It’s Time For A RICO Prosecution of the Catholic Church: Governor Keating’s Forced Resignation Shows the Church Will Not Reform Itself
It’s Time For A RICO Prosecution of the Catholic Church:
Governor Keating’s Forced Resignation Shows the Church Will Not Reform Itself
By Marci Hamilton
From the Link: http://writ.news.findlaw.com/hamilton/20030619.html
hursday, Jun. 19, 2003
Recently, Governor Frank Keating, a former federal prosecutor, compared the Catholic Church’s instinct for secrecy to that of La Cosa Nostra. He plainly hit a nerve:
Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles called for his resignation.
Keating has been the one pure voice for truth in the Church since the scandal began. Mahony is the Cardinal who has refused to cooperate with Los Angeles prosecutors, or even to fill out the anonymous questionnaire intended to help the Church itself assess the scandal.
Tragically, Keating lost the fight; and Mahony won. The members of Keating’s own oversight committee for the Church, the lay National Review Board, joined Mahony in calling for his resignation.
Worse, rather than mounting a defense of Keating, the Church allowed him to be forced out. And it did so knowing full well the public was watching particularly closely, for the Bishops were getting ready for their annual meeting. The message could not have been clearer: True internal Church reform is not going to happen. Clear-eyed critics like Keating will be shown the door.
Keating now no longer heads the Board. In his gutsy resignation letter, he stuck to his guns: “My remarks, which some bishops found offensive, were deadly accurate. I make no apology. . . . To resist grand jury subpoenas, to suppress the names of offending clerics, to deny, to obfuscate, to explain away; that is the model of a criminal organization, not my church.”
Why did Keating’s remarks so deeply anger the Church? The answer is that this reference touched on the Church’s own worst, and likely unacknowledged, nightmare: that it is in fact corrupt and that the federal RICO (Racketeering-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) statute might be used against it
That prospect is not as unlikely as the statute’s title may indicate. RICO has not only been used against the mafia; it has also been used to target apparently legitimate organizations, such as corrupt labor unions, as well. It is now time to use it against the Catholic Church.
Why the Analogy to La Cosa Nostra Was Apt
Imagine a large, wealthy, and hierarchical organization that persists in believing it is above the law. Over many decades, the organization has employed a tradition of blood brother secrecy to keep its illegal actions from being analyzed or criticized in the press, or prosecuted and punished by legal authorities. It employs powerful, adept, and highly-paid lawyers, and resists judicial process whenever it can.
Meanwhile, the organization’s leaders are united in a secret bond that requires them to do whatever it takes to protect the organization from scandal. For them, the cover-up of serious crimes is a way of life, a feature of their everyday business.
Those who believe Keating’s analogy was overstated, or unfair, should consider that this description fits both the Mafia, and the Catholic Church’s approach to child abuse by its own clergy.
Of course, one might object that there are differences between the two institutions. Most obviously, the Mafia is in the primary business of murder and other crime; the Church’s primary business has nothing to do with sexual abuse, though it was an accessory to it numerous times over the years.
But that difference doesn’t matter, under RICO: Labor unions aren’t in the primary business of crime, and they still face RICO prosecutions. Indeed, one major target of RICO is the takeover of a legitimate organization by criminal elements.
One might also object that the harms the Mafia wreaks are greater than those the Church has wrought. But that is a dangerous, and in some way, useless comparison to make: Both institutions have done grievous damage.
Evidence by now has shown that numerous priests in the United States have used their position of trust and power in order to sexually victimize children repeatedly. Those children, many of whom are now adults, have suffered lifelong tortures.
Some have therefore said, correctly so, that the Church has been engaged in the knowing murder of young souls. Years after the physical abuse ends, those souls continue to search for faith and for God within a dark cloud of crushed beliefs and shame.
Their suffering must finally be taken seriously. To disparage it by saying that it isn’t “like murder,” and thus that the Church is unlike the Mafia, profits no one.
And in any event, the Church need not be the twin of La Cosa Nostra to properly face prosecution under the RICO statute. All it needs to be is what it is: An organization that has repeatedly been used to perpetrate and cover-up serious crimes, including obstruction of justice.
It’s High Time For a RICO Prosecution of the Church
RICO is needed, because local prosecutions are not going to suffice. Some brave local and county prosecutors are going after the Church’s crimes in the interests of the children who have been hurt so terribly. But others foolishly continue to trust the Church to set things right itself – something it has had the opportunity to do for decades, and never really tried, let alone succeeded in.
Instead, for years, the Church told the newspapers not to report the stories and the prosecutors not to charge the perpetrators and the parents not to report the crimes, because they would take care of it. But they did not take care of it. They simply let the suffering, and the scandal, and the evil fester. So why does anyone believe it can be trusted, now, to effect meaningful internal reforms?
Scattershot local prosecutions cannot by themselves bring the Church to full confrontation with its institutional problem. As in the game of whack-a-mole, the Church has adopted a strategy of using whatever legal means are at its disposal to try to force its problems back underground. Apparently, it hopes that, at some point, it will be able to put down the mallet and wander off to the merry-go-round.
A federal RICO prosecution would force the Church to confront its problems more directly by forcing it to face a federal prosecutorial juggernaut, as opposed to isolated local actions. While worthwhile, commendable, and necessary, these local prosecutions are not enough to prompt the thorough going national, institutional reforms needed.
After all, this is a scandal of national proportions. It affects children in many cities and states. The Church is a national – indeed, an international – and not a local institution. Yet, neither the Department of Justice, nor the local United States Attorneys’ Offices, have, to my knowledge, so much as held a news conference.
When the Bush Administration recently – after the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping – pushed legislation to institute a national Amber alert system, the Administration recognized that child abuse is not an isolated problem; it affects all fifty states. Meanwhile, the Administration is pushing for educational reform in the public schools via federal legislation and the private schools via vouchers – seeing, once again, a federal interest implicated in an issue that affects children across the nation.
But now, when it comes to the Church, the Administration hypocritically pretends that the nation’s children’s interests are no longer of federal concern. In so doing, it has left a nation’s worth of children behind – when it had vowed not to leave behind even one.
That may be a serious miscalculation. The votes of Catholics are powerful, but they will not always align with the views of the Church hierarchy. Many Catholics support Church reform precisely because they are devout, and they love the Church, and not those who have betrayed its mission.
The Administration may well have severely underestimated the hunger of the American people–Catholic and otherwise–for justice in this instance. Citizens believe deeply in the rule of law, justice, and fairness. And there are few kinds of conduct more despicable, to the vast majority of Americans, than allowing predatory pedophiles to victimize trusting children, again and again.
Thus, if the Administration ever does the right thing, and uses the RICO statute to go after the Church, it may find that it has done the politically advantageous thing as well. Conversely, if it fails to employ RICO, and the Church continues its intransigence, the Administration may feel the heat from citizens, parents, and others come election time.
Marci Hamilton is the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. An archive of her columns on the Catholic Church’s clergy abuse scandal, among other issues, can be found on this website. Her email address is email@example.com
2 Paths, No Easy Solution on Abusive Priests
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN and JODI WILGOREN
Published: March 3, 2002
ST. LOUIS, March 1— It has been 20 years since John Scorfina’s family complained to church officials about the Rev. Leroy Valentine’s sexualized horseplay with him and his two brothers, which they say ended with the priest molesting 11-year-old John.
It has been four years since the Scorfina brothers took $20,000 each from the Archdiocese of St. Louis on the condition they never speak of the settlement, believing that lawyers for the church had promised to remove the priest from parish work.
But when the three men recently learned that Father Valentine, who has denied any wrongdoing, was an assistant pastor at a church attached to a Catholic elementary school, the order not to speak could not contain their outrage.
”I just don’t want any kids to go through what I went through,” John Scorfina said this week.
Across the Mississippi River in Belleville, Ill., the priests who have been accused of sexual abuse no longer work in churches. One performs karaoke on Wednesday nights at the Lincoln Jug restaurant in Belleville and another pumps gas at his mother’s service station in the small town of Columbia.
In the mid-1990’s, the Diocese of Belleville publicly ousted 13 priests accused of inappropriate sexual contact with children, leaving them in an odd limbo — on the church payroll yet without portfolio, called ”Father” but barred from administering sacraments or wearing the collar. ”In the church,” said one, the Rev. Raymond Kownacki, ”you’re guilty until proven innocent.”
Here in the center of the country, these two dioceses — one, in a major city in which a third of the population is Catholic, the other a sprawling 11,000-square-mile expanse of small farm towns — have taken divergent paths in handling accusations of sexual abuse by clergymen.
While Belleville made headlines by removing priests, St. Louis quietly moved them around. Each diocese has a board to review the cases. In Belleville, a victim’s say-so was often enough for the board to strip priests of their church ministries; in St. Louis, many victims said they were unaware of the board’s existence.
As church officials nationwide rethink their approaches to the issue amid recent scandals, each bank of the river offers lessons about the intractability of the problem.
Belleville’s broad public sweep of priests from the altar may have eased victims’ pain, but it also left some parishioners uneasy that innocent men were being maligned, while others worried about potential pedophiles being released from the rectory, unwatched. The policy in St. Louis, until this week, of keeping nearly all accusations secret as the archdiocese moved the priests into new parishes, retirement, or low-profile posts, angered victims and may have led to further offenses.
The issue of sexual abuse by priests has taken on new urgency in recent months after disclosures that the Boston Archdiocese had known for years about the sexual misconduct of a priest who was accused of molesting some 130 children. That case led to repeated apologies from the leader of the archdiocese, Cardinal Bernard Law, who reversed his policy of keeping the matter within the church and gave state authorities the names of some 80 priests accused of abusing children over 40 years.
Since then, church leaders in New England and Philadelphia have informed parishes of similar accusations against priests, handed priests’ personnel files to prosecutors and relieved some of the accused of their duties. In Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahoney issued a public apology to victims and released a new policy vowing that a priest who had abused a child would never return to active ministry.
Here in St. Louis, an archdiocese of 223 parishes, church officials announced the removal of two pastors today, saying they had ”raised the bar” about who is unfit to serve in a parish post. The standard, since 1996, had been that any priest deemed to pose a future risk would be removed. Since the Boston incidents, they say that any priest with a substantiated accusation against him will be ousted. The two priests received treatment after the accusations, which are 15 and 14 years old, officials said.
”As painful as it is, we’re going to keep the trust of our people,” said Bishop Timothy M. Dolan, the vicar for priests. ”We have to be able to say, we have to be able to believe, that there is no priest in a parish against whom there is a credible claim of clerical sexual abuse.”
Accusations about pedophilia have plagued the Roman Catholic Church in the United States since the first major case arose nearly 20 years ago in a Louisiana parish. Experts warn that, like alcoholism, pedophilia is a disease that can be controlled but not cured, and that problem priests should not be reassigned to parishes where they are at risk of abusing again.
David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, who lives in St. Louis, says the experiences of Belleville, while flawed, are a starting point as bishops review policies. St. Louis, he says, is a model of what to avoid.
”In Belleville, like virtually every diocese in America, the survivor who comes forward has a long tough road,” he said. ”But in St. Louis, that road is steep, uphill, and seemingly endless.”
Parishioners Uneasy But Dependent
Father Valentine was the favorite of many children at St. Pius X, a parish and school in Glasgow Village, a community of identical aluminum-sided bungalows in the northern part of St. Louis. The priest took them out for ice cream and cheeseburgers. He lavished affection on children like the Scorfinas, who came from single-parent or troubled families. ”He was like the dad that wasn’t there,” said John Scorfina, who now runs a construction company.
Father Valentine, in an interview on Thursday at the rectory of St. Thomas the Apostle, where he is now an associate pastor, said he was barred by the legal settlement from discussing the case. When told that this was his opportunity to respond to whether there was any truth to the accusations, he looked down and shook his head. The senior pastor, the Rev. Henry Garavaglia, who sat in on the interview, said, ”Emphatically, I would say no.”
Then Father Valentine looked up and said suddenly, ”At the same time, parents should always be concerned who’s working with their children.”
Others who lived in Father Valentine’s parish said they felt uneasy about him, particularly when he wrestled with groups of boys and slid them over his body in a game he called ”crack your back.”
Tom Joseph, 32, remembers a 1982 trip with Father Valentine to the Illinois River in which he says the priest playfully tackled him, pulled down his pants and spanked him. Mr. Joseph, then 13, did not tell anyone, but says that he never went anywhere with the priest again.
Margie Lewis, a single parent, said that one day she called home and was surprised to learn from her daughter that Father Valentine was there wrestling with her son and his friends. She said that she asked him to come to the phone, but he would not, and that he left suddenly.
The Scorfina brothers were also home alone on the day they say that Father Valentine came over, and initiated a wrestling session. Soon, they say, the priest fondled two of the boys and then took John into a bedroom and sodomized him.
”I remember I had a Pittsburgh Steelers poster on the wall, and he made me name all the players until the deed was done,” John Scorfina said. Asked in his 1998 deposition how long it lasted, Mr. Scorfina said, ”About 10, 15 minutes, maybe, give or take, say, forever, 26 years.”
Katie Chrun, the Scorfinas’ mother, recalled that when she arrived home her youngest son asked: ” ‘Mom, should a priest touch you like that?’ I said, ‘Like what?’ ”
Mrs. Chrun said she contacted the authorities, but was told by pastors and a policeman that it was an internal church matter and to keep quiet and be forgiving.
Then, three months later, Mrs. Chrun, her mother and her sister went to meet with Father Valentine in the rectory. Mrs. Chrun and her sister, Linda Thurman, both say that he apologized and said that if he did something wrong, he must have blacked out.
Asked about the meeting, Father Valentine said, ”It was an apology that they had taken something wrongly.” He said he never said anything about blacking out.
Within the month, Father Valentine was removed with no explanation to the Scorfinas or the parishioners, and in the next 12 years was reassigned to three parishes, two of them with schools. Not until the Scorfina brothers filed their lawsuit, in 1995, were parishioners at the church where he worked at that time informed that there were accusations of child sexual abuse against him. The Scorfina brothers sued the Archbishop of St. Louis and Father Valentine and the archdiocese settled with the family in 1998.
Though they refused to discuss specific cases, Bishop Dolan, who also handles sexual abuse cases for the archdiocese, as well as the archdiocese’s lawyer and a psychologist who sits on the review board acknowledged that Father Valentine had been evaluated and treated by medical professionals, and that he had been put on sick leave for four years.
In 2000, as Father Valentine was assigned to his current post in Florissant, a St. Louis suburb, the church’s senior pastor sent parishioners a letter informing them about a 1982 accusation of sexual misconduct against Father Valentine. The letter said Father Valentine had ”unambiguously denied the allegation” and that therapists had concluded he posed ”no threat to children.”
Some Settled, Some Unheeded
Interviews and court records suggest Father Valentine’s is not the only St. Louis case where accusations led to transfers — or where victims complained of being ignored by the chancery.
Church officials refused to say how many priests, before last week, had ever been publicly removed because of sexual abuse. Doug Forsyth, a lawyer who has handled about two dozen cases against the archdiocese — 15 of which he said were settled — and victims’ advocates said the only cases they were aware of in which removal was publicly attributed to pedophilia were ones in which the priests did not deny the accusations in court.
One of those priests, the Rev. James Gummersbach, admitted in a 1994 lawsuit that he had abused boys in several parishes over decades. Further, in a sworn statement, he acknowledged that from his ordination in 1954 through the 1990’s ”the only known action taken by the defendant archdiocese in response to the accusations that defendant Gummersbach had sexual contact with minors was to transfer Gummersbach and instruct him to obtain personal counseling.”
One man who said his complaints about a priest went unheeded was Steven Pona. Court records show Mr. Pona, now 33, wrote to the the vicar general in 1983 contending that that the Rev. Bruce Forman, director of the Young Catholic Musicians orchestra and choir, tried to seduce him at a drive-in screening of ”Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” Mr. Pona said the incident followed at least five occasions in which the priest tried to approach him sexually.
”During the movies he had his arm around me in a funny sort of way, sort of at the waist,” Mr. Pona wrote in a teenager’s cursive. ”I pushed his arm back forcefully and said, ”Don’t, I’m not that type.’
Diocesan directories show that Father Forman, who did not return calls for comment, was moved only once in the last 20 years, in 1986, to the parish where he remains pastor. Mr. Pona’s letter, in a sealed envelope, was placed in the priest’s file, marked, ”To be opened by archbishop only,” according to court records.
Mr. Pona’s lawsuit, filed against Father Forman and the archbishop, was dismissed because of the statute of limitations. But as the issue resurfaced in the news in January, Mr. Pona said, he went to see Bishop Michael J. Sheridan, who at first was compassionate but later phoned to say he had researched the case and found no evidence.
On Friday, Bishop Dolan said Mr. Pona’s recent complaint might have gotten lost because it arrived shortly before Bishop Sheridan left for another assignment. Bishop Sheridan did not return several phone calls on Thursday. In the interview today, Bishop Dolan urged parishioners to ”tell us again” if they were unhappy with how complaints had been handled.
The archdiocese’s new strategy of removing priests based on substantiated accusations rather than assessment of future risk has already spawned criticism. Parishioners at St. Cronan’s Church, where the pastor was removed on Wednesday, gathered that evening to pray for their priest.
”People are feeling that it’s sort of an infringement of our Christian community to have someone taken from us without any consultation and without any explanation,” said Bill Ramsey, a member of St. Cronan’s. ”I don’t think anybody wants sexual abuse anywhere, but it’s a fact of life and there are more constructive ways to deal with it than ordering people away from other people.”
Model System Still Falls Short
The church used to shuffle priests accused of sexually abusing children among the 127 parishes in the Belleville diocese, too.
In a 1995 lawsuit against Father Kownacki, one of the ousted priests, and the diocese, Gina Trimble Parks asserted that while she was the priest’s teenage housekeeper, the priest repeatedly raped her over two years and ultimately fed her a quinine potion to bring about an abortion. Court records show Ms. Park’s family made the same assertions to the bishop in 1973, and that Father Kownacki had two previous complaints of sexual abuse against him from other assignments. He was sent for treatment and later returned to a parish.
The lawsuit was dismissed because of the statute of limitations. ”I was too old to fight it,” he said of his ouster in a recent interview, adding that his family and friends ”know the accusations aren’t the truth.”
The Rev. Clyde Grogan, longtime pastor of St. Patrick’s in East St. Louis, said he brought several victims and their families to the chancery to register complaints in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and nothing happened.
”You know how it was handled?” asked Father Grogan, raising his hand and forming a zero with thumb and forefinger. When victims complained, he added, ”The bishop would give lots of assurances. I think the strategy was, what do the people want to hear?”
That changed in 1993, after The Belleville News-Democrat published an article describing how a priest had molested high school boys aboard a houseboat on Carlyle Lake 20 years before. The accused priest was immediately removed and church leaders began rewriting their sexual abuse policy.
Four priests were ousted in the weeks that followed and eight more priests and a deacon were pushed out in the next two years as the diocese investigated a swell of complaints, most of which first appeared in The News-Democrat.One as eventually returned to a parish.
”We were kind of learning as we went,” said Msgr. James E. Margason, Belleville’s vicar general, who helped write the new policy. ”We were damaging someone’s reputation, we didn’t know if the allegation was true. What drove us was to protect children.”
Margie Mensen, a social worker who was the administrator of the Belleville review board from its formation until 1998, said a credible accusation from a victim was enough to remove a priest, often within days of the complaint. Many of the priests never presented their side to the board; only one admitted the abuse. Several refused treatment.
The diocese has since settled at least three of eight lawsuits (one is still pending in federal court) and paid for counseling for 49 people, including victims and their families. Though the state’s attorney subpoenaed all the review board’s records, it filed no charges, because the accusations were years old and lacked corroboration.
But if Belleville has been heralded as a model, many in the community remain dissatisfied with the process.
Father Grogan says the diocese’s 80-some priests are still divided as to whether they believe the abuse accusations. Parishioners at one church wore yellow ribbons to protest their pastor’s removal. Donations dipped for years as people feared the Sunday collection plate would go to defray legal expenses.
Those who say they are victims remain outraged that the priests retain their titles, salaries and pensions.
”That’s kind of a slap in the church’s face, my face, everybody’s face,” said Mary Aholt, whose husband was among those to receive a settlement. ”Everybody that’s paying their salary, and that’s everyone that belongs to the Catholic Church.”
Others worried that the church is not properly supervising the people it had deemed a problem. The Rev. Louis Peterson works in a restaurant in Lebanon, Ill. Father Kownacki collects coins and stamps in a dingy first-floor apartment in Dupo, Ill., where he said he sometimes celebrates Mass for family and friends, against the rules of his administrative leave. The Rev. David Crook has left the area.
”I have a whole new life,” said the lounge singer at the Lincoln Jug Restaurant, Msgr. Joseph R. Schwaegel, who still faces a federal lawsuit, along with the diocese, by a California man who asserts that Father Schwaegel repeatedly touched his genitals and raped him in 1973, when the plaintiff was 8. Father Schwaegel declined to discuss the case.
The Rev. Robert Vonnahmen, a former camp director who faced at least three lawsuits accusing him of luring boys to his cabin for massages that led to molestations, runs a Catholic retreat center and a $3-million-a-year tax-exempt tour company, formerly owned by the church, which leads Catholic ”pilgrimages” to dozens of destinations. (Two of the lawsuits were dismissed because of the statute of limitations, a third was settled out of court.)
At his office the other day, Father Vonnahmen wore a short-sleeved black shirt with Roman collar, button open, defying the church’s sanction. He has denied all accusations against him, twice petitioned the Belleville review board to reinstate him and has now appealed his case to the Vatican. ”I’m not going to give up on the Lord or the church, either one,” he said. ”I know these things happen occasionally. I can’t imagine the large number of people in Belleville. There was a rush to judgment.”
No Belleville priests have been removed since 1997. Monsignor Margason said the 800-number set up to receive abuse complaints has been silent for a year.
THESE ARE CRIMES, NOT SINS, GET IT RIGHT ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH!!!
By Frank J LaFerriere
Dear Roman Catholic Church,
When YOU assholes call what you all did to us? When YOU call crimes such as child abuse, child rape, child slavery and yes, child murder just sins? YOU lessen the impact of these crimes.
Get it through your sick and twisted disgusting heads right now.
1. Raping children is a CRIME.
2. Covering up the rapes of children is a CRIME.
3. Enslaving children in your Magdalene Laundries is a CRIME.
4. Murdering children and victims, by their suicides, is a CRIME.
5. Gang raping and gang beating children, like you all did in your Industrial Homes, like the one at Artane, is a CRIME.
6. Standing up and defending these kinds of CRIMES makes YOU an accomplice.
Asking for victims of your crimes to forgive you is WRONG!!! We did absolutely nothing wrong, YOU DID. Why should we even accept YOUR FAKE APOLOGIES when YOU STILL blame US and attack US for your crimes against US? Why do YOU feel we should forgive YOU when you continue to do the following against us:
1. DENYING US JUSTICE FOR THE CRIMES YOU COMMITTED AGAINST US.
2. BLAMING US FOR THE CRIMES THAT WERE COMMITTED AGAINST US.3. ATTACKING US AS THE EVIL ONES FOR STANDING UP AND CRYING OUT ABOUT THE CRIMES YOU COMMITTED AGAINST US.
4. DECLARING US THE EVIL ONES FOR SPEAKING OUT AGAINST THE CRIMES COMMTTED AGAINST US BY YOUR PSYCHOTIC PEDOPHILE PIMPS, YOUR PSYCHOTIC PEDOPHILE AND ABUSIVE PRIESTS, YOUR PSYCHOTIC PEDOPHILE AND ABUSIVE NUNS.
5. USING YOUR SCUMBAGS PSYCHOS LIKE BILL DONOHUE OF THE CATHOLIC LEAGUE TO INSULT AND DENIGRATE US.
You all deserve to be arrested for your crimes against us. You all deserve to pay for your crimes against us, including the murder of us. For when ANY victim of your pedohiles have committed suicide, that is murder and YOU should be charged for it.
YOU DO NOT DESERVE TO BE CALLED HOLY MEN OF GOD. YOU DO NOT DESERVE DIGNITY AND RESPECT. YOU DO NOT DESERVE ANYTHING LESS THAN TO BE CALLED FOR WHO AND WHAT YOU ARE….
YOU ARE DISGUSTING CHILD RAPISTS. YOU ARE DISGUSTING PEDOPHILES. YOU ARE DISGUSTING PEDOPHILE PIMPS. YOU ARE DISGUSTING CHILD MURDERERS.
YOU HAVE RAPED HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN. YOU HAVE ENSLAVED THOUSANDS MORE IN YOUR LAUNDRIES. YOU HAVE BEATEN AND TORTURED AND BRUTALIZED THEM. YOU HAVE DESTROYED THEIR LIVES. YOU DO NOT DESERVE PRAISE AND WORSHIP FOR THIS, YOU DESERVE CONDEMNATION AND OSTRASIZATION FOR THIS. YOU DESERVE TO BE ARRESTED AND TRIED AND UPON CONVICTION FOR YOUR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY AND THE CHILDREN OF THE WORLD, EXECUTED FOR YOUR CRIMES. NO GREATER CALL FOR A DEATH PENALTY PUNISHMENT THAN THE BRUTAL RAPES, BEATINGS, ENSLAVEMENT AND MURDER OF CHILDREN THAT YOU ALL HAVE DONE AND ARE GUILTY FOR SHOULD BE CALLED FOR. YOU DESERVE TO BE EXECUTED ACTUALLY, IN MY OPINION USING THE VERY TOOLS OF THE INQUISITIONS THAT YOU USED TO EXECUTE OTHERS!!!
Each and every one of the following named individuals, have overwhelming, convincing and clear evidence against, that they were in fact, Pedophile pimps, in that they moved dangerous pedophile priests, from one parish to another, covering up for the rapes and abuses of children by these disgusting pedophiles and then they raped and abused even more children.
THERE IS OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE AGAINST EACH AND EVERY FOLLOWING NAMED INDIVIDUAL, THEY PLACED THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, ITS PEDOPHILE PRIESTS AND NUNS, IT’S PSYCHOTIC, ABUSIVE PRIESTS AND NUNS, BEFORE THE SAFETY AND PROTECTION OF CHILDREN.
There is clean and convincing evidence, against each and every following named individual, that they are part of the larger organization, The Roman Catholic Church and that worldwide, have committed atrocities and crimes against the children of the world and humanity that are overwhelming provable:
About 35,000 children and teenagers who were orphans, petty thieves, truants, unmarried mothers or from dysfunctional families were sent to Ireland’s network of 250 Church-run industrial schools, reformatories, orphanages and hostels from the 1930s up until the early 1990s. For six decades, priests and nuns terrorised boys and girls in the workhouse-style schools with sexual, physical and mental abuse.
This does NOT include the crimes against children and humanity, where ever these Roman Catholic Churches institutions were found, from Belgium, France, Italy, Australia, New South Wales, Germany, United States, Canada, and the world over.
EACH AND EVER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING PEDOPHILE PIMPS SHOULD BE ARRESTED AND TRIED FOR THEIR
CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY AND THE CHILDREN OF THE WORLD!!!
Pope Emeritus Benedict
Cardinals: Adam Maida, Agostino Vallini, Angelo Scola, Angelo Sodano, Anthony Bevilacqua, Bernard Law, Dominik Duka, Donald Wuerl, Franc Rode, Francis George, Francisco Javier Errazurtz Ossa, George Pell, Godfried Danneels, Hans Groer, Humberto Mederios, John Cody, John Krol, Joseph Bernardin, Juan Cipriani, Justin Rigali, Keith O’Brien, Leonardo Sandri, Ludwig Mueller, Marc Ouellet, Norberto Rivera, Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, Partick O’Malley, Peter Turkson, Raymond Burke, Richard Cushing, Roger Mahony, Sean Brady, Silvio Oddi, Tarcisio Bertone, Thomas Winning, Timothy Dolan, Vinko Puljic, Wilfred Fox Napier, William Levada.
Archbishops: Andre Richard, Anthony Sablan, Charles J Chaput, Denis Hart, Diarmuid Martin, Ernest Leger, Frank Little, Gerhard Ludwig Muller, Harry Flynn, Jerome Hanus, Jerome Listecki, John Charles McQuaid, John Clay Neinstedt, John Meyers, John Roach, Jose Horacio Gomez, Josef Wesolowski, Luciano Storero, Mario Conti, Peter Gerety, Peter Sartain, Pio Laghi, Rembert Weakland, Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, Robert Carlson, Silvano Tomasi, Theodore McCarrick, Valery Vienneau, William Cousins, Ricardo Ezzati Andrello.
Bishops: Peter Anthony Libasci, A.J. Quinn, Andrew Cozzens, Anthony O’Connell, Antonio Sarto, Bill Wright, Carl Mengeling, Christopher Foster, David M O’Connell, David Zubik, Donald Kettler, Edward Cullen, Eugene Laroque, Gabino Miranda, George H. Guilfoyle, George Leo Thomas, Gerard Frey, Henry Kennedy, Howard Hubbard, James Garland, James Hoeppner, James Kavanagh, James Murray, James Timlin, John B McCormack, John Doerfler, John Magee, Joseph Cistone, Joseph Devine, Joseph Imesch, Joseph V Adamec, Kieran Thomas Conry, Kenneth Povish, Laurence Glenn, Leo Clarke, Louis E. Gelineau, Marco Antonio Ordenes, Michael Bransfield, Michael Jarrell, Michael John Browne, Michael Malone, Patrick Cooney, Patrick Cotter, Peter Conners, Raphael Michael Fliss, Raymond Lahey, Richard Sklba, Robert C. Evans, Robert E. Mulvee, Robert Finn, Robert Rose, Roger Vangheluwe, Rogello Livieres, Seamus Hegarty, Thomas Curry, Thomas Daily, Thomas J. Tobin, Vincent Leonard, William Lynn, Wilton Gregory, Wojeciech Polak, Maurice Schexnayder.
Pope Francis: ‘One in 50’ Catholic priests, bishops and cardinals are paedophiles
Pope Admits there are Child Rapists at Every Level in the Church
Francis pledged to drive out the ‘leprocy’ of child abuse from the Church
by Adam Withnall
Blogger Notes: A study done by The National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect found that even though only 25% of citizens in the U.S. are Roman Catholic, 54% of the sexual abuse cases were perpetrated by Catholic priests. The church has paid at least 2.6 billion to settle sexual abuse cases. In 2007 alone the Los Angeles Archdiocese on July 15 announced the largest church settlement of sexual abuse lawsuits to date, agreeing to pay more than 500 alleged victims a total of $660 million. The abuse continues and the wealthy Vatican is easily able to cover these claims. The Vatican even has insurance policies to cover these operating costs.
Pope Francis has revealed that “reliable data” collected by the Vatican suggests that one in every 50 members of the Catholic clergy is a paedophile.
Speaking in an interview with La Repubblica, the Pope said his advisors had tried to “reassure” him that paedophilia within the Church was “at the level of two per cent”.
He pledged that he would drive away the “leprosy” of child abuse that was infecting the “house” of Catholicism.
“I find this state of affairs intolerable,” he said.
Pope Francis said his advisors at the Vatican had given him the two per cent estimate, which included “priests, bishops and cardinals”.
He also warned of much greater figures for people who were aware of the existence of abuse – sometimes within their own families – but who stayed silent because of corruption or fear.
His comments came a week after the Pope met with six victims of clerical paedophilia to apologise for their abuse at the hands of priests.
The meeting, with six British, Irish and German Catholics, was designed to acknowledge the gravity of the Church’s guilt and complicity.
Despite Pope Francis’s popularity, there has been criticism of Francis for failing to take a high-profile stand against the global paedophilia scandal.
His predecessor, Benedict XVI, met with victims of sexual abuse by priests, in Washington in 2008. He then met with victims in Australia, Germany, Malta and the UK.
In February and May, critical reports released by two separate UN committees condemned the Church’s “code of silence” on paedophile priests. It said this silence was allowing known sex offenders to continue working with children.
Independent News Service
: to be afraid of (something or someone)
: to expect or worry about (something bad or unpleasant)
They instilled this into us when they were raping us, or beating us, or damaging us.
They told us if we told, we would burn in hell. NOTHING brothers and sisters could be further than the truth.
TRUTH ALWAYS DISPELS FEAR!!!
WELL I AM NOT AFRAID OF THEM, I HAVE CASTED OFF MY FEAR OF THEM A LONG TIME AGO AND TURNED THAT FEAR INTO RIGHTEOUS ANGER AGAINST THESE SCUM AND NOW THEY FEAR ME….IF NOT….THEN THEY WOULD NOT BE ATTACKING ME AND COMING AFTER ME LIKE THEY HAVE. THEY ARE ATTEMPTING TO INSTILL FEAR INTO ME AGAIN….BUT THEY WILL NEVER SUCCEED IN DOING SO!!! I AM MUCH STRONGER THAN ANY FEAR THESE EVIL ANIMALS MAY EVEN TRY TO INSTILL IN ME.
I cherish all of you, more than you can ever imagine. I feel your pains, your sufferings as if they were my very own. Each and every one of your stories are written on my heart and soul, and I will NEVER forget any of them.
NOTHING gets me more pissed off when a child or a teen is abused. NOTHING gets me more pissed off when these rapists of us, from the RCC plays the blame game and puts our rapes on us. NOTHING gets me more pissed off to see these scumbags, whom declare themselves the moral equivalent of God, of the most holy people on the earth, that it is they whom we should follow as an example…think they are so damn holy they have a right then to go around and tell us how to live.
NOTHING GETS ME MORE PISSED OFF THAN TWO FACED, HYPOCRITE, PHARISEES AND SADDUCEE AND THEIR EVIL, BRAIN DEAD, SHEEPLE FOLLOWERS WHOM RISE UP AND DEFEND THESE EVIL SCUMBAGS OF THEIR CHURCHES.
THESE SCUM ARE NOT HUMAN, THEY ARE TWISTED, SICKENING, DEGENERATE ANIMALS, WHOM THINK IT IS THEIR DUTY TO RAPE CHILDREN AND THEN COVER UP FOR THEIR RAPISTS!! THEN TO TURN AROUND AND ATTACK THEIR VICTIMS, TO DENIGRATE US, TO DEFAME US, TO SAY THE THINGS THEY SAY AGAINST US, AND OF COURSE WE ALL KNOW WHY…
They want us to FEAR them again. That is how they controlled us in the first place. Each and every one of us whom went through this horror, they controlled us to shut our mouths through FEAR. They scared the living shit out of us with telling us that if we speak out, then we are going to hell.
SCREW THEM…IT IS TIME TO TURN THE TABLES ON THEM AND MAKE THEM FEAR US…IF ANYONE SHOULD HAVE FEAR IN THEIR HEARTS…IT IS THESE SCUMBAG ANIMALS WHOM RAPED US OR COVERED UP OUR RAPES.
FEAR IS A VERY USEFUL TOOL…IT CAN BE MADE TO CONTROL US AS VICTIMS…OR WE CAN USE IT TO NOW MAKE THOSE WHOM WE FEARED…FEAR US!!!
WE MUST FIGHT, WE MUST JOIN TOGETHER AND TELL THESE SONS OF A BITCHES RIGHT TO THEIR FACES….FEAR US, BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID…FOR WE NO LONGER FEAR YOU….WE ARE NO LONGER CONTROLLED BY YOU AND THE FEAR YOU INSTILLED INTO
Brothers and sisters, my friends, my loved ones, it is time.
It is time to make the criminals fear us….instead of us fearing them.
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.
Bill Donohue and the Catholic League: DATA PROVE NO SEX ABUSE CRISIS
Bill Donohue comments on the 2012 Annual Report by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on the subject of sexual abuse:
The survey, done by an institute at Georgetown University, shows how utterly absurd it is to maintain that the Catholic Church continues to have a problem with priestly sexual abuse. Of the nearly 40,000 priests in the U.S., there were 34 allegations made by minors last year (32 priests, two deacons): six were deemed credible by law enforcement; 12 were either unfounded or unable to be proven; one was a “boundary violation”; and 15 are still being probed. Moreover, in every case brought to the attention of the bishops or heads of religious orders, the civil authorities were notified.
Not counting those of unknown status, in 88 percent of the total number of cases (independent of when they allegedly occurred), the accused priest is either deceased, has been dismissed from ministry, or has been laicized.
Most of the allegations reported to church officials today have nothing to do with current cases: two-thirds date back to the 1960s, 1970s and the first half of the 1980s. As usual, the problem is not pedophilia: 19 percent of the allegations involving those who work in dioceses or eparchies, and 7 percent of religious order priests and deacons, involve pedophilia. In other words, the problem remains what it has always been—an issue involving homosexual priests (85 percent of the victims were male).
Anyone who knows of any religious, or secular, organization that has less of a problem with the sexual abuse of minors these days should contact the Catholic League. We’d love to match numbers.
One more thing: since nearly 100 percent of our priests did not have a credible allegation made against him last year, this should be picked up by the media. But it won’t be. Look for the story to get buried.
Above is the verbatim commentary Mr Bill Donohue of the Catholic League made on the recent data released by the 2012 Annual Report by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on the subject of sexual abuse.
Mr Donohue goes on to say: The survey, done by an institute at Georgetown University, shows how utterly absurd it is to maintain that the Catholic Church continues to have a problem with priestly sexual abuse.
Apparently Mr Donohue does NOT seem to get the message. He does seem to evade and avoid the real problem here in association with the rapes of children, the torture of children, the abuse of children by those of the Roman Catholic Church and the Leaders who covered it up.
While it is admirable that the church is now cleaning up it’s act, I have some reservations using a report brought to us by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops when the leaders of the RCC, especially Bishops and Cardinals had a massive hand in moving child rapists and abusers around from parish to parish without warning or telling anyone about these child rapists and abusers. Then these same abusers went on to abuse even more children.
Sure there may be less children being harmed by sexual degenerates who prey on young children in the RCC and sure there are now eyes everywhere, there is still a massive problem with the leaders who covered it up getting away with their crimes.
There is ample and irrefutible evidence against many Cardinals: Timothy Dolan, Donald Wuerl, Roger Mahony, Justin Rigali, Bernard Law, Sean Brady, Keith O’Brien, George Pell, Franc Rodé, Humberto Medeiros, Dominik Duka, John Krol, Leonardo Sandri, William Leveda, Richard Cushing, and too many Archbishops and Bishops to name, who participated in a massive cover up of child rapists and abusers and put the church before the safety and welfare of children. Mr Donohue has to get this through his thick skull. There is still ample evidence of stonewalling in the Diocese and of course the now infamous strategy to fight and call any victim now who comes forward liars and gold diggers and fight them, delay them and subtrefuge them every step of the way.
No Mr Donohue, the Roman Catholic Church has gotten off too damn easy. Your Popes, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, your Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops and others who turned a blind eye to the destruction of the soul, heart and mind of a child to satisfy some sexual perverted feelings among your clergy must be rectified before anyone can honestly believe the RCC is actually cleaning up their act. This means the immediate resignation, or forced resignation, of all credibly accused Cardinals et al who participated in these cover ups and submission for prosecution. Sure plea bargin if you will, but you all must face a court of mans law for justice to be truly gotten for the victims of your sick and twisted child rapists and abusers.
Mr Donohue, I recall when you compared what rape victims of these pedophiles go through is what you went through when you got smacked on the wrist by a nun. Well Mr Donohue, I have been smacked on the wrist by a nun for being left handed. I was raped and tortured by one of the Roman Catholic Priests. He was supposed to protect me for one damn night. Instead he consigned me to a life of living hell, where I actually believed I was pure evil, that I deserved what happened to me, that I was condemned by God and Jesus Christ himself to eternal damnation. I even took the name Damien, the name of the antichrist child in the Omen movies because I believed the horror this sick and twisted scumbag drilled into my terrified mind. He told me I was evil, doomed to hell because I broke one of the Ten Commandments. He ripped from me everything that night.
Mr Donohue, I would rather two thousand nuns smacked me on the wrist than go through what that twisted sub human put me through, dressed and disguised as a man of God that night.
Letter to the Editor, Manchester Union Leader, April 18 2013 How can Catholics cheer those who hid abuse?
My letter to the editor, which appeared in the Manchester Union Leader, April 18, 2013: How can Catholics cheer those who hid abuse?
How can Catholics cheer those who hid abuse?
To the Editor: As a survivor of priest rape, I and many other survivors wonder if the parishioners of the Roman Catholic Church can understand how it feels to us victims to hear them cheering the Pope or cardinals like Timothy Dolan. Benedict and Dolan are just two who participated in the coverups of child rape by their priests. Yet we victims have to hear you cheer them on. Put yourself in a rape victim’s shoes and imagine what that is like for us.
On Bishops Accountability, there is a database. On this list, there are 3,763 priests and nuns, just in the United States, who were credibly accused. You look at this list, then come back and tell us it was just a few priests who did this, and remember, this is just for those in the U.S.
To put it bluntly, we victims feel that is the parishioners and the good bishops, cardinals , priests and nuns do not demand the immediate resignation of all of these leaders of your church credibly accused in the coverups, and the prosecution of these people for their crimes against children, then in our eyes you are just as guilty of these crimes as the perpetrators.
Talk to the victims and see if the church is in fact doing all it can to help us.
Pope should endorse independent investigation
By Gerald T. Slevin
The expanding abuse crisis requires immediate action by Catholics. It is needed to invigorate their dispirited Church for the sake of defenseless children, disrespected women, disheartened clergy and disillusioned Catholics everywhere. The repeated worldwide pattern in too many child abuse cases leads to a central source that honest Catholics must now sadly acknowledge. The Church’s hierarchy for much too long has been unwilling to act responsively on urgent issues. The hierarchy has lost much of its credibility.
Much careful analysis already exists on potential solutions. Catholics must now choose and act on these solutions. Concerned Catholics are calling for the pope to set up promptly a commission of informed Catholic lay women and men, nuns and priests, both young and old, married and single. The commission would include persons from around the world knowledgeable in relevant areas, including scripture, theology, church history, psychology and law. The commission idea was proposed as a solution recently at NJ.Com by the distinguished Jesuit, Fr. Raymond Schroth.
Fr. Schroth has served as a dean or professor at five Catholic universities, as well as at New York University. He is well versed in theology and church history. This 12- person commission would review, and by majority vote recommend to the pope, necessary changes in the Catholic Church’s governance structure and its policies on human sexuality and gender, including mandatory celibacy and women priests. The pope has already been requested by me on behalf of many Catholics worldwide to set up this commission with independent and worldwide representation so that it can begin its work promptly and end the existing gridlock in Rome.
If the pope does not do this, concerned Catholics are expected then to set up the commission themselves and invite the pope to appoint two observers. The commission would be expected to accept by e-mail serious comments from all people. The commission would by August make its public recommendations for papal action and implementation by October. If papal action is not forthcoming by then, the commission would be expected to request the pope and bishops to call for an ecumenical council (Vatican III) to begin in November and to complete its work by mid-December. If neither the pope nor the council act timely, interested Catholics are expected by grassroots efforts continually to call upon their fellow Catholics worldwide to urge the pope and the bishops to adopt the commissions’ recommendations promptly.
These efforts, if necessary, are expected to include (a) media announcements and interviews, (b) direct lobbying of bishops, of major group and large individual contributors to the Vatican and the bishops worldwide, and of other Catholic interest groups, (c) appropriate public demonstrations at select key Church events worldwide, (d) calls for the withholding by all Catholics worldwide of contributions to the bishops and the Vatican, and (e) calls for all relevant governments, for example in Germany, to end all governmental subsidy payments to the Catholic Church. While Catholics will be expected to continue to support their local parishes and the Church’s health, social welfare and educational institutions, Catholics worldwide are expected to be called upon to curtail contributions intended for the Church’s hierarchy, until the commissions’ recommendations are implemented.
If the hierarchy fails to act timely, I believe all Catholics will have a clear moral obligation to support these grassroots efforts. The Gospels call upon all Catholics to protect defenseless children. Since 1990, several billion dollars of Catholics’ contributions have been diverted from advancing the Gospel to expenditures related to child abusers and those who wrongfully covered up their serious crimes, rather than primarily to addressing the child abuse problems openly, effectively and honestly. Unless this commission action is taken, these abuse expenditures can be expected to continue worldwide at high levels into the foreseeable future. For example, reports of child abuse cases are currently skyrocketing in Germany, the pope’s home country. Catholics can no longer avoid the painful truth being reported daily that their contributions are continuously being used to enable the cancer of child abuse to exist in order apparently to protect the power and positions of the hierarchy mainly. To date, no bishop has really been penalized for misconduct related to clerical child abuse. When compelling evidence of bishop misconduct has been presented, the bishops have generally been able to move into a comfortable retirement or moved to another position. Perhaps, this should not be so surprising. The Vatican is dependent on bishops for significant financial support and on voting cardinal bishops for desired political support at the next papal election, which may not be long in coming. Many Catholics want to change this unfair and counterproductive policy that fails to hold bishops accountable. Child abuse prevention programs cannot reasonably be expected to be successful, if supervising culprits, like bad bishops, are not penalized.
Many thousands of defenseless children and their families have for decades suffered from Catholic clerical child abuse. Many continue to suffer painfully. Millions of Catholics have left the Church reluctantly and dejectedly in frustration, taking their contributions with them. Recent polls indicate that millions of Catholics worldwide who remain are becoming increasingly disillusioned and many are considering leaving. Many Catholics want the Church to return to the loving spirit of the Gospels such as existed among early Christians, who for 300 years elected their own bishops and pastors. Many Catholics will not, and morally cannot, any longer support the existing ineffective and negative policies of the current hierarchy. Many Catholics want a Church governance structure that assures the accountability of all who act on behalf of the Church. Many Catholics also want the Church to promote positive policies concerning human sexuality and gender matters that are true to Catholics’ everyday lived experience in the present and in accordance with the loving spirit of the Gospels. Catholics worldwide are now increasingly standing up for their Church and, I expect, will vigorously support the call for the independent commission. History will surely judge them badly if they do not act and more innocent children suffer. The big question now is will the pope cooperate with an independent commission or will he once more miss a real opportunity to reform and preserve the Catholic Church and the great faith it supports. Time will tell!
To date, unfortunately, the pope has too often followed a Nixonian Watergate-style stonewalling strategy. He completely evades answering directly questions about his involvement in several very disturbing child abuse cases. His spokespeople mainly just deny, deny and deny. His defenders fiercely attack any one who dares to raise obvious and legitimate questions and even try to smear them with outrageous slurs. I worked while at Harvard Law School for Archibald Cox, the Watergate prosecutor mainly responsible for bringing Nixon to justice. I think if he were here today, Archibald Cox would find the pope’s strategy very familiar. It didn’t work for Nixon and it cannot in the age of the internet and 24 hour news cycles possibly work for the pope. Hopefully, the pope will realize that soon and endorse the independent commission as being in everyone’s best interests.”
Gerald T. Slevin practiced law until retirement at the Wall Street firm of Sullivan & Cromwell. Mr. Slevin attended 16 years of Catholic schools before graduating from Harvard Law School.
Pope will have security, immunity by remaining in the Vatican
By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY | Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:59pm EST
(Reuters) – Pope Benedict’s decision to live in the Vatican after he resigns will provide him with security and privacy. It will also offer legal protection from any attempt to prosecute him in connection with sexual abuse cases around the world, Church sources and legal experts say.
“His continued presence in the Vatican is necessary, otherwise he might be defenseless. He wouldn’t have his immunity, his prerogatives, his security, if he is anywhere else,” said one Vatican official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“It is absolutely necessary” that he stays in the Vatican, said the source, adding that Benedict should have a “dignified existence” in his remaining years.
Vatican sources said officials had three main considerations in deciding that Benedict should live in a convent in the Vatican after he resigns on February 28.
Vatican police, who already know the pope and his habits, will be able to guarantee his privacy and security and not have to entrust it to a foreign police force, which would be necessary if he moved to another country.
“I see a big problem if he would go anywhere else. I’m thinking in terms of his personal security, his safety. We don’t have a secret service that can devote huge resources (like they do) to ex-presidents,” the official said.
Another consideration was that if the pope did move permanently to another country, living in seclusion in a monastery in his native Germany, for example, the location might become a place of pilgrimage.
This could be complicated for the Church, particularly in the unlikely event that the next pope makes decisions that may displease conservatives, who could then go to Benedict’s place of residence to pay tribute to him.
“That would be very problematic,” another Vatican official said.
The final key consideration is the pope’s potential exposure to legal claims over the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandals.
In 2010, for example, Benedict was named as a defendant in a law suit alleging that he failed to take action as a cardinal in 1995 when he was allegedly told about a priest who had abused boys at a U.S. school for the deaf decades earlier. The lawyers withdrew the case last year and the Vatican said it was a major victory that proved the pope could not be held liable for the actions of abusive priests.
Benedict is currently not named specifically in any other case. The Vatican does not expect any more but is not ruling out the possibility.
“(If he lived anywhere else) then we might have those crazies who are filing lawsuits, or some magistrate might arrest him like other (former) heads of state have been for alleged acts while he was head of state,” one source said.
Another official said: “While this was not the main consideration, it certainly is a corollary, a natural result.”
After he resigns, Benedict will no longer be the sovereign monarch of the State of Vatican City, which is surrounded by Rome, but will retain Vatican citizenship and residency.
That would continue to provide him immunity under the provisions of the Lateran Pacts while he is in the Vatican and even if he makes jaunts into Italy as a Vatican citizen.
The 1929 Lateran Pacts between Italy and the Holy See, which established Vatican City as a sovereign state, said Vatican City would be “invariably and in every event considered as neutral and inviolable territory”.
There have been repeated calls for Benedict’s arrest over sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.
When Benedict went to Britain in 2010, British author and atheist campaigner Richard Dawkins asked authorities to arrest the pope to face questions over the Church’s child abuse scandal.
Dawkins and the late British-American journalist Christopher Hitchens commissioned lawyers to explore ways of taking legal action against the pope. Their efforts came to nothing because the pope was a head of state and so enjoyed diplomatic immunity.
In 2011, victims of sexual abuse by the clergy asked the International Criminal Court to investigate the pope and three Vatican officials over sexual abuse.
The New York-based rights group Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and another group, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), filed a complaint with the ICC alleging that Vatican officials committed crimes against humanity because they tolerated and enabled sex crimes.
The ICC has not taken up the case but has never said why. It generally does not comment on why it does not take up cases.
NOT LIKE A CEO
The Vatican has consistently said that a pope cannot be held accountable for cases of abuse committed by others because priests are employees of individual dioceses around the world and not direct employees of the Vatican. It says the head of the church cannot be compared to the CEO of a company.
Victims groups have said Benedict, particularly in his previous job at the head of the Vatican’s doctrinal department, turned a blind eye to the overall policies of local Churches, which moved abusers from parish to parish instead of defrocking them and handing them over to authorities.
The Vatican has denied this. The pope has apologized for abuse in the Church, has met with abuse victims on many of his trips, and ordered a major investigation into abuse in Ireland.
But groups representing some of the victims say the Pope will leave office with a stain on his legacy because he was in positions of power in the Vatican for more than three decades, first as a cardinal and then as pope, and should have done more.
The scandals began years before the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope in 2005 but the issue has overshadowed his papacy from the beginning, as more and more cases came to light in dioceses across the world.
As recently as last month, the former archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahoney, was stripped by his successor of all public and administrative duties after a thousands of pages of files detailing abuse in the 1980s were made public.
Mahoney, who was archbishop of Los Angeles from 1985 until 2011, has apologized for “mistakes” he made as archbishop, saying he had not been equipped to deal with the problem of sexual misconduct involving children. The pope was not named in that case.
In 2007, the Los Angeles archdiocese, which serves 4 million Catholics, reached a $660 million civil settlement with more than 500 victims of child molestation, the biggest agreement of its kind in the United States.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the pope “gave the fight against sexual abuse a new impulse, ensuring that new rules were put in place to prevent future abuse and to listen to victims. That was a great merit of his papacy and for that we will be grateful”.
(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Additional reporting by Robin Pomeroy; Edited by Simon Robinson and Giles Elgood)