Germany: Catholic Church Abuse Hotline Overrun Amid New Allegations

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Images of abuse victims displayed on Wednesday in Berlin by the victims’ group SNAP.

A hotline set up by the Catholic Church in Germany to counsel victims of sexual abuse was overrun on its first day, with almost 4,500 calls. Further allegations have continued to emerge even as Chancellor Angela Merkel says the church is taking “necessary measures.”

It was a much criticized idea. Earlier this month, Germany’s Catholic Church announced that it was planning a hotline for sexual abuse victims to call should they be in need of counselling or advice. Given the ever-increasing wave of abuse allegations being levelled at clerics in Germany this spring, however, many critics doubted whether victims would phone up the organization that was responsible for their suffering in the first place.

The critics were wrong. On Wednesday, the first full day of the hotline’s operation, fully 4,459 people phoned up — far more than the therapists hired to man the phones could handle. Indeed, they were only able to conduct 162 counselling sessions, ranging from five minutes to an hour in length. Andreas Zimmer, head of the project in the Bishopric of Trier, admitted that he wasn’t prepared for “that kind of an onslaught.” Zimmer insisted, however, that those who leave a message will be called back.

Read moreGermany: Catholic Church Abuse Hotline Overrun Amid New Allegations

The ‘Pedophile’s Paradise’: Alaska Natives are accusing the Catholic Church of using their remote villages as a ‘dumping ground’ for child-molesting priests (Flashback)

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Rachel Mike, who won a settlement in a case involving Father Poole, at her confirmation in the summer of 1975. Behind her is Father George Endal, accused of raping or molesting several boys and allegedly walking in on another priest performing oral sex on a 6-year-old boy and doing nothing to stop it.

One spring afternoon in 1977, 15-year-old Rachel Mike tried to kill herself for the third time. An Alaska Native, Rachel was living in a tiny town called Stebbins on a remote island called St. Michael. She lived in a house with three bedrooms and nine siblings. Rachel was a drinker, depressed, and starving. “When my parents were drinking, we didn’t eat right,” she says. “I just wanted to get away from the drinking.”

Rachel walked to the bathroom to fetch the family rifle, propped in the bathtub with the dirty laundry (the house didn’t have running water). To make sure the gun worked, Rachel loaded a shell and blew a hole in her bedroom wall. Her father, passed out on his bed, didn’t hear the shot. Rachel walked behind their small house. Her arms were too short to put the rifle to her head, so she shot herself in her right leg instead.

Rachel was found screaming in a pool of blood by her Auntie Emily and flown 229 miles to a hospital in Nome. The doctor asked if she wanted to see a priest. She said yes. In walked Father James Poole-a popular priest, radio personality on KNOM, and, according to allegations in at least five lawsuits, serial child rapist. Father Poole has never been convicted of a crime, but the Jesuits have settled numerous sex-abuse claims against him since 2005, in excess of $5 million, according to an attorney involved in four of those five lawsuits. Exact figures aren’t available because some of the settlements involve confidentiality agreements. The Jesuits have never let a single case against Father Poole go to trial.

In a 2005 deposition, Rachel testified that she had been molested by Father Poole in 1975, while in Nome for her second suicide attempt, an attempted overdose of alcohol and pills. He’d come sit by her bed, put his hand under the hospital blanket, and fondle her, she said.

She traveled between Stebbins and Nome several times in the late 1970s, spending time in hospitals and receiving homes. By 1977, Rachel testified, Poole had given her gonorrhea, and by 1978 she was pregnant with his child. In an interview with The Stranger, she said Poole encouraged her to get an abortion and tell the doctors she had been raped by her father. She followed his advice. “He brainwashed me,” she said. “He messed up my head, man.”

Rachel Mike’s father died in 2004. A year later, she heard Elsie Boudreau, another survivor of Poole’s abuse, being interviewed on the radio. Listening to Boudreau, Rachel was moved to finally tell the truth.

Read moreThe ‘Pedophile’s Paradise’: Alaska Natives are accusing the Catholic Church of using their remote villages as a ‘dumping ground’ for child-molesting priests (Flashback)

40% of Americans view Pope Benedict XVI favorably

What does this say about 40% of Americans?!


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Pope Benedict Favorable Rating Drops to 40% in US (Gallup)

PRINCETON, NJ — A new low of 40% of Americans view Pope Benedict XVI favorably amid new criticism about the Roman Catholic Church’s handling of child sex abuse by priests. Now, nearly as many Americans have an unfavorable view of the pope as have a favorable view.

The current results represent a major shift from two years ago, when the pope’s favorable rating jumped to 63% as he was concluding a well-received visit to the United States that included personal meetings between the pope and victims of sex abuse by U.S. priests. The latest allegations of lax handling of abusive priests mostly concern past abuse cases in Europe, but they implicate the pope, who had a central role in the Catholic Church’s handling of sex abuse cases prior to his becoming pope.

Pope Benedict’s image has deteriorated about equally among Catholics and non-Catholics from its 2008 high — by 20 and 23 points, respectively. Catholics continue to view him much more favorably than non-Catholics.

And now the Vatican wants to shield the Pope from any liability:

How Vatican Tries to Dodge Legal Fallout of Sex Abuse (AOL News):

(March 31) — Developments in a Kentucky court case suggest that the Vatican will seek to shield Pope Benedict XVI and the church from liability in the worldwide clerical sex abuse crisis by distancing itself from individual dioceses.

In legal documents filed in U.S. District Court in Louisville last week, the Vatican claims that as the head of a sovereign state, the Vatican City, the pope is immune from prosecution. The papers further assert that American bishops are not employed by the Holy See.

The Vatican will also likely deny that a 1962 church decree about clergy and the reporting of clerical pedophilia is a “smoking gun” that led to a worldwide cover-up of sexual crimes.

Vatican offers 3 reasons it’s not liable for abuse (AP):

The Vatican is seeking to dismiss the suit before Benedict XVI can be questioned or secret documents subpoenaed.

Religion: Pope claims legal immunity; Vatican, Bishops, defend cover-up (Examiner):

While a cardinal at the Vatican, Joseph Ratzinger, now the pope, wrote a 2001 letter instructing bishops worldwide to report all cases of abuse to his office and keep church investigations secret under threat of excommunication.

The letter is the smoking gun; the Pope is a criminal.

The continuing moral failure of the Pope and Vatican is astonishing. Like a child caught with their hand in the cookie jar, they continue to deny what has now become obvious to the most casual observer.

Related Information:

1963 letter indicates former pope knew of abuse (AP)

Germany’s Catholic Church sexual abuse hotline received 1,000 calls the first day (Digital Journal)

Austrian Catholic Church Abuse Hot Lines Log 566 Reports This Year (Austrian Independent)

Australian Bishop says ‘vast amount’ of sexual abuse cases yet to emerge (Sydney Morning Herald)

Deaf Boys Tried to Tell of Priest’s Abuse FOR YEARS (New York Times)

Christopher Hitchens Slams Vatican, Pope Over Sex Abuse Scandal (Huffington Post)

The Pope Is Not Above the Law (Slate)

Sex Abuse Victims to Sue Vatican (Times)

Pope Benedict Signals Won’t Be Intimidated By Abuse Critics, Uses Popemobile For First Time On A Palm Sunday (New York Times/AFP)

Vatican knew of abuse in Ontario: Victim (Toronto Star)

Pope failed to defrock an American priest who molested hundreds of deaf boys, despite receiving letters from American bishops pleading with him to act (Times)

A church sex scandal where the truth is crucified (Toronto Star)

Sinead O’Connor: ‘There Should Be A Full Criminal Investigation Of The Pope’ (LA Times)

Catholic Church quietly expelling and punishing children, homeless (Irish Central)

Former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland routinely shredded copies of weekly reports about sexual abuse by priests (Flashback):

Former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland routinely shredded copies of weekly reports about sexual abuse by priests, according to formerly sealed testimony turned over to Milwaukee County’s district attorney on Thursday.

Swiss Catholic Church Investigating 10 Abuse Cases (Reuters)

Irish Catholic Church Paid Child Sex Abuse Victim To Keep Quiet (Guardian)

Catholic Church Child Abuse: Nuns Now Also Accused (Radio Netherlands Worldwide)

Church: Pope Had Role in Moving Molesting Priest (Bloomberg)

Pope knew priest was paedophile but allowed him to continue with ministry (Times)

Pope will struggle to survive abuse scandal (Irish Independent)

Benedict’s involvement ’shows extent of cover-ups’ (Irish Independent)

Sinead O’Connor: I’d help Jesus to burn down the Vatican (Irish Independent)

RIGHTS-GERMANY: ‘Catholic Church Protects Paedophile Priests’ (IPS)

Child abuse claims sweep Catholic Church in Europe (AP)

Germany’s Catholic Church sexual abuse hotline received 1,000 calls the first day

Amid growing reports of sexual abuse and scandals, Germany’s Catholic Church has launched a sexual abuse helpline, which has angered one organization who helps those victims. However, on its first day the hotline received 1,000 calls.

Trier, Germany – The Roman Catholic Church in Germany launched a telephone hotline for those victims who have been sexually abused by Roman Catholic priests on Tuesday, according to BBC News. A NBC News report shows that the hotline received more than 1,000 calls on its first day.

The helpline, which is based in the western city of Trier, appointed the church’s bishop, Stephen Ackerman, for handling the investigations of any allegations made against its clergy, “We want to be responsive, we want to know what has been suffered and want to support those affected,” said Ackerman.

Many people believe the church should be a last resort to report sexual abuse as they should first contact either police or family members, according to David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, “Victims should tell loved ones and police first. Victims should tell loved ones and police first.”

Read moreGermany’s Catholic Church sexual abuse hotline received 1,000 calls the first day

Austrian Catholic Church Abuse Hot Lines Log 566 Reports This Year

See also: Austrian church abuse hot lines log 566 reports (Boston Herald)


There have been 566 reports of various kinds of abuse by clergy at the Catholic Church’s ombudsman’s offices this year, it was reported today (Tues).

Vienna archdiocese has had the highest number, 174, followed by Innsbruck diocese with 115. More than half of them can no longer be prosecuted because of the statute of limitations.

Cases of sexual abuse constitute 27 per cent of these, cases of violence 26 per cent. More than half of them require further investigation, according to the media.

The rising number of reports has caused Vienna Archbishop Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, the titular head of the Austrian Catholic Church and chairman of the Austrian Bishops Conference, to react.

Read moreAustrian Catholic Church Abuse Hot Lines Log 566 Reports This Year

Australian Bishop says ‘vast amount’ of sexual abuse cases yet to emerge

THE Catholic Church has a turbulent future as probably a much smaller church in the West, with a ”vast amount” of sexual abuse cases yet to emerge, according to a retired Australian bishop.

”The church is not going to fold up its tent and disappear, but there could be very dramatic changes” as a result of the clergy abuse crisis, said Bishop Geoffrey Robinson.

The Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, blamed a failure of leadership and a lack of courage for the crisis and warned that while Australia had learnt its lessons, the difficulties for the church in many countries were still coming.

”It’s a big crisis for the church. We are all hurt by this, but we’ve got to face it and get on with it,” he said.

In the past month, Pope Benedict XVI has apologised to Irish Catholics after two devastating secular reports into clerical abuse and cover-ups, and hundreds of new allegations emerged in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.

Read moreAustralian Bishop says ‘vast amount’ of sexual abuse cases yet to emerge

Deaf Boys Tried to Tell of Priest’s Abuse FOR YEARS

They were deaf, but they were not silent. For decades, a group of men who were sexually abused as children by the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy at a school for the deaf in Wisconsin reported to every type of official they could think of that he was a danger, according to the victims and church documents.

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Steven Geier said the priest who molested him as a boy told him he had to keep it a secret. Mr. Geier reported the abuse to three priests, including the Rev. Tom Schroeder

They told other priests. They told three archbishops of Milwaukee. They told two police departments and the district attorney. They used sign language, written affidavits and graphic gestures to show what exactly Father Murphy had done to them. But their reports fell on the deaf ears of hearing people.

This week, they learned that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, received letters about Father Murphy in 1996 from Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland of Milwaukee, who said that the deaf community needed “a healing response from the Church.” The Vatican sat on the case, then equivocated, and when Father Murphy died in 1998, he died a priest.

Read moreDeaf Boys Tried to Tell of Priest’s Abuse FOR YEARS

Christopher Hitchens Slams Vatican, Pope Over Sex Abuse Scandal

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Christopher Hitchens, whose antagonism towards religion is well-established, had harsh words for the Catholic Church, and the Pope in particular, during an appearance on “Morning Joe” today.

The most recent scandal that has erupted over the priest who molested over 200 deaf boys, Hitchens said, proves that “the fatal taint” goes all the way to the top:

A school for children who can only use sign language. 200 of them have their childhoods completely wrecked by this priest, and entreaties are addressed to the man who is now Pope, Cardinal Ratzinger, the man who was saying at the time that the only problem with the scandal was there was a press campaign against the church. The abuse was not the problem, the torture the rape; only the revelation of it. Nothing happens except that he forgives the priest who asked for forgiveness before he dies.
I wrote then and I believe now that the fatal taint went straight to the top at that point, and now we have as head of the church someone who’s personally as well institutionally responsible for knowing of this, covering it up and protecting, not the children, but the predators.

Asked by host Willie Geist when the Catholic Church will reach a breaking point, considering how many of these scandals it has weathered in the past, Hitchens replied that the breaking point has indeed arrived:

The breaking point just came, when it became obvious from reports from Munich, and reports from Wisconsin, and reports now from Verona, in Italy, that the man who is now calling himself the Pope was the person individually responsible for the coverup.

Read moreChristopher Hitchens Slams Vatican, Pope Over Sex Abuse Scandal

The Pope Is Not Above the Law

The crimes within the Catholic Church demand justice.

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Pope Benedict XVI

One by one, as I predicted, the pathetic excuses of Joseph Ratzinger’s apologists evaporate before our eyes. It was said until recently that when the Rev. Peter Hullermann was found to be a vicious pederast in 1980, the man who is now pope had no personal involvement in his subsequent transfer to his own diocese or in his later unimpeded career as a rapist and a molester. But now we find that the psychiatrist to whom the church turned for “therapy” was adamant that Hullermann never be allowed to go near children ever again. We also find that Ratzinger was one of those to whom the memo about Hullermann’s transfer was actually addressed. All attempts to place the blame on a loyal subordinate, Ratzinger’s vicar general, the Rev. Gerhard Gruber, have predictably failed. According to a recent report, “the transfer of Father Hullermann from Essen would not have been a routine matter, experts said.” Either that-damning enough in itself-or it perhaps would have been a routine matter, which is even worse. Certainly the pattern-of finding another parish with fresh children for the priest to assault-is the one that has become horribly “routine” ever since and became standard practice when Ratzinger became a cardinal and was placed in charge of the church’s global response to clerical pederasty.

So now a new defense has had to be hastily improvised. It is argued that, during his time as archbishop of Munich and Freising, Germany, Ratzinger was more preoccupied with doctrinal questions than with mere disciplinary ones. Of course, of course: The future pope had his eyes fixed on ethereal and divine matters and could not be expected to concern himself with parish-level atrocities. This cobbled-up apologia actually repays a little bit of study. What exactly were these doctrinal issues? Well, apart from punishing a priest who celebrated a Mass at an anti-war demonstration-which incidentally does seem to argue for a “hands-on” approach to individual clergymen-Ratzinger’s chief concern appears to have been that of first communion and first confession. Over the previous decade, it had become customary in Bavaria to subject small children to their first communion at a tender age but to wait a year until they made their first confession. It was a matter of whether they were old enough to understand. Enough of this liberalism, said Ratzinger, the first confession should come in the same year as the first communion. One priest, the Rev. Wilfried Sussbauer, reports that he wrote to Ratzinger expressing misgivings about this and received “an extremely biting letter” in response.

Read moreThe Pope Is Not Above the Law

Sex Abuse Victims to Sue Vatican

The Pope’s record is “above discussion”!

Pope failed to defrock an American priest who molested hundreds of deaf boys, despite receiving letters from American bishops pleading with him to act (Times)

A church sex scandal where the truth is crucified (Toronto Star)


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The Pope has been accused of protecting Father Lawrence Murphy


NEW revelations about Pope Benedict XVI’s alleged role in covering up accusations of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy have exposed the Vatican to the risk of lawsuits brought by victims around the world.

Mounting anger at the Catholic Church’s failure to act on predatory priests in the US, Europe and Mexico has plunged the papacy into an institutional crisis described by an American Catholic newspaper last week as “the largest in centuries”.

Yesterday the Vatican denounced the “aggressive persistence” of critics who were attempting to “involve the Holy Father personally in the matter of abuse”. A spokesman told Vatican Radio that the Pope’s record was “above discussion”.

Yet the talk in Catholic circles was of little else as the Pope’s former life as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, archbishop of Munich and senior Vatican administrator, came under intensifying scrutiny.

Last week it was alleged that, as head of the Vatican office monitoring priestly misconduct, Ratzinger failed to punish Father Lawrence Murphy, who abused up to 200 boys at a Wisconsin school for the deaf.

Instead of being defrocked or reported to police, Murphy remained a priest until his death in 1998.

“We are talking about a man who, before he became Pope, knew what Murphy was doing and did nothing about it,” said Donald Marshall, a mechanic who claims Murphy assaulted him in 1977 when he was 13. “The Pope is a fraud and a hypocrite.”

The reports coincided with a burgeoning German row over Father Peter Hullermann, a Bavarian priest who received therapy for paedophilia in Ratzinger’s diocese and was transferred to a new parish, where he continued molesting boys.

Read moreSex Abuse Victims to Sue Vatican