Anyone that has studied any amount of history understands that the Catholic Church has stumbled historically in many instances when it comes to proclaiming the Word of God. Many times egregious and deadly events have been ignited by the false belief in a misguided doctrine. God is infallible but people are the ones that corruptly take God’s words and make them their own.

The Catholic Church may argue that it represents the will of God but it is the people that lead the Church that sets the moral compass of the Church and thus of its followers. There has been much commentary about sexual abuse in the Catholic Church that many of you understand that it has been a problem for the Church for a significant amount of time.

Sexual abuse in the Church has been an ongoing issue in El Paso, like in other communities. The Catholic Church has been accused of covering up for abusive priests and in some instances; it has acknowledged this as a fact.

Just last February 5, 2015, the Catholic Diocese of El Paso settled a lawsuit involving Alfonso Madrid who was accused of molesting two children in the 1970s. Not only is this latest settlement an example of an ongoing problem but you should notice that it took about 40 years for the issue to dealt with by the court system. The length of time is another symptom of corruption.

It took this long to reach a resolution for many reasons. Among them includes a judiciary that does not look to offer equity in a problem but it instead creates barriers that corruptors have become adept at using to keep from having to admit their wrongdoing.

Some of the attorneys reading my blog get upset with me every time I point out that the legal system is a significant reason that corruption exists. Look no further than when Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the highest judiciary in the state, publicly told Texas County Clerks that they could defy the US Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriages. Yes, I understand the argument of state’s rights; but what kind of judiciary allows a subordinate to advocate ignoring the higher court’s ruling?

It is all a nasty game of selective enforcement. If I advocate an armed rebellion on my blog by El Paso taxpayers fed up with high taxes I would surely be investigated and probably charged with a crime. Yet, the same system that would have me arrested allows one of its members to advocate breaking the law and not be investigated for that action, much less be charged with a crime? Keep in mind that Paxton acknowledged that clerks might be arrested and even offered to help them defend themselves in court. That type of advocating is defying the same judiciary that he is supposed to be upholding. That is corrupt and the judiciary that is supposed to be the arbiter of what is wrong or good is the one showing, by example, that corruption is acceptable.

Those that argue that corruption will be rooted out as soon as the authorities become aware of it fundamentally ignore that the legal system roots out corruption on a selective basis. That is another problem about corruption – in that it is a self-perpetuating activity that is constantly feeding itself throughout society.

Catholic Church Cover Ups in El Paso

El Paso Bishop Metzger “thundered that Mike and his mother ‘were going to hell if anything I told him was not absolutely truthful.’ Metzger, a narcissist (see pp. 340ff.), made himself out to be the real victim by telling Mike that his own mother had just died and ‘wasn’t I ashamed to assert these things at his time of sadness,” recalled Mike. [2, page 30] (The footnotes will be in the last installment)

I had to reread those words multiple times, as each time I read them I could not believe they were true. A child goes to his mother to tell her about a horrific event in his life. The mother does what she is supposed to do by going to the proper authority to report an allegation and ask for an investigation. Put yourself in that child’s shoes for a moment and ask yourself, how much courage it must have taken to go to his mother to tell her he had been abused.

Now put yourself in the mother’s shoes and ask yourself, how much love she had for her child that she took him at his word and attempted to report the abuse to the proper authority even though she might have been incredulous that the individual that she believed in could not possibly have been this evil.

Instead of the proper response of taking the allegation seriously and investigating it, the Bishop of El Paso intimidated both the child and mother with threats of hell and when that did not work complained that they should not have brought this to his attention because he was dealing with personal problems of his own. The pastor basically sent the sheep away to be slaughtered by an indifferent Church.

In 1942, Sydney Mathew Metzger was appointed the second bishop of El Paso. [2]

Mike” is the pseudonym for a sexual abuse victim that was eleven years old when the abuse started. Three priests were involved in the abuse of “Mike,” in addition to Metzger’s abusively denigrating him and trying to misdirect the abuse away from the priests and towards the victim. I am not going to go into the full details for brevity sake but it is important to note that the three priests involved had a reputation for abuse before landing in El Paso and at least one was a close friend of Sydney Metzger.

This was not a case of he said, she said as all of the priests had a documented history of sexually abusing children, albeit much of it covered up by the church before arriving in El Paso. I do not go into detail but rest assured that it is not an allegation but a documented case of abuse by three men that under the guise of doing God’s work preyed upon a child that was entrusted to them by a mother looking for God’s grace for her child.

A First Person Account

Recently, one reader confided to me that he had witnessed an incident that deeply troubled him while he was attending Cathedral High School in the early 1960’s. As the reader recounted, he was on his morning newspaper delivery run on a Saturday morning when he delivered a paper to a motel’s office. As “I stepped out of the office I saw a Cathedral brother (teacher) leave a room and get into his car…minutes later I saw a senior (I was a junior then) leave the same room.” [1] The individual related to me that the following Wednesday, the teacher he saw leave the motel room “cornered” him at the dirt school parking lot and “threatened” to have him expelled if he ever told anyone about what he had witnessed. [1]

According to the anonymous source, each time he brought up the incident with fellow students years after graduating, the others would feign ignorance, even accusing him of being one of the abused victims. “It’s a sour subject no one wants to admit, especially since many are doctors, lawyers, politicians, [and] teachers.”

According to what the anonymous source shared with me, it was not a matter of abusers openly approaching their victims. It wasn’t a case of every student being approached by the abusers. Instead, according to the source, certain students seemed to have been picked out for reasons unknown to the relator. The source has told me that he has suffered as a result of him trying to expose what he witnessed. He has been ostracized.

Ostracizing or deflecting attention away from the issue at hand by alleging wrong doing by the messenger is a classic example of a corrupt society that wants to keep the corruption in place. Not all cries of illegality are valid as wrongfully alleging criminality, in itself, is corrupt. However, when the knee jerk reaction is to dismiss a whistleblower as “crazy,” as having an ulterior motive or just pretending it does not exist shows that corruption is rampant.

Both the case of the anonymous source and “Mike” in the book, “Sacrilege: Sexual abuse in the Catholic Church” have many common elements that show how corruption manifests through many forms.

Obviously, the cover-up is the most important element as without the cover-up there would be no corruption.

To keep the cover-up intact it is important for the corrupters to silence those trying to expose the corruption. I have already shown you that ostracizing is the most common method used. The person trying to expose a problem is often pigeonholed as a troublemaker, or one of those “crazies” that corruptors encourage you to ignore.

When the accuser refuses to be silent, several methods of intimidation are brought to bear including deflecting attention away from the crime towards the failures in the accuser’s own life, either perceived or actual problems in their past.

Almost every time the accuser is confronted by authority figures who use intimidation to force the accuser into being silent, it clearly shows that they are not after exposing the corruption but rather covering it up. Sydney Metzger used his position of authority, being Bishop, to intimidate “Mike” and his mother into silence rather than listening to their concerns and investigating the veracity of it. Metzger was not interested in rooting out evil; instead, he wanted to keep the corruption in place.

My anonymous source was first intimidated by the abuser into silence with the threat of being thrown out of school and then by fellow students who refused to acknowledge the problem existed. Many of those individuals are adults now and by their actions are teaching their children and their grandchildren that it is best to ignore the corruption rather than to deal with it head on. Imagine if those individuals are government officials, teachers or law enforcement. How likely is corruption to be investigated by individuals who find no problems ignoring the abuse of children in their midst?

Some of you are probably thinking to yourselves, these things happened in the 60’s; surely, it is not happening now.

I do not know if it is happening today or not, remember that the El Paso Diocese just recently settled a case from the 1950’s. Remember that it wasn’t until 2011 that Jerry Sandusky was exposed for abuse that started in the 70’s, even though there were many outcries that were ignored.

How do you know that there are no more cases of abuse that have yet to be acknowledged? How do you know that there is no more abuse in the schools? Can you really trust a system or a process that has been proven to historically cover-up the most heinous of abuses?

What is important to remember is that accusers are often stigmatized and silenced through being ostracized, portrayed as being “crazy,” tied to criminality or all of the above. Accusers and their families are stigmatized and marginalized because the corruptors do not want to be exposed.

Former Cathedral High School Principal Samuel Martinez (1976-1985) forced the Diocese of El Paso to settle for $1.6 million in 2012 after Martinez was accuse of molesting “numerous” boys. As you can see, this is not 60’s or 70’s but well into the 80’s. It wasn’t until 2012 when the truth finally came out. How many victims did the Diocese ostracize in the 70s and 80s when they tried to expose Martinez?

Cases of abuse did not end in the 60s or 70s, as I will show you in tomorrow’s edition. The case of Philip Briganti is the perfect example of how authority figures cover up corruption in their midst.

A special treat for readers: A long time reader of my blog has made two hard cover copies of the book, “Sacrilege: Sexual abuse in the Catholic Church” by Leon J. Poodles (2008, Crossland Press) available for readers of my blog. They are free! The first two readers that request a copy of the book by contacting me through the About Page or via email will get a free copy mailed to them.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...

3 replies on “The Catholic Church and Corruption in El Paso: Part II”

  1. There has been selective Justice. When was the time a millionaire was executed?

    I was surprised when people were upset that OJ used his millions to hire the best legal team. Duh, how many of you wouldn’t do the same thing ?

    We are still waiting for a court date to be set for Ann Lilley Morgan. Whatever happen with Carl Robinson ? And most of you would use your “connections” to get off the hook as well.

    The Catholic Church has had some turmoil but that turmoil is not confined to Catholiciism. We have people drinking poison in Guyana and in California for travel on a space ship. Couple of times in Texas we’ve had sects that brainwashed the people and made it ok to have multiple super young girls and old geezers. The Bakers, Jimmy Swaggert and his hookers. There was a Rabbi that was having sex with his own nephew. Some Musliims rape men and women and animals. There are cases in all religions. Perhaps more with Priests because the Catholic Church is larger and has many priests, although there is a shortage now.

    What about police rapes. Can you imagine calling the police for help after a rape only to have the police rape you as well. True story. The teaching profession has its share of pervs. The medical profession is another. What about step parents attacking step children wiith the biological parent’s help. These are not isolated cases. Heck, what about the absentee father finding his daughter. They are sexual partners and want to have children.

    The problem starts at home with the lack of values. Made worse as society lives by the idea that you can do anything you want if caught use any influence to save yourself. Money, position or friends. Or just blame your parents. As I’ve said before power corrupts. Position and power becomes addictive and the person starts believing they are untouchable.

    Don’t blame others, parents have forfeited their responsibilities in order to be popular, cool and friends with their children. Ever notice animal parents teach their young to hunt and defend the pack ? Primal but it indicates parents are responsible for their young and their future.

    We have become a society that demeans morals and celebrates immorality. It’s not just the Catholic Church. It’s all of us! Gods laws are ridiculed as lies and worshipers of any religion become victims because of beliefs. I never understood why nonbeliever so become enraged when people believe. I couldn’t care less if you believe in magical rabbits. I am not here to judge, when we die, either the gate is open for you or not. It’s not up to me, while I doubt anything I would say to you would matter. I feel that there are going a lot of horrible surprises for some.

  2. would like to requet free copy o the book “Sacrilege: Sexual abuse in the Catholic Church” by Leon J. Poodles (2008, Crossland Press) available for readers on your log. Thanks

  3. In 1959 I attended Blessed Sacrament school and later Cathedral high school. I would like to get a copy of one of your books.

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