Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pope Francis: When you talk about the filthy world don’t forget the dirty-handed bishops

How dirty are your hands bishop Myers?

Earlier this year (2/21/1) I wrote about Newark Archbishop John J. Myers spending his weekends at his 4,500-square-foot $800,000 home on 8.2 wooded acres in the hills of Hunterdon County, NJ. If that wasn’t enough misuse of funds, parishioners were angered when they found that the archdiocese was spending $500,000 for a 3,000 sq. foot addition with a 28-foot by 28-foot gallery and a "wellness room" with a hot tub and a 14-foot by 7-foot Endless Pool. This is where Myers will retire.

It gets worse.  Besides his obvious greed, Myers has long been accused of sheltering abusive priests. A group of advocates for molestation victims who call themselves the Catholic Whistleblowers, urged Pope Francis to use the new Vatican tribunal he formed on negligent bishops to investigate Myers. The Whistleblowers, who are priests, nuns and canon lawyers, said they will present evidence to the Vatican that Myers has been persistently hostile toward people who come forward with abuse allegations, and had left guilty clerics in parishes in the Newark archdiocese and in his previous post as bishop of Peoria, Illinois.

The Associated Press article noted that Pope Francis will visit the U.S. in September but the “unfinished business of the molestation scandal is hanging over the trip. The Press went on to say, ”The crisis erupted in 2002 with the case of one pedophile priest in the Archdiocese of Boston before spreading nationwide, then engulfing the Roman Catholic Church.”

While hundreds of accused clergymen have been barred from serving as priests there has been no direct penalty for bishops who covered up allegations and kept the clerics on the job. Myers came under heavy criticism in 2013 after he allowed Michael Fugee, a now defrocked priest who had been accused of groping a teenage boy, to attend youth retreats and hear confessions from minors –even though prosecutors had barred him from contact with minors. Myers also had privately allowed another priest who had been removed over molestation claims to live in the rectory of a church with a school and youth groups.

In Peoria, Larry and Helen Rainforth, parents of a son (one of 13 people) who received a settlement over abuse by former priest Norman Goodman, said Myers threatened people who came forward with libel lawsuits and excommunication.

While the official Vatican itinerary for the pope's U.S. trip doesn’t say Francis plans to address the issue of bishop cover-ups like that of Myers’ there are those who think he will face it. Let’s just do it Francis – you owe it to the children past and present who are abused by your clergy. You said the world is filthy – well so are the hands of the bishops who enable sexual abuse of children.