April 8, 2010
Text of Dan
Maguire's Interview With Wisconsin Public Radio
Should Pope Benedict the XVI resign - resign over the implication
he participated in the cover-up of the sexual abuse charges against
Catholic priests before his elevation to Pope?
Good morning. I'm Joy
Cardin. This is the Ideas Network of Wisconsin Public Radio. It's
nine minutes past eight o'clock on this Thursday, April the 8th.
We will talk with a theology professor at Marquette University
who says, yes, this Pope should resign. He'll tell us why, and
we will welcome your questions and reactions for him at 1-800-642-1234,
or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also comment on my Facebook
page - The Joy Cardin Show on Facebook.
Our guest is the result
of a listener suggestion from last week's open line. Dan Maguire
is a Professor of Theology at Marquette University and President
of the Religious Consultation on Population, Reproductive Health,
and Ethics, and he joins us by tele-phone.
Thank you very much for being with us. It's been a long time since
we spoke to you on the radio.
Right. I'm happy to be here.
When the listener suggested, we went to your website, and we saw
this article in which you say this Pope must resign. Why should
the Pope resign?
Well, what we're dealing with here is what I've been calling a
perfect storm. There have been troubles in the Catholic Church
for a long time. They started to become public when the press
- and God bless the press - brought to light the abuses of people
by priests, sexual abuse, in Boston. However, Boston has been
replaced by Milwaukee. Milwaukee is now the epicenter for this
terrible crime spree that has been going on worldwide. And I'll
tell you the reasons why, and why the Pope ultimately is responsible
Father Lawrence Murphy,
for a full forty years from the '50s into the '90s - was doing
child rape - the most horrible form of it, and that brings the
attention to Milwaukee - was, he admitted to sexually raping 200
deaf children when he was actually their superior in the St. John
School for the Deaf. This was reported to the Vatican in 1974,
when the apostolic delegation was present for accusations against
Father Murphy - Father Murphy being there. So that means since
1974, there have been three Popes - Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul
the II, and Benedict the XVI - who have had access to this information.
In 1962, the Vatican
issued a degree called the [Crimen Sollicitationis], which means
the crime of soliciting sex in the sacraments and so forth. That
decree was basically a writ for cover-up. Bishops were told, when
charges like this were brought, that those charges should not
be revealed to anyone - should not be revealed and should be kept
completely secret under penalty of excommunication.
So during the time
that Father Murphy was active, you had three Archbishops that
had knowledge of it:Archbishops [Meyer, Cousins, and Weakland
in Milwaukee, who were aware of it. None of them reported them
to Rome or to the local police until Archbishop Weakland did so
in the 1990s. None of them suspended Murphy to deactivate him
as a priest. That they had the power to do.
Therefore, what we
have here is three Popes, three Archbishops, and what is often
not noted in the press - an enormous amount of obvious collusion
between the local law enforcement people. Because people were
reporting...as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on March
26th, "Police and Milwaukee bishops had known of the allegations
at least since the mid-1970s, and the Journal Sentinel has reported
on them for years. However, criminal charges were never filed,
and the Archdiocese did not attempt to defrock Murphy until 1996."
Now, why should the
Pope resign? Well, the Pope has accepted resignations from bishops
such as, most recently, Bishop McGee in Ireland. And Bishop McGee's
crime was that he did not report these molestations and rapes
to the authorities, and also, that he mismanaged the situation,
allowing these rapists to be transferred from one site to another,
where they continued their activities.
Now, that is exactly
the same charge that applies to the Pope because of the way he
mishandled the situation in the Munich...when he was the Archbishop
there, and also since he was informed here by Archbishop Weakland,
and for two years, simply did not reply to the two letters that
Archbishop Weakland sent.
So you see the same
pattern everywhere. In order to maintain the image of the Church,
in order to maintain the dignity of the priesthood, and the illusion
that all priests are sinless, they were willing to do nothing
whatsoever and simply to engage in a criminal cover-up of felonious
crimes against children.
There have been some new developments in this story of this Father
Murphy. Apparently, after he left the School for the Death, where
he was accused of abusing those 200 boys, he was sent to some
Catholic facility in far northern Wisconsin, and apparently the
abuse continued there.
Right. Now, that's the terrible part of it. Quite recently there
was a Father Teta out in Arizona, and it was discovered some years
ago that he was soliciting sex from children in the confessional
also. And what the bishop did there was what should have been
done in Milwaukee, and he didn't need Rom to do it for him. He
immediately suspended them. There's a category of suspensus a
divinis, meaning that you can no longer function as a priest.
So that immediately took him out of the priesthood effectively,
even though he had not been formally defrocked. He could no longer
use his priesthood to molest and rape children.
That was not done here.
Instead what Archbishop Cousins did was call in Father Murphy,
after some twenty years of abusing deaf children here, scolded
him in front of members of the apostolic delegation, and then
proceeded to send him up to the Superior diocese, where, in effect,
he had found a happy hunting ground and continued with the same
activities, according to recent reports that are now appearing.
Now, the question that
I would ask very strongly - and it's very relevant to Wisconsin
- is, what did the District Attorney - specifically, E. Michael
McCann, Milwaukee County - what did he know about all the crimes
of Father Murphy and what did he do about them? He says, well,
he knew about them, but the statute of limitations had run. That's
a claim; that's a claim that should be tested by the current district
attorney, because it's a claim that just could be self-serving
or it could be true. If it IS true, E. Michael McCann should welcome
that investigation to clear his name.
But then the second
question arises. Since he knew that only the statute of limitations
purportedly kept him from prosecuting Father Murphy, did he notify
the appropriate district attorney in northern Wisconsin that a
known pedophile and child rapist was coming to open his operations
there, which he would continue for the rest of his life? And if
he did not, it would certainly indicate the kind of collusion
that many of us suspect and would like to see thoroughly and candidly
And certainly, very important that that be known as well. But
say there WERE failures of the Milwaukee D.A. and the Milwaukee
Archdiocese. How do we know for sure that the current Pope was
involved in this cover-up?
Well, we do know that Archbishop Weakland wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger
twice about this case. When an Archbishop writes about something
which is a colossal crime, something that makes you eligible for
excommunication and removal from the priesthood and a public criminal
trial, and when the archbishop writes twice directly to Cardinal
Ratzinger, there is no way in heaven that Cardinal Ratzinger would
not get that report. And so he was certainly advised then.
But as I said, the
apostolic delegation was in on this from 1974. The Vatican has
records of this. So there was a docket on this notorious Father
Murphy from 1974. I think the current Vatican's attitude, and
it seems quite clear, is simply to tough this out; to ride it
And so they've been
blaming the press, which is not very edifying, since, as Father
Raymond Schroth, a Jesuit writer, has just said in the past week,
"If the secular press had not broken these stories, would
you expect the Catholic press to do so?" And he said, "Maybe
the National Catholic Reporter" - a very small but very free
Catholic press. So I ask, But in Wisconsin, would you expect the
Catholic Herald in the Archdiocese in Milwaukee to bring out all
the information and to find the victims and interview them and
present pictures of them and so forth? Obviously not. And s a
matter of fct, they did not.
So the press in this
case was acting like the press should. It was reporting on things
and reporting on them objectively.
Your reaction to the Vatican saying that those of you who are
calling for this Pope to resign really just want to take down
the Church. They want to take down this Pope because he's a strong
pro-life Pope, and you're just attacking him and attacking the
Well, that's their first line of defense, but it certainly has
no credibility. All we are doing is pointing out that crimes have
been committed. And this is a point to be stressed. Church officials
tend to treat these situations as sins, and then sins can be handled
privately. Forgiveness can be given, a little penance can be given,
as though they existed on a different planet outside the civil
Well, these are not
just sins; these are felonies. And to point out these felonies
is actually a service to the Church. In fact, this could be a
great opportunity for the Church. As one Catholic commented during
the past week, "A crisis is a terrible thing to waste."
And this is a crisis that indicates that management is inefficient.
I think if the bishops
and Popes have done anything, they've demonstrated that men do
not appear to be up to the job of running the Church, it might
be finally time to bring in those other very faithful Catholics
and Christians called "women" to take over. How much
more evidence do we need of the ineffectiveness of male-only leadership
in the Church? Resignation alone will not change the church. A
resignation would help if the Pope resigned. And if every bishop
who was involved in the cover-up would immediately resign, as
Bishop McGee just did, who was involved in the cover-up, that
would certainly be a cleansing act.
It would also help
to demythologize the papacy. It would show that the papacy is
not God; that the Pope is not God; and that the Pope can sin.
And I think both the Pope and all bishops should also make themselves
subject, like good citizens, to the judgment of the law if they
have presided over the breaking of law.
If, for example, they
were in charge of some secular institution of day care centers,
and they kept transferring pedophiles, criminal rapists, from
one center to another, they would obviously be forced to resign.
It would be a subject of criminal prosecution. And this case will
not clear up entirely as long as there's some type of special
immunity given to Catholic bishops. And Catholic priests have
gone to jail for this, but Catholic bishops have not.
Could you imagine if
this were a Muslim doing this? Catholics enjoy a kind of special
immunity. But imagine if a Muslim Imam were guilty of comparable
crimes. Would it have been a matter of indifference to the local
law enforcement and so forth? So that Catholic immunity here has
to be challenged - not as an attack against the church but to
purify the Church. All we're doing - critics of the Popes are
listening to Jeremiah, the prophet, who said, "Acknowledge
your guilt." There has to be an acknowledgment of the fact
that there's been guilt. There have been crimes and criminal coverups
of those crimes. And the Milwaukee case is now THE classic case
on planet earth of collusion between the Vatican, Archbishops,
and local law.
To the phones we go. Mary Beth in Cedarburg is with us first.
Hi. My comment is - I'm looking at this from the perspective of
the part of the Church leadership, and my thought is, I don't
think that they can have the Pope resign. I think if the Pope
were to resign, it would so
I mean, their authority is already
significantly undermined by this horrible scandal. But I think,
then, that would be... If you just look at the way the Pope is
elected to his position by the College of Cardinals guided by
the Holy Spirit - it would be a repudiation of that whole process.
And I think that would also, then, undermine the Church's authority
from every aspect in everything it does. I think the faithful
would look at it and say, "Well, then, what authority does
the Church rely on at all?" And my understanding is that
the Church relies on its authority as given through the Holy Spirit,
passed down from Christ to Peter, to be Christ's representative
That would destabilize the Church, Professor Maguire?
Well, no, it wouldn't destabilize the Church. As a matter of fact,
church law, canon law in the last formulation approved by Pope
John Paul II, there's a canon - 332 Paragraph 1 - that says the
Pope may resign for any serious reason, and it wouldn't destroy
the Church whatsoever. What it would destroy is the mystification.
You see, I don't believe that pope Benedict will resign. He's
not going to resign just because I and a number of others say
he should resign.
And the reason he won't
is because it would really demythologize the papacy. After all,
the current mythology is that God wants Benedict to be the Pope
and no one else. Well, that's simply a gratuitous statement. But
if the Pope were to resign, as canon law permits him, it would
show that he was Pope one day and not Pope the next. And then
you'd have to say, "Oh, well, then, wait a minute, the making
of a pope is a human activity subject to all the defects of human
nature. There have been notoriously bad popes in Church history.
As a matter of fact,
what Catholics do not know is that there was no Pope in the early
Church, including Peter. In fact, one German scripture scholar,
Martin Hengel, said, "If you were trying to look for a Pope
figure in the early Church, it might well be James, the brother
of Jesus (he is described as the brother of the Lord," rather
than Peter. Because when Paul was converted and joined the Jesus
movement, he came to show that his credentials were quite orthodox,
and the person he went to to show that was to James, not Peter.
But actually, the idea
of the papacy developed only gradually in history, primarily in
the 5th century. It took form under Bishop Leo, who was the Bishop
of Rome, and he was competing with Constantinople for being the
true head of the Church. What he did was---- he was a Roman lawyer----he
took some of the titles that Roman emperors gave to themselves,
like supreme pontiff and applied it to himself. That title is
still used today. It is a title on loan from the Roman Emperors.
This title was invented
by Augustus the Emperor, not by Jesus. And so Bishop Leo he took
that title. He claimed plentitudo potestatis - the plentitude
of power - exactly what Roman law gave to the Supreme Pontiff,
who was the Emperor. So in effect, he emperialized the Office
of Bishop of Rome. But the term 'Pope' was actually used by other
bishops for another six or seven hundred years, bishops such as
the Bishop of Milan. So it is simply inaccurate to say that Jesus
fashioned the papacy, and it's equally inaccurate to say Jesus
decided that Benedict and no one else could run the Church.
But the caller does
make a wonderful point. The current system of electing the Pope
is to take a group of these old men, all men, and have them decide
on the next Pope. This would be a wonderful opportunity to democratize
that process. And if they are going to continue with a concept
of papacy, hopefully they could reform it drastically, because
it's now patterned on absolutely monarchy, which is not a good
Then there should be
a very democratic selection of the next Pope, and also consider
that bishops are advised to retire at age 75, and yet there's
no retirement age for Popes. This current Pope could set a good
example for future popes, saying, "I'm accepting resignations
on a regular basis," like Cardinal Mahoney in Los Angeles
because of age and I will now tender my own resignation.. There
is a kind of false mythology that the press usually reflects about
how the papacy has been an unchanged entity going back 2,000 years,
at which time it was invented by Jesus. There's simply no historical
evidence for that kind of assertion. As Catholic theologian Rosemary
Ruether says, Jesus no more invented the papacy as we have it
than did Sitting Bull invent the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Let me get your reaction to a Facebook comment from Michael. Marriage
for priests would help this situation. Not the entire solution,
but it would help. Some priests also have affairs with women in
their parishes, as well as those who are pedophiles.
Forced celibacy is a failed discipline. I don't know how many
more headlines we're going to have to read and how many more disasters
we're going to have to watch. And we've only seen some of them.
When young men enter the priesthood, they are usually very religious,
wonderfully generous people, willing to commit themselves entirely,
all their lives, to a live of poverty and a life of obedience
and service to the Church and to people. So they're wonderful
people who come to the seminary door wanting to be priests.
But they're told by
the Church immediately, all right you may do that, you may commit
yourself to this, but you may never fall in love, and also, by
the way, you may never have any sexual pleasure in your entire
life. In other words, all your sexuality must be suppressed -
you must negate your sexuality as though you were an asexual being.
Well, that, quite simply, is unrealistic. It negates an essential
part of human nature. It negates a gift of God in human nature,
which is human sexuality, and it blocks the natural impulse toward
healthy intimacy and committed relationships. It is an invitation
It takes away the experience
of parenting. The experience of parenting is very rich, and would
be very rich for ministers and priests and imams and rabbis because
just as they say every child needs to be parented, every parent
needs to be childed. In fact, every adult needs to be childed.
They need the experience of it. Child care really gets you down
to the nitty-gritty of life.
So I think enforced
celibacy is a mistake - celibacy is not a bona fide occupational
qualification for priesthood, and I think the Catholic Church
has certainly demonstrated very thoroughly that it doesn't work.
Now, as the person writing in, Michael, said, it doesn't explain
You don't explain Father
Murphy, a rapist and pedophile like that - a sociopath - and say
enforced celibacy did it to Father Murphy. No, but it certainly
gave him an opportunity. Because the fact that you are a celibate
lends a certain mystique - priesthood has a well cultivated mystique,
and mystique gives power. Here are people who are above sexual
desire. That almost divinizes them and lifts them above all human
beings. And then when they're suddenly coming at you as an aggressor,
it's extremely confusing, and it actually facilitates rape.
Next we go to Barbara in Wausau.
I agree with your guest in the aspect that if we really have love
for the Church itself, or the mission of Christ, that we need
to do what I think he's calling us to do, and that is to embrace
the shadow. If we don't embrace our shadow, we continue to hide
from it, it will come out in the ugliest of ways, as we've seen.
And many people are
saying, "Well, a lot of these cases happened years ago."
Well, perhaps they did. But we've seen throughout the history
of our Church crises like this that have opened it up, and there
have been leaders within the history of Church, such as Francis
of Assisi and many of the mystics, who have called upon the Pope
to relook at renewal within our Church.
And I think this is
one of those points in modern times that if we don't embrace the
shadow, if we don't step out and say, "This is what's wrong"
and look at what CAN be for the future of our children and the
future of inclusion of all, and sweep it clean, we don't have
a hope for true church.
Oh, I think the caller is absolutely right on there in talking
about "Let's face the shadow." Isn't it interesting
that the Catholic liturgy always has traditionally started, in
its highest liturgies in Eucharist, with a confession of sin.
Before you even approach the altar, you confess your sins. And
you don't stand at the foot of the altar and say, "The press
is maligning me" and so on. You say, "I confess to Almighty
God that I have sinned and I've sinned grievously, and I want
that to be right out in the open."
And I think that Catholic
emphasis on "the shadow" is what's missing now. This
defensiveness is really scandalous. And I think it's turning off
an awful lot of people, an awful lot of young people. The Marquette
newspaper, the Marquette University Tribune, had an impassioned
editorial two days ago basically begging the leaders of the Church
to become honest and to tell exactly what's going on. This is
the youth; this is the church of tomorrow begging the hierarchy
to stop this defensiveness.
And a priest friend
of mine has just written a letter to America Magazine, where he
was saying, "Every single bishop in the United States who
has been involved, who has been in charge when pedophiles were
moved from place to place, every single one of them should resign
immediately in a great confession of sin."
The sadness is that
this scandalous crime wave and coverup by the hierarchy really
hurts good Catholic people. The caller mentions there, Francis
of Assisi, one of the heroes of Catholic spirituality. Catholics
have been nourished beautifully by so many of the beautiful things
in the Catholic Church. Catholic social justice theory is very
biblically rooted. As Jesus said, his mission was, in Luke's Gospel,
"good news for the poor." Catholic social justice tradition
of which we hear too little was marked by a biblical concern and
compassion for the poor, for all of those who are insulted and
all of those who are wounded.
People have been nourished
in that Church, and now suddenly, they see the Church being damaged.
My 94-year-old brother, Barney, who would never miss Mass, even
if he had a bit of a hangover, and that, indeed, has been part
of his story; but today he's very healthy and very wise and very
bright, and very said. He said, "I am sitting here watching
the Church that I love disintegrate." That's the impression
that people are getting.
What they have to remember
is that the hierarchy are just several thousand men; they are
not the Church. And not all of the Church is disintegrating.
Reaction, please, to David, on Facebook, who writes, "If
this Pope should resign, then all other leaders of the Church
who were in high positions at the time should also resign. The
abusers are being punished. The Church has new policies. The victims
received money, apologies. The victims need to move on."
Yes. Well, the caller's onto something there. A certain number
of priests, when they're absolutely caught, have been punished
and gone to jail. But the one bishop who was obviously very involved
in this, Cardinal Law in Boston, did resign. But what happened?
He went to Rome and was given a very posh position there and a
lovely apartment with servants, and it's hardly a punishment he
received. In other words, he's a cardinal in very good standing
in Rome. So we don't need that kind of thing. I think if people
commit crimes, people should pay for their crimes. And I think
until that happens and the hierarchy stops evading its responsibility
this crisis will continue.
On the good side, is
there any good news in all this? On the good side, I don't think
there can very easily be another Father Murphy. I don't think
three archbishops, or even one archbishop, would fail to use the
power they have to suspend such a person immediately - deactivate
them through suspension, and then eventually through formal laicization.
I think that's going to happen much more quickly.
I think for district
attorneys throughout the country, and for their comparable law
officers throughout the world, this publicity has actually been
wonderful. Rather than condemning the press for bringing this
out, I think the press has done a wonderful service to the Catholic
Church. The Vatican has tried to dismiss all of this news. Twice
they've used the words "petty gossip." What do you tell
the mother or father of an abused child who's been raped by a
priest that their complaint is "petty gossip?"
Here is the real hurt....
The ones who are hurting the Church are not the ones criticizing
the Pope or asking the Pope to resign. The ones who are hurting
the Church are the ones who are covering up and continuing to
cover up for crimes that have been committed, when they should
be standing at the foot of the altar and saying, "I confess
to Almighty God that I have sinned against your children."
Our next caller is Tim in [DePier.]
I agree that the Pope should resign. And the mythology of the
infallibility of the Pope should go away in the Church. Women
should have a leadership role in it. I was just wondering how
you would think that this may be based in the whole idea of the
Church hoarding wealth, and the basic greed in the Vatican to
hold on to the Church wealth rather than distributing it to the
Right. You know, the Vatican is basically a fiction. There were
papal states where the Pope had armies and they fought and they
behaved like other nation states. Well, that was put an end to
in 1870. And what happened then was that Mussolini and the fascists
in Italy said, in effect, "you're not going to have the papal
states. You're not going to take a third of Italy and call it
yours, but we'll give you .17 of a square mile, and we'll call
that kind of a sovereign state, The Vatican State. This is basically
a fiction. I mean, you can't have a state where there are no women
and children.. That would be like England calling Canterbury to
be a separate individual state.
And so I think that
surrendering that claim of being a state would be a wonderful
thing. They could go back to Jesus' words: "I have no place
to hold my head." And they could return to his words: "
Learn of me - I'm meek and humble of heart." The ideals are
present right in the Scriptures of what the Church should look
like. And if this opportunity is lost, an opportunity for major
reform in the Church will be lost, and I think a whole generation
of young people, who are now very cynical will be lost.
I was looking at John
Stewart last night, and there was the spoofing away of the Vatican.
They've become the stuff of spoofery. That's very painful to many
Catholics. But you could say, "Well, we had it coming to
us." The Catholic laiaty have been to silent.".
I'm very disappointed
that more Catholic theologians have not been heard from throughout
all these years. They certainly knew about it. They're the ones
who study the Gospel. But there's been an enormous and indicting
silence. The test for good theology is the test for being Christian:
that you are in Jesus' words "good news for the poor."
Theologians who ponder the esoterics of theology in ways that
are not "good news for the poor" are spinning their
wheels. You saw that same silence from most theologians recently
during the health care debate in this country. Was it the theologians,
the Catholic theologians, who rose en masse to try to get health
care for some 33 million poor people who didn't have it? No, it
was the nuns, God bless those nuns!.
And the nuns were told,
"Well, .you're going against the bishops because they're
afraid they'll be some money for abortions in this." And
the courageous nuns just said, simply, "We're closer to the
people and we know what the people need." So that kind of
courage has not been present either in the theological community
or among Catholics, generally, who hunkered down and sort of let
the hierarchy do what they want.
An emailer in [Meyzomanie], Lynn, asks, if the Pope is Christ's
representative on earth, to whom would he resign? To whom does
he hand his letter of resignation?
Well, canon law faced that very simply. They said, the Pope doesn't
have to resign to anyone. He just simply, on his own, would say,
"I am no longer accepting the position of being Pope,"
and that's canon 332, Paragraph1, and he's out of there.
But it's false to say
that the Pope is the one and only representative of Christ or
of God or of the best of the tradition. Everyone is a sinner;
every one of us is a failure morally to some degree. There are
no perfect people, whether they're Popes or anyone else.
And when Jesus said,
"He who hears you hears me," he wasn't just talking
about Popes and hierarchs; he was talking about everyone who was
baptized into the vision that he recommended; a vision characterized
by a commitment to peace, to justice, and to a recognition with
Isaiah 32:17 that you'll never have peace on this earth until
you plant the kind of justice that eliminates poverty from the
earth. That's the beautiful challenge and message that has not
been heard, as the Vatican and other hierarchs have struggled
to maintain an image of pomp and power.
Our next caller is Donna in Burlington.
First, I'd like to just clear something up. I was talking with
my family about this very issue on Easter. And I've heard a number
of people talk about, well, if the priests were just allowed to
marry, this would take care of the situation. And even members
of my own family had believed that homosexual men are automatically
And I tried to explain
to them, it's two completely different things - that if a priest
were allowed to marry, if they're heterosexual they'll want to
get married and it'll be fine. But if they're pedophiles, and
being allowed to get married is not going to change anything.
They'll still continue to be pedophiles.
And my question is,
maybe I misunderstood it, but I had thought that according to
our law, that if someone covered up another person who was committing
incest, they would be brought up on charges as well. And if that's
true, why can't members of the Vatican also be brought up on criminal
Well, the caller there has a number of issues, and I think they're
all very good ones. First, on the subject of gays, they're being
blamed for this cirsis in the Church.. In fact, studies show that
most pedophiles are heterosexual pedophiles, not gay. Gays are
only five to seven or eight percent of the human race, and pedophilia
is much broader than that.
And in many ways, too,
some very conservative Catholics, like William Donohue, have said
that this is all a gay problem. Well, that's just another evasion;
that's just hiding from the problem that's there. It's not just
limited to man on boy. I mean, members of SNAP- the organization
of victims of priest sexual attacks - they testify to crimes of
priests on girls and women and women on girls and women. So it's
absolutely wrong to use this occasion to stereotype those whom
God has made gay, and use that as kind of a cover for the Church.
With regard to marriage,
marriage is not the solution. As I've pointed out, obviously,
enforced celibacy is not healthy because it's not job-related
and it could invite people into the Church for the wrong reasons
and into the ministry. So marriage wouldn't be a cure. But a marriage
is normal. Rather than enforcing celibacy, why not listen to Jesus?
When Jesus was asked about some people becoming eunuchs - that
is to say, celibates - for the Kingdom of Heaven - Jesus said,
"Let him take it who can take it," implying this is
a very special possibility that not all have. Many people can
and do devote themselves to a life of celibacy, to keep themselves
undivided in whatever cause they've chosen. That's fine. But to
make it a bona fide qualification when it is not such is delusional
and very, very damaging.
So I think the caller,
if I've spoken to most of her issues, was sensing... And it is
interesting - she said that she and her family were talking about
it on Easter. And that's not bad. Easter is not just celebration.
But Easter is the celebration of new life, and of the capacity
to resurrect from what has been. It's a perfect time for people,
especially the laity, to get in on the act and have their voices
heard, and to make it heard by using not only their voices but
their purses; let the laity who love the Church say very loud
that it's time to redeem this Church and to not simply allow the
patriarchy that has run it to continue to run it into the ground
as they have been doing.
Our caller also said, why aren't those who participated in the
cover-up of the sexual abuse by priests brought up on criminal
The caller is right, even regarding those in the Vatican. . There
have been legal cases of priest abuse in this country where they
tried to get the Pope to testify, and the claim is made, "Well,
no, he's the sovereign head of another state." So we have
that kind of fictional Vatican state situation, which blocks accountability.
This supports the working assumption in the United States that
bishops are untouchable.
So as I said earlier,
if the head of some secular institution were involved in moving
child rapists types from one center to another, they would be
forced to resign and be subject to criminal prosecution. We've
never done that with a bishop, even though many bishops clearly
have been involved - most notoriously, Cardinal Law, and his "punishment"
was to be sent to Rome and promoted.
There was a story just yesterday in the news - it was news to
me - that the Vatican did step in when Father Murphy, the priest
accused of molesting the 200 boys at the School for the Death.
There was a trial going on in 1996 against him. And the Vatican
actually encouraged that the trial be stopped out of compassion
for the deteriorating health of Father Murphy; that he was dying.
When Archbishop Weakland finally wrote to the Vatican, it was
ignored for a couple of years, but the trial did start. And then
Father Murphy wrote directly to Cardinal Ratzinger and said because
he was an old man and he was ill that they should stop the trials
so that he could die - this is a remarkable statement - "in
the dignity of my priesthood." You wonder what dignity was
left in his priesthood.
And because of that,
the report in the papers was that the Vatican, whether through
Ratzinger or his assistant - but he had written to Cardinal Ratzinger.
Said, "Call it off." So that's the great supreme irony
and tragedy of the whole thing. After a lifetime of child rape,
Father Lawrence Murphy was buried with full priestly honors. That
sort of underlines this case. and that's why it's important that
it be discussed. And as we've said earlier in this program, this
is not anti-Church. This is giving the Church a tremendous opportunity
to reform itself so that it will continue to appeal, and so that
it will be able to serve the world, and particularly the youth
of the world for tomorrow.
Our next caller is Katie, who is in northern Wisconsin.
I just wanted to call and thank Father Maguire for his courage
in trying to get the word out. I was brought up in the atmosphere
of the Catholic Church. And from grade school through high school,
this contamination has occurred, and a lot of children have been
approached by priests, approached by teachers. It's true. And
the only thing I can say is that I've kept my personal faith.
I cannot stand what has been going on in the Church - cover-up.
It really needs to get out.
I was a student teacher at St. John School for the Deaf when Father
Murphy was there. I know exactly what was going on and - after
this has gotten out. It was an atmosphere of fear at that school,
and I didn't know what it was until now, until this story came
out. And Father Maguire, you have to keep doing what you're doing,
and so do people, just to get rid of this contamination in the
Well, that's very interesting to have that testimony here from
someone who saw it. And no wonder there was such an atmosphere
of fear, because, could you imagine poor deaf boys going to their
beds at night and Father Murphy prowling from bed to bed and no
way that they could understand this. Their Catholic parents sent
them there to have good training from priests, and here was a
priest molesting them. The caller referred to me as Father Maguire,
and it's true - I've earned that title in two different ways:
one as a Catholic priest, which I left some forty years ago, and
once as a daddy. And so I've earned the title twice. But I normally
go by the title of Professor Maguire or Doctor Maguire, or better
Thanks to Katie for the call. That was some eyewitness testimony
there. Why did you leave the priesthood?
I left for personal reasons and professional reasons. I just found
it very difficult to represent some of the teaching that was going
on at that time, and I wanted a life, not as a clergy person but
as a professor who can speak your mind with complete academic
One of the great glories
of being a professor at a modern university is academic freedom.
And I have to say, many people in the press have asked me- even
during this past week, when I've been talking on this subject
- "Well, they must not like your speaking out down at Marquette."
And I said, well, many administrators who may be very conservative
might wince a lot, but when I came to Marquette 39 years ago,
they told me that they believed in academic freedom; that they
believed in being a real university, not a Bob Jones or an Oral
Roberts University; not an indoctrinational center.
So I took them immediately
at their word, and I've used academic freedom for 39 years at
Marquette. And almost perfectly, Marquette has defended that academic
freedom. And when people who even attacked me and said, "Get
rid of him. He's in favor of artificial contraception and same-sex
marriage, and he thinks women, not governments, should be in charge
of their pregnancies, they said, "Get rid of him."
And they've been answered
by people like conservative Quentin Quade who was the Executive
Vice President for years, and he said, "We're a true university,
and the only limits to our pursuit of truth is truth itself. And
even if some constituencies are discomfited by professors with
qualifications seeking the truth and reaching certain conclusions,
that's the price of being a great university."
The Vatican this week, that defended Pope Benedict, saying that
these accusations are part of an anti-Catholic hate campaign targeting
this Pope for his opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage.
Are you targeting this Pope for his opposition to abortion and
No. I've been criticizing the hierarchy for what I call establishing
a kind of pelvic orthodoxy; as though Jesus had said, "By
this shall men know that you are my disciples; that you are opposed
to contraception, same sex marriages, and abortion.". "By
this shall you know that you are my disciples; that you love as
I love; that you serve the poor as I serve the poor; that you
seek to reconcile and bring peace to the earth." Those are
the criteria for orthodoxy.
because of this pelvic obsession people have been judged as to
whether or not you're a good Catholic is if you agree on sexual
reproductive issues rather than on the main challenge of the Gospel,
which was to bring peace to a troubled world by the elimination
We'll leave it there. We're out of time. It was nice talking to
you. Thank you very much for being with us.
Thank you for the invitation.
[End of interview.]
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