Wednesday, July 16, 2008


At the Huffington Post website Edward Lozzi offers a view of the papal apology last April that does not make the evening news:

Pope Benedict is in Australia and apparently about to pull the same media stunt of faux concern for the victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy that he pulled in the United States in April of this year. A carefully-orchestrated media strategy that led many US commentators to hail what appeared to them to be the Pope's courage and decency in meeting with five U.S. victims of clergy sex abuse. ...

I am a supporter of S.N.A.P., the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.... For the past five years, my media company has provided services pro-bono to SNAP in legal battles by survivors of clergy sex abuse against the Diocese of Los Angeles and its rogue Cardinal Roger Mahoney, the most powerful prelate in the U.S representing the Vatican. It is this rogue Cardinal who has obstructed justice and aided and abetted his priestly rapists, many who have been convicted or are now fugitives - on the run from arrest warrants. ...

Pope Benedict's much-heralded meeting with the victims of clerical sex abuse during his April visit to the US was not his idea. The meeting was forced upon the Pope by the victims. These victims, both SNAP members and Voice of the Faithful (VOTF), had demanded a meeting. And if denied, they had promised to demonstrate peacefully everywhere the Pope went.

We were all set to go. Last year, victims of clergy sex abuse from SNAP, had completely surrounded Cardinal Mahoney's $100 million dream cathedral in downtown Los Angeles. They held hands and held a silent vigil. Each adult wore a large photo of him or herself as a child at the time that he/she was raped or molested by one of the Diocese priests or nuns. Yes... nuns! The media had a field day and covered it extensively. So the Vatican knew we meant business.

The Pope finally agreed to meet the victims after pressure from within the Vatican. It came from Archbishop William Joseph Levana, emeritus of San Francisco, recently promoted to the number two man as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican. Pressure came from Archbishop Angelo Amato - secretary of the same office.

And pressure came from Father Federico Lombardi, the devout Jesuit priest who is the new press secretary to the Vatican. Levana is an expert in avoiding prosecution for obstructing justice. He was subpoenaed recently to appear in Federal Court in San Francisco but asked for and received diplomatic immunity. ...

After seeing the ultimatum from the victims' organizations in April, these Vatican officials convinced Benedict to meet with the victims. It would take too long to detail here all the requirements and "special conditions" that the Vatican tried to demand for the meeting.

Pope Benedict was very uncomfortable meeting with the five representative victims who had been raped by priests and had their lives and families changed forever. This was a private meeting of course. The Pope was visibly embarrassed and in agony throughout the whole encounter. Benedict promised to end the stall tactics of his Bishops and to speed up the turning over of pedophile priests and secret documents to law enforcement. He promised transparency and a place for Catholic victims of pedophile priests in the so-called Programs of Awareness of Sex Abuse in the Church.

Ultimately that April meeting was just a publicity stunt by Benedict. A faux show of concern for the media. Three months later, not one of his promises has been acted upon. It is as if the meeting never happened.

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