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A new Catholic clergy sex-abuse scandal comes into the spotlight


A new Catholic clergy sex-abuse scandal comes into the spotlight

April 1

From the Link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-new-sex-abuse-scandal-in-the-spotlight/2016/04/01/4a1747fa-f76e-11e5-8b23-538270a1ca31_story.html

"Saint" Peter Damian's admonishing against priest pedophiles and those who cover up for them in 1049.

“Saint” Peter Damian’s admonishing against priest pedophiles and those who cover up for them in 1049.

Mary Kane is a freelance reporter who lives in Arlington.

Like many longtime reporters, I celebrated the Oscar victory for “Spotlight” and the fearless journalism that exposed the Catholic Church’s clergy sex abuse scandal.

I would soon see the story, and the scandal, from a very different perspective.

Two days after the Oscar ceremony, news broke about another widespread church coverup. I found myself poring over a grand jury report outlining in sickening detail the abuse of hundreds of children by at least 50 priests and religious leaders in western Pennsylvania’s Altoona-Johnstown Diocese — in my hometown.

I moved away long ago, but I still have family there. I visit regularly, and my mom was a devoted parish volunteer during her lifetime. I figured I might recognize a few of the accused or some of the churches. I quickly realized things stretched far beyond that.

The names of priests and parishes from my childhood appeared, one after another, all familiar. My grade school priest. Not one but two pastors from my neighborhood parish, a half block from my childhood home. The principal, vice principal and music director from my high school. A priest I once met with to consider officiating my wedding. The priest at the church my four nieces and nephews attended. The chaplain of the nearby Catholic hospital, where my mom volunteered.

I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Two of the priests, leaders at Bishop McCort High School, where my parents sent me and my three brothers in the 1970s to receive a quality religious education, were “sexual partner[s]” who worked together to molest a 13-year-old boy, the report said. They coordinated visits to his house. Once one priest had “satisfied himself,” the report said, the other “took advantage of a victim he believed to be compliant.”

One had been my religion teacher.

First, I called my brothers, to vent. Then I tried comprehending the scale of the abuses. TheSpotlight team identified about 80 predatory priests in an archdiocese of 1.8 million Catholics. The grand jury report found at least 50 priests and religious leaders in a diocese of fewer than 100,000. That was stunning enough. But there was more.

“Spotlight” depicted the Catholic clubbiness of Boston that allowed for abuse. In small-town Pennsylvania, corruption extended into all corners of the community. The church exercised “overwhelming access and influence,” even handpicking community leaders, including the police and fire chiefs. “The mayor would have them come to me, and I would interview them and I would tell him which I would pick,” a top bishop’s aide testified.

I appreciated how “Spotlight” highlighted the crucial role that journalism plays in challenging the powerful. In my home town, however, I saw how it sometimes falls short. George Foster, manager of an outdoor billboard advertising company and a former high school classmate of mine, emerges as the hero — not an investigative reporting team.

Foster’s brother was a priest; the two heard rumors of abuses and began looking into them. In 2002, Foster wrote an op-ed for the local paper, calling on the church to clean up its house.

Immediately, he was inundated with tips and evidence from victims, attorneys and even the police. He also did something no journalist had: He went through the files at the Blair County Courthouse from the 1994 civil trial of the Rev. Francis Luddy, a priest accused of molesting boys. The lawsuit against Luddy was filed in 1987, but records were sealed at the church’s request. They became public during the trial.

Foster found in the files documents showing church officials knew of credible allegations against many additional priests but kept them secret. He confronted then-Bishop Joseph Adamec. If this were a movie, outraged authorities would have taken action. But that didn’t happen. Adamec rebuffed him.

Finally, in 2014, state investigators in a different child abuse case contacted Foster, and he provided his files. The report cited them extensively and called Foster’s actions “nothing short of heroic.”

I wondered where the journalists had been. Local media covered the Luddy trial, and the Johnstown paper, tipped off by Foster, wrote about the Luddy files in 2002. But none of it drew national attention. I called Richard Serbin, the attorney in the Luddy case, who regularly represents clergy sex-abuse victims. There wasn’t a paper with the prestige of the Boston Globe to make an impact, Serbin said. It happened in a small community in decline, and few noticed or cared. “The facts were all there, back in 1994,” Serbin said. “And no one bothered to look at them.”

“Spotlight” ends with a lengthy list of investigations of church abuses worldwide. In Pennsylvania, the grand jury report offers prayers that the current bishop makes the right choices going forward. I hope that works. I’m not exactly in the mood for prayer.

The Catholic Church’s defiance and obstruction on child sex abuse


The Catholic Church’s defiance and obstruction on child sex abuse

April 19

From the Link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/defiance-and-obstruction-on-child-sex-abuse/2016/04/19/22efc3de-0351-11e6-9d36-33d198ea26c5_story.html

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IN THREE years at the helm of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has been a source of inspiration for millions of faithful around the world. In one critical respect, however, he has fallen short of his own promise: to come fully to terms with decades of child sex abuse by clergymen and the institutional cover granted to them by bishops and cardinals.

Francis has pledged “the zealous vigilance of the Church to protect children and the promise of accountability for all.” Yet there has been scant accountability, particularly for bishops. Too often, the church’s stance has been defiance and obstruction.

In his trip to the United States in the fall, Francis told victims that “words cannot fully express my sorrow for the abuse you suffered.” Yet his initiative to establish a Vatican tribunal to judge bishops who enabled or ignored pedophile priests has come to naught. Not a single bishop has been called to account by the tribunal, which itself remains more notional than real.

Meanwhile, church officials have fought bills in state legislatures across the United States that would allow thousands of abuse victims to seek justice in court. The legislation would loosen deadlines limiting when survivors can bring lawsuits against abusers or their superiors who turned a blind eye. Many victims, emotionally damaged by the abuse they have suffered, do not speak until years after they were victimized; by then, in many states, it is too late for them to force priests and other abusers to account in court.

Eight states have lifted such deadlines, known as statutes of limitations, for victims who are sexually abused as minors. Seven states have gone further, enacting measures allowing past victims — not just current and future ones — to file lawsuits in a finite period of time, generally a two- or three-year window.

1901813_10153687207618747_1757826015825436154_nIn many more states, however, the bishops and their staffs have successfully killed such bills, arguing that it would be unfair to subject the church to lawsuits in which memories and evidence are degraded by the passage of time. Quietly, they also say the church, which has suffered an estimated $3 billion hit in settlements and other costs related to clergy sex abuse scandals nationwide, can ill afford further financial exposure.

A typical case is Maryland, where bills to extend the statute of limitations until the alleged victim turns 38 have failed even to come to a vote, owing to opposition from House of Delegates Judiciary Committee Chairman Joseph F. Vallario Jr. (D-Prince George’s) and the Catholic Church, among others.

In his trip to the United States, Pope Francis praised bishops for what he called their “generous commitment to bring healing to victims” and he expressed sympathy for “how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you.” Yet by its actions, the church’s “commitment to bring healing” has seemed far from generous. And it seemed perverse to address the bishops’ “pain” when the real suffering has been borne by children.

 

 

 

Pell account unbelievable: Abuse survivors


Pell account unbelievable: Abuse survivors

Source:AAP
1 MAR 2016 – 11:52 AM  UPDATED 1 MAR 2016 – 7:35 PM
From the Link: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/03/01/pell-account-unbelievable-abuse-survivors
Cardinal George Pell says he was unaware of the offending of pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale in the 1970s but abuse survivors find that hard to believe.
Cardinal George Pell

Cardinal George Pell

Child sex abuse survivors say it’s unbelievable a man of Cardinal George Pell’s intelligence was unaware of a pedophile priest’s offending when two Victorian communities and local clergy knew about it.

The cardinal told the child abuse royal commission on Monday night that while he was on a Ballarat diocese committee that advised on the transfers of priests he was never told of the offending of pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale in the 1970s.

Australia’s highest-ranking Catholic, now head of the Vatican Treasury, met the pontiff after his initial grilling by the commission and told reporters before resuming his evidence on Tuesday: “I have the full backing of the Pope”.

By videolink from Hotel Quirinale in Rome he told the commission sitting in Sydney that then Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns and his advisor Monsignor Fiscalini had deceived him by not telling him Ridsdale was moved between parishes because of his offending.

Ridsdale was able to continue his offending as he was shifted from one parish to another as “talk” began among parishioners about his interfering with children.

His nephew David Ridsdale, who was sexually abused by his uncle, is among a group of survivors hearing the cardinal’s evidence in Rome and told reporters it appeared the Catholic Church was behaving “with lies and deceit” within its own structure.

He said he assumed Victorian Police would be taking up the matter in relation to church officials moving pedophile priests to parishes where they could continue their offending.

‘We’ve ended up with the ears of the world’: Abuse survivors adamant fight will go on


‘We’ve ended up with the ears of the world’: Abuse survivors adamant fight will go on

Source:AAP
3 MAR 2016 – 3:43 AM  UPDATED 3 MAR 2016 – 8:01 PM
From the Link: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/03/03/weve-ended-ears-world-abuse-survivors-adamant-fight-will-go
Abuse survivors vowed to continue the fight for justice for people who have been sexually abused within the Catholic church, just moments after Cardinal George Pell finished giving evidence to the child abuse royal commission.
Cardinal George Pell

Cardinal George Pell

The abuse survivors who travelled to Rome to hear his evidence spoke to reporters moments after Cardinal Pell completed his final day on the stand in Rome.

David Ridsdale, a victim of pedophile priest, his uncle Gerald Francis Ridsdale, said the fight for justice was far from over.

“We wanted to make sure the commission [for Cardinal Pell] was the same process that we faced when in Australia,” Mr Ridsdale said.

“We feel that has been achieved. But so much more has happened. We’ve ended up with the ears of the world.

“So, please, understand that while we’re fighting one battle in Ballarat, we’re hoping to steamroll a whole deal more, and this is a worldwide institutional problem, not just the Catholic Church, this went on for so long and everybody knew, everybody knew.

“And it is about time that we addressed the past and look forward to the future, and I can assure you that is the goal of all the survivors that you have met.”

‘In the loop’

On his fourth day on the stand in Rome, Cardinal Pell said he would have been aware of concerns raised by parents from the Victorian parish of Doveton in a 1991 letter to the Catholic Education Office that said Searson was going into the boys’ toilets, watching boys in the shower and taking children into the presbytery without permission.

He said he did not investigate the matter because it was the responsibility of the CEO and the Vicar General.

“If they’d asked my opinion I would have given it,” he said.

He agreed that he was “in the loop as far as knowledge of Father Searson being a risk to children” but said the issue was the level of risk and “just what could be done within church and state law”.

The commission also heard that a student at St Patricks College in Ballarat told Cardinal Pell that Brother Edward Dowlan was “misbehaving” with boys in 1974.

Cardinal Pell said the boy “mentioned it casually in conversation” and did not ask him to do anything.

Asked by Commissioner Peter McClellan what he did with the information, Cardinal Pell replied: “I didn’t do anything about it”.

Eventually, he said, he inquired about the matter with the school chaplain but did not go immediately to the school to find out what was going on.

“With the experience of 40 years later, certainly I would agree that I should have done more,” Cardinal Pell said.

Lawyer Peter O’Brien, representing a former student of the Christian Brothers from Ballarat, asked Cardinal Pell “why on earth” he did not mention the complaint to police or insurance companies involved in cases brought against the Christian Brothers about Dowlan since the 1990s.

Cardinal Pell said it was because he had “no idea that the Christian Brothers were covering up in the way in which it’s now apparent”.

Dowlan continued to abuse dozens of children until 1985 but Cardinal Pell said he could not have done something to stop the crimes.

Pell denies offering bribe to keep abuse victim quiet

Earlier in proceedings, Cardinal Pell denied asking a nephew and victim of pedophile priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale what it would take to keep him quiet.

David Ridsdale told the commission when he told Cardinal Pell in 1993 he had been abused by his uncle, the then Melbourne bishop asked him: “I want to know what it will take to keep you quiet.”

Cardinal Pell said he felt sorry for Ridsdale, but repeatedly denied the claim.

Mr Ridsdale’s lawyer Stephen Odgers SC asked: “Was it the case that you didn’t have much interest in what David Ridsdale told you about the crimes of Gerald Ridsdale?”

Cardinal Pell replied: “That’s completely untrue and David has never claimed that.”

Cardinal Pell said there was a radical misunderstanding between himself and Mr Ridsdale over their 1993 telephone conversation.

“I’m not even sure what keeping quiet means,” Pell said.

“I do dispute that.

“But for a man who was expressing a preference for a church hearing rather than going to the police, I wouldn’t have had any dispute with him on that score, although I have never impeded or discouraged anyone from going to the police.”

‘Disastrous coincidence’

Pell said it was a “disastrous coincidence” that five pedophiles ended up at the one Victorian school and parish in the 1970s.

Four pedophile Christian Brothers taught at Ballarat East’s St Alipius Boys’ School and pedophile priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale was the parish priest.

Pell also emphatically denied telling another priest that Fr Gerald Francis Ridsdale was abusing boys.

Former altar boy BWE has testified he overhead Cardinal Pell tell Fr Frank Madden before a funeral in Ballarat in 1983: “Ha, ha, I think Gerry’s been rooting boys again.”

“Let me begin by saying that nearly every detail in this allegation is manifestly false,” Pell said.

Fr Madden has previously told the inquiry Cardinal Pell never said that.

Cardinal Pell also said he deeply regretted the impact the abuse had on survivors’ faith, saying “Of course one of the other things I regret as a Catholic priest is the damage that these crimes do to the faith of the survivors, of the victims and their friends and family and generally throughout the society. I lament that”.

Cardinal Pell told the commission on Wednesday the church in the 1970s and 1980s was a world of crimes and cover ups and he was left in the dark about serious sex abuse allegations against priests and brothers in Ballarat and Melbourne.

Cardinal Pell also said he regretted his choice of words when he told the commission on Tuesday he had no interest in Father Ridsdale’s offending in the mid-1970s.

Cardinal Pell said he completely messed up the sequence of events while giving evidence and had believed he was responding to questions about when he was a Melbourne official in 1993.

 

Pell’s claim he was deceived ‘is wrong’


Pell’s claim he was deceived ‘is wrong’

27 APR 2016 – 6:30PM

From the Link: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/04/27/pells-claim-he-was-deceived-wrong

Cardinal George Pell

Cardinal George Pell

A hearing into abuse in the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne winds up with former education officers expressing anger at Cardinal Pell’s allegations of deceit.

Source:AAP
27 APR 2016 – 6:30 PM  UPDATED YESTERDAY 6:30 PM

Three former Catholic education officers have denied Cardinal George Pell’s claims their office deceived him about the activities of a violent and sexually abusive priest.

Former Catholic Education Office director Monsignor Thomas Doyle and his deputy Peter Annett told the sex abuse royal commission of their shock, disappointment and anger on hearing Dr Pell allege the office withheld information about pedophile priest Peter Searson in the 1980s.

Cardinal Pell, an auxiliary bishop in Melbourne in the ’80s, told the royal commission in March education officials were fearful of telling him the full story about Searson because they knew he would be “decisive” and not accept the status quo.

In giving his evidence from Rome where he is now the Vatican’s finance chief, Dr Pell also said he thought the education office at the time was protecting Archbishop Frank Little.

But Mgr Doyle and other witnesses categorically denied this was the case.

“I don’t agree with that evidence. I don’t agree that the Catholic Education Office intended to deceive Bishop Pell, so I thought his statement was wrong,” the Monsignor told the commission on Wednesday.

He was disappointed with the Cardinal’s claims.

“I don’t think they were true,” he said.

The now retired priest also said the office would have welcomed then Bishop Pell’s assistance in removing Searson.

The commission has heard evidence Searson threatened one little girl by holding a knife to her chest, sexually molested children in confession and threatened people with a gun.

Searson died in 2009 without being charged.

He was suspended from duty in 1997, a year after Dr Pell became Archbishop of Melbourne.

The commission has also heard that Archbishop Little ignored repeated requests to remove Searson.

Mr Annett said on Wednesday at one stage in the late ’80s the number one priority for the office was to get Searson removed from the parish.

“I would have thought our staff would be completely frank with Bishop Pell and be cheering from the rooftops if he was able to take action,” he said.

He said he had to admit to “some shock” at what Dr Pell said in Rome.

“I was disappointed and perhaps angry, but certainly very disappointed,” Mr Annett said.

Mr Annett, Mgr Doyle and former education consultant Allan Dooley said there was never any instruction to keep information from then auxiliary bishop Pell.

A fourth witness, former education official Catherine Briant who in 1989 took over as zone officer with responsibility for Doveton from Mr Dooley, said she was not briefed on problems at the Holy Family school.

She dealt with complaints he was bullying and harassing staff. She had no dealing with Bishop Pell, nor was she ever instructed to keep information from him, she said.

The hearing into widespread clerical abuse in Melbourne, which started last November, concluded on Wednesday.

Former Catholic Church insider calls for police and royal commission to subpoena secret ‘red files’


Former Catholic Church insider calls for police and royal commission to subpoena secret ‘red files’

Updated 17 Mar 2016, 8:46am

From the Link: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-17/call-for-catholic-church-red-files-to-be-subpoenaed/7252882

Pedophile Pimp, Cardinal George Pell

Pedophile Pimp, Cardinal George Pell

A former Catholic Church insider has called on police and the royal commission to subpoena all of the church’s secret clergy abuse documents — known as the “red files”.

Key points:

  • Church insider says full extent of abuse will not be known without access to all files
  • They contain forensic material, criminal activity by clergy, statements from parents, she says
  • Ex-Vicar General told her files were to be marked ‘never to be opened’

Helen Last, a former coordinator of the Melbourne Archdiocese’s Pastoral Response Office, said the full extent of church abuse would not be known until all the documents were made available.

“These files should be handed over, they are of important public interest, they have forensic material in them, they cover criminal activity by clergy, they cover the anguish and information of parents and parishioners speaking to the Vicar General at the time,” she said.

“They are of great importance to the truth of what has happened here and the victims and the public want the truth but they are only getting part of the truth at the present time.”

Ms Last first learnt of the red files from the late Monsignor Gerry Cudmore, who set up the Pastoral Response Office in the 1990s.

Ms Last said Monsignor Cudmore ended up resigning as Vicar General because he did not like Cardinal George Pell’s handling of abuse claims, which he thought was too legalistic.

“[Monsignor Cudmore] was talking to me directly about his files which contained highly important materials, and he pointed to the filing cabinet and said that will be marked ‘never to be opened’,” Ms Last told Lateline.

“He meant that those files would be put into the Archdiocese archives and they were so serious that they were to be pretty much locked down and not used in any way.”

Secret files sent to the Vatican: insider

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. “In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorised as something fully in conformity with man and even with children,” the Pope said. “It was maintained — even within the realm of Catholic theology — that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a ‘better than' and a ‘worse than'. Nothing is good or bad in itself.”

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.
“In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorised as something fully in conformity with man and even with children,” the Pope said.
“It was maintained — even within the realm of Catholic theology — that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a ‘better than’ and a ‘worse than’. Nothing is good or bad in itself.”

Lateline has been told that police were unaware of the existence of the red files until 2013.

A former insider from the Melbourne Archdiocese said under the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI, a directive was sent out requiring that all abuse-related files be sent immediately to Australia’s Papal ambassador, known as the Nuncio.

The Nuncio at the time was Giuseppe Lazzarotto — a man with a history of failing to hand over church documents.

The Murphy Report into clergy abuse in Dublin noted that when Mr Lazzarotto was Nuncio in Ireland he refused to respond to requests for church documents.

The Melbourne Archdiocese insisted they still had their red files and that all files requested by the royal commission and the police have been handed over.

Abuse survivor Stephen Woods is concerned that some secret files are now in the Vatican.

“We know that files were taken out of Ballarat and taken to the Vatican. We want those files returned,” he told the media in Rome earlier this month.

But Francis Sullivan, the chief of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council, said there should be copies in Australia of any files that were sent to the Vatican.

Documents should be accessed by royal commission: survivor

In response to Ms Last’s call for all the secret files to be subpoenaed, Mr Sullivan said: “There’s no point us turning up and swamping them with documents when they already have so many documents they are working through in a forensic fashion.”

“If they want more, if they want them in a specific area, if they want them in a gradual serial approach that’s what we do.”

Mr Woods said it was important to victims that all the files are accessed by the royal commission and the police.

“The victims really want justice and we really want to see all aspects covered, not just having a bishop go into the dock and say I don’t remember,” he said.

“Let’s have the files, let’s see what they knew, let’s see more aspects of justice be done.”

Abolish time limits on childhood sex abuse cases


Abolish time limits on childhood sex abuse cases

By Stephen Estey | 11:11 a.m. April 22, 2016

From the link: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2016/apr/22/sex-abuse-law-change-04232016/

April is Sex Abuse Awareness Month. In light of this fact, it’s time we re-examine our state laws — particularly those that pertain to sexual abuse. More specifically, we need to take a hard look at the laws that can limit or bar a sex abuse victim’s ability to bring a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator and/or the institutions that failed to protect him/her. These laws are referred to as statutes of limitations. Though in place for a reason, statutes of limitations on childhood sex abuse cases frequently act to protect predators and harm victims.

Children who have been sexually abused face a lifetime of psychological issues. The trauma inflicted on them in their youth reverberates into adulthood. Often it takes years for victims of childhood sex abuse to come to terms with what happened to them. Their struggle is real: a childhood sex abuse victim is more likely to turn to drugs or alcohol to help him/her deal with their emotional pain and low self-esteem. They may have difficulty forming meaningful relationships with coworkers and may find themselves in and out of romantic relationships due to trust issues.

In addition to the human cost of childhood sex abuse, there is a real cost to society. A 1996 Department of Justice study of child molestation victims determined that childhood sex abuse costs society an average of $23 billion annually.

There is one clear way that we can lessen the toll that childhood sex abuse takes on our society: increase and/or eliminate statutes of limitations on childhood sex abuse cases.

A statute of limitations puts a time limit on the civil or criminal prosecution of a pedophile. In California, a victim of child sex abuse generally has until the age of 26 to file a lawsuit. These time limits serve to protect pedophiles and the institutions to which they belong from legal or societal backlash. A good example of this is the Roman Catholic Church. Several of its prominent leaders have been made aware of sex abuse scandals taking place within the church, yet these leaders have done nothing — or have taken steps to cover up the crime, as seen in the critically acclaimed 2015 film “Spotlight.”

This must end.

Lawmakers in several states have committed themselves to bringing this disgraceful trend to a stop. California refuses to eliminate or even extend the statute of limitations for child sex abuse victims. Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed two legislative bills that would have extended the statute of limitations for victims, amid heavy lobbying from the Catholic Church and other institutions that have negligently enabled predators to sexually abuse young children.

In the end, justice is what matters most. Victims should not be silenced. Pedophiles, rapists, and molesters should not walk free simply because the statute of limitations in their state protects them. All childhood sex abuse statutes of limitations in every state should be promptly lengthened and/or eliminated.

Estey of the law firm Estey Bomberger represents childhood molestation victims and has twice been named “Trial Attorney of the Year” by the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego.

How the Vatican evades human rights obligations through Canon Law, diplomatic immunity and other dodges


How the Vatican evades human rights obligations through Canon Law, diplomatic immunity and other dodges

From the Link: How the Vatican evades human rights obligations through Canon Law, diplomatic immunity and other dodges

The Vatican

The Vatican

The Vatican doesn’t acknowledge human rights unless they are in accordance with Church doctrine. Its courts have been found by the EU to violate the right to a fair trial. And the Vatican has even maintained that its signature to one of the few human rights treaties it has signed (and even then with “reservations”) only applies to its own territory and not to the Catholic Church.

“One cannot then appeal to these rights of man in order to oppose the interventions of the Magisterium.”
— Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 1990 [1]

The Vatican not only quietly rejects the supremacy of human rights in principle, it also cultivates effective ways to get around having to implement them.

♦ Diplomatic recognition, sought worldwide, brings diplomatic immunity from charges of human rights abuse

The doctrine of sovereign immunity has its roots in the law of feudal England and is based on the idea that the ruler can do no wrong. In US law this is broadly applied to the heads of foreign states. [2] It was sovereign immunity that foiled an American attempt to sue Benedict XVI for the Vatican’s handling of child abuse by priests. The Church lawyers argued that the pope, as the Vatican’s head of state, enjoys immunity against lawsuits in US courts. [3]

In U.S. courts foreign countries are also generally immune from civil actions, with exemptions primarily for commercial acts. This means that unless a case can be brought in under an exemption the only recourse may be to try to sue the Vatican in a country which does not have diplomatic relations with it. However, as the map shows, most of the world’s countries (coloured blue) already recognise the statehood of the Holy See, as the Vatican is called officially.

There are very few (gray) countries left which don’t yet have diplomatic relations with the Holy See. These amount to just three island nations (the Comoros, north of Madagascar, theMaldives, southwest of India, and Tuvalu, north of New Zealand) — two African nations (Mauritania and Somalia) — three from the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Oman and Afghanistan) — and eight from Asia (Bhutan, People’s Republic of China, North Korea, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia). [4]

X40036_727_CWVaticanRelnsCaption

The logistics of suing the Vatican from some of these countries could be daunting. Furthermore, due to the Vatican’s persistent diplomatic efforts, the number of countries which don’t recognise the Vatican is declining every year. (And one of the few left, Tuvalu, is gradually disappearing beneath the rising seas).

The Vatican’s web of diplomatic relations also makes its representatives immune to prosecution under international law. The 1961 Vienna Convention tries to provide diplomats with the security needed to perform their jobs. It is thanks to this treaty that states now express their displeasure by expelling the diplomats of a foreign country, rather than imprisoning them.

Diplomatic immunity in action: Archbishop Wesolowski is whisked away to the Vatican

However, this treaty was never meant to allow accused rapists of children to go free. Yet this appeared to be the intention when Bishop Paul Gallagher, the papal nuncio or pope’s ambassador to Australia refused to hand over to prosecutors documents on two priests who had abused more than 100 children over 40 years. [5] The nuncio invoked diplomatic immunity. However, as a UN committee later reminded the Vatican, [6] as a signatory of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, it was obliged to hand over this evidence. [7] Pope Francis was apparently so pleased by the nuncio’s attempts to block justice in Australia’s worst clerical abuse scandal, that the next year he promoted him to archbishop and to the number three post in his kingdom  the Vatican’s Foreign Minister. [8]

as happened in the Dominican Republic. [9] There on June 24, 2013 a deacon was arrested and admitted to procuring impoverished boys to be sexually abused by the papal nuncio Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski. [10] By the time the deacon appeared on TV and said that others in the Church knew about this [11] the nuncio had vanished. He had been secretly whisked away and reappeared in the Vatican.

At the TV station they suspected that there had been a leak.

A “dossier” accusing papal nuncio Archbishop Josef Wesolowski of sex abuse of minors was sent to Pope Francis sometime in July [2013] by Santo Domingo Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez. The pope found the information credible enough to dismiss Wesolowski, nuncio to both the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, on Aug. 21 via confidential letter N.2706/PR to the bishops of both countries.

Neither the civil authorities nor the public knew about Wesolowski until a local TV program did an exposé on Aug. 31. The result of a year-long investigation, the broadcast contained testimony from residents of the Zona Colonial in Santo Domingo that Wesolowski paid minors for sex.

Three days after the TV broadcast, a local bishop confirmed that Wesolowski had been recalled for sexually abusing minors.

Wesolowski reportedly had left the country only a few days before. [12]

In this case the Vatican acted against its own much-touted guidelines:

the church failed to inform the local authorities of the evidence against him, secretly recalled him to Rome […] before he could be investigated, and then invoked diplomatic immunity for Mr. Wesolowski so that he could not face trial in the Dominican Republic. [13]

Once he was safely in Rome the Vatican “confirmed that Wesolowski is a citizen of the Vatican city state, that the Vatican doesn’t extradite its citizens and that as a nuncio, or Holy See ambassador, Wesolowski enjoys full diplomatic immunity”. [14] Experts in international law say that the Vatican could have lifted the nuncio’s diplomatic immunity to let him face trial in the Dominical Republic (which could hardly be accused of having an anti-Catholic judiciary). [15]

However, the Church came under increasing pressure when the United Nations Committee against Torture stepped in. In June 2014 it urged the Vatican, if the investigation warranted it, to either try Wesolowski itself under the Vatican State criminal code (not canon law) or let someone else do so — and report back on the outcome. [16]

In August 2014, the Vatican gave Wesolwski a secret canon law trial to determine if he had violated Church doctrine. The Vatican tribunal found Wesolwski’s guilty of abusing young boys and defrocked him. But it refused to provide any information about his whereabouts or how he pleaded to the charges and refused to release contact information for his lawyer. [17] This deprived Mr. Wesolowski of his diplomatic immunity — so the Vatican then fell back on his Vatican State citizenship as the reason for not handing him over.

To avoid further challenges to its jurisdiction, the Vatican refused to provide the necessary documents to Polish prosecutors, who had hoped to try Wesolowski, a dual Vatican-Polish citizen. [18] The Vatican also got the Dominican Republic to fall into line. In August 2014, the day after Wesolowski lost his diplomatic immunity, the Santo Dominican prosecutor’s office announced that it was launching an investigation. [19] However, by the end of the year, the Dominican Republic’s top prosecutor was expressing “appreciation and satisfaction” with the Vatican’s actions (!) and said that the Vatican was the right place for the trial. [20] The Dominican authorities even stonewalled the legal inquiries of Polish prosecutors about Wesolowski, [21] which forced Poland to suspend its inquiry. [22] This cleared the way for the Vatican to conduct its own trial under the criminal law of its own state, which would satisfy the UN commitee, but keep control over the proceedings.

A Polish expert on church law, Prof. Pawel Borecki, explained why the Vatican was determined to maintain control:

“The Vatican will seek that this case does not go beyond its borders. Wesolowski is a high-ranking diplomat. He has knowledge of how the Roman curia works. He may also know about pedophilia in the church and if other high-ranking priests are involved in the crime. In a trial abroad he could reveal everything. Therefore, we can expect that the Vatican will not release him and it will hand down a severe punishment.” [23]

♦ Keeping out of key human rights treaty shields Vatican courts from international standards

The Vatican can’t be censured for violating the right to a fair trial which is enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights because it hasn’t signed the treaty. Instead, in a 2001 court case, it was Italy that was faulted for enforcing the unfair judgement of the Vatican court.

In essence the European Court of Human Rights found in 2001 that the procedures of the Roman Rota, the ecclesiastical appeals court responsible for marriage-annulment applications, failed to reach the standards required for a fair trial under article 6(1) of the European Convention and that, therefore, its judgments could not properly be recognized and enforced under Italian law. ECHR noted that in Rota proceedings witness statements were not provided to parties, thus depriving the parties of an opportunity to comment on them. The parties were not advised that they could appoint lawyers to appear for them, nor advised of the terms of the legal submissions made by the canon lawyer appointed by the court to argue against annulment. Finally, the parties were refused sight of a full copy of the Rota’s judgment, in which the ecclesiastical court set out its reasoning. Given these circumstances, the Strasbourg court took the view that justice was not done in annulment proceedings before church courts. [24]

“As new scandals erupt in Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain, Brazil and Nigeria, the Pope has failed to put in place and enforce mandatory child protection policy across his church. I asked a senior church figure why this was the case. I was told that to put in place global policy underpinned by church law would admit that the Vatican had the responsibility and the power to do so, and expose it to lawsuits and potentially massive financial losses.” ― Colm O'Gorman, Independent, 9 March 2010

“As new scandals erupt in Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain, Brazil and Nigeria, the Pope has failed to put in place and enforce mandatory child protection policy across his church. I asked a senior church figure why this was the case. I was told that to put in place global policy underpinned by church law would admit that the Vatican had the responsibility and the power to do so, and expose it to lawsuits and potentially massive financial losses.” ― Colm O’Gorman, Independent, 9 March 2010

♦ Damage limitation, part 1: Blame the bishops

If the Vatican doesn’t sign a human rights treaty, it’s easier to confine blame (and costs) to the local bishop. This helps the Vatican deny all responsibility for what is done in the Church worldwide. Thus the Vatican’s top prosecutor admits no fault on the part of the Church watchdog body, the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith which, under Cardinal Ratzinger (now the present pope), dealt with abuse cases. [25]

♦ Damage limitation, part 2: Blame the priests

Even better, from the Vatican’s point of view, is to place sole blame on the errant priests.

In the US Vatican lawyers argued that Roman Catholic clerics are not officials or employees of the Holy See. [26] This is now the main Vatican defence against lawsuits in the United States seeking to hold the Holy See liable for the failure of its bishops to stop priests from raping and molesting children.

Usually foreign countries are immune from civil actions in U.S. courts, but there are exceptions to the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act which courts have said were applicable in this case. The statute says that plaintiffs can establish subject matter jurisdiction over a foreign sovereign, if a crime was committed in the United States by any official or employee of the foreign state and that the crimes were committed within the scope of employment. [27]

In the UK the same argument is being repeated. The English Catholic Church said priests are self-employed and thus it’s not responsible for victim compensation. Mindful of the dioceses in the US which were obliged to pay compensation to victims of clerical abuse and in some cases have gone bankrupt, [28] it has tried to argue that priests are self-employed. [29] However, in a High Court ruling on 8 November 2011 the judge rejected that argument, stating that the relationship between a priest and his bishop is sufficiently close so as to impose responsibility. According to the alleged victim’s lawyer, “This is a key decision with potentially far-reaching implications, effectively extending the principle of vicarious liability”. [30]

There are other theological variations on the responsibility theme: Whereas the Catholic Church says that its priests are self-employed, the Church of England, in order to avoid giving its priests workers’ rights, claimed they were employed by God. [31] And since 2008 it has said that they are “office holders”, in other words, employed by no one.

In Australia, too, the Vatican tries to hold the priests, and not the Church, legally liable in cases of abuse. It does through the remarkable claim, supported in a 2007 decision by the Supreme Court of New South Wales, that the “Catholic Church” does not exist as a single legal entity. [32] Therefore it cannot be sued; it cannot be held responsible for the behaviour of individuals who work in its “unincorporated associations”. Victims of assault could sue the responsible individuals or their unincorporated associations but it would be pointless; the individual religious take vows of poverty and the unincorporated associations own nothing. [33]

However, in 2014 Cardinal George Pell suggested that the Australian Church was no more responsible for priests’ crimes than any other organisation was for its employees. [34] Yes, employees.

♦ Damage limitation, part 3: Blame religious orders then let them refuse to pay

The English High Court and Court of Appeal both ruled that a Catholic diocese was liable to compensate the boys in a Catholic home who had been beaten, kicked and raped. However, that didn’t stop the diocese from claiming that a religious order was responsible and refusing to pay. And, of course, the order also denied any responsibility. [35] By 2012 the legal proceedings had been dragging on for eight years and due to the strain, many of the broken victims had dropped out of the process. [36]

And in Ireland where the Catholic Church and 19 religious orders agreed to split the compensation 50-50, the orders, one after another, have refused to pay. As of 2012 this had been going on for ten years. [37]

Even the four orders of Catholic nuns who ran the Magdalene Laundries and profited from what amounted to slave labour have refused to pay. [38] The Good Shepherd Sisters, The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, The Sisters of Mercy and The Sisters of Charity are keeping all the profits from selling prime real estate when their gulags were shut down are refusing to share this with their victims. [39]

In Canada it’s the same story. Eight Catholic orders ran the orphanages and psychiatric hospitals in the Province of Quebec. Federal subsidies were greater for psychiatric hospitals than for orphanages, so to maximise the profits, large numbers of normal children were “diagnosed” as feeble-minded or insane. In both kinds of Church-run institutions the children were subjected to unimaginable brutality and many died. Yet neither the orders involved nor the Vatican are willing to pay any compensation to the traumatised survivors. [40]

Since the pope is the head of every Catholic religious order, they must be doing this with his consent. As David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, writes,

The Catholic church isn’t some loosely-knit hippie commune. It’s a rigid, secretive, tightly-knit institution. So when crimes happen, it’s disingenuous for church officials to pretend that everyone involved is disconnected from one another. [41]

♦ Damage limitation, part 4: Blame the victim

In a sworn deposition in 2011 the bishop of Syracuse actually said that the victims of child-molesting priests are partly to blame for their own abuse. [42]

♦ Damage limitation, part 5: Lobby against extending the time limits for suing the Church

Many victims are unable to talk about abuse or face their accusers until they reach their 30s, 40s or later, putting the crime beyond the reach of the law. Yet in some US states, like New York, the victim is required to come forth by age 23. The US Supreme Court ruled that changes in criminal limits (statues of limitation) cannot be retroactive, so that any extension of present ones they will affect only recent and future crimes. [43] However, even this the Catholic Church is lobbying to prevent. If it succeeds, then the time limits can prevent penalties being applied for human rights abuses. Even when the Church admits it knew about the abuse, the priest admits that he did it, and there is independent evidence to back this up, “if the statute of limitations has expired, there won’t be any justice”. [44]

♦ Damage limitation, part 6: other “evasions and machinations” 

These include (but are not confined to):

— Spending millions of dollars to fight sexual abuse lawsuits and keeping sealed the names of thousands of accused priests, as well as the outcomes of some disciplinary cases sent to the Vatican. [45]

— Hiding funds to avoid compensating victims. In 2007 a judge in informed the Diocese of San Diego that its attempt to shift the diocese’s assets while the case was pending violated bankruptcy laws. [46] And that same year the Vatican allowed the Milwaukee archdiocese to transfer $57 million into a trust for Catholic cemetery maintenance, where it might be better protected, as Archbishop Dolan wrote, “from any legal claim and liability.” [47]

— Legal quibbles of all kinds. For instance, in 2011 church leaders in St. Louis claimed not to be liable for an abusive priest because while he had gotten to know a victim on church property, the abuse itself happened elsewhere. [48]

— Going after honest clerics who act as whistleblowers. A group of priests and nuns formed in 2013 says the Roman Catholic Church is still protecting sexual predators. Calling themselves the Catholic Whistleblowers, they say that priests who spoke up have been “removed from their parishes, hustled into retirement or declared ‘unstable’ and sent to treatment centres for clergy with substance-abuse problems or sexual addictions.” [49]

— Subjecting the victims to an oath of secrecy. This is the oath that the victims of the Irish paedophile priest Father Brendan Smyth were obliged to swear before Cardinal Sean Brady in 1975 when he was a priest and professor of canon law: [50]

“I will never directly or indirectly, by means of a nod, or of a word, by writing, or in any other way, and under whatever type of pretext, even for the most urgent and most serious cause (even) for the purpose of a greater good, commit anything against this fidelity to the secret, unless a…dispensation has been expressly given to me by the Supreme Pontiff.” [51]

— Tipping off accused clerics to allow destruction of evidence. In Australia in 2002, when a bishop learned that a child victim of one of his priests had gone to the police, he drove to a neighbouring town to warn him. This gave the priest, who was later comnvicted for repeatedly raping four children, the chance to destroy incriminating evidence. [52]

— Witness intimidation. In Germany in 2009 the Catholic Church hired detectives who turned at the homes of abused children and tried to get them retract their claims against one of its priests. [53]

— Hush money. In Australia in 2015 the nephew of a priest said that Cardinal Pell had tried to bribe him to keep quiet about abuse by his uncle. [54] And this tactic was proven to have been used in Germany in 1999, when cash payments were made to the parents of abused children at the same time as they signed agreement to remain silent. See Money for silence.

 It has been plausibly claimed that “the failure of the Vatican to promulgate a mandatory worldwide code of conduct, with a reporting requirement (for child abuse)...stems precisely from a fear of acknowledging its authority over national churches and implicitly conceding that priests and bishops, whom it appoints, are actually its agents in a legal sense.” — Patrick Smyth

It has been plausibly claimed that “the failure of the Vatican to promulgate a mandatory worldwide code of conduct, with a reporting requirement (for child abuse)…stems precisely from a fear of acknowledging its authority over national churches and implicitly conceding that priests and bishops, whom it appoints, are actually its agents in a legal sense.” — Patrick Smyth

♦ The Church follows its own Canon Law (which can be changed by a stroke of the papal pen) and must be forced to comply with civil law which is based on human rights

Amnesty International criticised the Vatican in its 2011 report, claiming it “did not sufficiently comply with its international obligations relating to the protection of children”. AI pointed out that the Vatican enlarged its own definition of “crimes in canon law” beyond “the sexual abuse of minors” ― but not the punishments

Amendments to the canon law promulgated in May introduced the “delicts” of paedophile pornography and abuse of mentally disabled people; the maximum punishment for these “delicts” is dismissal or deposition. Canon law does not include an obligation for Church authorities to report cases to civil authorities for criminal investigation. Secrecy is mandatory throughout the proceedings. [55]

As if the record unpunished priest abusers were not proof enough, a letter written in 2001 by a senior Vatican official has come to light praising a French bishop when he was convicted of failing to report a paedophile priest to the police. In 2010 the Bishop was given a three-month suspended prison sentence for not denouncing the priest, who was sentenced to 18 years in jail in 2000 for sexually abusing 11 boys. [56]

However, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, Prefect of the Congregation of the Clergy, told the Bishop, “I congratulate you for not denouncing a priest to the civil authorities.” And he concludes the letter to the French bishop by holding up the Bishops’ behaviour as a model for others; “This Congregation, in order to encourage brothers in the episcopate in this delicate matter, will forward a copy of this letter to all the conferences of bishops.” [57]

The Cardinal said afterwards that his letter was about protecting the seal of the confessional in accordance with Church law (Canon 983), but there is no mention of this in the text itself and at his trial the Bishop disputed this. [58] However, even if this were true, this would not hold in France which has apparently legislated a “duty to report” where children are involved. “French law recognises the seal of the confessional as part of a protected category of ‘professional secrets’, but makes an exception for crimes committed against minors”. [59]

 “Clericalism has many faces.  It is the delusion that priests speak for the Almighty and therefore are entitled to special treatment and even immunity from accountability for criminal behavior. It is the source of the conviction held by many, including top-level Vatican officials, that the legal systems of secular society are subordinate to Canon Law, the Catholic Church’s own system of governance.” ― Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, O.P., J.C.D.

“Clericalism has many faces. It is the delusion that priests speak for the Almighty and therefore are entitled to special treatment and even immunity from accountability for criminal behavior. It is the source of the conviction held by many, including top-level Vatican officials, that the legal systems of secular society are subordinate to Canon Law, the Catholic Church’s own system of governance.”
― Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, O.P., J.C.D.

Later the Cardinal also dropped a bombshell. He claimed that, “After consulting the pope, I wrote a letter to the bishop, congratulating him as a model of a father who does not turn in his children.” [60]

If Castrillon Hoyos is telling the truth, then John Paul personally approved sending this letter in direct violation of the instruction Card[inal] Ratzinger’s CDF had sent down months earlier, urging bishops in countries where the law obliges them to report knowledge of sexual crimes against children to civil authorities, to follow the law. If Castrillon Hoyos is being truthful, it would suggest that, as far as the pontiff was concerned, the Ratzinger directive was window dressing. [61]

The Church record of stonewalling criminal investigations certainly suggests that, until and unless forced to do otherwise, Canon Law, the legal system of the Catholic Church, is all the Church feels bound to follow. The outspoken Monsignor Maurice Dooley, an expert on Canon Law, has even stated this publicly. In 2002 he declared that bishops did not have to tell the Irish police about paedophile clerics and might even shelter these priests. “As far as the Church is concerned, its laws come first.” [62] And in April 2010 the Brazilian Archbishop Dadeus Grings concurred, saying that priestly abuse was a matter of internal church discipline, not something to report to the police. “For the church to go and accuse its own sons would be a little strange.” [63]

And even senior churchmen claiming that it is Church policy to report suspected abuse to the police have been found to be lying. In Australia, for instance, despite assurances by a bishop that the church had enforced strict rules to ensure such cases were reported to the police as a “matter of absolute policy’”, he and an archbishop secretly defrocked an abuser who was assured that “your good name will be protected by the confidential nature of this process”. [64]

In 2014 a United Nations committee severely criticised the Vatican’s handling of abuse cases and its failure to comply with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The panel rejected the church’s key contention that the Vatican has no jurisdiction over its bishops and priests around the world, and is responsible for putting in effect the Convention on the Rights of the Child only within the tiny territory of Vatican City. By ratifying the convention, the panel said, the Vatican took responsibility for making sure it was respected by individuals and institutions under the Holy See’s authority around the world. [65]

To this the Vatican replied by using its usual shell game, switching between its three identities, as dictated by expediency:  “The Committee has overlooked important distinctions between the Holy See, Vatican City State and the universal Catholic Church.” [66]

Further reading about the Pope and the law

Geoffrey Robertson, QC, “Put the pope in the dock. Legal immunity cannot hold. The Vatican should feel the full weight of international law”, Guardian, 2 April 2010. [This is a proposal to prosecute the Vatican under criminal law, where diplomatic immunity does not apply, but where an arrest could only be made in a country (like the UK, but not the US) which has signed the Statute of the International Criminal Court.]

“Call to treat Vatican as a rogue state: Lawyer Geoffrey Robertson says the church must abandon canon law”,Sydney Morning Herald, 9 September 2010. http://www.smh.com.au/world/call-to-treat-vatican-as-a-rogue-state-20100908-151cg.html

Afua Hirsch, “Canon law has allowed abuse priests to escape punishment, says lawyer”, Guardian, 7 September 2010. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/07/canon-law-abuse-priests-escape-punishment

Alan Duke, “Lawsuit demands Vatican name priests accused of sex abuse”, CNN, 22 April 2010.  “Pope Benedict XVI was named as a defendant because he has the ultimate authority to remove priests and because of his involvement in reviewing sex abuse cases when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the suit says.” [This is a suit under civil law and, as the US has recognised the Holy See by establishing diplomatic relations with it, this suit depends upon proving that the Holy See acted in a manner which removes its immunity, as outlined above.]

Further reading about the Pope and the law

Geoffrey Robertson, QC, “Put the pope in the dock. Legal immunity cannot hold. The Vatican should feel the full weight of international law”, Guardian, 2 April 2010. [This is a proposal to prosecute the Vatican under criminal law, where diplomatic immunity does not apply, but where an arrest could only be made in a country (like the UK, but not the US) which has signed the Statute of the International Criminal Court.]

“Call to treat Vatican as a rogue state: Lawyer Geoffrey Robertson says the church must abandon canon law”,Sydney Morning Herald, 9 September 2010. http://www.smh.com.au/world/call-to-treat-vatican-as-a-rogue-state-20100908-151cg.html

Afua Hirsch, “Canon law has allowed abuse priests to escape punishment, says lawyer”, Guardian, 7 September 2010. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/07/canon-law-abuse-priests-escape-punishment

Alan Duke, “Lawsuit demands Vatican name priests accused of sex abuse”, CNN, 22 April 2010.  “Pope Benedict XVI was named as a defendant because he has the ultimate authority to remove priests and because of his involvement in reviewing sex abuse cases when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the suit says.” [This is a suit under civil law and, as the US has recognised the Holy See by establishing diplomatic relations with it, this suit depends upon proving that the Holy See acted in a manner which removes its immunity, as outlined above.]

Notes

  1. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Instruction: Donum veritatis, On the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian”, 1990-03-24, #36.
  2. “”Immunity”, The Free Dictionary.
  3. John L. Allen Jr, “The autonomy of bishops, and suing the Vatican”, National Catholic Reporter, 21 May 2010.
  4. Sandro Magister, “The Holy See’s Diplomatic Net. Latest Acquisition: Russia”, Chiesa, 14 January 2010.
    The Holy See does not yet have relations with sixteen countries, most of them in Asia, many of them with majority Muslim populations. There is no Vatican representative in nine of these countries: Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Bhutan, the People’s Republic of China, North Korea, the Maldives, Oman, Tuvalu, and Vietnam. While in seven other countries there are apostolic delegates, pontifical representatives to the local Catholic communities but not to the government. Three of these countries are African: the Comoros, Mauritania, and Somalia. And four of them are Asian: Brunei, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar.
  5. “Australian abuse inquiry faces diplomatic standoff with Vatican”, National Catholic Reporter, 19 December 2013.
  6. [UN] Committee against Torture, Concluding observations on the initial report of the Holy See, 17 June 201, #14.
  7. See article 6.1, “Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.” Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution A/RES/54/263 of 25 May 2000, entered into force on 18 January 2002,
  8. “British archbishop who claimed diplomatic immunity to avoid handing documents to paedophile investigators is promoted to third highest role in Vatican by the Pope”, Daily Mail, 10 November 2014.
  9. “Dominican Republic says Vatican to handle landmark sex abuse case”, Agence France-Presse, 1 December 2014.
  10. Laurie Goodstein, “Vatican Defrocks Ambassador in Abuse Inquiry”, New York Times, 27 June 2014.
  11. . “Priests accused of child sex abuse to stand trial in Poland?”, Radio Poland, 16 October 2013.
  12. Betty Clermont, “Pope Francis Concealed His Actions Against Two Prelates. Now Both ‘Whereabouts are Unknown’”, Daily Kos, 29 September 2013.
  13. Laurie Goodstein, “For Nuncio Accused of Abuse, Dominicans Want Justice at Home, Not Abroad”, New York Times, 23 August 2014.
  14. “Vatican to Polish prosecutor: we don’t extradite”, Associated Press, 11 January 2014.
  15. Laurie Goodstein, “For Nuncio Accused of Abuse, Dominicans Want Justice at Home, Not Abroad”, New York Times, 23 August 2014
  16. The United Nations Committee against Torture said on 17 June 2014, ref CAT/C/VAT/CO/1:
    Impunity

    13. The Committee appreciates the confirmation provided regarding the ongoing investigation under the Vatican City State Criminal Code of allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Archbishop Josef Wesolowski, former papal nuncio to the Dominican Republic. The Committee notes that the Republic of Poland has reportedly requested the extradition of Archbishop Wesolowski. The Committee also is concerned that the State party did not identify any case to date in which it has prosecuted an individual responsible for the commission of or complicity or participation in a violation of the Convention (arts. 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8).

    The State party should ensure that its competent authorities proceed to a prompt and impartial investigation of Archbishop Wesolowski and any other persons accused of perpetrating or being complicit in violations of the Convention who are nationals of the State party or are present on the territory of the State party. If warranted, the State party should ensure such persons are criminally prosecuted or extradited for prosecution by the civil authorities of another State party. The Committee requests the State party to provide it with information on the outcome of the investigation concerning Archbishop Wesolowski.

  17. “Dominican court opens case on ex-Vatican official”, Associated Press, 31 August 2014.
  18. “Poland Suspends Inquiry Into a Former Vatican Envoy”, New York Times, 22 December 2014.
  19. “Dominican court opens case on ex-Vatican official”, Associated Press, 31 August 2014.
  20. “Dominican prosecutor OKs Vatican sex abuse case”, Associated Press, 2 December 2014.
  21. “Poland suspends paedophilia investigation against archbishop”, Polski Radio, 19 December 2014.
  22. “Poland Suspends Inquiry Into a Former Vatican Envoy”, New York Times, 22 December 2014.
  23. Donald Snyder, “Venue debated for trial of former nuncio accused of abusing minors”, National Catholic Reporter, 6 September 2014.
  24. Pellegrini v. Italy, 2001-VIII, Application No: 30882/96
  25. Laurie Goodstein, “U.N. Panel Criticizes the Vatican Over Sexual Abuse”, New York Times, 5 February 2014.
  26. Stoyan Zaimov, “Catholic Church Not Employer of Pedophile Priests, US Judge Rules”, Christian Post, 22 August 2014.
  27. “Bishops who mishandle abuse must be accountable, says Vatican official”, Catholic Herald, 8 February 2012.
  28. “Pope-bishop relationship key in sex abuse defense”, AP, 18 May 2010.
  29. “Settlements and bankruptcies in [American] Catholic sex abuse cases”, Wikipedia.
  30. “Catholic bishop criticises ruling on church liability for actions of priests”, Guardian, 15 November 2011.
    Crispian Hollis, Bishop of Portsmouth, “The Diocese, Fr Wilf Baldwin and the High Court Judgment”, 10 November 2011.
  31. “Catholic Church responsible for child abuse, High Court rules”, The Lawyer, 9 November 2011.
  32. Jonathan Petre, “Clergy close to workers’ rights”, Telegraph, 19 January 2004.
  33. Trustees of the Roman Catholic Church V Ellis & Anor [2007] NSWCA 117 (24 May 2007).
  34. Australian Cardinal angers abuse victims, The Tablet, 22 August 2014.
  35. Glen Coulton, letter to Sydney Morning Herald, 6 February 2011.
  36. “Church abuse case goes to highest court”, The Times, 23 July 2012.
  37. “Roman Catholic church stalls on £8m child abuse claims“, Observer, 15 November 2009
  38. “Counting the cost of abuse redress”, Irish Examiner, 01 October 2012
  39. “Kenny: I can’t force orders to contribute to Magdalenes redress fund”, Breaking News IE, 17 July 2013.
  40. Conor Ryan, “Site by laundry grave sold for €61.8m”, Irish Examiner, 05 July 2011.
  41. Petition concerning the Duplessis Orphans, presented to the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, on behalf of the Duplessis Orphans, by Dr. Jonathan Levy and Rod Vienneau, 15 April 2011. http://www.vaticanbankclaims.com/quebec.pdf This is a reliable summary, as any factual inaccuracies would expose this human rights lawyer to charges of perjury, as explained at the end of the document.
  42. “Child victims partly to blame in priest sex-abuse cases, Syracuse bishop testified”, Syracuse.com, 13 September 2015.
  43. “Judge: Try Philadelphia priests, official together”, AP, 29 July 2011.
  44. Marci A. Hamilton, “Why ensuring accountability for clergy sexual abuse of children has proved so difficult, even though it remains so crucial”, Findlaw, 6 May 2004.
  45. Marci A. Hamilton, a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University who represents plaintiffs in sexual abuse suits, quoted in “Church Battles Efforts to Ease Sex Abuse Suits”, New York Times, 14 June 2012.
  46. “Ahead of Pope Francis’ Visit, Survivors of Sexual Abuse Take Stock”, New York Times, 15 September 2015.
  47. Amnesty International, Annual Report, 2011: “Vatican”.
  48. “Dolan Sought to Protect Church Assets, Files Show”, New York Times, 1 July 2013.
    “Appeals court: Judge erred on Milwaukee archdiocese fund”, AP, 10 March 2015.
  49. “Judge Orders External Audit of San Diego Diocese Accounts”, Associated Press, carried in San Luis Obispo Tribune, 11 April 2007.
  50. “Abuse victims criticise Brady’s decision to stay”, BBC News, 18 May 2010.
  51. “Revealed: the oath Brady, Smyth and the children swore”, Irish Independent, 3 December 2012.
  52. “Courage puts shame ‘squarely where it belongs'”, Sydney Morning Herald, 24 July 2013.
  53. “Church Whistle-Blowers Join Forces on Abuse”, New York Times, 20 May 2013.
  54. “Cardinal Pell denies attempting to bribe alleged abuse victim and helping to move paedophile priest”, Tablet, 21 May 2015.
  55. “Mo. appeals court rules Catholic church not responsible for some abuse”, St. Louis Public Radio, 5 July 2011.
  56. “How the German Catholic Church Protected a Pedophile Priest”, Spiegel, 24 April 2009.
  57. Tom Heneghan, “John Paul backed praise for hiding abuse – cardinal”, Reuters, 18 April 2010.
  58. Cardinal Darío del Niño Jesús Castrillón Hoyos to Bishop Pierre Pican, 8 September 2001. Translation in “Darío Castrillón Hoyos”,
  59. John L Allen Jr, “Crisis hangs over pope in Malta like volcanic ash”, National Catholic Register, 17 April 2010.
  60. Tom Heneghan, “John Paul backed praise for hiding abuse – cardinal”, Reuters, 18 April 2010.
  61. Rod Dreher, “Cardinal: John Paul approved of cover-up”, Beliefnet, 18 April 2010.
  62. Ciaran Byrne, “Controversial cleric a ‘grade A1 idiot’, says colleague”, Irish Independent, 20 March 2010.
  63. “Catholic archbishop says kids are spontaneously gay”, Examiner.com, 8 May 2010.
  64. “Calls multiply for inquiry into handling of sex abuse”, Sydney Morning Herald, 1 August 2012.
  65. Laurie Goodstein, Nick Cumming-Brice and Jim Yardley,“ U.N. Panel Criticizes the Vatican Over Sexual Abuse”, New York Times, 5 February 2014.
  66. “Holy See’s Comments to Observations From UN Committee on Rights of the Child”, Zenit, 26 September 2014.

 

Enough is enough, time to march and demand the arrest and prosecution of ALL Pedophile Pimps of the Unholy Roman Catholic Cult


Enough is enough, time to march and demand the arrest and prosecution of ALL Pedophile Pimps of the Unholy Roman Catholic Cult

By Frank J LaFerriere
January 31, 2016
1:35 p.m.

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There comes a time when all good and decent human beings on the planet stands up as one voice and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!

For far too long, the Unholy Roman Catholic Cult of Pedophile Pimps, Pedophile Priests and Nuns and the Parishioners who stand up and defend them, have gotten away with their CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY AND THE CHILDREN OF THE WORLD!!!

For far too long, we have given this disgusting, degenerate, evil, demonic cult, chance after chance, to clean up their acts, to put their Pedophile Pimps like all of the following, on trial for their parts in their crimes of covering up and protecting and defending their degenerate pedophiles and child abusers.

POPES: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope Francis

CARDINALS: Adam Maida, Agostino Vallini, Angelo Scola, Angelo Sodana, Bernard Francis Law, Dario Castrillon Hoyos, Dominik Duka, Donald Wuerl, Franc Rode, Francis George, Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, George Pell, Godfried Danneels, Hans Hermann Groer, Humberto Mederios, John Cody, John Krol, John Wright, Joseph Bernardin, Juan Luis Cipriani, Justin Rigali, Keith O’Brien, Leonardo Sandri, Luis Antonio Tagle, Marc Oullet, Norberto Rivera, Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, Patrick O’Malley, Peter Turkson, Pio Laghi, Raymond Burke, Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, Richard Cushing, Roger Mahony, Sean Brady, Sean O’Malley, Silvio Oddi, Tarcisio Bertone, Thomas Winning, Timothy Dolan, Vinko Puljic, Wilfred Fox Napier, William Levada…and many others.

ARCHBISHOPS: Andre Richard, Anthony Sablan, Blase Cupich, Charles J Chaput, Denis Hart, Desmond Connell, Diarmuid Martin, Edwin O’Brien, Ernest Leger, Francisco Xavier Martinez, Frank Little, Harry Flynn, Jerome Hanus, Jerome Listecki, John Charles McQuaid, John Clayton Nienstedt, John J Meyers, John Roach, Jose Horacio Gomez, Jose Luis Mollaghan, Luciano Storero, Mario Conti, Paul Richard Gallagher, Peter Gerety, Peter Sartain, Rembert Weakland, Robert Carlson, Silvano Tomasi, Theodore McCarrick, Valery Vienneau, William Edward Cousins…and many others.

BISHOPS: A.J. Quinn, Andrew Cozzens, Angel Simon Piorno, Anthony O’Connell, Antonio Sarto, Arturo Manadin Bastes, Bill Wright, Carl Mengeling, Christopher Coyne, Christopher Foster, David M O’Connell, David Zubik, Donald Kettler, Edward Cullen, Eugene Larocque, Gabino Miranda Melgarejo, George H Guilfoyle, George Leo Thomas, Gerard Frey, Giampaolo Crepaldi, Henry Kennedy, Howard Hubbard, James Garland, James Hoepner, James Kavanagh, James Murray, James Timlin, James Wall, John B McCormick, John Cunningham, John Doerfler, John Magee, Joseph Cistone, Joseph Devine, Joseph Imesch, Joseph McFadden, Joseph V Adamec, Jozef De Kesel, Juan Barros Madrid, Kenneth Povish, Kierran Thomas Conry, Laurence Glenn, Leo Clarke, Lorenzo Bellomi, Louis E Gellineau, Luis Guillermo Elchhorn, Marcelo Cuenca, Marco Antonio Ordenes, Maurice Schexnyader, Michael Bransfield, Michael J Sheridan, Michael Jarrell, Michael John Browne, Michael Malone, Partick Cooney, Peter A Libasci, Peter Conners, Pierre Pican, Raphael Michael Fliss, Raymond Lahey, Richard Malone, Richard Sklba, Robert Finn, Robert L Whelan, Robert Rose, Rogello Livieres, Roger Vangheluwe, Ronald Gainer, Ronald Mulkearns, Sanchez Sorondo, Seamus Hegarty, Terry Drainey, Thomas Curry, Thomas Dupre, Thomas J Tobin, Thomas V Daily, Timothy McDonnell, Vincent Leonard, William Lynn, William Murphy, Willie Walsh, Wilton Gregory, Wojciech Polak…and many more.

Each and every one of the individuals above, have overwhelming, clear and convincing evidence against them, that they protected their cult of pedophiles, by moving these dangerous predators, who brutalize, and rape, body, mind and soul, hundreds of thousands of children and teens throughout the world. They violated NUMEROUS International, Federal and State laws. As signatures of the United Nations Conventions Against Torture and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, they have thumbed their noses at these laws, again and again, believing that because they are the leaders of this cult, that they are above the law and no one can make them pay for their crimes.

In around 2002, the various Attorney Generals of the states, all gave the Roman Catholic Church a break. Instead of criminal prosecutions, they and the church agreed to clean up it’s acts, stop attacking the victims and make sure all of their pedophiles are no longer protected. Yet, the Roman Catholic Church have broken this agreements again and again and again and again. The states Attorney Generals who made these deals with the devils, should far by now realize, that the Roman Catholic Church did this to protect themselves from their leaders ending up in prison, that they NEVER had any intention of abiding by these agreements.

We can show, with overwhelming evidence and proof, that many predatory, perverted, pedophile priests are still raping children in the United States and in other countries and that in fact, their Cardinals, Bishops and Archbishops protected them and moved them around. Now we can show these dangerous pedophiles stomping grounds are in Central and South America. We can prove this, beyond any shadow of a doubt.

The following stories on my blog proves this:

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

Chilean court asks Vatican for records in abuse case

Yeah Pope Francis sure does love his pedophiles.

Yeah Pope Francis sure does love his pedophiles.

We can show that Pope Francis, as usual of their Popes, only talks a talk. His actions belie his participation in the continued protection of the leaders who covered up these crimes, despite his words, in an address to the Bishops in Philadelphia when he stated:

“The crimes and sins of sexual abuse of minors cannot be kept secret any longer. I commit myself to the zealous watchfulness of the church to protect minors, and I promise that all those responsible will be held accountable.”

Yet, in the case of Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, knowing that Wesolowski did in fact rape children in the Dominican Republic. Stating he was going to prosecute him, Francis brought him to the Vatican and left him his freedom, for over two years, without lifting one finger to prosecute him. It was only after the UN Committee Against Torture kept calling Francis out on this, that he decided to act, but interestingly enough, two days after Francis stated he was finally going to hold trial for Wesolowski, he was found dead in his room, rather convenient eh?

Francis has also elevated a known protector of pedophile priests, Juan Barros to the position of Bishop. Despite the fact that decent Bishops, priests and parishioners begged him not to do so. Francis elevated him anyway, even touching off a riot in Chile and now Barros has to walk around with armed guards.

That he absolutely  refuses to abide by the demands, as signatures of the United Nations Convention Against Torture and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. That he is still protecting, contrary to his own vows and promises, Cardinals such as Bernard Law, George Pell, Justin Rigali and many other of these Pedophile Pimps at the Vatican under their sovereign immunity laws. He has NOT prosecuted any of the American Cardinals, such as Timothy Dolan, Roger Mahony, Donald Wuerl and far too many others, against whom there is again, overwhelming evidence they participated in not only the cover ups, but also attacks against the victims. Particularly using loudmouth, drunken, bully Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

This can be shown with the following stories that are in my blog:

Pope Francis Concealed His Actions Against Two Prelates. Now Both “Whereabouts are Unknown.”

The strange disconnect between Pope Francis’ words and actions about sex abuse

Pope Francis Defies UN on Torturing Children

There should be NO Statute of Limitations against this crime of rape and abuse of children, nor should these criminals be able to also hide behind sovereign immunity laws, to get away with their crimes. To allow such laws, to where criminals who rape children, who destroy their lives, especially when it is done, by religious priests, pastors or ministers, or to have their crimes covered up and protected by their Popes, Cardinals, Bishops and Archbishops, is a slap in the face to ALL victims of the crimes of rape and abuse, especially when those crimes are perpetrated against children. It also makes the Justice system a joke.When victims and survivors finally have the guts and strength to speak out against the crimes committed against them, and the pain and suffering they went through, while hiding these crimes that were perpetrated against them, because the priest raping them, controlled them through the horror and fear of hell? That is an especially monstrous kind of evil. All victims and survivors deserve the right to justice, deserve a right to see those who harmed them, raped them and destroyed their lives, see those who committed these crimes against them, pay for those crimes. To do anything less, makes a mockery of the Justice system. We may as well just throw out all statutes and laws against the rapes and abuses of children, because in essence? That is what is already been done.

Then this churches habit, of attacking the victims, having their mouthpieces, branding them as liars, gold diggers, out looking for a payday from their church. Or with the likes of disgusting Bill Donohue, who actually said in the courtroom to my face, “If a 15 year old did not stop what was happening to him? Then that means he not only wanted it, he enjoyed it and he is a homosexual because of it.” Or all the other trash talk that Bill Donohue spews from his drunken mouth against us.

Or when we are called the seducers of our rapists.

Or when “Father” Richard Ross stated;””I don’t have much sympathy for people who somehow couldn’t stop whatever happened,” Richard Ross told the Joliet Herald-News. “I’ll take all of these people who were abused, and I’ll abuse them with a baseball bat. You can quote me on that.”

These are absolutely disgusting attacks against the victims. To take Ross’s and Donohue’s statements, just please explain to us, what would have happened to us, if we had punched our rapist priests? Why it would have been us who would have been charged and prosecuted, for assault and battery on a cleric. No one would have believed myself, if I had punched out “Father” Leon Gaulin, “Father” Joseph Desmond and the blond haired priest who spent that night raping me at St Thomas More parish in Durham NH. I had been brought there by a police officer because my father and I had gotten into a fight. I was a troubled youth already. Imagine if I had punched them all out? I would not have been believed that because I beat the snot out of them, that I was doing so because they were raping me. Especially in 1975. No one really knew about this massive problem in the cult of Pedophile Pimps and Priests yet. No, I would have been arrested and charged with assault and battery, prosecuted and thrown into YDC in Manchester, probably til I was 18.

All of this, the continued cover-ups and protection of pedophile priests, especially down in South and Central America, the continued protection of ALL the Pedophile Pimp Cardinals, Bishops and Archbishops, the continued denial of justice to the victims and survivors, hiding behind the statute of limitations and the sovereign immunity laws SCREAM that these must be dealt with, because the Church of Pedophiles refuse to seriously do so.

"Saint" Peter Damian

“Saint” Peter Damian

Yet, what can you expect, from a cult, where they ruled the world at one time and to even dare speak out, or disagree with them, got you an invitation to the Inquisitional Court, where you were tortured and put to death?

We can also show, these are a long running crime with this cult. The very words of one of those they declared a Saint, Peter Damian, echos throughout the centuries, when he stated in an admonition to the Cult in 1049:

“Listen, you do-nothing superiors of clerics and priests. Listen, and even though you feel sure of yourselves, tremble at the thought that you are partners in the guilt of others; those, I mean, who wink at the sins of their subjects that need correction and who by ill-considered silence allow them license to sin. Listen, I say, and be shrewd enough to understand that all of you alike are deserving of death, that is, not only those who do such things, but also they who approve those who practice them.”

It is time, it is time for all good and decent human beings to take a stand. To march, to protest, to stand up to this continuing disgusting, demonic, evil behavior by those who dare proclaim how they are the protectors and defenders of children, especially with their stances on contraception and abortion, and then turn around and be responsible, for the brutal rapes, enslavement, beatings, tortures and murder of children, on a mass scale, for hundreds of years, against children. This is pure and sheer hypocrisy of its highest form.

The Industrial Homes, the Industrial Schools, the Magdalene and Good Shepherd Laundries, the Women’s and Children’s Homes, the Churches run High and Middle Schools, were actual places of pain, suffering, horror and nightmares, for many who as children and teens went to them. We can far prove that in all of these institutions, incredible crimes against children were perpetrated. The Church should be held accountable. They ALL, from Pope Francis, to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, to each and every Cardinal, Bishop and Archbishop named above, should in fact, be treated just as we treated the Nazi leaders during the Nuremberg trials. Just because they happen to be the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, should NOT allow them to get away with their incredible crimes against humanity and the children of the world.

They do not deserve one ounce of respect. They do not deserve one ounce of decency. They are literal scum in my eyes. Even worse than their proclaimed Satan. For they go around, proclaiming themselves the Holy Men of God, with the power to forgive sins, or not and send you straight to hell. They go around proclaiming how they are the leaders of the One True Church of Jesus Christ. Yet, they are nothing more than the worse sub-humans on the planet. These are NOT Holy Men of God. These are NOT the leaders of the church of Jesus Christ. These are evil, degenerate, psychotic, freaks, who deserve nothing more, than arrest, prosecution and upon conviction? The death penalty. For their crimes this is what is demanded. Far too many victims of their cult have committed suicide because not only of their rapes, but the continued brutalization against them perpetrated by this disgusting cult. They should in fact, be charged with First Degree Murder, for each and every victim, who blew their brains out, or hung themselves or killed themselves in other ways.

To see this Pope and the others, worshiped and adored, by their pew polishers, and having them call them the leaders of the church that their Christ founded? To even declare Pope John Paul II a Saint, when they damn well KNOW he covered up and turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the evils of Marciel Marcial and Hans Hermann Groer? Is disgusting to say the least. It is pure evil, to proclaim any of them holy. It is truly a slap in the face to the one they proclaim to follow, Jesus, who stated, it would be better for you to hang a millstone around your neck and throw yourself into the deepest of lakes than to harm a single hair on the head of a child. And they, NONE of them, deserve one ounce of forgiveness from ANY victim, for they have NOT repented of their crimes against us and continue to this day to commit crimes against children and teens in the same fashion.

It is also high time, that our United States Attorney General, our States Attorney Generals who made these compacts with the devils, stand up for the victims and prosecute them. It is time for the United Nation to get off their asses and prosecute the Popes, and others at the Vatican for their violations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention Against Torture. To not do so, sends a message to them, that they can continue to commit these crimes and cover them up with impunity.

It is time to stop fearing the cult of Pedophiles. It is time to stop being afraid of them, for they are NOT gods, they are NOTHING but criminals, hiding behind their cult church to get away with their crimes. It is time to make them FEAR US, arrest them, prosecute them and upon conviction? Give them the death penalty. Anything less, would again, be a slap in the face to each and every victim, survivor, suicide victim and the justice system.

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Frank J LaFerriere
January 31, 2016

The strange disconnect between Pope Francis’ words and actions about sex abuse


The strange disconnect between Pope Francis’ words and actions about sex abuse

By  | 

From the Link: http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/strange-disconnect-between-pope-francis-words-and-actions-about-sex-abuse

Yeah Pope Francis sure does love his pedophiles.

Yeah Pope Francis sure does love his pedophiles.

A Commentary:

On his tour of the United States, Pope Francis has forcefully reminded the world about the importance of looking after the planet and the perils of climate change. His criticisms of the world economic system and the plight of the poor are timely and welcome. There is very little that Pope Francis can personally do about either of these things except to do what he has done — warn and exhort.

But there is one thing that he can personally do about child sexual abuse, and that is to change canon law by abolishing the pontifical secret over allegations of the sexual abuse of children by clergy and religious.

In an address to bishops in Philadelphia, Pope Francis said:

“The crimes and sins of sexual abuse of minors cannot be kept secret any longer. I commit myself to the zealous watchfulness of the church to protect minors, and I promise that all those responsible will be held accountable.”

The maintenance of secrecy for these crimes is imposed by Article 25 of Pope John Paul II’s motu proprio, Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela of 2001 and by Article 30 of its revision by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010, which impose the pontifical secret on all allegations and proceedings relating to child sexual abuse by clerics. The footnotes to Article 25 and Article 30 apply Article 1(4) of Pope Paul VI’s instruction, Secreta Continere, which defines the pontifical secret as the church’s highest form of secrecy, and like the secret of the confessional, is a permanent silence. Since becoming pope two and a half years ago, Pope Francis has made no attempt to change this maintenance of secrecy, the very thing he condemned in Philadelphia.

Like Pope Benedict XVI in his 2010 pastoral letter to the people of Ireland, Pope Francis ignored the role of canon law in the cover up, and said, “I deeply regret that some bishops failed in their responsibility to protect children.” There was not a word about the fact that in most cases such bishops were complying with the pontifical secret under canon law, and its requirement to try and cure the priest before any attempt was made to dismiss him.

A dispensation to allow reporting to the police where the civil law requires it was granted by the Holy See to the United States in 2002 and to the rest of the world in 2010, but where there are no such civil laws, the pontifical secret still applies. Very few countries have comprehensive reporting laws.

Francis is the Bishop of Rome, but his own Italian Bishops Conference, of which he is the primate, announced in 2014 that Italian bishops would not be reporting these crimes to the police because Italian civil law under the 1929 Lateran Treaty with the dictator, Mussolini, did not require them to do so.

On Jan. 31, 2014, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child requested the Holy See to abolish the pontifical secret over allegations of child sexual abuse by clergy and to impose mandatory reporting. On May 22, 2014, the United Nations Committee against Torture requested the same thing.

On Sept. 26, 2014, The Vatican responded and rejected these requests, stating that mandatory reporting under canon law would interfere with the sovereignty of independent nations. If that were true, the church should not even have a canon law that applies to Catholics all over the world. Canon law only interferes with such sovereignty when it requires Catholics to disobey the civil law. Where there is no conflict between canon and civil law, canon law has no more effect on a nation’s sovereignty than the rules of golf. Mandatory reporting under canon law would only interfere with national sovereignty if the civil law of a country prohibited the reporting of child sexual abuse by clergy. No such country exists.

On March 19, 2014, Pope Francis said that Pope Benedict had supported “zero tolerance” for clergy who sexually abused children. On May 26, 2014, he pledged to apply the same “zero tolerance” standard. But the figures produced by the Holy See’s representative at the United Nations, Archbishop Tomasi, show that the Holy See’s tolerance is not zero but 66 percent.  Less than one third of all priests against whom credible allegations of sexual abuse of children have been made have been dismissed.

Head Pedophile Pimp of the Unholy Roman Catholic Church of Pedophile Pimps and Priests His Unholiness Papal Bullshitter, Pope Benedict XVI

Head Pedophile Pimp of the Unholy Roman Catholic Church of Pedophile Pimps and Priests His Unholiness Papal Bullshitter, Pope Benedict XVI

In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI dismissed Fr. Mauro Inzoli, who was accused of abusing dozens of children over a 10-year period. In 2014, Pope Francis reinstated him and required him to live a life of “prayer and penance”, the same punishment that Pope Benedict XVI handed out to the notorious Fr. Marcial Maciel. When Italian Magistrates asked the Vatican to have access to the evidence submitted to Inzoli’s canonical trial, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith refused, stating, “The procedures of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are of a canonical nature and, as such, are not an object for the exchange of information with civil magistrates.” Pope Francis himself maintains the secrecy that this week he condemned.

In matters of child sexual abuse, Pope Francis has no constitution, no Congress, no Senate and no Supreme Court that could restrain him from changing canon law. He has no obligation even to consult anyone. He is the last of the absolute monarchs.

He can take out his pen at breakfast, and write on his napkin an instruction to abolish the pontifical secret in cases of child sexual abuse and to order mandatory reporting everywhere. He can instruct it to be translated into Latin and to have it published on the Acta Apostolicae Sedis. It then becomes canon law.

On Jan. 21, 2014, after the United Nations hearings, Thomas C. Fox, the publisher of this paper, wrote that Pope Francis “does not understand the full magnitude of the related sex abuse issues, or, if he does, is yet unwilling or incapable of responding to it.”

One can only hope that Pope Francis means what he says in his address in Philadelphia, but up to the present time, there is a strange disconnect between what he says and what he, personally, has done. Cardinal Francis George wrote in an article in 2003 that if you want to change a damaging culture, you first have to change the laws which embody it. The buck for maintaining secrecy over the sexual abuse of children within the church truly stops with Pope Francis.

[Kieran Tapsell is the author of Potiphar’s Wife: The Vatican Secret and Child Sexual Abuse (ATF Press 2014).]

 

APOSTOLIC LETTER
ISSUED ‘MOTU PROPRIO’

SACRAMENTORUM SANCTITATIS TUTELA

OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF
JOHN PAUL II
BY WHICH ARE PROMULGATED
NORMS ON MORE GRAVE DELICTS
RESERVED TO THE CONGREGATION
FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH*

 

The Safeguarding of the Sanctity of the Sacraments, especially the Most Holy Eucharist and Penance, and the keeping of the faithful, called to communion with the Lord, in their observance of the sixth commandment of the Decalogue, demand that the Church itself, in her pastoral solicitude, intervene to avert dangers of violation, so as to provide for the salvation of souls “which must always be the supreme law in the Church” (CIC, can. 1752).

Indeed, Our Predecessors already provided for the sanctity of the sacraments, especially penance, through appropriate Apostolic Constitutions such as the Constitution Sacramentum Poenitentiae, of Pope Benedict XIV, issued June 1, 1741;1 the same goal was likewise pursued by a number of canons of the Codex Iuris Canonici, promulgated in 1917 with their fontes by which canonical sanctions had been established against delicts of this kind.2

In more recent times, in order to avert these and connected delicts, the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, through the Instruction Crimen sollicitationis, addressed to all Patriarchs, Archbishops, Bishops, and other local Ordinaries “even of the Oriental Rite” on March 16, 1962, established a manner of proceeding in such cases, inasmuch as judicial competence had been attributed exclusively to it, which competence could be exercised either administratively or through a judicial process. It is to be kept in mind that an Instruction of this kind had the force of law since the Supreme Pontiff, according to the norm of can. 247, §1 of the Codex Iuris Canonici promulgated in 1917, presided over the Congregation of the Holy Office, and the Instruction proceeded from his own authority, with the Cardinal at the time only performing the function of Secretary.

The Supreme Pontiff, Pope Paul VI, of happy memory, by the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia, Regimini Ecclesiae Universae, issued on August 15, 1967,3 confirmed the Congregation’s judicial and administrative competence in proceeding “according to its amended and approved norms.”

Finally, by the authority with which we are invested, in the Apostolic Constitution, Pastor Bonus, promulgated on June 28, 1988, we expressly established, “[The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith] examines delicts against the faith and more grave delicts whether against morals or committed in the celebration of the sacraments, which have been referred to it and, whenever necessary, proceeds to declare or impose canonical sanctions according to the norm of both common or proper law,”4 thereby further confirming and determining the judicial competence of the same Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as an Apostolic Tribunal.

After we had approved the Agendi ratio in doctrinarum examine,5 it was necessary to define more precisely both “the more grave delicts whether against morals or committed in the celebration of the sacraments” for which the competence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith remains exclusive, and also the special procedural norms “for declaring or imposing canonical sanctions.”

With this apostolic letter, issued motu proprio, we have completed this work and we hereby promulgate the Norms concerning the more grave delicts reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which Norms are divided in two distinct parts, of which the first contains Substantive Norms, and the second Procedural Norms. We therefore enjoin all those concerned to observe them diligently and faithfully. These Norms take effect on the very day when they are promulgated.

All things to the contrary, even those worthy of special mention, notwithstanding.

Give in Rome at St. Peter’s on April 30, 2001, the memorial of Pope St. Pius V, in the twenty-third year of Our Pontificate.

 

POPE JOHN PAUL II


* This unofficial translation is based on a translation of the motu proprio by the USCCB and revised by Joseph R. Punderson and Charles J. Scicluna. The translations of the canons of the CIC and the CCEO are from the translations published by the Canon Law Society of America in 1999 and 2001 respectively.

 

1. Benedict XIV, Constitution Sacramentum Pœnitentiae, June 1, 1741, in Codex Iuris Canonici, prepared at the order of Pius X, Supreme Pontiff, promulgated by the authority of Pope Benedict XV, Documenta, Document V in AAS 9 (1917), Part II, 505-508.

2. Cf. Codex Iuris Canonici anno 1917 promulgatus, cann. 817; 2316; 2320; 2322; 2368, §1; 2369, §1.

3. Cf. Pope Paul VI, Apostolic Constitution Regimini Ecclesiae Universae, On the Roman Curia, August 15, 1967, n. 36, AAS 59 (1967), p. 898.

4. Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus, On the Roman Curia, June 28, 1988, art. 52, in AAS 89 (1988), p. 874.

5. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Agendi ratio in doctrinarum examine, June 29, 1997, in AAS 89 (1997), pp. 830-835.

 

© Copyright 2001 – Libreria Editrice Vaticana