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NEW CATHOLIC BISHOPS TOLD THEY DON’T HAVE TO REPORT SEXUAL ABUSE TO POLICE


NEW CATHOLIC BISHOPS TOLD THEY DON’T HAVE TO REPORT SEXUAL ABUSE TO POLICE

BY ON 2/11/16 AT 10:11 AM

From the Link: http://www.newsweek.com/bishops-no-obligation-report-sexual-abuse-425509

A Vatican official has told newly appointed bishops that they have no obligation to report instances of clerical sexual abuse, as it’s the responsibility of the victims and their families.

Updated | New Catholic bishops have been told that they have no obligation to report clerical child abuse, according to reports.

During a presentation for newly appointed bishops, French Monsignor Tony Anatrella said they don’t have a duty to report abuse because it should be the responsibility of victims and their families to go to the police. The comments were first reported by John L. Allen at the Catholic news site Cruxnow.com earlier this week.

Anatrella, a psychtherapist and consultant to the Pontifical Council for the Family and the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, is known for his controversial views on homosexuality, including that the acceptance of homosexuality in the West is creating “serious problems” for children. He also helped to write a training document for newly appointed bishops that further spells out the church’s stance on clerical sexual abuse.

“According to the state of civil laws of each country where reporting is obligatory, it is not necessarily the duty of the bishop to report suspects to authorities, the police or state prosecutors in the moment when they are made aware of crimes or sinful deeds,” the training document, which was released by the Vatican earlier this month, reads. The document says bishops are required only to report the suspected abuse internally.

A Vatican source told Newsweek that the comments made during the presentation are Anatrella’s opinion and not an official Vatican position. The source added that in some countries it is difficult for clergy to report abuse to authorities due to the “quite hostile” relationship between church and state. In countries with corrupt police forces and hostile governments, for example, there is greater risk of not having a presumption of innocence and a fair trial, he said.

“What would that mean in communist countries that throw priests and bishops into jail just for mentioning the pope’s name?” the Vatican source said. “To turn over the investigation of an accusation that could be false in such a situation is something that must be weighed.”

The Catholic League, a Catholic civil rights organization, also said the comments made by Anatrella were solely his opinion, and a Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said they were “not in any way—as someone has mistakenly interpreted—a new Vatican document or a new instruction or new ‘guidelines’ for bishops.”

Anatrella’s comments appear to be at odds with efforts made by the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, which held a week-long meeting earlier this month. The proposals from the commission, which will be sent to Pope Francis for his consideration, include “a request for him to remind all authorities in the Church of the importance of responding directly to victims and survivors who approach him,” the Vatican said in a press release.

Allen notes that the commission was not involved in the training session given by Anatrella amd wonders why the commission is “not entrusted with making such a presentation to new bishops.” The next course for new bishops will be held in September, Allen reports.

“In one sense, this isn’t surprising. As BishopAccountability.org has pointed out, ‘zero tolerance,’ while often uttered by Catholic officials, isn’t even the official policy of the global church,” Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said in a statement emailed to Newsweek.

“But it’s infuriating—and dangerous—that so many believe the myth that bishops are changing how they deal with abuse and that so little attention is paid when evidence to the contrary—like this disclosure by Allen—emerges,” she said.

The commission was set up in March 2014 with the explicit goal of proposing initiatives for “protecting minors and vulnerable adults, in order that we may do everything possible to ensure that crimes such as those which have occurred are no longer repeated in the Church.” Futhermore, the commission “is to promote local responsibility in the particular Churches, uniting their efforts to those of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, for the protection of all children and vulnerable adults.”

This story has been updated to include comments from SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Comments from the Vatican have also been added

South America has become a safe haven for the Catholic Church’s alleged child molesters. The Vatican has no comment.


South America has become a safe haven for the Catholic Church’s alleged child molesters. The Vatican has no comment.

Peter Saunders, the man who wants to bring Cardinal George Pell to justice


Peter Saunders, the man who wants to bring Cardinal George Pell to justice

June 1, 2015
Attack: Peter Saunders in a screengrab from 60 Minutes. Photo: Channel Nine

Attack: Peter Saunders in a screengrab from 60 Minutes. Photo: Channel Nine

It’s no secret that Cardinal George Pell has come under sustained criticism in recent years as damning allegations of systemic cover-ups by the Catholic Church have surfaced during the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

But until this week, his detractors have been largely Australian and the public censure cauterised at a domestic level. This has been the case even as he ascended to the upper echelons of the Vatican after taking up a coveted role managing the Holy See’s finances in February last year.

Enter Peter Saunders, a British child abuse survivor and the man hand-picked by Pope Francis to advise the church on child protection policies. Last year, he joined the nine-member commission, called the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, which was established by the Pope to address the scourge of sex abuse within the church and which reports directly to him.

Pedophile Pimp Cardinal George Pell of the Unholy Roman Catholic Church of Pedophile Pimps

Pedophile Pimp Cardinal George Pell of the Unholy Roman Catholic Church of Pedophile Pimps

On Sunday, he became a powerful voice in the growing crescendo demanding Cardinal Pell be called to account for his role as a senior member of Australia’s Catholic clergy during the decades from which countless claims of abuse have emerged.

Mr Saunders’ comments come as questions have intensified over whether Cardinal Pell had supported notorious paedophile priests, including Gerald Ridsdale, instead of protecting victims and their families. He has repeatedly denied these accusations.

“I personally think that his position is untenable, because he has now a catalogue of denials,” Mr Saunders, 57, told Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes on Sunday night.

“He has a catalogue of denigrating people, of acting with callousness, cold-heartedness – almost sociopathic, I would go as far as to say.”

The significance of his excoriating broadside – a papal commissioner calling for the resignation of a senior Vatican figure –  cannot be understated.

Nor can Mr Saunders’ fierce resolve for justice, one which is informed as much by his own devout Catholicism as it is by his own horrendous abuse at the hands of two Jesuit priests at a school in Wimbledon, London.

In addition to the two Jesuit priests, who also molested his brother, he was sexually abused by the head teacher of his primary school in New Malden, London, as well as by a family member. Even after the teacher was exposed as “a serial child abuser”, he was simply transferred to another Catholic school within the diocese, rather than being sacked and reported to the police.

His attempts to come to terms with his abuse as an adult prompted him to found the National Association for People Abuse in Childhood, a British charity, in 1995.

In July last year, he was one of six abuse survivors to relay their experiences directly to the Pope in a meeting at the Vatican.

“I told the Pope what had happened to me and said that the church must get its act together, otherwise it will be in big trouble,” Mr Saunders told The Telegraph, London, in a December interview.

Six months after this private meeting, he received the phone call asking him to join the papal commission.

A self-described “thorn in the side of the Catholic Church”, he has been forthright in his criticism of the church’s handling of sexual abuse, accusing it of being “intimately involved in cover-ups and denials in the past”.

But he believes Pope Francis is genuine in wanting to crack down on abusive priests, describing him as the “right man for the job at this time”.

“I believe him to be sincere. Let’s give the process a chance.”

It is impossible to know whether Mr Saunders’ blistering 60 Minutes interview has caused ructions beneath the Vatican’s serene exterior. But his message to Pope Francis was unambiguous.

“I think it’s critical [Cardinal Pell] is moved aside – that he is sent back to Australia and that the Pope takes the strongest action against him.”

He continued: “To me, it seems highly likely that George Pell knew [why Ridsdale was being moved], and if he knew, and if the bishop knew, then these are people who should actually be facing criminal charges now, not just sanctions at the hands of the Pope or the church or the attention of the media.

“These are people who have allegedly allowed the abuse of children to continue – sometimes for many years – and that is an unforgivable crime.”

On Monday, Cardinal Pell slammed Mr Saunders’ allegations as “false and misleading” and announced he was seeking legal advice.

“Cardinal Pell has never met Mr Saunders, who seems to have formed his strong opinions without ever having spoken to His Eminence,” a spokesperson for the Cardinal said in a statement.

“In light of all of the available material, including evidence from the Cardinal under oath, there is no excuse for broadcasting incorrect and prejudicial material.”

For now it remains to be seen whether Cardinal Pell will accede to the growing calls for his return to Australia to give evidence at the royal commission but, at the very least, he has indicated his willingness to do so.

Pope’s commissioner for child protection says Cardinal Pell is a ‘dangerous individual’ and ‘almost sociopathic’


Pope’s commissioner for child protection says Cardinal Pell is a ‘dangerous individual’ and ‘almost sociopathic’

From the link: http://www.smh.com.au/national/popes-commissioner-for-child-protection-says-cardinal-pell-is-a-dangerous-individual-and-almost-sociopathic-20150601-ghdl9n.html

June 1, 2015

Kerrie Armstrong

Attack: Peter Saunders in a screengrab from 60 Minutes. Photo: Channel Nine

Attack: Peter Saunders in a screengrab from 60 Minutes. Photo: Channel Nine

Cardinal George Pell is “a dangerous individual” and “almost sociopathic” in his response to child sexual abuse victims, Pope Francis’ specially-appointed commissioner for the protection of children, Peter Saunders, says.

In an interview with Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes, Mr Saunders said Cardinal Pell had a “moral responsibility” to front the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and address allegations that he knew of priests abusing children in Ballarat and elsewhere but did nothing to stop it. Cardinal Pell has denied these accusations.

“I personally think that his position is untenable, because he has now a catalogue of denials,” Mr Saunders said in the interview, which aired on Sunday night.

“He has a catalogue of denigrating people, of acting with callousness, cold-heartedness – almost sociopathic, I would go as far as to say – this lack of care.”

Pope Francis last December appointed Mr Saunders, a British survivor of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, to the new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors to ensure the Catholic Church acted with greater accountability and transparency in relation to child sexual abuse.

Mr Saunders said that, by refusing to front the royal commission until he was specifically invited, Cardinal Pell was “making a mockery of the Papal Commission, of the Pope himself, but most of all, of the victims and the survivors”.

Cardinal George Pell

Cardinal George Pell

“I think anybody who is a serious obstacle to the work of the commission and to the work of the Pope in trying to clean up the church’s act over this matter, I think they need to be taken aside very, very quickly and removed from any kind of position of influence.”

Cardinal Pell was appointed to manage the Vatican’s finances in February last year, making him one of the most powerful men in the Catholic Church.

Questions have been raised over whether Cardinal Pell had supported notorious paedophile priests, including Gerald Ridsdale, instead of protecting victims and their families.

Cardinal Pell has previously apologised to the commission for accompanying Ridsdale to court in 1993, but has denied he tried to bribe a victim to keep quiet as part of a cover-up and that he was dismissive of victims and their families.

Mr Saunders said Cardinal Pell was present at a meeting with Ballarat Bishop Ronald Mulkearns in 1982 in which they discussed the need to move Ridsdale to another parish, one of the ways the church frequently dealt with paedophile priests.

“I think it’s inconceivable that they would not have known [why Ridsdale was being moved],” he said.

“To me, it seems highly likely that George Pell knew, and if he knew, and if the bishop knew, then these are people who should actually be facing criminal charges now, not just sanctions at the hands of the Pope or the church or the attention of the media.

“These are people who have allegedly allowed the abuse of children to continue – sometimes for many years – and that is an unforgivable crime.

“I think it’s critical [Cardinal Pell] is moved aside – that he is sent back to Australia and that the Pope takes the strongest action against him.”

Cardinal Pell declined a request from 60 Minutes to be interviewed for the program but last week wrote to the commission reiterating that he would appear in person if required.

“Without wanting to pre-empt the Royal Commission in any way – you can’t just invite yourself to give evidence – I want to make it absolutely clear that I am willing to give evidence should the Commission request this, be it by statement, appearance by video link, or by attending personally,” he wrote.

“Like everyone else I am horrified by the accounts that survivors have given in their evidence during the Ballarat hearings, and at the enormous impact the abuse has had on them, their families and the community.”

‘Callous, cold-hearted’: Pope’s commissioner says George Pell has to go


‘Callous, cold-hearted’: Pope’s commissioner says George Pell has to go

From the link: http://mobile.news.com.au/entertainment/tv/callous-cold-hearted-popes-commissioner-says-george-pell-has-to-go/story-e6frfmyi-1227377185327

Cardinal George Pell

Cardinal George Pell

CARDINAL George Pell has been condemned over his treatment of abuse victims by the man hand-picked by the Pope to protect children in the Catholic Church.

In an extraordinary attack aired on Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes, Peter Saunders said the cardinal had acted with “callousness” and “cold-heartedness”.

Pope Francis’s specially appointed commissioner for the protection of children added:“I think it’s critical that he is moved aside — that he is sent back to Australia and that the Pope takes the strongest action against him.”

A spokesperson for Cardinal Pell has since responded to the report.

“Cardinal Pell has been informed of the contents of the 60 Minutes program this evening. The false and misleading claims made against His Eminence are outrageous,” the statement reads.

“From his earliest actions as an Archbishop, Cardinal Pell has taken a strong stand against child sexual abuse and put in place processes to enable complaints to be brought forward and independently investigated.

“Cardinal Pell has never met Mr Saunders, who seems to have formed his strong opinions without ever having spoken to His Eminence.

“In light of all the available material, including evidence from the Cardinal under oath, there is no excuse for broadcasting incorrect and prejudicial material.

“In the circumstances, the Cardinal is left no alternative but to consult with his legal advisers.”

In the past fortnight, the Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse heard damning evidence in Ballarat against Father Gerald Ridsdale, Australia’s worst paedophile priest. Witnesses accused Pell of ignoring warnings about Ridsdale, and one claims Pell tried to silence him with a bribe, an allegation he has previously denied.

The Commission also heard that Pell attended a meeting where it was decided that Ridsdale needed to be moved to another parish, and did not question the move.

Ridsdale was moved nine times within Victoria.

The Catholic Church has a history of moving paedophile priests instead of taking action against them.

“I’ve been to Australia and I’ve heard from people who have suffered directly,” said Saunders, who is himself a victim of paedophile priests.

“I think he is somebody who, understandably, victim survivors will have a huge, huge issue with.”

Saunders, who joined the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors six months ago, said Pell had “a moral responsibility” to face the Royal Commission, “to allay the fears that many victims and survivors feel, which is that he is avoiding facing some very, very difficult truths, which is his past behaviour.”

Pell has said he has not been asked to meet the Royal Commission following the latest claims and that he fully supports its work. As head of Vatican finances, he is thought to be the second-most powerful man in the Catholic Church.

A spokesperson for Pell said he had not seen the material prior to 60 Minutes’ broadcast, and that he had not met nor been approached by Mr Saunders.

David Ridsdale told the Royal Commission 13 years ago that when he turned to Pell after being abused by his uncle, Father Gerald Ridsdale, Pell said: “I want to know what it would take to keep you quiet.”

The cardinal then still chose to publicly support Ridsdale by accompanying him to court when he was charged with abusing a number of other boys, which he now concedes might have been “offensive.”

Saunders said: “To me, it’s absolutely outrageous, and it demonstrates once again the callousness, the cold-heartedness and the contempt that George Pell appears to display for this whole issue and particularly, for the victims of these dreadful crimes.”

In 2002, Anthony and Chrissie Foster said they had approached Pell, then-Archbishop of Melbourne, about the repeated sexual abuse of their daughters’ Emma and Katie by their school priest. Emma later took her own life.

The couple showed Pell a photo of Emma on her confirmation day and one after she had self-harmed, and he reportedly said: “She’s changed, hasn’t she?”

Pell denied having seen the photo in 2002, but in 2013 he said he probably had, and simply hadn’t had “a chance for a considered response”.

“Those photographs, they are not something that you would forget,” said Saunders, calling Pell a “massive thorn in the side” of the Pope.

“He is making a mockery of the Papal Commission, of the Pope himself, but most of all, of the victims and the survivors.

“Anybody who is a serious obstacle to the work of the Commission and to the work of the Pope in trying to clean up the Church’s act over this matter, I think they need to be taken aside very, very quickly and removed from any kind of position of influence.

“Our direction cannot include cover-ups and allowing children to be abused”.

In a statement provided before the program aired, a spokesperson for Cardinal Pell said: “Cardinal Pell knows of the important work Mr Saunders has done as a survivor of abuse to assist victims, including the establishment of a victims survivors group in the United Kingdom and more recently serving as member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors established by the Holy Father to develop policy to achieve this.

“While members are of course entitled to their views and opinions, the recently approved Statutes of the Commission make it clear that the Commission’s role does not include commenting on individual cases, nor does the Commission have the capacity to investigate individual cases.

“Many of the issues were addressed in the final report of the 2013 Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry where there are no adverse findings against Cardinal Pell. These old and repeated allegations have been addressed many times by the Cardinal since 2002.

“As was pointed out in a recent statement by the Cardinal, he has never condoned or protected offenders, has never condoned or participated in moving known offenders and did not at any time attempt to bribe David Ridsdale, whose story has varied many times over the years.

“It is not clear whether Mr Saunders is aware of the Cardinal’s statements or has reviewed the extensive material available from previous Inquiries and appearances at the Royal Commission.

“It is also not clear if Mr Saunders is aware Cardinal Pell established within 100 days of being appointed as an Archbishop, an independent scheme to support victims. While there was and is always room for improvement, the Melbourne Response had the explicit support of the Victorian Police and other civil authorities and was at the time warmly welcomed by victim support groups.

“The Cardinal has repeated many times his deepest sympathy for the victims of abuse and their families. He has made it clear on several occasions he supports the work of the Royal Commission, where he has already appeared twice, and remains willing to assist in its work.”