The Catholic church should be outlawed forthwith
JohnB on outlawing the Catholic church today
From the link: http://www.molestedcatholics.com/
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.
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.
Scandal Widens: Pope Remains Silent as Abuse Allegations Hit Close to Home
By SPIEGEL Staff
Ratzinger, 86, now lives in a monastery and has declined to comment further. Clarification of the matter has now been left to his younger brother: Pope Benedict XVI.
Last Friday, Benedict XVI met in the Vatican with the Chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, Robert Zollitsch, to talk about violence and sexual abuse carried out by Catholic priests in his native Germany. Just like his older brother, the pope would like the world to believe that the Church has changed its ways. Benedict XVI and Zollitsch vowed to shed light on cases of abuse and assist the victims.
But shortly after Zollitsch left for Germany, the pope found himself haunted by his own past as the Archbishop of Munich and Freising. His former archdiocese admitted to the center-left German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung that a pedophile priest had been reinstated to a Catholic parish in Munich during Ratzinger’s tenure.
What does the pope know from personal experience about the abuse problem? And how sincere is his promise to finally clear up the allegations of abuse?
Hardly anyone in the inner circle of the Vatican is better informed on Catholic sex scandals than His Holiness the Pope. Joseph Ratzinger was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formally known as the Inquisition. Reported cases of abuse automatically landed on his desk. Since 2001, as the Church’s most powerful cardinal, and subsequently as the pope, Ratzinger has spearheaded the Vatican’s ongoing efforts to shed light on this troublesome issue.
Nevertheless, sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has continued to regularly generate headlines. First, there were the waves of scandals in the US and Ireland. Now, hardly a day goes by in Germany without a new story on further allegations of abuse.
By the end of last week, some 200 presumed victims had contacted Ursula Raue, a Berlin attorney engaged by the Jesuits to handle abuse cases — and complaints are pouring in from all areas of the Church. Some 150 people have come forward with stories of abuse at the monastery school in Ettal, and roughly 15 former choirboys have grievances relating to the Regensburger Domspatzen.
Complex Nature of the Problem
On top of this, there have been reports from other areas of society. Cases have surfaced virtually everywhere: in the Protestant Church, in secular boarding schools like Odenwaldschule and in children’s homes in the former East Germany. The numbers are still a far cry from those linked to the Catholic Church, but they do reveal the complex nature of the problem.
It is a scandal the likes of which German society has not seen for years, and it will likely be months before it fades. Nonetheless, it is being inadequately addressed — often to a shocking degree.
This is true of the Catholic Church, which continues to damage itself as it hesitates between calls to clear up cases of abuse and the urge to hush things up. But it is also true of the state, as members of the government either let things take their course or drone on about the latest toothless initiative.
Should there be roundtable talks reserved only for members of the Catholic Church, or should they be open to a wide range of social groups? This question alone kept German ministers Kristina Schröder (family affairs), Annette Schavan (education and research) and Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (justice) squabbling for days — while Chancellor Angela Merkel stayed clear of the fray. A “broad and intensive debate” is required as a preliminary step, said Merkel’s spokesman.
At the same time, the German school system has been severely shaken. Former students at the secular Odenwaldschule in Hesse describe systematic abuse that continued until at least the 1990s. Eight former teachers, one of whom taught there until 2003, are the subject of serious allegations made by nearly three dozen former students.
Laid Him on the Bed
One former student says that he was only allowed to call his parents twice a week — and to do this, he had to use the phone in Gerold Becker’s bedroom. Becker was the school principal from 1971 to 1985. When the student was sad about the end of his telephone call, he says that Becker laid him on the bed, undressed him, touched the boy’s crotch, and then masturbated.
Another former student told of his fear of being the last one in the shower room with Becker after gym class. Yet another said that he was forced to engage in oral sex. “There was no way of avoiding them,” says Gerhard Roese, 48, who now lives in the German city of Darmstadt. He says that he was repeatedly forced to stimulate his music teacher’s genitalia with his hand. Distraught over the incidents, the boy confided in the school principal, but he only “smirked, hemmed and hawed, and said something about the Greeks,” says Roese.
Becker refuses to comment on the allegations. But questions have also been aimed at Hartmut von Hentig, 84, the doyen of Germany’s progressive education movement — and Becker’s long-time companion. Von Hentig has been pursued by journalists for days, he says. SPIEGEL was only able to submit questions to him in written form — and he faxed back his answers
In his response, von Hentig warned against false allegations and underscored that so far, “statements have only been collected, they have not yet been verified.” He himself visited the boarding school on a number of occasions. Did he not find cause for suspicion?
“No,” he replied. When he stayed overnight at Odenwaldschule, he “usually” slept in the official guest room. “The only time I actually saw Gerold Becker interact with the boys and girls at the school was when we all took our meals together in the dining hall or when we walked across the school grounds, and they jumped up to him and he fended them off in a friendly manner: ‘You can see that I have a guest.'”
Part 2: Did the Pope Really Not Know?
Von Hentig doesn’t blame himself for not having noticed anything. “I of course observed constantly and very carefully: filled with envy of this man who managed to relate so well to children, to explain things to them, to divert their attention or patiently coax them in order to keep them from getting into some kind of mischief. Filled with envy of ‘his’ wonderful school.”
Why do those in positions of authority, including supervisors and witnesses, tend to have such difficulty getting to the bottom of these allegations, as is the case with von Hentig? Why are the state and the Church so helpless when it comes to the abuse of minors?
The Irish have demonstrated that it is possible to break through the wall of silence. For years, Yvonne Murphy, a judge acting at the behest of the government, headed an independent commission investigating how the Irish Roman Catholic Church handled complaints of clerical child sexual abuse.
Her report, released last November, concluded that “the vast majority (of priests) simply chose to turn a blind eye” to abuse.
‘No Concern for the Abused Child’
The commission also found that the Church failed to act internally and ignored its own rules relating to priests suspected of abusing children. “For many years offenders were neither persecuted nor made accountable within the Church,” the report says, citing an “obsessive concern with secrecy” and concluding that “there was little or no concern for the welfare of the abused child.”
In Germany, federal and state governments would still rather leave it up to the bishops to clear up the allegations, despite the fact that these patriarchs of the Church have not indicated that they are genuinely capable of tackling the issue. Many Catholic leaders see incidents of abuse as unfortunate isolated episodes — and not as a systemic problem.
Such an attitude disregards the fact that this has been a problem for the clergy right from the start — and throughout 2,000 years of church history. “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea,” it is written in the Gospel of Matthew. In his Epistles to the Corinthians, even Paul inveighed against “boy prostitutes” and “pederasts.”
Throughout the centuries, popes have threatened priests with punishment should they sexually abuse children. Such members of the clergy “shall be released from the priesthood or locked away to do penance in monasteries,” wrote Pope Alexander III (1159 to 1181). They should be “punished according to Church or state laws,” threatened Pope Leo X (1513 to 1521).
Despite these condemnations, Germany’s bishops today still tend to turn a blind eye to “pederasts” in the clergy.
A Number of Hurdles
To the German Catholic Church’s credit, however, Archbishop Zollitsch recently appointed the Bishop of Trier, Stephan Ackermann, to look into abuse cases. Ackermann promptly received a flood of phone calls, letters and e-mails from alleged victims. Still, he faces hurdles before he can begin his work. The German Bishops’ Conference first has to decide where his office will be — in Trier or Bonn? How many staff members is he allowed to have? What kind of equipment? How large will his budget be?
Fundamentalist bishops like Gerhard Ludwig Müller from Regensburg would rather adopt a more confrontational approach. Müller accuses SPIEGEL of “abusing the freedom of the press” in its reports on the Church, and he says that the magazine “is guilty of violating the human dignity of all Catholic priests and members of the order.” He compares today’s “anti-Catholic media campaigns against celibacy and Catholic sexual morals” to the “infamous speech by the master of sedition held in Berlin’s Deutschlandhalle in 1937” — a reference to Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels’ attack on the Church. For Müller, in other words, critical reporting on the issue is far worse than the beating, rape and humiliation of children.
Meanwhile, new reports of horrendous abuse continue to pour in from his diocese — primarily from the Regensburger Domspatzen.
From 1953 to 1992, Monsignor Hans Meier ruled with an iron fist over generations of choirboys who were under his tutelage in the Etterzhausen boarding school, a preparatory school for younger pupils from which the choir draws its recruits.
Religious services were held three times a day. Afterwards, in rows of two, the young boys would march from the church to the dining hall. When mail was distributed, the boys were forced to stand lined up in rank and file, and they often received severe beatings.
‘Nothing that Merited My Attention’
Christian Wilbrand began attending the school at the age of nine in 1966. He recalls:
The idea was to shatter the personalities of us children. Brutality and our own fear were pervasive. Tortures included beatings with willow branches on the fingertips or the backside, punches to the head, pulling pupils up by their hair and hitting them with books. It didn’t take long to beat the childhood right out of us; I often felt like I was on the verge of dying. Once my homeroom teacher hurled me with such force against the blackboard that I lost consciousness. Etterzhausen was a planet of horrors.
Is it conceivable that Georg Ratzinger knew nothing about this? As director of the cathedral choir, he took in the children from the fifth grade up, who then lived in his boarding school in Regensburg. He says: “When we were on concert tours, pupils would tell me about what life had been like for them at Etterzhausen. But their stories didn’t strike me as anything that merited my official attention.”
In 1971, when Ratzinger had already been the choir director for seven years, a local priest was sentenced to 11 months in prison for sexual abuse. The man in question was both the institution’s music prefect and the head of the boarding school. Georg Ratzinger had an apartment in the building that housed the Domspatzen, and his brother Joseph often visited him there. Did they never hear anything about this case?
Former choirboy Mayer, who accompanied a large number of concert tours, says that he also witnessed widespread sexual and physical violence until he left the boarding school in 1992. He says that he himself was raped by older fellow students. Mayer also claims that anal sex took place between students on a number of occasions in a prefect’s apartment, right next to the rooms used by the senior classes. “They simply passed on the pressure of a totalitarian system,” he says.
Allegedly Knew Nothing
The Regensburg Diocese has refused to comment on any of the allegations — and Georg Ratzinger is now remaining silent as well.
And what of Benedict XVI? Publicly he has not uttered a single word about the allegations against his brother.
Indeed, he has still refrained from commenting on the cases dating back to his tenure as Archbishop of Munich. The priest Peter H. first came to the attention of the diocese in Essen after he forced an 11-year-old boy to engage in oral sex. He was sent to Munich for therapy. In 1980, as a member of the Diocese Council, Joseph Ratzinger was involved in a decision to grant Peter H. accommodations in a parsonage.
Shortly thereafter, the man was again involved in pastoral duties, with no restrictions whatsoever. In 1986, a court in Ebersberg gave H. an 18-month suspended prison sentence because he had once again sexually abused a minor, this time in the Bavarian town of Grafing.
H. was nevertheless reinstated and he held holiday services with children from the Heart of Jesus Daycare Center in Garching, and had numerous contacts with minors.
Just last Friday, he was scheduled to attend the ITB Berlin tourism trade show and take part in a panel discussion on “pilgrims’ paths, village churches and monastery vacations.” H. canceled at the last minute.
“Reassigning H. to pastoral ministry was a serious mistake. I take full responsibility,” says former Munich Vicar-General Gerhard Gruber.
The pope allegedly knew nothing about the entire case.
By Matthias Bartsch, Frank Hornig, Conny Neumann, Markus Verbeet and Peter Wensierski
Translated from the German by Paul Cohen
Calls for Full Investigation: Number of Church Abuse Cases Continues to Rise in Germany
The Catholic Church in Germany is under pressure as more and more cases of sexual abuse come to light. Now the government is demanding that the Church take rigorous action to investigate the incidents. By SPIEGEL staff.
For years, Jörg D. was plagued by feelings of shame, insecurity and rage. Finally, on Sept. 17, 2009, he sent the pope a four-page letter describing his plight. “I beg you for help, in whatever form possible,” he wrote.
But Benedict XVI remained silent. To this day, Jörg D., now 25, has not received a response, “not even a two-liner, nothing, nothing at all
Franz-Josef Bode, the bishop of the city of Osnabrück in northwestern Germany, hasn’t been much help either. He advised D., a victim of abuse, to “forgive and forget.”
In fact, Bishop Bode wants all the 14 victims, who at the time were altar boys and children preparing to receive their first communion, to forgive and forget. Over the course of several years, ending in 1995, they were sexually abused a total of 227 times by their priest in a village near the Dutch border. The priest involved, Father Alois B., got off lightly, with only a probation sentence.
“The church was more concerned about the offenders than the victims,” says Jörg D. “It provided them with therapy, stays in health resorts, new apartments or new positions, and it assiduously wiped away their old tracks. The abused children were left to fend for themselves.”
German Church Apologizes
New allegations of abuse by members of the Catholic Church are emerging every day. Ursula Raue, a Berlin attorney who has been engaged by the Jesuits to handle abuse cases, has counted 12 suspects and 120 victims in the space of only three weeks. Raue says that the order knew of only two suspects and seven victims in late January. “The numbers are rising by the day,” she says. Many other orders, Catholic institutions and parishes are affected, as new victims report cases of alleged abuse to dioceses, newspapers and counseling centers throughout the country.
Despite the apparent urgency of the situation, Germany’s highest-ranking Catholic, Freiburg Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, had been unavailable for comment for weeks during the scandal. At a meeting of the German Bishops’ Conference this week in Freiburg, the issue of “sexual abuse” was initially intended as a secondary item on the agenda. “The aging society” was meant to be the main focus of the meeting.
However Zollitsch on Monday told the conference that he wanted to apologize in the name of the Church to the victims of abuse at Catholic schools. “Sexual abuse of children is always a horrible crime,” he said, adding that he wanted to “apologize to all those who were victims of such crimes.”
Biggest Scandal in Decades
In reacting to what is probably the biggest scandal within their ranks in decades, German bishops have seemed helpless and dazed, sometimes concerned about the victims, but often stubborn, out of touch with reality or ignorant — and generally confused. Some say they are “stunned and concerned,” while others, like Augsburg Bishop Walter Mixa, have summarily assigned some of the blame for the abuse to the “so-called sexual revolution.”
All of the publicity has overshadowed the more urgent needs of conducting a thorough investigation into the incidents, prosecution of the offenders and help for the victims.
What is needed is an independent commission, with a staff to investigate all allegations and hold accountable the offenders and those who knew about them within the church hierarchy. Such a commission would also have to ensure that the long-neglected victims finally receive counseling, therapy and compensation.
This is the way the abuse scandals involving the Catholic Church in Ireland and the United States were dealt with. Commissions in those two countries investigated thousands of alleged offenders. Ireland’s commission was headed by an experienced judge, who was given the authority to inspect secret Church records and question the parties involved. Are Germany’s bishops afraid of so much transparency and the results it could yield?
Hiding Behind Pretexts
Even the German government is unequivocally calling upon Church leaders to take action — an extremely unusual approach in the context of the relationship between Church and state.
“I expect the Catholic Church to provide concrete information on which measures are being taken for a complete investigation,” says German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger. “It is not very helpful when a few people in positions of authority, like Bishop Mixa, hide behind polemical pretexts instead of helping to resolve the matter.”
Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, a member of the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP), proposes the appointment of ombudsmen and a round table of representatives of the government, the Church and victims. Such a panel, she says, would be “a good way to clear up the many abuse cases and give the Catholic Church an opportunity to enter into dialogue with the victims over voluntary compensation.
The prevalent view within the clergy, however, is still that sexual assaults are isolated cases, the regrettable transgressions of brothers gone astray. German bishops are determined to avoid the fate of their Irish counterparts, who were summoned to Rome last week for a public dressing-down over their handling of child abuse scandals.
At the same time, the many new suspected cases indicate that abuse of children and adolescents was apparently widespread throughout the Catholic world. One of the German Catholic institutions where child abuse allegedly took place is the Franz Sales House, a facility for handicapped people in the western city of Essen, which recently celebrated its 125th anniversary as a “venerable institution with a great history.” It represents “a culture of attentiveness,” Essen Auxiliary Bishop Franz Vorrath said.
Rolf-Michael Decker describes what he claims happened to him there as a 14-year-old. “We were sometimes locked into rooms in the attic, for example after attempts to run away,” he recalls. “One night K., one of the teachers, stood in front of my bed and told me to come with him. He took me to his room, locked the door and told me to take off my nightshirt. He began fondling me and undressed himself in the process. It was all very strange to me, and I felt uncomfortable, but he threatened me, saying that if I didn’t keep quiet I would be locked up for much longer.”
According to Decker, other boys were also subjected to rape and anal sex over a period of years. He also accuses a priest who worked at the facility of sexual abuse. “During confession, he would ask us about obscene things while masturbating.” Decker, 55, has already found four other witnesses.
An investigation into the dark past of the Franz Sales House could have been launched once before, in 2002. At the time, the director, who had been accused of sexual abuse, albeit not at the Franz Sales House itself, resigned immediately “so as not to harm the good reputation of the Franz Sales House over a transgression that happened long ago.” The Church was apparently not interested in pursuing the issue further.
Today, however, the current director of the institution, Günter Oelscher, does want to see the abuse allegations cleared up, “regardless of (the effect on) the institution’s image.”
Apparently the order of the Salesians of Don Bosco has been particularly hard-hit. As a spokeswoman admitted in response to a SPIEGEL inquiry last Friday, abuse allegations have been leveled against four individuals currently or previously associated with the order, both members of the order and employees. They relate to the former Salesians of Don Bosco, where two priests and an employee allegedly molested underage youths until the 1970s.
Another accusation is directed against a former member of the Salesian order, who worked in the Don Bosco Students’ Home in the Bavarian city of Augsburg until the mid-1970s. According to spokeswoman Gabriele Merk-Horstmann, the order intends to look into “all allegations without regard to the identity of the individuals involved,” and to “offer victims the support available to us.”
Sexual abuse is also believed to have occurred in a children’s home run by the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in the town of Oggelsbeuren in southern Germany. A victim says that, as a child, he was required to bring the pastor his meals in his room. The pastor apparently showed the boy pornographic images while fondling him. The man was later transferred abroad. The case was submitted to the abuse commission of the Rottenburg-Stuttgart diocese late last week.
At a Catholic Marist boarding school in the Bavarian town of Mindelheim, boys aged 13 to 15 were allegedly summoned to the room of a lay teacher which was adjacent to the students’ dormitory during the night. According to a former student, the teacher would then give the children brandy until they were drunk, and would then molest and, in some cases, rape them.
The witness estimates the number of affected boys at “10 to 15,” just in his dormitory alone. Father Winfried Schreieck, the former director of the school, says today that he never heard of the abuse allegations. He adds that he is also certain “that those in charge of the order attempt to clear up any accusations that abuse victims report to the order.”
Dozens of former victims of abuse have contacted SPIEGEL in the last two weeks with similar reports. Some say that now, decades later, they still feel disgust at the thought of the fondling, flirtation and kisses coming from the priests and laypeople, while others remain traumatized today after having been raped as children.
‘Nothing Was Right in My World Anymore’
The names of the institutions, parishes and orders involved read like a who’s who of the Catholic establishment. The Franciscans, for example, are dealing with charges of sexual abuse at a boarding school, long since closed, in Grosskrotzenburg near Frankfurt. A former student claims that several priests at the school engaged in abusive acts between the late 1960s and early 1970s. “We have contacted the former student, so that we can discuss the charges and, if possible, clear them up,” says Hadrian Koch, the Franciscan provincial vicar in charge of the case.
Many Catholic entities and organizations, including the Salvatorians, the Pallottines, parishes, Church-run children’s homes and scouting organizations, must now deal with allegations from former students.
Given their experiences, however, many victims have little confidence in an investigation conducted by precisely the institution that concealed the abuse, sometimes for years or even decades.
“What I experienced changed something fundamental in me,” says a man who, as a child, was placed in a kind of relocation camp in Unna-Massen near Dortmund for ethnic Germans who were immigrating to Germany from former Communist countries. There, he was abused in a car by a priest from the Paderborn diocese.
“All of a sudden, nothing was right in my world anymore,” the man recalls. “An offender like that has no idea what he’s destroying in someone.”
FRANK HORNIG, SVEN RÖBEL, MARCEL ROSENBACH, PETER WENSIERSKI
Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan