From St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephebophiles:

If there is found among you a preacher who is known to have raped children, or touched them in intimate places, or set penances to them such as 'Five Hail Marys and a good act of Fellatio';

Ye shall cast them out, and send them to the next parish, and perhaps promote them as well;

And ye shall not speak of what has passed;

For the organization must be protected at all costs.

And if it emergeth that this sort of thing goes on a lot, and it maketh a scandal and a disgrace, so that no-one can any longer watch Spencer Tracey as Father Flanagan in Boys' Town without sniggering;

Ye shall hire lawyers of the hardball variety to blame the victims, and say unto them, 'You wanted it, didn't you, you little trollop? Verily, you went alone unto the dwelling of a known priest, dressed seductively in a school uniform - what did you expect to happen?'

(The above may be apocryphal. In a legal deposition Paul admitted it was his signature on the epistle but said he had no recollection of writing it.)

Along with such lovely ruses as smearing the victims and getting lawyers to ask them if they enjoyed their abuse, another legal strategy the Catholic hierarchy in America has adopted to fight compensation payments to the abused is to deny the Church's responsibility for the actions of its representatives. Cardinal Edward Egan of the Archdiocese of New York presented the argument that priests are 'self-employed contractors working for autonomous parishes' (International Herald Tribune, May 13th.) As the lawyer for the victim noted, it was an attempt to portray the Church as a franchise operation like McDonald's or Kentucky Fried Chicken. Well, why not? They should get corporate slogans. 'Over 900 million saved.' 'Finger-****ing good.'

Another tactic to deny responsibility for priests is to shift blame by saying they are individuals 'called by God'.

This may be the ultimate in buck-passing and if I was God I would fire the lot of them for this lese-majeste. I imagine he would be an extremely wrathful God if he gets subpoenaed for it.

'Court is in session. You are God?'


'Where do you live?'

'In the sky. I live above the shop.'

'We have been informed by expert testimony that hiring and firing policy for your organization rests ultimately with you. Can you tell me how well you vet the staff you 'call' to your service?'

'Oh, they said that, did they? Typical middle-management cretins. Law, you bastard, how dare you drag Me into this!'

[Cardinal Law struck by lightning. Plague of boils hits Catholic hierarchy. Uproar in court.]