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SNAP: Pope resigns without apologizing to victims from St. John’s school

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Pope Benedict XVI

MILWAUKEE (WITI) — The spiritual leader of 1.2 billion Catholics, Pope Benedict XVI, surprised the world Monday, February 11th by saying he will resign at the end of the month “because of advanced age.” It’s the first time a pope has stepped down in nearly 600 years. Many on Monday, reacted to the news — including SNAP, the Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests.

In a statement, entitled “Pope resigns without ever apologizing to Milwaukee’s deaf victims from St. John’s school,” John Pilmaier, SNAP Wisconsin Director said: “It is difficult today, with the announcement that Pope Benedict XVI is retiring this month, not to think of the many victim/survivors of sexual abuse from St. John’s School for the Deaf.”

According to SNAP, it was Benedict, as Cardinal Ratzinger in his previous post running the powerful Doctrine for the Congregation of the Faith CDF), who was in charge of the fate of the notorious Fr. Lawrence Murphy.

Murphy, Ratzinger knew, had sexually assaulted at least 200 children at the boarding school in Milwaukee. Ratzinger ordered that Murphy be left in ministry, unpunished and unprosecuted, undetected to the public, and remain a priest, with all the rights, honors, and power which the church grants only to ordained clerics, right up until his death.

In its statement, SNAP says: “Benedict never once contacted, spoke to, or apologized to the deaf victims from St. John’s.”

SNAP’s statement goes on to say:

“Benedict’s fateful decision with Murphy at the time left children at risk in Wisconsin and also hundreds of deaf victims  without a voice in their church.  Is it little wonder, then, that Benedict leaves the Papacy without really addressing, fundamentally, the sex abuse crisis in the global church? 

It is fortunate and timely that the story of the brave men and women from St. John’s is being aired this month on HBO in a new documentary by Academy Award winning director Alex Gibney.

Benedict was not alone in handling Murphy.  Several of Milwaukee Archbishops covered up for Murphy before and after Ratzinger’s involvement in the late 1990’s, including, ironically, Rembert Weakland, who was Ratzinger’s doctrinal and theological nemesis on a number of issues (click her for details of Weakland’s long involvement in covering up for Murphy and dozens of other sex offender priests).

But it was Benedict, as the senior man on the hierarchical ladder, who bears the greatest responsibility for seeking forgiveness from the deaf victims of Murphy, many of whom are here, in Milwaukee, still very much waiting to hear from him, whether he is the Pope or not.”

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. 

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