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Deaf Survivors Outraged By Silence On Pope Benedict’s Role In Covering Up Abuse PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ending Clergy Abuse, Sarah Pearson   
Tuesday, 10 January 2023 15:05

pope-benedict-2010Deaf survivors of Father Lawrence Murphy outraged by Listecki’s silence on Pope Benedict’s role in covering up abuse of over 200 deaf children to hold press conference prior to public memorial in Milwaukee.

MILWAUKEE - On Tuesday, January 10th, Archbishop Jerome Listecki will preside over a public memorial service honoring the late Pope Benedict. Last August, Listecki celebrated a similar public service for former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland. Both men were directly involved in the cover-up of child sex crimes throughout their careers that impacted the lives of thousands of Milwaukee survivors and their families.

Benedict, to varying degrees, worked with three Milwaukee archbishops who both concealed and shielded abusive clergy. The most notorious of these cases is undoubtedly that of Father Lawrence Murphy, who admitted to former Archbishop Weakland that he raped and sexually assaulted over 200 deaf children while operating St. John’s School for the Deaf. In a 1998 letter, Weakland wrote that he worked with Pope Benedict, then Cardinal Ratzinger in Rome, to “protect Murphy’s good name” by concealing his criminal activity from the public. As head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith at the time, Ratzinger ruled that Murphy would remain a priest. Weakland explained, “so far we have succeeded in preserving his reputation.” In 2010, this became a global headline when documents and evidence concerning Father Murphy, Archbishop Weakland, and Cardinal Ratzinger were delivered to the New York Times.

The case of Father Murphy was not the only direct impact Benedict had on the Milwaukee Archdiocese. When the Milwaukee Archdiocese filed bankruptcy for roughly 8,000 incidents of child sexual abuse, Benedict approved a widely-considered fraudulent transfer of $60 million dollars at the request of then Milwaukee Archbishop, Cardinal Timothy Dolan. According to a secret letter to the Vatican, Dolan initiated the transfer to avoid compensating victims by US courts.

Benedict appointed current Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki before resigning from the papacy in 2013. Listecki has openly refused to cooperate with a statewide clergy abuse investigation launched by Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul in April 2021. Thus far, it appears as though Attorney General Kaul has failed to compel Wisconsin’s Catholic dioceses and religious orders to comply with his investigation by sharing documents and evidence related to clergy sexual abuse and cover-up with the Wisconsin Department of Justice. It is likely that copies of many of these documents, including those concerning cases overseen by Pope Benedict, exist in the Vatican’s archives.


The press conference will be held Tuesday, January 10, 2023, 4:45pm.

WHERE: Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, 831 N Van Buren St, Milwaukee, WI

WHAT: A press conference outside the Memorial Mass for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI featuring childhood photos of abuse survivors and a special visual memorial for survivors of Father Lawrence Murphy and their families

WHO: Survivors of clergy sexual abuse including deaf survivors of Father Murphy

Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 January 2023 15:36
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