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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.

 

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Laundries survivor: We were slaves


Laundries survivor: We were slaves

From the link: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-21334882

A report published today is expected to detail Irish government knowledge of what went on in Magdalene Laundries.

The laundries were Catholic-run workhouses that operated in Ireland from the 1920s to the mid-1990s.

Girls considered “troubled” or what were then called “fallen women” were sent there by families or the courts.

Ellen Murphy, a survivor of the Magdalene Laundries, told the Today programme’s John Humphrys that she was put to work using large washing machines.

“You had to do that or die with starvation,” she explained.

Speaking of her restrictive ordeal at the Laundries, Ms Murphy said: “You never went out, you were locked in all the time… you never saw the world.”

“We were slaves from one end of the day to the other,” she added.

A life unlived: 35 years of slavery in a Magdalene Laundry


A life unlived: 35 years of slavery in a Magdalene Laundry

One woman tells the story of her mother who was sent to a Laundry in Dublin at the age of 16 – and died there at the age of 51.

From the link: http://www.thejournal.ie/magdalene-laundry-true-story-margaret-bullen-samantha-long-614350-Sep2012/

THE TREATMENT OF women incarcerated in Magdalene Laundries – and the level of State involvement in these Church-run institutions – has been highlighted yet again this month. There was disappointment among survivors and relatives of those kept in the Laundries when it was announced that a State committee’s final report into the matter would be delayed until the end of the year.

To reiterate the urgency of revealing the inter-departmental findings, the Justice for Magdalene advocacy group last week distributed some redacted statements of women detailing their lives in such institutions. (The group claims that there was State involvement in the operation of the Laundries as places to send women considered to be “problem girls”, due to poverty or pregnancy outside marriage for example.)

Samantha Long’s mother Margaret Bullen was placed in Gloucester Street (now Sean McDermott Street) Laundry c.1967 and died 35 years later, never having been released into society and her own home. Margaret died of an illness known as Goodpasture Syndrome, a disease of the kidneys and liver – one of the causes is exposure to industrial-strength chemicals such as those used in the Laundries.

Samantha made a lengthy statement to the interdepartmental committee, led by Senator Martin McAleese, about her mother’s life. Margaret Bullen had a tragic start in life: she was born in a mental institution in Grangegorman, Dublin to a mother who already had six children, Margaret being the youngest. Margaret was sent home to Kimmage to live with her siblings and father, where she remained until she was three years old. At that point, Margaret’s brother was sent to Artane industrial school and Margaret and her sister closest to her in age sent to the notorious High Park industrial school and Laundry in Drumcondra. That, as Samantha says of her mother, “was the end of her and the outside world”.

A second statement sent to Senator McAleese’s committee from a former Laundry inmate who remembers Margaret and her sister recounts how Margaret suffered fits as a young child but that they were ignored by the nuns there (then known as the Sisters of Charity of Refuge, now the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity).

Margaret appears to have been moved in her early teens to a special school called St Teresa’s in Blackrock, after she was certified mentally unfit for education, but fit for work. Her daughter Samantha says in her own statement:

She was assessed at age thirteen as being mentally challenged because on the day that they measured her, they said that she had an IQ of fifty, which I dispute after meeting her, even after all those years of institutionalisation.. And I think that if you’re hungry and tired from your slavery, your IQ wouldn’t be very sharp, or your skills on any given moment mightn’t be sharp. You would be probably just pulled into this room – “now we’re going to measure your IQ” – so even the shock of that wouldn’t, you know, you could shut down.

At roughly the age of 16, Margaret was sent to the Magdalene Laundry at Gloucester Street. The exact time and circumstances of her move there are not clear because Samantha and her sister are still waiting on full records to be supplied to them on their mother’s past.

She became pregnant – twice – with Samantha and her twin sister Etta, and later with another daughter, while officially under the care of the Gloucester Street nuns. The circumstances of these conceptions are again shrouded in mystery but Samantha says her conversations in later life with her mother when they were reunited led her to believe that Margaret had been the victim of sexual abuse and predators several times.

There was no education, no education and I, you know, I honestly believe for a long time she didn’t know how she got pregnant, she just knew that somebody hurt her once and then she had babies. I really believe that. She didn’t make that connection, I know that for sure. She was no, she didn’t have a boyfriend, let’s put it that way. And that’s the politest way that I can say that.

Some of the more harrowing details of Samantha’s testimony recount how her mother was denied society, education, wages and other basic rights for most of her life. This extract recalls Samantha and Etta’s first meeting with Margaret in the Gresham Hotel when they were 23 and had traced her as their biological mother. (Samantha and Etta were adopted by a loving couple in Dublin and later moved to Sligo in childhood.)

Margaret was only 42 at the time but looked much older. She was carrying a handbag but it was completely empty, because she didn’t own anything nor did she have any money. Samantha recalls:

And, she was just lovely, and she was asking extremely innocent questions like, she, it was the first time she ever had coffee and it was very exciting for her to have coffee and she hadn’t seen brown sugar before either and obviously in the Gresham there was brown and white sugar cubes on the table and it was all very fancy to her. And she was just overjoyed to be there and absolutely wowed by everything.

She looked, she looked like a pensioner. I couldn’t believe she was forty-two, I kept looking, I kept looking into her face to find a forty-two year old and I couldn’t, because she had the face of hard work, that face that you see in so many women that have just had to work too hard and have never had a rest and have never had anyone to take care of them or tell them to put their feet up, and who have just, just worked too hard. Because, as I said on the radio a few years ago, this was slavery and I don’t use that term lightly and I’m not an emotive person but slavery is a form of work for which you get no pay and you can’t leave and these were the white slaves of Ireland and they were never emancipated. And nobody stood up for them until now, until you guys (Justice for Magdalenes) did.

Samantha Long was asked by Senator McAleese’s commission what she would like the State to do to redress any wrongs committed against the women in Magdalene Laundries. She answered:

I would like the state to apologise for keeping those young girls behind bars, literally and figuratively. I would like the church and state to apologise for forcing them to do slave labour. 

I would like the church, the state and society to redress their reputations and apologise for keeping them down, for denying them education, freedom, money, their babies and their lives, all of those things.

And I would like that the circumstances that they find themselves in, through the missing pieces that the rest of us get in life, because they had no education, so how could they make it?

They were sitting ducks, keep them down, keep them unaware of their rights, keep them without money, keep the roof over their head, feed them a little bit, keep them alive, just enough for work. Give them their wages now, give them their wages.

Irish religious orders confirm they will not pay Magdalene Laundry victims


Irish religious orders confirm they will not pay Magdalene Laundry victims

From the link: http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Irish-nuns-orders-confirm-they-will-not-pay-Magdalene-Laundry-victims.html

Young girls at work in a Magdalene Laundry. Waiting out the clock as elderly victims see their hopes fade.

Young girls at work in a Magdalene Laundry. Waiting out the clock as elderly victims see their hopes fade.

 

In a completely enraging move, two of the four religious orders that once ran Magdalene laundries in Ireland have again refused to contribute any money toward compensating the surviving women.

Over a year after the Irish Taoiseach (Prime minister) Enda Kenny gave a heartfelt State apology to the tens of thousands of women who had been cruelly incarcerated in Magdalene laundries, the Irish government’s repeated attempts to hold the orders financially accountable have met with blank refusals.

All four orders, which include The Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of Refuge, the Good Shepherd Sisters, and the Sisters of Charity have, at various times, publicly refused to contribute financially to the proposed compensation scheme.

According to recent reports in the Irish press, the four orders, which ran the Magdalene laundries, made almost $415 million in property deals during the Irish economic boom. Given those eye-popping figures, the refusal to offer one thin dime in compensation can be seen in its proper light.

It hasn’t quite been two decades since the last Magdalene Laundry in Ireland closed in 1996. That’s well within the living memory of young adults. All those decades of unpaid drudgery, with moral opprobrium added on top, and the orders don’t feel they have a case to answer?

Clearly they are hoping that even now most Irish people would prefer to look the other way – exactly the way they used to when these for-profit gulags were in operation.

Recall that the Irish government had to be brow beaten for years by a group of committed former inmates and their offspring before they finally offered the women a full apology. That apology was only offered in February 2013, by the way.

So the deep Irish reluctance to face up to the legacy of exploitation and widespread physical and sexual abuse within the church has been one of the most remarkable aspects of the now three decade long crisis.

Instead of principled stock-taking, denial, defensiveness and withholding have been the standard responses.

What fascinates me is what happens to a nation that fails to confront its own traumas? Will it hand them on to the next generation without comment? These orders profited for decades from indentured servitude. The women they incarcerated had to pay their own way out.

Now, flush with cash from their extensive property deals, they are withholding all material support from the women they once treated as chattel.

It is estimated that 600 Irish women who were once incarcerated in one of the laundries run by the four orders are still alive. All of them are elderly. The orders may hope that time turns the page on their stories and the nation forgets them. Waiting out the clock, they may be right.

A Priest Rape Survivor told to count his blessings…ok.


I was told by a few Christians that instead of being pissed off at God and Jesus for all the wrongs done to me by those claiming to be followers of theirs, to count my blessings. The gist goes…If I count my blessings and then count the wrongs…the blessings will far rise above the wrongs.

So I took a few days to ponder this weighty question. Here is my answer:

First let me quantify something here. Even though I hate God and Jesus….it is NOT the kind of God and Jesus I read about and believe in somewhere deep down inside of me…it is the ones those whom Jesus said of: “For many shall call themselves by my name, but their hearts and minds are far from my teachings.”…that I do NOT accept nor will I EVER bow my knee down to. I do love the teachings of Jesus Christ.as I do all great teachers of peace, love, hope, charity..though I do have a problem with some of them, I believe it is those teachings in the bible that ring wrong with me…that were changed by Constantine and the council of hackers whom produced the first bible for use. So I do not really pay attention to them.

But what gets me about this story of this guy named Jesus…without all the extraneous bullshit…like the virgin birth, etc…was his core principle teaching and commandments (with my own revision because I truly believe that the original Hebrew translation…which was in the first King James but subsequently taken out stated: We made them in our image, male and female we made them like unto us. This would mean that there HAS to be a male and a female God…for a male God cannot make a female…it is not in his likeness, nor can a female God make a male…it is not in her likeness):

Love the Lord your God and Goddess with all of your heart and soul, and the second is like it…love your neighbor as you do yourself. On these two commands should hang all the laws.

Yet I am going to combine in judging my list here of the blessings and wrongs by both standards…mine and what these Christians tell me their God and Jesus are all about. I am going to use the bible too as a guide and what it says to make my list.

So here goes.

BLESSINGS:
1. My two sons top this list. Joshua and Austin are my most important blessings. Even though they were taken away from me by their cruel mothers and an evil system designed to destroy fathers for the sake of a buck….the two biggest blessings in my life are Joshua Michael LaFerriere-Fifer and Austin LaFerriere. There is a LOT of things I would have changed…but the birth of my two beautiful sons….nope.

2. My loving and caring “family” and friends. I have a lot of brothers and sisters from other mothers. They are much more blood to me than my own blood relations. Most of them are also survivors of the evil that I too went through. Most of them were raped, beaten, abused, by either a religious person or a supposedly loving family member. We all have survived some of the worst horrors, some of the most brutal degradations done to a child or a teenager. Yet we have somehow survived without becoming the evil that has tried it’s hardest to destroy us. We are good, kind, loving souls with generous hearts. We love each other because we have experienced the same things in life. We survived through horrendous ordeals to come to the point we are today, and we offer each other things that NO ONE has EVER offered us in our lives before…true love, without exception or condition….not based on a perverted, evil concept of love…if you want to call what these people did to us love…..we offer each other support and acceptance….and we stand tall together…when one of us is falling into another Dark Night of the Soul…where we feel no hope.

My true friends and family are a blessing to me.

3. My love and my skills as a nature photographer are a blessing to me. The fact that I can wander around in a forest, taking pictures of all the beauty I see around me, and then able to share it…well that is a blessing to me. The reality to me, that I can go anywhere in a forest and not feel fear of it? That I have admired the stars far too long to be afraid of the dark? To be able to say that I am NOT an evil person because I have actually had wildlife come right up to me and let me pet them? Or take pics of them? Yeah if I were evil….then they would NOT come near me. One thing I have learned from tramping in the woods and being around peoples pets…animals can tell when someone is evil…VERY RARELY have I EVER had an animal react strangely around me…or in fear of me…and that was more dogs whom were abused and are afraid of EVERYONE.

But my photography also blesses me because it brings me incredible peace and joy. In the forest I have no real fear…except for humans…so through my photography and being outdoors…it is a blessing.

4.  Music. Next to my photography, music to me is a blessing.

5. That I am even alive is a blessing. I think about all the times I should be dead. From almost drowning because of my stupidity at Bow Lake when I was 16, to that murdering rapist whom picked me up and drugged me and I woke up to raping me in the back of his RV, to my dedicated drug overdoses, especially when I dissolved all those pills in that glass of vodka, drank it….if it were not for that girl showing up that night…and knowing what to do….I would be dead. Or the other suicide attempts where I should be dead? The fact that I am still even alive…is sort of a blessing one would say. They would say I am here for a reason…if I tried to kill myself like this or survived these things….but hey…..look into the curse section too lol.

Well that is about all I can really think of for blessings. I mean hey…I am really trying…you know…even though I do go starving at least I do eat….or even though I am homeless…I have a friend whom is letting me crash on her couch til next week…but I cannot stay any longer as it would NOT be fair to her….it is my responsibility and if I cannot afford to live in my own place…then I gotta go live in my tent until I do. The biggest problem is security deposits…and anyone whom knows me…thinks that Catholic Charities is going to help me? After what I say about their Pedophile Pimps? Not in this lifetime.

Now honestly lets look at the negatives:

CURSES:

1. Even though my sons are the greatest blessings in my life….their mothers have been the greatest curses of my life. To have done to me what was done to me at the hands of their mothers…should be illegal. To have done to me what was done to me by Holly Hepp of the CPS in Ohio…she should be in prison for the rest of her life so she can never harm another father or their children ever again. Yet I am made out to be the one whom is wrong, the one to blame, the evil one, the one whom would rape his own sons or abuse them as Holly Hepp said to me.

No one can seem to understand the Catch-22 I am in here with my soul over this..as well as my life. Sure with Josh I got to be with him maybe a total of two months after his birth, but with Austin, hell I haven’t even been able to tell him I love him. Not even kiss him. Nothing. So here it is…I think about them and it destroys me. So I try to put them out of my mind to retain my sanity and it is even more of a curse on me…because what kind of father am I to not want to think about my sons? I love looking at their pictures, they bring me joy, but they also bring me incredible pain, because of all the loss…and then I hide the pic for a while so I do not have to look at them and then again condemn myself for it because…what kind of loving, caring father does this?

2. I guess I am supposed to consider being raped by a priest, to have my soul destroyed and taken from me and all the living hell I went through and been through because of it…and because of now standing up about it and demanding the Pedophile Pimps…hell anyone whom participated in these evils against us…be put where they belong…in prison….is a BLESSING? OK about the ONLY blessing I can consider coming from this is the fact I made some beautiful friends and family from it. Otherwise ANYONE whom got raped by a priest…or by any pastor, minister or supposed Holy Person…..would consider it a curse and evil and a HUGE NEGATIVE.

3. How about that scumbag whom picked me up hitch-hiking and drugged and raped me? Nope…I sure would NOT consider that a blessing…even in disguise!! Why did you NOT just kill me that day and get it done and over with?

4. The last scumbag, whom picked me up hitch-hiking….showed me those gay books, would NOT take no for an answer…drove down the dirt road before the Gloucester bridge and in MY MIND I was about to be raped again when he pulled out his knife. Well I guess being arrested when I flagged down that cop car and told him what happened, and the scumbag jerk being in the back seat of that car, and then pressing charges against me for assault with a deadly weapon, attempted armed robbery etc…well that is supposed to be a blessing too?

5.  My blood family turning their backs on me. Ok let me get this straight. Was I a problem kid? Freaking right I was. Did I steal cigs from my parents to smoke? Yuppers. Did I steal a check from my dad, cash it, bought a carton of cigs? Yuppers. I believe those were really my worse crimes. Yeah I skipped school….but hey….ya know? Did I steal porn mags from the local book store and sell them to my friends? Guilty! I wonder how many of us actually did this as kids? I know at least my older brother used to steal cigs and drink and smoke dope…but hey that was him…..the freaking hypocrite…and oh yeah…he did have a chance to get his girlfriend knocked up at such a young age….but hey I don’t have all the facts to judge him…but even though he does not have all the facts…he can judge me.

Yet in my older brothers eyes….that made me Hitler…hell that made me worse than Hitler.

When my life fell apart after the priest rape, or anything else…it did not matter to any of them….I was the black sheep of the family…well the ONLY one whom it mattered to was my father and mother…..and I damn well know my father…loved me and so did my mother. But to my brothers and sister…I am still the evil black sheep of the family, without one redeeming quality, bound for hell….so I got that going for me.

I ALWAYS thought that family…blood family…though they could get pissed off at the wrongs you did….unless you truly were a rapist, a murderer, etc….but come on…for this shit????? They were supposed to at least never disown you for this kind of crap. So yeah…I would consider the loss of my family…though I did wrong…this was NOT deserving….and I consider it a major negative. Yeah my older self righteous brother thinks I am such a Hitler that I should be banned from any family reunions that he may be at….and have me arrested if I decide to come. Gotta love older brothers like that. Should I BELIEVE what my mother used to say about him to me…how he was such a defender and protector of me when I was sick, had all those operations and was blind for a while because I had to wear eye patches? Nah.

6. Donohue and the whole Catholic Church. THEY ARE A CURSE TO ME. Need I say more? Cardinals like Timothy Dolan, George Pell, Donald Wuerl, Justin Rigali, Bernard Law, Roger Mahony and the whole lot of them…they are a curse not only to me…but to all mankind. They preferred to protect their pedophile priests over us whom were being raped and abused by them….and became Pedophile Pimps. They then became LYING PEDOPHILE PIMPS. when they all signed those Promise to Protect Pledge to Heal charters, the Dallas Charter and all the Charters with the United Nations on children’s rights. They became LYING PEDOPHILE PIMPS when they PROMISED to help us victims…then attacked us at every chance they could, saying they wanted to beat us with baseball bats, or we were to blame for our own rapes, or we were the seducers of these disgusting scumbag rapists. Or we are liars, gold diggers out looking for a payday. Or how we are Anti-Catholic bigot scum for daring to challenge them. Yeah this whole thing is a curse to me, a double edged sword.

For if I walk away…I am no better, hell I am even worse than they are. See I have a soul, I have a conscious…something people like Dolan, Donohue, Law and the rest do not have…I feel real pain when a victim comes to me with their story, or I read their stories. I feel real pain when I see what the scumbag Pedophile Pimps and their buddies are doing to us…when all we want is justice and healing…all they give us is more pain and suffering. Well they are a curse…and they deserve to be cursed.

I could no sooner walk away from this, or helping others whom were harmed by these scumbags as I could live without breathing. But it is a curse, a double curse…because this is also destroying what is left of my soul…..for my soul cannot take this evil much longer.

7. Christianists. Always telling me what to do…be like them!!! What? A bigoted, self righteous, hate filled scumbag? Well thanks but no thanks…you people have instilled enough hate in my heart for you that you make it almost impossible to do what your own Jesus tells you to do….love thy neighbor as thyself….for if I do like these Christianists do…I could rape a child, cover it up and say….oh I did not know it was a crime…and even if it is…..you should just forgive and turn the other cheek.

I also love their hatred towards women, gays, etc….They demonstrate to me the truth when Jesus said…Many shall call themselves by my name but their hearts and minds are far from my teachings.

I seem to attract these psycho, freak Christianists in my life in droves…why am I such a magnet for these psychos? Oh…it is because I tell the truth about them and it pisses them off.

8. MY LIFE OF ABJECT POVERTY. Oh Jesus and God….I am supposed to count as a blessing the abject poverty I have lived through in my life eh? Now wait a minute….I thought you guys were supposed to bless good people and curse bad people. That you all slammed these religious holy people living off the fat of the land? That you were supposed to punish the bad and reward the good. Oh I haven’t been being good just for the reward….like most of those Christianists attempt to portray they do…but fail miserably….I’ve done good because it is the right thing to do. Besides…that Spirit that is inside of me? Each and every time I claim I must be evil because of all the evil things that happen to me……it says NO I AM GOOD AND NOT EVIL. Yet again…in the bible, it says…As you sow…so shall you reap.

So hey…not to brag….but I have sowed a lot of good things…some incredible things….so how come????

I tried and tried to sell my photography…I do not want a hand out…I want a hand up. Yet nada for 7 years. I bust my ass to work and I do not deserve any pay for it? While your religious leaders basically sit on their asses, raping children, covering up the rapes of children, murdering children and burying them in septic systems…..and do all kinds of other evils…then go to their church on Sunday and you forgive them for all their evil…but you still shit on us? Oh and how rich do they have to be? Before some of that trickles down to us? They do not earn their pay…but you sure give it to them in stacks of $100s!!!

I am supposed to bow down and worship this type of God and his Son? REALLY? I am supposed to be grateful? I am supposed to count abject poverty where at the end of the month…like the last two weeks…I am lucky to eat one meal a day? While those fat pigs whom raped us and covered up the rapes of us look like they have not missed a meal in decades? Oh and then if I bitch about it…not only does that mean I am an ungrateful little prick….I get shoved deeper into poverty to see what it is like to have even less? I am supposed to thank you and love you for this? When I see you barely lift a finger to help me? But you sure the HELL lift your big fat hands to make those whom did these evils to us…not want for ANYTHING?

Yeah abject poverty…now I consider that a real BLESSING….not!!!

7.  That I am even alive. I have suffered so damn much. Jesus and God must think I am Superman times two. They really must. Look at all the loss I have suffered…if I look at it…my life is the life of Job in a way. Trouble is….there is a saying in the bible that goes…Suffer the children that they may come unto me. REALLY?

Unrelenting suffering is a way to make someone come to you? Raping them is a way to make them come unto you? Forcing them to live in abject poverty is the way to make someone come to you? Taking away their children and giving them to their evil mothers…that too is how you make someone come to you?

Listen bozos…I’ve tried….oh how I’ve tried…to come to you. I have begged you, I have screamed at you, I have threatened you, I have cried to you, I have pleaded with you…to help me…to show me God and Jesus Christ that YOU are worthy…of my love and faith…but you have NOT SHOWN ME ANY OF THIS!!!! You keep saying to have faith? Faith in what? That one day you are going to find that I have suffered enough? That I have lived in abject poverty, loss and suffering enough? When will that be please? I sure would LOVE to pencil it in on my calender. That I have been denied justice for the crimes done to me? Your sure did punish the living shit out of me when I broke into that hotel room and stole the wallet from the car. You sure punished the living shit out of me with a five year prison term over that utter and complete bullshit over my son Josh. You are even punishing the shit outta me for standing up to Pig Face Donohue.

So which is it Bozos? Do you truly hate evil like you say? God…you say you cannot stand the sight of evil. Jesus…you say it would be better for you to tie a huge millstone around your neck and throw yourself into the deepest of lakes than to harm a single hair on the head of a child.

Seems though….you do the exact opposite. You punish the good and you reward the evil.

Again…I am supposed to love you, follow you, bend my knee to you? Be like those whom proclaim to follow you and then do all manners of evil against humanity…and then claim they are doing it in your names and then you do not punish them….like you promised to do…but you sure the FUCK punish us when we stand up and fight it…like you supposedly tell us to do. Do you not tell us to fight this evil? Oh wait…I guess there is a caviat to this rule eh?

Those whom do fight this evil will be destroyed…is that not what you said? We whom fight this evil will be murdered, thrown into prison, slaughtered and butchered????

Wow… now you are making me wonder….why should I not join the bad guys if this is what you are going to do and allow to be done to the good guys. I thought God and Jesus were supposed to defend the righteous, to fight on our side…but hey…look honestly and realistically at it…if they are real…man are you guys dropping the ball.

So I would say essentially though my life is a blessing…it is more of a curse. I have been made to suffer some of the most evil things that can be done to another…and still to this day…I am still suffering.

Put it bluntly there God and Jesus…do I want to be rich? Yeah…I do not want to ever worry about putting a roof over my head, or food in my stomach…or wait until my clothes totally disintegrate before I can spend 5 bucks on a used pair of pants. I want to give my sons some beautiful things. I want to help many others whom have been harmed by your followers. I want to set up a foundation that truly and honestly helps the religious abuse survivor with their needs….but I guess this is wrong to ask for in your eyes isn’t it?

Because God and Jesus….you would rather make those religious freaks all fat and sassy and rich….than the children you supposedly love…but I guess we are the ones whom are supposed to suffer for truly wanting to follow you. While the hypocrite Pharisee and Sadducee get all the help they need from you. Oh wait a minute…I forgot….

I am not supposed to blame you…I am not supposed to blame YOU God or YOU Jesus for turning your backs on us….I am supposed to blame Satan and his followers….I guess this then all goes to prove…that when it comes time to fighting Satan and his followers….you arm your combatants with nothing and expect them to do everything for you…but give them NOT one drop of help…because I guess that would be messing with our free will again…wouldn’t it? Our free will to be raped, destroyed and live in abject poverty……because you deem that more fit for us…than you do for the scum whom did this to us…in YOUR names.

SO IN CLOSING…I COULD POST MORE NEGATIVES…BUT HEY THIS IS MORE THAN ENOUGH…TO SAY TO THOSE CHRISTIANS WHOM SAY IF I COUNT MY BLESSINGS AND MY CURSES I WOULD FIND THAT MY LIFE IS MUCH MORE BLESSED THAN CURSED….YOU’RE WRONG.

THEN AGAIN…MAYBE YOU CHRISTIANISTS WHOM SAY THIS TO ME…CAN PROVIDE ME WITH WHAT I NEED….CAUSE YOUR GOD YOU WANT ME TO FOLLOW SURE ISN’T. AGAIN…..I DO NOT WANT A HAND OUT…I WANT A HAND UP.

 

Time has come for all good people to take a stand!!


We arrest, we try, we convict and we imprison and execute, people whom rape children and murder children. This is the supposed norm of what we do to those whom prey on children. Yet we allow one religious organization, to rape children, to murder children, to destroy children with impunity, without going after them, without arresting them, without prosecuting them, without imprisoning them or executing them in the most horrible and gruesome fashion we can think of, because when you rape or murder a child, this is exactly what you deserve….but hey…the

UNHOLY, ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH OF PEDOPHILE PIMP LEADERS, PEDOPHILE PRIESTS, PSYCHO ABUSIVE NUNS, AND FREAK PARISHIONERS WHOM LOVE THESE PEOPLE WHOM RAPE AND MURDER THEIR OWN CHILDREN ARE ABOVE THE FUCKING LAW.

We have overwhelming, concrete, irrefutable proof, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that if this evidence was heard by a jury, these scumbags would be convicted of their crimes….that the leaders of the Unholy Roman Catholic Church of Pedophiles…have moved rapist priests from parish to parish, state to state, country to country and are STILL DOING THIS TO THIS VERY DAY.

We have overwhelming, concrete, irrefutable proof, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that if this evidence was heard by a jury, these scumbags would be convicted of their crimes, that these leaders and others of the Roman Catholic Church have in fact murdered children. We have the bodies and the graves to prove it. Yet again, the Unholy Roman Catholic Church seems to be above the law and not one of these evil leaders have every been arrested nor prosecuted for their crimes.

IT IS TIME, FOR ALL THE GOOD PEOPLE, THE GOOD, DECENT, HONEST, MORAL PEOPLE OF THE WORLD TO GATHER TOGETHER AND JUST LIKE IN THE MOVIE NETWORK….SAY WE ARE MAD AS HELL AND WE ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANY LONGER!!!

WE NEED REAL PEOPLE TO FINALLY SAY…ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, WE WILL NOT ALLOW ONE MORE OF OUR CHILDREN TO BE RAPED, TO BE ABUSED, TO BE MURDERED BY THESE SCUM OF THE UNHOLY ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH.

WE AS A PEOPLE, NEED TO COME TOGETHER, TO PROTECT OUR CHILDREN FROM THESE EVIL, SOULESS, MONSTERS WHOM HIDE BEHIND RELIGIOUS ROBES….AND WE MUST DESTROY THEM AS A PEOPLE. WE MUST TAKE A STAND.

WE MUST STAND UP FOR OUR CHILDREN…WE MUST PLACE THE LIVES OF OUR CHILDREN FIRST, ABOVE THESE RELIGIOUS, SADISTIC, PSYCHOTIC FREAKS. WE MUST DESTROY COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY THESE PEOPLE OF SATAN, WHOM DESTROY LIVES.

ONLY UNTIL WE HAVE CARDINALS SUCH AS TIMOTHY DOLAN, BERNARD LAW, JUSTIN RIGALI, ROGER MAHONY, DOLAND WUERL, POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT AND ALL THE OTHERS, THEIR BODIES ROTTING WHILE SWINGING ON ROPES, HANGED IN FRONT OF THEIR VATICAN AND IN ST PETERS SQUARE FOR ALL TO SEE….THAT WE WILL NO LONGER PUT UP WITH THEIR POPES, CARDINALS, BISHOPS, ARCHBISHOPS, PRIESTS AND NUNS…RAPING OUR CHILDREN, MURDERING OUR CHILDREN AND THINKING THEY ARE ABOVE THE LAW BECAUSE THEY ARE THE LEADERS OF THIS PSYCHOTIC RELIGIOUS SECT.

WE EXECUTE CHILD RAPISTS AND MURDERERS ALL THE TIME, WE IMPRISON FOR LIFE EVIL, SOULESS, MORALESS, SCUMBAGS LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME.

WELL IT IS TIME TO START DOING THE SAME THING WITH THE PEDOPHILE PIMPS, PRIESTS, NUNS AND THE SCUM OF THE UNHOLY ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH.

Support the victims not the victimizers


Frank LaFerriere: Support the victims not the victimizers

Published Date Thursday, April 24,2014
From the Link: http://www.berlindailysun.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49465:frank-laferriere-support-the-victims-not-the-victimizers&catid=73:letter&Itemid=428

To the editor:

If you were to find out that the leadership of a group or organization you belonged to had appeared before commissions and grand juries and openly admitted to covering up the abuses of children, from rape to severe beatings, to even the death of a child, and that this involved tens of thousands of members own children, and that the cover ups are wide spread throughout the organization or group, you would think that the membership of the group would rise up in arms and make sure that the leadership is arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent the law allows. That they would stand up and defend and protect their children over the leadership of their group or organization. Yet there is one such organization…though there are others….that its leadership is totally immune from liability for crimes such as these by it’s membership. This organization is known as the Roman Catholic Church.

While they have come far with this problem of child abuse, the Vatican announced that for 2011-2012 almost 400 priests had to be let go because of credible accusations of child abuse, including rape, there is still much to be done. While it is commendable that they caught and fired these priests, what about those whom participated in the cover ups of these crimes? Why are they not called to account for their crimes of the members own children? Why are the leadership of the church put above the law and those whom they have harmed? Why are they defended and even praised or made a saint?

There have been at least a half a dozen commission reports, like the Ryan Report, that detail the systematic sexual, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual abuse of children and teens, children of the Roman Catholic Church; and the cover ups of these abuses by the leaders and even their highest leaders, ones whom are supposed to be the Vicars of Jesus while on this earth and in their position. Yet even to this day, not one credibly accused leader has ever been arrested or prosecuted for their crimes save one, Bishop Robert Finn and that case is being retried. Matter of fact, one of these, John Paul II was given sainthood. There is overwhelming evidence he participated in the cover up of and through acts of omission, turned a blind eye to, the pederast Rev. Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legion of Christ. Yet he is given sainthood? This is an insult to all those whom are survivors of these evil crimes against us.

There are some incredible priests and leaders of the Roman Catholic Church. I have met some of them. From Fr Tom Doyle, ret., whom has fought tirelessly for the victims of priest abuse, at the cost of his being a priest, to even our own local priest Fr Kyle Stanton whom has helped me immensely, to groups like Catholic Whistleblowers, and others, they have sort of restored my faith that this problem of priests and nuns abusing children and teens will stop. Yet to truly set things right the following must be done.

1. All credibly accused leaders, from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, to Cardinals like Timothy Dolan, Donald Wuerl, Roger Mahony, Bernard Law, George Pell, and many others, against whom there is overwhelming evidence, through commission reports, grand jury testimonies and the churches own documents, must be fired. They must be arrested and prosecuted. We do this to other criminals, we demand this of any rapist or those whom cover up the rapes and abuses of children. They may be leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, but these men are criminals and deserve to be arrested and prosecuted and the victims deserve their day in court and justice for the crimes committed against them because of these leaders actions.

2. Abide by the Pledge to Protect, Promise to Heal charter all of the diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States signed. All attacks against the victims must stop. We are not responsible for our rapes, we did not enjoy being raped. We are not homosexuals because we were raped by a male priest. We are not liars, gold diggers who are out looking for a payday from the Roman Catholic Church.

We are your sons, we are your daughters, who want justice, whom want those who perpetrated these crimes against us punished, whom went through one of the most horrifying and terrifying experiences a human being can go through. We trusted these priests and nuns and they destroyed that trust with their evil crimes against us. We were raped, we were beaten, we had our souls, our hearts stolen from us, we had our bodies destroyed and abused. We did not deserve this, we were not willing participants and we refuse to remain silent while those whom are responsible for these crimes against us go free while we still remain trapped inside the prisons they created for us.

3. No matter what….put your children before your leaders. Protect and stand up and defend your children….not the leaders whom committed these evils against us. Your children should come first. Stand up for the victims of these crimes, whom are your own children. You may know one. Again, we are your sons, your daughters, your nieces and nephews, your God children, whom you vowed and promised to protect and defend.

I started going back to church. I even started photographing St Annes, an incredibly beautiful place of worship. I had no choice though, I had to stop because I felt like such a hypocrite. Far too many of us whom were victims still see those responsible for these evils against us in their positions as if nothing in the world is wrong. We victims are still being attacked, by people like Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League. We are still being attacked by parishioners whom have called me a liar to my face and how dare I spread lies and rumors and false accusations and gossip against the leaders. Well, sadly, I am not spreading lies, rumors and false accusations, these statements I have made can all be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law if it were allowed.

Yet while these leaders whom perpetrated these crimes against us are still in power, I cannot in good conscious go into the church. I cannot be part of a church where the leadership covered up the crimes of child abuse, child rape and put the church before the children and are still in power, for that makes me a hypocrite in my eyes.

I would love to go on a regular basis to St Anne, to be among the other worshipers, some of whom I made acquaintance and even friends with, especially Fr Kyle, but I cannot, for while the wolves are still in control….someone must stand outside the door for the defense and protection of the children and the victims.

Sin is one thing…sin can be forgiven when there is true repentance from the sin. There has been no true repentance among the leadership whom covered up these crimes. There have been staged acts of contrition, but no true repentance. For if they are to truly repent they must also submit to prosecution for the crimes they committed. They must not hide behind their robes of religion. If they seek to make laws for man like they do, they also must submit to the laws of man and be arrested and prosecuted for their crimes. No one, not even religious leaders, should be allowed to get away with crimes against children. They should not be above the law!

When it comes time to the crimes of the rapes and abuses of children and teens and the cover up of these crimes by the leadership…only justice in a court of law, where the victims may have their day in court to see those responsible for the crimes against them be tried and if found guilty sentenced to prison…that is true justice. The Roman Catholic Church promised this to victims and to prosecuting attorneys…but have failed to deliver on this promise. Instead they still fight the victims and hide behind the statue of limitations to deny justice to the victims. Ask yourself is this true justice? If you were raped would you say this is true justice?

In closing whom do you think Jesus Christ will stand up for in the end?

Those whom perpetrated these crimes against children and teens…or the children and teen victims?

Here is a clue: “For it would be better for you to tie a huge boulder around your neck and throw yourself into the deepest of lakes than to harm a single hair on the head of a child.”

Well the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church did a lot more than harm a hair on the head of a child. Whom are you going to stand besides? The ones Jesus Christ would stand up for? Or the ones He would toss into the pit of hell for their evils against children?

Frank LaFerriere, Berlin

What’s Wrong with the Magdalenes Redress Scheme?


What’s Wrong with the Magdalenes Redress Scheme?

 

Jun 28, 2013

From the link: http://humanrights.ie/law-culture-and-religion/whats-wrong-with-the-magdalenes-redress-scheme/

It has been some time since we last covered the issue of the Magdalene Laundries. Since we last posted, the organisation Justice for Magdalenes has ceased its advocacy work on behalf of survivors . It will carry on research work – in particular an oral history project – under the directorship of Katherine O’Donnell at UCD. Justice for Magdalenes are to be commended for their years of important work. At the Jim Kemmy Thirst for Justice Awards Clare McGettrick asked that the Magdalene women would be treated as ‘national treasures’ and not as ‘second best’. This week, Mr. Justice John Quirke published his recommendations for a statutory redress scheme. His recommendations have been accepted by the government. It is difficult to conclude that this is the best we can do. Here are 10 problems with the Quirke scheme. There are certainly others.

1.  Even an excellent redress scheme is only part of the answer.

Doing restorative justice also requires us to look beyond the immediate context of the Magdalene laundries. In a really creative and thorough report the Irish Human Rights Commission stresses that the Government must also take steps to prevent the repetition of the sorts of abuses suffered by the Magdalene women ; for instance

  • revisiting legislation on the detention of adults with learning difficulties and mental health problems.
  • legislating against forced labour.
  •  strengthening gender equality legislation.
  • safeguarding the rights of adopted persons to information on their family of origin. (See news of a recent High Court case considering illegal adoptions here).
  • reconsidering the state’s obligations to ensure  non-state actors obligations with human rights principles.
  • improving state record-keeping practices.
  • reforming the burial and exhumation laws, the inadequacy of which was exposed by the High Park scandal. The orders’ records of death and burials continue to provoke disquiet among activists.

2.      Quirke is based on McAleese. McAleese wasn’t good enough.

I blogged on the McAleese report soon after its publication . UNCAT has confirmed that the Interdepartmental Committee was not an independent inquiry of the sort required to meet Ireland’s obligations under international human rights law. McAleese must be followed by an independent inquiry with full statutory powers to compel and retain evidence. The accuracy of the McAleese Report is put in doubt by Quirke. For instance, while the McAleese report suggested that 61% of women admitted to the Laundries remained there for less than a year, the  Magdalene women who presented evidence to Quirke’s team gave testimony indicating that this figure is closer to 9%. A new inquiry must also revisit McAleese’s findings on physical abuse within the Laundries, which are grossly at odds with the testimony collated by Justice for Magdalenes (This is, of course, unsurprising because the Interdepartmental Committee ignored JFM’s submissions of that testimony). The Quirke redress scheme is based on McAleese’s findings. In consequence, it does not purport to offer a remedy to women who suffered physical abuse in the Laundries.

3.      The redress offered under the scheme is inadequate.

As well as making arrangements for healthcare provision, the Quirke scheme offers tax-free ex gratia payments to women based on the length of their documented service in the laundries. Representative groups are divided as to the adequacy of this element of the scheme.The scheme provides for a top figure of 100,000 euro in redress; the figure available to a woman who has spent 10 or more years in a laundry. Very few women fall into this category. The majority of women who spoke to Mr. Justice Quirke’s team had been in a laundry for 1-5 years. Most of these women are 66 or over, in ill-health, badly educated and living in relative poverty. A woman of 66 who had been in a laundry for  4years, would receive:

  • Weekly payments equivalent to the state contributory pension, if she is not already in receipt of that pension.
  • 32,500 euro in general damages. General damages provide redress for “the harsh and  physically demanding work required of the women and the traumatic, on-going effects which their  incarceration and misery within the laundries has had upon their security, confidence and self-esteem”, as well as for the women’s educational deficit and current poor living conditions. General damages are capped at 40,000 euro. A woman who spent, say, 20 years in a laundry is not entitled to more.
  • 24,000 euro in respect of the labour undertaken in the laundries.  No woman will receive more than 60,000 euro in respect of labour in the laundries, whatever her length of service.

A woman in this category will not receive a 56,500 euro lump sum. 50,000 euro will be paid as a lump sum, with the remainder to be paid in weekly installments for the rest of the woman’s life. The woman in our example would receive a weekly income of 239 euro, which represents the combination of her state pension, assuming she is receiving it for the first time (230 euro per week) and the remainder of the redress due to her which is to be eked over the remainder of her life at a rate of 9 euro per week. The absolute maximum ‘top up’ to the state pension which any woman will receive under this scheme is 130 euro per week. This life income will not pass to dependents when the woman dies. When we take account of the age and ill-health of the majority of Magdalene women, it seems clear that many will die before they have been paid the full redress due to them under Quirke’s formula. This is an especially troubling prospect for women who spent longer periods of time in the laundry, who are entitled to larger sums under the scheme.

4.      Redress is not the same as compensation.

The Quirke scheme does not purport to offer compensation of the kind that would be available in a personal injuries claim. This scheme is not tailored to women’s individual injuries and experiences. It is a broad brush scheme based on broad brush assumptions. While a remedy in a personal injuries claim aims to put the claimant in the position she would be in had she not been wronged, this scheme aims only to “reflect the wish of the Irish  community to reduce the hurt and pain suffered by the Magdalen women by providing them with  monetary payments and with  sufficient health and other State benefits to ensure that the remainder of  their lives will be made as comfortable as is reasonably possible.”

Page 36 of the Report quotes Stephen Winter:

“In a restorative approach, monetary payments as sist the faultlessly burdened by  significantly increasing the material resources available for ongoing development at both  individual and community levels. But this is not their only restorative purpose. By  recognising past failures, monetary redress payments play a role in expressing state  sincerity. In terms of sincerity, individual payments fill an expressive gap in the  depersonalised context of state redress…  The voluntary character of the ex gratia  payments may appear to support this expression of state sincerity. Not bound by the  courts to deliver through an adversarial process pitting the state (yet again) against its  victims, the payments’ discretionary quality expresses the sincere nature of the state’s  reconciliatory intent.”

It is not clear that payments which appear to be patently inadequate can perform this function of sincerity. Simon McGarr (@Tupp_Ed on twitter) notes that Frank Shortt, who successfully sued the state for 27 months false imprisonment (a good analogy for the experience of the many Magdalene women who were illegally detained in the laundries) was awarded millions of euro in damages. There is a danger that if the state is perceived to have downgraded the Magdalene women’s financial entitlement, then the restorative expression of sincerity will begin to look more like risk management.

5. The redress scheme is run on heavily paternalistic principles.

As discussed above, where a woman is entitled to more than 50,000 euro under the Quirke scheme, part of the ex gratia payment will be received as a life income, which cannot then be passed on to a woman’s family as an inheritance. Women are not gaining an asset and do not have full control over the payments received. This provision is made in order to ‘strike a balance’ between the needs of ‘vulnerable’ women who fall within the scheme and those who are more capable of managing their own affairs. Why both groups of women should be treated identically is not clear.

6.   Women living in the care of religious orders are not properly provided for.

Little of substance has been said about the position of those women who live in institutions run by the former Magdalene orders.  What supports will be put in place to ensure that they have appropriate advocacy, that the money they receive under the scheme is properly used, and that their decisions are properly respected? Many of the orders with whom these women live, and lived under the laundries regime, are funded in respect of their care as ‘service-providers’ under the terms of the Health Act 2004. How will their payments under the scheme interact with that funding?

7.      Eligibility.

The Quirke Report stresses that the scheme’s administrator (as yet unidentified) must apply  ‘a fair and robust  eligibility or qualification process so that eligible applicants will have access to institutional and  other relevant records and receive such additional and other co-operation and assistance from  State and other agencies as they may require in order to enable them to properly record and verify  the work which they have done and the periods(s) o f time which they have spent within the  laundries.’ Eligibility may pose a significant hurdle. For instance, the records of the Magdalene Laundries in Galway and Dun Laoighre  are not available. Other Magdalene women contend that the records of their period in the laundries are inaccurate, unreliable and in some cases have been deliberately altered. The religious orders still retain control of their records of women’s incarceration.

8.      The waiver.

Women participating in the scheme are required to waive their entitlement to sue the state or its agencies in respect of their period in the Magdalene Laundries. Of course, the state is very well protected in this regard both by the statute of limitations and the principles on vicarious liability.  Nevertheless, as the IHRC notes in its report at p.104 , many Magdalene women have, in principle, a claim against the state for breach of constitutional rights. This should not be lightly removed by an administrative scheme.

9.      It is important to decouple remedies from an aggressive and slow adversarial process, but there is still room for responsibility.

Mr. Justice Quirke says of his scheme that:

(i) it will exclude mutually antagonistic roles and positions and will avoid invasive and painful inquiry and interrogation
(ii) it will not require the individual assessment of any of the Magdalen women and
(iii) it  will be a speedy procedure as part of a final process of healing, reconciliation and  closure and, in consequence,
(iv) it should reflect the expressed wishes of an  overwhelming majority of the 337  Magdalen women who actively participated in a consultation process with the Commission.

These are all laudable goals in the context of this redress scheme. However, it is important to recognise that the desire to avoid antagonism and delay can only take us so far. In particular, this scheme cannot do all of the work of ‘healing, reconciliation and closure’. As Katherine O’Donnell said on Wednesday’s Late Debate on RTE radio, taking the Magdalene women’s experience seriously means taking the time to do justice. Doing justice will necessarily entail further interrogation of the state’s involvement in the laundries. Closure cannot mean concealment.

10.  The religious orders which held women in Magdalene Laundries may not contribute to funding the redress scheme.

At the launch of the Quirke Report, the Minister for Justice suggested that the religious orders which were involved in the running of Magdalene Laundries should contribute to the redress scheme. However, two orders have said that they do not plan to contribute. The religious orders are relying, in this regard, on the McAleese Report’s finding that the Magdalene Laundries were not profit-making enterprises. I criticised this finding here as based on incomplete and highly subjective evidence. Findings in relation to the laundries’ finances fell outside the terms of reference of the McAleese Report. The Inter-Departmental Committee, as Simon McGarr notes on Twitter, nevertheless included figures on the laundries’ finances for reasons of ‘public interest’. It is extremely disturbing to see these findings used to avoid participation in the redress scheme. The Quirke report raises, and not for the first time, the question of the State’s apparent inability to hold church organisations responsible for human rights abuses.  The Irish Examiner reminds us that several religious orders implicated in the Magdalenes scandal amassed large sums of money in property deals during the economic boom.

Written by Máiréad Enright

Máiréad Enright lectures at Kent Law School. She is also a PhD candidate in the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights, University College Cork. Her research interests are in gender and the law, law and religion, citizenship and the political dimensions of private law. You can contact her at M.Enright[at]kent.ac.uk or (+44) 1227 827996.

Author’s Website

 

Column: The Catholic Church owes the women of the Magdalene Laundries


Column: The Catholic Church owes the women of the Magdalene Laundries

The Catholic Church and the Irish State were both responsible for incarcerating women in the Magdalene Laundries – and so both must pay, writes Anne Ferris TD.

From the link: http://www.thejournal.ie/readme/column-the-catholic-church-owes-the-women-of-the-magdalene-laundries-975017-Jul2013/

IN APRIL 1955, a Scottish writer researching a book about Ireland talked his way into the Magdalene Laundry in Galway. First he had to obtain the permission of the Bishop of Galway, Dr Michael John Browne, the same man who a decade later would refer to the RTE broadcaster Gay Byrne as “a purveyor of filth” for the sin of discussing the colour of a lady’s nightgown on the Late Late Show.

True to form, Bishop Browne warned the Scotsman “if you write anything wrong it will come back on you” adding as a condition of entry to the laundry that anything intended to be published about the visit would have to be approved in advance by the Mother Superior of the Sisters of Mercy.

The Scotsman, Dr Halliday Sutherland, agreed to abide by the bishop’s stipulation and was granted rare access to a Magdalene laundry.  His subsequent account is worked into a single chapter in his 1956 book ‘Irish Journey’. To what extent it was censored by the Mother Superior, we will never know.

An ‘agreed’ year of unpaid domestic service

The day before he visited the laundry in Galway, Dr Sutherland visited the Mother and Baby home in Tuam. He noted that the accepted practice was that unmarried mothers in the Tuam home ‘agreed’ to provide a year of unpaid domestic service to the nuns, and that in addition to this servitude, the home received State support, via Galway County Council, to the tune of £1 per child or mother per week.

Sutherland was told that any child not adopted by the age of seven was sent to work in one of Ireland’s notorious Industrial Schools, no doubt a factor in the decisions of the thousands of Irish women who ‘agreed’ to the export of their children for Catholic adoptions abroad. Women who were re-admitted to the Tuam Mother and Baby Home on a second occasion were automatically sent to work at the Magdalene Home Laundry in Galway.  By directing the women to the laundry and the children to the industrial schools the State saved money and the Church made money.

Church and State incarcerated women: both must pay

Today, thanks to the Magdalene survivors groups we know what the women suffered and that the Mother and Baby homes were only one of many routes by which the Church and State incarcerated women in the Magdalene laundries and similarly operated religious institutions.  This is why in February of this year, after successive governments failed to engage meaningfully with the Magdalene survivors, the current Taoiseach made a formal apology to the women on behalf of the State.

This week the Government announced a redress fund for the survivors. It remains to be seen if the amount and means of payment will prove sufficient to compensate for the State’s role in this tragedy. No sum of money can take away the pain that these women have endured.  In my capacity of Vice Chair of the Oireachtas Committee for Justice, Defence and Equality I personally undertake to closely monitor the progress of any necessary legislation designed to effect the speedy and appropriate distribution of redress to the women concerned. But there can be absolutely no ambiguity regarding the financial contribution to be made by the Church. There is now no hiding from the enormity of what these women suffered in the so called ‘care’ of these religious institutions.

Stripped of personal liberty

On the day in 1955 that Dr Halliday Sutherland visited the Galway Magdalene he met some of its seventy-three unpaid manual workers who lifted and toiled in the heat and wet doing laundry work for businesses, institutions and homes in Galway.  One woman told him she had been there for 25 years. He asked another if she liked the laundry.  She answered “yes” but according to Sutherland she did not look him in the eye. Later, he said, a nun told him that she was a bold girl.

“On Sundays they’re allowed to use cosmetics”, the sister-in-charge told him.

But…“Are the girls free?” asked Sutherland.

“Yes” said the nun.

“Can a girl leave whenever she chooses?

“No, we are not as lenient as all that.” said the Mother Superior.

Anne Ferris is the Labour Party TD for Wicklow and East Carlow.  She is also Vice Chair of the Oireachtas Committee for Justice, Defence and Equality.

The Catholic church should be outlawed forthwith


The Catholic church should be outlawed forthwith

JohnB on outlawing the Catholic church today

From the link: http://www.molestedcatholics.com/

After all my anger at the crimes and the harm done to society by the Catholic cover up is the need to understand how the healing journey can go and how it can help straighten a part of your life – it helps to regain a part of your truth and to show the depth of the damage and the harm caused by the actions of Catholics in their attempts to cover up the crimes of their fellow Catholics and their clergy.

Talking whilst driving with my son today and I began to relate to him some details about a foot injury I had as a child. He had come home and shown me a blister on his foot; I told him he had not spent enough time in bare feet – that was the prompt,  my topic could be my right foot or how long/harmful/life distorting the repression of the day to day Catholic cover up are – its part of the healing journey and a son who smiled today when he listened to me about this – its the story of how I had to cover up the injury even though I had to have ongoing medical attention and purpose made boots it was always done in the name of something else – my injured foot which had left me with a distinct limp because I walked with my foot turned in as it had been injured seriously when the car door was repeatedly slammed on my foot on the day the priest raped me at a little church in the beautiful hills of Central Victoria – its about how every Catholic knew what the cause was and every Catholic knew I was not permitted to speak about it – they were able to assist me with my pigeon toed-ness but they were not able to help me with my injured foot due to being slammed in the lock of the car door as that was a lie that would send me to hell – that’s why other kids parents were permitted to beat you if they heard you speak about it being what it in fact was. This was a conscious campaign by every catholic in that town, nuns and priests, knights of the Southern Cross, bishops, the local Catholic Policeman, the Editor of the local newspaper included – they all knew and participated – that to me is what the cover up was and the to me is what the cover up is today – that is what Catholic parishes across the world participate in still today – that is the Catholic cover up in action. It is bigger and stronger than just the Catholic hierarchy because so many have built their careers and their fortunes on.

The part skepticism plays in helping to clarify those truths and facts of your life – you realize that your own brothers and sisters were blackmailed in the same way over this and over dozens of other crimes that had occurred and were covered up – there was a regular murmurous uproar as another instances of sexual abuse was gossiped and whispered about and some kid bullied into fear of their life until the rules of secrecy were instilled (rather this repression was the enforcement of denial into the entire catholic population.

How deep is that repression?
How clarifying it is to me as a person. Reason and memory fit as another part of the jig-saw each of us who experienced this repression which was deployed on to all Catholic children. This was the cruelest and most psychologically damaging process that a human being could be put through- the entire religion and its entire congregation believed fervently that the were the leading light of Christianity – they led the world in morality, justice, humanity, compassion, leadership, ethics, community,salvation, redemption whilst they practiced the ways of the psychopath through a regime of terror inflicted through the fear of eternal hell, damnation, spiritual death and the very real and very often ostracism they deployed on those in the community the wished to bring into line.
Catholics were and remain efficient at that form of repression, they are persistent and ruthless as they are religiously sanctioned by the bishops, priest and nuns (each of whom backed up the story of the priest – this sealed the fate of any victim child of any form of torture who attempted to break out from it.
Those who survived that became good Catholics and continued with this genocidal war against their own children to ensure they would be as psychologically harmed as their parents – it became a self replicating child repressing monster that enshrined its rites to continue with these atrocious abuses of the rights  of a human child. The Catholic church is riven with this thinking and behavior, it is endemic in its persistence within the entire life of a Catholic it is endemic in all those religions which followed the same course and who between them have polluted our society to the point where the blatant sexual abuse of more than 30 million people alive today must be held in repression by the believers in the Catholic religion.

If society does not turn away from the path of the Catholic church and if it does not freeze its assets, its businesses then the vast majority of the real crime in our society will never be addressed and the world will never have had a real chance to raise our children in a peaceful, loving and truthful environment. Lets make 2011 the year we all come together to unite in the single cause of demanding our government ceases to trade with and Catholic or religious entity until democracy is restored in our country.

There is no precedent that permits a sector of society to enact genocide on its followers on the basis of religion. That is what we have today and what we have today is insidious and at the core of the ability of society to progress in the areas of human rights, dignity, respect, individuality, freedom of expression of thought and the freedom of speech.

While ever the Catholic church continues to exist and to be able to function as an organized religion it will be in the process of enacting the genocidal practices of the religion against some portion of society and it will continue to enable wars just as any organized religion can and repeatedly to the detriment of society does. The Catholic church is our most obvious example. We can either help the Catholic church to  prevail or we can help our children to prevail. For every person on the planet the real choice they have to make is whether they will support the Catholic church or will they support the children.

2011 must be the year when those of us across the world who have an understanding of this and for us to collectively demand our governments brings it to a halt and never permits it to occur again. That is a part of their moral obligation to society. Any politician who today stands in support of the Catholic church should be collectively condemned through our united and collective voices.

Make 2011 the year when you connect up with a proactive survivor who speaks clearly and directly about the needs and the means of providing the safety and the protection our children and our society need.

The Catholic church and those who follow it today need to stand back and permit reason and justice to prevail, to permit each and every person within the boundaries of their country to live with the legitimate right to live in a free and democratic country free of repression and child abuse.

The Catholic church stands condemned as a psychopathic pariah and must be rejected in all forms wherever it is not regulated and policed.

Join with us and support us in our demand to governments across the world that the repression and actions of genocide carried out by Catholics and the Catholic church must cease immediately.

JohnB