Father Thomas Brundage, who oversaw the canonical proceedings against Milwaukee molester Lawrence Murphy, speaks out:
In my interactions with Father Murphy, I got the impression I was dealing with a man who simply did not get it. He was defensive and threatening. Between 1996 and August, 1998, I interviewed, with the help of a qualified interpreter, about a dozen victims of Father Murphy. These were gut-wrenching interviews. In one instance the victim had become a perpetrator himself and had served time in prison for his crimes. I realized that this disease is virulent and was easily transmitted to others. I heard stories of distorted lives, sexualities diminished or expunged. These were the darkest days of my own priesthood, having been ordained less than 10 years at the time.
It's worth reading the entire thing. His main point is that Murphy died before a trial had been formally suspended (decades after the abuse of deaf children first started). His secondary point (which is well-taken) is that abuse cases were indeed handled more expeditiously and seriously once responsibility for them was shifted to Ratzinger's CDF. He's on weaker ground, I think, when he goes after the NYT, which he accuses of misquoting him:
Almost all of my quotes are from a document that can be found online with the correspondence between the Holy See and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. In an October 31, 1997 handwritten document, I am quoted as saying odds are that this situation may very well be the most horrendous, number wise, and especially because these are physically challenged , vulnerable people”. Also quoted is this: “Children were approached within the confessional where the question of circumcision began the solicitation.” The problem with these statements attributed to me is that they were handwritten. The documents were not written by me and do not resemble my handwriting. The syntax is similar to what I might have said but I have no idea who wrote these statements, yet I am credited as stating them.
As a college freshman at the Marquette University School of Journalism, we were told to check, recheck, and triple check our quotes if necessary. I was never contacted by anyone on this document, written by an unknown source to me. Discerning truth takes time and it is apparent that the New York Times, the Associated Press and others did not take the time to get the facts correct.
Additionally, in the documentation in a letter from Archbishop Weakland to then-secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone on August 19, 1998, Archbishop Weakland stated that he had instructed me to abate the proceedings against Father Murphy. Father Murphy, however, died two days later and the fact is that on the day that Father Murphy died, he was still the defendant in a church criminal trial. No one seems to be aware of this.
Had I been asked to abate this trial, I most certainly would have insisted that an appeal be made to the supreme court of the church, or Pope John Paul II if necessary. That process would have taken months if not longer.
If you can't access Catholic Anchor, theocon blogger, Damian Thompson has the letter in full here.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.