Mother Church Does No Wrong

Over the years, I have written several articles addressing aberrant sexuality and sexual crime within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. Almost without fail, every time I posted one of these articles, I would receive passionate responses from Catholics eager to defend the honor of ‘Mother Church -- often anonymously. The consistent theme of those responses that were not devoted exclusively to ad hominem was that, while a few priests, monks or nuns may have been guilty of something, that vaguely-defined entity calling itself the Roman Catholic Church has “never been guilty of wrongdoing.” In other words, though the priests and religious who are the Catholic hierarchy may have committed despicable acts against humanity, whether as cultures or individuals, no blame can attach to Mother church.

The recent tsunami of disclosures concerning allegations of priestly sexual misconduct motivated some researchers and investigative reporters to dig into the goings-on behind the façade of moral integrity maintained by the Catholic Church. It was interesting to see how at least some in the higher levels of the RCC hierarchy recommended handling allegations of priestly wrongdoing.

A few years ago, ABCNEWS obtained a tape on which were recorded the words of the Auxiliary Bishop of Cleveland, A. James Quinn, as he spoke to a seminar of church leaders and lawyers in 1990. From the bishop’s words, as reported in an ABCNEWS article, it seemed clear that he was advising his audience on how to handle incriminating material having to do with allegations of priestly sexual misconduct. One of his suggestions was that church officials should think about sending potentially harmful material to the Vatican Embassy in Washington, where they could be kept safe under the embassy’s umbrella of diplomatic immunity.

"If you think it's going to be necessary, if there is something there that you really don't want reviewed, you might send it off to the apostolic delegation," said Quinn. "They have immunity. If it's dangerous, if it's something you consider dangerous you might send it off to them." – Brian Ross, Hidden Evidence? Bishop Caught on Tape Suggesting Concealing Abuse Evidence,, © May 31, 2002

As might have been anticipated, the Vatican Embassy chose not to respond to questions concerning Quinn’s remarks.

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