A large project for me this summer, following the revelation that my sophomore high school religion teacher was accused of sexually abusing a minor before he became chaplain, has been sifting through the court documents of dioceses and priests. Bishopaccountability.org is the most thorough resource I have found, toward this end.
John XXIII gave the blessing to the Servants of the Paraclete in 1959. This implies that the Vatican had medical and psychiatric knowledge of the specificity of the problem they were dealing with. The Paracletes were a religious order that used both spiritual and psychiatric methods to treat sexually dysfunctional priests. In a meeting with Paul VI, the founder of the Paracletes, Gerald Fitzgerald, relayed to another brother-priest in a letter, that Paul VI was deeply concerned about this particular problem, as something that “weighed heavily” on his “fatherly soul.”
Fr. Lawrence Murphy has become for me the image and profile of the prolific clerical sexual abuser. In his file released by the archdiocese of Milwaukee this summer, he presents a generic inability to comprehend the damage he has done to his victims. He uses spirituality and religion to justify his sex acts: “taking on the sins” of his victims or “fulfilling their sexual needs” are among his most frequent justifications. Murphy abused approximately 200 children, most of them deaf. After appealing to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, he was pardoned from a canonical investigation that would’ve likely defrocked him. The CDF in the persons of Cardinals Angelo Sadona, Tarcisio Bertone, and or Josef Ratzinger pardoned Murphy and allowed him to die with his pension and priestly dignity. Ratzinger, then the head of the CDF, is the most knowledgeable person of the extent and depth of the crisis in the church, and he will die shielded and hidden from the world.
Another priest, Fr. Ruben Martinez, is similar to Murphy in the extent of his sexal abuse; he was another prolific abuser. His file is different from Muphy’s in that it presents a more extensive background on family trauma and early sexual dysfunction. Martinez’s file suggests a deep and persisting inability to come to terms with his homosexuality, as well as an inability to regulate or control his sexual desires. He continuously placed himself in compromising situations.
Both men, after being relocated to other dioceses, continued their abuse.