The canon lawyer who handled the Father Murphy case in Milwaukee in the ‘90s, Rev. Thomas Brundage, debunks the NY Times and AP articles about it, including the alleged quashing of his church trial and the role they say the Vatican played in that.
With regard to the inaccurate reporting on behalf of the New York Times, the Associated Press, and those that utilized these resources [including Chi Trib and Sun-Times], first of all, I was never contacted by any of these news agencies but they felt free to quote me.
Almost all of my quotes are from a document that can be found online with the correspondence between the Holy See and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. In an October 31, 1997 handwritten document, I am quoted as saying ‘odds are that this situation may very well be the most horrendous, number wise, and especially because these are physically challenged , vulnerable people. “ Also quoted is this: “Children were approached within the confessional where the question of circumcision began the solicitation.”
The problem with these statements attributed to me is that they were handwritten. The documents were not written by me and do not resemble my handwriting. The syntax is similar to what I might have said but I have no idea who wrote these statements, yet I am credited as stating them.
As a college freshman at the Marquette University School of Journalism, we were told to check, recheck, and triple check our quotes if necessary. I was never contacted by anyone on this document, written by an unknown source to me. Discerning truth takes time and it is apparent that the New York Times, the Associated Press and others did not take the time to get the facts correct. [italics added]
The rest of his article in The Catholic Anchor, of Anchorage, Alaska, severely undercuts the claim that the present pope, Benedict XVI, had anything to do with the matter. The case was never quashed, but Murphy died a defendant.
Moreover, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which Benedict, then Cardinal Ratzinger, headed, did not handle abuse cases until a few years after Murphy died.
[T]he competency to hear cases of sexual abuse of minors shifted from the Roman Rota to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith headed by Cardinal Ratzinger in 2001. Until that time, most appeal cases went to the Rota and it was our experience that cases could languish for years in this court.
When the competency was changed to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in my observation as well as many of my canonical colleagues, sexual abuse cases were handled expeditiously, fairly, and with due regard to the rights of all the parties involved. I have no doubt that this was the work of then Cardinal Ratzinger.
Major knockdown here of major Catholic scandal story.
More: Here’s a recent report, by Catholic News Service, of the 2001 switch of abuse cases to CDF:
On March 27, the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, ran the full texts of two landmark documents that in 2001 placed the sexual abuse of minors by priests among the most grave sins, and established that allegations be handled by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then headed by Cardinal Ratzinger.