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Saturday, May 23 2009 @ 08:53 AM CDT

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Christian says he didn't know priests' abuse was crime

'One in ten Irish Catholic priest involved in sexual relationship'

Priest jailed for child sex abuse

By Annysa Johnson

In the early years of the sex abuse scandal in Milwaukee, retired Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland says in his soon-to-be released memoir, he did not comprehend the potential harm to victims or understand that what the priests had done constituted a crime.

"We all considered sexual abuse of minors as a moral evil, but had no understanding of its criminal nature," Weakland says in the book, "A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church," due out in June.

Weakland said he initially "accepted naively the common view that it was not necessary to worry about the effects on the youngsters: either they would not remember or they would 'grow out of it.' "

Clergy victims reacted angrily to the revelation.

"It's beyond belief. He's either lying or he's so self-deceived that he's inventing fanciful stories," said Peter Isely, Midwest director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. "These have always been crimes."

Weakland's handling of the clergy sex abuse scandal is just one chapter in the wide-ranging memoir that recounts his childhood in the coal-mining region of Pennsylvania, his life as a Benedictine monk, his struggles with his own homosexuality, his strained relationship with Pope John Paul II and finally his public fall from grace in Milwaukee.

Weakland retired in 2002 after it became known that he paid $450,000 in 1998 to a man who had accused him of date rape years earlier.

Weakland has declined to be interviewed by the Journal Sentinel. Weakland said in the book that he eventually came to question the notion that victims would forget or "grow out of" the trauma induced by abuse.

"My general reasoning was that there were probably some kids who 'grew out of it,' and then some who were deeply disturbed for life," he wrote.

SNAP this week issued an open letter asking Weakland to meet with victims.

Weakland responded Friday by saying he would seriously consider it.

"We've been trying to get this from him for 15 years," Isely said.


Sydney, May 22 (ANI): One in ten of the 5000 Catholic priests in Ireland are involved in clandestine affairs with women, says a rebel Bishop whose organization supports priests in forbidden relationships

According to Bishop Pat Buckley, at least 500 priests enjoyed regular sex with women and some even referred to their clerical collar as the "bird catcher".

Studies had shown that 80 per cent of priests had broken their vows of celibacy, he added.

Touted as Ireland's rebel bishop, Buckley runs the Bethany organization, which he set up to support those in love affairs with the clergy.

Bishop Buckley was sidelined by the Catholic Church in the mid-1980s when he pursued his own ministry for those who felt alienated by the traditional church.

Bishop Buckley said up to 40 per cent of the Catholic clergy in Ireland were sexually active, including practicing homosexuals.

His claims come at a time when Ireland's Catholic education institutions have come under fire for sexual and physical abuse cases, the Sydney Herald reported.

The 2600-page report by Ireland's Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse found that for decades rape was "endemic" in more than 250 Irish Catholic care institutions from the 1930s to the 1990s, and that the church protected pedophiles in its ranks from arrest.

"A climate of fear, created by pervasive, excessive and arbitrary punishment, permeated most of the institutions and all those run for boys. Children lived with the daily terror of not knowing where the next beating was coming from," it said.

The commission, which was set up to probe child abuse cases, failed to recommend any criminal prosecutions. Victims' groups were absolutely enraged.

"We were treated as criminals as children when we were sent to these places and even now there were Garda officers on call to arrest us if we tried to get in. It was an absolute disgrace," said John Kelly of the Irish Survivors of Child Abuse group, Soca.

Irish Soca urged Pope Benedict to hold a Vatican inquiry into the role of Catholic religious orders in Ireland's orphanages and industrial schools. (ANI)



A Catholic priest has been jailed for sexually assaulting three boys in County Durham during the 1980s.

Father David Taylor, 59, of Bedlington, Northumberland, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years at Durham Crown Court.

He had earlier admitted five counts of indecent assault between 1982 and 1986 while he was youth co-ordinator for the Hexham and Newcastle Diocese.

He was also disqualified from working with children and placed on the sex offenders register for life.

'No exceptions'

Father Taylor was suspended from his post at St Peter's Church in Low Fell, Gateshead, in February last year following the allegations involving the boys, who were all aged under 16 at the time.

The court heard on Tuesday that the offences had been committed while he was based at St Mary's Church in Seaham.

Father Dennis Tindall, child protection co-ordinator for Hexham Newcastle Diocese, said: "The highest standards are required and expected of those working with young people in the church.

"No exceptions can be made to this."


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