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April 7th, 2010
08:44 AM ET

Vatican Sex Abuse Scandal

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=""] In the CNN Newsroom today, an in-depth look at the Roman Catholic church in crisis.
Explosive allegations have erupted across Europe in recent months of children, sexually abused by priests.
Reports –denied at the Vatican - suggest Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger– now Pope Benedict XVI - tried to contain the scandal within church walls.

We’ll be talking to a former priest who now investigates sex abuse cases. We also want you to weigh in. What questions do you have about the accusations and the scandal plaguing the Catholic church? What would you ask a former priest? Send us your questions and we’ll get our guests to weigh in with answers.

That’s at 12pm ET in the CNN Newsroom.

Filed under: Tony Harris
soundoff (104 Responses)
  1. June Clendening

    Pedafiles are criminals and belong in jail. I take it the Catholic heirarchy doesn't see them that way. Then they are all criminals.

    April 7, 2010 at 8:50 am |
  2. michael armstrong sr.

    What we have here is a case of Roman gate and America needs to show no mercy to Cardinales in this country if they get caught performing this lude act then they should be tried as pedifiles if the church can not handle there homosexuals we can .

    April 7, 2010 at 8:53 am |
  3. Lawrence

    I have come to understand that you p`ple you are just fighting the Catholic church.You want to tell me that such scandle has never happened to other areas?
    Why are you steaking to the Catholic church only?I wish to remind you that the church knows everything that is going on and it was very bad to mee too.But why don`t we give the church a room and it handles the issue?
    You think you will push the Pope and do on your orders?The Pope knows what He is doing.When He decided to write a pastral letter to the victims in Irish,no one pushed him.
    So,if you are just after failing Him,you are just wasting time.
    Let`s wait the Pope and His Cadinals to see what they will do next.
    Lawrence,from Uganda

    April 7, 2010 at 9:16 am |
  4. michael armstrong sr.

    How can people trust this church to do the work of God when they practice the work of Satan .

    April 7, 2010 at 9:44 am |
  5. Roman Haduniak

    They will continue to do what they have been doing. Cover up as much as possible and deny the rest. Is anyone really surprised that they elected the guilty (pope) to lead this cult? I'm not.

    April 7, 2010 at 9:48 am |
  6. Ron Peer

    The Vatican is protecting the Pope on this like a government would protect its head of state that is being impeached. There appears to be no doubt that the vatican moved priests from parish to parish orchestrated by the current pope to keep a lid on child sex abuse. The way this will play out is, deny, deny, deny and then when that doesn't work any longer a sacrificial lamb from the vatican will be offered up. Most of us who are not Catholic can see the real truth but many of the faithful don't want to see it. Isn't this the basis of religion, not the truth, but the hierarchy of the church's version of the truth.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:11 am |
  7. Scott Stodden

    The Catholic Church is disgusting first and foremost for defending Pope Benedict! This man knows all types of sexual abuse cases that priests and former priests against innocent children including the 200 deaf children who were raped or molested! What is the Catholic Church doing to get this man to tell what he knows and will the Catholic Church consider removing Pope Benedict from power?

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    April 7, 2010 at 10:38 am |
  8. gerald slevin

    The pope could simply make a sworn affidavit in which he details his knowledge of and involvement or non-involvement in the Munich, Milwaukee, Arizona and Reggensburg choir boy abuse cases. It would take little time to do so, but he hasn;t. What is he hiding? Neither he nor his spokesmen have ever even addressed what the pope knew about his brother's involvement with the decades of abuse of choir boys when he was choir master. Serious crimes have been committed and the pope can't just hide anymore.He is to be respected; but no one is above the law especially when defenseless children are being sexually abused. To date, not a single bishop has been punished. Jerry Slevin

    April 7, 2010 at 10:42 am |
  9. Bishop Teixeira, OFSJC

    When are we going to talk about the abuses in Africa and South America?
    How about the sexual abuses towards seminarians by the Priests?

    April 7, 2010 at 10:56 am |
  10. Jon

    I would like to know why is that Catholics, as well as so many other Christians, hold themselves in such high regard against other religions and non practicing people but yet they are committing one the worst crimes anyone could commit?

    April 7, 2010 at 10:57 am |
  11. James

    How is it that these men who are supposed to proficient in their faith, called to serve by god, are unable to control themselves. These men are leaders of the faith and are looked to for religious guidance. When they do things like this, how can one not question the value of their input?

    April 7, 2010 at 10:57 am |
  12. Ken Laninga

    I know two ladies who, when they were very young, were raped by priests. They have NOT "come forward" about it though. I wonder how they could become involved in a lawsuit against the RC church.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:58 am |
  13. Terrance campbell

    What makes a person who preys on children ( with the intent to commit a sexual act) any different then a priest who committs a the same act.....? And why should the church, or the world except or turn out back to the situation.....?

    April 7, 2010 at 11:00 am |
  14. Dan

    These scumbags should go to jail. Along with the pope for protecting them. But this is a words. This has been going on for years. The catholic church is never held accountable. Their untouchable. Their the most power religion...I mean company in the world

    April 7, 2010 at 11:02 am |
  15. michael armstrong sr.

    American laws prevent's pedifile's from being around public gatherings with children does this church have sanctuary to prevent this law from being carried out .

    April 7, 2010 at 11:06 am |
  16. Jared Salinger

    How is it that these pedophilic sex offending priests are not going through the same legal system as the common criminals who get caught and go to prison?

    April 7, 2010 at 11:06 am |
  17. Tim

    As spokesmen for Gods truth and examples of Gods truth. It would be an awsome example for others if the Vadicant would insist that all those guilt publicy admit their sin, ask for forgiveness, and then be supported in getting help.

    April 7, 2010 at 11:07 am |
  18. ann

    I am a devoted Roman Catholic. I am also a sinner. There is no other religion I know that is as forgiving of sinners as Catholicism.We all want eachother to go to heaven- anything less is a sin to the Holy Spirit and we pray for constant conversion to God. I know that The Pope supports his priests, even sinners, it is our duty, but I do feel that a priest should be "fired" from being a priest if he commits crimes.

    April 7, 2010 at 11:07 am |
  19. Jon L.

    Ron Peer, you're ridiculous. Your ignorance in Catholic hierarchy shows how terribly invalid your own arguments are.

    The Pope is not in charge of the day to day functions of the individual dioceses of ANY part of the world; the Pope himself is a bishop of his own diocese that he is required to manage. He is instead responsible for the promulgating the tenets and teachings of the Catholic faith. Bishops, on the other hand, of each individual diocese, are responsible for moving priests, ordaining priests, and opening parishes within their particular diocese in addition to promulgating teachins dissemenated from the Vatican.

    Two things: if the sins of these priests were revealed in Confession, the confessor (a priest or bishop) is exempt from revealing this new information to the secular authorities. Respecting the seal of Confession has been recognized in the United States and abroad as a vital practice of the Church. The second thing is that the Pope is not responsible for the individual actions of bishops any more than other Christians (you and I included) are responsible for the fundamentalist Christian who murdered the abortionist here in the United States.

    Enough of this Catholic bashing. May God bless and protect His Vicar from these malicious attacks, and may the minds and hearts of those affected by the evil of molestation.

    April 7, 2010 at 11:09 am |
  20. Anonymous

    Why do you take the title father when the bible clearly states at matthew 23:9 call no man your father upon the earth, for one is your father, which is in heaven?

    April 7, 2010 at 11:09 am |
  21. Mike Mayers

    Good day to you. i really do enjoy your show. The abuse issue has been very prevalent for ages especially in the CATHOLIC church . They have now attracted 'EXTRA INTENSE SCRUTINY.' This was long overdue. Men of FAITH have denegraded God's teachings. One almost wants to believe that the men of cloth choose this avenue mainly for the purpose of satisfying their perverted appetites. I have know of this abuse since I was a child, but because they were revered, any conversation regarding their improprieties was EXPRESSLY forbidden. They have damaged several individuals and should be made to suffer appropriate consequences when caught. Anyway, just like the 'good old boys' fraternity, I don't expect them to turn each other in. How could they?

    April 7, 2010 at 11:09 am |
  22. Anthony Charles Soly

    Dear Tony: You are the best, every morning. I cannot tell you how profe
    ssional you come acorss to the viewing American public. Anyway forgive me, my comment is about the mine incident. I have been listening, an I think it is time for a little honesty. (money and coal are simply more important than the lives of indviduals) as with the big oil companies, Just pay the fines, let the lawyers stall, keep the mine open. This is were the President, or our broken regulatory commissions sould step in, and close these death traps, until they are legal.But no keep throwng money (fnes)
    at them, when they should be closed. Just by watching these mine officials talk, one can see they really dont care about anything but keeping that mine open, in other words money! Sad ACS, TY.

    April 7, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  23. Ktewin

    For those of you defending the Catholic should be ashamed of yourself! The church obviously cannot take care of business. These priests need to be treated as any other person in the outside! You commit an illgeal act against the young, feeble, or person(s) incapable of saying no and fearing for their lives...need to be lawfully treated as the criminals they are! Just because you are a priest does not make you special! Wake up America!...your children have been raped and molested without you knowing by these priests!

    I vote to prosecute these priets to the fullest extent of the law!

    April 7, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  24. Angela

    What I would like to ask the priests are Why do they above our LAWS of every country for Child Affenders and Pedifiles? Throughout History and Centuries of the Roman Catholic Church has crucified innocent people and what this shows the world is that they are still abusing and taking away innocense. I believe that in the 40's-50'-60's with our society the way it was for gay and lesbians that is were they hid and found refuge, and they know that they can get away with it. This has to change

    April 7, 2010 at 11:13 am |
  25. Ann Romer

    I would ask that each priest treat allegations of abuse with serious respect and follow-through. Teachers have had workshops and training on sexual abuse and inappropriate actions or words for many years. We teachers were told that we would be breaking the law if we suspected someone was being abused, and did NOT report it. I was able to assist my school principal, at a catholic school, in getting two wonderful children away from their abusive mother, and on the plane to go live with their father.

    I lived next door to a grand gal, who with her best friend from ireland, sometimes spent weekends at a rectory for priests in Miami, visiting. There were parties, and it all sounded quite innocent yet earthy. I believe the two women were "special friends" of several priests. I thought, "Well, good for them. Better consenting, worldly, happily-single women, than frightened, disgusted little boys."

    I had heard from a seminarian that in one location in the USA there was a seminary that some priests called "The Pink Seminary," which meant to them that gay young men studying for the priesthood would feel welcomed there.

    I knew a lovely priest who had come from another country, and was working at a school where a fine, upstanding sister was working. One day, in talking to high schoolers, he looked lovingly at her, (I caught the glance) and said to the kids, "You know, it is perfectly possible to love someone and not express it physically." I was so moved by that...

    April 7, 2010 at 11:13 am |
  26. Richard

    Hi Tony,

    It has been said that religion is "An opium of masses".
    One have to educate masses to get off it, or the destruction
    will continue.

    Furthermore the religion is just another way of getting
    control of you using fear on God as tools to achieve that goal.

    Warm Regards


    April 7, 2010 at 11:14 am |
  27. Alan Cummings

    Tony–I am an atheist, but I am capable of compassion. About the fallen priests. We should not forget that priests need love and affection the same as everyone else. Isn't it possible that the relationship between the Father and the child began as normal affection? It could drift, naturally, to physical contact–beyond hugging.

    April 7, 2010 at 11:19 am |
  28. Petel2

    The volumes of abuse have been minimized by the RCC. In my diocese alone, we have calculated 22% of the priests were child molesting priests. These are direct from victims, not statistics. The bishop sodomized me. Yet none of us in New york are able to make these names known. Many victims stated the same names over and over to the diocese, yet the diocese says there were only 3.

    April 7, 2010 at 11:20 am |
  29. Alan Cummings

    Isn't it possible that the relationship between the priest and the child began as perfectly normal father/son instinct? When the church tries to stop normal instincts, it goes against nature. I am an atheist but ask that people be compassionate.

    April 7, 2010 at 11:25 am |
  30. urbanink

    The roman cathlic organisation is just as powerful as any major state and just as politically conected. The Pope has the potential of starting wars and overthrowing governments if he chooses. A brief investigation in this institution's history will validate my point. Only God himself can bring this hypocritical organisation to its knees. These men appear to be sheep but they are wolves. When will the world wake up and see that the Pope is not the voice of God.

    April 7, 2010 at 11:36 am |
  31. mary

    If a priest has a sexual contact with a child (boy or girl), the Bishop should not be notified, the local authorities should be called and an arrest should be made immediately. In our local community there was a priest who had sexual contact with little boys, he was thrown out of the priesthood and still resides in the community, I think this is a sin and a crime. I was raised Catholic.

    April 7, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  32. John

    Not to downplay that has happened, but I do believe that the Church is being unfairly attacked from the media. I also believe it is dealing with the issue the best possible way it can, its system really wasn't prepared to handle this.

    April 7, 2010 at 11:39 am |
  33. Marjorie Willard

    Tony – Just one question: Why are these abusers not tried in a court of law – like all others are? How can they hide their sexual abuse and yet wear the cloth and preach the gospel?

    April 7, 2010 at 11:40 am |
  34. Ami

    My diocese, once led by Bishop Dupre, is still not following the Guidelines set out by the Dallas Norms and seems content on remaining deceitful and secretive. Why is this allowed to continue here or anywhere around the world after so many years of promises and settlements?

    April 7, 2010 at 11:40 am |
  35. LLoyd

    The Preists should be inprisoned and labled a child molester

    April 7, 2010 at 11:40 am |
  36. Jonathan Jackson


    Could you ask the priest if he feels that at least some of the current difficulties in the church could be addressed by a more rigorous screening and admissions process for seminaries?

    Thank you.

    April 7, 2010 at 11:41 am |
  37. Mark

    Why are we so focused on the priests instead of the victims and what their legal rights are? If this sexual abuse would have been perpetrated by a normal citizen, the authorities would be making arrests. The protection afforded these priests is unacceptable.

    April 7, 2010 at 11:41 am |
  38. Homeless D in Atlanta

    I am certainly outraged by the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic chur\ch.

    However, I have done some checking on the internet to learn how widespread sexual abuse of children is, and some stats say that ONE IN FOUR or ONE IN THREE people were sexually abused as a child!!! That means that, statistically, one fourth to one third of adults were abused!

    And MOST were not abused by strangers, but by FAMILY, TEACHERS, COASHES, or other TRUSTED people.

    So, what is the REAL problem? IMHO, it is that a huge number of adults think of children as their sex toys.

    April 7, 2010 at 11:41 am |
  39. Steve

    Please ask why the Pope or anyone at the Vatican, in authority, has not release the Third Secret of Fatima,,,,IN IT"S TRUE FORM as given to the Vatican by Sister Saint Lucy, the last of the three children of Fatima in 1917...this secret has info directly related to what is and has been happening in the Catholic Church.....not only sex abuse but power abuse....and a secret pact with the Russian Govt.

    April 7, 2010 at 11:42 am |
  40. Demitry

    Why do these perverts tell their congregation to confess their sins but when they are questioned about their disgusting actions they put up a wall of silence ?

    April 7, 2010 at 11:42 am |
  41. Matt

    So, we give tax breaks to people who sexually abuse children, and cover it up.... Something does not seem right here

    April 7, 2010 at 11:43 am |
  42. Norah M., South Euclid, OH

    Hi. Please thank the former priest for the work he does to keep kids safe.

    What reforms does he think need to be instituted? Are the bishops and others following reforms previously instituted?

    How does the Church's inaction further hurt kids who are abused? (Not seeing their abusers punished, not being taken seriously, etc.)

    What are the signs that people in congregations should look for?

    Why aren't more of these cases being prosecuted?

    April 7, 2010 at 11:43 am |
  43. Cynthia Falter

    F B I need s to investigate the intire situation ... The RICO act should be enforced. And I would like to know where the files are for
    Fr. George Neville Rucker One of the most prolific pedophile priest allowed to go free due to the STATUE OF LIMITATIONS FOR CHILD SEX ABUSE . There should not be one at all. I was told the files for George neville rucker would be released and this was court ordered yet it has been several years and I am still waiting . What is the Catholic Church hiding about Rucker /? Is he the Smoking gun? Is that why the Catholic Church will not allow the files to be public as promised in the court room. Do Lay people know how many dollars go out to Delay the justice for Real and Creddible case's of Priest Raps such as me and my sister? Does the Media see what every one else see's Yes They do and I thank them for that added Knowledge and Fact based reporting . It helps Priest Rape Victims and Survivors like myself Finnaly be Heard . I Too was attacked by the Beauracracey form the Catholic Church for Telling the Truth. No Child should have to endure Rape in 1st 2nd n 3rd grade just be accepted by the Holy Father ..... How Sick is that? Open the Window to the truth Let The Children be CHildren!

    April 7, 2010 at 11:43 am |
  44. John

    I think the failures here are with individual diocese and bishops. The idea of this being some massive cover-up is absurd. Nor do I see how blame has been directed towards Pope Benedict–it is obviously apparent that when he was the Archbishop of Munich, that he did not know that priest was accused of molestation–as a cardinal, the Pope was aggressive in bringing justice to those who deserved it.

    April 7, 2010 at 11:44 am |
  45. Melody

    Please please do not confuse Pedophilia with homsexuality. Please dont infer that if priest were allowed to have sex that they would then not be Pedophilic cause they would. I want to know that CNN has more knowledge than that.
    WHY ARENT THEY BEING charged with criminal offenses????

    April 7, 2010 at 11:44 am |
  46. Steve

    also research the book, The Keys of this Blood, by Malachi Martin

    April 7, 2010 at 11:44 am |
  47. Jon L.

    Richard, I'm sorry, but communist Russia and the practical deification of its leaders while enforcing atheism and the killing of millions of Russians in the Gulag is more than enough proof to discredit your old and tired "religion is bad, boo religion – go atheism" argument.

    It is obvious that man's evil is not rooted in religion; on the contrary, religion opposes such evil. The violence perpetrated not only by Catholics, but by people of every nearly every religious creed (there are undoubtedly exceptions), are in direct opposition to those teachings.

    Thank you, Ann Romer, for that beautiful story.

    April 7, 2010 at 11:45 am |
  48. Frank Sanjurjo

    A pedophile is a criminal that ruins many life’s and in society they must be punished for that crime. What makes the catholic church better than human beings? These priests that commit these crimes should be put in jail for life just like any other citizen. They are sick just like any other pedophile.

    April 7, 2010 at 11:46 am |
  49. Thresa Larlaine

    Enough already!!! Why don't you publicize how Israel is still trying to take Palestinian land. I am tired of CNN's brow beating of the Pope! The Catholic Church is NOT in a crisis, as you like to put it. There are many of us who still have faith in our religion. What about the Jews and the Mormons? Isn't it time to try to destroy them? They have abused children sexually, also!!!

    April 7, 2010 at 11:46 am |
  50. Carole Bassett

    Since a large portion of the Church "abuse" victims involves BOYS and Seminarians – I feel the media is trying to be politically correct in avoiding the homosexual issue in this scandal..They refer to pedophiles only.
    The cover up is as bad as the actions.

    April 7, 2010 at 11:47 am |
  51. Fil

    A very sad state of affairs for the RC Church. As a Catholic, I am embarassed & sad that these individuals who puport to be messengers of God's word would take advantage of children – the most vulnerable in society.

    The only remedy here is to renovate the Church as a whole & allow clergy to marry or have an open discussion about sexuality. There is nothing normal about young men taking a vow of celibacy to serve God. Indeed I belive if you do read Scriptures there is nothing there that states man should lead/live a celibate life....rather the purpose to life is to LOVE & live a positive, progressive & purposeful life.

    May God forgive their sins if they do believe.

    April 7, 2010 at 11:47 am |
  52. bobbie glenn

    How does Pope Benedict defend his relationship with Cardinal Bernard Law who is known to have protected pedophiles?

    April 7, 2010 at 11:48 am |
  53. Jeannie

    Question for former Catholic Priest. (now investigator);
    As a Catholic and a psychiatric nurse working in an acute setting I was wondering isn't labeling gay priests or unmarried priests as an aberration somewhat an oversimplification? What are the steps that are in place that screeh priests for the illness of pedophilia? Thanks

    April 7, 2010 at 11:48 am |
  54. M.Jarvis


    Please ask why these priest do not have to go to jail for the acts they have done? Why are they not prosecuted and added to the lists of sex offenders? These men are still petafiles no matter if they are priests or not.


    April 7, 2010 at 11:49 am |
  55. patricia

    get off the Catholic church and onto the protestant mininster and others. Although I believe some abuse happensk, I also beieve these people 20 who say the were abused are lying for the money.

    April 7, 2010 at 11:49 am |
  56. Melody

    It is a Pedophilia safe haven... The religion, in and of itselfe teaches one to fell GUILT>>> there you go, the Priest tells the little boys that it is their fault and if they share anything they are at fault. HMMM. SO how, though, does transfering a priest to somewhere else change anything. Saying in AA... Take a trip or don't take a trip, you take YOU with you every where you are. SICK!!!

    April 7, 2010 at 11:49 am |
  57. Leo

    According to the Jay Report, 81% of the priest abuse of children was done by gay priests.

    It is predominently a gay problem.

    Don't allow gays to become priests and you could eliminate 80% of the problem in the future.

    The "don't ask, don't tell policy" failed for the Church.

    Now the Pope insists civil authorities be informed. He also fought gays from becoming priests and other policies to stop & prevent the abuse.

    April 7, 2010 at 11:51 am |
  58. kent, nj

    It is time to stop talking about this problem and start prosecuting and jailing these sicko priests. Enough is enough. If you take a vow of celibasy then you should also have to undergo voluntary chemical castration. The priests can no longer be trusted. Rape, and sodomy are criminal acts and anyone who covers up these crimes should also be prosecuted including the pope. Noriega was a head of state and he was removed from his country for drug dealing which is less of a crime than rape and sodomy.

    April 7, 2010 at 11:52 am |
  59. Melody

    The folks protecting the Bishop all know that they want (as he is also) wanting to be canonized so they need this problem NOT to be anything about him. SICK!! Self serving religion.

    April 7, 2010 at 11:52 am |
  60. Bobbi Nunweiler

    What do you say when my father abused me for years; my mother wrote a letter to a priest she knew and he wrote her back saying it was my fault. At the time I was about 12. The abuse started about 4 years old and went on til my teens when I knew I could get away frome him at times. He told me he'd kill me if I ever said anything. My mother surmised what was going on.

    We need to let abused persons know they have a way out but a child of 4 yukk

    April 7, 2010 at 11:52 am |
  61. Diane

    Please speak to the question...Is the church not made to adhere to the laws of the land? If not, shouldn't laws be changed so those who commit pedeophilia within the Catholic church and those who are accomplices through a blind eye or cover-up be held to equal accountability.

    April 7, 2010 at 11:54 am |
  62. Melody

    Pedophiliais a psychological disorder in which an adult or older adolescent experiences a sexual preference for prepubescent children. pedophilia is specified in which a person either has intense sexual urges towards children, and experiences recurrent sexual urges towards and fantasies about children that they have either acted on, or cause distress or interpersonal difficulty.
    So, Tony, ask these folks how does marrying or transferring a Priest CHANGE THIS disorder???? JAIL!!!!!!!

    April 7, 2010 at 11:54 am |
  63. Ruth

    If the Catholic Church is really following the Bible, then the answer to the crises that has befallen them is precisely due to the fact that they have unscripturally forbidden their priests to marry. The Bible says that is a departure from the faith. See 1 Timothy 4:1-3:

    "1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth."

    April 7, 2010 at 11:54 am |
  64. vincenzo

    what is happening now with all this church abuse scandels, is also changing the faith of the followers and I can agree to one stan that my faith for god will not change. and that god will be there for us at the end. yes reprot the abusers but dont condem god for what others are doing.
    I happen to almost be abuse from a high en carnel when a pope came to colorado in early 90s I serve as a waiter to one carnel and I ask for a bless photo of the pope back then.
    I was ask to come to his room at the end of my shift and thats when all happend or at least he try but fail I put a stop and left the room with the photo of the pope and gave it to my mom was very catholic and I remember that she held the picture when she was batleing cancer at the end I was happy to be ther for her regarles of the insident which she never new. but her faith for god was strong

    April 7, 2010 at 11:57 am |
  65. J.M.C. Hopkins

    Abuse of power within an organization cannot be diagnosed nor alleviated by someone within the organization. It's rather like the wolf guarding the henhouse. Why does the Roman Catholic Church not submit to an investigation by an independent source? The requirement of celibacy clearly contributes to a lack of wholeness in priests, now expressing itself in these hideous ways. Celibacy is something one is either called to or not. It is not necessarily included in one's calling to be a priest, witness other denominations. (Indeed, Anglican priests who are married have been invited to the Roman Catholic Church recently, as a way of sidestepping issues in the Anglican Commiunion.) Patrick Wall's idea that becoming a priest means that one has achieved a "higher state" is the usual arrogant and unrealistic brain-washing offered by those within the church. A priest remains a person, period. Stances such as these keep the Roman Catholic Church, and priests, in a state of unrealism about being people first. No one is "Jesus."

    April 7, 2010 at 11:57 am |
  66. Leo

    The Church in America, after Vatican II, in attempt to open up to the secular world, to science, defered to psychologists and psychiatrists who insisted they could and had healed the offending priests. These same psychologists and psychiatrists recommended re-assigning the priests they had "cured" back into the churches. The Church trusted the psychologists and psychiatrists and followed their advice, placing "cured" priests back into the churches.
    Sue the psychologists and psychiatrists who failed.

    Also, According to the Jay Report, 81% of the priest abuse of children was done by gay priests.

    It is predominently a gay problem.

    Don't allow gays to become priests and you could eliminate 80% of the problem in the future.

    The "don't ask, don't tell policy" failed for the Church.

    Now the Pope insists civil authorities be informed. He also fought gays from becoming priests and other policies to stop & prevent the abuse.

    April 7, 2010 at 11:59 am |
  67. william

    The Church has in effect set up a THRESHOLD , encouraging admission of sexually dysfunctional or abused men. The continual denial of normal sexual behavior ... 'fortified ' by the ridiculous policy of celibacy ... No rocket science . So many KNOWN cases of abusive behavior ! How many thousands of perverts remain, undiscovered ?? !! In the mean time .... these bizarre – pious declarations from the Pope & Clergy ... the 'FOXES' policing the chicken coup !!

    April 7, 2010 at 11:59 am |
  68. B.junior

    Prior I wan to present my condolences to all the related family , who have been a victim . I gave a thought about this incident and begin to questioned , how ready these responsable ,what so called head of the roman catholic church's preast are ;when it come to this major event that is ready to occur ; pertain to the removing of all saints(Rapture) of the Lord Christ Jesus ,as we see many of the body of Christ are mistreating as such ...? I wonder if the church in itself even aware of a rapture that is to come and preparing the believers to meet their maker .

    April 7, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
  69. melvin polatnick

    The final test before becoming a Catholic preist could be a sexual exam. After spending five years in a seminary being taught about the evils of normal sexual pleasure it would be important to check the graduates sexual status. A weekend spent with a few male and female prostitutes can certify that the soon to be preist is either a heterosexual or homosexual. This test has been avoided because the results are already known. After spending five years being taught about the sinfulness of normal sexual relationships it should come as no surprise that the graduates became pedophiles.

    April 7, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
  70. Michelle Bridge

    "Tradition" that is what all this is about. God does not recognize mans traditions. One of the original Apostles said it is fine to be married, and God revere's marriage. The apostle also said some may want to be single, and that is where the celibacy is required. These priest are just one of the evil one's plan to gain souls. We know that vengence is God's and although we are in the world, we do not have to be of the world! I do believe that the priest should be stripped of their position and treated like we treat all other sex offenders, to keep our children safe.

    April 7, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
  71. mike saunders

    The Roman Catholic Church hierarchy is squarely to blame for not defrocking the priests who molested little children, choir boys, the deaf children at the school, the list continues and to make matters worse, these priests were transferred to another flock to continue their Criminal acts. Pedophiles are traditiomally sent to court and if found to be guilty, they get sent to prison.
    There are of course other organizations like cadets , scouts, sport teams that also are magnets for pedophiles. The troubling thing is that these other orgsnizations are not claiming to be emissaries of Jesus Christ and do not claim apostolic succession.
    And what about the victims, who see god as letting them down?. The problem with the church (R.C.) is that they require faith in the church as opposed to faith in Jesus. The book of Revelation deals with churches that do not take measures to throw out those who lead others astray in sexual immorality. The lord will remove their candlestick or church.
    The church has a lot of good people but they are stifled with a void of christ's teaching from the pulpit.
    There are many who do not like the church because of the R.C> history throughout the ages such as declaring the pope to be infallible. Also the sale of indulgences for sins (paying the church money for sins) absolving people of sins, by the way not in the Bible. The church does not teach true repentance as Jesus teaches in the Bible. That is why the Mafia Bosses attend church because to them the church is peace of mind, after all kill someone and you can be cleared at confession.
    Another thing people do not like is that the church will do business in any country and anyone as long as that government doesn't interfere with the inner workings of the church.
    tThe church did not condemn Nazi Germany while the holocaust was going on in fact no accusations at all for the war itself, concentration camps,etc
    They are on the wrong side of history and will be judged, if not in this life, the one to come eternally.

    April 7, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
  72. Mimi Collins

    I was a Catholic for 65 years. When the church covered up the last accusations regarding abuse, I left.

    Why doesn't the Bishop pick up the phone and call the police? Isn't his duty to the child of the parish, more important than the reputation of the Church? Prients are not allowed to marry because women would have ended this nonsense years ago. But women are second class citizens of this church. Condums are not used so that we can provide more victims to the list. This behavior has gone on for centuries and nothing has been done. Until the women of the church take a good hard look at the so-called rules of this church and when we stand up at mass and say NO MORE, then maybe prients can marry. This will not stop all of the abuse, but at least it is a start.

    I have news for the Vatican, the church is heading for an ending of this patriarchal dictatorship. It is all about money and power. Do not give any funds to the Catholic Church until things change and see how soon the end comes.

    April 7, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
  73. Matt

    The sex abuse scandal is a tragedy. The solution is not the Pope's resignation. The Church needs to re-examine the celibacy rules – that is the only answer.

    Flagstaff, Arizona

    April 7, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
  74. Jon L.


    The Catholic Church does not forbid marriage of anybody. In fact, the Church views marriage as the pinacle of the human relationship; it is through marriage that God allows us to participate in His life and relationship with the Son. Just as the love of Father and Son brings forth the Holy Spirit, love between husband and wife bring forth new life in a child.

    Becoming a priest is both a calling by God AND an act of the will. In order to be a priest, a man must choose to abstain from marriage; if he can't make that sacrifice, then he is free to not be a priest. No one is forced in to being a priest: they CHOOSE to become a priest. Please, keep that in mind.

    Also keep in mind that the Catholic Church has ordained priests who are married ministers converting from other Christian denominations. So please, learn the facts about Catholic discipline (things that change: habit of orders, clothing, certain parts of the Mass) on the matter, and how that differs from dogma (things which are unchanging: dogmas concerning the Trinity, other parts of the Mass, and other beliefs that make Catholic beliefs different from other churches).

    April 7, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
  75. Cynthia Falter

    Richard sipe look him up google him he knows more than any other about the entire situation he is credible and once a priest . look up Tom Doyle he is still a priest he tells all. And Yes the Pope is accountable for the all Catholics Employed by his Corporation. The Demons are the LIES told to the Lay people and Public to save themselfs and No Gay people are Not the Cause . I would trust a Gay person with my child before I would any Priest or Religous person. It does not matter what your sexually orintation is that is not it ..... Pedophiles are Sick and only seek Control you could remove thier genitilia and they still would seek to abuse children it is proven fact. The Point is here IS The POPE Responsible and the answer should be Obvious ! Yes He Is So Long as he allows the persons cardianal bishops alike to Harbor any Pedophile he is resposible tho We can all see The POPE Has Not been Accountable and I do not here him publicly read a letter stateing All Catholics need to be compasionate and help the survivors in a good way. We the survivors do not live normal lives we are isolated , Often without medical , No thereapy like the Pedophile priest get so freely. Sex abuse in the Catholic church will STOP because some of us Will Not forget what happened to us and we are Telling Now Wel will Continue to tell . I DEMAND TRANSPERANCEY , On behalf of all the children whom have been sexually abused within the catholic church ! NOW

    April 7, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
  76. M.Jarvis


    What about the victims of this horrible crime. That live everyday with the guilt at what their priest has put on them. They have no voice and they have a life long sentence. How can the any church or religion treat this so lightly? If they turned these people over to the public and removed them from Priest hood and have them go to jail for their crimes. Then the church wouldn't have a scandal. It would show that everyone has to answer for their actions.

    April 7, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
  77. John West

    CNN, should we really take a serious look at the words we're throwing about in this malaise coming from the Catholic Church? Let's start with "pedophilia." The American Medical Association Home Medical Encyclopedia defines pedophilia as follows: "An illegal sexual perversion in which sexual activity with a PREPUBERTAL CHILD is the preferred recurrent means of reaching orgasm." If this description holds, then we must examine the average of the victims which might yield an interesting and relevant fact: that they all were POSTPUBESCENT.

    April 7, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
  78. Jon L.

    Oh, with the last post: the requirement that Catholic priests be celebate is a DISCIPLINE. Figured I'd clarify that for you! :]

    April 7, 2010 at 12:14 pm |
  79. Michael

    A crime was committed. The church does not have the right to deal with internally when someone from the outside the church was the victim. The church should be put on notice and if this happens again they should lose their status as a religious organization.

    Not to commit sodomy with a male (Lev. 18:22)

    April 7, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
  80. Anne W.

    I've heard that Catholics who report sexual abuse by clergy to the police would be excommunicated. If this is true, the Church thus instills fear in its congregation to control it. Sexual abusers belong in jail, whether they are clergy or not. The Church must think it is above the law in this area.

    April 7, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
  81. abuse survivor

    For some reason my original post did not get approved.
    I am a survivor of priest sex abuse in the 60's. it took 44 years for me to seek justice and we are in front of the courts now. These men who used their power of "Men of God" should be punished to the full extent of the law as should all pedophiles.
    What this man ( I use this term lightly for a real man would never stoop so low) did was rob me of my faith, steal my childhood and teach me not to talk not to trust and not to feel.
    Today, 44 years later I am seeking justice and look forward to watching him squirm in court.
    Anyone including other priests bishops popes church officials who knew of such abuse taking place and turning their heads to it should be equally punished by law.
    The problem is those of us who were violated in this way grow up.
    I seek justice now not only for me but for the thousands of others who never found their voice, who chose suicide or ended up drug or alcohol addicted to deal with this turmoil.

    April 7, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
  82. marni

    I used to think that it was a shame that a few bad priests were discrediting the other good priests. But then the numbers increased and I now believe that even if you were a priest who did not DO anything, chances are you knew about someone who was doing something. What were your choices? Chances are if you intervened, YOU would be defrocked for not following the rules of secrecy and so your only real choice was to leave the church. But where would you go? At a certain age, a priest could easily find himself in a situation with no where to go. Therefore, I fully support a complete boycott of the RCC. If no one shows up at Mass, then the end will come or the RCC will be forced to rebuild. As long as people show up based on "well MY priest is one of the good guys", then the problem continues. Right now, basket contributions are going toward legal defense, NOT Catholic schools and hospitals. Those are getting shuttered. And so we must walk away to fix this thing. Otherwise, we are enablers.

    April 7, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
  83. Ann

    If the Pope would just address the faithful. Say that he made mistakes because of lack of knowledge or misunderstanding and then ask forgiveness, we could move on.
    We can forgive our pope but we expect him to own up to what was his responsibility.
    For him to say nothing is arragant and disappointing.
    Maybe he is totally not guilty. Addess the faithful and explain that to us.
    Silence implies guilt.

    April 7, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
  84. Dan, Norfolk, VA

    You all are not understanding about their judgement. The bible states that those in a spiritual role (such as a priest/pastor/pope) will be held more accountable than normal people. We may not see it this side of eternity, but they will get their judgement on the other side.

    April 7, 2010 at 2:06 pm |
  85. Michael

    Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it; and this I know, my lords, that where laws end, tyranny begins

    The church is more than a religion, it is a government. Look at all the corruption in government today.

    April 7, 2010 at 2:10 pm |
  86. Mark Rhodes

    While I was a seminarian for the Diocese of Palm Beach–2005–a pastor told me that NO ONE who loves the Church would turn in a priest for molesting a child. This was after Palm Beach had lost two consecutive bishops (Symons and O'Connell) for sexual with minor males. I told the present bishop (Barbarito) about this and how I thought it was inappropriate to say the least, but the Bishop never got back to me about it. I suspect he feels the same way.

    April 7, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
  87. Theres

    Nothing but an anti-Catholic smear going on.

    April 7, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
  88. Kevin

    Dan, I completely understand about the concept of accountability "on the other side of eternity", but I have no interest in it. If a non-corporeal existence is a reality, then they can be punished there as well – they certainly deserve it. It's not provable, though, so I certainly don't see why any crime of this magnitude should go unpunished in the physical world. Is there ANY other organization you'd be okay with this type of rationale for? If a politician on the other side of whatever your political alignment is commited such a crime, would you be content to say "let God sort it out"? How about the head of a huge corporation? And if you are willing to let God fix everything later, then what's the deterrent to commiting crimes? If it's a vile, punishable crime to one group of people, then it definitely is to every group of people. It's a travesty of justice to let these people go free. It doesn't, however, seem to be a travesty of religion. From the best I can figure, the Catholic Church has been behaving exactly as it wished for the last thousand years: taking lives, raping children, forcing their views on the world. They've been currupt from day one.

    April 7, 2010 at 3:37 pm |
  89. Paul

    Currently we have just over 200 Catholic priests in the USA accused of sexual wrong-doing. The total population of Catholic priests in America is just over 45,000. So we are looking at 0.4 of 1% of Catholic priests accused.

    This is far lower than the average for the country as a whole.

    Yes Catholic priests should be held accountable (just like anyone else). However, it must also be recognized that statistically sexual abuse is extremely rare in the Catholic priesthood (less likely than the average population).

    What we have here is the media attempting to destroy any institution that does not agree with leftist politics, that does not agree with leftist morality (or lack thereof). Thus they camp for months at a time on any sexual abuse committed by a priest as a means of convincing an entire country that most Catholic priests can't be trusted.

    This is just the standard leftist-media playbook - use exaggeration and over-exposure to defame and destroy influential institutions and/or religions which don't agree with the leftist worldview.

    April 7, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  90. Pat

    I grew up on the same block as my Catholic parish church and school. We would all run up the block to talk to the priests, and they would joke with us and tell us stories. There was never any talk of molestation, and there were a great many children living on the block. I never heard of anyone being molested – no one I knew was ever even alone with a priest.
    Certainly this whole situation is a tragedy and should have been dealt with differently from the start. I think part of it (in addition to a desire to protect the Church) is that the clergy is so used to thinking of wrongdoing in terms of sin, rather than a crime. This was obviously not the way to go. As someone pointed out, the Church did refer priests suspected of molestation for psychological counselling, and was told they were cured, although this seems to be overlooked by the media. I haven't heard of any lawsuits or media investigations directed at those counselling services.
    The vast majority of priests are conscientious men who keep their vows. Unfortunately, they get smeared along with the ones who don't. There were several Catholic priests in lower Manhattan (other than Father Judge) who went into the towers on 9/11 to assist the injured and dying. No mention of it in the media. St. Peter's (a Catholic church near Ground Zero) served as a morgue that day for 30 bodies, and was also a rest site for rescue workers for some time after. St. Paul's was the church that got all the media attention.
    I think the Church is trying now to eliminate the sex abuse problem, and that Benedict has done a lot to achieve that goal and will continue to do so in the future. We should all be praying that he succeeds, and stop focusing on what he did or didn't do thirty years ago.

    April 7, 2010 at 7:49 pm |
  91. Dr. Rosemary McHugh

    As a physician and as a Catholic, I want to thank CNN for the coverage that I have seen of the child sex abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church. Kyra Phillips and Larry King and others of the CNN staff have been balanced in their reporting. It is an outrage that the abuse of these innocent children is less the focus of the Vatican than protecting and defending the Pope and the Curia. Thankyou for exposing the secrecy and the arrogance of "being above the law" which we see by Vatican officials. They have been accountable to no one for centuries. It is time for these celibate men to let go of their control of our church and free the Holy Spirit to continue the work that was started in the 1960s at the Second Vatican Council where it was acknowledged that all the faithful belong to the priesthood of Christ.
    Thankyou, CNN, for all of your fine reporting.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:30 pm |
  92. Sebati

    It is amazing to me that we allow these accused child molesters to be dealt with by the church as if the church were a proper authority. How is it possible that repeat offenders of the worst kind are allowed to escape the law and proper persecution? Time and again we have seen the church send the individual elsewhere, where he is free to commit such awful crimes in a lesser developed country where there is a lot less media coverage, and be forgotten. When will be the day that the church is not exempt from the law that all other US citizens are protected and persecuted under? Where is the logic? Where is the justice? When will we finally come to our senses instead of leaving this up to some politician in a gold hat and a magical man in the sky? Justice must be sought for those whom have been accosted in this lifetime, in this country, under this government! I think I am going to be sick because so many, myself not included, trust the Church and its constituents; 200 deaf children... and so many others. Thank you.

    April 8, 2010 at 1:38 am |
  93. Jim Oss

    The pope needs to defrock pedaphole priests, 'fire' cover-up bishops and cardinals, then resign himself.

    April 8, 2010 at 10:50 am |
  94. sentry99

    Frankly, the catholic church could mitigate the negative atmosphere that arises from the constant revelations that over the years,priests have abused children with impunity. Anytime any such claims are made, bring in outside authorities to investigate. This would lend more credence to the eventual outcome. Their congregations and the general public would be more likely to respect the decisions reached. But confining the investigative process to the church hierarchy makes It suspect in many peoples minds.

    April 8, 2010 at 12:57 pm |
  95. partner 2000

    for years the church was very out of touch with the real world. The priesthood was a perfect place for homosexual men to hide and the church thought that these men would remain celebrate. What a place for a homosexual man , the place was full of young boys!!! They just put the fox in the hen house and figured he wouldn't kill chickens. Now they are paying the price for being dumb about homosexuality. Heterosexual men that didn't want to remain celebrate just left the priest hood but why would the homosexual men leave, they had prime pickings!!! These men should have never had the chance to become priest in the first place. Don't ask don't tell does not work!!! I hope the other churches that are wanting to allow homosexuals as ministers will take a look at what happened to the Catholic Church and say no thank you!!!

    April 8, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
  96. Steve

    According to the most comprehensive study of Catholic priests to date, 0.3% of the clerical population have had inappropriate contact with pre-teenage children and 2.0% of the clerical population have had inappropriate contact with minors (pre-teen and teenage children). Those numbers are roughly comparable to the general population and reported incidents of pedophilia among the clergy of other religious groups (e.g., Protestants, Jews, Muslims).

    April 8, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  97. Andy S

    Are we living in the dark ages again? To blame any religion or faith for the vial actions of the few is ubserd. Calling for the end of catholisizm because it is believed the way to remedy the problem is an uneducated , irresposible approach. Listen up! The catholic , & every other religion (I know of) DOES NOT condone that kind of behavior! They sit in the same seat as the rest of us in deciding, or proving who is at fault. Punishment will be swift and harsh as soon as it can be sorted out . Untill then, as true, fair christens, we wait.

    April 8, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
  98. Brendan Boyle

    Its just a week after good Friday and the scandal is silent. The pope is not talking hoping that it will just go away and blaming the news for what has happened. The spin doctors at the Vatican have nothing to say? Its time for the law enforcement to go in and get all the documents and prosecute all who were involved and the people who helped cover it up. This hasn't been going on for decades but centuries. I read the popes letter to the Irish people and the psychology of saying that "there parents and grandparents built the church" to make us feel closer to the church is absurd. If my parents and grandparents knew of these things (sexual abuse) they would have killed the priests. Why would anyone feel sorry for the catholic church when they blatantly covered up all the accusations and told no one. The catholic church should be accountable to law and to the people of the catholic church. If we want to get the message across don't give any money at all to the church, let them starve.

    April 9, 2010 at 2:57 am |
  99. Jimbo

    The mainstream media is like Herod's daughter, asking for Pope Benedict's head on a platter, though he is innocent of any charges except speaking the truth. Benedict has been LEAD in cracking down on the predatory homosexual priests who are targeting teen boys. You won't find a single instance where Benedict as much as advised that civil penalties not be sought against duly tried and convicted abusers. It is the BISHOP's responsibility to remove priests from ministry, not the Pope.

    April 9, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
  100. Jermey Main

    thats gay as ever rape is rape lock them up in jail for good no child deserves that kind of torchure

    April 12, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
  101. John West

    Tony, CNN is incorrectly identifying the sexual malaise in the Catholic church as "pedophilia." Why doesn't someone there go to a medical dictionary or ask Dr. Gupta? "Pedophilia" is prepuburtal!! Also, is it likely that someone of manifest heterosexuality would "molest" another of the same gender? Your reporting is quite confusing. Tsk! Tsk!

    April 14, 2010 at 11:41 am |
  102. John West

    Tony, proofreading shall set you free of embarrassment, as I'm finding. The correct spelling for a stage of development in said to be "postpubertal." My apologies for my lapse in proofreading.

    April 14, 2010 at 11:52 am |
  103. Hoping

    This is an opportunity for the church to enlist new and fresh ways of thinking. There is much beauty in tradition, however not when it comes at the expense of positive growth and change. What can the church expect given their policy of celibacy for priests? No sex is permitted with consenting adults who by nature are wired to seek out physical intimacy with others! Also, I do NOT believe that there is a link between being gay and pedophilia, but even if the church wants to entertain that ridiculous idea, it seems only fair to conclude that the many celibate, secretly homosexual priests (the "problem") they attract to the priesthood are NOT the problem, but rather, the church's antiquated policy of celibacy. But I suppose changing this tradition would present two problems for them: 1. The church would have to recognize the many gays who are priests because.... 2. The church would have to allow them to marry. This is why institutionalizing the message of God, if there is no room for change, just leads to stagnancy and regression and pain and suffering instead of true spiritual growth and enlightenment.

    April 14, 2010 at 1:08 pm |
  104. Pat

    Just reading some of the more recent comments.and would like to comment on an earlier one – Catholics do not pray to the pope, and we don't see him as God in the flesh. We do see him as head of the Catholic Church, and many of us are disturbed by what has been reported about his actions, or lack thereof.

    Also, I don't think it's true that priests in general knew what was going on even if they themselves weren't molesting children. We don't accept sweeping generalizations about members of other groups, and shouldn't accept them about priests either.

    April 14, 2010 at 9:58 pm |