According to a translation from Lori Pieper, a professional translator who writes at the blog “On Pilgrimage,” the memo’s paragraph four in fact says that Archbishop Weakland compared Fr. Murphy to a “difficult child.” The archbishop undertook to seek a “declaration of repentance” from him, not to have him declared “impeded from ministry.”
While the Milwaukee translation indicates that the priest had not yet been examined psychologically, the memo says that all three psychologists who examined him believed him to be a “typical” pedophile who “considers himself a victim.”
The Pieper translation says that CDF Under-Secretary Fr. Gianfranco Girotti repeated that the priest “will have to give clear signs of penitence” or officials will “have to have recourse to a trial.”
The Milwaukee translation excluded Archbishop Bertone’s proposal that the priest be ordered to a time of spiritual retreat to understand whether his penitence is genuine. If not genuinely penitent, he would risk “more rigorous measures,” including dismissal from the clerical state.
Archbishop Bertone then summarizes the territorial restrictions for the priest’s celebration of the Eucharist and “the admonition to induce him to show remorse.”
Pieper’s expert translation, which was sent to the National Catholic Register, also calls into question the Associated Press’ version of the Murphy case. While the AP said Archbishop Bertone “decided the alleged molestation occurred too long ago,” it did not note the problems in the case such as a lack of records in the archdiocesan archives. The memo notes that the length of time since the crimes occurred had rendered a civil lawsuit impossible and posed “the true problem” for a canonical trial as well.
The archbishop further mentions “the broad right of [self]-defense that exists in the U.S. and the difficulties that would be put forward by the lawyers in this direction,” the memo reports. He also notes the difficulty that hearing impaired have in providing proof “without aggravating matters.”
The AP also claimed Fr. Murphy was “spared a defrocking” because he was “protected by the Vatican office led by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now the Pope.” The memo reconfirms that Cardinal Ratzinger was not in attendance in the meeting.
While the AP depicted penitence and restrictions on Fr. Murphy’s ministry as lesser alternative to laicization, the memo says Archbishop Bertone stressed “it is unacceptable for him to be able to go and celebrate the Eucharist in the deaf community in Milwaukee.”
Before the unreliability of the documentation was revealed, the Times and Associated Press stories had been criticized for misrepresenting other facts of the case, misunderstanding the Vatican judicial system, and imputing the actions of subordinates to the Pope himself.
Critics of the Catholic Church have seized on the New York Times and Associated Press Milwaukee reports and tried to link them with abuse allegations surfacing in Europe. Recently, Washington Post syndicated columnist Eugene Robinson claimed the Milwaukee allegation was “the most explosive” facing the Pontiff.
(Story continues below)
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Cardinal William J. Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, criticized the news coverage in a statement last week. “I am not proud of America's newspaper of record, the New York Times,” Cardinal Levada wrote. “Both the article and the editorial are deficient by any reasonable standards of fairness that Americans have every right and expectation to find in their major media reporting.”