During an audience of Pope Paul VI in 1977The Roman Catholic clerical abuse saga continues to grow worse for the Church and the Vatican. CBS News reports on a letter which had been sent to then-Pope Paul VI in 1963 advising the removal of pedophile priests (locally cached image):

The head of a Roman Catholic order that specialized in the treatment of pedophile priests visited with the then-pope nearly 50 years ago and followed up with a letter recommending the removal of pedophile priests from ministry, according to a copy of the letter released Wednesday.

In the Aug. 27, 1963 letter, the head of the New Mexico-based Servants of the Holy Paraclete tells the pope he recommends removing pedophile priests from active ministry and strongly urges defrocking repeat offenders.

The letter, written by the Rev. Gerald M.C. Fitzgerald, appears to have been drafted at the request of the pope and summarizes Fitzgerald’s thoughts on problem priests after his Vatican visit.

One would expect that the Pope — having requested the advice — would then have taken it. The Roman Catholic hierarchy, of course, is denying that Paul VI even saw the letter, so he hadn’t been warned. Even so, it’s documentary evidence that someone within the Church, with knowledge of the issue, had tried to inform the Vatican of its extent:

“It [the letter] shows without a shadow of a doubt that … how pervasive the problem was was communicated to the pope. He was able to share with him their knowledge of how pervasive this problems was, how destructive this problem was,” [abuse victims’ attorney Tony] DeMarco said.

In an additional news item which is not really news, the Vatican continues to complain that newspapers — especially the New York Times — have dared to report factual information about the Church:

The Vatican’s top doctrinal official, Cardinal William Levada, specifically called out the New York Times for coverage he called “deficient by any reasonable standards of fairness.” The pope, he said, is owed a debt of gratitude for introducing needed reforms.

Translation from Vaticans-speak: Waaah waah wah waaaah wah!

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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