In 2008 the reported
number of claims against catholic priests for sexual abuse rose 16%
, in the US. Found by a study commissioned by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. The report
found 803 new allegations in 2008, compared with 692 in 2007. For 2008 $436m was paid out for abuse cases in the US only; most of that amount was victim compensation.
There are around 75 million catholics in the US. There are 52 Sundays in a year. So essentially every Catholic man, woman and child in the US provides 11 cents every Sunday to support child rapists and child molesters.
Did you know that the Pope was warned in the 1950s about pedophile priests?
Father Gerald Fitzgerald started the Servants of the Paraclete in 1947, an order to deal with 'problem priests.' By 1952 he was writing letters to bishops about priests who were sex abusers, and urging those up the hierarchy chain to not
return these priests to regular duty; for many he even urged that they should be laicized
immediately. Almost all the priests he attempted to treat were returned to duty; including those he considered to be the worst offenders and greatest danger.
He was also critical of bishops that failed to escalate information about these offenders, and in 1957 wrote and archbishop saying "These men, Your Excellency, are devils and the wrath of God is upon them and if I were a bishop I would tremble when I failed to report them to Rome for involuntary layization."
In the last few years court orders have opened previously sealed documents revealing much about the history of sexual abuse within the church. Even with this damning information, the highest in the hierarchy have continued to claim that they were unaware of the abuse (or at least unaware of how rampant it was); and insist that the Pope did not know.
In February of this year a California law firm opened the previously sealed correspondence of Fitzgerald; these were made available to NCR
, and they distributing the information (PDF)
. The documents contain damning proof that only a blind-eye could have avoided knowledge of sexual abuse committed by the clergy.
In 1957 a bishop asked Fitzgerald's assistance on relocating a priest who had molested and impregnated multiple young girls. The scandal was so well known in the community that the bishop could find no surrounding dioceses to take him. Fitzgerald responded that the priest's "repentance ... is superficial and, if not formally at least subconsciously, is motivated by a desire to be again in a position where they can continue their wonted activity. A new diocese means only green pastures."
Fitzgerald goes further, pointing out that he had "adopted a definite policy not to recommend to bishops men of this character, even presuming the sincerity of their conversion. We feel that the protection of our glorious priesthood will demand, in time, the establishment of a uniform code of discipline and of penalties." The bishop removed the priest from active ministry; and to his credit wrote dozens of other bishops warning against accepting the priest into their dioceses.
That priest moved from diocese to diocese attempting to gain acceptance. Twenty six years after being removed from ministry he was stripped of his priesthood after being caught kissing a 13-year old girl (in 1983; he was 66 years old). He died in 1999 without ever facing a single criminal charge. Fitzgerald once wrote "We are amazed to find how often a man who would be behind bars if he were not a priest is entrusted with the cura animarum
In 1962 he informed the Vatican's Congregation of the Holy Office that he though offending priests should be offered "a retired life within the protection of monastery walls or complete laicization." In August 1963 he met with Pope Paul VI to discuss his work, and his observations of the problems within the priesthood. Shortly afterward he was replace in his position at Servants of the Paraclete by James Davis; in 1965 he left Servants of the Paraclete.
Fitzgerald's ultimate goal was to establish an island to confine these problem priests on; thus isolating these sex offenders from any community. In 1965 he put a deposit down on an island in Barbados, near Carriacou, in the Caribbean. The church wanted nothing to do with it, and Fitzgerald was unable to raise the total asking price of $50,000. He died in 1969.