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Bishop Responds to Allegations of Abuse by Priest


Bishop Responds to Allegations of Abuse by Priest

By Martha Bellisle
Reno Gazette-Journal
October 22, 2010

From the Link: Bishop Responds to Allegations of Abuse by Priest

Bishop Randolph Calvo

Bishop Randolph Calvo

Bishop Randolph Calvo sent a statement to Catholic parishes across the state Friday saying a review board in Kansas City has recommended that the Rev. Tom Cronin be placed on leave while it investigates a lawsuit claiming that he sexually abused a girl in 1979.

Calvo, the bishop of the Diocese of Reno, also defended his decision to delay placing Cronin on leave from his pastoral duties at St. Mary’s in the Mountains in Virginia City after he learned of the allegations on Oct. 1, saying he first wanted the claims investigated by a review board.

Cronin was accused in a civil lawsuit filed in Kansas City, Mo., of molesting and sexually assaulting a 17-year-old member of the Sacred Heart Parish in Hamilton, Mo. Cronin has denied the claims.

He first moved to the Reno diocese in 1998 to work as a chaplain at Washoe Medical Center, now Renown Regional Medical Center, and was pastor at St. Robert Bellarmine in Fernley in 2000-04.

Brother Matthew Cunningham, spokesman for the diocese, said Cronin met with the bishop on Tuesday to discuss the lawsuit and Cronin agreed to take a voluntary leave while the diocese awaited word from Kansas City on how to proceed.

“The bishop had decided to ask him to step aside even before we heard the final word from the board,” Cunningham said.

But David Clohessy, executive director of the St. Louis-based Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, criticized Calvo on Thursday for not immediately suspending Cronin and publicly disclosing the allegations when Calvo learned of the lawsuit thee weeks ago.

Clohessy accused Calvo and other bishops of participating in a “disturbing and deliberate cover-up” of sexual misconduct of priests.

In his statement sent to the parishes and several media organizations on Friday, Calvo said: “I believe it is important for you to hear directly from me what action I have taken in this matter.”

Calvo said when he first read the story about the lawsuit in a Kansas City newspaper on Oct. 1, he asked Cunningham to contact that diocese “for substantiation and direction in this matter.”

“We had no access to any facts about this case and we were never contacted by the victim or her lawyers,” Calvo said.

Calvo said they also contacted the Kansas City diocese to inform them of their policy concerning such allegations: An initial examination of the facts is made and brought before the Diocesan Review Board; the board makes a recommendation about whether the priest should be placed on leave while an investigation is conducted; and civil authorities are contacted if appropriate.

Cunningham said the Kansas City diocese was in charge of the review and investigation because Cronin was ordained there.

On Thursday, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph informed the Reno diocese that its board recommended that, “based on the allegations presented,” Cronin should be placed on leave both in Reno and Missouri “pending further investigation.”

“It was not until this same day that I received substantive information on the case other than what I read in the newspaper,” Calvo said in the statement.

He said it was important to remember that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and asked that people “please keep this in mind regarding Father Tom Cronin.”

Calvo said that he takes the allegations very seriously.

“There is no place in the ministry for those who would harm the young,” he said. “Let us pray for everyone in the case and for a just resolution to this matter.”

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Woman Comes Forward Claiming Area Priests Molested Her


Woman Comes Forward Claiming Area Priests Molested Her

Fox 4
October 4, 2010

From the link:  Woman Comes Forward Claiming Area Priests Molested Her

"Father" Thomas Cronin

“Father” Thomas Cronin

New court papers reveal sex abuse allegations against two priests who served for many years in the Kansas City area. The victim says a priest abused her after he learned during confession that she was being abused by a relative.

The allegations date back to 1979. The victim, who no longer lives in the area, said she repressed the memories until recently. On Monday the executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, called attention to the case.

Court papers name Father John Tulipana, who has faced sex abuse allegations before, but it also names Father Thomas Cronin, who has not been named before in sex abuse cases.

The victim says she was 17 years old when she confessed to Father Cronin that she was sexually abused by a relative. He told her she was chosen by God and then began molesting her. She says Father Tulipana got involved in the sex abuse while at a retreat, called Teens Encounter Christ.

SNAP’s director said these cases don’t draw the same media attention they once did, but it’s important that people remain vigilant to protect children.

“We would beg anyone who saw or suspected or suffered crimes by either Father Tulipana or Cronin to come forward, get help, start recovering and hopefully protect others from them,” said David Clohessy, SNAP executive director.

Father John Tulipana

Father John Tulipana

In a statement, the Kansas City – St. Joseph Catholic Diocese said the victim in this case was in contact with the dioceses last year about the abuse and has received counseling. Read the full statement here.

The diocese says Tulipana has not worked in the ministry since 1994 when allegations of abuse first surfaced. Father Cronin served in four metro area parishes from the 1970’s until 1996 when he went to Nevada and he’s now retired. The diocese says it responds to all allegations of abuse and works with the victim for healing and reconciliation.

TKC BREAKING NEWS!!! THE LATEST LAWSUIT IN THE KANSAS CITY CATHOLIC SEX SCANDAL ALLEGES PRIEST VIOLATED FOUR BOYS IN ONE FAMILY!!!


TKC BREAKING NEWS!!! THE LATEST LAWSUIT IN THE KANSAS CITY CATHOLIC SEX SCANDAL ALLEGES PRIEST VIOLATED FOUR BOYS IN ONE FAMILY!!!

From the blog: Tony’s Kansas City
Wednesday February 22, 2012

From the Link: TKC BREAKING NEWS!!! THE LATEST LAWSUIT IN THE KANSAS CITY CATHOLIC SEX SCANDAL ALLEGES PRIEST VIOLATED FOUR BOYS IN ONE FAMILY!!!

Father John Tulipana

Father John Tulipana

Unusual new abuse & cover up lawsuit is filed

Accused predator priest violated four boys in one family

The alleged crimes happened in Independence over two decades

WHAT:

For the first time, a KC area Catholic priest is being accused sexually violating four boys in one family, according to a new civil lawsuit. The case will be disclosed and discussed at a news conference today at which clergy sex abuse victims will also hold signs and childhood photos.

WHEN:

TODAY, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 1:30 p.m.

WHERE:

Outside the KC chancery (diocesan headquarters) 20 West Ninth Street (at Baltimore) in KC MO

WHO:

Two child sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a St. Louis man who is the organization’s long-time director

WHY:

A new civil lawsuit charges that Fr. John Tulipana sexually assaulted four boys (ranging in age from 10 – 16) in one family in/around St. Catherine’s parish between roughly 1976 and 1992. Most of the alleged crimes happened between 1979-81, sometimes on camping and fishing trips and sometimes at the family’s home. Some of the boys repressed the memories of the abuse, according to the suit.

Tulipana left active ministry in the mid-1990s because of credibly abuse allegations.

In 1989, Richard Durocher told church officials Tulipana had abused him as a child. The diocese gave him $150,000 but demanded that he sign a “gag order” preventing him from discussing the abuse. Durocher was promised that Tulipana would receive therapy and children would be protected. But Tulipana was allowed to stay in active ministry with access to kids. In 1994, Durocher broke his silence, the KC Star wrote about the case, and Tulipana resigned. Since then, the diocese has admitted that others have come forward with sex abuse charges and they have settled with at least “several” of them.

Tulipana was ordained in 1972 and worked in at least eight parishes including Independence (

"Father" Thomas Cronin

“Father” Thomas Cronin

), Grandview (Coronation of Our Lady), Clinton (Holy Rosary), and Kansas City (St. Catherine’s at 4101 E. 105th Terrace; St. Augustine’s at 7801 the Paseo; Christ the King at 85th Street & Wornall Road; Holy Trinity at 934 Norton Ave., and, in the mid-1990s, at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception). He also taught at the University of Dallas.Tulipana is believed to be in his mid- 60s, working as an insurance agent, and living at 301 S. Shrank in Independence. A photo of Tulipana is available at http://bishop-accountability.org/member/psearch.jsp.

According to 2010 lawsuit “multiple priests and lay persons (knew) that Tulipana (and another priest, Fr. Thomas Cronin) were sexually abusing children, providing liquor to children and spending inordinate amounts of time with children.” http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2010/09_10/2010_10_05_Hart_TwoExpriests.htm

That suit also says that the KC diocese “aided and abetted” Cronin and Tulipana “by moving the priests from church to church following reports of his sexual abuse of minors,” by forcing the victims to be silent by representing that the priests were in good standing.

The new suit seeks unspecified damages and is filed in Jackson County Circuit Court.

SNAP worries that others who have been hurt by Fr. Tulipana may still be “suffering in shame, isolation and self blame” and want Catholic officials to “aggressively reach out to others in pain.”

KC attorney Rebecca Randles represents the victim. KC lawyer Jon Haden represents the diocese (which is also named as a defendant.) SNAP doesn’t know if Tulipana has a lawyer.

Earlier this month, similar suits were filed against two other KC priests – Fr. Thomas Ford (who hadn’t been publicly accused of abuse before) and Fr. James Urbanic (who was suspended from active ministry at Sacred Heart parish in Warrensburg last summer).

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2011/07_08/2011_07_05_Thomas_CatholicPriest.htm

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2011/07_08/2011_07_05_Thomas_CatholicPriest.htm

CONTACT:

David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP Executive Director, SNAPclohessy@aol.com,
Barb Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP Outreach Director, SNAPdorris@gmail.com,
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Bishop Says He Waited for Panel’s Review before Suspending Priest


Bishop Says He Waited for Panel’s Review before Suspending Priest

By Martha Bellisle
Reno Gazette-Journal
October 23, 2010

Bishop Says He Waited for Panel’s Review before Suspending Priest

"Father" Thomas Cronin

“Father” Thomas Cronin

Bishop Randolph Calvo sent a statement to Catholic parishes across the state Friday saying a review board in Kansas City has recommended that the Rev. Tom Cronin be placed on leave while it investigates a lawsuit claiming that he sexually abused a girl in 1979.

Calvo, the bishop of the Diocese of Reno, also defended his decision to delay placing Cronin on leave from his pastoral duties at St. Mary’s in the Mountains in Virginia City after he learned of the allegations on Oct. 1, saying he first wanted the claims investigated by a review board.

Cronin was accused in a civil lawsuit filed in Kansas City, Mo., of molesting and sexually assaulting a 17-year-old member of the Sacred Heart Parish in Hamilton, Mo. Cronin has denied the claims.

Cronin first moved to the Reno diocese in 1998 to work as a chaplain at Washoe Medical Center, now Renown Regional Medical Center, and was pastor at St. Robert Bellarmine in Fernley in 2000-04.

Brother Matthew Cunningham, spokesman for the diocese, said Cronin met with the bishop on Tuesday to discuss the lawsuit and Cronin agreed to take a voluntary leave while the diocese awaited word from Kansas City on how to proceed.

“The bishop had decided to ask him to step aside even before we heard the final word from the board,” Cunningham said.

Bishop Randolph Calvo

Bishop Randolph Calvo

But David Clohessy, executive director of the St. Louis-based Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, criticized Calvo on Thursday for not immediately suspending Cronin and publicly disclosing the allegations when Calvo learned of the lawsuit thee weeks ago.

Clohessy accused Calvo and other bishops of participating in a “disturbing and deliberate cover-up” of sexual misconduct of priests.

In his statement sent to the parishes and several media organizations on Friday, Calvo said, “I believe it is important for you to hear directly from me what action I have taken in this matter.”

Calvo said when he first read the story about the lawsuit in a Kansas City newspaper on Oct. 1, he asked Cunningham to contact that diocese “for substantiation and direction in this matter.”

“We had no access to any facts about this case and we were never contacted by the victim or her lawyers,” Calvo said.

Calvo said they also contacted the Kansas City diocese to inform them of their policy concerning such allegations: An initial examination of the facts is made and brought before the Diocesan Review Board, the board makes a recommendation about whether the priest should be placed on leave while an investigation is conducted, and civil authorities are contacted if appropriate.

Cunningham said the Kansas City diocese was in charge of the review and investigation because Cronin was ordained there.

On Thursday, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph informed the Reno diocese that its board recommended that, “based on the allegations presented,” Cronin should be placed on leave both in Reno and Missouri “pending further investigation.”

“It was not until this same day that I received substantive information on the case other than what I read in the newspaper,” Calvo said in the statement.

He said it was important to remember that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and asked that people “please keep this in mind regarding Father Tom Cronin.”

Calvo said that he takes the allegations very seriously.

“There is no place in the ministry for those who would harm the young,” he said. “Let us pray for everyone in the case and for a just resolution to this matter.”

The Catholic Church’s Worldwide Sexual Abuse Scandal and Cover-Up


The Catholic Church’s Worldwide Sexual Abuse Scandal and Cover-Up

Monday, 04 March 2013 17:05

From the link: http://www.truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/item/17838-the-catholic-church-s-worldwide-sexual-abuse-scandal-and-cover-up

BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Strategies used by the Church to cover up its worldwide sexual abuse scandal included: the Vatican’s refusal to cooperate with civil authorities; officially sanctioned priest shifting; the destruction of evidence; punishing whistle-blowers and rewarding enablers; and, blaming the victims.

Last week, the eyes of the world were on Pope Benedict XVI – who apparently expects to be known as Pope Emeritus – as he left the Vatican by helicopter to spend the final hours of what many would characterize as his scandal-dogged papacy, at the papal summer retreat. According to The New York Times, “Onlookers in St. Peter’s Square cheered, church bells rang and Romans stood on rooftops to wave flags as he flew by.”

To the thousands of survivors of the Roman Catholic Church’s worldwide sexual abuse scandals, however, there was little to cheer about.

A Philadelphia Grand Jury report put the long-lived scandal in unambiguous terms: By sexual abuse, “We mean rape. Boys who were raped orally, boys who were raped anally, girls who were raped vaginally. But even those victims whose physical abuse did not include actual rape – those who were subjected to fondling, to masturbation, to pornography – suffered psychological abuse that scarred their lives and sapped the faith in which they had been raised.”

Aftershocks from the decades-long sexual abuse scandal continue to reverberate, even as cardinals gather to choose the next pope. As the Times reported, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Britain’s senior Roman Catholic cleric, “said he would not participate in the conclave, after having been accused of ‘inappropriate acts’ with several priests, charges that he denies.” Other cardinals, including some from the United States have also come under fire.

By this time in history, you’d have to either have been in a multi-decade coma or living in a cave somewhere not to be at least somewhat aware of the Church’s worldwide sexual abuse scandal. Culpability for trying to keep it under wraps may in fact go as deep as the Vatican itself.

While many of us have heard survivors of predatory priests step forward and courageously tell their stories, the testimonies are still shocking.

Fighting for the Future: Adult Survivors Work to Protect Children & End the Culture of Clergy Sexual Abuse” a report submitted to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) on behalf of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), provided a snapshot of some of heart-wrenching testimony that surfaced in front of a Philadelphia Grand Jury:

 

  • A girl, 11 years old, was raped by her priest and became pregnant. The priest took her in for an abortion.
  • A 5th-grader was molested by her priest inside the confessional booth.
  • A teenage girl was groped by her priest while she lay immobilized in traction in a hospital bed. The priest stopped only when the girl was able to ring for a nurse.
  • A boy was repeatedly molested in his own school auditorium, where his priest/teacher bent the boy over and rubbed his genitals against the boy until the priest ejaculated.
  • A priest, no longer satisfied with mere pederasty, regularly began forcing sex on two boys at once in his bed.
  • A boy woke up intoxicated in a priest’s bed to find the Father sucking on his penis while three other priests watched and masturbated themselves.
  • A priest offered money to boys in exchange for sadomasochism – directing them to place him in bondage, to “break” him, to make him their “slave,” and to defecate so that he could lick excrement from them.
  • A 12-year-old, who was raped and sodomized by his priest, tried to commit suicide, and remains institutionalized in a mental hospital as an adult.
  • A priest told a 12-year-old boy that his mother knew of and had agreed to the priest’s repeated rape of her son.
  • A boy who told his father about the abuse his younger brother was suffering was beaten to the point of unconsciousness. “Priests don’t do that,” said the father as he punished his son for what he thought was a vicious lie against the clergy.

“Fighting for the Future” pointed out the worldwide scope of the scandal: “The revelations of sexual violence by clergy … in recent years in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, the United States and elsewhere demonstrate that the rates of abuse in any one country or diocese are not an anomaly but part of a much larger pattern and practice. In light of these revelations, some observers have estimated that the number of victims of sexual violence occurring between the years 1981-2005 is likely approaching 100,000, and will likely be far greater as more situations continue to come to light in Latin America and Africa.”

While the scope of the problem is huge, so too has been the Church-sanctioned cover-up; its refusal to cooperate with civil authorities, and the rampant reassignment of priests accused of sexual misconduct. “The vast majority of the priests who committed acts of sexual violence against children and vulnerable adults have faced no punishment or criminal sanction for their actions; many continue to work, and have privileged access to future victims because of their status as a member of the Catholic clergy,” the report noted.

“The high-level officials of the Church who failed to prevent and punish these criminal actions, and too often facilitated or enabled the acts of sexual violence described herein have, to date, enjoyed absolute impunity as well.”‘

Under the heading, “The Policies and Practices of the Holy See Have Helped to Perpetuate the Crimes,” the report discusses five ways the church resisted accountability and taking responsibility:

  • The Vatican leadership’s “refusal to cooperate with civil authorities.
  • The “practice of ‘priest shifting,’ meaning bishops, cardinals or other high-ranking officials have transferred known offenders to other locations where they continued to have access to children or vulnerable adults and who officials knew continued to commit rape and other acts of sexual violence.”
  • The “destruction of evidence and the obstruction of justice.”
  • The “rewarding of those members of the clergy who remained quiet or assisted in cover-ups, while punishing the whistle-blowers, i.e., those who sought to prevent other children from being hurt and to have offender priests investigated and held accountable for the crimes they committed.”
  • “Blaming the victims.”

The conclave to pick the next pope is assembling. There is, as has been the case when a new pope is chosen, much speculation about who might be the next to wear the papal vestments and wield papal power.

In late February, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) issued its report, and according to a joint press release, “the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has summoned the Vatican to report on its record of ensuring children are protected from sexual violence and safeguarding children’s well-being and dignity, the first time the Holy See will have been called to account for its actions on these issues before an international body with authority.”

Pope Benedict XVI has retired, but he’s not going off the grid. Now that he’s no longer popeing, isn’t it time to put him on record and find out what he knew about the Church’s sexual assault scandal and when did he know it? Given the Vatican’s nearly impenetrable wall of silence, it is doubtful that will ever happen.

 

Pope’s first words on clerical sexual abuse leave victims unimpressed


Pope’s first words on clerical sexual abuse leave victims unimpressed

Friday, April 05, 2013 – 05:00 PM

From the link: http://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/world/popes-first-words-on-clerical-sexual-abuse-leave-victims-unimpressed-590318.html

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Victims’ advocates are said to be unimpressed after Pope Francis called for the Catholic Church to act “with determination” against clergy sex abuse cases.

The pope pushed for decisive action during a meeting with the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, the Vatican said in a statement.

“The Holy Father recommended that the congregation continue the line sought by Benedict XVI, to act with determination in regard to cases of sexual abuse,” the Vatican said.

“Once again, as have happened hundreds of times already, a top Catholic official says he’s asking another top Catholic official to take action about paedophile priests and complicit bishops,” said Barbara Dorris, an official of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a US-based organisation.

Francis cited measures to protect minors, help victims of sexual violence and necessary action against perpetrators, and emphasise that drafting and implementing directives by bishop conferences around the world is important to the credibility of the church.

US victims of clergy abuse have demanded swift and bold actions from the new Jesuit pontiff.

“Big deal. Actions speak louder than words. And one of the first actions Pope Francis took was to visit perhaps the most high-profile corrupt prelate on the planet, Cardinal Bernard Law, who remains a powerful church official despite having been drummed out of Boston for hiding and enabling crimes by hundreds of child molesting clerics,” Ms Dorris said in a statement.

The clergy child abuse scandals in many countries have drained morale and finances from the church, driving countless Catholics away, especially in Western Europe.

Some dioceses have had to close parishes and take other drastic actions after paying out millions for counselling and other compensation to victims in cases settled in and out of court.

The Vatican’s brief announcement about Francis’ meeting Friday with the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – the office that shapes and enforces policy on what to do about any abuse allegations and what happens to the abusers – depicted Francis as urging assertive action to protect minors.

“The Holy Father in a special way urged that the Congregation, following the line sought by Benedict XVI, act decisively in sex abuse cases, above all promoting measures to protect minors, assistance for all those who in the past suffered such violence, necessary measures against the guilty,” the statement said of Francis’ meeting with Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller.

The Vatican quoted Francis as saying abuse victims were always present “in his attention and in his prayers.”

Priest Removed from Church Citing Investigation into his Computer


Priest Removed from Church Citing Investigation into his Computer

By: Matt Mershon Updated: March 15, 2013

PLEASE READ FOLLOW UP STORY HERE WHERE THIS PRIEST WAS CLEARED: http://www.kcchronicle.com/mobile/article.xml/articles/2013/09/04/19801916/index.xml

This will also be posted on RVoCC in a blog.

From the link: http://mystateline.com/fulltext-news?nxd_id=387932

DIXON – One catholic priest is no longer with his parish after the church he worked for announced he and his computer are being investigated by police.  Parishioners, however, are left to their own devices to determind why exactly the priest is no where to be found.

A letter to parishioners of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Dixon acknowledged Father John Gow’s absence from the parish on Highland Avenue.  Parishioners say Gow left the parish before Christmas of 2012.

The author of the letter from the Diocese of Rockford, Msgr. Eric Barr, writes that Fr. Gow had been removed by the Diocese because police are currently investigating conduct of the priest, “relative to his computer use.”  The letter adds that Gow is receiving treatment for this supposed issue that’s, “affecting his priesthood.”

The letter is suggestive of child pornography says Barbara Dorris, outreach coordinator of the Survivor’s Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.

“We’re left to guess,” said Dorris.  “But the guess would be, since adult porn is not illegal, that is would lead you to believe it’s child porn, or is he selling ivory tusks from the rectory?  We don’t know.”

Dorris says this sort of vague communication in regard to potential crimes committed by priests is what’s plaguing the Catholic Church.

“Why didn’t they immediately inform parishioners so that parents could talk to their children and say, ‘Have you been hurt?'” questions Dorris.

“You need to get to the truth of these matters and you do that by encouraging people to tell what they know.”

The Diocese maintains that there are no allegations of abuse against Fr. Gow and no charges have been filed against him.  They say his removal is precautionary.

“How do we know there’s no abuse if you’ve kept it secret all this time?”

“If he is in possession of child porn, he did harm a child and again we’re guessing because they haven’t told us why the police are investigating him,'” commented Dorris.

The Diocese’s letter mentions that Fr. Gow will not be returning to the St. Patrick Parish.

SNAP blacklists 12 cardinals for pope; Cardinal Timothy Dolan on list


SNAP blacklists 12 cardinals for pope; Cardinal Timothy Dolan on list

ROME (CNN) – A group representing survivors of sexual abuse by priests named a “Dirty Dozen” list of cardinals it said would be the worst candidates for pope based on their handling of child sex abuse claims.

Their presence on the list is based “on their actions and/or public comment about child sex abuse and cover up in the church,” the group said.

The list includes Roman Catholic cardinals from several countries.

SNAP, the Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests, said as it released the list Wednesday that its accusations were based on media reports, legal filings and victims’ statements.

The 12 cardinals on SNAP’s list are:
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
Cardinal Timothy Dolan
Cardinal Dominik Duka
Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga
Cardinal Patrick O’Malley
Cardinal Marc Ouellet
Cardinal George Pell
Cardinal Norberto Rivera
Cardinal Leonardo Sandri
Cardinal Angelo Scola
Cardinal Peter Turkson
Cardinal Donald Wuerl

The cardinals named on the list have not yet responded to the move by SNAP.

But when asked about it by CNN, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, a spokesman for the Vatican, said: “We believe it is not up to SNAP to decide who comes to conclave and who is chosen … cardinals can decide themselves without asking SNAP for advice.”

Monday, SNAP also called for some of the older cardinals to remove themselves from the meetings held before the election of the new pope, arguing that some have been accused of complicity in protecting priests accused of sexually abusing children.

Cardinals from around the globe have been summoned to Rome to take part in the process of choosing the next pontiff, after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI last week.

As of midday, 113 of the 115 cardinals eligible to elect the new pope are in Rome, according to Lombardi. To be eligible to be a part of the group, a cardinal must be under the age of 80.

The two cardinal-electors who are not yet there are Kazimierz Nycz of Warsaw, who should arrive later Wednesday, and Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man of Vietnam, who is arriving Thursday.

No date has yet been proposed for the secret election, or conclave, to select the former pontiff’s successor.

‘Silence didn’t work’

SNAP is intentionally focusing on candidates with a realistic chance of being named pope, its executive director David Clohessy said Wednesday as the group released its list.

“The single quickest and most effective step would be for the next pope to clearly discipline, demote, denounce and even defrock cardinals and bishops who are concealing child sex crimes. We think that’s the missing piece,” he said.

The new pope should order each bishop around the world to hand over “every piece of paper he has on proven, admitted or credibly accused child-molesting clerics to law enforcement,” Clohessy said.

Barbara Dorris, victims’ outreach director for SNAP, said: “The short answer is we’ve tried silence, silence didn’t work, so we have to speak out. We have to do everything we can to get this information out there.”

The Catholic Church has been rocked by a series of child sex abuse scandals in recent years — and the new pope will be under pressure to deal more effectively with a crisis that has undermined public confidence in the church.

SNAP says it believes it is vital to look at how the world’s bishops have handled claims of abuse by priests because the crisis is far from over.

“This scandal, we believe, has yet to surface in most nations. It’s shameless spin and deliberate deception to claim otherwise. It’s tempting to reassure the public and the parishioners by making this claim. But it’s also irresponsible,” a statement on SNAP’s website said.

“Clergy sex crimes and cover-ups remain deeply hidden in the vast majority of nations (where most Catholics live), and has really only become widely known — and barely addressed — in the U.S. about a decade ago and in a few European countries even more recently.”

Media leaks concern

A news conference scheduled by American cardinals for Wednesday, following media briefings on Monday and Tuesday, was canceled at short notice.

Asked if the Vatican had told the American cardinals to stop their daily media briefings, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Thomas Rosica suggested that the details of what was discussed in the general congregations were not meant to be publicized.

“It’s not up to Father Lombardi or myself to tell them what to do,” he said. “It could be that among themselves they realized that there are different ways and different methods of getting things out.”

Sister Mary Ann Walsh, director of media relations for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said via e-mail that the U.S. cardinals were committed to transparency and had wanted to share “a process-related overview of their work” with the public “in order to inform while ensuring the confidentiality” of the general congregations.

“Due to concerns over accounts being reported in the Italian press, which breached confidentiality, the College of Cardinals has agreed not to give interviews,” she said.

In total, 153 cardinals gathered Wednesday at the Vatican for a third day of meetings, known as general congregations, before they set the timetable for the election.

The cardinals spoke about new evangelization, restructuring of the church hierarchy, or curia, and the need for good governance of the church, Lombardi said.

A five-minute limit has been imposed on cardinals speaking at the meetings, although the microphone is not being switched off if they run over the time allowed.

The cardinals have decided to meet twice Thursday, in the morning and afternoon, in order to “intensify the rhythm of work,” Lombardi said.

Video shown at a Vatican news conference showed workers preparing the Sistine Chapel for the secretive conclave.

An elevated floor is being put in place to protect the elaborate mosaic tiling, said Lombardi, where seats will be placed for the cardinals.

The Sistine Chapel and its ornate ceiling by Michelangelo are normally a must-see for tourists in Rome, but it was closed to the public beginning Tuesday afternoon to allow for preparations to take place.

 

 

Pope Benedict’s Legacy Marred by Sex Abuse Scandal


Pope Benedict’s Legacy Marred by Sex Abuse Scandal

By  RUSSELL GOLDMAN  Feb. 11, 2013

From the link: http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/pope-benedicts-legacy-marred-sex-abuse-scandal/story?id=18466726

Pope John Paul II is seen giving his blessing to Father Marcial Maciel in 2004. Maciel has been accused of sexually abusing children, including his own, in a lawsuit. He died in 2008.

Pope John Paul II is seen giving his blessing to Father Marcial Maciel in 2004. Maciel has been accused of sexually abusing children, including his own, in a lawsuit. He died in 2008.

When Pope Benedict XVI resigns at the end of this month, he leaves behind a Church grappling with a global fallout from sex abuse and a personal legacy marred by allegations that he was instrumental in covering up that abuse.

As the sex abuse scandal spread from North America to Europe, Benedict became the first pope to meet personally with victims, and offered repeated public apologies for the Vatican’s decades of inaction against priests who abused their congregants.

“No words of mine could describe the pain and harm inflicted by such abuse,” the pope said in a 2008 homily in Washington, D.C., before meeting with victims of abuse for the first time. “It is important that those who have suffered be given loving pastoral attention.” During the same trip to the U.S., he met with victims for the first time.

For some of the victims, however, Benedict’s actions were “lip service and a public relations campaign,” said Jeff Anderson, a Minnesota lawyer who represents victims of sex abuse. For 25 years, Benedict, then known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, headed the Vatican office responsible for investigating claims of sex abuse, but he did not act until he received an explicit order from Pope John Paul II.

In 1980, as Archbishop of Munich, Ratzinger approved plans for a priest to move to a different German parish and return to pastoral work only days after the priest began therapy for pedophilia. The priest was later convicted of sexually abusing boys.

In 1981, Cardinal Ratzinger became head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – the office once known as the Inquisition — making him responsible for upholding church doctrine, and for investigating claims of sexual abuse against clergy. Thousands of letters detailing allegations of abuse were forwarded to Ratzinger’s office.

A lawsuit filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of the Survivors’ Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a victims’ rights group, charges that as head of the church body Ratzinger participated in a cover-up of abuse. In an 84-page complaint, the suit alleges that investigators of sex abuse cases in several countries found “intentional cover-ups and affirmative steps taken that serve to perpetuate the violence and exacerbate the harm.”

“Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, either knew and/or some cases consciously disregarded information that showed subordinates were committing or about to commit such crimes,” the complaint says.

Jeffrey Lena, the Vatican’s lawyer in the U.S., told the AP the complaint was a “ludicrous publicity stunt and a misuse of international judicial processes.”

In the 1990s, former members of the Legion of Christ sent a letter to Ratzinger alleging that the founder and head of the Catholic order, Father Marcial Maciel, had molested them while they were teen seminarians. Maciel was allowed to continue as head of the order.

In 1996, Ratzinger didn’t respond to letters from Milwaukee’s archbishop about a priest accused of abusing students at a Wisconsin school for the deaf. An assistant to Ratzinger began a secret trial of the priest, Father Lawrence Murphy, but halted the process after Murphy wrote a personal appeal to Ratzinger complaining of ill health.

In 2001, Pope John Paul II issued a letter urging the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith to pursue allegations of child abuse in response to calls from bishops around the world.

Ratzinger wrote a letter asserting the church’s authority to investigate claims of abuse and emphasizing that church investigators had the right to keep evidence confidential for up to 10 years after the alleged victims reached adulthood.

Ratzinger became upset — and slapped Ross’s hand — when ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross asked him a question in 2002 about the delay in pursuing sex abuse charges against Maciel.

But by 2004, Ratzinger had ordered an investigation of Maciel, and after becoming pope, he ordered Maciel to do penance and removed him from the active priesthood. After becoming pope Benedict spoke openly about the crisis, but he was repeatedly accused of having participated in a coverup.

In April 2010, Benedict and other officials were accused by members of BishopAccountability.org of covering up alleged child abuse by 19 bishops.

At the time, the Pope told reporters he was “deeply ashamed” of the allegations of sex abuse by his subordinates and reportedly said, “We will absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry.”

Several other accusations followed from alleged victims around the world, prompting Benedict to make a public statement later that month from St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican. In his speech, he said the Catholic Church would take action against alleged sexual abusers. The Pope described a tearful meeting in Malta with eight men who claimed to have been abused by clergy there.

“I shared with them their suffering, and with emotion, I prayed with them,” said Benedict, “assuring them of church action.”

In 2010, he personally apologized to Irish victims of abuse.

“You have suffered grievously, and I am truly sorry,” the pope wrote in an eight-page letter to Irish Catholics. “Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated.”

But for those who advocate on behalf of the victims, the pope’s words did not go far enough.

“Tragically, he gets credit for talking about the crisis,” said David Clohessy, executive director of SNAP.  “He only ever addressed the crimes and never the cover-ups. And only in the past tense, which is self-serving.  Sex crimes and cover-ups are still happening.”

Clohessy called the meetings the pope had with victims “symbolic gestures.”

“This controversy that has reached even the highest office of the Vatican won’t go away until the pope himself tells us what he knew, when he knew it, and what he’s going to do about it,” said the Rev. Richard McBrien, a Catholic priest and professor of theology at Notre Dame University.

Lena, the Vatican’s U.S. lawyer, declined to comment on charges that Benedict had participated in a cover up, but said the fact that two major cases against the Church in U.S. courts, including the Murphy case, had “been dismissed by the plaintiffs themselves, speaks volumes for the strength and integrity of those cases.”

Pope Benedict ‘complicit in child sex abuse scandals’, say victims’ groups


Pope Benedict ‘complicit in child sex abuse scandals’, say victims’ groups

Pope Benedict XVI ‘knew more about clergy sex crimes than anyone else in church yet did little to protect children’, say critics

  • Ian Traynor in Brussels, Karen McVeigh in New York and Henry McDonald in Dublin
  • guardian.co.uk, Monday 11 February 2013 15.04 EST

From the link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/11/pope-complicit-child-abuse-say-victims

For the legions of people whose childhoods and adult lives were wrecked by sexual and physical abuse at the hands of the Roman Catholic clergy, Pope Benedict XVI is an unloved pontiff who will not be missed.

Victims of the epidemic of sex- and child-abuse scandals that erupted under Benedict’s papacy reacted bitterly to his resignation, either charging the outgoing pontiff with being directly complicit in a criminal conspiracy to cover up the thousands of paedophilia cases that have come to light over the past three years, or with failing to stand up to reactionary elements in the church resolved to keep the scandals under wraps.

From Benedict’s native Germany to the USA, abuse victims and campaigners criticised an eight-year papacy that struggled to cope with the flood of disclosures of crimes and abuse rampant for decades within the church. Norbert Denef, of the NetworkB group of German abuse victims, said: “The rule of law is more important than a new pope.”

Denef, 64, from the Baltic coast of north Germany, was abused as a boy by his local priest for six years. In 2003, Denef took his case to the bishop of Magdeburg. He was offered €25,000 (then £17,000) in return for a signed pledge of silence about what he suffered as a six-year-old boy. He then raised the issue with the Vatican and received a letter that said Pope John Paul II would pray for him so that Denef could forgive his molester.

“We won’t miss this pope,” said Denef. He likened the Vatican’s treatment of the molestation disclosures to “mafia-style organised crime rings”.

That view was echoed by David Clohessy in the US, executive director of SNAP (Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests), an organisation with 12,000 members: “His record is terrible. Before he became pope, his predecessor put him in charge of the abuse crisis.

“He has read thousands of pages of reports of the abuse cases from across the world. He knows more about clergy sex crimes and cover-ups than anyone else in the church yet he has done precious little to protect children.”

Jakob Purkarthofer, of Austria’s Platform for Victims of Church Violence, said: “Ratzinger was part of the system and co-responsible for these crimes.”

Under the German pope, his native country, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Austria were rocked by clerical sex-abuse scandals, triggering revulsion at the clergy in Europe just when Benedict saw his mission as leading a Catholic revival on a secular continent.

Before becoming pope, there were also major scandals in the US and Ireland at a time when Pope John Paul II had put the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in charge of dealing with them.

A combination of deep rancour and disgust over the crimes and disaffection with the conservative ethics of the Catholic hierarchy has nudged the church in Austria towards schism, with rebel priests leading an anti-Vatican movement of hundreds of thousands, dubbed We Are The Church.

“He should have come clean about the abuses, but was not really able to change anything fundamentally,” said Purkarthofer. “The resignation is a chance for real change, perhaps the best thing he could have done for the church.”

While also intensely critical, some Irish victims of the seminaries, convent schools, and church-run orphanages gave the pope the benefit of the doubt, but lamented that not enough action had followed Benedict’s expressions of remorse in the spring of 2010.

“When the pope issued his pastoral letter to the people of Ireland we welcomed it,” said one Irish campaigner. “Because of the sincerity of the words in that letter from the pope in the name of the church. He said he was ‘truly sorry’ and accepted that our ‘dignity had been violated’.

“So we went on to meet the group of bishops in Ireland thinking that this would be a new era. But what we got instead were pastoral platitudes and special masses offered up.”

The fallout from these scandals continues to reverberate. Next Monday campaigners for justice are to protest in the ancient west German city of Trier when the country’s church leadership gathers. Last month a church-sponsored inquiry into the abuses collapsed in disarray amid recrimination between the clergy and outside criminologists involved in the examination.

A similar situation persists in Austria, where a church-led inquiry into the abuse and compensation has degenerated, in the view of activists, into a smokescreen. In Belgium, where the head of the church nationally had to resign and then made matters worse by going on television to plead innocence while admitting “intimacy” by having boys in his bed, there are parallel frustrations with the partial nature of the church’s openness.

A couple of years ago US activists sought to file a criminal suit against the Vatican at the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague, while victims’ associations responded to the current drama by demanding an international commission be set up to examine Catholic paedophilia, independent of the church.i

Clohessy said a big question for Benedict’s successor is “what he will do in a very tangible way to safeguard children, deter cover-ups, punish enablers and chart a new course.

“There are 30 bishops in the US [who] have posted on the diocese websites the names of predator priests. The pope should require bishops to do that and to work with secular lawmakers to reform archaic sex abuse laws so that predators from every walk of life face justice.”

John Kelly, one founder of Ireland’s Survivors of Child Abuse group and a former inmate at Dublin’s notorious Artane Industrial School, which was run by the Christian Brothers, said Benedict had resisted their demands to properly investigate and disband religious orders tainted by sexual and physical abuse

“In our view, we were let down in terms of promises of inquiries, reform and most importantly of all the Vatican continuing not to acknowledge that any priest or religious bodies found guilty of child abuse would face the civil authorities and be tried for their crimes in the courts.

“I’m afraid to say Pope Benedict won’t be missed as the Vatican continued to block proper investigations into the abuse scandals during his term in office. Nor are we confident that things are going to be different because of all the conservative Cardinals he appointed. For us, he broke his word.”

The Austrian campaigner called for church files on paedophilia to be opened and generous compensation for the victims.

Denef pointed to the discrepancies between the response in the US and in Europe, insisting that clergy suspects must be brought before the law.

“From our point of view, Ratzinger did nothing to support the victims. Instead, perpetrators and serial perpetrators were protected and moved to new jobs,” he said.

“Victims in the US have been compensated sometimes with more than a million dollars and the personal files of the perpetrators were put on the internet. But the victims of sexual violence by the clergy in Germany had to settle for a few thousand euros, often conditional on pledges of silence and no more claims.

“We demand from German politicians that this concern [the church] is no longer beyond the rule of law. That’s more important than waiting to see whether a new pope will be more reactionary than the old one.”

• This article was amended on 13 February 2013 because the original attributed quotes from Norbert Denef, of NetworkB, to Matthias Katsch. Katsch is not a member of NetworkB. The original has also been amended to correct the description of NetworkB. It is not a “group of German clerical-abuse victims” as the original said, but a group of German abuse victims.