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Christianity Rife with Snakes, Vipers, Asses, and Reptiles

Tuesday, March 31 2009 @ 10:04 PM CDT

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Bishops Warned Of Abusive Priests In 1950s

CBS 2 has learned of a radical idea that would have rounded up priests who abused children - and sent them to a remote island. Back in the 1950s, one priest says he tried to sound the alarm. He wrote bishops, and even wrote to the Pope. CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports on how his efforts were ignored.

The letters were unsealed by a judge in a California court case. They introduce us to a prophet before his time. Predicting the scandal that would leave the Catholic Church reeling, morally and financially, half a century before it happened.

Father Gerald Fitzgerald put $5,000 down on an island off the coast of Barbados and wrote in one of a series of letters to bishops, even the Pope: "It is for this class of rattlesnake I have always wished the island retreat -- but even an island is too good for these vipers..."

Father Fitzgerald never got that island to sequester sex offenders, but he did found a retreat in rural New Mexico for "priests helping priests." Though his letters obtained by the National Catholic Reporter's Tom Roberts called some beyond help.

"Priests who serially abuse, sexually abuse children, could not be returned to ministry," Roberts said.

Yet it was nearly 50 years before U.S. bishops adopted that policy.

"No free pass, no second chances, no first strike," said Bishop Wilton Gregory at a U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference in 2002.

Fred Arcenaux was sexually abused by Father John Calicott at St. Albe's on Chicago's south side in 1980 - more than 20 years after Father Fitzgerald's warning.

"The fact that they then subsequently lied about the fact that they did know it in the '80s and '90s, many of the bishops and cardinals said it was the first time they were really understanding the extent of this problem," Arcenaux said. "They've been warned by one of their own and they just simply ignored those warnings."

Seminarian Jim LoBianco was abused by his dean of students at Niles College.

The fact that 30 years after the warning, there was someone to abuse him would seem inconceivable.

"And yet unfortunately, just a matter of fact," LoBianco said. "I would have wished not to have gone through the pain that I went through, but also I would have liked more leadership, more education, more honesty from the church as a whole."

Yet, today, more than 50 years after Fitzgerald wrote: "...such unfortunate priests should be given the alternative of a retired life with the protection of monastery walls or complete laicization…" - Father Calicott, the alleged serial abuser of young boys, continues to fight to keep his collar.

"I think the issue, and this is a point I constantly drive at is, am I a risk to children?" Calicott said in 2004.

While Calicott is sequestered at a seminary, he remains a priest.

An example of a still unresolved dilemma - protecting the rights of priests or the safety of children? A dilemma which Fitzgerald's letters imply should have been resolved decades ago, saving thousands of victims from physical and emotional scars.

(© MMIX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)


(Don't kid yourself, Protestantism is full of these child raping maggots too...)

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