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I have to tell you, for an outfit that presents itself as so superior — meaning holier— than actual Catholics in full communion with the Church, they sure can write public statements with the best of the corrupt Church of Nice.
Half-truths, ridiculous charges, skipping relevant damning information and claiming moral superiority — all of that and more is right there in the SSPX's oddball response to our Church Militant Spotlight report from last week.
Late Thursday afternoon, the breakaway Catholic group — and it is breakaway because it has its own bishops not under the jurisdiction of Rome — issued its statement, which, frankly, is laughable. It has all the intellectual weight of being composed by a bright high school student. Let's go into its various flaws, and we mean what they don't say, as much as what they do inaccurately say — and it's loads.
First, the very first sentence reveals the juvenile approach throughout: "On April 22, 2020, the website Church Militant published a story against the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) with the inflammatory title, 'SSPX—Sympathetic to Perverts.'"
The phrase in the title "Sympathetic to Perverts" was not our invention. It comes directly from a letter to then-superior general Bp. Bernard Fellay from an SSPX adherent, totally disgusted that a fellow SSPX parishioner who had sexually abused underage girls at the parish and done hard time was sitting in the Church for Mass as though nothing had happened — with young girls near him in the pews.
So if the SSPX thinks that highlighting the issue makes the Society look like it's "sympathetic to perverts" is inflammatory, they should take it up with the father of children who sat near a convicted, registered sex offender that no one in the congregation was informed of. You see where this is going? And we aren't past the first sentence yet.
Next, still in the opening paragraph, "This is false, and the SSPX calls on Church Militant to withdraw this slanderous piece of yellow journalism." First, no! We withdraw nothing. In fact, wait until you see what else we have coming out soon. Let's just say that your statement-writer dude is going to be pretty busy.
If it's slanderous, then sue us. But remember, you drop a suit on us and we get full discovery. But of course, that's why you issued a statement and not a lawsuit. You know that we know exactly the questions to ask and who has the information. That's why it took us four months cooperating with various law enforcement to produce this, which again, is just part one.
And the charge of yellow journalism should actually be applied to your statement. So here are some of the actual lies:
"As a primary and essential matter, the SSPX is committed to investigating all allegations of sexual misconduct by its clergy, religious and lay employees." That's a lie! Fr. Jurgen Wegner, a big player in the cover-up, freely admitted to one of the victims no investigation had ever been done in her case — a case where the priest in question had been moved to an out-of-state school, yes a school — a matter that comes up in the e-mail thread that SSPX leadership was stupid enough to accidentally include us on.
The very next sentence is also a blatant lie: "The Society also cooperates with all police or other official investigations into said misconduct when it violates the law, whether civil or ecclesiastical." As we said, that's a lie. Investigators tell Church Militant that the breakaway group dragged its feet for months in responding to a routine information subpoena that normally takes between one to two weeks to respond to.
Here's the next Lie: "Similarly, Church Militant implies, without evidence, that there are numerous investigations against SSPX clergy currently underway in the United States." In their self-incriminating e-mail string, the one they slipped up with, they admit themselves that there are multiple cases, so there's that.
Here's the next Lie: "Church Militant repeatedly relies on hearsay, conjecture and factual misstatements to paint the SSPX in a false light." Public court documents, guilty verdicts, prison sentences, successful lawsuits and firsthand witness testimony hardly constitutes hearsay, conjecture and factual misstatements. Juries found them guilty, judges sentenced them, courts awarded payouts. Those are facts, not hearsay.
Likewise, when we asked SSPX directly for further information they referred us to their attorneys, who —shock — never addressed our questions. We asked specific questions about specific cases, revealing some of what we knew. If we were wrong, moving on hearsay, conjecture and incorrect facts, then why didn't they step up right then and correct the record? The answer to that is because they knew what the record was, and they knew that we knew what the record was. At that point, there was nothing to correct, only cover up.
That's what set off the flurry of e-mails amongst their leadership that, again, they were careless enough to unknowingly include us on. A sidebar for the SSPX leadership: If you're going to run a cover-up, the point is to keep it covered up, not include reporters on your secret, "crap, what the hell do we do now?" e-mails.
Skipping down in the official statement — it's actually hard to say this, it's so over the top ridiculous, not to mention absolutely reeks of cover-up and deflection — remember, SSPX themselves bring up their own e-mail snafu in their own public statement, and then completely deflect from the actual content and discussion, the matter at hand, which was about their fear that Church Militant would uncover the 'veritable gold mine' of abuse cases. They had the gall, as they strategized on how to cover up the cases and keep us in the dark, to point an accusing finger at us as being unethical.
Here's the relevant accusatory passage: "[Church Militant] exposed its own gross lack of ethics when it took private internal correspondence ... ." We didn't take anything, you stupidly and carelessly gave it to us. Thanks again, Fr. Wegner, you need to take an e-mail tutorial.
We were saying to ourselves in the studio before we published, they are going to say we took the e-mails out of context. And boom, there it is: "out of context." No, they aren't out of context at all.
Our original e-mail inquiry was about the priest Fr. Duveger, who had been transferred to a school. The internal back and forth says "We can admit there are some restrictions on him, but most people will still think it bizarre he's at a school." Then the discussion advances to admit there are many ugly cases in France, and that Church Militant is going to discover the "veritable gold mine" of cases here in the United States.
By the way fellas, we did discover them, and this is your pathetic response to being busted with your own e-mails?
And notice, in the statement, they don't deny that there are many ugly cases in France, nor do they deny the bit about there being a veritable "gold mine." They just say we're unethical for telling you about their private e-mail conversations. Whatever.
They continue in their statement: "The [e-mail] discussion did not center on covering up any public wrongdoing but focused instead on how best to respond to Church Militant's inquiries." Yes, our inquiries about the cover-up. And how exactly do you cover up public wrongdoing? It's already public, so the point of covering it up would be?
Then there's this doozy regarding "the case of Fr. Frédéric Abbet in Belgium. What Church Militant fails to report is that the Society cooperated with the Belgian authorities and stands by the results of Fr. Abbet's trial."
Well, what the SSPX fails to tell you about the Fr. Abbet case, meaning how they twist it, is this: An internal SSPX tribunal cleared him of guilt years before the secular court trial when other sex abuse allegations were brought by distraught parents who discovered their child had been abused by the priest. The SSPX leadership asked the parents to not go public with their allegations. That is the definition of a cover-up.
When he reoffended with other children — meaning sexually assaulted them, which they always do — the civil courts convicted him. Only then did the SSPX cooperate, when they were forced to. But he should have been turned over to civil authorities years earlier instead of their little internal proceedings, which freed him and turned him loose on even more children.
Here's a whopper, buried near the bottom — an actual admission of guilt: "The SSPX does not deny that there have been serious and tragic individual cases of abuse committed by a discrete number of clergy and employees."
Did the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) write that? It sure sounds like it. What the hades is meant by a "discrete" number of clergy? How many? Where? When?Why don't you produce a list of names like every diocese in America has done? Or, are you too holy for that?
That your fanatical adherents are not demanding it of you, shows just how much you have them brainwashed. They care more about the Society than victims of the predators in your ranks — who are still in your ranks.
And the only reason you "do not deny" it is because we busted you and dragged it out into the light, that's why.
Hell, you even let a convicted child molester on the sex offender registry come right back into the parish after getting out of prison, and never told a soul about it — covering it up. He was a large donor to you, but you know, we're sure that didn't have anything to do with your silence.
As for the ridiculous, again USCCB-style excuse that these cases were decades ago, now that sounded kind of familiar to us:
First, no they weren't. A half dozen we reported on were since the year 2000. And even if some of the abuse was decades ago, every single day, nothing is done about these predators. The cover-up starts over. The clock restarts. You get out of bed and the cover-up starts all over again. You live in a continual state of cover-up.
Perhaps most striking in the statement, among many things NOT said, is the complete lack of remorse and failure to at least apologize to the victims. Twenty-six-year-old Michael Gonzalez blew his brains out because this priest, who's now living the good life stashed away in Italy, sodomized him when he was 14. There's not a single expression of regret for his case.
These losers and abusers saw our report. They saw our on-camera interview in which his sister Theresa tells about his destroyed life and eventual suicide. But not one blessed word — no apology, no regret, no asking for forgiveness, nothing. Just the corporate "we do not deny" there have been cases. Well, bully for you.
And to round out their lame response, they once again took a page from the U.S. bishops' playbook: "It is well-known that Church Militant is not a serious journalistic enterprise." Apparently, we're well known enough to be the most commented-on Catholic website in the world, with our content being viewed millions of times a month and our video reporting now being imitated by multiple other Catholic sites.
But the part about us not being serious journalists, understand this: We are as serious as a heart attack. Every single bit of information we have uncovered — and there's more to be made public — has been turned over to law enforcement, like you should have done.
There are various lay people involved in all this. One or more probably wrote this laughable response. Presumably, you guys have families and you are the breadwinners. You know from the inside how all this filth was handled. If you don't think, when the hammer drops with criminal indictments and civil lawsuits, those crooked cover-up priests won't either fire you, or throw you under the bus, you're crazier than your stupid statement.
Wives, you better start agonizing because your husbands are involved in a massive cover-up, and they, meaning you and your children, are going to pay the price. The society will close ranks and deliver your husbands up to the gallows. You husbands and fathers involved in this better come to your senses quickly and turn state's evidence now when you still have the chance, before your families are torn apart.
Anyone who has further information is urged to call the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. They have a special hotline set up for this specific case.
That's your tip right there, that this is not going to end well for the SSPX. Investigators don't set up hotlines for individual investigations unless they anticipate or are already receiving loads of information.