The public radio program, This American Life, contains, in it’s April 3, 2010, episode, the story of a priest who was used as a ‘fixer’ to settle down parishes that had just lost their pastor, because the pastor was a pedophile, a fact which no one in the parish — with the exception of the abused child and possibly his/her parents — knew.
[To skip the introductory section of the program -- of which this story is just one of four, separate, 15 minute topics -- click on "Stream Episode" to the right of the picture on the opening page, and move the player's bar to 2 minutes and 34 seconds.]
The interviewed former priest, Patrick Wall, speaks of how he was used by his order to assist bishops in ‘cleaning up,’ after a pedophile priest was discovered at a parish — and moved to another parish — by the local bishop.
Father Wall, as he went about his work with parishes and the bishops, discovered a system of off-the-record ‘archives’ — established in the penal code of Canon Law — in which were kept information about events and reports the Church did not want exposed to the public. Wall notes that this Canon goes back ‘centuries.’
This story is devastating. It goes to the heart of what the Catholic Church — as an institution run by the hierarchy — is, from the very beginning of written Canon Law.
I’m not expressing concern about the faith, Jesus, or God; only the institution. I was raised a Roman Catholic and, for two years, studied to be a priest.
Please listen with an open mind. This interview, in light of what is occurring in Rome, the U.S., Europe, and God knows where else, is extremely difficult to bear. But the story should be heard and reflected upon.
[Five years ago Patrick Wall co-authored a book about the facts and history of the pedophile scandal in the U.S.]