Archdiocese of Milwaukee honors Pope Benedict, anti-clergy abuse organization protests memorial Mass

WDJT-TV, Ch. 58 [Milwaukee WI]

January 10, 2023

By Gabriella Bachara

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee honored Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI during a memorial Mass at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist on Tuesday, Jan. 10.

Benedict died on Dec. 31, 2022. 

Archbishop Jerome Listecki led the Mass.

“I’ll always remember Pope Benedict because I wouldn’t be standing here before you if it wasn’t for Pope Benedict,” Listecki said.

During the memorial Mass and again when talking to CBS 58, Listecki said Benedict will be remembered as a great theological intellect, a proponent of objective truth, and one who was truly committed to Christ.

“You felt a personal dignity that was bestowed upon you when you were with him. He really cared about you. He was interested in who you were,” Listecki said.

Meanwhile, Nate’s Mission, a statewide anti-clergy abuse organization, protested honoring Benedict, who they said played a role in covering up the admitted actions of Fr. Lawrence Murphy. 

Murphy self-reported sexual contact with students at St. John’s School for the Deaf between 1952 and 1974, according to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. 

One of the survivors is asking for “no more silence” and “no more lies.”

“Deaf survivors are suffering again because the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has chosen to publicly honor Pope Benedict. Pope Benedict is directly responsible for covering up the crimes committed against myself and others at St. John’s School for the Deaf,” Arthur Budzynski said.

Listecki told CBS 58 while some people may criticize that Benedict didn’t do enough, he did more than leaders before him.

“Benedict did more to further and advance the attention to clergy sexual abuse than almost any leader in recent times,” Listecki said.

Listecki said the Archdiocese of Milwaukee is working diligently to further any aspect of Attorney General Josh Kaul’s investigation into clergy abuse accusations.

“There’s certain rights that anybody has, whether you’re living or dead, and those have to be protected,” Listecki said.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice has an active investigation into sexual abuse accusations from clergy and faith leaders.

The department is asking survivors to come forward and share their stories.