More on the Catholic Church and Institutionalized
The local lefty rag, The Tucson Weekly has an interesting report in this week’s issue: Moreno’s Admission. It seems that the Manuel Moreno, former Bishop of the Tucson Diocese gave a 2-hour deposition in June. Here are some excerpts from that article:
Moreno resigned last year after serving Southern Arizona for 21 years, a period during which Moreno settled 11 lawsuits alleging child molestation by Tucsonan priests for $14 million. During his tenure, Moreno also offered refuge to seminary classmates accused of sexual misconduct, like Patrick Ziemann (former bishop of Santa Rosa, Calif., who resigned in 1999 after accusations arose that he kept a priest as his personal sex toy) and Robert Trupia (nicknamed “Chicken Hawk” by his fellow priests). At the time of Moreno’s resignation, 17 more sex-abuse lawsuits awaited Tucson-area parishioners, inching the current Tucson Catholic hierarchy toward the once-unimaginable brink of bankruptcy.
In the course of the two-hour deposition, held in Pima County Superior Court, Moreno acknowledged, among other things, that he’d allowed priests he knew were child molesters to take kids on trips to Disneyland, where priests would then molest them.
This shocking revelation involved Kevin Barmasse and Juan Guillen, two priests who are listed as sex molesters on the Tucson diocese’s Web site. In the case of the former, (Calif.-based attorney John) Manly asked Moreno if he remembered a Los Angeles archdiocesan official pleading the following: “Manny, We’ve this problem with this new priest, Kevin Barmasse. He got picked up by the sheriff (for an incident with a boy in Long Beach). The attorney general wants him out of town. We’ll pay his stipend, but would you please take him?”
Moreno was unavailable for comment, but in his final years as Tucson’s bishop, Moreno expressed regret for condoning pedophilia with several letters and homilies to parishioners asking for forgiveness.
Nevertheless, even the moderate religion Web site Beliefnet.com called Moreno one of the nine worst bishops in the country, lambasting him for lording over a sex abuse-plagued diocese in which “officials protected one another, lied to a victim’s family, failed to counsel victims, destroyed statements, did not notify child protective authorities and were uncooperative with police.”
I don’t think Moreno was alone, obviously. The evidence says that this problem was nationwide, and the offending priests were shuffled around the country. The question then is, was this damage control, or active support of pedophilia? Or how much of which?
How does one condone such behavior? How does a high official of a church allow child molesters access to children? Hell, how does he allow them shelter?
To me the suspicion is that pedophiles entered the church, and over time rose to positions of power – power that allowed them to corrupt the church and give them and ability to prey on their flock with near impunity. This isn’t just a few bad priests with weak leadership. This is systemic abuse.