On the Fr. Tom Doyle controversy...


Weighing in on the controversy over Fr. Tom Doyle's unfortunate comments vis-a-vis Pope Benedict that got picked up by Christopher Hitchens, I understand where Fr. Zuhlsdorf and Giselle are coming from. I too cringed when I read Fr. Doyle's comments. It's no secret that I'm a fan of Pope Benedict, and I also believe he has handled the Maciel/Legion scandal well. Keep in mind that he took on Maciel, behind Pope John Paul II's back, when other powerful curial cardinals were squarely in the Legion's corner.

That being said, we ought not throw stones at Fr. Tom. He too is a major victim in all this. At one time he was on the fast-track to the pointy hat as a rising star in the canon law world. However, he gave it all up to help victims of clerical sexual misconduct when the bulk of the Church hierarchy was playing hardball with victims and covering up. Because of his moral courage in backing victims, testifying against fellow priests in civil courts when needed, Fr. Tom became a pariah among Catholic churchmen. The abuse and character assassination he suffered was on par with Barba, Vaca and the first group of Maciel's victims to come forward.

I remember when his name was a curse word in the Church. I remember when people use to laugh at him for predicting an impending major sexual abuse crisis that would severely tarnish the Church. I remember making the mistake, around the time I earned my licentiate in canon law, of saying: "I think Fr. Tom Doyle is right." Two years later, nobody was laughing at Fr. Tom and his wild predictions. However, the damage had been done to his name and to his career.


Giselle alleges that Doyle was working in the nunciature seeking to put bishops in place who were soft on enforcing Church teaching, e.g. on contraception. Is this true??

Sweeping statements like he made should be challenged, however much he deserves thank and sympathy.

Hi, Pete:

First of all, I am mexican, so I hope I can make myself clear in English. By the way, I am an ex-RC.

I would like to be able to always defend our Catholic Church and our Pope, but with a rational and informed defense (not like RC members defended MM). I really want to keep my trust in my Church, because I beleive that it is the real Church, founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ. But all this situation is really disturbing and sad.

I thank you for all the articles you have written (and I hope will continue writing) to help us give objective responses to defend Her.

I want to ask you if you can comment something about the statue of limitations in the case of absolution of the accomplice. I have heard Barba (or Vaca, I don´t remember which one) several times talk about the harm done to them by Ratzinger (before being Pope), when he established a limit of 10 years to the prescription of this crime. When they started looking for justice, they could denounce this, since this crime didn´t prescribe, but now it does.

Just as I disagreed with some of Berry and Renner's conclusions while being dumbstruck by their well-researched book, "Vows of Silence", I've been impressed and grateful for Fr Doyle's work while disagreeing with some of his conclusions.

But let's face it, there are many, many ex-Catholics due to the abuse scandals; thousands and thousands of people other than Doyle, Vaca, Barba, Jurado et al, Renner, and Berry ran into stone walls when they tried to find justice, walls of "Traditional Catholicism". We were made to understand that the abusive priests were "men of God", "good Catholics", etc, and realized that money, and reputations of "Traditional Catholic Priests", were more important than we were. So quite a few people decided that "If this is what a good, traditional Catholic looks like, I don't want to be one" and left traditional Catholicism, or left Catholicism, or left Christianity, or left Theism. (This is also why there were so many lawsuits, I suspect: the victims wanted to get the bishops where it hurt, to take away the Treasures of the Church. Too bad the bishops' "treasures of the Church" wasn't the same as St Lawrence's.-other than a few bishops. Bishop Higi, in my opinion, handled his big case almost adequately and therefore avoided big lawsuits.) I understand the theological issues, but if people want to bring those who fled back to the Church (officially or unofficially), this is what needs to be addressed. Perky "coming home" videos won't do it, nor will Fr Z's pious orations.

Benedict XVI's meeting with victims was wonderful, but the impact was lessened because I was simultaneously in danger of a lawsuit by a pervert-worshipping cult.

Jeanette -

Your mention of the Bishop Higi is interesting. I was a parishoner of OLMC in Carmel for a few years before a job relocation took me elsewhere. If you are from that area, we should compare notes sometime.

Was there any RC in Carmel? I suspect the Legion was quietly banned in that diocese; just a few hints dropped here and there.

The time is coming when people will look back and say;
Thank God for Tom Doyle and all the work he has done.
Maybe you need more victims giving their thoughts on what the catholic has done to them.
The one's who were young and devout catholics and in the times I am thinking of, the 1950's, so naieve in worldly things. In 1950 a ten year old boy was 10 years old! Completely un-worldly and very trusting of all adults and authority. They trusted the catholic church as did their parents. The church was right and knew best?
Ten year old boys were really LITTLE boys with little or no influence from TV and movies. They and their sisters lived in a world now unknown and little dreamed of.
So when a boy of ten was punished by his monsignor by bare-bottom spanking and a fiddle with the boys private parts the reaction was to run home and tell his father.
But what if that father is a devout catholic and believes the catholic church can do no wrong?
He re-acts exactly how the church has conditioned his mind. He tells his beloved only son that he is lying and give him a thorough second spanking, saying that telling lies is a sin and he might go to hell if he continues his lying.
So the monsignor then can continue to abuse his son with impunity, without realizing it the father has given the 'go-head' for the priest to abuse his son!
Two years later, after a particularly savage rape, the son tries to kill himself but instead is terribly injured with scars and nightmares that last until today!
He was still unable to tell anyone the truth!
It takes another year and a brutal attack by the priest for the whole horrible story to come out.
Why did the father finally believe his son?
Through a totally unrelated incident were his son was accused of something, was spanked very hard and given a couple of extra spanks for lying yet again.
A day or so later the boys father found out that his son was NOT lying and he had punished him severely because he would listen to other people's tales first. Needless to say his father was devastated and never punished him ever again.
So after the final assault the boy went home and told his father what had happened that day and the previous three years.
At last, his father believed him and days later he confronted the local bishop and the monsignor in the very office where the attack took place. He left the school later with his son. never to retun, and that was the end of all his sons dreams for the future.
What happened in that office the boy never knew except some long time later the father told him that by the end of the confrontation he knew that nothing would be done about this pedophile senior priest.
The father remained a devout catholic but was a broken man and died just 4 years later,looking many years older than his 50 years.
The boy lived on to the present day and has had nightmares and the injuries from his suicide attempt nearly 60 years ago to remind every day of what he went through. He was scarred in two ways at least, the mental scars and the physical scars.
In the Autumn of his life help has been at hand in the form of two men dedicated to ridding the church of some of the most evil men in the world.
One of those men is TOM DOYLE, a real man amongst men.
So anyone reading this that needs help, seek it out but NOT from the church. They have special people trained to keep all their crimes under wraps while deflecting their guilt onto the VICTIMS!

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This page contains a single entry by Pete Vere published on March 17, 2010 11:23 AM.

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