On the other hand, the Roman Catholic Church, which had policies for decades, if not centuries, to cover up such abuse, to move abusers from place to place, to enable abusers to continue to violate the young and the innocent, in the most heinous of ways, in the name of protecting “the Church”, just this week celebrated the life and ministry of Cardinal Bernard Law, who, among other things, “in 2005 participated in the conclave that elected Joseph Ratzinger as Pope.” Law is perhaps THE most notorious of the protectors of abusers. But there are many, many more like him.
Do you Roman Catholics yet understand that we are not talking about the abusers themselves, as heinous as their acts are. We are talking about the bishops and the very church Canon Law policies that hushed up, covered up, centuries-worth of sexual malfeasance. We are talking about more than hundreds of bishops worldwide, and thousands of victims. We are not talking about abuse at the fringes of this “society”. We are talking about the very heart and soul and law and fabric of the Roman Catholic “faith”.
Those of you who defend Rome, let me ask you. What more could Rome have done? In the name of Christ, what should you be doing in the face of such a cover-up? Scott Hahn and Bryan Cross and Devin Rose and Taylor Marshall and Mark Shea and Dave Armstrong and “Catholic Answers” and all of you who are defending the Roman Catholic Church and trying to win converts to it ought to stop now what you’re doing and demand, that Rome itself repent for the sins it has committed, and to make restitution – real restitution – for the evil that its own laws and policies have perpetuated for centuries. And while you’re at it, you ought to examine your own lives and beliefs and motives. Because no artificial distinction between “dogma” and “discipline”, or “doctrine” and “canon law” can account for the pure and simple evil that Rome both perpetuates and hides over with folded hands and a smiling face.
It’s true that many lawsuits have wrung hundreds of millions of dollars from the bosoms of Roman dioceses. But those were not real payments for “the church”. They were largely paid by insurance companies. And the smiling, abusing faces of Roman Bishops, shuffled to their new positions, escape with their exalted positions and earthly glory intact. It is time, now, in this generation, to cut off the Roman charade, so that future generations are not subjected to its faithless abuses.
Christ didn’t call anyone to “communion”. Yes, he prayed for unity. But he called people to repentance. It was in repentance and faith that they would find unity. Not under the robes of abusive Roman priests and bishops and cardinals.
For anyone who wonders, this is close to home for me. Rev. John Wellinger, in the selection that follows, is the second pastor of the parish that I grew up in. He married my wife and me, and he baptized my two oldest children:
Wellinger affair Rev. John W. Wellinger, ordained 1970, pastor at Holy Spirit parish in West Mifflin, was accused by parents of molesting their son, kissing, fondling and performing a sex act on the 11-year-old altar boy in 1989, 1995. They said diocesan officials told them he would be removed from ministry but he continued in the priesthood for up to seven more years. The diocese, for its part, insists Wellinger has not functioned as a priest since the 1995 accusation. Wellinger took a personal leave June 1995. Three months later a young man came forward to allege that Wellinger had abused him in 1989. Diocese banned Wellinger from active priesthood March 2003 when he failed to return from leave (for health purposes).At a meeting we had with him at the rectory in 1991, Wellinger licked my three-year-old son’s face. (He was pretending to be a puppy dog. Parents: let this be a caution to you that you can’t be too careful with your kids.)
1. Wellinger lawsuit Suit filed 2004. Claims included in Diocese's September 2007 $1.25 million settlement as to 32 plaintiffs alleging abuse by 17 priests.
2. Ference accusation Former Catholic priest John Wellinger possibly having sexually abused the boy who shot Adam Ference on a Catholic school bus, then killed himself.
3. Mathews accusation Wellinger was reported to the Pittsburgh Diocese in 1995 for sexually abusing Chris Mathews, an 11-year-old altar boy at Holy Spirit Church in West Mifflin. “The boy’s parents first met with current Pittsburgh Diocese Bishop Zubik to voice their concerns, but little was done. It was not until 2003 that the Pittsburgh Catholic (official publication of the Pittsburgh Diocese) acknowledged that a sexual abuse crime “may have been committed.” By then, as with so many of these cases, the statute of limitations had expired for prosecuting the crime.
4. Witkowski accusation, Greg Witkowski, a 16-year-old boy from West Mifflin, PA, whose family were members of Holy Spirit, Welllinger’s parish assignment, was fed drugs and alcohol by Wellinger, possibly even assaulted. The Witkowski was able to break away from Wellinger and made his way to Shadyside Hospital emergency room (now part of UPMC). He was treated by the staff; his parents Robert and Ann Witkowski were summoned and advised of the criminal acts by Wellinger. The parents were advised not to call police and press charges, or challenge the Pittsburgh Diocese as the church had too much money and was much too powerful.
Here are some more local stories:
Bishop Donald Wuerl of Pittsburgh, under whose watchful care all of this occurred, is now Cardinal Archbishop of Washington DC.
Who are the trustees of the Roman Catholic Church, but those who trusted it and were betrayed by it in the worst kind of way? Who are those who are crying for justice, who have not gotten it from the hand of the organization that claims to be the very sacrament of salvation?
Rome has taken half-steps to try to mollify the pain, but it is clear that the larger goal of its efforts is simply to perpetuate itself and its system in power.
See also: Cardinal Law’s Birthday Party
Roman Apologists. If you truly believe in Christ, as you claim to do, what should you be doing right at this moment? How should you respond to the Roman Church?