Together (or separately) the article make up quite a bit of reading, but they really give one a clear understanding of how incredibly off the mainstream media is and leave one asking whether there is any possible way that this was just a huge journalistic mistake (which I think, for the record, is unlikely) or whether it's just another example of the anti-Catholicism that the New York Times proudly displays on a regular basis.
Two very important facts become clear in all three articles. They are facts that are left out of most mainstream media attacks, because they don't make a great story (if one is intent on building a case against the Vatican). The first is that the case was reported to the police back when the abuse was still going on (decades before word of it got to the Vatican) and the investigation was closed. This isn't a matter of higher ups in the Catholic world covering for a pedophile priest. The police were notified. They didn't find enough evidence at the time (although they certainly should have) to go forward.
The second is that at any point Archbishop Weakland could have begun his own investigation at any time after taking office. You may remember the former Archbishop from his own scandal. Weakland (who was rather sniveling and pathetic in his ABC interview and was intent on passing the buck on to the Vatican, which is hardly surprising) became Archbishop of Milwaukee in 1977 (although by then Murphy had already been granted "temporary sick leave" from the school and had returned home to live with his mother where he spent the rest of his life without an assignment).
Now you may be wondering where Cardinal Ratzinger becomes a part of this story. It happens more than twenty years after the original abuse allegations take place when Archbishop Weakland (who had apparently twiddled his thumbs and done nothing for nearly two decades) decides to write Cardinal Ratzinger a letter. At this point the authority over sex abuse cases still belongs to the Roman Rota (and will for another five years) but because the Murphy abuse involves the sacrament of confession he writes to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.
At this point Fr. Souza notes that Archbishop Weakland could have proceeded in this case at any time over the course of the previous 19 years when he became Archbishop. Because the incidents involved confession he would have had to notify Rome, but he still could have acted as Archbishop to rectify the situation on his own. Instead HE did nothing.
This is where Jimmy Akins response is important because he analyzes the reaction at the Vatican and notes that there is no evidence that the case even came before Cardinal Ratzinger. All the paperwork shows that it was handled by the secretary of the congregation, now Cardinal Tarciso Bertone. And the response from the the CDF: "Go ahead. Prosecute." That response isn't really the one the press is portraying though (again, it doesn't make a good story).
The CDF even overruled the statute of limitations so that the case could go forward (something that wouldn't have been necessary if the Archbishop had done his job in the first place).
After living with his mother for decades Fr. Murphy died before the case was completed (it should be noted that there were still charges against him though and that they had not been dismissed as the media claims).
Nearly a decade later, right after the hugely unpopular health care plan passes (despite the outcry from the Catholic Church,) the case is suddenly smeared across every news outlet in the country. It's a diversionary tactic. Unfortunately too many people are too excited to see negative news about the Church to realize that the stories just aren't true.
I hope we see a lawsuit against the Times for this one. Their outright lies have flourished this week and I can't help but think that it isn't an accident