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Magdalene survivors urge Coalition to deliver on promises


Magdalene survivors urge Coalition to deliver on promises

Emma-Jane Hade

Published 20/01/2015 | 02:30

From the link: http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/magdalene-survivors-urge-coalition-to-deliver-on-promises-30921055.html

Dubliner Martina Keogh spent almost two years in two different Magdalene laundry homes when she was a young woman.

She is supporting a coalition of groups who are calling on the Government to fully implement all the recommendations made by Mr Justice John Quirke in the restorative redress scheme, particularly in relation to healthcare.

The group, which includes Justice for Magdalenes Research (JFMR), the National Women’s Council of Ireland, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and Amnesty International, claims the Redress for Women Resident in Certain Institutions Bill is an “unacceptable paring back of what the Government promised”.

Maeve O’Rourke, from JFMR, said the bill promises little more than the regular medical card, “which most of the women already have.”

Survivors want a card giving them access to a full range of health services, similar to the HAA cards issued to women infected with Hepatitis C through infected blood products.

Ms Keogh said: “I am hoping the Taoiseach will give us that card so we can get better treatment. I think they should stand up and deliver what they promised us.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice last night said: “The Magdalene women will receive an enhanced medical card on the same lines as the HAA card. Under this legislation, GP, prescription medicines, nursing, home help, dental, ophthalmic, aural, counselling, chiropody and physiotherapy services will be made available by the HSE free of charge.”

 

Outrage expressed at provisions of Magdalene Bill


Outrage expressed at provisions of Magdalene Bill

Advocates for women say Bill is unacceptable paring back of redress package promises

Patsy McGarry Mon, Jan 19, 2015, 19:55

From the link: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/outrage-expressed-at-provisions-of-magdalene-bill-1.2071614

The draft legislation to assist survivors of Magdalene laundries has been described as “unacceptable, unfair and full of broken promises” by advocacy groups.

Advocates for the women say the Bill published last month represents an unacceptable paring back of what the Government promised as part of the women’s redress package.

After Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s apology to the Magdalene women last year, Mr Justice John Quirke was tasked with designing a restorative justice scheme, which the Government accepted.

The Redress for Women Resident in Certain Institutions Bill, published last month, proposes the women be entitled to GP care, prescription medicines, nursing and home-help as well as dental, ophthalmic, aural, counselling, chiropody and physiotherapy services provided by the HSE.

‘Paring back’

This was described at the press conference as “an obvious and unacceptable paring back” on what Justice Quirke recommended, as well as possibly being open to legal challenge.

It was also claimed that of approximately €60 million allocated for spending on redress for the woman, just €18 million had been spent so far.

Dr Katherine O’Donnell of Justice for Magdalene Research (JFMR) said the Bill represented “a massive claw back” on the Quirke recommendations. She felt it may be open to legal challenge as, on receiving redress, women signed a waiver agreeing not to sue the State. This was on the understanding all the Quirke recommendations would be fulfilled, she said.

“Justice Quirke could not have been clearer in recommending that each woman should receive a card entitling her to the full range of health services provided to state-infected Hepatitis-C survivors under the HAA card scheme,” said Maeve O’Rourke, of JFMR.

“Instead, the Bill promises little more than the regular medical card, which most of the women [91 per cent] already have.”

Health issues

She said 14 per cent of the women were over 80, while the average age of the approximately 500 involved was 70, 66 per cent of them with serious health issues.

The Bill also failed to provide care representatives for Magdalene women in nursing homes whose full capacity to address their affairs may be limited, or to implement fully the recommendations on the women’s pension entitlements.

Orla O’Connor, of the National Women’s Council, said the Bill was “a further denial of the rights of women survivors of the Magdalene laundries”.

Amnesty International’s Colm O’Gorman described the Bill as “outrageous” and asked “what did the Taoiseach apologise for?” He described Government assertions that the interdepartmental McAleese inquiry was “a comprehensive investigation” of the laundries as “shocking”.

‘Enhanced’ medical card

Responding to the criticism, a Department of Justice spokesman said the women would “receive an enhanced medical card on the same lines as the HAA card”.

On the women with reduced capacity, he said this was being dealt with through separate legislation expected to be enacted in the first half of this year.

He also said: “Justice Quirke’s recommendation regarding top-up pension-type payments is being fully implemented.”

Magdalene survivor: ‘They’re ignoring my basic human rights’


Magdalene survivor: ‘They’re ignoring my basic human rights’

Former residents say Government has failed to implement necessary health measures

Sorcha Pollak Mon, Jan 19, 2015, 19:49

From the link: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/magdalene-survivor-they-re-ignoring-my-basic-human-rights-1.2071627

Diane Croghan says she felt like a liar after the Department of Justice rejected her testimonial of the time she spent working at the Magdalene laundry in Summerhill, Co Wexford. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Diane Croghan says she felt like a liar after the Department of Justice rejected her testimonial of the time she spent working at the Magdalene laundry in Summerhill, Co Wexford. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Diane Croghan was 13 years old when she climbed inside a laundry van to escape the Sisters of Mercy Training School in Summerhill, Co Wexford.

After more than three years of isolation, hard work and abuse at the Magdalene laundry at Summerhill, Diane decided to run away to Dublin.

“It was dreadful, we weren’t allowed to speak with one another,” she says. “I think we worked from 7am-7pm but I’m not sure. We didn’t know the time, we had nothing to show us what time it was.”

Domestic servant

After Diane escaped she found work as a domestic servant in Ballsbridge in Dublin. She later worked as a waitress in the Shelbourne hotel.

Diane’s testimony of the three years she spent working at Summerhill has been rejected by the Department of Justice reparation scheme for former residents of Magdalene laundries.

The financial compensation she received under the restorative justice scheme was based on information provided by the Sisters of Mercy Religious order, which claimed she had only spent five months at the Wexford laundry, between April and September 1956. According to Diane, by 1956 she was already living and working in Dublin.

“I felt like I was a liar; that I was trying to claim for years I wasn’t there and that’s not true. I accepted what they said because I took a stroke and I said no money would repay my good health,” she says. “I felt I was being punished. I was bullied into accepting it, so I accepted it.”

Elizabeth Coppin from Listowel, in Co Kerry, is also unhappy with the Government’s failure to respond to Mr Justice John Quirke’s recommendations for survivors of Magdalene laundries.

Industrial school

Elizabeth spent four years between two Magdalene Laundries in Cork and one in Waterford between the ages of 15 and 19. She spent the first 15 years of her life in an industrial school in Tralee.

“You were locked in a cell, treated like you were in prison,” she says, describing the laundries. “They cut my hair and changed all our names. Nobody knew anybody by their proper name.”

“We’re talking about trafficking. They exploited us as vulnerable young children. Most of us were underage.”

In August 2014, Elizabeth wrote to Minister for Health Leo Varadkar asking whether she was entitled to a Health (Amendment) Act 1996 Card (HAA card) following the Government’s commitment to accept all recommendations in Justice Quirke’s report.

The report states HAA cards should be given to “each of the women who were admitted to and worked in a designated Magdalene laundry”.

Four months later, on December 23rd, a response arrived from Mr Varadkar’s private secretary which said: “Judge Quirke did not recommend that a medical card would issue to participants of the ex gratia scheme”.

“For me, they’re saying again that I don’t matter,” says Elizabeth. “Again they’re ignoring my basic human rights. I had to wait four months to get that hidden, sneaky answer.

‘That’s disgusting’

“I bet you all those people in Government are getting their full pension and expenses, yet the Irish women are still being deprived of their entitlements. To me that’s disgusting.”

Elizabeth believed Taoiseach Enda Kenny when he apologised in 2013 on behalf of the State to the women who endured suffering in the Magdalene laundries. However, she says he’s gone back on his word.

“I was taken up with the moment of the idea of an apology. On reflection it couldn’t be genuine because they’ve reneged on Judge Quirke’s recommendations. I really believed it … but now I just feel that it was all a drama. He has let us down very badly.”

Laundries survivor: We were slaves


Laundries survivor: We were slaves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roman Catholic Horrors: Magdalene Launderies and Asylums


Roman Catholic Horrors: Magdalene Launderies and Asylums

• Originally termed Magdalene Asylums the first in Ireland was opened in Dublin in 1765, for Protestant girls • First Catholic home was founded in Cork in 1809 • Envisaged as short-term refuges for 'fallen women' they became long-term institutions and penitents were required to work, mostly in laundries on the premises • They extended to take in unmarried mothers, women with learning difficulties and girls who had been abused • The facilities were self-supporting and the money generated by the laundries paid for them • Between 1922 and 1996 there were 10 such laundries in the Republic of Ireland • Many Irish institutions, such as the army, government departments, hotels and even Guinness had contracts with Magdalene laundries • The women toiled behind locked doors unable to leave after being admitted and while the laundries were paid, they received no wages • The last Magdalene asylum in Ireland, in Waterford, closed in 1996 • The congregations which ran them were the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy, the Religious Sisters of Charity and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd

• Originally termed Magdalene Asylums the first in Ireland was opened in Dublin in 1765, for Protestant girls
• First Catholic home was founded in Cork in 1809
• Envisaged as short-term refuges for ‘fallen women’ they became long-term institutions and penitents were required to work, mostly in laundries on the premises
• They extended to take in unmarried mothers, women with learning difficulties and girls who had been abused
• The facilities were self-supporting and the money generated by the laundries paid for them
• Between 1922 and 1996 there were 10 such laundries in the Republic of Ireland
• Many Irish institutions, such as the army, government departments, hotels and even Guinness had contracts with Magdalene laundries
• The women toiled behind locked doors unable to leave after being admitted and while the laundries were paid, they received no wages
• The last Magdalene asylum in Ireland, in Waterford, closed in 1996
• The congregations which ran them were the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy, the Religious Sisters of Charity and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd

 

Catholic Church enslaved 30,000 Irish women as forced unpaid labor in Magdalene Laundries until 1996


Catholic Church enslaved 30,000 Irish women as forced unpaid labor in Magdalene Laundries until 1996

2/6/2013 8:00am by

From the link: http://americablog.com/2013/02/magdalen-laundries-catholic-ireland-irish-apology.html

What a horrific story.  The Irish Prime Minister gave a partial apology today for the government’s role in a 74-year scandal in which, a new official government report says, over 10,000 women were forced to work without pay at commercial laundries called Magdalene Laundries, operated by the Catholic Church for “crimes” as small as not paying a train ticket.

In Northern Ireland, a parellel investigation is currently under way, although it, oddly, is so far refusing to include that country’s Magdalene Laundries in the investigation.

Wikipedia notes that the estimate of the number of women who were used as forced slave labor by the Catholic Church in Ireland alone goes as high as 30,000 over the entire time the Magdalene laundries were in operation.

The last Magdalene laundry closed in 1996.

Women were locked in, couldn’t leave Magdalene Laundries for months, sometimes years

The women were locked in and not permitted to leave.  And if they tried to get away, the cops would catch them and bring them back. They were quite literally Catholic slave labor working for the government and even Guinness, which would pay the laundries for the women’s slave labor.

Half of the girls enslaved in these Catholic Church prisons were under the age of 23.  The youngest entrant was 9 years old.

Girls and women working in Catholic Church’s Magdalene Laundry in Ireland in the early 20th century. Public domain photo in the US, via Wikipedia. (PD-US-1923-ABROAD)

Girls and women working in Catholic Church’s Magdalene Laundry in Ireland in the early 20th century. Public domain photo in the US, via Wikipedia. (PD-US-1923-ABROAD)

Singer Sinead O’Connor was perhaps the most famous Magdalene Laundry slave

Singer Sinead O’Connor was forced to work in a Magdalene Laundry in Dublin:

When I was a young girl, my mother — an abusive, less-than-perfect parent — encouraged me to shoplift. After being caught once too often, I spent 18 months in An Grianán Training Centre, an institution in Dublin for girls with behavioral problems, at the recommendation of a social worker. An Grianán was one of the now-infamous church-sponsored “Magdalene laundries,” which housed pregnant teenagers and uncooperative young women. We worked in the basement, washing priests’ clothes in sinks with cold water and bars of soap. We studied math and typing. We had limited contact with our families. We earned no wages. One of the nuns, at least, was kind to me and gave me my first guitar.

No apology from the Catholic Church

Absent from any of the media reports on the scandal that I could find was an apology from the Catholic Church which operated the Magdalene laundries and made handsome profits from contracts with government and hotels.  Oh, found one. It seems the Catholic Church blew the women off.  I know, you’re as surprised as I am:

Victims of the child sex abuse scandals that have rocked the Irish Catholic Church have received an apology and compensation, but no one has taken responsibility for what happened in the laundries. Cardinal Sean Brady, the most senior Catholic cleric in Ireland, met with Justice for Magdalenes in 2010. He said “by today’s standards much of what happened at that time is difficult to comprehend” but that it was a matter for the religious orders who ran the laundries to deal with. The religious orders have declined to meet the women.

The Irish Cardinal wasn’t interested in hearing from people who were hurt and abused — if not sexually, certainly physically and mentally, by the Catholic Church.  And it’s not the Catholic Church’s fault. Where have we heard that story before?

The laundries were run by nuns, many of whom treated the women sent to work there as slaves:

Senator McAleese’s inquiry found that half of the girls and women put to work in the laundries were under the age of 23 and 40%, more than 4,000, spent more than a year incarcerated.

Fifteen percent spent more than five years in the laundries while the average stay was calculated at seven months.

The youngest death on record was 15, and the oldest 95, the report found.

The Irish state is also implicated in the scandal because the police would take women to the asylums after arresting them for trivial offenses and would return runaways.

The story of the Magdalene laundries shows what happens when an institution — in this case the church and the government — is considered beyond criticism. It probably isn’t a coincidence that the last of the laundries closed in 1996, shortly after the first wave of the Catholic pedophile priest scandals hit Ireland.

Let me reiterate that for a moment.  The Catholic Church had slaves as late as 1996.

“It changed me as a person to authority, God forgive me I learned to hate people then”

Here are some of the testimonials of the women who served as forced Catholic slaves.  You can find them in the official report:

“The only thing was I had appendicitis and asked [named nun] could I go to bed and she wouldn’t let me”.

Some, but not all women reported that their hair had been cut on entry to the laundry. Some described this as an upsetting and degrading experience.

“T’was the ultimate humiliation for you. It changed me as a person to authority, God forgive me I learned to hate people then”.

One woman said that in the Magdalene Laundry in which she was, “You could write once a month but the nun would read the letters”.

This is one is pure torture:

Another very common grievance of the women who shared their stories with the Committee – particularly those who had previously been in Industrial or Reformatory Schools – was that there was a complete lack of information about why they were there and when they would get out. None of these women were aware of the period of supervision which followed discharge from industrial or reformatory school.

Due to this lack of information and the fact that they had been placed in an institution among many older women, a large number of the women spoke of a very real fear that they would remain in the Magdalene Laundry for the rest of their lives. Even if they left the Laundries after a very short time, some women told the Committee that they were never able to fully free themselves
of this fear and uncertainty.

Victims reject Irish PM’s apology

The victims have rejected the Prime Minster’s “apology,” which does sound somewhat lame:

“To those residents who went into the Magdalene Laundries through a variety of ways, 26pc from state intervention or state involvement, I am sorry for those people that they lived in that kind of environment,” Mr Kenny said in parliament in Dublin today.

“I want to see that those women who are still with us, anywhere between 800 and 1000 at max, that we should see that the state provides for them with the very best of facilities and supports that they need in their lives.”

Did your defense lawyer write that one up for you?

Here’s Joni Mitchell singing about the Magdalene Laundries:

The Vatican still does not take responsibility for sexual abuse


The Vatican still does not take responsibility for sexual abuse

From the link: http://reform-network.net/?m=201401

The pope’s representatives made other assertions on Jan. 16, easier understood when the five members of the delegation are identified:

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the pope’s representative at the United Nations “where the Holy See has played serious hardball against women’s human rights for 50 years.”

Auxiliary Bishop of Malta, Charles Sciluna, former prosecutor at the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith who decided cases involving laicization of priests. He was replaced in Dec. 2012 by Fr. Robert W. Oliver, an American who previously served as canon (Church law) lawyer in the Boston Archdiocese protecting the rights of priests accused of sexual abuse.

Vincenzo Buonomo, Professor of International Law at the Pontifical Lateran University.

Jane Adolphe, professor at Ave Maria School of Law in Naples, Florida, an expert in international law  assigned to the Vatican Secretariat of State. Tom Monaghan, business mogul and “national power broker for GOP Catholic candidates,”   founded both the town of Ave Maria and the university to bring about “his vision for a new and righteous America founded upon strict Catholic values.”  Adolphe wrote a paper classifying struggles in the U.N. for gay and women’s rights as “Gender Wars,” i.e. “lobbying efforts to promote a radical understanding of “gender. ”

Greg Burke, former Fox News correspondent and Vatican senior communications advisor accompanied the group.

The only one with any experience on the subject of sex abuse was Scicluna and only from the Vatican’s point of view.

BishopAccountability.org, a group dedicated to documenting the sex abuse crisis, noted five significant moments of the hearing.

For the first time, the Vatican had to admit publicly that it still does not require the reporting of child sex crimes to civil authorities. Nor does it take this step when priests are defrocked.

The Holy See still has refused to provide the data requested. On July 1, the United Nation’s Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) sent a request to the pope for “detailed information on all cases of child sexual abuse committed by members of the clergy, brothers or nun” for the past fifteen years and set November 1 as a deadline for a reply.

The Holy See appears to have no intention of extraditing Archbishop Józef Wesołowski to either the Dominican Republic or Poland, being accused of with sex abuse of minors in both countries.  Wesoloski “liked to frequent the area of children working in the streets”  and would pay to tape them with his cell phone. “We learned from the children that Wesolowski took pictures of them while they were masturbating. Oral sex was performed,” Nuria Piera, an investigative journalist in the Dominican Republic said. The pope whisked Wesolowski out of Dominican Republic this past August before the public or law enforcement officials became aware of his crimes  and Wesolowski has been hiding in the Vatican City State where he is shielded by the country’s sovereign immunity.  In hindsight, then, we can question the timing of Pope Francis’ adding the offense of sexual abuse of a minor to the Vatican’s penal code effective July 11. That law applies not only to residents of the Vatican City State but also to anyone on the payroll of the Holy See such as members of its diplomatic corps. The pope received official notification of Wesolowski’s crimes “sometime in July,”  but it is not improbable that the Vatican was aware of the situation even earlier. The Vatican announced that Wesolowski, “was facing a criminal investigation by the Vatican’s own criminal court.”  When the pope begins more formal proceedings against Wesolowski, the corporate media will again trumpet how he is “serious” about sex abuse.

The Vatican believes that it is the obligation of the individual perpetrator, not the Church, to compensate victims.

Religious orders, which comprise one third to one half of the world’s Catholic clerics, still are not being compelled by the Holy See to create abuse policies. (Pope Benedict XVI ordered the world’s bishops to do this  in 2011. The order was widely ignored, even by the cardinal archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio.)

Tomasi and Scicluna were questioned about “uncovering the whereabouts of the children born to young, unmarried women who were essentially enslaved in Ireland’s Magdalene Asylums or Laundries and forced to relinquish their babies to adoption, a situation brilliantly dramatized in the film Philomena.” Issues raised such as Church-supported abortion laws which force children to bear children, forced child relinquishment, abandonment of children by Catholic priests – as noted by Angela Bonavoglia at Religion Dispatches – received the same response as a host of other questions: not our problem.

Pope Francis is washing his hands of any responsibility for whatever happens outside his city state or those on his immediate payroll. “On the level of the Holy See, as the Sovereign of Vatican City State, the response to sexual abuse has been in accord with its direct responsibility over the territory of Vatican City State,” stated Tomasi. “Priests are not functionaries of the Vatican….They are citizens of their own state and fall under the jurisdiction of that state.” Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said in a statement on Jan. 16. Questions posed by the U.N. committee and others “seem to presuppose that bishops and religious superiors act as representatives or delegates of the pope, something which is without foundation.”

Since every bishop is appointed (obviously some with the advice of others, but the pope chooses his advisors) and can be removed by the pope; religious superiors can be removed by the pope and every priest is approved by a bishop or religious superior, then papal authority and influence is direct. Yet the pope has never discouraged his bishops, their expensive attorneys and high-powered lobbying machines from battling against civil efforts to revise statutes-of-limitations which obstruct the “jurisdiction of the state” from bringing prelates, clerics and religious to justice. (Unlike other crimes, experts agree it takes children sometimes decades to come to terms with the results of their trauma.)

News of the questioning before the U.N. commission was followed the next day by theAssociated Press reporting that 400 priests had been defrocked in the years 2011 and 2012. The information used by the AP “was prepared from data the Vatican had been collecting to help the Holy See defend itself before a U.N. committee this week in Geneva.”

The Vatican Insider website noted that of 259 cases in 2011, 135 were requests from priests for a “dispensation,” or voluntary removal, from the priesthood, and 124 were forcibly dismissed. In 2012, 418 cases of abuse of minors by priests had been reported to the Holy See. That same year, there were 67 requests for voluntary dispensation and 57 dismissals.

Reuters:  Pope Francis will not show leniency towards pedophile priests as truth and justice are more important than protecting the Church, the Vatican’s former sex crimes prosecutor has pledged….Monsignor Charles Scicluna said on Saturday that the number of clerics defrocked by the Vatican was likely to have fallen to about 100 [voluntary and dismissals] in 2013 from about 125 in 2012 and a peak of 260 in 2011.

“Yes, these men were defrocked, but…they are out there. We don’t know who these men are, we don’t know what kinds of crimes they committed, we don’t know what countries they’re in, we don’t know anything about them. They’ve been kicked into society with no repercussions,” noted Joelle Casteix, member of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) on the MSNBC.

“I’ve seen a reliable report that more than 700 cases have been sent [to the Vatican] by America alone,” said Nicholas Cafardi, a canon and civil lawyer at the Duquesne Law School in Pittsburgh. “So 400, that’s not surprising.”  “To put it in another perspective, there have been 276 priests accused of sexual abuse in the Boston archdiocese alone, according to BishopAccountability.org.”

In early 2012, “a senior Vatican cardinal revealed how more than 4,000 cases of sex abuse by priests on children have been investigated during the last ten years. The shock figure was announced by American cardinal Joseph William Levada as he opened a conference on the wide scale phenomenon which has rocked the Roman Catholic church with cases reported all over the world.

Described as a “Vatican summit,” two American experts told the same conference “that there may have been as many as 100,000 total victims of clerical sex abuse” in that country alone.

After missing the Nov. 1 deadline for responding to the request for information by the U.N. CRC, Pope Francis responded on Dec. 4 by stating that it was not the practice of his government to “disclose information on specific cases unless requested to do so by another country as part of legal proceedings” and “that the Vatican can provide information only about known and alleged child sex crimes that have happened on Vatican property,” generating the first negative publicity of his reign. Within two days, the pope announced that he would form a commission to study the problem of sex abuse. “A new Church panel is the last thing  that kids need. Church officials have mountains of information about those who are concealing horrible child sex crimes and cover-ups. They just have to give that information to the police,” David Clohessy, executive director of the SNAP, said in a telephone interview.

In addition to the above-mentioned 2012 conference, those “mountains of information” include “a landmark unofficial report, the 1985 Problem of Sexual Molestation by Roman Catholic Clergy, which emerged from the close involvement of the Holy See’s U.S. delegation and Archbishop Pio Laghi in abuse cases in the state of Louisiana. In 1997, the Holy See’s apostolic nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Luciano Storero, intervened to adjust reporting commitments approved by the Irish bishops’ conference. These are not isolated instances.”

After the sex abuse scandal made U.S. headlines in 2002, investigations were conducted by Boston, Manchester and Portland, Maine attorneys general and Philadelphia, Westchester and Suffolk Co. New York grand juries. Those were followed by Ireland’s Murphy, Ryan, Cloyne and Ferns Reports.  This year, government inquiries are being conducted by the Australian federal government’s Royal Commission as well as the states of New South Wales and Victoria. Additionally there are reports compiled in Canada, Mexico, Britain and Spain.

The Center for Constitutional Rights and SNAP gave the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor at The Hague “more than 22,000 pages of supporting materials consisting of reports, policy papers, and evidence of the crimes by Catholic clergy committed against children and vulnerable adults” to support their request that Vatican officials, under the concept of superior responsibility, be investigated for crimes against humanity. Unfortunately, the court declined to take the case.

The reports, inquiries, investigations lead to the same conclusion: even Catholic bishops who were not themselves child abusers covered-up, enabled, aided and abetted the rape and sodomy of minors by vast numbers of priests, religious and lay employees. In addition to the indescribably horrific physical torture, victims and their families who dared report these crimes to the chanceries were threatened, maligned and persecuted.

The corporate media will laud the pope whenever he gets around to actually forming his commission while he and his churchmen continue to ignore the “mountains of information” already available.

Is it possible for a pope with Francis’ record, who has chosen other Church officials who have acted to conceal and promote pedophiles, to take the steps needed to end the horrific sexual torture of children?

The most shocking event on Jan. 16 happened not in Geneva but in Rome. While the rest of the world swoons over his pronouncements, the pope’s churchmen pay attention to his actions, appointments and promotions. At Mass that morning, while lamenting that “Scandals are the shame of the Church,” Pope Francis’ co-celebrant was Los Angeles Archbishop Emeritus, Cardinal Roger Mahony, who supervisedmore than 200 known pedophile priests with 500 known victims to whom the cardinal paid $720 million.

Mahony blogged that during his private meeting with the pope following Mass, the “topic of scandal never came up.” “To the Church’s walking wounded, for the pope to ‘honor’ such a man was painful and insulting,” noted SNAP founder Barbara Blaine.

As Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the pope’s recent “advocacy for Father Julio César Grassi, a convicted sex offender, and his effort to discredit young victims raise fundamental questions” about the pope’s “current willingness to protect children, punish predators, and support victims who testify against their abusers.”

The first pontifical action Bergoglio took after his election was to form a group of eight cardinals to advise him. He named Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, the archbishop of Tegucigalpa, as the group’s leader. Rodríguez Maradiaga is best known in Honduras because he “participated actively in the 2009 coup against the constitutional president, Manuel Zelaya.”  He also “blamed the Jews for the scandal surrounding the sexual misconduct of priests toward young parishioners” comparing the “Jewish controlled media with Hitler” for its “persecution against the Church.”

Group member Cardinal George Pell received a scathing assessment on Nov. 13 from the Australian parliament’s inquiry into child sex abuse. A committee concluded thatPell’s response indicates the Church’s central aim was to safeguard its own interests. “It is noteworthy that this description of objectives contains no acknowledgement of the terrible suffering of victims,” the report said. Professor Patrick Parkinson of the University of Sydney provided compelling research that Catholic clergy in Australia are responsible for six times more child sexual abuse than all the other churches combined.

Another member, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, the retired archbishop of Santiago, made headlines in Chile for protecting Fr. Fernando Karadima. In January 2011, a judge ordered that Karadima be interrogated about allegations he sexually abused children. According to court testimony, Church officials, including Errázuriz, tried to shame accusers into dropping claims, refused to meet with them or failed to carry out formal investigations for years. The first known reports of abuse by Karadima reached Errázuriz  in mid-2003. In 2006, a priest appointed by Errázuriz to investigate the claims made his report to the cardinal, stating that he believed “the accusers to be credible.” Errázuriz wrote in a public letter that he did nothing because he thought the allegations were beyond the statute of limitations.

On September 21, 2013, Pope Francis approved Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the office of the Holy See that has dealt with all sexual abuse cases since Pope John Paul II consolidated its role on April 30, 2001.  Fr. Peter Kramer had been convicted in 2000 of sexually abusing two boys, ages nine and twelve, while he was assigned to the Regensburg diocese in Germany. Kramer was sentenced to three years probation on condition that he not work with children. When Müller was appointed bishop of Regensburg in 2002, Kramer was already working with children in the parish of Riekhofen. In violation of the German bishops’ 2002 “binding” guidelines which forbid appointments to ministry of a priest who has been convicted of abusing a child, Müller promoted Kramer to pastor. Müller concealed Kramer’s conviction from his parishioners. When victims learned of Kramer’s new assignment, additional victims came forward and Kramer was convicted of additional child abuse.

While Bergoglio was pretty quick to remove German Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg for an extravagant lifestyle, a contradiction of the “humble” image which the pope wishes the Church to project, he leaves such notorious guardians of criminal priests as Chicago Cardinal Francis George, Twin Cities Archbishop Nienstedt, Kansas City Bishop Finn and Newark Archbishop Myers untouched and unchastised.

Unanimously reported as “proof” that Pope Francis was ridding his Curia of “conservatives,” he replaced the flamboyant and exquisitely costumed Cardinal Raymond Burke with Washington’s Cardinal Donald Wuerl to his committee which selects bishops. (In 2010, Wuerl’s “Catholic Charities – the archdiocese’s social service arm – said that it would end its 80-year-old foster care program rather than place children with same-sex couples.” Wuerl also told his employees that spousal health benefits would be denied to new employees and those who married in the future because he didn’t want to provide that benefit to same-sex couples.) The pope also reconfirmed American Cardinal William Levada to the same committee although Levada has one of the worst records among the U.S. episcopate for covering up for criminal clerics.

Bergoglio recently made his first selection of new cardinals. Missing was Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, the only active prelate in the whole world widely recognized as being sympathetic to victims. But in addition to Müller, the pope included Santiago Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, another Chilean prelate who protected Karadima.

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

“Only willful blindness and pathological denial can allow one to overlook the reality that the symptom of clerical abuse reveals a Roman Catholic Church as dysfunctional and corrupt sexually and financially as during the time of the Protestant Reformation.”A. W. Richard Sipe, Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor, former Benedictine monk and priest, and recognized authority on celibacy and priest sex abuse. August 30, 2013.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Irish religious orders confirm they will not pay Magdalene Laundry victims


Irish religious orders confirm they will not pay Magdalene Laundry victims

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Criminal Good Shepherd Nun exposed but dares to proclaim punishment was forbidden


Criminal Good Shepherd Nun exposed but dares to proclaim punishment was forbidden

Saturday May 11,2013
From the link: http://www.vaticancrimes.us/2013/05/criminal-good-shepherd-nun-exposed-but.html

A NUN accused of assaulting girls at an approved school told a court that corporal punishment was so-called “forbidden”.
This might somehow be believable back in the 1700’s when technology like we have today was not available and the Vatican still had the nations bewitched and oblivious to all the crimes they have committed worldwide. But today, since we are living historic moments, the world is awakening to the truth about the Catholic Church. Catholic nuns are being exposed for what they are and the hideous crimes they have committed by daring to use the Lord’s name to gain trust, and commit crimes.
But today sources like http://jh.to/organizedcrime document evidence of the millions of crimes committed by religious nun orders. From the Good Shepherd sisters to sisters of charity, sisters of St.Joseph, sisters of mercy, and more, have all been exposed in different nations for organized crime.
In fact, in Spain the nuns have been exposed for stealing over 300,000 babes in Spain’s catholic hospitals, in Canada they have been exposed for stealing children and selling them into adoption in mother baby homes, and in Australia, nuns even had to apologize for drugging women, stealing their newborn and selling them into adoption, while Ireland recently admitted to the concentration camps known as MAGDALENE LAUNDRIES where catholic nuns tortured thousands of women.
Despite this hard evidence, the Catholic Church continues to try to deceive. But their time is up since any day now this criminal organization will go up in flames. In the meantime, they continue kicking and stomping in a helpless attempt to stop their inevitable destruction…
Anne Kenny, 79, known as Sister Rosaria, began giving evidence yesterday at Paisley Sheriff Court. She told her defence QC Ronnie Clancy she joined the Good Shepherd Order in 1956 and worked in an approved school in Wales from 1959 until 1964 when she moved to Dalbeath approved school in Bishopton.
Kenny, of Manchester, and Agnes Reville, 77, of Newcastle, are on trial accused of assaulting girls at the nun-run school.
Kenny faces three charges of assault while Reville is accused of four charges of assault.
They initially faced another charge each but these were dropped by the Crown.
Kenny and Reville deny the charges and the trial before Sheriff Susan Sinclair continues.