This has already proven to be yet another rather exceptionally bad year for the Roman Catholic Church. More unpleasant scandals continue to unfold for the beleaguered religious institution — from the revelation of Mussolini’s enormous offshore Vatican nest egg investment and papal money laundering banking troubles, to the release of more secret information concerning the church’s expanding horrific pedophile priest cover up.
Thanks to a California Supreme Court decision last October, many long hidden files on 25 known child abusing priests, which the Los Angeles Archdiocese had been desperately struggling to keep secret, must now be made public. The court mandated release of this information is part of the terms of a $660 million settlement that was reached with more than 500 victims of child sexual abuse way back in 2007.
Church Hid Child Rapists for Decades
Although the LA Archdiocese and Cardinal Mahony had agreed to hand over the detailed personnel records, the Catholic hierarchy still continued to spend the past 5 years fighting to keep this damaging information hidden. These records clearly illustrate how several church leaders shielded numerous pedophiles for many years, repeatedly transferring the brutal child abusers to different unknowing churches in various parts of the state, in an attempt to cover up the serial molesters’ crimes, to avoid criminal prosecution, as well as public scandal.
One of the priests named in the lawsuit, Father Lynn Caffoe, was the parish clergy in residence at our Catholic school for several years. He was placed at Saint Callistus in 1971, when I was just five years old; several of my fellow young classmates were among the earliest documented victims of this vile child sexual predator. In the seventies the first of many sexual abuse allegations were filed against Caffoe at our Orange County school, yet he was never prosecuted for his most heinous crimes; the pedophile was not even defrocked until 2006, more than thirty years after he began attacking children.
Catholic church officials never warned new parishes about the behavior of these dangerous child sexual predators; instead the senior leadership consistently worked to hush up reports from multiple victims, disregarded physical evidence and videotaped sexual assaults upon students, even choosing to ignore direct eyewitness reports of child sexual abuse in progress. But wait, the sordid Vatican revelations get even worse…
Mussolini’s Money Seeded Papal Wealth
This week Britain’s Guardian reported that the Vatican has built a secret property empire using millions in bribes that Mussolini paid to the papacy back in 1929 to purchase their political endorsement of his brutal dictatorship in Italy. The church has now parlayed that enormous 20th century political bribe into an enormous hidden empire of wealth and international influence:
“…these office blocks in one of London’s most expensive districts are part of a surprising secret commercial property empire owned by the Vatican. Behind a disguised offshore company structure, the church’s international portfolio has been built up over the years, using cash originally handed over by Mussolini in return for papal recognition of the Italian fascist regime in 1929. Since then the international value of Mussolini’s nest-egg has mounted until it now exceeds £500m.”
In light of these corrupt criminal revelations concerning the Catholic Church, and the convoluted monetary scandals riddling the Vatican, I am even more pleased than ever to be a devout atheist.