4 APRIL 29.2005
www.houstonvoice.con* HOUSTON VOICE
Lawsuit claims conspiracy by Pope when he was a cardinal
LAWSUIT, continued from Page 1
In a report by KPRC-TV Channel 2 on
Tuesday, the attorney for the plaintiffs
told a federal judge during a hearing
that the pope in 2001 sought to cover up
cases involving the sexual abuse of children by pedophile priests.
The plaintiffs, who claim they are victims of the church's sex scandal, say that
a letter written by then-Cardinal Joseph
Ratzinger as instructions to bishops from
the Congregation for the Doctrine of
Faith, is proof that he conspired to keep
claims of sex abuse secret.
The men are suing the Archdiocese of
Galveston-Houston and Archbishop
Their attorney, Daniel Shea, argued
Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Lee
Rosenthal that Pope Benedict XVI was
among those who sought to cover up the
child sex abuse scandal in the church.
"We believe, actually, that the current
pope, when he was head of the
Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith,
was actively involved in that conspiracy,"
The letter in question, written in 2001,
was sent to bishops of the Catholic
Church and says, "cases of this kind are
subject to the pontifical secret."
The attorney for the plaintiffs is arguing that "pontifical secret" means that the
bishops were being told not to tell anyone
Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza of Houston said the
plaintiffs in a court case do not understand the
meaning of a letter written by Pope Benedict XVI
when he was a cardinal.
about cases of child sex abuse that were
brought to their attention.
Officials of the Archdiocese of
Galveston-Houston have argued that "pontifical secret" refers to matters within the
church and not to whether or not a
pedophile priest would be reported to
In a statement, Archbishop Joseph
Fiorenza explains "pontifical secret" this
way, "These matters are confidential only
to the procedures within the Church, but
do not preclude in any way for these matters to be brought to civil authorities for
proper legal adjudication. The Charter for
the Protection of Children and Young
People of June, 2002, approved by the
Vatican, requires that credible allegations
of sexual abuse of children be reported to
Fiorenza went on to say, "On May 18,
2001, the Congregation for the
Doctrine of the Faith sent a letter to
the Catholic Bishops of the World concerning certain grave violations of
Canon Law in the celebrations of the
sacraments and against morals. When
these violations occur they are to be
referred to the Congregation for the
Doctrine of the Faith."
The archbishop said there is no insinuation that breeches of law should be kept
secret from law enforcement officials.
"To insinuate that this letter from the
Congregation for the Faith is part of a
Vatican conspiracy is a total and complete
misunderstanding of the purpose of the
letter," Fiorenza said. "It is beyond belief
that someone would try to interpret this
Church document as a conspiracy."
The lawsuit accuses Juan Carlos
Patino-Arango, who in 19% was studying
for the priesthood at St. Mary's Seminary
in Houston and serving in a local parish,
of molesting the three plaintiffs when
they were aged 11,12 and 13.
Annette Gonzales Taylor, spokesperson
for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston,
said when the (then) Diocese of Houston
Galveston was informed of the alleged
molestation, proper steps were taken.
"As soon as the diocese learned of the
allegations, (the seminarian) was removed
from the parish," she said.
She said a call was made to Children's
Protective Services, and an investigation
"We held this young man at the seminary," she said.
When police informed diocese officials
that no charges were being filed, Taylor
said, Patino-Arango was expelled from the
seminary and released.
"It was our understanding he was going
back home to Colombia," she said. "We
have had no contact with him."
She added that Bishop Fiorenza notified the bishop in the area of Colombia
where the seminarian lived that he had
been accused of child sex abuse but that
no charges had been filed.
Last year, the case was officially
reopened, and on May 21, 2004, Patino-
Arango was indicted by a Harris County
grand jury on a felony charge of indecency with a child. In court documents, his
home was listed as Tampa, Fla.
The suit against the church was filed in
June of 2004.
Resurrection MCC Board of Directors' Statement
Regarding Talton Amendment to SB6
The Board of Directors of Resurrection Metropolitan Community
Church of Houston, TX strongly opposes the Talton amendment
to SB6, the Texas Legislature's bill designed to overhaul the
child protective services system in the state.
The amendment, included in the bill passed by the
House of Representatives on April 19, 2005, bans same-sex
couples from serving as foster parents.
The Board opposes the amendment because it jeopardizes
children in the currently overloaded foster care system, puts
at risk children who are most vulnerable in the system
(i.e. those who are older, minority or have special needs),
consumes state financial resources that could be
more productively used elsewhere and is discriminatory.
Rather than strengthening families and communities this
amendment destroys the fabric of family and community life.
We encourage all fair-minded citizens to let their voices be heard
by contacting their state representatives and senators
with their opposition to th&Talton amendment to SB6.
METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CHURCH
2025 W. 11th St. - Houston, TX 77008 - 713-861-9149
Just because the state
does not recognize it.
Does not mean you can't.
We Create the Unusual
2511 Sunset Blvd. (near Kirby)
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