The Diocese of Jefferson City

A Case Study of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Childproof 17: Fronting for American Bishops, Knights of Columbus Coddle Pedophile Priests

Page 17

Dear Bishop Gaydos:

Kathryn Kuhlman
Your brief on-camera appearance at the 129th Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus, as televised by the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), gives us a moment’s pause to consider:  TV preachers are among the great actors in the field of modern entertainment. 

At the age of eight, living in St. Louis, I was enthralled by the theatricality of the faith healer Kathryn Kuhlman.  Dressed in a white, flowing gown, Kuhlman would reach out to the camera at end of each performance and asked her audience to touch their television sets for healing and hope.  And, then, almost as an after-thought, she would ask for a “love offering” to support her programming.

Joel Olsteen
Kuhlman was a grotesque, aping Loretta Young’s swirling entrance at the start of each episode of the Loretta Young Show.  The 60-year-old syndicated show now airs regularly on EWTN (Ms. Young, marketed as a paragon of Catholic virtue in Hollywood, married three times, and produced a child with her paramour Clark Gable).

We’ve seen the steady parade of actors asking for money for suspect religious work become ever more sophisticated, moving away from the crassness of Oral Roberts and James Robison toward the slick hucksterism of Joel Osteen and Rick Warren.  The political chicanery of Jerry Fallwell has given way to the bizarre pronouncements of John Hagee and Jack and Rexella Van Impe.

Rev. Charles Coughlin
Frank Schaeffer offers an inside look
at the profit centers of these tax exempt organizations in his new memoir, Mom,
Sex, and God

Schaeffer is the son of Francis and Edith Schaeffer, who established L’Abri, an evangelical community in Switzerland in
the 1960’s.  The Schaeffers are considered the gold standard of this niche market: potent thoroughbred fund-raisers who built an international empire by railing against what they viewed as secular humanism.

But their son tells a different tale: his parent’s strategy that focused on cash, the high life, and access to political power.  He also walked away from the dynastic feud that has damaged or destroyed the heirs of other religious empires based on family pride.  We’ve seen this with Franklin Graham, Jr., and his sister, Ann Graham Lotz; the family feud involving the children of Robert H. Schuller - Robert A. Schuller and his sister, Sheila Schuller Coleman - and the bankruptcy of the their Crystal Cathedral empire; and volatile display of corruption that engulfed Richard Roberts and Oral Roberts University.

Schaeffer offers a bleak, disheartening peek at business ventures operating as church-run charities.
But a lie is no less a lie be it five days old or 1,000 years old.  And it is the next generation that you betray by perpetuating lies of this sort.

Bishop Fulton J. Sheen
TV and the Roman Catholic Church
The Roman Catholic Church is no stranger
to this brand of religion marketing:   the
Rev. Charles Coughlin took to the airwaves in the 1930’s with his fascist rants.   Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, conversely, maintained
a high standard of intellectual and academic mimicry: an entertaining quality accentuated by his Bela Lugosi demeanor, arm gestures, and the occasional flare of
his cape.

The arc of popular Roman Catholic Television now rests on the shoulders of Mother Angelica (née Rita Antoinette Rizzo) and EWTN.  The Vatican and the American Catholic bishops laughed at this nun in 1981 when she launched her cable-satellite venture in Irondale, Ala.  As a counter-measure and to enhance her brand and expand her market share, Mother Angelica transformed herself from a sensible businesswoman in a simplified habit into a wimpled crone offering gingerbread to all comers in exchange for tax-deductible contributions and a circle of perpetual prayer.

Change of Habit:  Mother Angelica (center and left) seems to have turned to the 20th Century Fox costume department in the mid-90’s for a wardrobe makeover.  She discarded her Vatican II habit for a facsimile worn by Loretta Young’s in the film Come to the Stable.  Ms. Young knew had to handle mobsters in the plotline
of her 1949 film.  And Mother Angelica’s ratings improved.

The demand for content has forced EWTN to change programming, standards, and practices as it begins its fourth decade of broadcasting.  For example, during the 18 August 2011 re-broadcast of a 2000 episode of Mother Angelica Live, the EWTN founder highlighted this expedient shift by stating that severe weather patterns, global warming, and related meteorological conditions in the United States are the result of abortions in America and the Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade.  We wonder what sin was committed by the residents of Texas that has resulted into a year-long drought with less than six inches of rain since July 2010.

EWTN on-air talent Raymond Arroyo credits the actresses Stella Adler (left)
and Uta Hagen as mentors who shaped his show business career

Mother Angelica’s advancing years and declining health also have launched a new wave of management strategy that balances in equal measures religion, politics, and fund raising with no memory of the Coughlin era.  We see this in the babbling of Raymond Arroyo (his Wikipedia entry notes that he studied with Broadway legends Stella Adler and Uta Hagen) and the nattering of the archbishop of New York, Timothy M. Dolan.

The Knights of Columbus executive management works hand-in-glove
with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as a fundraising
organization. The Knights also recruit the most recalcitrant
bishops in the United States to serve as chaplains. The executive
team include (top row, left to right): Carl
A. Anderson, chief
executive officer; Dennis A. Savoie, Deputy Supreme Knight;
and J
ohn A. Marrella, Supreme Advocate. Three of these
chaplains are (bottom row, left to right): Supreme Chaplain
William E. Lori, Bridgeport, Conn.; Raphael Fliss (ret.),
Superior, Wisc.; and Thomas V. Daily (ret.), Brooklyn, N.Y.

Knights in the Light of Day
We’ve already commented on the show quality and activities of the semi-annual conference of the States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in Bellevue, Washington.  The visuals from the 129th Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus, August 2-4, in Denver, showcases this new low, albeit an enlightening look at the backroom action of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Knights of Columbus is an insurance company masquerading as a religious organization.  You would never know this based on the fish fries, barbeques, and bingo parlors they operate nationwide.

Established 2 October 1881 as a foil against the Masons, the Knights of Columbus morphed into corporate empire now managing $80 billion in assets with more than $40 billion allocated as life insurance coverage.  In fact, the Knights of Columbus Corporation ranks in the Fortune 1000 list of America’s largest companies. It is one of five insurers in North America to have a Triple-A financial stability rating from both Standard & Poor’s and A++ from A.M. Best.  As a not-for-profit corporation, the Knights of Columbus pays no taxes, joining the ranks of Exxon Mobil, Bank of America, General Electric, Chevron, and Boeing.

Charity as Big Business

The Knights of Columbus
corporate headquarters
in New Haven, Conn.
Nonetheless, the Knights of Columbus Corporation markets itself as a mom-and-pop organization.  Its members are self-branded as the successors to the military religious orders of Medieval Europe, organized to save Jerusalem from the Saracen, led by the successors to the Apostles.  Forget about the company’s 23-story corporate headquarters in New Haven, Conn., valued at $128 million (est.).

The Knights of Columbus Corporation is no different than Thrivent (formerly Lutheran Brotherhood) and Beneficial Life (a Mormon concern, which required a bail-out in 2008 to cover an estimated $594 million to losses).  Or perhaps we should consider Allianz Life Insurance Co. of North America, a subsidiary of Allianz-Germany, which is notorious for its refusal to compensate the heirs of Jewish policy-holders exterminated by the Nazis during World War II.

The Philippines appear to be the largest market for the Knights of Columbus Corporation just as Japan is the major profit center for AFLAC.  But we doubt if the pay-to-play culture is as invasive at AFLAC as it is at the Knights of Columbus. 

Knights:  Avoiding Taxes and Living the High Life
In 2008, the Knights of Columbus Corporation paid chief executive officer Carl A. Anderson $1.17 million, according to some sources.

The Knights of Columbus Corporation annual report does not include data regarding executive compensation in its 2009 annual report.  Bloomberg News and BusinessWeek have not
been able to determine Anderson’s salary and
compensation either.

The insurance company’s 2010 annual report has yet to be posted on-line for analysis.  But we can assume that Mr. Anderson has a limousine and chauffeur, access to private jet service, and pied-a-terre in New York despite its proximity to New Haven.  We can assume, too, that he travels with access the highest level of luxury accommodations, business or pleasure notwithstanding.  Not bad for a former staff member of the Ronald Reagan White House team.

Failure to Challenge Corporate Greed

Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M., Cap.,
archbishop designate of Philadelphia,

sermonized at the opening Mass
for the Knights of Columbus
convention. Eleven cardinals
participated in the event.
The recent EWTN telecast of the Knights of Columbus Corporation international convention in Denver highlights these organizational facets clearly.  Watching the 2,500 insurance agents parade statistics and Cha-Cha during roll-call introductions gives up this lie.

Unlike the American Association
of Retired Persons (AARP), the
Knights of Columbus Corporation makes no effort to support worker benefits, a living wage, or affordable healthcare for the citizens of the United States.  The Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines of the USCCB seem to have little influence on the Knights as well.  But, then, the USCCB link to this information connects to a non-existent webpage.

It would be nice to see the Knights of Columbus follow suit with the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Boston, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia and the Benedictine Sisters of Mt. Angel, who challenged Goldman Sachs’ executive benefits package in April.

It also would be nice that the Daughters of St. Paul did not have to sue Sean Cardinal O’Malley and the Archdiocese of Boston to recoup $1.37 million from their pension fund.  In March, the religious order charged that the fund’s trustees, including Cardinal O’Malley, failed to provide a full accounting of the fund.

Sean Cardinal O’Malley
identified 159 pedophile
priests 25 August 2011
in Boston whose salaries
were paid with
funds earmarked for the
Daughters of St. Paul
In addition, the suit alleged that the Daughters of St. Paul retirement fund
was used to pay the salaries of pedophile priests
placed on involuntary leave. 
An accounting study released by the archdiocese in an attempt to quell complaints concluded there were not enough records to determine how much money was used before 2000 to support priests accused of molesting children, young people, and vulnerable adults. 

But we know that this unethical accounting practice is employed on a regular basis by
the American bishops.  Archbishop Harry J. Flynn (ret.) of St. Paul-Minneapolis raided funds ($3.1 million) from a priest retirement account and another fund ($700,000) earmarked for charity and social services
to settle child molestation claims.
It would be nice to know that the charitable largesse of the Knights
of Columbus trickled down to grass roots organizations rather than institutional recipients with narrow ideological focus.  It would be nice to know, for example, that the Knights of Columbus would willingly partner with the Catholic Hospital Association and/or the National Association of Free Health Clinics to support community medical services in the United States. 

Conducting business in the open marketplace is one thing.  Conducting business in the Temple is another, as we learn in New Testament studies.

Knowing the Company You Keep

A Shepherd, Not a Cop:
Bishop Thomas V. Daily,
a former top-ranking
assistant to Bernard
Cardinal Law, told
the Boston courts that
he is a shepherd
and not a cop in order
to rationalize his
decisions to protect
child molesters.
But what is particularly galling is the fact that Knights of Columbus executives care so little about associating with men known to have engaged in racketeering, witness tampering, and criminal accomplice to protect pedophile priests.  Nonetheless Supreme Knight and CEO Carl A. Anderson and his lieutenants – Dennis A. Savoie, Deputy Supreme Knight, and John A. Marrella, Supreme Advocate – seem intent on their campaign to legitimize these discredited churchmen. 

Mr. Anderson seems to enjoy glad-handing with the Justin Cardinal Rigali of Philadelphia, even though the Rigali case is particularly troubling.  Cardinal Rigali has lied under oath to two Philadelphia grand juries. As the archbishop of St. Louis, he worked hand-in-glove with the Vatican to sequester child molesters in the diocese there.   Raymond
Cardinal Burke succeeded Rigali in St. Louis,
only to expand the program he established. 

Rigali exudes trust and friendliness but in fact is duplicitous as hell.  Why he has not been indicted for making false statements in these legal proceedings remains a mystery.  Choosing to evade, mislead, and prevaricate is a damning legacy.
Nor does Anderson have a problem consorting with Rigali’s pals, who are equally culpable in the pedophile priest scandal and the nationwide conspiracy churchmen to cover up criminal activity and abort justice.  These clergymen include:  Burke, a Vatican official; Bishop Thomas V. Daily (ret.), Brooklyn, N.Y.; Archbishop Dolan; Bishop Michael Sheridan, Colorado Springs; Edmund Cardinal Szoka (ret.), Detroit; Cardinal O’Malley, Boston; Juan Cardinal Sandoval Iniguez, Guadalajara, Mexico; Bishop Robert J. Banks (ret.), Green Bay, Wisc., (Cardinal Law’s crony); Bishop Raphael Fliss (ret.), Superior, Wisc.; Francis Cardinal George, Chicago; and you, Bishop Gaydos.  These men are just the few that were recognized by the Knights for their television audience. 

Carl Anderson and Bishop Thomas V. Daily
Anderson and company seem to have no regrets currying favor even with the worst-case exemplars of the USCCB, such as Bishop Daily and Bishop Fliss.  Bishop William E. Lori, one of the most recalcitrant bishops in the United States, is head of the chaplain program.  Lori’s defense of pedophile priests is so extreme that he has sued the State of Connecticut to protect the employment records of these sexual predators.

Archbishop José H. Gomez
Los Angeles
addressed the
Knights of Columbus
insurance agents at
their business session.
We assume the so-called vice-supreme masters nationwide enjoy this camaraderie as well:  Wayne C. Hogan; G.V. “Skip” Gentle, Jr.; Saverio D. Giusti; L. Rossi, Jr.; Dale L. Gallo; Jean-Paul Germain; Paul J. Lambert; Robert J. Singer; Joseph B. Dant; George A. Dann; John L. Kasper; Pedro M. Rodriguez, Jr.; Robert G. O’Connor; Ross W. Willour; Gregory J. Van Der Hagen; Charles A. MacAulay; Paul G. Weigl, Jr.; Edward F. Castellazzi; Xavier Cabrales Nájera; Meclea (Mickey) L. Casavant.  We also wonder if the Canadians, such as Bishop Pierre Morissette, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, still fraternize with Bishop Raymond Lahey?

This incestuous self-dealing seems to cause no one to blush.  But are we naive enough to think this is the way to conduct the business of Roman Catholic Church?

Given the nature of this event, it was no surprise to see the Knights bask in the after-glow of their own fairy godmother:  Cardinal Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatures (Chief Justice of the Vatican Supreme Court), cast these insurance agents as members of a lay religious order, engaged in evangelization, serving the poor.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles addressed the insurance agents at their business session.  Pack leader, Bernard Cardinal Law, was one of the few not present for this gathering.

Thomas V. Daily:  Shepherd vs. Cop Mentality
We would be remiss if we did not remind the Knights of Columbus about two of their chaplains:  Daily and Fliss.

Raphael Fliss (ret.),
of Superior, Wisc.,
protected the
Rev. Ryan Erickson
from the authorities
until Ryan murdered
two men to prevent
public exposure as
a child molester.
Daily, the first bishop of Palm Beach, Fla., is among the most notorious member of the Bernard Cardinal Law’s Boston Gang.  When he was hauled into a Boston court for one of the Rev. John J. Geoghan trials, Daily famously told the court “I am not a policeman; I am a shepherd.” to rationalize his attitude toward pedophile priests.(Geoghan was murdered 23 August 2003, strangled to death in his cell by an inmate at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center, Shirley, Mass.)    Daily maintained the same management practices as bishop of Brooklyn, N.Y.

On 21 August 2002, Bishop Daily was deposed by lawyers for three men who claim they were sexually abused by the Rev. Paul Shanley at St. Jean’s parish in Newton in the 1980s.  You can read more about Daily’s dismal record as a shepherd at the New York Times.

The Knights of Columbus, though, have opted to memorialize Daily.  They have established the Bishop Thomas V. Daily Vocations Scholarship Fund with a $1.5 million endowment, according to the 2009 annual report.  The insurance company also has donated $3,000 to St. Luke Institute, Silver Spring, Md.: a “rehab” facility for pedophile priests.

Fliss:  Rank Corruption and Murder
Bishop Raphael Fliss ranks near the top in the list of corrupt American bishops.  As bishop of Superior, Wisc, he sheltered the Rev. Ryan Erickson.  According to authorities, Erickson, a pedophile priest who murdered two men – Daniel O’Connell and his 22-year-old intern James Ellison – on 5 February 2002 in Hudson, Wisc., to squelch a child sex allegation before committing suicide.  In a mandated audit of accused priests, a top aide to Fliss said the bishop was not obligated to contact the police about Erickson, who was identified as a child predator long before his murderous rampage.

Rev. Ryan Erickson
Fliss sheltered the killer and then denied culpability even as the paper trail led directly to his doorstep.  Fliss now represents the worst of this hoodlum bunch: his name is synonymous with barbarism.  But does the cover-up that led to murder outweigh the cover-up of thousands of sex crimes committed by pedophile priests? 

The actions of men like Daily and Fliss are calculated, malignant, and devastating. The actions of the American bishops borders on child trafficking and all that the term implies.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes
The Roman poet Juvenal asks:  Who will protect us from the guardians of social mores?  Certainly not you Bishop Gaydos, or any other member of your troupe, catering to the Knights of Columbus.  This record of dismal failure speaks for itself.

But the Knights of Columbus are now complicit in pedophile priest scandal.

Why have the Knights of Columbus acquiesced in this matter?  We have no answer.  But we do hope that EWTN will continue to expose the backroom antics of the American hierarchy and those who support their criminal agenda.  We hope, too, that the viewers will come to recognize these scenes for what they are:  money changers in the Temple, laughing all the way to the bank.

Inflated Charity Claims
Another troubling aspect about the Knights of Columbus chief executive Carl A. Anderson praised the conventioneers by offering inflated statistics earmarking charitable work.  Anderson told the agents and television audience that his organization bills volunteer support at $21 per hour, generating fantastic claims of charitable giving.  We would like to know the ratio of overhead to funds earmarked for these charities. 

We suspect as little as 10 percent of the total claim actually reaches those in need; leaving the balance to pay salaries, benefits, and executive perks.  We suspect that the Knights of Columbus business plan is comparable to that of the American Red Cross at the time the chicanery of its senior management was exposed in 2007.

The leadership of the Knights of Columbus-Iowa continues their
uncritical association with the bishops of Iowa implicated in
the pedophile priest scandal in their state.  The tainted Iowa
executives are (top row, left to right): Michael P. Laake, State
Deputy Director; Joseph A. Ramirez, State Secretary, and
Lawrence G. Mayer, State Treasurer. The miscreant bishops are
(bottom row, left to right): Archbishop Jerome Hanus, OSB, Dubuque;
Bishop Richard E. Pates, Des Moines; and Bishop Martin J. Amos,
Davenport.  Davenport disbursed
$37 million to 156 claimants
molested by 24 priests and then filed bankruptcy in 2008.
paid $5 million to 20 survivors victimized by pedophile priests
over the last 50 years.  Bishop R. Walker Nickless remains a cipher
in the current phase of pedophile priest scandal, although his
predecessor, Bishop Lawrence Soens is the central figure
in the Iowa settlements.

It is a mystery how the Knight of Columbus determined that the average volunteer is worth $21 an hour, unless they are using executive compensation as a rule.  Nonetheless we suspect that the true figure to 66 percent less.  We also suspect that very little of the amounts claim actually go to charity, based on the extravagance of the convention on display at EWTN.

Money aside, the most troubling aspect of the Knights of Columbus Corporation’s event is the coziness of the executives and agents with the feral clergymen sharing the dais.

  St. Peter’s Square:  The Knights of Columbus leadership in Rome.

The leadership roll-call unveiled the shadowy relationship of the executive management with the opportunistic thugs masquerading as ordained priests.  We were appalled to see so many bishops publicly identified as crime bosses rubbing shoulders with businessmen who should know better.

You, Rigali, Szoka, Burke, Daily, Fliss, Lori and others paraded before the cameras as guiding lights of the faithful.  You and your colleagues, in fact, are among the most irresponsible leaders of the modern church era.  You are career criminals who have volunteered to protect child predators en masse.  You have not been coerced in this matter.  Your actions are not cultural or religious responses to crimes against children and vulnerable.  You have demonstrated an intentional lack of discipline and leadership to circumvent law and order.  You have tolerated crimes against children, ignoring all avenues of justice, condemnation, and punishment.

HyVee Coddles Child Molesters
  Richard N. Jurgens
The Knights of Columbus Corporation has
used it non-profit status to co-opt and compromise would-be supporters.  HyVee,
the Iowa based grocery chain, for example, allows the Knights of Columbus to solicit donations at various locations locally and in Missouri.  HyVee executives, apparently,
have failed to vet the Knights of Columbus as an international financial services enterprise.

The Knights of Columbus is not the
volunteer fire department or the community lending library.  The Knights of the Columbus is not the enterprising Girl Scout who is able to stake a claim at the storefront to sell cookies by the volume.  The Knights of Columbus is not the local dog pound offering abandoned pets for adoption.

What the Knights of Columbus, by virtue of their inability to stand up to the racketeering tactics employed by the American bishops to protect pedophile priests, have done is tar HyVee as an organization that coddles child molesters.  HyVee, for that matter, should be well aware of its association with the Knights of Columbus, particularly in a state like Iowa. 

HyVee executives understand that Iowa is awash with the problems regarding the size of its sex offender population in this this state and the lack of housing and living standards as these men struggle to find a place to live after serving time in prison and flock to rural motels and trailer parks that dot the rolling hills documented in the artwork of Grant Wood.  HyVee’s reputation as a family-friendly company, as a result could be in jeopardy.

Next Time: Rev. Manus P. Daly and a Boy's Life

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