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Benedict, John Paul II, And Child Abuse

16 Jun 2008 10:32 am

If you want to know how the current Pope handled very credible, very well-documented and overwhelming evidence that a very powerful associate had long been a child-abuser, check this clip out:

The abuse-case that caused the Pope to lose his temper - to the point of a prissy smack -  was Father Marcial Maciel. Until his death earlier this year, Maciel ran a large, far-right Catholic cult called the Legionaries of Christ. The Legionaries and their lay counterpart, Regnum Christi, are very powerful entities in the new Catholicism, given special protection by Pope John Paul II and much favor under his successor. And at the core of the Legionaries, like many religious cults, was a sexual abuse ring designed to please the founder. Secrecy was maintained by indoctrinating many members at a young age, and enforcing vows of silence on all topics related to Maciel. This cult-like stricture is still causing grief and suspicion in many parts of the Catholic world, most recently in the Baltimore archdiocese.

The reason I bring this up today is because journalist Jason Berry, of the Hartford Courant, has a new and gripping documentary on Maciel and the abusive cult-like practices he pioneered. It's called "Vows Of Silence" and it carefully exposes the appalling facts of the enmeshment of the last two Popes in covering up sexual abuse and protecting a serial predator.

Maciel was a sadly twisted gay man, who committed many acts of abuse, pederasty and pedophilia against other men and boys under his control. He is also a hero to the theoconservative movement, the leaders of which have yet to come to terms with his appalling record.

Much of this the Vatican eventually conceded - but never held Maciel fully accountable for, part from asking him in his final years to recede from public view. More to the point: Maciel's abuse was known to Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI for years, and they did nothing about it. The Maciel case is important because it reveals the current and former Pope to be knowing, conscious protectors of a child abuser and shows how the sick sexual dysfunction at the heart of the Catholic hierarchy was abetted and fomented at the very, very top. Here's the movie trailer. I watched the film the other night and even after following this issue for years, was shocked at the gravity and specificity of the charges. The theocons still deny Maciel's guilt, of course. But many of them have long stopped valuing truth over power.

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