The Diocese of Jefferson City

A Case Study of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Childproof 35: Conclave or Coven — Former St. Louis Prelates Taint Papal Process as Cardinal-Electors

 
 
 
Page 35
 
Dear Bishop Gaydos:
 
Two of your patrons and one of your protégés from the Archdiocese of St. Louis will participate in the conclave — or coven — that convenes March 12 in Vatican City.  In fact, this convocation marks another phase in the development of the pedophile culture imbued in the management of the Roman Catholic Church worldwide.
 
The child abuse mindset is well-represented by the man who engineered your appointment 15 years ago as Bishop of Jefferson City:  Justin Cardinal Rigali, archbishop of St. Louis for nearly a decade (1994-2003) and now archbishop emeritus of Philadelphia, P.A. (2003-2012);  Rigali’s successor, Raymond Cardinal Burke (2003-2008), your former boss, who, now, works as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostalic Signatura (i.e. chief justice of the Vatican Supreme Court); and Timothy Cardinal Dolan, whom Burke appointed as auxiliary bishops (2001-2002), and, who, then, was promoted as archbishop of Milwaukee, Wisc. (2002-2009), before moving on to the archdiocese of New York, N.Y.  We would be remiss if we did not state that Dolan is one of your many a protégés stemming from your St. Louis tenure as chancellor and vocation director.
 
This trio of St. Louis Cardinals has skillfully managed the pedophile priest scandal to point of muffling the sexual molestation scandal altogether.  Their combined record as accomplices is documented in previous posts here as well as other media forums.
 
The St. Louis Cardinals (left to right):  Justin F. Rigali, archbishop-emeritus of
Philadelphia; Timothy M Dolan, Archbishop of New York; and Raymond L. Burke,
head of the Vatican City court system.  Rigali was archbishop of St. Louis
(
1994-2003), followed by Burke (2003-2008).  Each helped Dolan to mold his
career in preparation for his current job.  Their personal and career histories,
though, reveal them to be the Three Weird Sisters of the 2013 conclave to elect
a new pope.  This photograph, dated 17 February 2012, does little to dispel the
idea established by Shakespeare in his tragedy of McBeth: 
“Fair is foul, and foul
is fair: Hover through the fog and filthy air.”

 
Rigali and Burke, for example, are responsible for transforming the Missouri archdiocese into a haven for predatory priests.  Together, they developed two residential “treatment facilities” for ordained sexual predators near Dittmer:  private sanctuaries for spoiled priests. 
 
Rev. Bertin Miller, O.F.M.
Executive Director
Wound Brothers Project/
RECON
Rigali allowed a Franciscan priest, the Rev. Bertin Miller, O.F.M., to transform Evergreen Hills, the boy’s ranch he operated for homeless and abandoned youths, as the Wounded Brothers Project, or RECON, Inc.  The newly reorganized business venture opened in 1993 on the 280-acre wooded property between Robertsville and Dittmer
in eastern Franklin County. 
 
 
Miller, 76, appears to have little expertise
in this area with the exception of billing
himself as a proponent of restorative
justice.  He also has been able improve
his socio-economic status:  gross receipts
for “services performed” at RECON jumped
to almost $600,000 in 2002 from $234,000
in 1999, enabling Miller to almost doubled
his salary to $71,500 (so much for his vow
of poverty).  In 2006, the Knights of Columbus
chapter in House Springs, Mo., honored Miller
as a 30-year member of the organization.  Miller
also claims to be the chaplain of the Jefferson
County Sheriff’s Department, according to his
Linked-In profile.
 
In 2002, with Dolan’s help, Burke expanded the archdiocesan pedophile priest program by establishing a second facility.  Burke allowed the Servants of Paraclete to establish the St. John Vianney Renewal Center, approximately six miles from RECON, in Franklin County.  On its website, the archdiocese classifies this “ecclesiastical prison” as a retreat center .
 
The Paracletes transferred their business operations and wards to Missouri after closing their flagship facility in Jemez Springs, N.M., also in 2002. The Rev. Peter Lechner, S.P., is executive director of the program and is the fifth Servant General, elected in 1999.  The Rev. Liam Hoare, S.P., manages the Dittmer facility. 
 
In 2004 the Servants tried to expand their 10-acre Vianney facility to 226 acres off Wade Road in far northwestern Jefferson County.  But county residents protested, and the priests scrapped the project.
 
The Archdiocese of Santa Fe was subsequently the target of 187 sexual abuse cases. Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan expelled 20 priests after he took over the archdiocese in 1993.  Later that year, the Servants of the Paracletes agreed to pay $5.6 million to settle cases of childhood sexual abuse that occurred after a priest had left their treatment center.  When the entire center closed for good in May, five priests were moved to the order’s rural Missouri facility.
 
At its peak, the Paracletes congregation expanded to operate a total of 23 facilities. In the U.S., these included the original center at Jemez Springs, N.M. as well as facilities in Dittmer and Nevis, Minn.  In addition, the order opened centers in Italy, England, Scotland, France, Africa, South America, and the Philippines.  The Jemez Springs property is now the corporate office and training facility for the order.
 
Although Burke is now a Vatican City bureaucrat, he remains the RuPaul of the College of Cardinals.  His passion for ecclesiastical dress-up knows no bounds.  He seems never to consider the cost of his habit or the added expense to his public image or reputation. 
 
Burke remains the archetype of the criminal accomplice:  a dandified Church careerist who achieved success by protecting child molesters.  He is an avaricious clergyman with a gluttonous appetite for money as we witnessed in his attempt to steal the treasury of St. Stanislaus Kostka (in 2005 the parishs total assets, including its eight acre parcel, was valued at $9.5 million).
 
Dowager Empress:  As with the last empress of China, Burke maintains an unnatural
fetish for fine fabrics.  The estimated cost of the garments and accessories worn by
Burke and his altar boys:  $8,000, cloth-of-gold mitre; $1,400, embroidered gloves;
$1,200, slippers; $12,000, chasuble; $10,000, dalmatics for deacons’ $20,000, ring
(some estimates at$4,000); $30,0000 pectoral cross (some estimates at $7,000).
The minimum cost of clothing for these made-to-order accoutrements is in excess
of $40,000.  Ars Regia and Gammerelli’s are the premier episcopal purveyors
in Rome.
 
Rigali, Burke, Dolan continue to make legal news today: 
 
n  Rigali, 77, remains the focus of criminal inquiries in Philadelphia, regarding the child molestation that has affected the 1.5 million Catholics in the Pennsylvania diocese.  The scope of the crimes described in grand jury testimony:  details that damaged his credibility severely.  But Rigali has remained true to type:  lessons learned as a Vatican insider and programs implemented in St. Louis.  As one critic has noted:  Those grand jury reports have reframed Philadelphia in the first decade of the 21st century as the place where the sex-abuse crisis played out and in that, Rigali failed.”
 
n  Burke, 65, is an an episcopal sycophant reminiscent of the last empress of China: Tzu-his.  Burke feeds his fetish for silken lamé, lace, and other fancy dress for the sanctuary.  He believes that his costume dramas at the altar and tableau vivant religious services are enough to make the faithful forget the crises he has manufactured throughout his career. 
 
Burke was whisked out of St. Louis to Vatican CityWe only need to review the record of Dolan, who functioned as Burke’s attack dog to peek under the skirts of this bad actor.
 
n  Dolan, 63, defended assiduously some of the most notorious child predators working for the Archdiocese of St. Louis.  We will again name three:  the Rev. Gary P. Wolken, the Rev. Michael Campbell, and the Rev. Bryan Kuchar .  Dolan, as auxiliary bishop, requested that Campbell and Wolken share his rectory with Campbell serving as his private confessor.
 
n  As the leader of the Milwaukee archdiocese, Dolan had no qualms in 2003 about the early retirement program he established for identified pedophile priests.  He hoped to tempt those implicated in the child molestation scandal to accept a $20,000 payout knowing that most of these predatory priests were earning $60,000 (est.) as employees of a large urban church.  Only a handful accepted the golden parachute.  
 
n  Dolan was deposed 20 February 2013 in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.  The federal judge in the case, Susan V. Kelley, wants Dolan to explain his rationale as archbishop of Milwaukee for the unseemly transfer of $57 million in cash to the Catholic Cemetery Perpetual Care Trust, a trust account that Dolan created in 2007; and $35 million in cash to the so-called Wisconsin Catholic Parishes Investment Management Trust, an investment fund.
 
The $35 million orginally appeared as a line item called the Parish Deposit Fund on the archdiocese’s financial statements until 2005, when Dolan closed the account.  At that time, Dolan gave the parishes the option of getting their money back or placing it in the newly created Southeastern Wisconsin Catholic Parishes Investment Management Trust.
 
Court documents indicate that Judge Kelley admonished the Dolan’s attempt to hide these assets — a plan engineered by Dolan before being transferred to New York.  Kelley said “arguably there was something ‘fishy’ about the transfer” at a time when the archdiocese was being sued for sexual abuse by priests and had started a mediation program for survivors.  Judge Kelley also rejected attempts by the Church’s Chapter 11 reorganization to shield assets of a Catholic Cemetery Perpetual Care Trust from creditors.
 
And Judge Kelley ruled that taking funds the Archdiocese of Milwaukee set aside for cemetery operations to help settle its bankruptcy debts would not hinder its free exercise of religion under the First Amendment and a 1993 federal law aimed at protecting religious freedom.
 
Victims of clergy sexual abuse have alleged fraud in the funds transfer to avoid settling 575 claims involved in the settlement phase of the scandalous trial.
 
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee recently said it is going broke.  Its legal and other fees have reached nearly $9 million, according to court records.
 
n  When Dolan consecrated as archbishop of Milwaukee, he did not hesitate to exonerate hispredecessor, Rembert Weakland, who, in 2002, was exposed in his own sex scandal and using Church funds to settle a sexual assault case ($450,000).  The spectacle of the two men embracing for the Kiss of Peace at the altar was as sensational as it was callous. 
 
n  Despite its shady bankruptcy attempt, the Milwaukee archdiocese has not hesitated to memorialize Weakland’s disgraceful tenure as archbishop.  In 2011, a large-scale bas-relief cast in gilt bronze was installed in the narthex of St. John’s Cathedral.  The $100,000 sculpture cites Weakland as a protector of children and represents a renewal to mask the sexual exploitation of the vulnerable by clergymen.
 
And, yet, Dolan does not hesitate to blame others for the clergy sex abuse scandals in Milwaukee and St. Louis. 
 
Only last week, Dolan admonished Christiane Amanpour that the events in Milwaukee pre-existed his tenure and that he played no role in those events during a February 28 interview with CNN.
 
“There are certain groups that are never going to be happy” with the Vatican’s response to the sexual molestation scandal, he said.
 
“We could go back decades and decades and decades of this nauseating abuse,” Cardinal Dolan said. “Or we can say ‘mea culpa’ for that, we have learned from it, and now — thanks be to God — there is a rigor and a renewal and a responsibility in the Church that is laudable and exemplary.”
 
We have noted consistently in this digital commentary that the Roman Catholic hierarchy in pre-disposed to not correct the pedophile culture that is now revealed to be a foundational benchmark.  The fact that Dolan, Rigali, and Burke can cast a ballot for the next pontiff is a sad commentary on this crisis of faith . . . Dolan’s gratuitous protestations aside.
 
As for the survivors of clergy sexual abuse, we can paraphrase Lady Deborah Slane, the central character in Vita Sackville-West’s novel, All Passion Spent:
 
“At their center they have this stone of honesty.  They’re simply determined to be true to the things that matter.  They are not useless members of society.  They act as leaven.  But the leaven takes a long time to work, and even then it only works among people who are more or less of the same mind.  But more people are really of the same mind than you would believe.  They take a great deal of trouble to conceal it, and only a crisis calls it out.”
 
 
Next Time:  Mahony, George, Levada Join the St. Louis Cardinals in Selection a New Pope
 
 
 

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