1. Religion & Spirituality
Scott P. Richert

U.S. Supreme Court Lets Lawsuit Against the Vatican Proceed

By June 29, 2010

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June 29 was the final day of the U.S. Supreme Court's 2009-2010 term. While much of the news coverage was focused on the Court's surprising ruling (in McDonald v. Chicago) that the Second Amendment applies to the states and not just to the federal government, another decision more immediately affects Catholics in the United States and worldwide.

The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by the Vatican in the case of Holy See v. John Doe, which allows the case to proceed in an Oregon court. Brought by infamous sex-abuse lawyer Jeffrey Anderson, the case involves allegations of abuse against a priest, Fr. Andrew Ronan, who died in 1992.

There are two surprising and disturbing aspects to the Court's decision. Lower federal courts have accepted Anderson's arguments that the Vatican, though a sovereign state, is not covered by the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act, and that priests should be considered employees of the Vatican, rather than of their dioceses. (In a similar case in Kentucky, a lawyer has made the argument that bishops are employees of the Vatican, in order to try to convince a federal judge to allow him to force Pope Benedict XVI to give a deposition.)

The Court's decision swings the door wide open for Anderson and his ilk to continue to name the Vatican as a defendant in every sexual-abuse lawsuit they file against a diocese. As Anderson once famously declared, "I'm suing the shit out of [the Catholic Church] everywhere . . . "

The idea that a U.S. court could have jurisdiction over a foreign state is ridiculous on its face, and anyone who knows anything about the structure of the Catholic Church could testify that priests are not employees of the Vatican. Why, then, did the Supreme Court let the lower-court decision stand?

It's hard to tell, but I don't think we can rule out the possibility that the justices' religious background has something to do with it. Of the nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, six (John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Sonia Sotomayor) are either practicing Catholics or Catholics by background.

Agreeing to hear this case would have opened the Court up to criticism that members are making decisions based on their religious affiliation rather than the law. In refusing to hear the case, however, the justices have fallen off the horse in the opposite direction. There is no justification for exempting one, and only one, sovereign state from the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act.

Jeff Anderson is undoubtedly rubbing his hands in glee. The rapid decline in sexual-abuse cases since 1980 has made it harder and harder for him to find targets. Now, the U.S. Supreme Court has given him license to start shooting at the biggest one of all.

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June 29, 2010 at 11:50 am
(1) janet marsh says:

It is about time that someone has been made to take
responsibility for the crimes committed. A trial will set
the record straight.

Remember, it is said by saint { who } that the floor of
Hell is covered with the skulls of Bishops. I do not remember
which one. Also, silence is complicity. Need I say more?

One of many thousands dis illusioned Catholic. Who is
going to take the responsibility of the thousands upon
thousands that have lost the Catholic Faith? Do you have
an answer for that?
janet marsh
hastings, ny

June 29, 2010 at 12:13 pm
(2) Scott P. Richert says:

Janet, that quotation is ascribed to St. John Chrysostom, who may or may not have actually said it. Most accounts say that he was referring to Arian (heretical) bishops.

As for the rest of your comment, you’re wrong. A lawsuit against the Vatican will not make someone take responsibility. It will attempt to place responsibility for specific actions on Pope Benedict and others who had no direct authority over the priests in question.

It would be as if you had a minor grandson who lived on the other side of the world and committed a crime, and rather than arresting him or filing a civil suit against his parents, a lawyer attempted to sue you for his actions. Surely you would regard such a lawsuit as unjust.

As Jeffrey Anderson has made clear, his many lawsuits aren’t about “setting the record straight,” but about making money and attempting to destroy the Catholic Church. That is why he has tried repeatedly to sue the Vatican directly. His Da Vinci Code conspiracy theories about the Catholic Church have no basis in reality.

Finally, you ask, “Who is going to take the responsibility of the thousands upon thousands that have lost the Catholic Faith?” There are two answers: First, those who brought about the scandal that led some to lose their faith will pay in the next life–no doubt about it. God is merciful, but He is also just.

Second, those who have used the scandal as a pretext for abandoning their faith, rather than strengthening it, will answer for their own failings.

June 29, 2010 at 12:37 pm
(3) Joe says:

The court likely declined to hear the appeal because the factual record was not ripe at this point. There are exceptions to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act which are potentially applicable to this case, based on the facts as alleged by the plaintiff. At this point of the proceedings, when entertaining a motion to dismiss, a court must accept the plaintiff’s version of the facts. I think what is frustrating from a Catholic’s perspective is that we know the facts, as alleged with respect to the claim that priests are employees of the Vatican, are blatantly false.

June 29, 2010 at 12:49 pm
(4) Stuart Gathman says:

As horrible as the Catholic Church scandal is, there is a much worse scandal that is being swept under the rug. Google “public school sex abuse statistics”. In terms of percentage of teachers that are abusers, percentage of students abused, and total children abused, the school situation is several times worse than the CC at its worst. Methinks the vendetta against the CC is not motivated purely by concern for the children.

June 29, 2010 at 1:11 pm
(5) AngyInDallas says:

Hmmmm – Unfair is it? Well, the Catholic Church is a hierarchy that seems to have a lot of control over accountability by priests, otherwise they couldn’t hold investigations and trials internally. The time has long passed when a religious organization could legitimately be called a government or a state. The nasty business of child abuse they’ve fostered has come home to roost and it’s just too bad!

June 29, 2010 at 1:16 pm
(6) Nicole says:

Stuart, unfortunately, any religious organization can make for an easy target for the right people.

And while I won’t speculate about the true motivations of anyone (only the Lord can know what’s in our hearts), people need to remember that their walk talks louder than their talk talks. That is to say, what you do is much “louder” than what you say.

June 29, 2010 at 2:08 pm
(7) juan says:

In examining the issue, it is important ti do research concerning the Vatican’s role in the sexual assault cases. As can be clearly noted in the author’s biography, the author gas a strong catholic background and as such has clear personal bias towards defending the organization. A quick bit of research into the matter will reveal that the Vatican, and particularly the current pope, are clearly complicit in many of the literal thousands upon thousands of cases spanung almost as many diocese. In particular, both the current and previous popes have made considerable effort (which is clearly documented) to shield priests from the scrutiny of the law and gave shown gross negligence in allowing church officials with a known history of sexual assault to have direct contact with children. Further, there is not now, nor has there ever been justification for the Vatican’s status as a foreign state. Such a designation has inky allowed the church to avoid lawful scrutiny. Remember, we are not discussing several isolated cases of sexual abuse but a literal epidemic of pedophilia and assault which has spanned such great amounts of time and geography as to rightfully be seen as a significant culture within the catholic organization

June 29, 2010 at 2:09 pm
(8) Tom Qualey says:


While the previous expressions are stornger than I would make them – the fact that several bishops were aware of the abuse by their subordinae priests and did seem to take less then effective actions (at least according to the lights we are using to evaluate actions today).

I truly believe that: none of the priests or the hierarchy are ‘employees’ – and that Pope Benedict is quite innocent of allowing such shameful abuse to continue. That being said – many of our bishops failed in discharging their individual duties in protecting the most innocent and vulnerable in our communities. While I think the Vatican has Soverigh Immunity and will ultimately prevail in this matter, the plaintiff’s attorney your verbally criticized would not have a leg to stand on had our bishops done their job.

God bless


June 29, 2010 at 2:40 pm
(9) granny says:

Mr. Anderson-you will one day face the God you are persecuting by going after His Church the way you are-I certainly would not want to be in your shoes when you do.

June 29, 2010 at 2:43 pm
(10) Scott P. Richert says:

AngyInDallas, canonical trials of priests occur at the diocesan, not in Rome (except in certain extraordinary circumstances). That is why bishops need to be held accountable for their actions concerning the priests of their dioceses.

You write, “The time has long passed [sic] when a religious organization could legitimately be called a government or a state.” If that were the case, then Jeffrey Anderson wouldn’t be requesting an exception from the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act. He is doing so precisely because the U.S. government recognizes Vatican City as a sovereign state and the Pope as the head of state.

No one, not even the bishops who made the worst decisions and mistakes, has “fostered” a “business of child abuse” in the Catholic Church. To foster something means to encourage or promote it, and if you believe that any bishop did that, you’ve read The Da Vinci Code one too many times.

Too many bishops turned a blind eye to allegations of abuse or, worse yet, allowed themselves to be convinced by secular psychologists that pedophiles are medically treatable and that there is no connection between sexual abuse and homosexuality. But as Stuart rightly notes above, sexual abuse has occurred less frequently in the Catholic Church than in other institutions, particularly public schools.

The only reason we know the extent of the problem in the Catholic Church is that bishops of the United States paid the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to do an exhaustive study of all allegations of sexual abuse against Catholic clerics in the United States from 1950-2002.

No other organization in the United States has financed such a study of its own failings. Not one.

June 29, 2010 at 2:52 pm
(11) Scott P. Richert says:

Juan is absolutely right: It’s important to do research. Unfortunately, he seems not to have done any, and to have accepted as truth the narratives of lawyers and media accounts that have been thoroughly discredited.

As for biases, my “bias” is toward the truth. I’m as critical of bishops who have made serious mistakes as I am of gold-digging lawyers who accuse innocent men such as Pope Benedict.

It’s simply a lie to say that it has been “clearly documented” that Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI “have made considerable effort . . . to shield priests from the scrutiny of the law and gave shown gross negligence in allowing church officials with a known history of sexual assault to have direct contact with children.”

It was through the unceasing efforts of Cardinal Ratzinger that authority over cases involving allegations of sexual abuse was transferred to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2002. Since that time, the CDF has examined over 3,000 cases, and in those in which a canonical trial was approved, over 85 percent have resulted in a conviction.

That’s hardly the action of a man who was covering things up and seeking to create a “significant culture” of child abuse.

June 29, 2010 at 3:09 pm
(12) Antonio Cesaro says:

Unfortunately it seems that these lawyers are more interested in earning the lawsuits against anyone who could pay dollars for. Vatican appears to be, in such sense, a very u$efull re$ource. The main concern should be to discover which priest did bad use of his vocation, help these priests with some sort of medical/psicological aid, and preserve the great majority of priests wich deserve respect because they honor their vocations….who thru their hands we, faithfull people, get closer to Our Lord in Holy Communion!!!!

June 29, 2010 at 3:53 pm
(13) Diana says:

Scott, I would like to thank you for your articulate and eloquent comments.

A lot of anti-Catholic bigots in the media have been having a field day with this issue, and I don’t think they really care all that much about survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

God bless.

June 29, 2010 at 4:16 pm
(14) juan says:


Regardless of your claim that your “bias” is for the truth (as I’m quite sure is the claim of every op-ed writer in every subject) your associations clearly and without question establish your bias for the catholic church. You went to the Catholic University of America, served in a parish, write for a well known catholic magazine and homeschooling your children with catholic doctrine as the basis.

I am not here to criticize your lifestyle, much less your personal decisions, but denying your catholic bias is simply not rational or appropriate.

That said, there are several items to examine in regards to this issue. The first us the sheer number of sexual abuse cases (which the pope recently refered to as “petty gossip”) which have occured over at least the past thirty years. The number of cases is astonishing, with conservative reports documenting many thousands of cases. The sheer scale of the assaults suggests that it is and has been apart of the culture.

Second, we must question the judgement that was originally used to label the Vatican a sovereign state, when it is no more than a vast religious organization that, like all organizations, should be subject to the laws of the land. That is perfectly reasonable.

Third, we must take into account the many reports of priests which records of sexual abuse being allowed to work in direct contact with children. There are enough of these reports in the public record that I will not bore you with citations. A brief Google search will suffice.

Finally, the responsibility of the pope himself. First, we have a mass letter distributed by then cardinal ratzinger which made it exceedingly clear that any and all sexual assault cases were to be kept under pontifical secrecy and dealt with by the Vatican and the Vatican only. Members of the church who contacted police risked excommunication.

Furthermore, Tarcisio Bertone went on the public record stating that a priest who admitted pedophilia should not be denounced to the police. A policy that has been rigorously held to.

Further, there is an internal document, Crimen Sollicitationis, which clearly states that all cases of priestly sexual abuse are to be kept entirely secret under threat of excommunication.

These documents establish two things. One is the international effort on the part of the Vatican to literally and plainly obstruct justice. Two is the authority the Vatican has over the workings of the international church and as such its responsibility for the massive culture if sexual abuse which has gone unchecked for so many decades.

June 29, 2010 at 4:23 pm
(15) Scott P. Richert says:

Tom, you’re absolutely right. The entire problem is the result of bishops who a) ordained men to the priesthood who were not fit to be priests, and b) made serious mistakes in dealing with the consequences of that decision.

I’ve been covering this scandal for almost a decade now (mainly, obviously, in other venues), and I have always said that those responsible—the priests who abused children and the bishops who didn’t deal with the abuse properly—need to be held accountable.

But that’s not what the media and lawyers like Jeff Anderson are doing today. They’re attempting to take down the one man who has done the most to bring this scandal to an end, the man under whose leadership there were a total of six—SIX—allegations of sexual abuse in the entire United States in 2009.

The attacks on Pope Benedict show that Diana is absolutely right—many of those responsible don’t really care about the victims at all. Otherwise, they would applaud the Holy Father rather than attack him.

June 29, 2010 at 4:25 pm
(16) juan says:

P.S.: as Shea points out, if we are going to label the Vatican a sovereign state, we may as well label the area around the Mormon temple Utah “temple city” and give them diplomatic immunity.

Also, is it possible to forget ones bias and think of the many thousands of victims of sexual assault at the hands of the church over the past decades? There is nothing “anti-catholic about wanting justice in this case

June 29, 2010 at 4:52 pm
(17) Scott P. Richert says:

Juan, your research is still lacking. Pope Benedict did not refer to the “sheer number of sexual abuse cases” as “petty gossip”; he used that phrase in a homily during the Easter season to refer to attacks on the Church. There’s a difference, and if you don’t see it, it’s because you don’t want to. (Some might call that a “bias.”)

You refer to the “sheer number of cases . . . which have occurred over at least the past thirty years.” But the John Jay study showed that the high point was reached by 1980 (30 years ago); since then, the number of cases of abuse has declined dramatically, reaching a low of SIX allegations in the entire United States last year.

Like many people, you may be confusing the reporting of abuse, which reached its high point in 2002, with the actual instance of abuse. But the John Jay study found that the average report of abuse was made over 30 years after the abuse itself. That’s why the reporting reached its high point in 2002, even though the cases of abuse have been declining dramatically since 1980.

You write, “The sheer scale of the assaults suggests that it is and has been apart of the culture.” That is simply ludicrous. Between 1950 and 2002, allegations of sexual abuse were made against 4,311 priests and deacons in the United States—approximately four percent of the men who had served in these ministries during the same time period. That is the sum total of allegations, not of confirmed cases of sexual abuse.

Rates in other professions, including public-school teachers, appear to be much higher. I write “appear to be” because no other organization has documented the problem in its ranks as well as the Catholic Church has.

Your second point is moot. Vatican City is recognized as a sovereign state by every government in the world, including the United States. That’s not going to change, and even Jeff Anderson understands that, which is why he’s arguing for an exemption from the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act.

The fact that you bring up the “mass letter”—a myth that has been thoroughly debunked—shows that someone does indeed have a “bias” here, and it’s not a bias toward the truth.

The same with Crimen sollicitationis. Anyone who claims that it is an attempt to cover up priestly sexual abuse either cannot read or is deliberately lying (or has been duped by someone who is deliberately lying). Crimen sollicitationis deals with the abuse of the Sacrament of Confession. It outlines the procedures for canonical trials for priests accused of using the sacrament to solicit sexual activity and provides penalties for those who are found guilty.

Canonical trials under Crimen sollicitationis were held in secret because they involved the Sacrament of Confession. In any case, Crimen sollicitationis was superseded by Pope John Paul II’s motu proprio Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela, which also transferred the responsibility for cases involving allegations of sexual abuse to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

That motu proprio, as I have mentioned many times on this site (and even in my earlier response to you) came about through the unceasing lobbying of Cardinal Ratzinger.

So, again, Juan, please take your own advice. Do some research—real research, not a “brief Google search”—and consider the biases of those whose word you’re accepting as true.

June 29, 2010 at 4:54 pm
(18) Scott P. Richert says:

There is nothing “anti-catholic about wanting justice in this case

Exactly. But justice will not be served by making Jeffrey Anderson rich, nor by attacking the man who has done the most to rid the Catholic Church of the scourge of pedophile priests.

June 29, 2010 at 5:02 pm
(19) Scott P. Richert says:

And finally, to refer to cases “sexual assault at the hands of the church” is simply sick. The Church did not assault anyone; various priests did. Most of those priests, as the John Jay study makes clear, are already dead and have received their judgment. Among those still alive, most have either been defrocked or have retired. A small portion are still awaiting canonical trial.

June 29, 2010 at 5:32 pm
(20) juan says:

Firstly, do not confuse the number of priests involved in the allegations, over 4000 according to the Jay study, with the number of allegations, over 11000, according to the same study. In either case, the number is astonishing, though you and so many other apologists shrug it off. It is astonishing because of the trust associated with a priest’s position and because of the simple fact that all studies conducted on child sexual abuse have found that the crime is overwhelmingly under reported due to the very nature of the crime. In “the secrecy of child abuse,” Nancy Faulkner cites several studies which show that anywhere between 30 and 40 percent of child sexual abuse cases are unreported. In other words, in all likelihood the 11000 allegations are only the tip of the iceberg. It is remarkably irresponsible for you to shrug off those statistics.

Please tell me how the signed letter by ratzinger in 2001 has been “proven” false.

Also you ignored the quote by cardinal Tarcisio Bertone who said, “In my opinion, the demand that a bishop be obligated to contact the police in order to denounce a priest who has admitted the offense of pedophilia is unfounded.” police in order to denounce a priest who has admitted the offense of pedophilia is unfounded.”

As for crimen, : “Much but not all of Crimen deals specifically with how to proceed in cases in which a priest solicits sex while conducting the sacrament of confession. one document, but the last third of continues on to discuss something translatable from the Latin as “the worst crime”: priestly sex with minors or “brute animals.” with minors or “brute animals.” In those cases, the Vatican instructed that proceedings were to be conducted “in the most secretive way…restrained by a perpetual silence…and everyone [including the victim]…is to observe the strictest secret, which is commonly regarded as a secret of the Holy Office…under the penalty of excommunication.” It also states that all investigations are to be conducted within the Church and that such jurisdiction ends ten years after the victim turns 18 years old.”

There is literally no question that a Vatican sponsored campaign of secrecy covered up cases of abuse within the church for decades, allowing them to continue and obstructing justice. Pardon the indignation but I for one am sick of people excusing what is surely one of the most atrocious acts against minors in the industrialized century.

June 29, 2010 at 5:37 pm
(21) juan says:

In the same way that a corporation is liable for the actions of its employees and gross negligence which occurs in its areas of operation, so should the church be liable for its gross negligence in this matter. Remember, a trial is not an automatic conviction. Why are the apologists and the Vatican so fearful of legal transparency?

June 29, 2010 at 6:00 pm
(22) Scott P. Richert says:

Juan, I’m no “apologist” for priestly sexual abuse, as anyone who has read my writings on this over the past decade would know. Believing that justice is served by punishing the guilty rather than the innocent is simply, well, Christian. Believing that the innocent should be punished rather than the guilty is not.

I’m not confusing the number of priests who have had allegations of sexual abuse made against them with the number of allegations. You spoke of a “culture” of abuse. A “culture” of something in a population involves a preponderant number of that population. It does not involve four percent.

Since you bring up the number of cases versus the number of priests involved, let us look a little deeper. The majority (55.7 percent) of accused clerics had only one allegation lodged against them. Most of the confirmed cases of sexual abuse were perpetrated by repeat offenders; indeed, a mere 149 clerics had ten or more allegations lodged against them, and together they accounted for 26 percent of all allegations. Overwhelmingly (80-90 percent), repeat offenders were attracted to post-pubescent males.

So much for your “culture.” We’re dealing with a small subset of homosexual men within a certain cohort of priests (born between 1925 and 1950 and ordained between 1950 and 1975). Most of the bishops who transferred priests accused of sexual abuse and who covered up allegations in the 1980′s and 1990′s belong to this same demographic cohort.

We can argue until the cows come home about how badly sexual abuse is underreported. Obviously, the number of true allegations is less than the number of actual incidents, just as in any other crime. But don’t forget that it’s also true that, just as in any other crime, the number of allegations made is greater than the number of true allegations.

All we have to go on is the number of allegations reported. Those numbers show a dramatic decrease since 1980, and they show that the problem in the Catholic Church, even at its height, was less than the problem in other institutions.

Cardinal Bertone was responding to the fact that most allegations are made long after the criminal statute of limitations has expired. In those cases, the civil authorities a) almost always won’t investigate, and b) cannot prosecute anyway.

I’m not sure where you’re getting your poorly written summary of Crimen sollicitationis, but the document itself is available—go read it instead.

And then there’s this: “such jurisdiction ends ten years after the victim turns 18 years old.” It will undoubtedly surprise you to find out that, until very recently, the civil statute of limitations on child sexual abuse in most states in the United States was seven years from the time of the abuse. During that same period, the canonical statute of limitations in the Catholic Church was, as established by Crimen sollicitationis, “ten years after the victim turns 18 years old.”

In other words, the Church’s statute of limitations was much more strict than the civil statute of limitations. If a child was abused at the age of 5, the civil statute of limitations ran out when he reached the age of 12. The canonical statute of limitations ran out when he turned 28—16 years later!

Since 2002, many states have increased their statutes of limitations on child sexual abuse. Few of them, however, have extended it as far as the Church’s canonical statute of limitations.

There is literally no question that a Vatican sponsored campaign of secrecy covered up cases of abuse within the church for decades, allowing them to continue and obstructing justice.

You’re right, there is no question—not for those, like you, who refuse to do the research and who listen to those, like Jeffrey Anderson, who make their living attacking the Catholic Church.

June 29, 2010 at 6:04 pm
(23) Scott P. Richert says:

Remember, a trial is not an automatic conviction.

So, Juan, you would have no problem being put on trial for a crime that someone else committed? That is what is at stake here. Pope Benedict and the Vatican did not commit the crimes; Father Ronan did.

But Jeffrey Anderson is in a pickle. Father Ronan is dead, and thus Anderson can’t get any money out of him. That’s why he’s trying to go after the Vatican.

June 29, 2010 at 7:00 pm
(24) Rosalee says:

Have little sympathy because this what happens when you cover up instead of taking care of the problem. It was swept under the rug for so long…….instead of allowing the the police to sort it out all, they just transferred the person, notice I did not say ‘priest’ as a monster like that is unfit to be called by that name, to another parish to violate other children, to condemn them to a life of shame. Let the police do the investigation and then if he was exonerated fine, but if he was not, stripped of collar, excommunicated and prison time followed by registering as a sex offender…………..
Shame on those who covered it up.
I also wonder what kind of parent would go to the church first. I would NEVER have done that if a son of mine told me some priest had molested him. The police department would have been my first stop. Let the police tell the parish they have a pedophile saying mass.
BTW I am a cradle Catholic so this is NOT a rant against the church, but comment about cover up which has
spelled disaster for all but those who now walk away unscathed apparently.

June 29, 2010 at 7:20 pm
(25) ytb says:

Being in the Milwaukee Archdiocese where Fr. Murphy was a priest, I’ve seen a lot of blame to go around with the sex abuse issue. Obviously first, Fr. Murphy, some local Archbishops, and even some local law inforcement in my view. Who is not at blame is the Pope. The constant lawsuits and judgements against the church are only crippling the ministries now and keeping many people who can be helped today by some of the outreaches of the church from getting it. Money doesn’t fix the horror brought by these abusers, but it can help others in need. Something to remember before we just focus on the horror brought by some priests abusing their roles.

June 29, 2010 at 8:59 pm
(26) Linda says:

Scott – wouldn’t soliciting sex via the Sacrament of Confession be considered sexual abuse? I honestly do not see the distinction you are making. If a priest sought sex from a vulnerable penitent who only had that priest from whom he or she could seek absolution would that not be an abuse of power for the purpose of seeking sexual gratification?

You may perceive Pope Benedict to have done more to end the scandal than his predecessors, but I do not. He did not vow to unearth the problem of priests committing sexual crimes against children. The American media uncovered it and now begrudgingly he is dealing with it.

Furthermore, neither Pope Benedict nor Pope John Paul do the very things that would have likely inspired confidence from the laity:

1) excommunicate (not laicize) priests who rape children;
2) fire the bishops responsible for transferring rapist priests;
3) turn over any documentation kept at the Vatican to law enforcement.

June 29, 2010 at 9:23 pm
(27) juan says:


I am glad there are others who do not so casually excuse the head of the catholic organization from responsibility for the gross negligence in the sex abuse case. Interestingly enough, if you read the Jay study that you so readily sight, the conclusion of the project clearly lists says that the leaders of the church hid Tue cases of assault to avoid scandal and thus prolonged and exacerbated the problem. And as far as Ratzinger is concerned, aside from his public letter ordering silence in Tue cases he has done nothing but evade responsibility and dismiss allegations since assuming his position, and arguably before then.

If the statistical conclusions of various studies concerning child sexual abuse can be validated, some 40% of abuse cases go unreported. If this is this is the case, then almost 10%, not 5% of priests were possibly involved on sexual assaults. Another possibility is that the same number of priests committed around 30 to 40% more infractions.

Frankly, either way you look at it, the sex abuse in the church has been epidemic and pandemic. Remember, even if similar rates of sexual abuse can be round elsewhere (an as of yet totally unsubstantiated claim) shouldn’t priests be held to a higher standard considering the trust that is assumed with their position?

Further, even if you reject what is the clear text of crimen regarding pedophilia, as someone aptly pointed out above, a priest taking sexual advantage of someone making a confession is absolutely sexual abuse and the church clearly wanted such matters covered from law enforcement.

June 29, 2010 at 9:30 pm
(28) juan says:


That us the very definition if the legal system. People are innocent until proven guilty and it is the same with the pope. If he has nothing to hide, he shouldn’t be afraid of transparency. Obviously, for whatever reason, the Vatican is afraid of transparency.

To answer your question, if I was accused of a crime and I knew the evidence would exonerate me I would happily give my testimony. Especially if hundreds of millions of people held me to a high standard of morality.

June 29, 2010 at 11:00 pm
(29) Ogden Lafaye says:

“Rapid Decline” in sexual abuse cases since 1980? Really? Typical Catholic spin and denial.

Justice is coming for Catholicism because Catholicism is evil.

Jeffrey Anderson is a hero and will go down in history.

June 29, 2010 at 11:53 pm
(30) owlafaye says:

Scott P. Reichert is a typical intelligent apologist for the Catholic Church and may even be a flagellant
for all we know about these weird people.

Denial and clever lies are the name of the Catholic Game.

Remember: In 300 years the Roman Catholic Church will refer to these times as one in which the church was falsely and malignantly attacked by atheists, non-believers, government and Satanic enemies of Christianity.

They will say:

“Against a massive effort to discredit the piety and chasteness of the clergy with accusations of heinous crimes, the church and her followers fought a protracted battle against this evil… eventually triumphing in the name of Jesus and to the greater glory of the mother church.”

June 30, 2010 at 1:36 am
(31) Gavin says:

Lord for sakes teach us to take one day at a time.

June 30, 2010 at 1:54 am
(32) Anita says:

lawsuit involving the Catholic Church is purely a Deep Pockets situation….my older brother sexually abused me, threatened to kill my parents and myself in our sleep if I told…no lawsuit, no reprisals…only denial from family who long since deceased…if not for my friends and Priest in my Catholic Church I’d be terribly alone….ok sue those with money, teachers-School Districts, or how about Boy Scout Leaders-Boy Scout Association, or your Girl Scout Leader-Girl Scouts of America….how about some PEACE no monetary value possible!

June 30, 2010 at 3:56 am
(33) John Seiler says:

Looked at historically, it’s not surprising that today’s major secular Empire would wish to reduce its spiritual rival to a defendant in its courts. It’s a modern version of St. Gregory VII vs. Henry VI or Pope Pius VII vs. Napoleon. We’ve been seeing Pope Benedict XVII attacked by the Empire’s kept media, such as the NY Times, Washington Post, and Time magazine.

Why these attacks? It isn’t “for the children.” It’s because this pope, and his predecessor, opposed the Empire’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; and because these popes opposed the Empire’s global population control efforts, as well as demonic new perversions such as in vitro fertilization (meaning many fertilized eggs — that is, babies — are murdered so one can be implanted).

The American Empire, including its Supreme Soviet — excuse me, Supreme Court — is faltering even as we write. Its rulers are completely out of touch with the needs and desires of “the American people,” as they always call us. The financial and political systems, while collapsing, are lashing out at new enemies that used to be friends. It wasn’t so long ago that Pope John Paul II, assisted by then-Cardinal Ratzinger, joined with President Reagan to bring down the Soviet Union, for the most part peacefully.

The Empire would like nothing more than for the Catholic Church to be docile and obedient to it, like the “Patriotic Catholic Church” in China is to the Communist Party. The Empire is using the sins of the Church’s own bishops and priests against her. Yet the Empire’s schools, which were centralized and atheized by U.S. Supreme Court edicts, are themselves cesspools of perversion and child abuse. Why isn’t that publicized?

Some of the previous commentators should realize that it was the popes that guaranteed our liberties. First, they insisted that men have free will; Luther, Calvin and others believed in predestination, meaning you are a slave to your destiny. Second, the popes insisted that the Church must remain separate and free from the secular government. Hence, the investiture controversy. The Eastern Orthodox churches always have kowtowed too much to the secular authorities. Luther made what he called the “call to Caesar” to get the local princes on his side against Rome, in return giving them Church property as loot. Henry VIII made himself head of his Church of England, while robbing church lands and giving much to his barons. Calvin united church and state into a theocracy (a word much misused today; but it’s what he had).

If the Empire keeps attacking the Church, it will find that, like Henry IV and Napoleon, it will lose.

And by the way, doesn’t the First Amendment guarantee freedom of religion?

June 30, 2010 at 4:04 am
(34) John Seiler says:

By the way, it’s well known that children are much more likely to be abused when they come from broken families. Here’s the divorce rate when the Catholic Church was in charge of marriage: 0%.

Here’s the divorce rate with the U.S. government in charge of marriage: 50%.

(Yes, I know that the Church today grants way too many annulments. It shouldn’t. But it’s also dealing with the corrupt U.S. government “family court” system.)

June 30, 2010 at 10:36 am
(35) dagobert says:

The extent of this scandal has demonstrated to me that the Catholic Church is a bogus entity. I’m grateful for the arguing demonstrated on pages like this since it confirms my suspicion that Christianity is a mistaken idea. Thank you all of you for helping me out of a false perception.

June 30, 2010 at 1:55 pm
(36) SM says:


You wrote, “The idea that a U.S. court could have jurisdiction over a foreign state is ridiculous on its face, and anyone who knows anything about the structure of the Catholic Church could testify that priests are not employees of the Vatican.”

It’s not ridiculous on its face, since there are exceptions to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, and the question which worked its way to the Supreme Court was whether or not any of the exceptions applied in this instance. In the original case a number of exceptions were asserted, and in the appeal to the Circuit Court, all but one of them was found lacking. The final exception was found to apply, and the Circuit Court relied on Oregon state law and Oregon case law to reach that determination.

The question of if a priest is an employee of the Vatican was at the heart of the final exception. The Church says this priest was not an employee of the Vatican. But, since this is a case in US courts, the laws of the relevant jurisdictions apply, and the Circuit Court found “

June 30, 2010 at 1:57 pm
(37) Linda says:

Anita – perhaps you’d feel differently if your parents had discovered your brother had been sexually abusing another sister nightly in a different bedroom, but their response was to silence your sister and direct him to your bedroom.

June 30, 2010 at 2:21 pm
(38) SM says:

I’m not sure what happened during my previous comment at my end, but I think you can see where my comments are heading.

That is, within in the context of Oregon state law, the assertion that the priest was an employee of the Vatican is strong enough to trigger the exception to the FSIA to allow the underling case to proceed. My quote was to be from the Circuit Court’s decision (page 30, item [16], which includes a footnote mentioning the Kentucky case you allude to as well, but only with the point of observing that it’s a different state in the different Circuit, and so not directly applicable in its ruling on the Oregon case).

So, although only one sovereign state is affected by this ruling, it is because only one sovereign state is a party to this case. The exceptions to FSIA are in place and have been for years, as the Circuit Court’s decision describes, and they potentially affect all sovereign states equally.


June 30, 2010 at 2:25 pm
(39) Scott P. Richert says:

Linda, you’re misunderstanding the point. It’s not that sexual abuse that involves the confessional is not sexual abuse—of course it is. It’s that any crime involving the confessional is treated this way, for the protection of the penitent as well as of the priest.

June 30, 2010 at 2:30 pm
(40) Scott P. Richert says:

Juan, thanks for the laugh. If you should ever be falsely accused of something, please do contact me again to tell me how you’ve instructed your lawyer not to try to get your case thrown out of court.

June 30, 2010 at 2:31 pm
(41) Scott P. Richert says:

Ogden LaFaye, read the John Jay study. If you’re not willing to, then don’t accuse others of denial.

June 30, 2010 at 2:42 pm
(42) Scott P. Richert says:

Linda, here’s the thing: Any victim who wanted to go to the police could have, and some did. The John Jay study found that “When allegations were made to the police, they were almost always investigated, and about one in three priests were charged with a crime.”

What was the Church supposed to do, however, when victims or their parents didn’t go to the police and asked the Church not to do so either? Because, like it or not, that was the situation in many, many cases. Parents wanted to protect their children from the additional pain that would come with a criminal investigation.

The other problem is that, as the John Jay study found, there was a huge gap between most incidents of abuse and when those incidents were reported either to the authorities or the Church: “approximately a third of all reports [between 1950 and 2002] were made in 2002 after an average delay of 30 years.”

By that point, the civil statute of limitations (which was far shorter than the canonical one during the period in question) had long passed. The authorities won’t investigate cases outside of the statute of limitations (unless the state in question allows the statute to be waived in some circumstances), and they cannot file criminal charges once a crime is outside of its statute of limitations.

Those two conditions account for most of the “silence.”

June 30, 2010 at 2:48 pm
(43) juan says:

Fear is the fuel of dogma. Fear of death. Fear of the unknown. Fear of damnation. Fear is always based on ignorance.

It is amazing that we live in a world in which some 3.4 billion followers of Abrahamic religions reside ( about 2.4 billion being Christian) and in a nation in which 76-80% of the population is Christian, and yet there are still fear mongers who foam at the mouth with anguish, ranting about the evil liberals and the anti-religion conspirators who are supposedly seizing society.

To make this claim, one must be ignorant of politics, current affairs and statistical demographics.

First, consider the fact that no non Christian has ever served in the nations highest office. In fact, it is a well known truth of society that religious belief (overwhelmingly Christian) is almost as critical to being elected as adequate funding. Indeed, in a recent study, Americans ranked the non-religious as the most distrusted belief minority. Any one who remembers the last presidential election will recall that the first debate was held no where besides the largest church in the nation.

Statistically, the non religious in America number only 15%, and many of this demographic are deists, who believe in a deity but are unafiliated with mainstream religion (as were many of our forefathers).

The primary difference between the religious and the non religious in terms of public policy is that the non religious are content to live their lives in a personal nature, where as many (not all) of the religious unceasingly campaign to involve their personal religious beliefs in the legal, political and public sectors. This fact can be clearly observed with the opposition to gay marriage and the insistence of teaching creationism on schools to name only two examples.

Such policies blatantly violate the constitutional seperation of church and state established by our forefathers (who many mistakenly believe founded this country on Christian values.) In truth, our founders left their home country to escape the dangerous combination of church and state.

In short, it is the non religious, not the religious, who are under attack.

It is a fact that America has some of the very highest rates of religion in the world. America also has some of the very highest rates of teen pregnancy, teen stds, murder and imprisonment of the developed world. It also has some of the worst levels of measured education.

June 30, 2010 at 2:56 pm
(44) Scott P. Richert says:

Juan, you’re free to keep commenting on this site, but if your comments have nothing to do with the piece they’re attached to (like #43), I’m going to delete them. Consider yourself warned.

June 30, 2010 at 3:06 pm
(45) juan says:


Your continued citation of the Jay study (which analyzed critically is quite detrimental to your excuses for the abuse) has become disengenuous. The jay study plainly says that a prime cause for the continuation of the sexual abuse (again, accepted statistics suggest 30-40% of the cases were never reported) was emphasis of the church on the avoidance of scandal.

The study also says that a “misguided” willingness on the part of the church to “forgive” accused and admitted pedophiles further made the situation worse. Providing even more confirmation for the fact that Tue church’s highest offices were grossly negligent at least.

Glad I could provide you with a laugh, though frankly I don’t see the humor in the sexual molestation of between 11000 and 20000 children at the hands of priests.

June 30, 2010 at 3:10 pm
(46) juan says:


Apologies. I was responding to the individual above who was talking about the Evil Empire.

June 30, 2010 at 3:33 pm
(47) Scott P. Richert says:

Cheap shot, Juan (“though frankly I don’t see the humor”). As I’ve stated repeatedly (and as my coverage of this scandal, going back to 2002, proves), I believe that those who are guilty should pay for their crimes (and, unlike you, I know that they will pay for their sins).

It is absolutely right to say that one problem was the “misguided” willingness of bishops to “forgive” such priests. But why were those bishops misguided? Or maybe a better way to put it is, Who guided them badly?

As Bishop Thomas Doran wrote in the February 22, 2002, issue of the Observer, the newspaper of the diocese of Rockford, Illinois:

“Sometimes people’s intentions are good. They look the other way, or they misjudge the nature of the problem. That was, it must be said, once the case with respect to pedophiles. Not so many decades ago the best science said their obsession could be cured, or at least treated and brought under control, in the same way that people can be freed from the snares of alcoholism and drug addiction. . . . Now we know better. . . . [W]e all must join together in beseeching God to make us duly conscious of the monstrosity of this evil.”

In fact, many of those most critical of the Catholic Church today believed in such “science” in the 60′s and 70′s. They thought there was no such thing as evil or sin, and that all antisocial behavior and crime would disappear as “behavioral science” came up with solutions.

And of course, they didn’t regard homosexuality or even sexual contact between adults and children as always wrong. In this regard, the case of Paul Shanley, one of the most heinous of the pedophile priests, is instructive.

In the 1970′s, Shanley was applauded for his “progressive” views on homosexuality and his public dissent from Church teaching by the same types of people who now call on Pope Benedict to abolish the discipline of clerical celibacy as a means of bringing this scandal to an end. Indeed, as late as July 2002, Carmen L. Durso, “a lawyer representing several of Shanley’s alleged victims,” told the Boston Globe, “Paul Shanley, if he weren’t a damned pervert, would be my hero. He said all the right things.” The possibility that Paul Shanley “said all the right things” because he was a “damned pervert” who used his “street ministry” to homosexual teens to pick up victims does not seem to have crossed Mr. Durso’s mind. Moreover, as the Boston Globe reporter pointed out, when suspicions about Shanley’s activities first arose in the 1970′s, “the gay community, struggling to emerge from a shroud of secrecy and condemnation, [was not] particularly eager to have one of its most vocal champions linked to sexual abuse” and thus looked the other way.

Bishops should have known better. It is an article of faith for Catholics that evil truly exists, and that sin is not a medical or physical problem but a metaphysical one. That too many bishops forgot that, and ordained men to the priesthood who didn’t belong there, and then tried to “cure” them when they abused children and young men, is to their everlasting shame.

June 30, 2010 at 4:17 pm
(48) juan says:


I agree with you that the authority figures who showed such gross negligence have indeed been “shamed” in the sexual abuse scandal.

I cannot however join you being content to relegate the discipline to their eternal fate.

First, you have again avoided the argument directly which is that the intentions of the church were not to rehabilitate the preists bit to avoid scandal. This fact has been confirmed extensively anecdotaly as well as in the public record. Also, it is further confirmed by statements from officials and very clear by the Jay study which you so admire.

Regardless, even if there were evidence that the church officials acted purely out of the wish to rehabilitate (which seems like more of a poor excuse than a rational conclusion) that would account for the gross negligence in allowing preists to have continued contact with children nor for the church culture of secrecy and complacency which allowed this to happen.

June 30, 2010 at 4:20 pm
(49) Linda says:

Scott – You couldn’t be more wrong.

In many cases, law enforcement was participating with the priests and diocesan leaders, in the cover-ups.


June 30, 2010 at 4:38 pm
(50) Scott P. Richert says:

Linda, you write, “In many cases . . . ” and then you give a link to one article which mentions a total of 11 cases in a single diocese.

The John Jay study examined all reported cases in every diocese and religious order in the United States.

June 30, 2010 at 4:41 pm
(51) Scott P. Richert says:

Juan, we can’t have a reasonable conversation if you insist on ascribing views to me that I do not hold. I wrote:

As I’ve stated repeatedly (and as my coverage of this scandal, going back to 2002, proves), I believe that those who are guilty should pay for their crimes (and, unlike you, I know that they will pay for their sins).

And you reduced that to:

I cannot however join you being content to relegate the discipline to their eternal fate.

You either have a problem with reading comprehension, or you’re being deliberately dishonest. Either way, we’re not going to have a very constructive conversation.

June 30, 2010 at 5:03 pm
(52) juan says:

The only barrier to s rational conversation is you’re continued avoidance of the evidence in favor of dabbling in semantics.

Again, my assertion (which I have taken great lengths to substantiate) is that the church, with an over emphasis on the avoidance of scandal, was grossly negligent in the way it handled the copious sexual assault cases. This is clearly confirmed by your favoured Jay study.

At best, the church is guilty of gross negligence and detrimental secrecy. At worst, obstruction of justice.

This is almost impossible to argue against, and truth be told, you haven’t. You continually make statements which in my opinion dismiss the severity of the issue and the need for legal responsibilty at the highest levels of the catholic organization. That is why I made the comment about you being content to let the perpetrators suffer only an eternal punishment. Though that was very clearly not the core of my argument.

June 30, 2010 at 5:05 pm
(53) j says:

I apologize for my typos as I am responding from a smart phone

June 30, 2010 at 5:26 pm
(54) Scott P. Richert says:

This is clearly confirmed by your favoured Jay study.

No, it isn’t. But we can go back and forth like that all day. Therefore, I’d invite anyone who wants to know what the John Jay study does and does not say to read the entire text:

The Nature and Scope of the Problem of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States

Readers will note that the text is hosted on the website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who also paid for the study, apparently in a display of “gross negligence and detrimental secrecy,” not to mention “obstruction of justice.”

June 30, 2010 at 5:33 pm
(55) Scott P. Richert says:

By the way, Juan, if you or anyone else can find a similarly comprehensive study of child abuse in any other institution in the United States, please post a link to that study here in the comments.

June 30, 2010 at 7:13 pm
(56) juan says:


Several things should be very clear. First, the Jay report was not commissioned until 2004, after enough public outrage had forced the church to deal with the problem which has roots at least 50 years prior.

Second, the Jay report is not a study or an investigation, it is merely a survey of diocesan files. That in and of itself is likely to have contributed substantially to the under reporting bias of the project. Second, remember that the catholic organization is multinational and that the Jay survey only covers allegations on file in diocese in the United States. Other studies, such as the government commissioned ferns report in Ireland document a disturbing pattern of sexual abuse and cover up outside of simply the US.

Also, if you are suggesting that the study is proof that the church has been transparent, you are making a premature judgement. As is noted, the study came only after it was forced by public outrage. Indeed, the very need for such a study is suggests the pandemic nature of the abuse.

Regardless of your claims to the contrary, the jay report finds the following: Factors contributing to the abuse problem, as stated by the report: Failure by the hierarchy to grasp seriousness of the problem. Overemphasis on the need to avoid scandal. Use of unqualified treatment Misguided willingness to forgive. Insufficient accountability.

Indeed, considering that the jay report is only a survey of diocesan files and that 30-40% of sexual abuse cases are never reported, considering also that the survey is limited to the US, it is clear that the survey was more of a view of the church’s response, which was dismal and negligent. Indeed, the true scope of the sexual abuse cases will likely never be known, but it is surely profound.

Indeed, in response to Tue publicity and the study, church officials have used the same excuses that you: they simply weren’t aware of the serity. Thankfully, that doesn’t cut it for some in our legal system.

As for the failure to report sexual abuse to the authority, it is clear that the church avoided doing so at all costs. Further, on numerous documented occasions, Tue church merely transfered accused and admitted abusers to other areas. In all, it is time that top church officials be held accountable

July 1, 2010 at 12:11 am
(57) Emmanuel says:

Juan, its obvious from your comments that your interests lies in not fighting for the cause of the abused children but to ridicle the church. In as much as I would personally not join issues with you, I like to say that in every twelve there is and would always be a Judas and the catholic Church is not an exception. You may wish to know that the number of Catholic priest who are involved in this scandal worldwide is less than one percent. The United states cannot ascribe to itself the right to judge the Vatican because it is not under the control of your government.

As far as I am concerned, the Church because of its openess opened up this issue for global attention as such I do not know were thsi secrecy thing is coming from. I sincerely believe that these attacks has so much to do with the churches refusal to accept homosexuality, abortion, euthanasia, gay marriages etc and you know what? it will never accept them because American’s cannot tell Catholic worldwide how to run their lives. You know what? in my part of the world, more than 98% of Catholics are not moved by what is going on in America as regard this issue, we receive new converts to the faith on a daily basis. The church has gone through worst forms of persecution in the past and came out of it unhurt and this one would not be an exception.

The bottom line for me is that all have sinned and have come short of the Glory of God (that is if you believe in him) and who is the church not to forgive a sinner if God has already done so? have you not sinned in your life? have you not done evil things that were so to say covered up? I think you should first remove the spec in your eyes before trying to remove that in another persons eyes.

Nothing that is said of this issue will stop me from continuing in the faith and I know same applies to other Catholics where I come from. You people are only fighting a lost battle. May God help you all

July 1, 2010 at 9:38 am
(58) juan says:


No one is attacking or ridiculing the church, much less trying to convince you to leave your faith.

You have strong beliefs, and that is admirable.

Do not however let those beliefs distort the truth. It has been documented that the cases of abuse spans much farther than one percent. Indeed, tens of thousands have been abused.

There is extensive evidence that church officials have hidden knowledge of abuse for years. Still more evidence shows that many priests who were accused of and admitted to sexual abuse were allowed to continue the priesthood.

That is the issue, not that one bad apple ruined the bunch.

Look at the evidence. Think of the victims. It should concern you.

July 1, 2010 at 9:49 am
(59) Scott P. Richert says:

Juan you keep making claims such as a following:

Regardless of your claims to the contrary, the jay report finds the following: Factors contributing to the abuse problem, as stated by the report: Failure by the hierarchy to grasp seriousness of the problem. Overemphasis on the need to avoid scandal. Use of unqualified treatment Misguided willingness to forgive. Insufficient accountability.

But you never put these words in quotation marks, though you’re clearing attempting to pass them off as text from the John Jay study.

Readers may wonder why you simply don’t provide quotations. The answer is that the lines you keep providing are not found in the John Jay study.

Any reader who wishes to confirm this can do a text search on the full text of the John Jay study. Since the copy on the USCCB site has multiple PDFs (one for each subsection), readers may find it easier to search through the text as posted on Bishop-Accountability.org, where it is laid out in six web pages:

The Nature and Scope of the Problem of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests and Deacons (at Bishop-Accountability.org)

July 1, 2010 at 9:52 am
(60) Scott P. Richert says:

Juan, if you’re going to claim, as you did in your response (#58) to Emmanuel, that “No one is attacking or ridiculing the church, much less trying to convince you to leave your faith,” then you might want, in the future, not to post such comments as yours at #43.

It’s just good strategy for the atheist not to come out of the closet, if he’s trying to convince others that he’s not hostile to religion.

July 1, 2010 at 10:11 am
(61) juan says:


I am a proud and very fulfilled non-believer, though frankly, that has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

Indeed, it is a convenient scapegoat for the church to cry “atheism” when it feels threatened as it changes the topic from accountability and makes it seem as though the church is under attack.

If you would like to have a public debate about the validity of theism and church doctrine, I would be very content to engage, perhaps in a separate forum. That is, if you want me to “come out of the closet.”

Until then, I will continue to say what I have said before. Namely that top church officials are guilty of gross negligence and obstruction of justice. At the very least, their complacency allowed the abuse to continue. This fact is clearly confirmed by the jay report, among others.

You should also know that what I posted earlier regarding the Jay report was a direct quotation from a magazine which supports the church and was summarizing the report. Hence the colon. If you would like me to post citations or something from the raw study, ill be happy to do so.

July 1, 2010 at 10:15 am
(62) juan says:


Just to re-emphasise: The jay report is not a study or an investigation. It is only a survey of diocesan files. That is a fact. At best, the study is merely the tip of the iceberg. At worst, the study grossly under represents the abuse.

July 1, 2010 at 10:16 am
(63) Scott P. Richert says:

Juan, instead of relying on a Wikipedia summary of the John Jay study, go read it. I’ve given you two separate links to the full text. Then come back here and provide actual quotes from it that back up your claims about what is “clearly confirmed” by it.

But quit trying to pass off a Wikipedia summary as the actual text.

July 1, 2010 at 10:17 am
(64) Scott P. Richert says:

So, on the one hand, you want to claim that a Wikipedia summary of the John Jay study damns the Church, while, on the other hand, you want to damn the John Jay study.

Juan, you might want to take a class in rhetoric or debate. You’re sinking fast.

July 1, 2010 at 10:19 am
(65) Scott P. Richert says:

As for your atheism, the only reason I bothered to point it out is because you simultaneously trumpeted it (in #43) and then tried to claim it had nothing to do with your remarks here (in #58).

Again, if you’re going to debate, at least learn how to do so. I judged a debate contest of homeschoolers a few years ago, and the junior-high contestants would make mincemeat of you.

July 1, 2010 at 10:19 am
(66) juan says:

By the way, evening being woefully inadequate, the Jay report is still damning

July 1, 2010 at 10:36 am
(67) juan says:


The summary that I used was not found in Wikipedia. If Wikipedia uses the source as a citation in of of their articles (which is totally possible, as that is the function of Wikipedia) that is a seperate issue.

But like I said, I will post directly from the summary if you wish.

Regardless, it is important to understand that the Jay report is not a study or an investigation. It is only a survey of filtered files given to the Jay college by the church. That is indisputable. And if you think that such a survey is one of the mist comprehensive studies that can be done you are either being disengenuous or owe it to yourself to take a class in statistical analysis.

July 1, 2010 at 10:43 am
(68) juan says:


Concerning atheism, I never trumpeted anything. My point in the comment you so frequently distort was that it is both foolish and indefensible to that that the church us under attack by the mist religious and most Christian nation in the world. Obciously, that point was lost on you.

Regardless, if you would like to debate the atheism contention, my offer stands. You have nothing to loose if, afterall, homeschooled debaters would make mincemeat of me.

As a sidenote, I am a NFL nationally ranked debater and a former state champion.

July 1, 2010 at 11:05 am
(69) Scott P. Richert says:

I never said that the John Jay study is “one of the mist [sic] comprehensive studies that can be done.” I said that it is the most comprehensive study that has been done of child sexual abuse in any institution in the entire United States ever.

If you can find another study of another institution that is more comprehensive, then, as I asked you to do before, please post a link to it here in the comments.

July 1, 2010 at 11:39 am
(70) juan says:


The Jay report is not comprehensive. It does represent a survey of filtered documents given by the church to the jay college.

The fact that survey was completed does not indicate transparency. No investigation of church archives was done. No investigation of allegations was done. No study was completed. All the report shows is that the church’s hand was forced by public outrage over decades to do something. The study also shows that the church had knowledge concerning a substantial amount of abuse and did not take appropriate action.

Read the Ferns report commissioned by the Irish government. Even the officials completing the report were shocked by the negligence.

July 1, 2010 at 9:07 pm
(71) Linda says:

Just an FYI, I tried to provide feedback when the John Jay investigators were in our diocese. We were told that they had a pre-selected list of people that they would interview.

It was a public relations ploy.

July 19, 2010 at 1:57 pm
(72) Jackie Alfirevic says:

I thank my God that this law suit is going forward. The Catholic Church should never have been made a “Sovereign State” and it should not enjoy diplomatic immunity for the criminals it harbors or for the obstructionist policies it has in place. Every child abuser should be brought to full justice in the country where the crimes were committed and each criminal in the curia that hid these crimes must also face justice.

September 15, 2010 at 12:21 am
(73) David says:

The worst possible crime to betray the trust of God by heinous assault on innocent children by highly educated and ordained men – no one denies this; so all the rest is pointless chatter because there is no justifying the clearly seen (in the light now) coverup and rationalizations by hierarchy. Moreover, trying to decide how many pedophiles can dance on the head of a pin and calling it suppression of scandal only made the inevitable s anal worse than it would have been to come clean. Bishops and, God forbid, Popes if they knew, deserve all the sanctions of the law.

September 15, 2010 at 12:24 am
(74) David says:

The worst possible crime to betray the trust of God by heinous assault on innocent children by highly educated and ordained men – no one denies this; so all the rest is pointless chatter because there is no justifying the clearly seen (in the light now) coverup and rationalizations by hierarchy.  Moreover, trying to decide how many pedophiles can dance on the head of a pin and calling it suppression of scandal only made the inevitable scandal worse than it would have been to come clean.  Bishops and, God forbid, Popes if they knew, deserve all the sanctions of the law. 

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