HR or Criminal Issue? Moving Abusive Priests Between Parishes

With so many clergy abuse scandals in the news these days, finding new ways to cover the stories may become challenging. Here’s one angle that might help.

While the St Paul Archdiocese has been busy denying covering for abusive priests within their ranks, the Duluth Diocese has gotten around to admitting that a priest within their ranks, Rev. Cornelius Kelleher, sexually abused a female minor in Chisholm between 1975 – 1986.

The article mentions that he served the following parishes before retiring:

St. James, Duluth, MN
St. Joseph, Crosby, MN
Holy Family, Eveleth, MN
St. Mary, Cook, MN
St. Bridget, Greaney, MN
St. Benedict, Duluth, MN
St. Joseph, Gnesen, MN
St. Joseph, Lakewood, MN
St. Joseph, Chisholm, MN
St. Andrew, Brainerd, MN
St. Patrick, Hinckley, MN
St. Joseph, Beroun, MN

It doesn’t mention those are in chronological order. But, it seem clear that this priest was moved around a significant number of times over vast distances during his career. I mapped the locations to get a better feel for this:

Parishes Rev. Cornelius Kelleher Served

Visualizations like this, together with timelines of which parishes the abusive priest served, where he was before, and where he went next, might help illustrate how abusive priests were reassigned rather than charged with crimes. The Duluth News Tribune report mentions that Kelleher worked in Hinkley and Beroun in 2000. But, it’s not clear from the report if Kelleher was reassigned 120 miles to the south after his time abusing a female minor in Chisholm, or if he had other stops along the way.

It would also be interesting if a reporter was able to get their hands on the employment history of an entire archdiocese over a generation, then screen for the most moved priests. For example, were there priests that started out in large parishes who ended up being bounced around through small towns? Why did that happen? Perhaps you’d stumble across some “fixer” priests who’s job it is to clean up after priest scandals? If so, you could look up who they followed and start asking questions.

I think the data would reveal in even greater detail that there are systemic problems with how abusive priests are dealt with by church leaders. When the #2 guy at the St Paul archdiocese abruptly retires, you know things are a mess. But, we don’t truly understand the scope of the coverups at this point.

The Pope Goes Soft on Dead Babies

There used to be a time when the Catholic church was bad ass and took no prisoners. For example, there was a time when babies who died before they were baptized would be stuck in a special place between heaven and hell called “Limbo” for eternity. Tough luck little ones. That’s the way the Catholic church rolled.

This went on for something like 800 years. Think about how many babies we’re talking about. It has to be in the millions just from Catholic families. Throw in all the babies who died to non-Catholic families and we’re talking about standing room only for dead infants in limbo-land.

So, when did this obscene time in the Catholic church finally come to an end? Well, it hasn’t. It still with us today. But, it looks like Ben 16 is going to go soft on infants:

Unbaptized Infants Released From Limbo

April 24, 2007 — Limbo, the state between heaven and hell where almost eight centuries of traditional Roman Catholic teaching consigned the virtuous but unbaptized, is expected to be abandoned soon by Pope Benedict XVI.

The only one entitled to sanction the limbo’s abolition, the Pope has blessed a 41-page report of the International Theological Commission, titled, “The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized.”Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

What’s the deal here? Did God tell Ben on poker night, “how about letting up on the unbaptized infants, Ben. And pass the pretzels.” Or have unbaptized infants formed a 501c3 non-profit to educate Catholics about limbo along with an independent PAC where they can throw campaign money at issues like this?

My biggest worry is that this is the start of a slippery slope leading to more humane treatment of other humans as well. Can you imagine living in a world where women have the right to hold the same positions in the Catholic church as men? Or a church that recognized lifetime commitments between people of the same sex?

You heard it here first: giving rights to unbaptized dead infants hurts traditional bigoted values in the Catholic church. It’s just a matter of time.

Are Brazillian Catholics Catholic Enough?

Not by American or Vatican standards:

Brazil vows to install condom machines in schools

BRASILIA: Brazil’s health ministry have vowed to proceed with plans to put condom vending machines in schools and sought to defuse criticism with a new study showing that parents in the world’s largest Roman Catholic nation approve of the idea.