Category Archives: Holy See

Hundreds of Italian paedophile priests outed in shocking map


Hundreds of Italian paedophile priests outed in shocking map

Patrick Browne (patrick.browne@thelocal.com)
Published: 03 Mar 2016 16:15 GMT+01:00
From the Link: http://www.thelocal.it/20160303/hundreds-of-italian-paedophile-priests-outed-in-shocking-map

Map of Pedophile Priests in Italy. Photo: L'Abuso

Map of Pedophile Priests in Italy.
Photo: L’Abuso

The map of Italy below paints a highly disturbing picture.

In the last decade alone, there have been 120 definitive convictions, marked on the map by red pins, against child abusers among the clergy.

Yellow pins mark instances of abuse that have been confirmed by a court, but the perpetrator has not been sentenced, most commonly due to court cases expiring under the statute of limitations.

Black pins mark cases in which foreign priests in Italy, who are under investigation abroad, are being protected by the Vatican.

L‘Abuso, an Italian association for the victims of paedophilia by priests, collected the figures from court data.

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But the cases shown on the map are just the tip of the iceberg, the company’s chief, Francesco Zanardi, told The Local.

“The actual scale of the problem is unknown, and we only have data for the last decade – but it gives an idea of how widespread it is.”

Zanardi hopes the map will help convince Italians of the need to finally bring child abusing clerics through the civil justice system.

“The Italian government has a treaty with the Vatican which means priests are not obliged to report child sexual abuse. In other countries that is a serious crime in itself – but in Italy it’s just the norm.”

The majority of Church child abuse investigations in Italy are therefore carried out behind a wall of secrecy in the Vatican’s ecclesiastical courts.

Once found guilty by a Vatican court, most abusive priests do not end up not being defrocked and incarcerated. Instead, they are sent to a new diocese where abuse can occur again.

This process was even actively encouraged by the institution itself when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger sent a letter to all bishops in 2001 encouraging them only to report suspected abuse cases to the Vatican’s courts on pain of excommunication. Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI four years later before resigning in 2013.

But Italians are becoming more critical of the Church’s efforts to deal with paedophilia internally, thanks to notable media coverage of the problem.

Firstly, the ongoing investigation into Vatican finance chief George Pell, who is still working for the Church despite reams of evidence suggesting he covered up years of abuse while working as a priest in the Australian state of Victoria.

Secondly, Sunday’s Oscar success of the film ‘Spotlight’, which scooped two awards for Best Film and Best Screenplay. The film tells the story of how a team of reporters working for the Boston Globe first exposed endemic child abuse in America in 2003.

“I’m pleased that ongoing investigation into Cardinal Pell and the recent success of Spotlight have the Italian media talking more about the issue, but a lot more needs to be done,” Zanardi said, adding that he doubted Pope Francis would do anything to change the laws surrounding the reporting of abuse.

Since becoming pontiff in 2013, Jorge Mario Bergoglio has tried to improve the Catholic Church’s image, but critics say he has failed to address the problem of child abuse sufficiently and has not done enough to create a dialogue with victims.

“It’s ridiculous really,” added Zanardi.

“We’ve known about child abuse in the Catholic Church for 15 years  and it’s time to face up to it. The Church needs to be forced to take its child abusers to civil courts – but if that happens it will be a miracle, no pun intended.”

Therefore I accuse by Vinnie Nauheimer


Therefore I accuse by  Vinnie Nauheimer

"Saint" Peter Damian's admonishing against priest pedophiles and those who cover up for them in 1049.

“Saint” Peter Damian’s admonishing against priest pedophiles and those who cover up for them in 1049.

Due to the global ongoing sexual abuse and cover-up by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, it is safe to assume that the only part of Crimen Sollicitationis that was adhered to was the demand for secrecy. Up until 2002 almost every settlement involving sexual abuse by a priest came with an enforceable gag order on the victim. The victims were silenced while most offending priests were moved to new hunting grounds.

The logical question to ask is, “Cui Bono,” who benefits? Who benefits from the silence? It could be argued that the priest and his accuser benefit from the silence. However, since there were no remedies for the care, compensation or treatment of the victim, it is hard to see how victims benefited from Crimen instruction. There has never been any proof whatsoever of rampant false charges being brought against innocent priests. Therefore innocent priests haven’t benefited. So who are the chief beneficiaries of the documentCrimen Sollicitationis? The sexually abusive priest and the Roman Catholic Church are the only beneficiaries.

Therefore, I accuse!

Lest Crimen sidetrack us, the salient points are:
1. The document was sent from the International Headquarters.
2. The document was sent out globally.
3. The document was sent in secrecy.
4. The document demanded secrecy.
5. The penalty for violating secrecy is the harshest penalty the church can mete out: excommunication.
6. It labels the sexual abuse of children as “The Worst Crime” thereby admitting to the world the Vatican’s complete understanding of the vile nature of the act of sexually abusing children.

By their own hand they are condemned.

In the 28 countries we know about, the rape, sodomization, and molestation of children are publicly documented. Why then hasn’t Interpol gotten involved? Interpol states that the protection of children is one of their primary goals. This is the first paragraph taken from Interpol’s page on children:

Crimes against children

Children are the most vulnerable individuals in our society; they are also the most precious commodity that the world has and have a right to be protected from all forms of abuse. INTERPOL as an organization is also committed to eradicating the sexual abuse of children and has passed several resolutions making crimes against children one of International policing top priorities.5

They tell us that, not preventing, but eradicating (wiping out) sexual abuse is one of their top priorities. How can the sexual abuse of children be a top priority when the chief global culprit, the Roman Catholic Church has not been formerly accused by either the UN or Interpol?

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000-01I accuse!

The evidence is abundant for any who would make even a cursory examination of the facts. The Dallas Morning News did an entire series on the international scope of both clergy sexual abuse and its cover-up. Central to the series was the theme of hierarchy moving predator priests internationally in order to save them from being tried for crimes committed or to provide new hunting grounds or both.6

The facts accuse!

The need to protect children around the world is a global priority of United Nations. The U.N. through its UNICEF organization has put together “The Convention on the Rights of the Child.” Here are articles nineteen and thirty-four from that convention, which address the sexual abuse of children.

Article 19

1. States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.

Article 34

States Parties undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. For these purposes, States Parties shall in particular take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent:

  1. The inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual activity;
  2. The exploitative use of children in prostitution or other unlawful sexual practices;
  3. The exploitative use of children in pornographic performances and materials.7

I accuse the RCC of violating the Convention on the Rights of the Child!

The Holy See, which could be a member of the United Nations by virtue of the fact that the Vatican is a city-state, has elected not to become a member of the UN. Rather it has been granted the nomenclature of permanent observer. This means that they enjoy the full rights of every sovereign member except the right to vote. In this way they can lobby for whatever they desire and not have to go on record as voting for or against an issue.

They chose to not to support “The Convention on the Rights of the Child.” The Holy See declared that “the application of the Convention should be compatible in practice with the particular nature of the Vatican City State and of the sources of its objective law.” in a statement issued when they declined to be a signatory. To date, all members but two have ratified the Convention.8

The United Nations through Interpol, its international police agency, and UNICEF, their children’s agency recognize the need to police and prevent the sexual abuse of children throughout the world. They state this is a top priority. The Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has been widely accepted by governments around the world, seeks to end the sexual abuse of children. Why then have the UN, UNICEF, and Interpol chosen to totally ignore the most public, international series of sex crimes and cover-ups against children running from the twentieth into the twenty-first century?

I accuse!

"Saint" Peter Damian

“Saint” Peter Damian

Having established that the sexual abuse of children is accepted by the RCC as being a criminal act, it follows that aiding and abetting criminals is also a crime. The international criminal activity of aiding and abetting sexual predators by the RCC is well documented. The award winning newspaper The Dallas Morning News did an excellent series of articles dealing with the international flight of pedophile priests to escape prosecution entitled Runaway Priests. The following are excerpts from some of their articles as listed on the website Bishop-accountability.org.

Dr. Navarro-Valls (chief spokesperson for the pope) previously declined to comment on The News’ investigation, which found more than 200 accused priests, brothers and other Catholic workers hiding across international borders and living in unsuspecting communities, often with the church’s support. About 30 of the men were wanted by law enforcement in another country.9

Where is Interpol? Where is the outcry from UNICEF?

Bishop Thomas V. Daily of the Diocese of Brooklyn, in an exchange of correspondence with a Venezuelan bishop in 1991 about allegations against Father Diaz, praised the priest’s work in his diocese even as a 60-count indictment was pending against him in Queens on child sexual abuse charges. Later that year, after pleading guilty to three counts of sexual abuse in the case, Father Diaz was deported to Venezuela, where the pattern of victimizing young boys continued unabated.

And so it went throughout Father Diaz’s ministry. Moving from country to country, from parish to parish, from victim to victim, he was often held unaccountable by church officials and was treated delicately by some law enforcement authorities, the interviews and documents show.10

How can the above be anything but an international criminal conspiracy?

His order, the Salesians of Don Bosco, has long moved priests accused of sexual abuse from country to country, away from law enforcement and victims. Indeed, it is how many others in the Catholic Church have dealt with the problem, a yearlong Dallas Morning News investigation has found.11

The crimes committed by the hierarchy of the RCC against the children of the world have been documented many times in many countries. In each country from Poland, to Ireland, to the United States around and down to Australia, the story is the same. Priests who commit criminal acts of sexual abuse against children are shuffled from country to country with no regard for either local or international law. These priests are shuffled by a complicit hierarchy who are guilty of aiding and abetting criminals. Once transferred, these priests are free to prey upon a fresh population of unsuspecting families who revere the priest as god’s representative on earth.

Cardinal George Pell

Cardinal George Pell

In 2002 Pope John Paul II stated before the world, “There is no room in the priesthood for those who sexually abuse children.”12 But nothing was done; priests were still being shuffled and names of priestly perpetrators are still a closely guarded secret. In April of 2008, while on the plane over to the United States, Benedict XVI said, “I am deeply ashamed” 13 while referring to the Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal. On July 19, 2008, in Australia, he said,

“I ask all of you to support and assist your bishops, and to work together with them in combating this evil. Victims should receive compassion and care, and those responsible for these evils must be brought to justice.”14

“And those responsible for these evils must be brought to justice!” Strong words from the pope! The pope is an honorable man; bishops and cardinals are all honorable men and they speak well. Yet nothing was said about revoking Crimen Sollicitationis. Did he forget that as Cardinal Ratzinger in 2001, he reaffirmed its validity? He can say one thing publicly, but as long as he still binds everyone with knowledge of clergy abuse to the absolute law of secrecy under the chapter 11, “ a secret of the Holy Office,15” the pope is only mouthing words. As long as Cardinals, Law, Mahony, George, Egan and Levada remain in office, he is only mouthing words. As long as bishops and the leaders of religious orders who shuffled pedophiles from country to country remain in the priesthood, the pope is only mouthing words. The pope is the only one who can start bringing those responsible for these evils to justice!

It is time to put an end to the global scourge of clerical child abuse and put these criminal priests behind bars along with the members of the hierarchy who have purposefully aided them. (It seems that Pope Benedict agrees with me.) These crimes are a violation of God’s law, Church law, Civil law, and International law (all covered in this treatise). As proven in the United States, the only thing that will change the way the RCC harbors their criminals is a courtroom. Interpol must aid in the capture of these international child abusing fugitives and the U.N. must bring charges against the Vatican in the World Court. Only the credible threat of listing the Vatican as a criminal organization, making them stand trial for the abuse of tens of thousands of children and covering-up for thousands of priests will force the much needed changes while making the world a safer place for children. Interpol and the UN had every right to get involved in the clergy abuse scandal because it violates their conventions. Now both the UN and Interpol have an invitation to get involved straight from the pope’s mouth. Pope Benedict XVI has just asked for “aid and assistance” followed up by “those responsible for these evils must be brought to justice.” The Vicar of Christ on earth is asking for help in bringing to justice to those who committed and helped in crimes of sexual abuse against children. What greater invitation can be made?

Note 1. To any lawyers who may represent or have represented survivors of sexual abuse. Crimen Sollicitationis means “crime of solicitation” which refers to crimes of the confessional. Reading this text is extremely difficult because everything up until Title V is about soliciting in the confessional. Title V paragraph 72 states: “Those things that have been stated concerning the crime of solicitation up to this point are also valid, changing only those things necessary to be changed by their very nature, for the worst crime,” TakeCrimen Sollicitationis (English version) and put it in a Word document. Then do a find/replace with find Solicitation and replace it with child abuse. You will be amazed at how it clarifies the document giving you a clearer understanding of what Crimen Sollicitationis says about the clergy abuse of children.

About the author: Vinnie Nauheimer has written extensively on the subject of clerical abuse. He has written two books on the subject of clergy abuse. One of poetry “Silent Screams” and one comprised of selected letters sent over an eight year period on the subject of clergy abuse called “Epistles on Clergy Abuse.” His art, poetry and writing can be found on websites around the world. Though they don’t issue a degree in Clergy Abuse, Mr. Nauheimer successfully survived advanced classes from the School of Intimidation and Slander sponsored by the NY Archdiocese. Both his and his family’s degree of pain were acknowledged by a Grand Jury probing the issue of clergy abuse. His goals are the same as those stated by Pope Benedict XVI in Australia on July 19, 2008: “Victims should receive compassion and care, and those responsible for these evils must be brought to justice.”

References
1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholic_sex_abuse_cases_by_country#See_also July 9, 2008 and http://www.scribd.com/doc/1021887/SEXUAL-ABUSE-IN-THE-CATHOLIC-CHURCH-2002   – July 9, 2008
2. http://www.priestsofdarkness.com/crimen.pdf   – July 10, 2008
3. The 1922 Instruction and the 1962 Instruction “Crimen Sollicitationis,” Promulgated by the Vatican: Thomas Doyle, O.P., J.C.D.   – June 30, 2008
4. http://www.priestsofdarkness.com/crimen.pdf   – July 10, 2008
5. http://www.interpol.int/Public/Children/Default.asp   – July 11, 2008
6. http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/longterm/stories/Runaway_
priests_hiding_in_plain_sight.5ee1e9be.html,   – July 11, 2008
7. http://www.interpol.int/Public/Children/Conventions/unConvCR.asp   – July 12, 2008
8. http://www.unicef.org/pon95/chil0008.html   – July 12, 2008
9. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news/2004_09_12_Dunklin_InThe.htm   – July 12, 2008
10. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/resources/resource-files/timeline/2002-04-20-Murphy-Diaz.htm   – July 13, 2008
11. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news/2004_06_20_Dunklin_ConvictedSexual.htm July 13, 2008
12. http://www.poynterextra.org/extra/abusetracker/2002_04_21_archive.htm   – July 18, 2008
13. http://aftermathnews.wordpress.com/2008/04/15/pope-says-he-is-deeply-ashamed-of-clergy-abuse-scandal/  – July 18, 2008

14. http://www.thewest.com.au/default.aspx?MenuID=2&ContentID=85771   – July 19, 2008
15. http://www.priestsofdarkness.com/crimen.pdf   – July 10, 2008.

U.N. Panel Criticizes the Vatican Over Sexual Abuse


U.N. Panel Criticizes the Vatican Over Sexual Abuse

OPINION: Pontifical secret allows abuse to go unpunished


OPINION: Pontifical secret allows abuse to go unpunished


June 9, 2014, 10 p.m

From the Link: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/2340393/opinion-pontifical-secret-allows-abuse-to-go-unpunished/

"Saint" Peter Damian's admonishing against priest pedophiles and those who cover up for them in 1049.

“Saint” Peter Damian’s admonishing against priest pedophiles and those who cover up for them in 1049.

THE Catholic Church for some 1500 years recognised that simply stripping a priest of his status as a priest was not a sufficient punishment for the sexual abuse of children.

Canon law from the 12th century decreed that he should be dismissed from the priesthood and handed over to the civil authority for punishment in accordance with the civil law.

A commission set up by Pope Pius X in 1904 drafted a uniform code of canon law by discarding papal and council decrees that were no longer relevant, modifying others and creating new ones.

The 1917 Code of Canon Law discarded the decrees requiring priests who sexually assaulted children to be handed over to the civil authorities.

Five years later, Pope Pius XI issued his 1922 decree, Crimen Sollicitationis, imposing the “secret of the Holy Office”, a “permanent silence” on all information the Church obtained through its canonical investigations of clergy sex abuse of children. There were no exceptions allowing the reporting of these crimes to the civil authorities.

In 1962, Pope St. John XXIII reissued Crimen Sollicitationis. In 1974, Pope Paul VI, by his decree, Secreta Continere renamed ‘‘the secret of the Holy Office’’ ‘‘the pontifical secret’’, and it continued to apply to the sexual abuse of children under the new 1983 Code of Canon Law.

In 2001, Pope St. John Paul II confirmed the pontifical secret under some new procedures, and in 2010, Pope Benedict XVI expanded its reach by applying it to allegations of priests having sex with intellectually disabled people. In 2010, the Holy See allowed a restricted form of reporting to the civil authorities but only where the civil law required it.

In most parts of the world, and in every state of Australia, apart from NSW, there is no such requirement to report in the vast majority of cases. The pontifical secret still applies where there are no such reporting laws.

The policy of secrecy may not have been so disastrous for children had canon law’s internal disciplinary procedures been adequate to dismiss such priests. But they were not.

Canon law required bishops to try and reform such priests before dismissing them. In his 1983 Code of Canon Law, Pope John Paul II imposed a five-year limitation period that effectively meant there would be no canonical trials of sex-abusing priests.

It also gave such priests a Catch-22 defence: a priest cannot be dismissed for paedophilia because he is a paedophile.

The more children a priest abused, the less likely it was could he be dismissed.

In November 2009, the Murphy Commission in Ireland examined all the above matters, and found that ‘‘the structures and rules of the Catholic Church facilitated’’ the cover-up of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin, and severely criticised the secrecy imposed by canon law and its capacity to discipline priests.

In March 2010, Pope Benedict wrote a Pastoral Letter to the people of Ireland, and ignored the Commission’s criticisms of canon law. Instead he blamed the bishops for the cover-up, and for not applying ‘‘the long-established norms of canon law’’.

The submissions made by the Victorian Church to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry and by the Australian Church to the current Royal Commission follow the same script: there is no mention of the pontifical secret or the inadequacies of the canon law to dismiss these priests.

There are theological reasons behind this reluctance to face the unpalatable truth. Martin Luther claimed that the only source of divine inspiration was the Bible, a view influenced by the corruption of the Renaissance Popes.

The Catholic Church could explain the “bad popes” under the bad apples in the barrel theory: the Holy Spirit does inspire the Church to lead the world to salvation even through sinful popes like Alexander VI with his string of mistresses and eight children.

But now there is hard evidence that six popes since 1922, two of them now saints, maintained and expanded a system of cover-up of child sexual abuse by clergy through canon law, in order to save the Church’s reputation.

These were not “bad popes” of the Renaissance kind.

An unintended consequence of this policy was an increase in damage done to children, a crime that the Church’s founder thought was so bad that those responsible should be thrown in the sea with millstones around their necks.

 Kieran Tapsell is a retired Sydney lawyer with degrees in theology and law. He is the author of  Potiphar’s Wife: The Secret of the Holy Office and Child Sexual Abuse 

How the Vatican evades human rights obligations through Canon Law, diplomatic immunity and other dodges


How the Vatican evades human rights obligations through Canon Law, diplomatic immunity and other dodges

From the Link: How the Vatican evades human rights obligations through Canon Law, diplomatic immunity and other dodges

The Vatican

The Vatican

The Vatican doesn’t acknowledge human rights unless they are in accordance with Church doctrine. Its courts have been found by the EU to violate the right to a fair trial. And the Vatican has even maintained that its signature to one of the few human rights treaties it has signed (and even then with “reservations”) only applies to its own territory and not to the Catholic Church.

“One cannot then appeal to these rights of man in order to oppose the interventions of the Magisterium.”
— Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 1990 [1]

The Vatican not only quietly rejects the supremacy of human rights in principle, it also cultivates effective ways to get around having to implement them.

♦ Diplomatic recognition, sought worldwide, brings diplomatic immunity from charges of human rights abuse

The doctrine of sovereign immunity has its roots in the law of feudal England and is based on the idea that the ruler can do no wrong. In US law this is broadly applied to the heads of foreign states. [2] It was sovereign immunity that foiled an American attempt to sue Benedict XVI for the Vatican’s handling of child abuse by priests. The Church lawyers argued that the pope, as the Vatican’s head of state, enjoys immunity against lawsuits in US courts. [3]

In U.S. courts foreign countries are also generally immune from civil actions, with exemptions primarily for commercial acts. This means that unless a case can be brought in under an exemption the only recourse may be to try to sue the Vatican in a country which does not have diplomatic relations with it. However, as the map shows, most of the world’s countries (coloured blue) already recognise the statehood of the Holy See, as the Vatican is called officially.

There are very few (gray) countries left which don’t yet have diplomatic relations with the Holy See. These amount to just three island nations (the Comoros, north of Madagascar, theMaldives, southwest of India, and Tuvalu, north of New Zealand) — two African nations (Mauritania and Somalia) — three from the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Oman and Afghanistan) — and eight from Asia (Bhutan, People’s Republic of China, North Korea, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia). [4]

X40036_727_CWVaticanRelnsCaption

The logistics of suing the Vatican from some of these countries could be daunting. Furthermore, due to the Vatican’s persistent diplomatic efforts, the number of countries which don’t recognise the Vatican is declining every year. (And one of the few left, Tuvalu, is gradually disappearing beneath the rising seas).

The Vatican’s web of diplomatic relations also makes its representatives immune to prosecution under international law. The 1961 Vienna Convention tries to provide diplomats with the security needed to perform their jobs. It is thanks to this treaty that states now express their displeasure by expelling the diplomats of a foreign country, rather than imprisoning them.

Diplomatic immunity in action: Archbishop Wesolowski is whisked away to the Vatican

However, this treaty was never meant to allow accused rapists of children to go free. Yet this appeared to be the intention when Bishop Paul Gallagher, the papal nuncio or pope’s ambassador to Australia refused to hand over to prosecutors documents on two priests who had abused more than 100 children over 40 years. [5] The nuncio invoked diplomatic immunity. However, as a UN committee later reminded the Vatican, [6] as a signatory of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, it was obliged to hand over this evidence. [7] Pope Francis was apparently so pleased by the nuncio’s attempts to block justice in Australia’s worst clerical abuse scandal, that the next year he promoted him to archbishop and to the number three post in his kingdom  the Vatican’s Foreign Minister. [8]

as happened in the Dominican Republic. [9] There on June 24, 2013 a deacon was arrested and admitted to procuring impoverished boys to be sexually abused by the papal nuncio Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski. [10] By the time the deacon appeared on TV and said that others in the Church knew about this [11] the nuncio had vanished. He had been secretly whisked away and reappeared in the Vatican.

At the TV station they suspected that there had been a leak.

A “dossier” accusing papal nuncio Archbishop Josef Wesolowski of sex abuse of minors was sent to Pope Francis sometime in July [2013] by Santo Domingo Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez. The pope found the information credible enough to dismiss Wesolowski, nuncio to both the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, on Aug. 21 via confidential letter N.2706/PR to the bishops of both countries.

Neither the civil authorities nor the public knew about Wesolowski until a local TV program did an exposé on Aug. 31. The result of a year-long investigation, the broadcast contained testimony from residents of the Zona Colonial in Santo Domingo that Wesolowski paid minors for sex.

Three days after the TV broadcast, a local bishop confirmed that Wesolowski had been recalled for sexually abusing minors.

Wesolowski reportedly had left the country only a few days before. [12]

In this case the Vatican acted against its own much-touted guidelines:

the church failed to inform the local authorities of the evidence against him, secretly recalled him to Rome […] before he could be investigated, and then invoked diplomatic immunity for Mr. Wesolowski so that he could not face trial in the Dominican Republic. [13]

Once he was safely in Rome the Vatican “confirmed that Wesolowski is a citizen of the Vatican city state, that the Vatican doesn’t extradite its citizens and that as a nuncio, or Holy See ambassador, Wesolowski enjoys full diplomatic immunity”. [14] Experts in international law say that the Vatican could have lifted the nuncio’s diplomatic immunity to let him face trial in the Dominical Republic (which could hardly be accused of having an anti-Catholic judiciary). [15]

However, the Church came under increasing pressure when the United Nations Committee against Torture stepped in. In June 2014 it urged the Vatican, if the investigation warranted it, to either try Wesolowski itself under the Vatican State criminal code (not canon law) or let someone else do so — and report back on the outcome. [16]

In August 2014, the Vatican gave Wesolwski a secret canon law trial to determine if he had violated Church doctrine. The Vatican tribunal found Wesolwski’s guilty of abusing young boys and defrocked him. But it refused to provide any information about his whereabouts or how he pleaded to the charges and refused to release contact information for his lawyer. [17] This deprived Mr. Wesolowski of his diplomatic immunity — so the Vatican then fell back on his Vatican State citizenship as the reason for not handing him over.

To avoid further challenges to its jurisdiction, the Vatican refused to provide the necessary documents to Polish prosecutors, who had hoped to try Wesolowski, a dual Vatican-Polish citizen. [18] The Vatican also got the Dominican Republic to fall into line. In August 2014, the day after Wesolowski lost his diplomatic immunity, the Santo Dominican prosecutor’s office announced that it was launching an investigation. [19] However, by the end of the year, the Dominican Republic’s top prosecutor was expressing “appreciation and satisfaction” with the Vatican’s actions (!) and said that the Vatican was the right place for the trial. [20] The Dominican authorities even stonewalled the legal inquiries of Polish prosecutors about Wesolowski, [21] which forced Poland to suspend its inquiry. [22] This cleared the way for the Vatican to conduct its own trial under the criminal law of its own state, which would satisfy the UN commitee, but keep control over the proceedings.

A Polish expert on church law, Prof. Pawel Borecki, explained why the Vatican was determined to maintain control:

“The Vatican will seek that this case does not go beyond its borders. Wesolowski is a high-ranking diplomat. He has knowledge of how the Roman curia works. He may also know about pedophilia in the church and if other high-ranking priests are involved in the crime. In a trial abroad he could reveal everything. Therefore, we can expect that the Vatican will not release him and it will hand down a severe punishment.” [23]

♦ Keeping out of key human rights treaty shields Vatican courts from international standards

The Vatican can’t be censured for violating the right to a fair trial which is enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights because it hasn’t signed the treaty. Instead, in a 2001 court case, it was Italy that was faulted for enforcing the unfair judgement of the Vatican court.

In essence the European Court of Human Rights found in 2001 that the procedures of the Roman Rota, the ecclesiastical appeals court responsible for marriage-annulment applications, failed to reach the standards required for a fair trial under article 6(1) of the European Convention and that, therefore, its judgments could not properly be recognized and enforced under Italian law. ECHR noted that in Rota proceedings witness statements were not provided to parties, thus depriving the parties of an opportunity to comment on them. The parties were not advised that they could appoint lawyers to appear for them, nor advised of the terms of the legal submissions made by the canon lawyer appointed by the court to argue against annulment. Finally, the parties were refused sight of a full copy of the Rota’s judgment, in which the ecclesiastical court set out its reasoning. Given these circumstances, the Strasbourg court took the view that justice was not done in annulment proceedings before church courts. [24]

“As new scandals erupt in Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain, Brazil and Nigeria, the Pope has failed to put in place and enforce mandatory child protection policy across his church. I asked a senior church figure why this was the case. I was told that to put in place global policy underpinned by church law would admit that the Vatican had the responsibility and the power to do so, and expose it to lawsuits and potentially massive financial losses.” ― Colm O'Gorman, Independent, 9 March 2010

“As new scandals erupt in Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain, Brazil and Nigeria, the Pope has failed to put in place and enforce mandatory child protection policy across his church. I asked a senior church figure why this was the case. I was told that to put in place global policy underpinned by church law would admit that the Vatican had the responsibility and the power to do so, and expose it to lawsuits and potentially massive financial losses.” ― Colm O’Gorman, Independent, 9 March 2010

♦ Damage limitation, part 1: Blame the bishops

If the Vatican doesn’t sign a human rights treaty, it’s easier to confine blame (and costs) to the local bishop. This helps the Vatican deny all responsibility for what is done in the Church worldwide. Thus the Vatican’s top prosecutor admits no fault on the part of the Church watchdog body, the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith which, under Cardinal Ratzinger (now the present pope), dealt with abuse cases. [25]

♦ Damage limitation, part 2: Blame the priests

Even better, from the Vatican’s point of view, is to place sole blame on the errant priests.

In the US Vatican lawyers argued that Roman Catholic clerics are not officials or employees of the Holy See. [26] This is now the main Vatican defence against lawsuits in the United States seeking to hold the Holy See liable for the failure of its bishops to stop priests from raping and molesting children.

Usually foreign countries are immune from civil actions in U.S. courts, but there are exceptions to the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act which courts have said were applicable in this case. The statute says that plaintiffs can establish subject matter jurisdiction over a foreign sovereign, if a crime was committed in the United States by any official or employee of the foreign state and that the crimes were committed within the scope of employment. [27]

In the UK the same argument is being repeated. The English Catholic Church said priests are self-employed and thus it’s not responsible for victim compensation. Mindful of the dioceses in the US which were obliged to pay compensation to victims of clerical abuse and in some cases have gone bankrupt, [28] it has tried to argue that priests are self-employed. [29] However, in a High Court ruling on 8 November 2011 the judge rejected that argument, stating that the relationship between a priest and his bishop is sufficiently close so as to impose responsibility. According to the alleged victim’s lawyer, “This is a key decision with potentially far-reaching implications, effectively extending the principle of vicarious liability”. [30]

There are other theological variations on the responsibility theme: Whereas the Catholic Church says that its priests are self-employed, the Church of England, in order to avoid giving its priests workers’ rights, claimed they were employed by God. [31] And since 2008 it has said that they are “office holders”, in other words, employed by no one.

In Australia, too, the Vatican tries to hold the priests, and not the Church, legally liable in cases of abuse. It does through the remarkable claim, supported in a 2007 decision by the Supreme Court of New South Wales, that the “Catholic Church” does not exist as a single legal entity. [32] Therefore it cannot be sued; it cannot be held responsible for the behaviour of individuals who work in its “unincorporated associations”. Victims of assault could sue the responsible individuals or their unincorporated associations but it would be pointless; the individual religious take vows of poverty and the unincorporated associations own nothing. [33]

However, in 2014 Cardinal George Pell suggested that the Australian Church was no more responsible for priests’ crimes than any other organisation was for its employees. [34] Yes, employees.

♦ Damage limitation, part 3: Blame religious orders then let them refuse to pay

The English High Court and Court of Appeal both ruled that a Catholic diocese was liable to compensate the boys in a Catholic home who had been beaten, kicked and raped. However, that didn’t stop the diocese from claiming that a religious order was responsible and refusing to pay. And, of course, the order also denied any responsibility. [35] By 2012 the legal proceedings had been dragging on for eight years and due to the strain, many of the broken victims had dropped out of the process. [36]

And in Ireland where the Catholic Church and 19 religious orders agreed to split the compensation 50-50, the orders, one after another, have refused to pay. As of 2012 this had been going on for ten years. [37]

Even the four orders of Catholic nuns who ran the Magdalene Laundries and profited from what amounted to slave labour have refused to pay. [38] The Good Shepherd Sisters, The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, The Sisters of Mercy and The Sisters of Charity are keeping all the profits from selling prime real estate when their gulags were shut down are refusing to share this with their victims. [39]

In Canada it’s the same story. Eight Catholic orders ran the orphanages and psychiatric hospitals in the Province of Quebec. Federal subsidies were greater for psychiatric hospitals than for orphanages, so to maximise the profits, large numbers of normal children were “diagnosed” as feeble-minded or insane. In both kinds of Church-run institutions the children were subjected to unimaginable brutality and many died. Yet neither the orders involved nor the Vatican are willing to pay any compensation to the traumatised survivors. [40]

Since the pope is the head of every Catholic religious order, they must be doing this with his consent. As David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, writes,

The Catholic church isn’t some loosely-knit hippie commune. It’s a rigid, secretive, tightly-knit institution. So when crimes happen, it’s disingenuous for church officials to pretend that everyone involved is disconnected from one another. [41]

♦ Damage limitation, part 4: Blame the victim

In a sworn deposition in 2011 the bishop of Syracuse actually said that the victims of child-molesting priests are partly to blame for their own abuse. [42]

♦ Damage limitation, part 5: Lobby against extending the time limits for suing the Church

Many victims are unable to talk about abuse or face their accusers until they reach their 30s, 40s or later, putting the crime beyond the reach of the law. Yet in some US states, like New York, the victim is required to come forth by age 23. The US Supreme Court ruled that changes in criminal limits (statues of limitation) cannot be retroactive, so that any extension of present ones they will affect only recent and future crimes. [43] However, even this the Catholic Church is lobbying to prevent. If it succeeds, then the time limits can prevent penalties being applied for human rights abuses. Even when the Church admits it knew about the abuse, the priest admits that he did it, and there is independent evidence to back this up, “if the statute of limitations has expired, there won’t be any justice”. [44]

♦ Damage limitation, part 6: other “evasions and machinations” 

These include (but are not confined to):

— Spending millions of dollars to fight sexual abuse lawsuits and keeping sealed the names of thousands of accused priests, as well as the outcomes of some disciplinary cases sent to the Vatican. [45]

— Hiding funds to avoid compensating victims. In 2007 a judge in informed the Diocese of San Diego that its attempt to shift the diocese’s assets while the case was pending violated bankruptcy laws. [46] And that same year the Vatican allowed the Milwaukee archdiocese to transfer $57 million into a trust for Catholic cemetery maintenance, where it might be better protected, as Archbishop Dolan wrote, “from any legal claim and liability.” [47]

— Legal quibbles of all kinds. For instance, in 2011 church leaders in St. Louis claimed not to be liable for an abusive priest because while he had gotten to know a victim on church property, the abuse itself happened elsewhere. [48]

— Going after honest clerics who act as whistleblowers. A group of priests and nuns formed in 2013 says the Roman Catholic Church is still protecting sexual predators. Calling themselves the Catholic Whistleblowers, they say that priests who spoke up have been “removed from their parishes, hustled into retirement or declared ‘unstable’ and sent to treatment centres for clergy with substance-abuse problems or sexual addictions.” [49]

— Subjecting the victims to an oath of secrecy. This is the oath that the victims of the Irish paedophile priest Father Brendan Smyth were obliged to swear before Cardinal Sean Brady in 1975 when he was a priest and professor of canon law: [50]

“I will never directly or indirectly, by means of a nod, or of a word, by writing, or in any other way, and under whatever type of pretext, even for the most urgent and most serious cause (even) for the purpose of a greater good, commit anything against this fidelity to the secret, unless a…dispensation has been expressly given to me by the Supreme Pontiff.” [51]

— Tipping off accused clerics to allow destruction of evidence. In Australia in 2002, when a bishop learned that a child victim of one of his priests had gone to the police, he drove to a neighbouring town to warn him. This gave the priest, who was later comnvicted for repeatedly raping four children, the chance to destroy incriminating evidence. [52]

— Witness intimidation. In Germany in 2009 the Catholic Church hired detectives who turned at the homes of abused children and tried to get them retract their claims against one of its priests. [53]

— Hush money. In Australia in 2015 the nephew of a priest said that Cardinal Pell had tried to bribe him to keep quiet about abuse by his uncle. [54] And this tactic was proven to have been used in Germany in 1999, when cash payments were made to the parents of abused children at the same time as they signed agreement to remain silent. See Money for silence.

 It has been plausibly claimed that “the failure of the Vatican to promulgate a mandatory worldwide code of conduct, with a reporting requirement (for child abuse)...stems precisely from a fear of acknowledging its authority over national churches and implicitly conceding that priests and bishops, whom it appoints, are actually its agents in a legal sense.” — Patrick Smyth

It has been plausibly claimed that “the failure of the Vatican to promulgate a mandatory worldwide code of conduct, with a reporting requirement (for child abuse)…stems precisely from a fear of acknowledging its authority over national churches and implicitly conceding that priests and bishops, whom it appoints, are actually its agents in a legal sense.” — Patrick Smyth

♦ The Church follows its own Canon Law (which can be changed by a stroke of the papal pen) and must be forced to comply with civil law which is based on human rights

Amnesty International criticised the Vatican in its 2011 report, claiming it “did not sufficiently comply with its international obligations relating to the protection of children”. AI pointed out that the Vatican enlarged its own definition of “crimes in canon law” beyond “the sexual abuse of minors” ― but not the punishments

Amendments to the canon law promulgated in May introduced the “delicts” of paedophile pornography and abuse of mentally disabled people; the maximum punishment for these “delicts” is dismissal or deposition. Canon law does not include an obligation for Church authorities to report cases to civil authorities for criminal investigation. Secrecy is mandatory throughout the proceedings. [55]

As if the record unpunished priest abusers were not proof enough, a letter written in 2001 by a senior Vatican official has come to light praising a French bishop when he was convicted of failing to report a paedophile priest to the police. In 2010 the Bishop was given a three-month suspended prison sentence for not denouncing the priest, who was sentenced to 18 years in jail in 2000 for sexually abusing 11 boys. [56]

However, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, Prefect of the Congregation of the Clergy, told the Bishop, “I congratulate you for not denouncing a priest to the civil authorities.” And he concludes the letter to the French bishop by holding up the Bishops’ behaviour as a model for others; “This Congregation, in order to encourage brothers in the episcopate in this delicate matter, will forward a copy of this letter to all the conferences of bishops.” [57]

The Cardinal said afterwards that his letter was about protecting the seal of the confessional in accordance with Church law (Canon 983), but there is no mention of this in the text itself and at his trial the Bishop disputed this. [58] However, even if this were true, this would not hold in France which has apparently legislated a “duty to report” where children are involved. “French law recognises the seal of the confessional as part of a protected category of ‘professional secrets’, but makes an exception for crimes committed against minors”. [59]

 “Clericalism has many faces.  It is the delusion that priests speak for the Almighty and therefore are entitled to special treatment and even immunity from accountability for criminal behavior. It is the source of the conviction held by many, including top-level Vatican officials, that the legal systems of secular society are subordinate to Canon Law, the Catholic Church’s own system of governance.” ― Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, O.P., J.C.D.

“Clericalism has many faces. It is the delusion that priests speak for the Almighty and therefore are entitled to special treatment and even immunity from accountability for criminal behavior. It is the source of the conviction held by many, including top-level Vatican officials, that the legal systems of secular society are subordinate to Canon Law, the Catholic Church’s own system of governance.”
― Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, O.P., J.C.D.

Later the Cardinal also dropped a bombshell. He claimed that, “After consulting the pope, I wrote a letter to the bishop, congratulating him as a model of a father who does not turn in his children.” [60]

If Castrillon Hoyos is telling the truth, then John Paul personally approved sending this letter in direct violation of the instruction Card[inal] Ratzinger’s CDF had sent down months earlier, urging bishops in countries where the law obliges them to report knowledge of sexual crimes against children to civil authorities, to follow the law. If Castrillon Hoyos is being truthful, it would suggest that, as far as the pontiff was concerned, the Ratzinger directive was window dressing. [61]

The Church record of stonewalling criminal investigations certainly suggests that, until and unless forced to do otherwise, Canon Law, the legal system of the Catholic Church, is all the Church feels bound to follow. The outspoken Monsignor Maurice Dooley, an expert on Canon Law, has even stated this publicly. In 2002 he declared that bishops did not have to tell the Irish police about paedophile clerics and might even shelter these priests. “As far as the Church is concerned, its laws come first.” [62] And in April 2010 the Brazilian Archbishop Dadeus Grings concurred, saying that priestly abuse was a matter of internal church discipline, not something to report to the police. “For the church to go and accuse its own sons would be a little strange.” [63]

And even senior churchmen claiming that it is Church policy to report suspected abuse to the police have been found to be lying. In Australia, for instance, despite assurances by a bishop that the church had enforced strict rules to ensure such cases were reported to the police as a “matter of absolute policy’”, he and an archbishop secretly defrocked an abuser who was assured that “your good name will be protected by the confidential nature of this process”. [64]

In 2014 a United Nations committee severely criticised the Vatican’s handling of abuse cases and its failure to comply with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The panel rejected the church’s key contention that the Vatican has no jurisdiction over its bishops and priests around the world, and is responsible for putting in effect the Convention on the Rights of the Child only within the tiny territory of Vatican City. By ratifying the convention, the panel said, the Vatican took responsibility for making sure it was respected by individuals and institutions under the Holy See’s authority around the world. [65]

To this the Vatican replied by using its usual shell game, switching between its three identities, as dictated by expediency:  “The Committee has overlooked important distinctions between the Holy See, Vatican City State and the universal Catholic Church.” [66]

Further reading about the Pope and the law

Geoffrey Robertson, QC, “Put the pope in the dock. Legal immunity cannot hold. The Vatican should feel the full weight of international law”, Guardian, 2 April 2010. [This is a proposal to prosecute the Vatican under criminal law, where diplomatic immunity does not apply, but where an arrest could only be made in a country (like the UK, but not the US) which has signed the Statute of the International Criminal Court.]

“Call to treat Vatican as a rogue state: Lawyer Geoffrey Robertson says the church must abandon canon law”,Sydney Morning Herald, 9 September 2010. http://www.smh.com.au/world/call-to-treat-vatican-as-a-rogue-state-20100908-151cg.html

Afua Hirsch, “Canon law has allowed abuse priests to escape punishment, says lawyer”, Guardian, 7 September 2010. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/07/canon-law-abuse-priests-escape-punishment

Alan Duke, “Lawsuit demands Vatican name priests accused of sex abuse”, CNN, 22 April 2010.  “Pope Benedict XVI was named as a defendant because he has the ultimate authority to remove priests and because of his involvement in reviewing sex abuse cases when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the suit says.” [This is a suit under civil law and, as the US has recognised the Holy See by establishing diplomatic relations with it, this suit depends upon proving that the Holy See acted in a manner which removes its immunity, as outlined above.]

Further reading about the Pope and the law

Geoffrey Robertson, QC, “Put the pope in the dock. Legal immunity cannot hold. The Vatican should feel the full weight of international law”, Guardian, 2 April 2010. [This is a proposal to prosecute the Vatican under criminal law, where diplomatic immunity does not apply, but where an arrest could only be made in a country (like the UK, but not the US) which has signed the Statute of the International Criminal Court.]

“Call to treat Vatican as a rogue state: Lawyer Geoffrey Robertson says the church must abandon canon law”,Sydney Morning Herald, 9 September 2010. http://www.smh.com.au/world/call-to-treat-vatican-as-a-rogue-state-20100908-151cg.html

Afua Hirsch, “Canon law has allowed abuse priests to escape punishment, says lawyer”, Guardian, 7 September 2010. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/07/canon-law-abuse-priests-escape-punishment

Alan Duke, “Lawsuit demands Vatican name priests accused of sex abuse”, CNN, 22 April 2010.  “Pope Benedict XVI was named as a defendant because he has the ultimate authority to remove priests and because of his involvement in reviewing sex abuse cases when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the suit says.” [This is a suit under civil law and, as the US has recognised the Holy See by establishing diplomatic relations with it, this suit depends upon proving that the Holy See acted in a manner which removes its immunity, as outlined above.]

Notes

  1. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Instruction: Donum veritatis, On the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian”, 1990-03-24, #36.
  2. “”Immunity”, The Free Dictionary.
  3. John L. Allen Jr, “The autonomy of bishops, and suing the Vatican”, National Catholic Reporter, 21 May 2010.
  4. Sandro Magister, “The Holy See’s Diplomatic Net. Latest Acquisition: Russia”, Chiesa, 14 January 2010.
    The Holy See does not yet have relations with sixteen countries, most of them in Asia, many of them with majority Muslim populations. There is no Vatican representative in nine of these countries: Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Bhutan, the People’s Republic of China, North Korea, the Maldives, Oman, Tuvalu, and Vietnam. While in seven other countries there are apostolic delegates, pontifical representatives to the local Catholic communities but not to the government. Three of these countries are African: the Comoros, Mauritania, and Somalia. And four of them are Asian: Brunei, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar.
  5. “Australian abuse inquiry faces diplomatic standoff with Vatican”, National Catholic Reporter, 19 December 2013.
  6. [UN] Committee against Torture, Concluding observations on the initial report of the Holy See, 17 June 201, #14.
  7. See article 6.1, “Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.” Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution A/RES/54/263 of 25 May 2000, entered into force on 18 January 2002,
  8. “British archbishop who claimed diplomatic immunity to avoid handing documents to paedophile investigators is promoted to third highest role in Vatican by the Pope”, Daily Mail, 10 November 2014.
  9. “Dominican Republic says Vatican to handle landmark sex abuse case”, Agence France-Presse, 1 December 2014.
  10. Laurie Goodstein, “Vatican Defrocks Ambassador in Abuse Inquiry”, New York Times, 27 June 2014.
  11. . “Priests accused of child sex abuse to stand trial in Poland?”, Radio Poland, 16 October 2013.
  12. Betty Clermont, “Pope Francis Concealed His Actions Against Two Prelates. Now Both ‘Whereabouts are Unknown’”, Daily Kos, 29 September 2013.
  13. Laurie Goodstein, “For Nuncio Accused of Abuse, Dominicans Want Justice at Home, Not Abroad”, New York Times, 23 August 2014.
  14. “Vatican to Polish prosecutor: we don’t extradite”, Associated Press, 11 January 2014.
  15. Laurie Goodstein, “For Nuncio Accused of Abuse, Dominicans Want Justice at Home, Not Abroad”, New York Times, 23 August 2014
  16. The United Nations Committee against Torture said on 17 June 2014, ref CAT/C/VAT/CO/1:
    Impunity

    13. The Committee appreciates the confirmation provided regarding the ongoing investigation under the Vatican City State Criminal Code of allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Archbishop Josef Wesolowski, former papal nuncio to the Dominican Republic. The Committee notes that the Republic of Poland has reportedly requested the extradition of Archbishop Wesolowski. The Committee also is concerned that the State party did not identify any case to date in which it has prosecuted an individual responsible for the commission of or complicity or participation in a violation of the Convention (arts. 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8).

    The State party should ensure that its competent authorities proceed to a prompt and impartial investigation of Archbishop Wesolowski and any other persons accused of perpetrating or being complicit in violations of the Convention who are nationals of the State party or are present on the territory of the State party. If warranted, the State party should ensure such persons are criminally prosecuted or extradited for prosecution by the civil authorities of another State party. The Committee requests the State party to provide it with information on the outcome of the investigation concerning Archbishop Wesolowski.

  17. “Dominican court opens case on ex-Vatican official”, Associated Press, 31 August 2014.
  18. “Poland Suspends Inquiry Into a Former Vatican Envoy”, New York Times, 22 December 2014.
  19. “Dominican court opens case on ex-Vatican official”, Associated Press, 31 August 2014.
  20. “Dominican prosecutor OKs Vatican sex abuse case”, Associated Press, 2 December 2014.
  21. “Poland suspends paedophilia investigation against archbishop”, Polski Radio, 19 December 2014.
  22. “Poland Suspends Inquiry Into a Former Vatican Envoy”, New York Times, 22 December 2014.
  23. Donald Snyder, “Venue debated for trial of former nuncio accused of abusing minors”, National Catholic Reporter, 6 September 2014.
  24. Pellegrini v. Italy, 2001-VIII, Application No: 30882/96
  25. Laurie Goodstein, “U.N. Panel Criticizes the Vatican Over Sexual Abuse”, New York Times, 5 February 2014.
  26. Stoyan Zaimov, “Catholic Church Not Employer of Pedophile Priests, US Judge Rules”, Christian Post, 22 August 2014.
  27. “Bishops who mishandle abuse must be accountable, says Vatican official”, Catholic Herald, 8 February 2012.
  28. “Pope-bishop relationship key in sex abuse defense”, AP, 18 May 2010.
  29. “Settlements and bankruptcies in [American] Catholic sex abuse cases”, Wikipedia.
  30. “Catholic bishop criticises ruling on church liability for actions of priests”, Guardian, 15 November 2011.
    Crispian Hollis, Bishop of Portsmouth, “The Diocese, Fr Wilf Baldwin and the High Court Judgment”, 10 November 2011.
  31. “Catholic Church responsible for child abuse, High Court rules”, The Lawyer, 9 November 2011.
  32. Jonathan Petre, “Clergy close to workers’ rights”, Telegraph, 19 January 2004.
  33. Trustees of the Roman Catholic Church V Ellis & Anor [2007] NSWCA 117 (24 May 2007).
  34. Australian Cardinal angers abuse victims, The Tablet, 22 August 2014.
  35. Glen Coulton, letter to Sydney Morning Herald, 6 February 2011.
  36. “Church abuse case goes to highest court”, The Times, 23 July 2012.
  37. “Roman Catholic church stalls on £8m child abuse claims“, Observer, 15 November 2009
  38. “Counting the cost of abuse redress”, Irish Examiner, 01 October 2012
  39. “Kenny: I can’t force orders to contribute to Magdalenes redress fund”, Breaking News IE, 17 July 2013.
  40. Conor Ryan, “Site by laundry grave sold for €61.8m”, Irish Examiner, 05 July 2011.
  41. Petition concerning the Duplessis Orphans, presented to the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, on behalf of the Duplessis Orphans, by Dr. Jonathan Levy and Rod Vienneau, 15 April 2011. http://www.vaticanbankclaims.com/quebec.pdf This is a reliable summary, as any factual inaccuracies would expose this human rights lawyer to charges of perjury, as explained at the end of the document.
  42. “Child victims partly to blame in priest sex-abuse cases, Syracuse bishop testified”, Syracuse.com, 13 September 2015.
  43. “Judge: Try Philadelphia priests, official together”, AP, 29 July 2011.
  44. Marci A. Hamilton, “Why ensuring accountability for clergy sexual abuse of children has proved so difficult, even though it remains so crucial”, Findlaw, 6 May 2004.
  45. Marci A. Hamilton, a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University who represents plaintiffs in sexual abuse suits, quoted in “Church Battles Efforts to Ease Sex Abuse Suits”, New York Times, 14 June 2012.
  46. “Ahead of Pope Francis’ Visit, Survivors of Sexual Abuse Take Stock”, New York Times, 15 September 2015.
  47. Amnesty International, Annual Report, 2011: “Vatican”.
  48. “Dolan Sought to Protect Church Assets, Files Show”, New York Times, 1 July 2013.
    “Appeals court: Judge erred on Milwaukee archdiocese fund”, AP, 10 March 2015.
  49. “Judge Orders External Audit of San Diego Diocese Accounts”, Associated Press, carried in San Luis Obispo Tribune, 11 April 2007.
  50. “Abuse victims criticise Brady’s decision to stay”, BBC News, 18 May 2010.
  51. “Revealed: the oath Brady, Smyth and the children swore”, Irish Independent, 3 December 2012.
  52. “Courage puts shame ‘squarely where it belongs'”, Sydney Morning Herald, 24 July 2013.
  53. “Church Whistle-Blowers Join Forces on Abuse”, New York Times, 20 May 2013.
  54. “Cardinal Pell denies attempting to bribe alleged abuse victim and helping to move paedophile priest”, Tablet, 21 May 2015.
  55. “Mo. appeals court rules Catholic church not responsible for some abuse”, St. Louis Public Radio, 5 July 2011.
  56. “How the German Catholic Church Protected a Pedophile Priest”, Spiegel, 24 April 2009.
  57. Tom Heneghan, “John Paul backed praise for hiding abuse – cardinal”, Reuters, 18 April 2010.
  58. Cardinal Darío del Niño Jesús Castrillón Hoyos to Bishop Pierre Pican, 8 September 2001. Translation in “Darío Castrillón Hoyos”,
  59. John L Allen Jr, “Crisis hangs over pope in Malta like volcanic ash”, National Catholic Register, 17 April 2010.
  60. Tom Heneghan, “John Paul backed praise for hiding abuse – cardinal”, Reuters, 18 April 2010.
  61. Rod Dreher, “Cardinal: John Paul approved of cover-up”, Beliefnet, 18 April 2010.
  62. Ciaran Byrne, “Controversial cleric a ‘grade A1 idiot’, says colleague”, Irish Independent, 20 March 2010.
  63. “Catholic archbishop says kids are spontaneously gay”, Examiner.com, 8 May 2010.
  64. “Calls multiply for inquiry into handling of sex abuse”, Sydney Morning Herald, 1 August 2012.
  65. Laurie Goodstein, Nick Cumming-Brice and Jim Yardley,“ U.N. Panel Criticizes the Vatican Over Sexual Abuse”, New York Times, 5 February 2014.
  66. “Holy See’s Comments to Observations From UN Committee on Rights of the Child”, Zenit, 26 September 2014.

 

An 11th-Century Scandal


An 11th-Century Scandal

Mark Twain said that history does not repeat itself, but it rhymes. The sexual abuse scandal that continues to echo throughout the church in America, as evidenced by the recent controversy over the decision to allow Cardinal Bernard Law to preside at one of the memorial Masses for Pope John Paul II in Rome after his death on April 2, bears a striking resemblance to a series of crises that roiled the church in the Middle Ages, particularly in the 11th century. Then, as now, the higher clergy seemed to be completely unaware of the damage that scandalous sexual behavior was causing to both the victims and the community as a whole.

Problems in the 11th century were much more widespread than in our own. Priests and bishops were unaccountable to secular law, and abusive behavior extended beyond children to include adults. Many had concubines, or live-in prostitutes, who were completely at the mercy of their clerical patrons. Some bishops used their authority over the clergy to compel priests into acts of sodomy, as well.

Cardinal Peter Damian

Cardinal Peter Damian

But one cardinal, Peter Damian, was willing to address the abuse publicly, and he legitimated initiatives on the part of the laity to punish clerical offenders. Much of Damian’s analysis of the root causes of sexual abuse by members of the clergy is applicable to our own situation.

Peter Damian (1007-72), later canonized and declared a doctor of the church, learned about the destructive power of evil early in his life. Because his mother thought her family could not support another child, she refused to feed him as an infant. Only the intervention of the concubine of the local priest saved the baby’s life.

As a child in Ravenna, Italy, Peter Damian lost both of his parents. His medieval biographer claimed that he spent time with an abusive older brother before another brother, who was archpriest of Ravenna, took him in and saw to his education. In the diocesan cathedral school he attended, Damian became increasingly scandalized by the behavior of both students and professors. Rather than pursue a lucrative career as a professor and cleric, he chose to enter monastic life and devoted himself to the work of reforming the church. His accomplishments eventually included the creation of the process for electing popes.

Complaints from Damian about the church’s unwillingness to confront the sexual behavior of the clergy, however, met with inaction. In 1049 Damian wrote to Pope Leo IX (1048-54) about the cancer of sexual abuse that was spreading through the church: boys and adolescents were being forced and seduced into performing acts of sodomy by priests and bishops; there were problems with sexual harassment among higher clergy; and many members of the clergy were keeping concubines.

Peter Damian warned the pope that bishops were contributing to the growth of the problem by their failure to enforce church discipline. Members of the clergy who sexually abused others demonstrated by their actions that they had no fear of God, Damian argued. Such men were afraid only of being despised by the people and of losing their positions; they would do anything to avoid being stripped of their clerical status and identity. Knowing that their bishop would not remove them from their office and ministry gave such men license to continue in their wickedness. Thus in failing to discipline abusive members of the clergy, the bishops stood as guilty as the men who committed the crimes.

Convinced that it was the lack of episcopal leadership that was causing the sexual abuse scandal in his day, Damian offered this admonition:

“Listen, you do-nothing superiors of clerics and priests. Listen, and even though you feel sure of yourselves, tremble at the thought that you are partners in the guilt of others; those, I mean, who wink at the sins of their subjects that need correction and who by ill-considered silence allow them license to sin. Listen, I say, and be shrewd enough to understand that all of you alike are deserving of death, that is, not only those who do such things, but also they who approve those who practice them (Rom 1:32).”

Drawing on the model that the bishop or priest is married to the church, Damian accused both those who sexually abused the people under their care and those who allowed such abuse to take place with the crime of spiritual incest. But whereas biological parents who committed incest were subject in the Middle Ages to excommunication and exile, Damian felt that bishops who betrayed their spiritual children deserved a harsher penalty. Their betrayal ran deeper.

Pope Leo IX

Pope Leo IX

Unfortunately, Pope Leo IX disagreed with Peter Damian’s analysis of the problem of clerical sexual abuse. He was willing to punish clerics who committed acts of anal intercourse with boys and adolescents, but he minimized the punishment of clerics who performed other sexual acts with children and adults of both sexes.

Shortly after the election of Pope Nicholas II (1058-61), Damian called attention to the issue again. His complaint to the new pope has a modern sound: Indeed, in our day the genuine custom of the Roman Church seems to be observed in this way, that regarding other practices of ecclesiastical discipline, a proper investigation is held; but a prudent silence is maintained concerning clerical sexuality for fear of insults from the laity. Damian urged the pope to bring the issue out into the open and to punish both the sexual offenders and the bishops who failed in their duty to punish and to depose sexual predators. He complained that occasionally priests were disciplined, but with bishops we pay our reverence with silent tolerance, which is totally absurd.

According to Damian, punishing those who hold positions of authority and oversight is the only way to restore credibility in times of scandal. Damian recounted the story of the Old Testament priest Phinehas. Finding one of the most prominent Israelite chiefs having sex with a Midianite prostitute, Phinehas exposed the pair to the people as they were having sex and skewered them with a spear. By this action Phinehas imitated God’s justice and sent the message that the laws would be enforced.

Damian notes that most of the Israelite men around Phinehas were consorting with prostitutes. Yet Phinehas struck down only the most powerful and socially prominent offenders. The conclusion to be drawn is that the powerful should be held to a higher standard. Thus in Nm 25:4, when Eli failed to punish his son, God struck him down. His inaction brought the priesthood into disrepute. Likewise, Damian asserted, when the magisterial hierarchy fails to enforce discipline, they undermine the legitimacy of the ecclesiastical office.

Eli was stripped of his power, privileges and wealth. Damian believed the bishops should also lose the trappings of episcopal office. He predicted that God’s agents for stripping the bishops of the wealth and privileges they had taken for granted would be the laity. The laity had granted the clergy temporal authority and wealth; so when the clergy failed in their spiritual mission, it was the laity that had the duty to take these things back, in collaboration with reformers in the clergy and religious orders.

Women held the lowest place in the church during the 11th century, but Damian believed that they too had a duty to correct the clergy. Their inclusion by him in the process of reforming even the highest members of the clergy illustrates Damian’s view that all in the church have the duty to correct their superiors publicly when they see serious sin or deviations from tradition. Virtue and power were not determined by a person’s sex. Rather, virtue is a gift from God.

So in 1064 Damian wrote to Duchess Adelaide of Turin, urging her to use her political power to address problems related to clerical sexual abuse. Using language that may seem offensive to us, he praised God for making Adelaide as strong as a man and drew upon a host of biblical citations, including the examples of Deborah, Jael, Judith, Esther, Abigail and other women who corrected and punished weak, evil or fearful men, to justify her action in reforming the male members of the clergy. The scriptural stories proved that God sometimes chooses women to be instruments of a more glorious triumph.

At the very least, Damian’s story calls into question the practice of covering up sins as a means to avoid scandal. It also provides a road map for church leaders to recover credibility by disciplining the bishops who have enabled sexual predators to damage the most vulnerable members of the people of God. And if the magisterial hierarchy proves unable to reform itself on these matters, St. Peter Damian offers a Catholic model of collaborative reform that includes the laity, religious, deacons and priests. Most important, his story shows that we have overcome sexual abuse scandals in the past by upholding faithfulness to our tradition and maintaining vigilance against corruption.

C. Colt Anderson is assistant professor of church history at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, Ill.

 

The Shadow Behind ‘Spotlight’: How Predator Priests Derailed Boston’s Would-Be Pope, Cardinal Bernard Law


The Shadow Behind ‘Spotlight’: How Predator Priests Derailed Boston’s Would-Be Pope, Cardinal Bernard Law

Sins of the Father

10.26.151:03 AM ET
Cardinal Bernard Law

Cardinal Bernard Law

The shadow villain of Spotlight, Bernard Law was one of America’s most ambitious and prominent cardinals—until his handling of the sex-abuse scandal caught up with him.

Spotlight is a gripping new film by Tom McCarthy on The Boston Globe’s investigation of how that archdiocese concealed child-molester priests. Set in 2001, the film serves as backstory to the Pulitzer Prize-winning series that began on Jan. 6, 2002—“Feast of the Epiphany,” as we learn in the intelligent script by McCarthy and Josh Singer.

Taking on the church in heavily Catholic Boston was no small order. Several of the reporters came from Catholic homes. Marty Baron, the Globe’s new editor, by way of The Miami Herald, suggested the investigation after reading a Globe columnist on a priest abuse case. Baron wanted to know more; he later became editor of The Washington Post.

Played by the bearded Liev Schreiber, Baron presents as a shy man, of few but forceful words, an outsider to tribal Boston, and a Jew, as a Catholic businessman says, sotto voce, to Michael Keaton in his edgy, pensive portrayal of Spotlight editor Walter “Robby” Robinson.

Robinson’s clutch of reporters worked months before the first article appeared, finding documents and tracking down victims of some 30 priests. The turning point in 2001 came when a court ruling against the church unsealed lawsuits that put clergy personnel documents into the public record. The Globe ultimately reported that the archdiocese had sheltered 249 predatory clerics going back several decades.

The Globe unmasked Cardinal Bernard Law, then Boston’s Archbishop, for shielding predators; he made Newsweek’s cover in March 2002. Spotlight ends two months before that, just as the newspaper series begins. A line onscreen at the end of the film says that Law resigned as archbishop in December 2002, and later became pastor in Rome of a historic basilica, Santa Maria Maggiore (note to reader: at a salary of $12,000 a month, according to The New York Times).

Law left Boston a figure of ridicule and disgrace, yet still a Prince of the Church, as cardinals are called. He has never given an interview in the 13 years since then. In researching a 2011 book on Vatican finances, and more recent reporting trips to Rome, I pieced together a picture of the cardinal in winter (he turns 84 next month) as he rebuilt a power base. His story echoes the wisdom of Heraclitus: character is fate.

The Globe series ignited a chain reaction of reports at the networks and daily newsrooms, not least at The New York Times, which owned the Globe then and competed hard on investigations of its own. For the church, the earthquake convulsed well into 2004; the impact continued on for years, as dioceses and religious orders settled thousands of victim lawsuits.

Early into Spotlight, Baron pays a courtesy call on Cardinal Law, played by a silver-haired Len Cariou with a suave patrician gravitas, saying that as a young monsignor in Mississippi in the 1960s, “I was close to the Evers brothers,” and that he wrote for the Jackson diocesan paper. In a dash of hubris the cardinal suggests common cause in a healthy press, and then gives editor Baron a copy of the thick Catholic Catechism. Schrieber’s facial twist registers irony as he takes the book, knowing that news will come of rules long broken by the church.

I let out an audible mmmm at that moment in the screening; my wife whispered, “Is something wrong?” I shook my head, no, thinking of Law: All that promise…

Globe reporters interviewed me in late 2001 and several times in 2002 because of a work I published in 1992—Lead Us Not Into Temptation, the first book to investigate the nationwide crisis of priest sex abuse. (The book actually has a cameo in the film; a survivor activist shows his copy to Spotlight reporters with other material he urges them to read.) The Globe reviewed the book favorably in 1992 during heavy national coverage of an ex-priest, James Porter, who left a trail of agony in Massachusetts towns going back many years, before taking a plea bargain and 20-year sentence for child sexual abuse. He died in prison six years later.

Cardinal Law was irate over the Porter coverage, blustering at one point, “We call down God’s power on the media, especially the Globe.”

The book took seven years, with endless photocopying and FedEx bills—this was pre-Internet—to obtain legal documents on far-flung bishops shielding sex offenders. But I was unable to get documents from New York, Boston, and Los Angeles: Church lawyers had a tight lid on cases. Other attorneys assumed that the victims took settlements in exchange for silence. Nine years later, Boston survivors came forth, with wrenching personal stories, after Judge Constance Sweeney, a Catholic, ruled that press freedom trumped church secrecy, unsealing lawsuits and giving victims the right to speak. The scene is a key moment in Spotlight.

Cardinal Law, the reporters’ ultimate target, is not a major character in the film; Baron tells his reporters to go after “the system,” not the man, though it goes unspoken that Law was the system.

I met Bernie Law, as priests in Mississippi called him, in Jackson, the state capitol, in the summer of 1971 while working as press secretary in Charles Evers’s quixotic campaign for governor. A week after graduation from Georgetown, I arrived as a volunteer, wrote a press release when they needed one, and got hired for $75 a week.

Law was vicar-general, the bishop’s top assistant. Evers, whose brother Medgar had been assassinated in 1963, respected Law for his editorials in the Catholic paper urging tolerance during the violent years. In a heavily Baptist state prone to racial demagogues, Law had been on the right side of history. By 1971 the riots and Klan violence had abated; but tensions were palpable, race relations still raw. I was curious about Law, and when I called, the monsignor invited me to dinner. When I parked my dented VW in the chancery parking lot, he said, “Let’s take my car.” It was larger and more comfortable.

He was 40, plump but energetic, a Harvard graduate with early silver hair, a cool mind and warm wit. I liked him immediately. He sang praises of the Italian restaurant where he had a reservation.

The owner gave him a lavish hello, and scowled at me. “Sorry, Monsignor, we can’t take him—the hair is too long.” Law frowned. I blushed. The hair stopped just shy of my shoulders, but this was Mississippi and the guy didn’t like suspected hippies. Law protested, without yelling, to no avail. I knew it wasn’t a moment to stand on constitutional rights and expect to eat lasagna.

Law was mortified as he drove to another restaurant, telling me somberly that backwards Mississippi really had made important strides. At dinner he brightened; we talked national politics, theology, and church changes since Vatican II.

As we left the restaurant, Law said: “How’d you like to meet the bishop?”

Sure. Joseph Brunini, the bishop of Jackson, came from a family with a prominent law firm; he too had been a voice of moderation in the dark years. The bishop, 52, had a condo outside Jackson at the vast Ross Barnett Reservoir where people with sailboats had slips.

Barnett was the former governor known for inflammatory speeches and standing in the doorway at the University of Mississippi in 1962 to block James Meredith as the first black student. Meredith was escorted in by white federal marshals. “Which of you is James Meredith?” said Barnett to the only black man in eyesight. The campus soon exploded in a riot that left two people dead as federal troops secured Meredith’s place. The state named the big lake for the worst governor Mississippi ever had.

We sat on the deck of the condo, sipping Scotch as the insects sang outside. Brunini was an amiable man, a Georgetown graduate curious about my time there, the three of us trading thoughts about race relations and the church. I realized that Mississippi’s Catholic community amounted to a minority religion, a tiny social presence, quite different from the New Orleans of my upbringing. Brunini wished me well and made a point of blessing me as we left.

As Law and I drove back to the chancery, his demeanor changed. He was smiling, a man on a cloud. “Did you like the bishop?” he said. Yes, a very nice man. “Did you think he was—cool?” Uh, sure.

This man wants to be a bishop, I reported to myself with the brilliance of a 22-year old. As we pulled up to my car, he stuck out his hand. “Call me Bernie.”

Campaign work intensified; he made a trip to Rome and I didn’t see him again; we chatted a few times by phone.

As the years passed I followed news on him. He became a bishop in Missouri, and several years later, in 1984, vaulted to Boston, as archbishop, and soon a cardinal. I’ve known journalists to fume over people they wished they’d kept up with. I soon felt that about Law, wishing I’d sent notes, Christmas cards, anything to cultivate a relationship. The regret hit me in the mid-’80s as I reported on the prosecution of a pedophile priest in Lafayette, Louisiana. In a circuitous way, those events led to Law.

In January of 1986, the weekly Times of Acadiana ran my final piece, reconstructing how Bishop Gerard Frey had played musical chairs with seven priests who had abused children over several years. The paper ran an editorial calling for the Vatican to remove the bishop, for which it got hit with an advertisers’ boycott fomented by a retired judge, Edmund Reggie, and a prominent monsignor. The paper lost $20,000 before cooler heads prevailed. In July, the Vatican sent a new bishop.

In February of that year I shifted to work on the book, and flew to Washington, D.C., to interview Father Tom Doyle, a canon lawyer at the Vatican Embassy. Doyle, I learned, sent a shot across the bow as co-author of a 100-page report in the spring of 1985 on the pedophile cases before it became a crisis. The document went to every bishop in America. A classic whistleblower, Doyle lost his job; he became an Air Force chaplain.

Doyle told me how he had given Cardinal Law a briefing on abuse cases in various states in 1984 before his work on the report. Law supported Doyle in the effort; he even contributed $1,000 to cover photocopy costs so the document could be sent to 150 bishops. Many years later, Law testified in a deposition in one of the Boston cases and said he could not recall details of that 1985 report, which became a “smoking gun” for advising bishops to remove predators and reach out to victims. Many bishops opted to recycle perpetrators after stints in psychiatric treatment facilities, and ignore victims until they filed lawsuits.

The next time I saw Law was 1993 in New Orleans where the bishops held their summer conference. Activists with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests were staging a protest. Law stepped off an elevator at the Hyatt Regency and nearly collided with me. “Your Eminence, it’s been a long time since Mississippi. Would you have time to talk?”

He shook his head grimly and moved on. I noticed he was much heavier.

In 1998, the artist Channing Thieme was preparing an exhibition called “Boston Faces,” portraits of a cross-section of Bostonians. She was not a Catholic, curious about a man as powerful as Law, and delighted when he agreed to sit for her at the cardinal’s mansion in Brighton. She found him a charming conversationalist in two drawing sessions. When she returned with the finished graphite portrait, Law was delighted. She said: “What’s the toughest part of your job?”

“Judgment—the decisions I must make,” Law replied. And, as if looking ahead to a bitter reckoning, he added: “That is the half of it. The other half is the judgment I must one day face myself.”

She was amazed at the statement. The words do not ring of false modesty.

Law in 1998 was the most powerful American churchman in Rome. Close to Pope John Paul and Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Secretary of State, Law cultivated ties in the Roman Curia and served on major Vatican committees. Yet that artist’s question, as he gazed at his black-and-white image, seemingly unloosed an inner coil. He apparently felt guilty about something. Could it have been the scores of pedophiles he had sent to treatment tanks, some of them recycled, with little thought of their ravaged victims?

Power is the movement of money. The out-of-court settlements Law had approved, predicated on victims’ silence, put the survivors out of sight, out of mind.

Judgment stalked him in civil depositions as the media coverage wore on; reporters used his testimony to shatter the credibility of the man who had urged John Paul II to authorize the updated, very long Catholic Catechism, the one that the cardinal in the movie gives to the editor with his quiet, quizzical face.

Law resigned just before Christmas 2002, after a private meeting with Pope John Paul II in Rome; he left Boston for sanctuary in a Maryland convent with nuns. Imagine the psychological blow to a man who had once told friends that he hoped to be the first American pope, a man whose support of migrants from the Dominican Republic entering Boston stood for the values of a church giving comfort and succor to the poor.

Nixon sought redemption after Watergate by writing books and holding dinners for selected journalists, a careful campaign to rehabilitate himself as a foreign policy sage.

Law turned to the one place where he had support—cardinals and bishops in the Roman Curia, the Vatican bureaucracy. “The curia is a brotherhood,” Cardinal Sodano once told The New York Times. Law had friends in the brotherhood after 17 years in Boston. A member of the Congregation for Bishops, he helped select new American bishops.

The news of Law’s new job in Rome in the spring of 2004 came at the worst possible time for his successor, Archbishop (later Cardinal) Seán O’Malley. O’Malley had approved an $85 million settlement to 542 victims, only to take public criticism for a wave of church closures, consolidating parishes in a controversial plan to sell property after the huge deficit Law had left. O’Malley had already sold the cardinal’s mansion for $108 million to Boston College. All that, and John Paul rewarded Law with a cushy perch at one of Rome’s great basilicas.

“Many people in Rome would say that he paid the price in the form of his resignation and that there’s no reason that he shouldn’t make a contribution,” Vatican correspondent John L. Allen Jr. of the National Catholic Reporter told Boston Magazine two years after Law assumed his position. (Allen now writes for Crux, an online branch of the Globe that covers the Catholic Church.)

After many years away from Mississippi, I went to Jackson in 2004 to promote a book, written with Gerald Renner. Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II explores the Vatican’s role in the abuse crisis. Before the evening lecture, I did several media interviews, and spent time with SNAP leaders Johnny Rainer and Kenneth Morrison.

Morrison was 39, an artist in Chicago who had grown up in Jackson. He was one of three sons of a physician, by then deceased. His mother came to the book event. The family had moved to Jackson from Boston in 1969 when Kenneth’s dad, Dr. Francis Morrison, an oncologist, took a teaching position at the state medical school. As Boston Catholics, the Morrisons found a friend in Bernie Law, the Harvard graduate. The Morrisons also befriended Father George Broussard who, as pedophiles will do, ingratiated himself with the family, slowly molesting the three young boys.

As we drove around Jackson that day, Kenneth, a strapping guy who did industrial art projects in Chicago, pointed to several church buildings where, he said, Broussard had forced sex on him as a boy of 5, 6, and 7 years old—“there, in that one, and that one, and that one.” As we drove past the chancery, his memories of being abused spilled into my thought field from 1971. The summer evening I pulled into the chancery parking lot to meet Bernie Law, matched the time period when little Kenneth was being preyed upon by Father Broussard nearby.

Morrison sued the Jackson diocese in 2003. The diocese faced lawsuits against seven other priests, several dating back to Law’s tenure there.

Law was the bishop’s right hand when Dr. Morrison reported what Broussard had done to the chancery. As Morrison would later allege, Broussard began receiving “treatment,” while staying at another parish. Law was close to the Morrisons, and to Broussard. Knowing what he knew, what should Law have done?

“The sexual molestation of minors wasn’t even on my radar screen,” Law testified in a deposition in the Morrison case. “It wasn’t the issue that it is today… it didn’t come up.”

But the diocese did investigate, as William Houck, who succeeded Brunini as bishop, stated under oath: “Broussard said he subsequently admitted the accusations to Bernard Law and to Bishop (Joseph) Brunini, and attended confession with Bernard Law.”

Law had moved to Rome when the Jackson diocese agreed to an out-of-court settlement with Kenneth Morrison.

In late 2012, I spent five weeks in Rome for GlobalPost, reporting on the Vatican investigation of liberal American nuns—the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

Cardinal Law was a catalyst in sparking that investigation, as I reported, though he played no direct role in the interrogations, meetings, and correspondence that the sisters had with Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The C.D.F. is housed in the majestic palazzo where in 1616 the Inquisition punished Galileo for his position that the Earth revolves around the sun.

After leaving Boston in humiliation, Law found a fraternal womb in the Curia; but after the blows to his stature and ego, he wanted other people to “face judgment”—an outsized projection of his own faults in the desire to bring those liberal nuns to heel. The man who suggested the new catechism wanted obedience to authority, of which he himself had little.

Levada, it is worth adding, had been archbishop of San Francisco, and up to his chest in litigation over pedophile priests, when the newly elected Pope Benedict tossed him a ladder in 2005 as if from a celestial helicopter, lifting him up and away from the muck in the City by the Bay to beautiful Rome and great status as theologian-in-chief.

Levada refused to be interviewed. I called Law, hoping against hope that he might agree to talk. A priest took the call at Santa Maria Maggiore, let his cold silence register for a number of seconds, and stated: “The cardinal does not give interviews. There are no exceptions.”

Pope Francis would later oversee the termination of the proceedings against the nuns, and make a point of meeting with several of the leaders of American sisters for a reconciliation with news photographers present.

“Law is a presence on the embassy social circuit,” a Western diplomat in Rome told me in 2012. “He’s a cardinal, an official of the Curia, so he’s on the invitation lists. He’s sociable and mingles easily.”

The Holy See assumes a decorum among journalists who cover the Vatican. Many reporters who work in the press room off St. Peter’s Square have broken stories critical of church officialdom—Nicole Winfield of AP and Philip Pullella of Reuters prominent among them; but you don’t see journalists in packs ambushing church officials as if they were Chicago or Louisiana politicians heading into criminal court. Pope Benedict was reeling from the Vati-Leaks scandal in late 2012 when I attended a reception for a group of newly invested cardinals.

It was a rare chance to get inside the Apostolic Palace, which is closed to the public save for ceremonial occasions. The large reception parlors have elegant tapestries adorning the walls. The papal apartments and pope’s office on the top floor were off-limits. In one parlor a sizeable crowd of people who had come from Nigeria waited in a receiving line to greet their new cardinal, Archbishop John Onaiyekan of Abuja. Many of the Nigerian women wept as they hugged him. The rich colors of Yoruba design on the dresses and dashikis of men were emblazoned with the new cardinal’s photograph. The vibrant festivity of the multicultural pageant in the life of the church reminded me of The Canterbury Tales.

Across the crowded Rome I saw the bloated, hulking figure of Cardinal Law, flanked by two priests, make his way past a receiving line toward two Italians in the red hat of cardinals. I moved that way, camera in hand. A priest at Law’s elbow saw me and glared, stationing himself closer to the cardinal to prevent a clear angle. I stood there for several minutes, without shooting, and then turned away, thinking of Kenneth Morrison.

A frequent Daily Beast contributor, Jason Berry’s books include Render unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church, and Up From the Cradle of Jazz: New Orleans Music Since World War II.

 

A priest abuse victims/survivors Letter to Pope Francis, English Version, translation of Italian Letter


A priest abuse victims/survivors Letter to Pope Francis, English Version, translation of Italian Letter

This is the English translation of the blog posting La lettera di una vittima di abuso al sacerdote Papa Francesco in Italiano

Yeah Pope Francis sure does love his pedophiles.

Yeah Pope Francis sure does love his pedophiles.

Hey Pope Francis, how does it feel to proclaim yourself the representative of Jesus and God, while protecting all of your Pedophile Pimp Cardinals, Bishops and Archbishops who covered up the mass rapes and abuses of children? Do you think the one you claim to represent, Jesus would do the same thing? Do you think Pope Francis that Jesus would stand up and defend and protect those who did this? Do you think Jesus would call them Holy?

Your own Roman Catholic Catechism speaks of rape as follows: PART THREE: LIFE IN CHRIST; SECTION TWO: THE TEN COMMANDMENTS; CHAPTER TWO: “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF”; ARTICLE 6:THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT; Offenses against chastity: 2356 Rape is the forcible violation of the sexual intimacy of another person. It does injury to justice and charity. Rape deeply wounds the respect, freedom, and physical and moral integrity to which every person has a right. It causes grave damage that can mark the victim for life. It is always an intrinsically evil act. Graver still is the rape of children committed by parents (incest) or those responsible for the education of the children entrusted to them.

Do you believe, Pope Francis, that the rapes and tortures of hundreds of thousands of children throughout the world, perpetrated upon them by your own priests of your Roman Catholic Church, is in accordance with your teachings of your own Catechism, or the words of your Jesus?

Do you believe Pope Francis, that all the children and teens, who were raped, tortured, enslaved, brutalized, used as medical experiments including forced sterilization, in your Roman Catholic Institutions, like the Magdalene and Good Shepherd Laundries, the Industrial Homes such as Artane and Bindoon, the Women’s and Children’s Homes such as Taum and the First Nation Industrial Schools, was in keeping with the teachings of your Catechism and Jesus Christ?

You asked us not too long ago to accept your apologies and forgive you and your church for what was done to us. Yet how can we forgive you and your church? For to be forgiven, according to your bible and the teachings, you must truly repent of all your sins and crimes.

Yet how do those of us, whom were raped and had our souls stolen from us, whom committed suicide because of it, can give him forgiveness, or any of us so harmed, when he refuses to clean house of all the Cardinals, Bishops and Archbishops whom covered up these evil crimes and are still sitting in the positions that they are in?

How can Paul Anthony Carson, whom upon seeing the priest whom raped him walking down the street and then going home and hanging himself, being found by his parents, forgive him?

How can Emma Foster, whom was raped by Father Kevin O’Donnell, while at a primary school whom committed suicide because of it, forgive him?

How can Daniel Neill, whom committed suicide because of his rapist priest, Joseph Gallagher, forgive him?

How can the 30 boys raped at the St Alipius primary school, whom committed suicide forgive him for their rapes?

How can Lou Pirona, Bill Zeller, David M. Jarobe Jr,Kathleen McGonigle, Eric Patterson, Bobby Thompson, Paul Tafolla, Daniel Romney, Gilbert Rodriguez, Eduardo Ramon Boehland, or those whom for the bell was rung 170 times at Church of Our Savior on Wilshire Boulevard, whom committed suicide in the United States, or any of the other victims, throughout the world, who were raped, tortured, brutalized by your priests, brothers, nuns and sisters, of your church, who committed suicide, forgive you and your church Pope Francis?

They cannot, they are dead, rotting in their graves, because of not only their rapes by priests and brothers, of your Roman Catholic Church, but because of the continued attack against us victims and survivors, by your Church, by your Cardinals, Bishops and Archbishops, by such demented people like Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, and by those who sit in the pews of your Church. We have been branded as liars, gold diggers out looking for a payday from your church. We have been told because we did not punch our rapists in the face, while they were raping us, that means we not only wanted to be raped, we enjoyed being raped and are homosexuals because of it. Or that we seduced our rapist. Or how one of your priests, Father Richard Ross whom said he has no empathy for any victim who could not stop what was happening to them, and how he would like to take victims into a room and beat them with a baseball bat to show them what true pain and suffering is.

Why should we, or anyone forgive you Pope Francis and your church? Why should we or anyone forgive all of your Cardinals, like Timothy Dolan, Donald Wuerl, George Pell, Roger Mahony, Raymond Burke, Bernard Law, or any of your Archbishops and Bishops, who covered up and protected these degenerate rapists, torturers and abusers of children, who moved them from parish to parish, across state lines, and international country lines, to avoid detection, arrest and prosecution?

How can we, or why should we forgive you all, when you use your Church lawyers, to fight us every step of the way and deny us justice by using the statute of limitations to get our cases dismissed when we seek justice for the evil crimes committed against us, by your priests and others of your Roman Catholic Church? Or your Cardinals, Bishops and Archbishops, using Roman Catholics in our legislature, to fight tooth and nail any changes to the statute of limitations, or the opening of a window for victims to come forward and seek justice?

Cardinal Timothy Dolan

Cardinal Timothy Dolan

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, showed us all how this church truly feels towards us victims, especially when we seek justice for the crimes committed against us by your church. When New York passed the same sex marriage law, Cardinal Dolan cried about how he felt betrayed by the State of New York for doing so. Yet, in the same breath, he cried and said the following over New York wanting to change the ONE YEAR statute of limitations against child rape and abuse: He stated he wanted the one year statute of limitations against child rape to be kept because if the church gets sued, “The perpetrators don’t suffer. There’s no burden on them. What suffers are the services and the ministries of the apostolates that we’re doing now. Because where does the money come from? So the bishops of 30 years ago that allegedly may have reassigned abusers, they don’t suffer. They’re dead. So the people that suffer are those who are being served right now by the church. We feel that’s a terribly unjust burden.”

Notice that Pope Francis? Read his words and put yourself in the place of the victims. Not one word about our unjust burdens, not one word about our pain and suffering. Not one word about the evil horrors what we have had to suffer through in our lives, horrors that have provoked many of us, to commit suicide.

And, Cardinal Dolan lied in his statement. Most of those Cardinals, Bishops and Archbishops who covered up these crimes against children, are not dead, they are still alive, protected and defended at all costs by your church. Cardinal Bernard Law, George Pell, Timothy Dolan, Roger Mahony, Donald Wuerl, and many others, are in fact, still alive. They all participated in these cover ups, they all participated in the moving around dangerous pedophile priests, to avoid detection and arrest for their crimes against us.

Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, former nuncio  to the Dominican Republic, is pictured celebrating Mass in Santo Domingo in 2009. The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith found the archbishop guilty of sexual abuse of minors and has ordered that he be laicized. (CNS photo/Luis Gomez, Diario Libre via Reuters) (June 27, 2014) See WESOLOWSKI-DISMISS June 27, 2014.

Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, former nuncio to the Dominican Republic, is pictured celebrating Mass in Santo Domingo in 2009. The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith found the archbishop guilty of sexual abuse of minors and has ordered that he be laicized. (CNS photo/Luis Gomez, Diario Libre via Reuters) (June 27, 2014) See WESOLOWSKI-DISMISS June 27, 2014.

You, Pope Francis, are also guilty of these same crimes. As in relation to Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski and others. You, Pope Francis, KNEW what Archbishop Wesolowski had done to the children in the Dominican Republic. You KNEW he was paying street children to have sex with him, and to take pornographic pictures of them. You, Pope Francis, had him brought to the Vatican in Rome, knowing that once you did? He was then protected under the sovereign immunity of the Vatican, that this would prevent his arrest and prosecution of him by the officials of the Dominican Republic

You, Pope Francis, KNEW he was a danger to children and others, yet YOU did not put him in a jail cell when you had him recalled to the Vatican. And while Wesolowski had his freedom, for over a year and a half, he continued his crimes against children. He continued to pay children for sex, he continued to take pornographic pictures and even videos of his criminal acts against children, and it has been proven that some of these children died a horrible death because of it.

A dossier accusing Wesolowski of sex abuse of minors was sent to Pope Francis “sometime in July” 2013 by Santo Domingo Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez. The pope found the information credible enough to dismiss Wesolowski on August 21 via confidential letter. But the pope never reported Wesolowski to civil authorities nor made the information public.

All prelates should make credible allegations public as a warning to avoid contact with the accused. Also, any other victims should be encouraged to contact a law enforcement agency perhaps making the investigation easier, apprehension and prosecution more certain. The group, Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), defines failure to take these steps as a “cover up.”

Wesolowski left the country before a local TV program broadcast an exposé on August 31. It was reported in January 2014 that Wesolowski “is now thought to be living in Rome and is protected from extradition by diplomatic immunity.” “For me it was a surprise to see Wesolowski walking along Via della Scrofa in Rome,” Santo Domingo Auxiliary Bishop Víctor Masalles tweeted on June 24, 2014.

Embarrassed, the Vatican announced on June 27 that Wesolowski had been laicized (defrocked) “in the past few days … Measures will be taken so he is in a precise restricted location, without any freedom of movement,” said Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, without specifying how this would be accomplished. The press reported this as proof of the pope’s “zero tolerance” for child sex abuse.

November 22, 2014: Wesolowski was seen “walking quietly inside the Vatican City…in apparent freedom” and is presumed to still live there under house arrest. This proves to us that Fr. Federico Lombardi lied to us, as is usual with the Roman Catholic Church when it concerns their pedophiles.

Defrocking means a cleric is fired without being reported to the police. The most serious punishment available to the pope is excommunication. Pope Francis excommunicated an Australian priest for supporting women’s ordination and same sex marriage. He also excommunicated the leaders of the lay group, We Are Church, for celebrating mass in their home.

But, did you excommunicate Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, Pope Francis? No you did not. It is apparent to us victims of your crimes of your church against us, that you find a priest saying women should be ordinated, and one who supports same sex marriage, or a lay group having mass in their homes, more worthy of excommunication, than a pedophile, who paid children for sex, raped them, or possessed over 100,000 child pornographic images and videos of child porno on their computer.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI blessing Pedophile "Father" Marcial

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI blessing Pedophile “Father” Marcial

You, Pope Francis, have proven to us, the victims and those who fight for us, that you are just like the rest. That you will protect and defend those who rape children, instead of standing up to them, instead of standing up for the victims. That you will protect and defend the pedophiles and the pedophile pimps, like Pope Emeritus Bendict XVI and the Cardinals, Bishops and Archbishops who covered these crimes up, and it is business as usual on this matter. To deny us victims any rights to justice for the crimes committed against us by your church.

The UN Committee against Torture “found that the widespread sexual violence within the Catholic Church amounted to torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.” After Vatican officials were called to Geneva in May 2014 to respond to tough questions like why the pope believed his responsibility for protecting children against torture only applied on Vatican property, the committee issued its report.

The members “ordered the Vatican to hand over files containing details of clerical sexual abuse allegations to police forces around the world, … to use its authority over the Roman Catholic Church worldwide to ensure all allegations of clerical abuse are passed on to the secular authorities and to impose ‘meaningful sanctions’ on any Church officials who fail to do so.” With the exception of a couple of staged PR events, the pope has refused to take any of these measures.

The Vatican had issued an “Initial Report” preparatory to the hearing. “Nowhere in the Holy See’s [the name of the Church’s global government] Initial Report under the Convention does it make any mention of the widespread and systemic rape and sexual violence committed by Catholic clergy against hundreds of thousands of children and vulnerable adults around the world. There is no mention of acts that have resulted in an astonishing and incalculable amount of harm around the world – profound and lasting physical and mental suffering – with little to no accountability and access to redress …[T]he Vatican has consistently minimized the harm caused by the actions of the clergy, through both the direct acts of sexual violence and Church officials’ actions which follow, such as cover-ups and victim-blaming. … The Holy See’s Initial Report to this Committee is itself evidence of the minimization of these offenses and the resulting harm.

The Committee against Torture report came “after senior officials sought to distance the Vatican legally from the wider Church … saying priests were not legally tied to the Vatican but fell under national jurisdictions. But the committee insisted that officials of the Holy See – including the pope’s representatives around the world and their aides – have a responsibility to monitor the behavior of all under their ‘effective control.’”

The following faces and statement proves, Pope Francis, that you are just like the rest, when it comes time for standing up to the pedophiles, those who rape children, from your church. How you do not truly care one bit about the victims, but the defense and protection of your church and its pedophiles.

As archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio “refused to meet with victims, and he stayed largely silent on the issue of clergy sex abuse, except to issue a surprising denial that he had ever handled an abusive priest. His only known action was to commission a behind-the-scenes report to judges that sought exoneration of a criminally convicted priest by impugning the credibility of the priest’s victims.”

Then, one month to the day after you were elected Pope, you appointed a group of Cardinals, referred to as your C9, to be your closest advisors. And who are some of the members of your C9 advisors?

Cardinal George Pell

Cardinal George Pell

Cardinal George Pell: As archbishop and creator of the “Melbourne Response,” a system “designed to control the victims and protect the Church … Pell intended to minimize the crimes, conceal the truth, manipulate and intimidate the victims. … Some relatives of abused children have called the cardinal a ‘sociopath.’” Pell personally knows hundreds of the people involved – the victims and their families as well as the abusers. … He was a very senior authority in the Catholic Church when the court cases began in the 1990s and the top Catholic figure in Australia until he went to Rome. … [H]e was the leader of a system that protected the guilty and failed innocent people. … [H]e was the man in charge during many years of this scandal. Therefore, he can be held accountable and responsible for it.”

Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa: Errazuriz had made national headlines for protecting Fr. Fernando Karadima, the “worst scandal” of the Chilean Church. “Power is the true point of the case. The [sexual abuses against children] were not possible without a network of political, social and religious power working for 50 years,” stated political analyst Ascanio Cavallo, Dean of the Journalism School of the Adolfo Ibáñez University. Church officials were warned as early as 1984 about Karadima’s “improper conduct.” The first

Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa

Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa

known reports to reach Errazuriz were in 2003. In 2006, a priest appointed by Errázuriz to investigate the claims reported to the cardinal that he believed “the accusers to be credible.” According to court testimony in a 2011 civil complaint filed against Karadima, Church officials, including Errázuriz, tried to shame accusers into dropping claims, refused to meet with them and failed to carry out formal investigations for years. A judge dismissed the criminal case against Karadima in November 2011 because the statute of limitations had expired but also determined that the allegations were “truthful and reliable.

And, when you Pope Francis appointed Errázuriz to your C9 advisors, one of the victims stated that this appointment “a shame and a disgrace.” On September 15, 2013, Errázuriz said that the archdiocese had no responsibility for their “tremendous pain.”

Yes, Pope Francis, again, we have from the mouths of one of your own advisors, one who covered up for pedophile priests, that you, your church has no responsibility for their “tremendous pain.” But, Pope Francis, who does then bear the responsibility for the tremendous pain and suffering, the unjust burdens and the horror the victims of rape committed against them by the priests of the Roman Catholic Church? Is it the victims themselves? Because it sure seems like it when it comes to this Church of yours.

Then Pope Francis, when the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)requested of you, for “detailed information on all cases of child sexual abuse committed by members of the clergy, brothers or nun” for the past fifteen years and set November 1 as a deadline for a reply. The questions were sent as preparation for a public hearing scheduled for January. What did you say and do about this request?

First, a little background. As one of the signatories to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Church was fifteen years late in delivering a report describing whether it had acted to “protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence” as the convention requires. Additionally, the questionnaire sought to establish whether “perpetrators of sexual crimes” were allowed to remain in contact with children, what legal action was taken against them and whether reporting of suspected abuse was mandatory. It also included queries about support for victims, and any incidents where complainants were silenced.

And what was yours and the Vaticans response to this? You, Pope Francis and the Vatican warned that it might pull out of the Convention on the Rights of the Child if pushed too hard on the issue. In a report of its own posted on the UN website last October, the Holy See reminded the CRC of reservations on legal jurisdiction and other issues it made when it signed the global pact. It said any new “interpretation” would give it grounds “for terminating or withdrawing” from the treaty.

And then what did you do Pope Francis? On July 11, 2013, the pontiff enacted a civil law criminalizing leaks of Vatican information to the press and sexual violence against children, including child pornography. The crimes were punishable by up to eight and twelve years in prison, respectively. The law was applicable inside the Vatican City State and for employees of the Holy See in its extraterritorial properties including embassies.

How did you respond to the CRC request Pope Francis? On December 4 by your stating that it was not the practice of his government to “disclose information on specific cases unless requested to do so by another country as part of legal proceedings” and “that the Vatican can provide information only about known and alleged child sex crimes that have happened on Vatican property.”

Cardinal Roger Mahony

Cardinal Roger Mahony

Then Pope Francis, as an added slap to the faces of the victims, what did you do? On January 16, 2014, the day the CRC hearings were to begin in Geneva, you, Pope Francis again showed your contempt for your Church’s victims by celebrating mass, followed by a private meeting, with Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles. The Washington Post (among others) had condemned Mahony for protecting known abusers, stating he’s “lucky not to be in prison” and that “his continued prominence reflects the culture of impunity in the Catholic Church a decade after its tolerance and complicity in the abuse of children was exposed.” After your private meeting with you, Mahony blogged “the topic of scandal never came up.”

"Father" Fredrico Lombardi

“Father” Fredrico Lombardi

The same day, Lombardi said the Church had developed “a series of initiatives and directives” that are “extremely helpful” to other communities. He also criticized the assumption that bishops or religious superiors act “as representatives or delegates of the Pope.” He said this belief is “utterly without foundation.” Rather, civil authorities in countries that have signed the UN convention are directly responsible for its implementation and for the enforcement of laws that protect children.

The UN panel asked Vatican representatives for responses to the questions they had sent in July. While the American media trumpeted a statement made by one of the Vatican officials that he “gets it,” the foreign press was not as fawning:
Germany’s Deutsche Welle: Vatican response ‘fails smell test for ordinary people’
Venezuela’s El Nacional: The Vatican at the UN today dodged providing detailed information on issues relating to sexual abuse of minors by clergy in a rhetorical exercise in which it attempts to demonstrate determination to prevent new offenses
Spain’s El Pais: The Vatican still does not take responsibility for sexual abuse

BishopAccountability.org noted four significant moments of the hearing:
1. For the first time, the Vatican had to admit publicly that it still does not require the reporting of child sex crimes to civil authorities. Nor does it take this step when priests are defrocked.
2. The Holy See still refused to provide the data requested on July 1.
3. The Vatican believes that it is the obligation of the individual perpetrator, not the Church, to compensate victims.
4. Religious orders, which comprise one third to one half of the world’s Catholic clerics, still are not being compelled by the Holy See to create abuse policies. (Pope Benedict XVI ordered the world’s bishops to do this in 2011. The order was widely ignored, even by the cardinal archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio.)

Then, Pope Francis, we now show how your Vatican, yourself and other mouthpieces for your church, played the look the other way game of subterfuge and deception. Of blaming others, and saying hey, look at what they are doing, why are you picking on us?

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi

Vatican delegate to the UN, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, responded in an interview: “At the same time we have to keep in mind that even though there are so many millions, forty million cases of abuse a year regarding children, unfortunately some cases affect also Church personnel.” Tomasi also suggested that the UN committee may have been influenced by “Some NGOs that support homosexuality, same-sex marriage and other issues probably presented their own views and ended up reinforcing [the committee’s] line of thought in some way.”

And then you came out with this statement Pope Francis, KNOWING it was a lie, because your church has been anything BUT moving with transparency and responsibility. The only responsibility yourself, the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church has far proven by your actions, is that you are to protect your church at all costs.

On March 5, 2014, you, Pope, stated that, as regards the sexual torture of children, “The statistics on the phenomenon of violence against children are shocking, but they also show clearly that the great majority of the abuses come from the family environment and from people who are close. The Catholic Church is perhaps the only public institution that moved with transparency and responsibility. No one else did as much. And yet,the Church is the only one being attacked.”

If your words Pope Francis and the rest were truth? Then such people like Cardinal Bernard Law, George Pell Timothy Dolan, Roger Mahony, Donald Wuerl and the others who covered up these crimes against children, who helped perpetuate these crimes against children, who protected the pedophiles over the children, would have been excommunicated and turned over to authorities for prosecution.

If your words Pope Francis were truth, then you would not have recalled Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski back to the Vatican, so he could be protected from the authorities in the Dominican Republic. You would have turned him over for prosecution for the crimes against children he committed there, instead of allowing him sovereign immunity by bringing him to the Vatican to be protected so.

If your words were truth, Pope Francis, then you would not have loaded your C9 advisory committee with known Pedophile Pimps, like George Pell and others, against whom, there is overwhelming evidence against them they participated in the cover ups of the rapes and abuses of children.

If your words were truth Pope Francis, then your church would NOT be denying victims of these crimes justice. Your church and the lawyers you buy would NOT be denying us victims justice by using the statute of limitations against us. Nor would they be fighting any changes to the statute of limitations, or the opening of a window for victims to come forward and seek justice for the crimes committed against us.

If your words were truth Pope Francis, you would NOT be allowing us victims, to be re-victimized, by the attacks done against us.

Now tell me, could this be Pig Face Bill Donohue of the Catholic Leagues father or mother?

Now tell me, could this be Pig Face Bill Donohue of the Catholic Leagues father or mother?

You would NOT be allowing Bill Donohue, of the Catholic League to attack us victims like he does, insulting us, denigrating us, defaming us. All the evil he has said against us victims, he is one who deserves excommunication. You, Pope Francis, would call Bill Donohue out, for his proclaiming how we victims are nothing but liars, gold diggers, out looking for a pay day from the church. For his comparing the horror, the terror, the pain and suffering of us victims, who were brutally raped, by your priests, not only of our bodies, but of our souls, our minds and our hearts, to his being slapped on the wrist by a nun when he acted out.

For his lying about one victim, proclaiming him as part of a drug gang murder, and how the police department covered it up, when the victim in fact, testified in a drug murder, putting his life at great risk in doing so. And because of Bill Donohue actions and words, that victim now is in fear of his life, having received death threats, and other threats as well as being beaten for his standing up and doing the right thing in testifying in a drug gang murder. The victim is now suing Bill Donohue and the Catholic League for defamation and other civil actions and yet, YOU Pope Francis has not ever stepped in and put a stop to Bill Donohue and his attacks against the victims of priest rape.

If you were speaking the truth Pope Francis, then when The United Nations Committees on the Rights of the Child and on Torture, requested the Holy See to abolish the pontifical secret for allegations of child sexual abuse, and to order through canon law mandatory reporting to the civil authority. Then in September of 2014, YOU would not have rejected that request and told them you did so on the grounds that mandatory reporting would interfere with the sovereignty of independent States. Mandatory reporting would only interfere with such sovereignty if a State law prohibited reporting of clergy sex abuse of children to the police. No such State exists.

But the Vatican … illustrates its very real intention to interfere in the sovereignty of independent States by prohibiting reporting once canonical proceedings start, even when the civil law requires reporting. …

The de facto privilege of clergy by the use of secrecy, rendering clergy immune to civil prosecution for child sex abuse, was set up in 1922 by Pope Pius XI, and was continued and expanded by five of his successors. Regrettably, it seems that you, Pope Francis have given every indication of adding yourself to the list as the seventh pope.

Bishop Juan Barros

Bishop Juan Barros

If you were speaking the truth, Pope Francis, then you would not have appointed Juan Barros Madrid as Bishop of Osorno, Chile. Did you not get the hint, Pope Francis, that on the day that Barros was installed as Bishop, amid riot police, and hundreds of parishioners,dressed in the black of mourning denounced Barros, that they all knew what Barros had done and instead of supporting him, you should never have made him a Bishop?

If you are speaking truth Pope Francis then why did you ignore Archbishop Chomali? We know, in an interview published March 26, the Archbishop of Concepcion disclosed the details of a meeting he had with Pope Francis on March 6. “Archbishop Chomali explained that he gave Pope Francis a ‘document with detailed information on the consequences of the appointment he had made. All the documentation that I cited came to him, whether through the nunciature or the Chilean embassy to the Holy See. He was very much up to date on Bishop Barros’ situation, and in fact a few days prior he had spoken with him. With firmness and much conviction he told me that he had analyzed all the past records and that there was no objective reason that Bishop Barros should not be installed as diocesan bishop.’”

No, Pope Francis, you do not speak the truth, for your actions speak much louder than words do. You talk a good PR talk, but your other words and actions do not match with the PR propaganda you are putting out. Yes, Pope Francis, I am in fact, calling you a two-faced, liar and charlatan. I speak the truth when I say this. Something you and the rest of your Pedophile Pimps, cannot even begin to do.

You, Pope Francis, disgust me along with all of your Pedophile Pimp Popes, Cardinals, Bishops and Archbishops. For you are just like them all, you are a degenerate in my book, you are just as responsible for the rapes, tortures, enslavement, abuses, and other crimes against children, as all the rest. You, Pope Francis, are NO Holy Man of God, nor are YOU a representative of Jesus Christ on earth. You are as sick and twisted, as much a pervert, as much a criminal as all the rest of your fellow Pedophile Pimps.

You, Pope Francis are one of the lowest forms of life on the planet. Even the contents of a well used outhouse has more use than you do, and deserves a lot more respect to boot. You protect your cult of Pedophiles and Pedophile Pimps, just like the rest of them.

You are no holy man of God, you, along with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, or the following Cardinals: Adam Maida, Agostino Vallini, Angelo Scola, Angelo Sodano, Anthony Bevilacqua, Bernard Law, Dominik Duka, Donald Wuerl, Franc Rode, Francis George, Francisco Javier Errazurtz Ossa, George Pell, Humberto Mederios, John Cody, John Krol, Joseph Bernardin, Juan Cipriani, Justin Rigali, Keith O’Brien, Leonardo Sandri, Marc Ouellet, Norberto Rivera, Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, Partick O’Malley, Peter Turkson, Raymond Burke, Richard Cushing, Roger Mahony, Sean Brady, Silvio Oddi, Tarcisio Bertone, Thomas Winning, Timothy Dolan, Vinko Puljic, Wilfred Fox Napier, William Levada, Hans Hermann Groer, Dario Castrillon Hoyos, Francis Spellman, Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, Luis Antonio Tagle, Eduardo Martínez Somalo, Desmond Connell and many others; the Archbishops: Andre Richard, Anthony Sablan, Charles J Chaput, Denis Hart, Diarmuid Martin, Ernest Leger, Frank Little, Gerhard Ludwig Muller, Harry Flynn, Jerome Hanus, Jerome Listecki, John Charles McQuaid, John Clay Neinstedt, John Meyers, John Roach, Jose Horacio Gomez, Josef Wesolowski, Luciano Storero, Mario Conti, Peter Gerety, Peter Sartain, Pio Laghi, Rembert Weakland, Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, Robert Carlson, Silvano Tomasi, Theodore McCarrick, Valery Vienneau, William Cousins, Urban J. Vehr, Blase Cupich, Paul Richard Gallagher, José Luis Mollaghan, Francisco Javier Martínez, and many, many others; and the following Bishops: A.J. Quinn, Andrew Cozzens, Anthony O’Connell, Antonio Sarto, Bill Wright, Carl Mengeling, Christopher Foster, David M O’Connell, David Zubik, Donald Kettler, Edward Cullen, Eugene Laroque, Gabino Miranda, George H. Guilfoyle, George Leo Thomas, Gerard Frey, Henry Kennedy, Howard Hubbard, James Garland, James Hoeppner, James Kavanagh, James Murray, James Timlin, John B McCormack, John Doerfler, John Magee, Joseph Cistone, Joseph Devine, Joseph Imesch, Joseph V Adamec, Kieran Thomas Conry, Kenneth Povish, Laurence Glenn, Leo Clarke, Louis E. Gelineau, Marco Antonio Ordenes, Michael Bransfield, Michael Jarrell, Michael John Brown, Michael Malone, Patrick Cooney, Patrick Cotter, Peter Conners, Raphael Michael Fliss, Raymond Lahey, Richard Sklba, Robert C. Evans, Robert E. Mulvee, Robert Finn, Robert Rose, Rogello Livieres, Seamus Hegarty, Thomas Curry, Thomas Daily, Thomas J. Tobin, Vincent Leonard, William Lynn, Wilton Gregory, Wojeciech Polak, Pierre Pican, Willie Walsh, William Murphy, Daniel Patrick Reilly, Ronald Mulkearns, Juan Barros Madrid, Gabino Miranda Melgarejo, Arturo Mandin Bastes, Jozef De Kesel, Rogelio Livieres, Christopher Coyne, Ronald Gainer, John Doerfler, Brendan Comiskey, Donal Murray, Jim Moriarty, Raphoe Philip Boyce, Dermot O’ Mahony, Edward Daly, Seamus Hegarty, Eamon Casey, Joseph Duffy, Daniel A. Cronin, and many, many others. You all stand guilty of Crimes Against Humanity and the Children of the World.

You, Pope Francis, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, all of your above named Cardinals, Bishops and Archbishops, stand guilty, before your God and Jesus Christ, whom you proclaim to follow, to be representatives of on this Earth, through your Roman Catholic Church, of heinous crimes against children throughout the world.

You, Pope Francis ask us to forgive you. Why should we? Why should anyone forgive you, or your church and what you all have done to us?

NONE OF YOU HAVE TRULY REPENTED FOR ALL THE CRIMES AND EVILS YOU AND YOUR CHURCH HAS DONE AGAINST US!!!!THEREFOR, NEITHER CAN WE, NOR EVEN YOUR OWN GOD AND JESUS CHRIST FORGIVE YOU, UNLESS YOU TRULY AND HONESTLY REPENT OF ALL OF THIS EVIL YOU HAVE DONE TO CHILDREN, THROUGHOUT THE CENTURIES OF WHAT YOU HAVE DONE TO THEM. TO BE FORGIVEN YOU MUST ALL TRULY REPENT, SEEING YOU HAVE NOT DONE THAT, THEN YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO ASK ANYONE FOR FORGIVENESS…..NOT US VICTIMS WHO WENT THROUGH THIS HORROR, NOR YOUR GOD AND JESUS IN WHICH YOU ALL PROCLAIM TO BE REPRESENTATIVES OF!!!

Pope Francis, the one YOU proclaim to represent upon earth, as the Vicar of Christ, then his words apply much more to you and the rest of your Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops, even more than it applies to the rest of us. For YOU are supposed to be holy men of god, and the leaders of what you proclaim the one true church of Jesus Christ.

Well the one YOU proclaim to represent, Pope Francis, Jesus said in the bible, the book YOU all proclaim to be the true word of the true God, the following: Mark 9:42: 42″Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea. And in Luke 17: 1-2: 1He said to His disciples, “It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! 2″It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.

It looks like, Pope Francis, that you and the rest of your Pedophile Pimps ought to invest in a company that makes strong, sturdy rope and does a lot of millstones. For if I were you? I would start tying ropes around your neck and attaching it to millstones and find a great portion of the sea to toss your bodies into. That has to be a whole lot better than having to deal with the ones you proclaim to represent, Jesus Christ is going to do to your souls once you get before him in my opinion.

In closing Pope Francis, because we who were raped, tortured, brutalized, enslaved, and destroyed by your church and its pedophiles and abusers, have the guts to stand up and speak out against all the crimes committed against us and demand justice, we are branded as bigots, haters, and even worse. We are told time and time again, because we dare speak out, that we are all bound for hell. That because we DARE insult you all, that we do not hold any respect for ones such as yourselves, that we are the ones who deserve to burn in hell.

Many of us have already done our time in hell though Pope Francis. Our pains and sufferings, our nightmares, our horrors have sent us into hell and quite a few of us have come out on the other side of it, much stronger, than the victims we once were. We are now STRONG SURVIVORS.

Though some of us did not make it, our pain and suffering and horror and the continued treatment of evil against us by your Roman Catholic Church, caused some of them to blow their brains out, or hang themselves, or commit suicide in other ways.

And some are still hiding in the shadows, too afraid to come out and speak, about the crimes committed against them, by the priests, brothers, nuns and sisters and all the others of your church. Who are still silent, because they fear you still, they fear their rapists and the mind tortures they were put through by them while they were being raped and brutalized, realize this Pope Francis!!!

We the strong survivors are MANY. We do NOT fear you, nor your church, nor your Cardinals, Bishops and Archbishops. We do not fear the pew polishers, who insult and denigrate and threaten us. We do not fear Bill Donohue of the Catholic League or anyone else who attacks us.

We will stand and speak out, we will hold you all to your crimes. We will speak out and expose them where ever we go and whenever we are called upon to do so. We will stand up for those victims, who are as yet, still too afraid to speak out. We will defend them, and ourselves, against you, your other leaders and all who attack us and defend your church for all of the crimes committed against us.

We WILL continue to demand justice. We WILL continue to demand the arrest and prosecution of each and every one of you who covered up these crimes against us, who protected and defended the pedophiles, the abusers of us, and we WILL win against you all. You may not think so, you may think that the Roman Catholic Church is untouchable, that no one can make you all pay for your Crimes Against Humanity and the Children of the World.

In a sense, you might be right, that no justice system will be able to make you pay for your crimes, but that is in fact changing and I believe that soon the United Nations will have their say and you will be prosecuted by them.

But then, one day, you will have to stand before the ULTIMATE JUDGE, the ones you all proclaim to follow and represent on this plane of existence. And I think when you do? You will surely wish you HAD tied a huge millstone around your neck and thrown yourselves into the deepest of seas, compared to the punishments YOU will be facing before the Judge you call God and Jesus Christ.

I believe, they will show you more mercy, by sending you straight to the 9th Level of Dante Inferno, than all of you have to us, the survivors of your evil, criminal cult of Pedophile Pimps, Pedophile Priests, Abusive Nuns and all the Parishioner Pew Polishers of your Roman Catholic Church.

FROM ONE WHO WENT FROM A SCARED VICTIM, TO A STRONG SURVIVOR.

FRANK J LAFERRIERE

 

 

 

 

 

Pope Francis Defies UN on Torturing Children


Pope Francis Defies UN on Torturing Children

Jun 07, 2015 4:55am PDT by Betty Clermont

From the link: http://m.dailykos.com/story/2015/06/07/1391284/-Pope-Francis-Defies-UN-on-Torturing-Children

The UN Committee against Torture “found that the widespread sexual violence within the Catholic Church amounted to torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.” After Vatican officials were called to Geneva in May 2014 to respond to tough questions like why the pope believed his responsibility for protecting children against torture only applied on Vatican property, the committee issued its report.

The members “ordered the Vatican to hand over files containing details of clerical sexual abuse allegations to police forces around the world, … to use its authority over the Roman Catholic Church worldwide to ensure all allegations of clerical abuse are passed on to the secular authorities and to impose ‘meaningful sanctions’ on any Church officials who fail to do so.” With the exception of a couple of staged PR events, the pope has refused to take any of these measures.

The Vatican had issued an “Initial Report” preparatory to the hearing. “Nowhere in the Holy See’s [the name of the Church’s global government] Initial Report under the Convention does it make any mention of the widespread and systemic rape and sexual violence committed by Catholic clergy against hundreds of thousands of children and vulnerable adults around the world. There is no mention of acts that have resulted in an astonishing and incalculable amount of harm around the world – profound and lasting physical and mental suffering – with little to no accountability and access to redress … [T]he Vatican has consistently minimized the harm caused by the actions of the clergy, through both the direct acts of sexual violence and Church officials’ actions which follow, such as cover-ups and victim-blaming. … The Holy See’s Initial Report to this Committee is itself evidence of the minimization of these offenses and the resulting harm.”

The Committee against Torture report came “after senior officials sought to distance the Vatican legally from the wider Church … saying priests were not legally tied to the Vatican but fell under national jurisdictions. But the committee insisted that officials of the Holy See – including the pope’s representatives around the world and their aides – have a responsibility to monitor the behavior of all under their ‘effective control.’”

The committee also urged a “prompt and impartial” investigation in the case of Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, the pope’s nuncio (ambassador) to the Dominican Republic.

Wesolowski solicited sex for money from Santo Domingo’s poorest boys. “We learned from the children that Wesolowski took pictures of them while they were masturbating. Oral sex was performed,” Nuria Piera, an investigative journalist in the Dominican Republic, said. “He abused that poverty and used that mechanism to approach children and take advantage of them for years,” according to Yeni Berenice Reynoso, National District prosecutor.

A dossier accusing Wesolowski of sex abuse of minors was sent to Pope Francis “sometime in July” 2013 by Santo Domingo Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez. The pope found the information credible enough to dismiss Wesolowski on August 21 via confidential letter. But the pope never reported Wesolowski to civil authorities nor made the information public.

All prelates should make credible allegations public as a warning to avoid contact with the accused. Also, any other victims should be encouraged to contact a law enforcement agency perhaps making the investigation easier, apprehension and prosecution more certain. The group, Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), defines failure to take these steps as a “cover up.”

Wesolowski left the country before a local TV program broadcast an exposé on August 31. It was reported in January 2014 that Wesolowski “is now thought to be living in Rome and is protected from extradition by diplomatic immunity.” “For me it was a surprise to see Wesolowski walking along Via della Scrofa in Rome,” Santo Domingo Auxiliary Bishop Víctor Masalles tweeted on June 24, 2014.

Embarrassed, the Vatican announced on June 27 that Wesolowski had been laicized (defrocked) “in the past few days … Measures will be taken so he is in a precise restricted location, without any freedom of movement,” said Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, without specifying how this would be accomplished. The press reported this as proof of the pope’s “zero tolerance” for child sex abuse.

Defrocking means a cleric is fired without being reported to the police. The most serious punishment available to the pope is excommunication. Pope Francis excommunicated an Australian priest for supporting women’s ordination and same sex marriage. He also excommunicated the leaders of the lay group, We Are Church, for celebrating mass in their home.

The New York Times had an article about Wesolowski on its August 24, 2014, front page including statements that Dominican officials would prosecute him if it were not for the former ambassador’s diplomatic immunity. The next morning Lombardi made an announcement that Wesolowski did not have immunity and could be extradited by the Dominican Republic. Dominican officials, however, had expressed regret for the past year that “there’s no extradition treaty between the Vatican and the Dominican Republic. … The ideal thing would’ve been and our desire is that he be tried here, but the law forbids us.”

On September 25, Lombardi said Wesolowski had been put under house arrest inside the Vatican City State “because the Polish prelate represented a flight risk and because Vatican prosecutors feared he might tamper with evidence.”

The next day, the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Serra reported that Wesolowski was arrested by order of the pope because “there was a serious risk that the nuncio would be arrested on Italian territory at the request of the Dominican authorities and then extradited.” Wesolowski had more than 100,000 computer files of pornography. “Some were downloaded from the internet and others the victims themselves were forced to take. The prelate stored part of this chamber of horrors on his own laptop. The material, which is classified by type, shows dozens of young girls engaged in sexual activities but the preference is for males. Images show youngsters aged between 13 and 17 being humiliated for the camera, filmed naked and forced to have sexual relations with each other or with adults. … Wesolowski is suspected of belonging to an international network that extends well beyond what has emerged so far.”

Pope Francis allowed his prelate 15 months freedom to commit crimes involving child pornography which sometimes involves their tortuous death – something to think about the next time the pope speaks out against the sex trafficking of children.

November 22, 2014: Wesolowski was seen “walking quietly inside the Vatican City…in apparent freedom” and is presumed to still live there under house arrest.

After almost two years, Wesolowski’s trial has not yet begun.

The Pope’s Enduring Contempt for Children

People who have been sexually abused as children live shorter lives than those who have not been abused according to expert testimony. They have a life expectancy about 10 to 20 years shorter than those who have not.
•    Trauma produced both physical and psychological damage, affecting children’s development, including their personalities and sense of self.
•    Children’s brains and immune systems were also affected, making them more prone to a range of auto-immune diseases.
•    They also often have unhealthy lifestyles so they’re prone to substance abuse and poverty and unemployment.
•    There was also a strong link between child abuse and suicide, which could be influenced by a variety of factors including depression and substance abuse, which exacerbated negative thoughts.

As archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio “refused to meet with victims, and he stayed largely silent on the issue of clergy sex abuse, except to issue a surprising denial that he had ever handled an abusive priest. His only known action was to commission a behind-the-scenes report to judges that sought exoneration of a criminally convicted priest by impugning the credibility of the priest’s victims.” BishopAccoutability.org, a group dedicated to documenting the Catholic sex abuse crisis, showed Bergoglio’s involvement in five specific cases.

One month to the day after his election, Pope Francis appointed a group of cardinals, now referred to as his “C9”, to be his closest advisors.

Cardinal George Pell had been making headlines in Australia for decades regarding the sex abuse scandal. When asked what he thought was the root cause, Pell replied, “it’s obviously connected with the problem of homosexuality.” As archbishop and creator of the “Melbourne Response,” a system “designed to control the victims and protect the Church … Pell intended to minimize the crimes, conceal the truth, manipulate and intimidate the victims. … Some relatives of abused children have called the cardinal a ‘sociopath.’”

The John Ellis case “was all about deterrence.” Ellis sued Pell and the trustees of the Sydney archdiocese in 2006 over abuse he suffered as an altar boy. Pell spent more than $1m fighting Ellis despite him asking for just a tenth of that amount in settlement, put him through “distressing and unnecessary cross-examination” and threatened him with legal costs. Pell’s “Ellis Defense” is “an exemplar of litigation going wrong, causing further trauma for a victim of abuse.”

Pell personally knows hundreds of the people involved – the victims and their families as well as the abusers. … He was a very senior authority in the Catholic Church when the court cases began in the 1990s and the top Catholic figure in Australia until he went to Rome. … [H]e was the leader of a system that protected the guilty and failed innocent people. … [H]e was the man in charge during many years of this scandal. Therefore, he can be held accountable and responsible for it.”

Pope Francis also chose Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa as a close adviser. Errazuriz had made national headlines for protecting Fr. Fernando Karadima, the “worst scandal” of the Chilean Church. “Power is the true point of the case. The [sexual abuses against children] were not possible without a network of political, social and religious power working for 50 years,” stated political analyst Ascanio Cavallo, Dean of the Journalism School of the Adolfo Ibáñez University.Church officials were warned as early as 1984 about Karadima’s “improper conduct.”  The first known reports to reach Errazuriz were in 2003. In 2006, a priest appointed by Errázuriz to investigate the claims reported to the cardinal that he believed “the accusers to be credible.”

According to court testimony in a 2011 civil complaint filed against Karadima, Church officials, including Errázuriz, tried to shame accusers into dropping claims, refused to meet with them and failed to carry out formal investigations for years. A judge dismissed the criminal case against Karadima in November 2011 because the statute of limitations had expired but also determined that the allegations were “truthful and reliable.”

When Pope Francis, who during the above period was cardinal primate of the neighboring Argentina, appointed Errázuriz to his C9, one of the claimants called it “a shame and a disgrace.” On September 15, 2013, Errázuriz said that the archdiocese had no responsibility for their “tremendous pain.”

On July 1, 2013, the United Nation’s Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) sent a request to the pope for “detailed information on all cases of child sexual abuse committed by members of the clergy, brothers or nun” for the past fifteen years and set November 1 as a deadline for a reply. The questions were sent as preparation for a public hearing scheduled for January.

As one of the signatories to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Church was fifteen years late in delivering a report describing whether it had acted to “protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence” as the convention requires. Additionally, the questionnaire sought to establish whether “perpetrators of sexual crimes” were allowed to remain in contact with children, what legal action was taken against them and whether reporting of suspected abuse was mandatory. It also included queries about support for victims, and any incidents where complainants were silenced.

By issuing its questions, the Geneva-based CRC brushed aside a Vatican warning that it might pull out of the Convention on the Rights of the Child if pushed too hard on the issue. In a report of its own posted on the UN website last October, the Holy See reminded the CRC of reservations on legal jurisdiction and other issues it made when it signed the global pact. It said any new “interpretation” would give it grounds “for terminating or withdrawing” from the treaty.

Within weeks of his election, Pope Francis had ordered that the Vatican “continue along the lines set by Benedict XVI” in handling torturing children. But on July 11, 2013, the pontiff enacted a civil law criminalizing leaks of Vatican information to the press and sexual violence against children, including child pornography. The crimes were punishable by up to eight and twelve years in prison, respectively. The law was applicable inside the Vatican City State and for employees of the Holy See in its extraterritorial properties including embassies. In hindsight, one could question if the pope was preparing for a Vatican civil trial against Wesolowski as justification to keep him out of a foreign prison.The November 1 deadline for a response to the CRC came and went.

Pope Francis responded to the CRC on December 4 by stating that it was not the practice of his government to “disclose information on specific cases unless requested to do so by another country as part of legal proceedings” and “that the Vatican can provide information only about known and alleged child sex crimes that have happened on Vatican property.”

A rarity, Francis’ response was criticized. The next day, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley stated that the pope would create a special Commission for the Protection of Minors with no authority other than to advise him on ways to address the subject.

On January 16, 2014, the day the CRC hearings were to begin in Geneva, Pope Francis again showed his contempt for his Church’s victims by concelebrating mass, followed by a private meeting, with Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles. The Washington Post (among others) had condemned Mahony for protecting known abusers, stating he’s “lucky not to be in prison” and that “his continued prominence reflects the culture of impunity in the Catholic Church a decade after its tolerance and complicity in the abuse of children was exposed.” After his private meeting with the pope, Mahony blogged “the topic of scandal never came up.”

The same day, Lombardi said the Church had developed “a series of initiatives and directives” that are “extremely helpful” to other communities. He also criticized the assumption that bishops or religious superiors act “as representatives or delegates of the Pope.” He said this belief is “utterly without foundation.” Rather, civil authorities in countries that have signed the UN convention are directly responsible for its implementation and for the enforcement of laws that protect children.

The UN panel asked Vatican representatives for responses to the questions they had sent in July. While the American media trumpeted a statement made by one of the Vatican officials that he “gets it,” the foreign press was not as fawning:
Germany’s Deutsche Welle: Vatican response ‘fails smell test for ordinary people’
Venezuela’s El Nacional: The Vatican at the UN today dodged providing detailed information on issues relating to sexual abuse of minors by clergy in a rhetorical exercise in which it attempts to demonstrate determination to prevent new offenses.
Spain’s El Pais: The Vatican still does not take responsibility for sexual abuse

BishopAccountability.org noted five significant moments of the hearing:
•    For the first time, the Vatican had to admit publicly that it still does not require the reporting of child sex crimes to civil authorities. Nor does it take this step when priests are defrocked.
•    The Holy See still refused to provide the data requested on July 1.
•    The Vatican believes that it is the obligation of the individual perpetrator, not the Church, to compensate victims.
•    Religious orders, which comprise one third to one half of the world’s Catholic clerics, still are not being compelled by the Holy See to create abuse policies. (Pope Benedict XVI ordered the world’s bishops to do this in 2011. The order was widely ignored, even by the cardinal archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio.)

Vatican delegate to the UN, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, responded in an interview: “At the same time we have to keep in mind that even though there are so many millions, forty million cases of abuse a year regarding children, unfortunately some cases affect also Church personnel.” Tomasi also suggested that the UN committee may have been influenced by “Some NGOs that support homosexuality, same-sex marriage and other issues probably presented their own views and ended up reinforcing [the committee’s] line of thought in some way.”

On March 5, 2014, Pope Francis stated that, as regards the sexual torture of children, “The statistics on the phenomenon of violence against children are shocking, but they also show clearly that the great majority of the abuses come from the family environment and from people who are close. The Catholic Church is perhaps the only public institution that moved with transparency and responsibility. No one else did as much. And yet, the Church is the only one being attacked.”

Some negative press coverage ensued. So on March 7, Lombardi sent an email to the Associated Press reminding the media that the sex abuse commission remained a priority for the pope.

Keith Porteous Wood, Executive Director of the National Secular Society, praised the work of both UN committees. “We do not share any enthusiasm, however, for the Vatican’s defrocking of thousands of abusing clerics resulting in them being released into the labor market without being subjected to secular justice, and the resultant criminal record. This will almost certainly put other children at risk from former priests reoffending.”

The United Nations Committees on the Rights of the Child and on Torture, requested the Holy See to abolish the pontifical secret for allegations of child sexual abuse, and to order through canon law mandatory reporting to the civil authority. In September 2014, Pope Francis rejected that request on the grounds that mandatory reporting would interfere with the sovereignty of independent States. Mandatory reporting would only interfere with such sovereignty if a State law prohibited reporting of clergy sex abuse of children to the police. No such State exists. But the Vatican … illustrates its very real intention to interfere in the sovereignty of independent States by prohibiting reporting once canonical proceedings start, even when the civil law requires reporting. …
The de facto privilege of clergy by the use of secrecy, rendering clergy immune to civil prosecution for child sex abuse, was set up in 1922 by Pope Pius XI, and was continued and expanded by five of his successors. Regrettably, it seems that Pope Francis gives every indication of adding himself to the list as the seventh pope.

Barros and FinnIn January 2015, the pope appointed Juan Barros Madrid, formerly Military Bishop of Chile, as bishop of Osorno, Chile. Within a month, 1,300 lay Catholics, nearly half of Chile’s Parliament and thirty priests in the diocese signed a letter demanding that the pope rescind the appointment. Victims of Karadima said Barros was present when they were molested, did nothing to stop him and later covered up for Karadima.

“’Put your head on my chest. Take the little tongue,’ said Karadima. Thus began a long journey of torture and suffering for Juan Carlos Cruz Chellew … He denounced the ‘hypocrisy and simulation of Pope Francis’ on the ‘zero tolerance’ for pedophile priests: ‘The pope says good things, but does the opposite for victims to have access to civil justice. We are re-victimized while he rewards the abusers and abettors naming them cardinals and bishops.’”

The pope’s nuncio to Chile expressed support for Barros. President of the bishops’ conference, Cardinal Ezzati, said that “the Holy Father has chosen a pastor for the Church of Osorno and we, as Catholics, are in communion with the pope.”

Barros was installed as bishop on March 21 “amid riot police and shouting protesters … hundreds of churchgoers dressed in the black of mourning denounced Barros.” Since then, Barros “has had to sneak out of back exits, call on riot police to shepherd him from the city’s cathedral and coordinate movements with bodyguards and police canine units.”

In an interview published March 26, the Archbishop of Concepcion disclosed the details of a meeting he had with Pope Francis on March 6. “Archbishop Chomali explained that he gave Pope Francis a ‘document with detailed information on the consequences of the appointment he had made. All the documentation that I cited came to him, whether through the nunciature or the Chilean embassy to the Holy See. He was very much up to date on Bishop Barros’ situation, and in fact a few days prior he had spoken with him. With firmness and much conviction he told me that he had analyzed all the past records and that there was no objective reason that Bishop Barros should not be installed as diocesan bishop.’”

“Pope Francis has to withdraw this appointment or I and others may find it impossible to stay on the commission,” said Peter Saunders who was sexually abused as a child in London by two Catholic priests and the headmaster of his Catholic primary school and is a member of pope’s Commission for the Protection of Minors.

Saunders threat was published on March 27, two days before Palm Sunday when the Church begins a series of special liturgies culminating on Easter. If carried out, it would have been a PR disaster for the pope.

Cardinal O’Malley met with members of the commission the week after Easter – April 12. Bishop Joseph Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., found guilty in 2012 of failure to report suspected child abuse, was called to Rome for an April 14 meeting with Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

A priest under Finn’s supervision was sentenced to fifty years in prison for producing hundreds of pornographic photos, using his own parishioners as victims, some under the age of three. And for years prior, Finn not only refused to look into or even acknowledge any of the many complaints about this priest’s behavior, some of which came directly from the principal of the school that most of the victims attended, he also stonewalled once the child porn came to light, failed to inform or warn any of the families of the victims, gave the priest continued access to children, was complicit in the destruction of evidence, spent $1.4 million of diocesan money defending himself against two misdemeanor charges in court, only alerted the police when forced to, and, in short, put children at risk and failed to get the offending priest any serious help or counseling.

“Even if Finn is removed, that’s no tremendous sign of progress because there are literally hundreds of Catholic officials around the world still on the job, who have done what Finn did,” SNAP director, David Clohessy, had said earlier.Finn’s resignation was announced April 21. Although this occurred 30 months after Finn’s conviction, 25 months into this pontificate and Finn remains a bishop still carrying out his episcopal functions, members of the commission and the media were appeased about Barros’ promotion.

Pell and Barros

Before Pope Francis chose him to be one of his closest advisers and promoted him as head of Vatican finance, Cardinal George Pell had made national headlines during the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse hearings which covered Pell’s response as archbishop of Melbourne and then Sydney. In February 2015, the Royal Commission – the highest form of investigation in Australia – found that Pell placed the Church’s financial interests above his obligation to victims of childhood sexual abuse as part of an aggressive legal strategy to protect the assets of the Sydney archdiocese.

Currently, the Royal Commission is holding hearings about what transpired in Ballarat where Pell had been ordained and served until 1987. “Scores of children were abused by Catholic clergy from the 1960s to the 1980s. Many victims in Ballarat and elsewhere in Victoria state committed suicide, in one of the worst clusters of clerical abuse trauma in the world.”

•    Timothy Green said when he was 12 or 13 he told Pell in 1974 that Brother Edward Dowlan was abusing boys at St Patrick’s College. “Father Pell said `don’t be ridiculous’ and walked out.”
•    A victim said another priest walked in while Fr. Gerald Ridsdale was raping her at the Ballarat East presbytery and did nothing. Ridsdale says he doesn’t know who the priest was. Pell and one other priest lived in the same house with Ridsdale at the time.
•    Pell was at a 1982 meeting of the College of Consultors which discussed moving Ridsdale from the Mortlake parish, but he says no claims of abuse were raised at the meeting. Ridsdale was convicted of more than 140 offenses of child sexual abuse and indecent assault charges against children as young as four years old between 1993 and 2013.
•    David Ridsdale accused Pell of trying to bribe him in 1993 after being abused by his uncle, Fr. Ridsdale. Pell allegedly asked him: “I want to know what it will take to keep you quiet.”

More than 55,000 people signed a petition last month addressed to Pope Francis calling for Pell to return to Australia to answer questions from the Royal Commission concerning these current allegations.

Peter Saunders, speaking on Australia’s “60 Minutes” program on Sunday, May 31, said of Pell: “He has a catalog of denigrating people, of acting with callousness, cold-heartedness, almost sociopathic I would go as far as to say, this lack of care. He is making a mockery of the papal commission (into child abuse), of the pope himself, but most of all of the victims and the survivors.” He thought that Pell should be dismissed.

Before the program had even aired (after the network released promotional material), Pell issued statements calling Saunders’s comments “false”, “misleading” and “outrageous”, and said he would consult legal advisers. On Monday, Lombardi said that “Mr. Saunders spoke for himself and not for the commission which does not investigate or judge individual cases.” Australia’s Catholic archbishops made a statement that Pell is a man of integrity.

Meanwhile, “retired Bishop Juan Luis Ysem of Ancud has called on Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno to resign before he is asked to leave by Pope Francis.”

So, again it looks like a prelate will “resign” (this time Barros) and will members of the sex abuse commission and the press be appeased about the current allegations against Pell?

If you’re not feeling mollified and want to help, you can donate to the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) or BishopAccountability.org which operates the Abuse Tracker website from which most of the above information was obtained.

(Betty Clermont is author of The Neo-Catholics: Implementing Christian Nationalism in America (Clarity Press, 2009))

APPENDIX

The UN Committees found child sexual offenders were still in contact with children, Church officials were not cooperating with law enforcement authorities, the pope’s representatives and their aides were not monitoring the behavior of those under their “effective control” and that there was no accountability for hierarchs.

Given that sexual assault is one of the most under reported crimes, “with 68% still being left unreported,” and that it can take 20, 30, even 40 years for victims to fully recall the details of these excruciating crimes,  consider the following information to be only a sampling of what is currently still taking place in the Catholic Church.

Failing to protect children

Similar to Wesolowski, Pope Francis dismissed Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Miranda Melgarejo of Ayacucho, Peru, via letter in May 2013 without notifying the public or the police. On August 21,  2013, a Spanish lawyer wrote in his blog that the Vatican “accepted the resignation” of Miranda for “having sex with minors and adults, too” which had been “solicited in confession.” Miranda is still at large.

June 2015: “Prosecutors in Minnesota filed criminal charges against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, accusing church leaders of mishandling repeated complaints of sexual misconduct against a priest and failing to follow through on pledges to protect children and root out pedophile clergymen.”

February 2015: “Philippine Bishop Arturo Mandin Bastes right now is keeping a known abuser, Fr. Arwyn N. Diesta, in ministry.”

February 2015: “Some Catholic religious orders are still failing to adequately protect children against sex abuse 20 years after the scale of the problem became evident [in Ireland] according to a review by the National Board for the Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church … In one case, a priest who admitted accessing child porn was still in ministry and was an acting prior with “ambitions to continue or undertake a leadership position within the order”, according to the review.”  “Religious orders, which comprise one third to one half of the world’s Catholic clerics, still are not being compelled by the pope to create abuse policies.”

January 2015: Gian Piero Milano, whose official title is Vatican Promoter of Justice, “reported two cases of possession of child pornography within its own walls last year.” A Vatican spokesman said one of them involved Jozef Wesolowski.” So after his arrest, Wesolowski “continued to possess child pornography” while inside the Vatican City State? Who else possessed child pornography inside the Vatican?

Sex offenders moved around

April 2015: A US federal grand jury indicted Rev. Joseph Maurizio accused “on charges pertaining to sex trips to molest boys [in Honduras] as well as three counts of transmitting funds into and out of the US in furtherance of his criminal activity.”
“The priest was arrested Sept. 24, nine days after a raid on the parish rectory and his farmhouse in Paint Township, Pennsylvania.”

February 2015: “A Flemish priest who has been repeatedly accused of sexual abuse for many years has been in charge of an orphanage in Brazil. The Dutch congregation to which John D. belongs to is aware of the allegations, but has so far hardly intervened.”

December 2014: “Alessandro De Rossi, a priest accused of sexual abuse in Salta [Malvinas, Argentina] was arrested in Italy. Since then Salta Justice is in the process of extradition to stand trial in religious local courts … The priest is charged with the crime of ‘aggravated sexual abuse seriously outrageous and corruption of minors.’” De Rossi was a “fidei donum” priest, still attached to his diocese but sent abroad to do missionary work. With the approval of the pope, Don Alessandro was appointed priest in the Roman “parish of celebrities” on December 1, 2013. One Italian parishioner noted, “There were suspicious goings on around kids in the parish.” Another questioned, “Is it possible the Church did not know of his past with the law?” At the time, they were only informed the “de Rossi is back in Rome for health reasons with a positive view of the local bishop.”

November 2014: “Fr. Joseph Jeyapaul who fled to his native India to avoid facing felony criminal sexual conduct charges was just extradited back to Minnesota. He is accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old and 16-year-old girl.” One alleged “that he’d masturbated in front of her, groped her, and forced her to give him oral sex.”

November 2014: “Although he received accusations from two victims of sexual abuse against a Fr. ‘M.D.’,  Belgian Bishop Jozef De Kesel did not prevent the priest from going to Brazil where he now works with street children.”

October 2014: Fr. Roger Mount “who was allowed to continue preaching in Papua New Guinea despite being named in child abuse compensation settlements was deported to Australia and is likely to face being extradited from Queensland to Victoria.”

October 2014: “U.S. Marshals are attempting to find a Catholic priest who disappeared after he was accused of molesting a six-year-old Brooklyn girl last June. We found out he has friends and family down here,” said Deputy U.S. Marshal Juan Lara, the agency’s local spokesman.

February 2014: Monsignor Carlos Urrutigoity is now second-in-command of the Diócesis de Ciudad del Este in Paraguay.  “A former Diocese of Scranton [Pennsylvania] priest, Urrutigoity was accused more than a decade ago of abusing local children in a federal sexual abuse lawsuit … Bishop Martino carefully and consistently expressed his grave doubts about this cleric’s suitability for priestly ministry … to appropriate Church officials, including Bishop Rogelio Livieres, Bishop of the Diocese of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay; the Apostolic Nuncio to Paraguay; and the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.”

Fail to report abuse charges to proper authority

April 2015: In Kerala, India, Fr. Edwin Figarez had been accused of repeatedly raping a 14-year-old girl between January and March this year, “mostly when she came for confession.” The bishop followed Canon (ecclesial) Law and “suspended Figarez for the time being” but did not turn him over to the police. The mother went to the police. Figarez “remains underground and continues to evade the police.”

April 2015: Nine recent cases are cited by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) where credible allegations of child sex abuse were kept secret from the public by U.S. prelates. “We could cite dozens and dozens of other examples proving that the self-serving secrecy that caused the church’s global abuse and cover up crisis remains in force.

March 2015: “The spokesman for the Polish Catholic Bishops Conference, Fr Jozef Kloch, stated that as a matter of policy Polish bishops would not report allegations of child sex abuse by clergy to the civil authorities. It was up to the victims to report, he said.”

March 2015: Philippine Church “authorities have never turned over a clerical child sex abuser to the civil authorities. Never has a priest sex abuser been convicted. The bishops, who represent the management of the Church, should be held to account for they simply ship off child-abuser priests to dioceses abroad in some cases. When they abuse abroad and are investigated they rush back to a hideout the Philippines.”

January 2015: In a special report profiling a dozen key cases of priests in the Philippines accused of child sex abuse: “These cases are important because they reveal an enduring resistance by Filipino bishops to punishing and exposing offending priests.”

March 2014: The Italian bishops’ conference declared they had no official obligation to report the sexual abuse of children to any legal authorities outside of the Catholic Church with no objection from the pope.

Appeals, Petitions, Letters

June 2015: The Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission demands that the Pope come to Canada to apologize “for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children in Catholic-run residential schools.” The commission’s report says there has been “a patchwork of apologies or statements of regret” in Canada that few residential school survivors or Church members may even know exist. “It has been disappointing to survivors and others that the Pope has not yet made a clear and emphatic public apology in Canada,” the report says.

January 2015: Two people who say they were sexually abused as teenagers asked Pope Francis via press conference to investigate the way the Diocese of Buffalo handled their complaints.

December 2014: Two Argentine women traveled to Rome to ask Pope Francis for justice in the case of Fr. Héctor Ricardo Giménez who was found saying mass in a hospital chapel in 2013. “We think this man abused hundreds of children,” stated Estefania Gelso. Like the letter they had in January 2014, their trip produced no results.

December 2014: “Three priests have written to Pope Francis seeking an investigation into the Milwaukee archdiocesan bankruptcy. One of their concerns, a controversial move by then-Archbishop Tim Dolan to put $57 million into a cemetery trust fund he admitted was to provide improved protection of these funds from ‘any legal claim and liability.’ The intent of the bankruptcy proceeding for Church officials was ‘to exhaust silence and slander victims as well as to serve as a warning to others,’ the letter asserts.”

December 2014: Leaders of victims in three countries wrote an open letter to Pope Francis asking that he “take concrete action to protect children now.”
They want him to:
-Fire the predators,
-Order all bishops to report suspected sex crimes, open files and turn over evidence to police, and
-Punish bishops and Church officials who knowingly transfer predators and/or shield predators from police.”

July 2014: Open letter that Pope Francis “dismiss Cardinal Norberto Rivera of Mexico City for his clear participation in the cover-up of [Legion of Christ founder] Marcial Maciel, and Father Nicolás Aguilar and other pederasts … [T]he manifesto signed by 128 abuse survivors, lawyers and supportive groups was announced at a news conference in Mexico City, where the newspaper La Jornada called the Church’s deeds ‘crimes against humanity.’”

July 2014: A group of Argentine survivors called on Pope Francis to “amend hazardous defects of ecclesiastical laws so that permissive bishops will no longer remain in office.”

May 2014: Italian victims of pedophile priests sent a video to Pope Francis asking for sympathy and compensation. Among them were “eight deaf and mute people who were enrolled in a school in Verona, where 25 priests abused at least 100 students from the 1950s to the 1990s. Rete l’Abuso (Abuse Network) organization produced the video. The organization’s website identifies 148 priests convicted of child molestation, and a map of Italy detailing the Catholic parishes where the crimes occurred.”

May 2014: “Request the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn … after he failed to report a priest who had taken or possessed hundreds of pornographic pictures of young girls.”  263,594 supporters of this petition were ignored until the pope needed a scapegoat to quell the fury over his appointment of Barros.

April 2014: After the pope promoted Pell as his chief financial official, Australian Catholics petitioned, “Pope Francis: Sack Cardinal Pell Now…. His lack of empathy, justice and compassion for the victims of [sex] abuse is hard to reconcile with what Jesus did and taught. His few words of apology were hard to take seriously.”

September 2013: Two hundred people in a Scotland parish signed a petition accusing the Bishop of Galloway, John Cunningham, of persecuting and ostracizing Fr. Patrick Lawson. Lawson was removed from the parish after nearly two decades  of calling the Scottish hierarchy to take action against Fr Paul Moore who he accuses of sexually abusing altar boys.

August 2013: “Pope Francis: Stop Recycling Pedophile Priests” a petition signed by almost 7,000 because Newark Archbishop John J. Myers “failed to take action against a sexually abusive priest.”

May 2013: A petition to Pope Francis: Address the Global Sex Abuse Crisis and Convene a Truth and Reconciliation Commission begun by two of Karadima’s victims. The petition gained 10,229 supporters.

May 2013: “Call for the resignation of Rev. John C. Nienstedt, Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis“ for “deception” in handling pedophile priests.

Pope’s appointments

May 2015: “Right now, the Irish betting firm Paddy Power has Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of the Philippines as the favorite to be the next pope, giving him 11/2 odds. Already dubbed the ‘Asian Francis,’ Tagle got another boost this week with his election to lead a global federation of Catholic charities.” “In a 2012 interview, Tagle said that zero tolerance was a subject of debate in the Philippines [and] in a little-noticed 2012 video interview he observed of the Asian church’s response to clergy sexual misconduct, “I think for us … exposing persons, both victims and abusers, to the public, either through media or legal action, that adds to the pain.”

January 2015: Pope Francis appointed Blase Cupich archbishop of Chicago in September 2014. Fr. Michael W. O’Connell “was temporarily suspended in December 2013 after the archdiocese received an allegation of sexual misconduct involving a boy years earlier.” He was reinstated “even though the Cook County Sheriff’s Department never closed the criminal case. Weeks later, new allegations surfaced involving alleged abuse of a different boy in the 1990s.” Cupich is keeping O’Connell on the job with admonitions to “to avoid the parish school” and “not be alone with a child,” a contention that SNAP calls “ludicrous and dangerous.”

December 2014: Pope Francis promoted Bishop Christopher Coyne to bishop of Vermont. Coyne was “Cardinal Bernard Law’s former mouthpiece. For years, time and time again, then Fr. Coyne repeated deceptive public relations spin about heinous child sex crimes and callous cover ups by Law and other Catholic officials. While a bishop in Indiana, [SNAP] prodded Coyne to aggressively reach out to anyone who may have seen crimes by Fr. Francis Markey who was arrested by US marshals at his Indiana home in connection with the alleged rape of a 15-year-old boy twice, including the day of the boy’s father’s funeral. As best we can tell, he ignored our request.”

November 2014: Pope Francis promoted Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher to Secretary for Relations with States. “This important role is the equivalent to that of a Foreign Minister.” As nuncio to Australia, Gallager “claimed diplomatic immunity in response to repeated requests for archival documentation that might assist” the New South Wales Special Commission of Inquiry into child sex abuse by Deputy Senior Crown Prosecutor Margaret Cunneen. Gallagher told Cunneen that his office is “the high diplomatic representative of the Holy See to the Commonwealth” and citied “the protections afforded by international agreements, including the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.” Gallagher later relented.

November 2014: Pope Francis appointed Fr. Robert J. Geisinger as prosecutor of sex abuse cases at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) even though he had allowed a fellow Jesuit, a notorious serial sexual predator, to remain in ministry for years.

November 2014: Pope Francis appointed Archbishop José Luis Mollaghan to a new panel to assist the CDF in prosecuting clerical sex abuse. Mollaghan was “suspended in May as head of the Rosario archdiocese in Argentina due to accusations that he mismanaged Church funds” and “has a dismal record on abuse in his home diocese and nation.”

September 2014: Fr. Robert Oliver was appointed the Vatican’s “point man on sexual abuse” as chief of staff for the pope’s sex abuse commission, Oliver was “a champion of accused priests” while he was a canon lawyer for Boston cardinals Law and O’Malley.

February 2014: In his first consistory for naming cardinals, in addition to elevating Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller (see below), the pope included Santiago Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, another Chilean prelate who had also covered-up the sexual abuse of children by Fr. Fernando Karadima.

January 2014: Pope Francis promoted Lexington Bishop Ronald Gainer to head the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, diocese. As bishop of Lexington, Gainer failed to take action against Fr. Carroll Howlin. “Last year, the Chicago Tribune reported that Fr. Howlin, suspended for sexually abusing Illinois boys, still lives and works – unsupervised – in McCreary County. The cleric has reportedly also molested two Kentucky boys, one of whom committed suicide. Despite his suspension, however, the Tribune reports that Fr. Howlin’s supervisors in both the Lexington and the Joliet Catholic diocese have basically ignored him … Gainer put Fr. William G. Poole back into a parish even though Poole was twice charged with public indecency (1990 and 2001) and accused (in 2003) of molesting a boy. A Catholic lay panel in the Covington diocese found the child sex abuse allegation against Poole to be credible and paid a settlement to the victim. But Gainer recklessly put Poole back on the job.”

December 2013: Pope Francis reconfirmed Cardinal William Levada to the powerful (because they help select new prelates) Congregation for Bishops although Levada has one of the worst records among the U.S. episcopate for covering up for criminal clerics.

December 2013: Pope Francis appointed Fr. John Doerfler as the new bishop for the diocese of Marquette, Michigan. During the trial of a serial child molester, Doerfler admitted under oath that he had deliberately destroyed “nearly all records and documentation in the secret Church files of at least 51 reported to have sexually assaulted children after the Wisconsin State Supreme Court ruled that victims of childhood sexual abuse could file fraud suits against Catholic dioceses in the state for covering up for clerics….When specifically asked if it bothered him that clerics who abused children were being dumped into the community without public notice, Doerfler chillingly answered: ‘No’”.

September 2013: Pope Francis approved Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the office of the Holy See that has dealt with all sexual abuse cases 2001. As bishop of Regensburg, Germany, Müller promoted Fr. Peter Kramer, previously convicted of child sex abuse and ordered not to work with children, to pastor.  Müller concealed Kramer’s conviction from parishioners. When victims learned of Kramer’s new assignment, additional victims came forward and Kramer was convicted of additional child abuse.

April 2013: The pope also chose Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley as a C9 member. “A close look at the cardinal reveals a career-long pattern of resisting disclosure of information, reinstating priests of dubious suitability, and negotiating mass settlements that are among the least generous in the history of the crisis.”

Legal Maneuvers

March 2015: “The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the office in charge of abuse cases, has refused to cooperate with civil authorities in Italy concerning a well-known priest that Benedict XVI dismissed from the clerical state in 2012 … But Pope Francis re-instated him last summer after he appealed the decision and then sentenced the priest to a ‘life of prayer and penance.’ The Italian Magistrates were seeking access to documents ‘subsequent to the canonical trial’ at which Fr Mauro Inzoli was initially dismissed.  The Vatican’s rejection of their demand seems to confirm that once canonical proceedings commence, the pontifical secret applies, and any disclosure of information obtained in those proceedings is strictly forbidden’”

February 2015: A settlement was reached between 232 plaintiffs sexually abused by priests and nuns at the Ursuline Academy in St. Ignatius, Montana. “The agreement breaks down to less than $20,000 per victim. “These nuns no doubt say they’re ‘poor’ but frankly we doubt that claim. When it suits them, Catholic officials say they’re part of a huge global church. But when it benefits them, like in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases, they claim each diocese or religious order is autonomous.
Did these nuns even try to borrow money from other Catholic institutions (like Boston’s disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law did) or raise more money in any way, so they could do justice by these hundreds of still-suffering victims? We doubt it. Shame on them.”

February 2015: “The Archdiocese of Mobile [Alabama] is attempting to block subpoenas related to sexual abuse allegations, according to court documents. Reverend Johnny Savoie at St. Pius X Catholic School is being sued by four parents for allegedly failing to protect their children from claimed bullying problems.”

September 2014: Justice Murray Sinclair, head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission looking into the abuses that occurred over the years in Indian residential schools, said the “’government of Canada and the Catholics have not provided documents’ needed for the commission to complete its work. He also said the churches were being unco-operative, and the Catholic Church in particular fears more abuse stories will emerge against living clergy. Seventy per cent of the 140 Indian residential schools were run by the Catholic Church with the remainder operated by the Anglican, United, Presbyterian, Congregationalist and Methodist Churches.

May 2014: “A judge rejected a lawsuit filed by the Diocese of Arecibo [Puerto Rico] seeking to block the release of additional information to prosecutors regarding sex abuse allegations … The judge gave the diocese two weeks to hand over the information.

April 2014: “The Netherlands Church is still not properly handling allegations of sexual abuse by priests and brothers according to three victims’ organizations. They are outraged that the Church has unilaterally terminated mediation and victim assistance.”

Statutes of Limitations

February 2015: “Those who say they suffered childhood sexual abuse by clergy will have to comply with 2010 statute of limitations after a narrow vote by a South Dakota legislative committee. In 2010, with the backing of Church lobbyists, state lawmakers approved a new statute of limitations restricting some types of civil litigation in childhood sex abuse cases. Proponents testified that alleged abuse in Catholic Indian Boarding Schools happened so long ago few of the accused are alive to defend themselves. Opponents to that law argue the new statute of limitations was applied retroactively by the courts resulting in the dismissal of several ongoing childhood sex abuse lawsuits—further damaging the victims who are still alive today.”

February 2015: “A Spanish court has dropped charges against 11 out of 12 suspects in a clerical sex abuse scandal because the crimes fall within the statute of limitations. The Grenada court dropped charges of “sexual abuse with penetration, exhibitionism, and concealment of evidence” against nine priests and two laymen accused of abusing an altar boy.” This case became famous because the victim wrote a letter to Pope Francis. The pope phoned him “asking him to ‘forgive this extremely serious sin’ [and] that “people are already working so that all of this can be resolved.’” Granada’s Archbishop Francisco Javier Martínez only suspended the three priests directly accused of child abuse. His refusal to suspend the seven priests charged for covering up the crime sends the appalling message that enabling, tolerating, cooperating and covering up child rape is acceptable behavior that should not be punished. However, “the Holy Pontiff continues to support the controversial archbishop” because he is still in office.

March 2013: Cardinal Timothy Dolan “has successfully lobbied Albany to block SOL reform. Furthermore, before coming to New York, he himself testified publicly against window legislation in Wisconsin and is rumored to have paid off pedophile priests.”

Catholic Church ‘systematically’ protected abusive priests, U.N. says


Catholic Church ‘systematically’ protected abusive priests, U.N. says

February 05, 2014|By Tom Kington

The Roman Catholic Church has “systematically” protected predator priests, allowing “tens of thousands” of children to be abused, a United Nations committee said Wednesday in a scathing report that cast the first shadow over Pope Francis’ honeymoon period as pontiff.

The panel called on the Vatican to remove all suspects from their posts immediately and to open up its confidential archives in order “to hold abusers accountable.”

“The committee is gravely concerned that the Holy See has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators,” the report said.

The Vatican, which signed the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, has “consistently placed the preservation of the reputation of the Church and the protection of the perpetrators above children’s best interests,” said the report, accusing the Vatican of transferring abusive priests to new parishes where many have continued to abuse children, and of “humiliating” the families of victims into silence.

In a sharply worded response, the Holy See’s ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, attacked the report, calling it “surprising” and full of “incorrect” statements, and alleging that the U.N. had ignored steps taken by the Vatican in recent years to root out abuse.

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Tomasi also suggested that nongovernmental organizations that oppose the Vatican’s positions on homosexuality and gay marriage had influenced the U.N. report, giving it an “ideological” slant.

Addressing the U.N. committee last month, Tomasi said the Vatican had no responsibility for abusers because “priests are citizens of their own states, and they fall under the jurisdiction of their own country.”

But the report disagreed, telling the Vatican that because priests are “bound by obedience to the pope” in canon law, the Vatican is accountable for their conduct.

The report, released by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva, strongly urged the Vatican to oblige its priests and bishops to take all reports about abuse to the police and end what it termed a “code of silence” under which whistle-blowers were “ostracized, demoted and fired.”

As a first step, the report urged the Vatican to appoint representatives of victims groups to the commission created by Francis in December to investigate abuse, and asked the Vatican to report back on progress made by 2017.

Although the committee’s recommendations are nonbinding, they are a challenge to the pope, whose popularity has soared since he was elected in March, in part with the assumption that he would reform the Vatican.

“Pope Francis has already missed opportunities to assert his authority to reverse the Church’s damaging policies over clerical abuse and unless he responds positively and quickly to the demands of the committee, he risks history judging his whole papacy a failure,” said Keith Porteous Wood, the executive director of Britain’s National Secular Society, which gave evidence to the committee.