years to keep them under wraps, citing privacy issues.
Light is a very, very, very good disinfectant. I would love for all the abuse files to go public, with one caveat: the victim (or his heirs) should be consulted and should be required to authorize release for files regarding his abuse. And one other caveat: where a case was adjudicated by the Church to not be credible, the accused (or his next of kin) should also grant release…(with the thought to publicly clear his name).

Unfortunately, some religious orders have terrible records on this problem. Some orders have tolerated open homosexuality for decades. The files will be an embarrassment to the Church, but I agree with you that sunlight is the best disinfectant.

I’m curious what purpose this would serve other than to demean the Church and give the media some red meat. No one denies the abuse was a serious issue but much of it took place decades ago. Further the Church and certainly individual diocese have taken steps to prevent it in the future. Not that evil can ever be totally thwarted but the kind of institutionalized abuse, the rampant homosexuality at some seminaries and apparently in certain orders has been minimized to the extent possible.

I just believe that the anti-Catholic forces, activists and media would pick and choose among various documents or statements, pull something completely out of context or fail to not it occurred in 1962 and has not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. While there are evil Priests who engaged in this behavior, there are many more good, holy Priests who have been painted with the same brush.

In our state a particular Priest at a seminary was found to have abused a couple of boys. Opportunistic attorneys took it upon themselves to get names of altar boys with whom he had worked and contact them to see if they couldn’t “suddenly” remember something done by Fr X. One of them was my gay hairdresser who said the attorneys were persistent, claimed that Fr X having been found guilty it would be easy to get a settlement against the Seminary. He was horrified and disgusted and turned the attorneys down. But who is to say that some of the “me too” claims settled that followed those that were carefully investigated were actually true? The Church was anxious to settle and exposing the names of Priests against whom claims were made and settled, perhaps against their wishes, is not fair. When settlements are made, confidentiality is often one of the conditions. To make a settlement with this in force and suddenly change the rules is also not fair. Sometimes the confidentiality is as much to protect the innocent as the guilty.

Again, not trying to defend the egregious action of a few but I think very little is served by exposing the Church and certain past actions…other than to appeal to the purient interests of the gaggling media obsessed, gossip obsessed culture we have spawned.


If the accused is deceased, the files should not be released at all. California has been trying for years to find a way to try dead priests. They can’t defend themselves and the DA gets an easy win, opening the door for some greedy lawyer to try a money grab against the Church. :mad:

State of California…have you met the Cadaver synod of 897???

Money please.

The files of every living convicted clergyman should be made public by the Diocese concerned. Every Bishop, or Cardinal that covered up, or transferred suspected pedophiles
who were later convicted should also be made public.

Every person who is being treated by professional counseling and suspects they were abused by a clergyman who is now deceased should have access to such files also.

The well being of the abused should always take precedence over the reputation of an individual, or the Catholic Church.

"But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea. "

I think the point that’s being made is that in certain cases (which may or may not be the majority), bringing to light these files may have the opposite effect of helping the abused. This sounds entirely stupid, but hear me out.

Only in such cases where the case was settled, the victim got counselling or a settlement
or whatever was necessary and the clergyman in question is now deceased or really old to the point of feebleness (I’d assume) do we take issue. The reason is bringing out those files will not hurt the clergyman anymore, they will only reveal the identity of the victim, who has been for so long anonymous and now has to be in the spotlight of Fox news and CNBC,

This wouldn’t be the worst of issues, except the posters above are of the opinion that the vast majority of cases regard priests that no longer live or are feebleminded. So, this whole scenario (if this is true) is just a case of muckraking that will only end in identities being revealed that should never have been (the victims).

Of course, the other possibility is that the vast majority only recently happened and all the priests are still coherent. The problem is we don’t really know. I don’t know about you, but I can’t in full conscience trust the media outlets. So, what does it serve to argue over what should or what should not be done when we don’t have full hold of the facts (unless you count what the media will give us–and I’ll admit I believe the media is biased in every case) and we hold no sway over the situation in any case?

I think it’s to just pray for everyone involved. The victims, past and present. The accused, past and present. The Popes, the bishops, the prosecutors, the families. What else can we do? We just shouldn’t get swept up in this obvious bait meant to trap us and distract us.

EDIT: I guess we can pray for the media too…

If the above bolded is the standard then I don’t have a problem with the public having access to public information even if it requires FOIA requests but only if the victim agrees to his/her name being made public.

What I want to guard against are documents regarding accusations (particularly when the priest is dead or unable to defend himself) or settlements, particularly when confidentiality was a condition of the settlement.

I’ve been involved in enough legal action to know that there is a HUGE difference between an accusation and a conviction. But sadly with the expense of litigation or defending litigation, sometimes the parties agree to settle without agreeing whether or not the charges were completely or even partly valid. For example, since I work in the medical world, I have seen a number of junk lawsuits where the claim was expansive but the actual damage minimal. In the past most malpractice companies settled what they deemed nuisance suits but due to the explosion os such suits, have now decided to fight vigorously. We have a very litigious society and plenty of attorneys who like “dialing for dollars” because they get a percentage of the take.

Again I think if any abusing priest has been CONVICTED of a crime, the court information generally is and should be available to the public. But a fishing expedition, particularly when there is a settlement with a confidentiality clause is not appropriate.


We need to continue to pray for our Holy Church

And provided the priest is alive and like, not 100 years old with Alzheimers. Sure, I don’t see an issue with that at all.

What Cardinal Ratzinger saw in those files led him to denounce, in early 2005, the “filth” inside the church – even among its own priests.

We should not be crying over the media, nor the litigations, we should be crying for the many suicides amongst the victims of clergy abuse, and the tortured lives of those who are yet living.

For the past twenty some years I have been personally acquainted with a half a dozen children of abuse who are now adults… I could write volumes about what they are yet enduring.

Yes, pray.

No one denies the “filth” and the damage, not including that done by priests but ESPECIALLY that done by priests. However once again, what purpose is served by making certain allegations, previously confidential settlements, and the names of victims as well as alleged abusers public? I just don’t see anything good resulting from a public dissection of long past incidents, particularly where the alleged abusers are dead or unable to mount any defense and where settlements were reached with promises of confidentiality on both sides.


It is not only convicted priests, but convicted Bishops who continue to minister. Such as Bishop Finn of Kansas City, MO who was convicted Sept. 6. 2012 of failing to report child abuse suspicions. He is still serving as Bishop.

And eventhough I may concur with the discipline of the LCWR, this organization of women religious is being investigated by men who have a poor record of reporting sexual abuse among the clergy.

My concern is that we are moving away from the most crucial reform needed within the Catholic church…the removal of homosexual priests, bishops and cardinals, and those who support them.

So? He was convicted of a procedural violation. Are you saying that every clergyman must also be impeccable?

And eventhough I may concur with the discipline of the LCWR, this organization of women religious is being investigated by men who have a poor record of reporting sexual abuse among the clergy.

Unless you have any credible evidence that **any of the bishops or sisters who have been involved in the investigation **have “a poor record of reporting sexual abuse,” this statement is slanderous.

My concern is that we are moving away from the most crucial reform needed within the Catholic church…the removal of homosexual priests, bishops and cardinals, and those who support them

Important, certainly, but not the most crucial reform needed.

As far as Bishop Finn, he remains under Court ordered probation as long as he institutes reforms for the protection of children. So in fairness, he may need to remain a presiding Bishop in order to execute these reforms.

As far as the investigators of LCWR are concerned, the article speaks for itself. One could do one’s own search of the individuals named.

Archbishop Gerhard Muller has replaced Cardinal Levada. Archbishop Gerhard Muller has a record of negligence regarding convicted pedophile priest Peter Kramer:

I do not know of any women investigators of the LCWR. Maybe you could inform us.

The clergy sexual abuse scandal within the Catholic Church is ‘filth’ according to Pope Benedict and the ‘enemy within’. It would seem to me that removing homosexual clergy and their protectors from the Catholic Church is the most needed area of reform.

Sr. Elizabeth McDonough, is the sister, I believe who investigated the connection between LCWR and NETWORK.

Mother Clare Millea was the sister in charge of the visitations and submitted the findings used for the Vatican’s report.

Thank you for responding to my question. Most of us have no access as to the names of individuals who work behind the scenes for the CDF. We only have the names of those leading the Vatican investigation. The article does not include either one of these good sisters in their summation, neither would I include them. Instead, I refer to their qualifications:

Mother Clair Millea WAS one of the ones leading the US portion. She wasn’t “behind the scenes” at all - in fact, she was the public face of the visitation portion of the process. I couldn’t remember her name so I Googled it. Anyone can find this stuff, really.

And it’s right there in her bio that you liked.

Later in 2008 the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life named her Apostolic Visitator of congregations of women religious in the United States.

But what does this matter to the topic at hand? I am sure that the dozens of people involved in the study of the congregations include a couple that you could point fingers at but for the most part they were good and holy men and women under the direction, I might add, of a good and holy Pope.

I will not be encouraging anyone to join the Catholic Church until there is greater accountability taken by those with the authority to do so.

Retired Bishop Gumbleton of Detroit spoke forcefully of this necessity in his Pentecost sermon of 2010. (He was also sexually abused by a priest when a boy).

(The thirty million who have left the Catholic Church include the dozens that I am personally acquainted who can not stomach entering a Catholic Church because of the clergy abuse scandal. And I might add, I do not think evangelization without ridding the church of ‘the filth’ will not be advantageous to anyone, especially our precious children).

These statistics show the scope of this ‘sin’ that is among our clergy:

We need to pray for the many suicide victims of clergy sexual abuse. We need to pray for the many living victims of clergy sexual abuse. We need to pray for the clergy who have been laicised and want to reform their lives. We need to pray for the clergy that have been laicised, who do not want to reform and are a threat to other children.

We need to pray for those clergy that have sexually abused children, teens and adults, who do not have the courage to resign, but know they need to do that and seek immediate counseling. We need to pray for those who will not resign regardless, that they will be caught and removed. And lastly, we need to pray for the holy and righteous clergy who are bearing the brunt of this scandal within the Church.

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