By Colonel Mike Angley
I am a lifelong Roman Catholic. I was raised in an old Italian neighborhood in Newark, NJ, attended St. Lucy’s church, went through Catechism there, and I recall the Latin mass in crystal clear verses.
A few years ago, I visited my old neighborhood and went back to St. Lucy’s. Everything flooded back in my memory as a child there. The incense smells, the colorful ornate windows, and the numerous statues that line it so marvelously.
These are good memories for me and part of the reason I have cherished my faith and my affiliation with the church all my life. Not everyone can claim to have such a wonderful Catholic experience, however.
When priests rape children, my heart aches along with Christ’s. I am never silent about it, no matter how much a local priest may exhort the parish to forgive and move on.
The recent Pennsylvania grand jury report of the widespread, systemic, organized, massive-scale assaults upon children by Catholic clergy for decades on end is over the top. The toll is staggering: 1,000 victims, 300 clergy, over 7 decades. Countless lives shattered.
The abuse itself was bad enough, but the grand jury revealed the church leadership – bishops, cardinals — was involved in covering up the crimes. They moved priests around in a sophisticated shell game to ensure statutes of limitation would run out and that few were ever held accountable.
The grand jury investigation also revealed the church had a playbook containing, “mechanisms for shielding accused priests from legitimate punishment, including:”
- Using euphemisms for the sexual assaults. “Never say ‘rape’; say ‘inappropriate contact’ or ‘boundary issues.'”
- Choosing fellow clergy members, not unbiased professionals to “ask inadequate questions and then make credibility determinations about the colleagues with whom they live and work.”
- “For an appearance of integrity, send priests for ‘evaluation’ at church -run psychiatric treatment centers,” as the priest’s diagnosis would be mostly based on his own “‘self -reports,’ regardless of whether the priest had actually engaged in sexual contact with a child.”
- To completely conceal any wrongdoing even if the priest is removed, “don’t say why. Tell his parishioners that he is on “sick leave,” or suffering from ‘nervous exhaustion.’ Or say nothing at all.”
- “Even if a priest is raping children, keep providing him housing and living expenses, although he may be using these resources to facilitate more sexual assaults.”
- If a predator’s conduct becomes known to the community, don’t remove him from the priesthood to ensure that no more children will be victimized. Instead, transfer him to a new location where no one will know he is a child abuser.”
- “Finally and above all, don’t tell the police,” though sexual abuse of minors is a universally punishable crime, “don’t treat it that way; handle it like a personnel matter, ‘in house,'” the text said, according to the report.
Such a playbook does not come about from remorseful, contrite hearts, the likes of which the very same church leadership demands parishioners approach Christ with, ready to seek reconciliation.
These are the words and instructions of evil men. They would rather create more victims of assault than to embarrass the church through accountability.
I wonder how many victims from the pool of 1,000 souls would have been saved from abuse had the church NOT had such instructions in place.
We cannot simply forgive and forget, and I think it’s time for the federal government to consider Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) charges against those engaged in the molestation and its cover-up. That the church has become corrupt should not be in doubt when one considers the playbook rules, above.
When you layer on top of that the systematic, orchestrated, organized – and successful – shell game the church leadership used to move priests around to run out the clock on the statute of limitations, then I believe a case for racketeering can be made. It is as much a form of organized crime as a mafia syndicate for which the RICO Act came about.
I love God. I love my faith. I love being a Catholic. But I hate the men and women who have corrupted my church to the point that it no longer can be trusted to protect the most vulnerable among us.
Christ said two things that come to mind as I have prayed over this tragic news.
“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name welcomes Me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in Me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Matthew 18:5-6.
“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” Matthew 22:21.
In other words, Christ understood that even a secular government has the right to govern as it sees fit and that men are still bound by those laws. It is time for Attorney General Sessions and the FBI to step in and investigate the abuse and its cover-up as federal RICO statute violations and to prosecute those involved. Christ would approve.
I don’t care if indictments snare deacons, priests, bishops, cardinals or even the Pope himself (yes, it has been alleged he knew of abuse and did nothing) if their hands are dirty in this. I will gladly tie the millstone around their necks.
Colonel Michael (“Mike”) Angley is retired from the United States Air Force, a published thriller author, and a conservative writer who fashions himself as Attila the Hun with a laptop. Mike wrote for Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government and Big Peace blogs before the Breitbart consolidation, receiving superb feedback and kudos for typically weaving in pop culture references with his far right perspectives. He enjoys writing about military affairs, national security issues, and politics and is an avid Second Amendment advocate. When he’s not writing, he’s busy annoying liberals with FaceBook posts and Twitter tweets that point out the obvious flaws and fallacies of the left.
During his 26-year USAF career, the Colonel was a Special Agent with the Office of Special Investigations (OSI). The OSI is a sister agency to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and has an identical mission that includes felony-level criminal, fraud, and narcotics investigations as well as counterintelligence and counterterrorism operations. His USAF experiences spanned multiple regions around the globe with five command assignments and duties at foreign, regional, theater and national levels.
He is a seasoned counterintelligence and counterespionage officer from the Cold War era, and if you ask him he’ll tell you the spy-vs-spy days were indeed the heady, glory era of espionage. During the latter half of his career he focused on counterterrorism missions in the Middle East and the Far East and operationalized many of today’s concepts for this unique arena while working the sand dunes of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and a few other “choice” locations. When Colonel Angley retired in 2007, he was a Senior Supervisory Special Agent and was in command of all worldwide OSI matters at Air Force Space Command in Colorado Springs, CO.
Mike Angley is also a published, award-winning author of three thriller novels in the “Child Finder” trilogy. His debut novel, “Child Finder,” received a glowing review from the Library Journal which placed it on its Summer Reading list in 2009. “Child Finder” and its companion sequel novels all won various awards from the Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) and the Public Safety Writers Association. In 2012, Mike was named MWSA’s “Author of the Year,” largely for work on his third novel, “Child Finder: Revelation.”
As an avid user of social media, Mike can be found and friended on Facebook (mike.angley) and followed on Twitter (@MikeAngley). His website is www.mikeangley.com. Following his USAF retirement, Mike and his family stayed in Colorado Springs, CO where they enjoy daily, majestic views of Pikes Peak and the Rocky Mountains.