Gerald T. Slevin, Update–Criminal Charges of Vatican Child Abuse Cover-Up
Monday, April 16, 2012
Cross-posted on Open Tabernacle, 16 April 2012.
Griffin: An amazing journey of forgiveness
Michael Mack is a man of many credits as a writer and theatrical performer. Now age 55, he has also accomplished two things in the spiritual realm that rank as unique in my experience.
First, despite suffering sexual abuse as a boy at the hands of a Catholic priest, he is now an active member of the church and values its spirituality. All the other victims of clergy abuse I have known have distanced themselves from this faith community, most with continuing and understandable anger.
Michael’s second achievement strikes me as even more remarkable. He has forgiven the priest who violated him.
In a long interview with Michael, I found his account of both events fascinating. The violation took place when he was 11 years old, the forgiveness when he had reached middle age.
Incidentally, the reason for our being in touch was a scheduled performance of Michael’s one-person play “Conversations with My Molester – a Journey of Faith.” It was to be staged at the playwright’s parish, St.Paul’s in Cambridge.
Just before sending this column off, I actually saw the play along with an unexpectedly large audience. We found it spellbinding. Adding to the meaning of the occasion, an official of the Archdiocese of Boston responsible for overseeing child protection, Barbara Thorp, was present and took part in the discussion at the end.
The sexual violation of the boy Michael took place in Brevard, North Carolina, a small town in the western part of the state. Because their mother was ill, he and his siblings spent a year living with their aunt and her family there, rather than back home in Washington D.C.
The boy loved his parish church in North Carolina and envisioned himself becoming a priest someday. He soon became close to the pastor, the person who took Michael to his first basketball game, and acted toward him like a “surrogate dad.”
One day, the boy wandered into the church basement and sat down to play the piano. Then the priest appeared and invited Michael to come to the rectory. Once in this house, the priest brought the boy into a room, closed the door, and took advantage of the child’s innocence.
Days later, the priest left the parish and Michael, too, moved from Brevard soon afterward. “I left that day confused,” he recalls. “I felt that something big had just happened — something not right.”
Later, as a teenager, he was to experience something much worse, what he calls “self-loathing.”
As to the priest who assaulted him sexually, Michael lost complete contact with him for decades. But when he moved to Boston some 10 years ago, Michael made an astounding discovery.
The priest was also living in Massachusetts, not too far away in the orbit of Worcester. Though not defrocked, he was no long performing priestly ministry.
Michael’s repeated efforts to reach the priest were ultimately connected with a spiritual change in Michael’s heart. He had been moved to forgive the priest for what he had done.
As I listened to Michael’s story, I felt moved by his sincerity and his spiritual courage. He had managed to offer forgiveness to someone who, behind the full force of priestly status, had done him terrible harm.
Michael tells of going to the priest’s funeral. It was his first time in many years back in a Catholic church. There the man who had violated him and others was extolled as a good priest. Despite his forgiveness, Michael found it bizarre to hear his molester praised.
Whenever church officials are promoted, we always hope for the best. We hope that church officials will bring in an outsider who has not been involved in an institution that has been marred by cover-ups, or that a priest is promoted instead of a monsignor or fellow bishop. Today, when a Jesuit priest Fr. Thomas Smolich was tapped to head the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, church officials did exactly the opposite of what we hope for. They elevated a man with a horrific record on child sex abuse and who has been allegedly involved in many cover ups.
Smolich, who has worked as President of the Jesuit Conference of the United States since 2006, has a history rife with excusals of predator priests. In 2002, Smolich was working as the Provincial for the California province of the Jesuits. When Angel Crisostomo Mariano was sued in civil court for abusing a mentally disabled man, Smolich denied knowing much about Mariano at all, despite the fact that, at that point, Smolich had been roommates with Mariano for two years.
Beyond living with credibly accused predator priests, Smolich has housed other convicted and accused predators at the Sacred Heart Center in Los Gatos, CA where these predators have been able to mix with vulnerable adults, in some cases abusing them. Fr. James Chevedden was wheelchair-bound and living at Sacred Heart when he was abused by serial predator Br. Charles Leonard Connor (http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/12309408.htm).
Tragically, Fr. Chevedden died by suicide or a staged suicide three years after reporting the abuse, and the Jesuits later settled with Chevedden’s surviving family in a wrongful death suit.
Smolich has housed and protected more than just Br. Connor, however. At least five credibly-accused or convicted predators have lived at Sacred Heart (Fr. Connor, Fr. Jerold Lidner, Fr. Edward Thomas Burke, Fr. Mariano, and Br. John Moniz) (http://www.detnews.com/2002/religion/0207/01/religion-526386.htm). These men were afforded the opportunity to not only avoid responsibility for their crimes, but also the chance to abuse others.
Clearly, Smolich is more focused on protecting his fellow Jesuits than he is deterring them from abusing children and vulnerable adults or making sure that citizens are safe from other predators within the Society of Jesus. We are deeply concerned that Smolich is the type of man who is, at least according to the Catholic hierarchy, worthy of promotion. We wonder how many more people have been or will be abused by his protection of predator priests, and we worry about how this promotion will allow this type of behavior to continue.
Smolich should be demoted, not promoted.
We urge anyone who has been abused by any priest, Jesuit or otherwise, to immediately go to the police and work to put the predator in jail. That’s the best way to keep kids safe. The Jesuits are still not doing what they should to safeguard the vulnerable and expose child molesting clerics.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 12,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers and increasingly, victims who were assaulted in a wide range of institutional settings like summer camps, athletic programs, Boy Scouts, etc. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
His Unholiness, the Papal Bullshitter, Pope Benedict, said he wanted to do all he could to make sure the church took care of us victims. Yet he is full of shit plain and simple. He is more concerned with protecting his own damn ass and the church than he ever was protecting children from the perverted priests he has running his churches.
By his own damn words he convicts himself as one of the true perverts of the Roman Catholic Church. I am copying this report directly from http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/popersquos-child-porn-normal-claim-sparks-outrage-among-victims-15035449.html#ixzz1p7tlkhj3 and I am going to make comments as the sections go.
Victims of clerical sex abuse have reacted furiously to Pope Benedict’s claim yesterday that paedophilia wasn’t considered an “absolute evil” as recently as the 1970s.
In his traditional Christmas address yesterday to cardinals and officials working in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI also claimed that child pornography was increasingly considered “normal” by society.
How dare you, you sick and disgusting pervert leader of the Roman Catholic Church to claim that child pornography was considered “normal” by society. Which freaking society are YOU living in you sick and twisted pervert? I don’t know about you, but in the United States of America, you possess child pornography, YOU GO TO PRISON FOR IT, so is that normal to YOU, your Unholiness?
“In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorised as something fully in conformity with man and even with children,” the Pope said.
This just goes to show this pope more than likely molested children himself. He protects his child molesting priests, so what makes me think, with his reasoning and his words, that he himself does not molest children? How in the hell can he even call himself a man of god when he agrees that child porn and sex between an adult and children as normal and in full conformity? You are one sick and twisted individual Pope to be saying this crap out of your pie hole.
The Pope said abuse revelations in 2010 reached “an unimaginable dimension” which brought “humiliation” on the Church.
The ONLY humiliation that has been bought on the church is us victims. You could give two shits less about the victims, your Unholiness. You only care about protecting your ass, the asses of your pedophile priests and the billions the church has. You do not care one iota about us victims of your sick and twisted priests.
Asking how abuse exploded within the Church, the Pontiff called on senior clerics “to repair as much as possible the injustices that occurred” and to help victims heal through a better presentation of the Christian message.
First off how did this abuse explode within the church? Because the leaders knew about it and they freaking hid it. When they knew a priest was sexually abusing a child, what did they do? Did they turn them into the police department for prosecution like they should have? NO. Did they defrock the priest? NO. Did they bend over backwards to help the victim? HELL NO. What they did, these marvelous church leaders, including the present perverted Papal Bullshitter Benedict, was transfer these priests to other parishes so they could continue raping and molesting other children.
The leaders fought any and all attempts to bring this to light and they did everything they could to avoid prosecution of these priests and the leaders who covered it all up. They still are doing this. Yeah for about one year when this really broke out, they worked with the victims, mostly offering them as recompense for the horrors we went through, to pay for therapy and if the victim was lucky, they got about 20 grand for their ruined lives.
N.H. is a prime example of this. There was a Bishop named McConnell who actually cared about the victims and did what he could for them. Yet the Pope and all the other officials hate these kinds of Bishops. They want them to settle with the victims as little as possible.
Yet what price do you put on the pain and suffering we victims have been through?
I know what I am demanding. $25,000.00 per year for pain and suffering for 37 years of horror and nightmares, For all the suicide attempts and my undying hatred towards the christians and the christian god. I am also demanding $15,000.00 per year for 34 years for lost wages. Plus they are going to pay my lawyers fees and any and all money paid back to Social Security and Medicaid/Medicare for all the money they spent thanks to my insanity caused by the priest raping me. I am also demanding that the Roman Catholic Church set up at least six half way houses for abused men. Abused women have all the help they can get, but abused men have no where to turn to for real help. Well the RCC is going to help me rectify this at least in the state of NH. Either they settle for what I want or I will take their sorry asses to court and let a jury award me ten times this amount.
What better presentation will be the christian message? That the Papal Bullshitter, his bishops and priests can get away with raping children, covering it up, torturing us victims with your false bullshit? I do not want to hear a better presentation of the Christian message because as far as I am concerned, your Christian message is that you are special in that you can rape children with no punishment at all and think your god and jesus christ can protect you and when you die you are going to spend an eternity in heaven???? Bullshit, Papal Bullshitter, you, your bishops and your perverted priests will burn in hell for what you did to us children.
“We cannot remain silent about the context of these times in which these events have come to light,” he said, citing the growth of child pornography “that seems in some way to be considered more and more normal by society” he said.