Thursday, February 02, 2006

OK, so the Catholic Church is a criminal organization...

Obviously Catholic priests molesting people doesn't come as a huge surprise to anyone, as we all feel that they covered up molestation they knew about and moved molesters around, to spread the love. The thing that killed me about this article is that Vatican City doesn't have to extradite criminal priests to be tried for their crimes.

Ex-Vatican official wanted on Ontario sex charges
Thursday, February 2, 2006 Posted at 5:11 AM EST
From Thursday's Globe and Mail

Ontario Provincial Police have issued a warrant for the arrest of a retired Vatican official, a Canadian, who was close with Pope John Paul II and is now wanted on sex abuse charges.

Monsignor Bernard Prince, 71, who once travelled the world promoting Catholicism as the secretary general for the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith and is now retired in Rome, has been accused of sexually assaulting a teenage boy.

The alleged victim, who is now in his 50s, came forward months ago, claiming he was molested when he was an altar boy at the church where Father Prince served in the Upper Ottawa Valley during the late 1960s.

Detectives are also interviewing several other men who as boys attended the church or spent time at Father Prince's cottage in the small town of Wilno, Ont.

Rumblings of the police investigation have trickled back to the priest's home in Rome. Father Prince, who was known to arrange for fellow Canadians to meet his friend Pope John Paul, said yesterday that he had been informed through a third party that there was an allegation of "wrongdoing," but that he had not been contacted by the police.

He declined to discuss his case, the latest in a long list of sexual-abuse allegations to shake the Catholic Church and one of the first dealing with top levels of the Vatican hierarchy.

Father Prince said he finds it strange that detectives haven't contacted him, even though the warrant was issued in October and he's been available to take their questions. In an interview from his home in Rome yesterday, he said he didn't know the exact nature of the allegations.

He has retained a lawyer, the same lawyer who represents his Ontario diocese, the Catholic Diocese of Pembroke. He would not say if he was planning to return to Canada to face the charges. "I have no idea. I can't say anything right now."

If he opts not to return voluntarily, the OPP shouldn't expect any help from Vatican City, said Rick Romley, a former Arizona prosecutor who has urged Vatican officials to apply pressure to a number of priests wanted in the United States.

In 2003, Mr. Romley asked the church to force two fugitive priests who had moved to Mexico and Ireland to return. When he sent indictments against both to Vatican officials, the package was sent back, unopened, he said.

"They continued to publicly state that they would co-operate. Perhaps they spell co-operation differently than me. Behind the scenes, they were very unco-operative," Mr. Romley said.

Investigations by the Dallas Morning News haveshown that superiors within the Catholic Church knowingly transferred priests who were wanted or were being investigated by authorities, including some who were sent to Rome.

Canada has an extradition treaty with Italy, but not with Vatican City, which is its own state, has a seat at the United Nations and is not subject to the same laws and regulations as Italy. If Father Prince retreats to the tiny Catholic state, the Crown prosecutor might be powerless to get him in front of a Canadian judge. If he stays in Italy he may be extradited by authorities, who have shown a willingness to enforce their treaties with the West and arrest wanted members of the clergy.

If Father Prince comes back to Canada in custody, it will be a jarring sight for the people of Wilno, the tiny Polish settlement where he grew up and where he is fondly remembered as a modern, fun-loving priest. He was seen as a more approachable figure than some of the older, stricter priests, the people in Wilno say.

"Everybody loved Father Bernie," said David Shulist, an amateur historian who grew up in Wilno.

Father Prince never served as a parish priest in the rural village, which is east of Algonquin Park, but residents say his Wilno cottage became his retreat whenever he had time away from his parish in nearby Pembroke, or the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, where he worked in the 1970s.

Wilno was also his connection to John Paul II, who befriended Father Prince before he became the highest-ranking Catholic in the world.

Father Prince had travelled to Poland to explore his Polish roots and met Karol Wojtyla there, said Rev. Mervin Coulas, an associate of Father Prince, who has a parish not far from Wilno.

In the early 1990s, Father Prince took up a position with the Vatican's Roman Curia, the civil service of the Catholic state. Before long, he was travelling to countries such as India, where he has presided over the inauguration of a church.

A few years ago he arranged for Father Coulas to take part in a mass with John Paul at the Pope's private chapel.

"Not too many get to do that," Father Coulas said. "[Father Prince] was able to get the audience -- he knew who to contact in the Vatican."

Father Coulas wouldn't comment on the charges but he heralded Father Prince for fostering respect for the priesthood.

"He's done wonderful work for many, many people and [is] not only respected throughout Canada but throughout the world."


Anonymous said...

Here we go again. Damn the whole church for the actions of a few.
People from all walks of life molest children.
The problem is that the church became a haven for homosexuals and other misfits who likely entered the priesthood so they wouldn't act out on their desires.
Big surprise is that these perversions are very difficult to overcome without chemical or some other form of castration.
The Catholic church now has measures in place to weed out this type of person from entering the priesthood.

Nice Blog Jennifer

Jennifer said...

Hi anonymous,
I'm not damnng the whole church for the actions of a few, I am damning the whole church for the actions of many and the highest ups especially. I'm not suggesting that all priests are molestors, obviously the majority of them are not. Also the majority of priests are not responsible for preventing the ones who are molestors from coming to justice. But there seems to be a systematic disregard for bringing criminal priests to justice. Just because you are a man of the cloth does not mean that you should be above the law.
-Letting someone stay at the Vatican with no extradition treaty instead of sending them back to a country where they may have commited a crime is wrong. This man must stand trial.
-Transfering a priest that you know or suspect of being a pedophile predator is criminal.
This has happened too many times for it to be a coincidence, I think it's a church-wide policy.
I wouldn't even suggest that the church attracts pedophiles, and I don't know why you mentioned homosexuals because they have nothing to do with pedophilia. There are pedophiles in all walks of life, it's true, but if you worked at my office or any other workplace on God's green earth and you were molesting children you'd get fired and your bosses would help the authorities to bring you to justice. They would do this out of a moral obligation and to prevent lawsuits. The church with it's unlimited funds doesn't have to worry about lawsuits from individuals and obviously don't have the moral fibre to help the authorities bring these predators to justice.
I agree that these perversions are difficult to overcome, that's why when you find out that someone is a pedophile you should take them out of any job that gives them access to children, you can't just say, 'I repent, I won't do it again,' when it comes to that kind of thing. And I'm also not sure that I'd want a chemically castrated pedophile near my children either.
Lastly, I see no evidence that the Catholic church is motivated in any way to protect children from molestation. This case in fact proves that the church isn't interested in setting things right at all. What kind of message does this send to a bishop who is making a decission about what to do with a preist he suspects is molesting? Do you think it sends the message that the church has a zero tolerance policy on pedophilia and the bishops who allow it to continue, or that the church will back you up and protect you if you get caught with your hand in the cookie jar? I think it's the later and I think that there will be a lot more cases, and in twenty or fifty years when cases start to come out about molestation that occurred in 2006, that the church turned a blind eye to, I want you to think of this conversation.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jennifer:

I am impressed with your response.
However you are still paiinting the church with a broad brush.

But a few points:
Very little has been published about clergy that have been accused of this and then exhonerated.

Many people have made false accusations against clergy to get money from the church. This was particularly true of the Christian Bros of Victoria Park Ave in Toronto.

I was involved with one case where accusations were made against a former bro, now a professor in Manitoba, with three grown children. Court case was held, family put through hell and the allegations just didn't stand up. The toll on thios family was horrendous.

Some religious orders have been bankrpted by these lawsuits such as the Christian Bros of Nfld.

I disagree that the church protects these people. Maybe a few years ago when little was known about the problem, the church did not have a policy. I know of priests and brothers who were pulled out of their jobs over the last 20 years, sought treatment, some even castration. But never returned to a religious job.

I know of a case where a family let the damn parish priest sleep with their kids. WHose at fault there?

I recently had an evangelical minister in my neighbourhood charged with internet luring. His wife gave birth to their second child while he was in jail awaiting trial. He got a year in jail and his wife was in family court the other day trying to keep her kids.

BTW she stands by her man and will take him back when he gets out of jail.

I think the vatican will see that this latest priest faces the music once he is even officially notified of the chargtes.

You have to understand that the media today, in its extent and enthusiasm often gets way ahead of the story.

I know the diff between a homosexual, pedophile hebophile and whatever. Years ago young men who felt they had one of these problems sought refuge in the church. They did not join the orders to molest in other words. it just happened when they couldn't control their desires.

I disagree that we will find similar cases arising 20 or 30 years from now. This isn't, with rare exceptions, happening in the church today. There now are controls in Place to make sure it doesn't.

How many priests have left the church to enter heterosesual relationships---a lot.

You are right that instances of sexual abuse of children are widespread in our community. I could spend the next hour tlaking about it., How about the owner of a swimming school here who abused his own 18-month old niece and recorded it on video.

What do you think ther is about Catholicism that has a predeliction to pedophelia.

I can tell yoy that in any business or industry---I can tell you about many of these too---employees and managers are let go without a fuss without charges for theft, fraud, sexual abuse. They usually receive big financial setllements as well.

The Cathollic church like any big business wants to crate as little fuss as possible. It turns out that was the wrong attitutde to take in these cases I agree.

The Catholic church is the biggest church in the world and when something happens there it makes news. I am far more intersted in the Reformed Mormons such as those based in BC that have 20 or so wives. If it wasn't for the CBC we'd never know about these guys.

The size of the cannon governs the velocity of the mess.

Keep up the good work

Jennifer said...

Hey Anonymous,
I'm going to reply to you in a little while, I'm just a bit bogged down at work, but I can't help but wonder, do I know you? Or did you just happen upon my blog randomly?

Anonymous said...

I have a very slim connection to you. But because of my job I would prefer not to divulge it on here. If you really want to know (we have never met) I will email you the info.

I found your site initially through a Wikepedia search; twas not a random act.

Jennifer said...

I am on Wikipedia? Moi? My my my!
I'm so curious, please email me, my address is
Obviously everyone is welcome to comment anonymously, and I will try not to give my lurkers the third degree if they do decide to post - but I'm just so curious.

Jennifer said...

And and could you tell me what you searched on Wikipedia that I came up?

Anonymous said...

Sorry I meant Technorati

Anonymous said...

Firstly, this is just an accusation. With all the money that has been awarded to legitimate victims in recent years, of course someone is going to want to make a false accusation.

Leave the old man alone. He is innocent and I would trust my children to him. He has been a trusted friend of our family for decades and he sure as hell didn't molest me when I was younger. Much of my family is from the Wilno area and would agree.

Innocent until proven guilty.

Anonymous said...

What bothers me is that people come forward twenty, forty … years after the supposed events with these accusations. Another problem I see is that because he is a priest both he and the Church is tried and found guilty by media. Also, he is only accused and has not been found guilty in a duly constituted court. Until such time as that happens he must deemed to be innocent. He has not even been presented with the bases of the charges against him.

Jennifer said...

Anonymous, if the law doesn't have a statute of limitations on child molestation and abuse accusations in the jurisdiction where the alleged crime was committed then I can't see why you would be complaining about these people coming forward. Do you think people come forward and claim they were ass-raped as children because that seems like a fun thing to do?

I think generally when you're headed for a trial, the authorities ask you to stay in the area or they put you in jail. So to flee to another jurisdiction is shady, and for the church to shelter this priest in a place where he can't be extradited is extra shady.

As for the priest and the church being both on trial. This also goes for schools where abuse happens. The schools and the church have a responsibility to ensure that the children entrusted to them are not being abused or molested.