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Therefore I accuse by Vinnie Nauheimer


Therefore I accuse by  Vinnie Nauheimer

"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.

Due to the global ongoing sexual abuse and cover-up by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, it is safe to assume that the only part of Crimen Sollicitationis that was adhered to was the demand for secrecy. Up until 2002 almost every settlement involving sexual abuse by a priest came with an enforceable gag order on the victim. The victims were silenced while most offending priests were moved to new hunting grounds.

The logical question to ask is, “Cui Bono,” who benefits? Who benefits from the silence? It could be argued that the priest and his accuser benefit from the silence. However, since there were no remedies for the care, compensation or treatment of the victim, it is hard to see how victims benefited from Crimen instruction. There has never been any proof whatsoever of rampant false charges being brought against innocent priests. Therefore innocent priests haven’t benefited. So who are the chief beneficiaries of the documentCrimen Sollicitationis? The sexually abusive priest and the Roman Catholic Church are the only beneficiaries.

Therefore, I accuse!

Lest Crimen sidetrack us, the salient points are:
1. The document was sent from the International Headquarters.
2. The document was sent out globally.
3. The document was sent in secrecy.
4. The document demanded secrecy.
5. The penalty for violating secrecy is the harshest penalty the church can mete out: excommunication.
6. It labels the sexual abuse of children as “The Worst Crime” thereby admitting to the world the Vatican’s complete understanding of the vile nature of the act of sexually abusing children.

By their own hand they are condemned.

In the 28 countries we know about, the rape, sodomization, and molestation of children are publicly documented. Why then hasn’t Interpol gotten involved? Interpol states that the protection of children is one of their primary goals. This is the first paragraph taken from Interpol’s page on children:

Crimes against children

Children are the most vulnerable individuals in our society; they are also the most precious commodity that the world has and have a right to be protected from all forms of abuse. INTERPOL as an organization is also committed to eradicating the sexual abuse of children and has passed several resolutions making crimes against children one of International policing top priorities.5

They tell us that, not preventing, but eradicating (wiping out) sexual abuse is one of their top priorities. How can the sexual abuse of children be a top priority when the chief global culprit, the Roman Catholic Church has not been formerly accused by either the UN or Interpol?

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000-01I accuse!

The evidence is abundant for any who would make even a cursory examination of the facts. The Dallas Morning News did an entire series on the international scope of both clergy sexual abuse and its cover-up. Central to the series was the theme of hierarchy moving predator priests internationally in order to save them from being tried for crimes committed or to provide new hunting grounds or both.6

The facts accuse!

The need to protect children around the world is a global priority of United Nations. The U.N. through its UNICEF organization has put together “The Convention on the Rights of the Child.” Here are articles nineteen and thirty-four from that convention, which address the sexual abuse of children.

Article 19

1. States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.

Article 34

States Parties undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. For these purposes, States Parties shall in particular take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent:

  1. The inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual activity;
  2. The exploitative use of children in prostitution or other unlawful sexual practices;
  3. The exploitative use of children in pornographic performances and materials.7

I accuse the RCC of violating the Convention on the Rights of the Child!

The Holy See, which could be a member of the United Nations by virtue of the fact that the Vatican is a city-state, has elected not to become a member of the UN. Rather it has been granted the nomenclature of permanent observer. This means that they enjoy the full rights of every sovereign member except the right to vote. In this way they can lobby for whatever they desire and not have to go on record as voting for or against an issue.

They chose to not to support “The Convention on the Rights of the Child.” The Holy See declared that “the application of the Convention should be compatible in practice with the particular nature of the Vatican City State and of the sources of its objective law.” in a statement issued when they declined to be a signatory. To date, all members but two have ratified the Convention.8

The United Nations through Interpol, its international police agency, and UNICEF, their children’s agency recognize the need to police and prevent the sexual abuse of children throughout the world. They state this is a top priority. The Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has been widely accepted by governments around the world, seeks to end the sexual abuse of children. Why then have the UN, UNICEF, and Interpol chosen to totally ignore the most public, international series of sex crimes and cover-ups against children running from the twentieth into the twenty-first century?

I accuse!

"Saint" Peter Damian

“Saint” Peter Damian

Having established that the sexual abuse of children is accepted by the RCC as being a criminal act, it follows that aiding and abetting criminals is also a crime. The international criminal activity of aiding and abetting sexual predators by the RCC is well documented. The award winning newspaper The Dallas Morning News did an excellent series of articles dealing with the international flight of pedophile priests to escape prosecution entitled Runaway Priests. The following are excerpts from some of their articles as listed on the website Bishop-accountability.org.

Dr. Navarro-Valls (chief spokesperson for the pope) previously declined to comment on The News’ investigation, which found more than 200 accused priests, brothers and other Catholic workers hiding across international borders and living in unsuspecting communities, often with the church’s support. About 30 of the men were wanted by law enforcement in another country.9

Where is Interpol? Where is the outcry from UNICEF?

Bishop Thomas V. Daily of the Diocese of Brooklyn, in an exchange of correspondence with a Venezuelan bishop in 1991 about allegations against Father Diaz, praised the priest’s work in his diocese even as a 60-count indictment was pending against him in Queens on child sexual abuse charges. Later that year, after pleading guilty to three counts of sexual abuse in the case, Father Diaz was deported to Venezuela, where the pattern of victimizing young boys continued unabated.

And so it went throughout Father Diaz’s ministry. Moving from country to country, from parish to parish, from victim to victim, he was often held unaccountable by church officials and was treated delicately by some law enforcement authorities, the interviews and documents show.10

How can the above be anything but an international criminal conspiracy?

His order, the Salesians of Don Bosco, has long moved priests accused of sexual abuse from country to country, away from law enforcement and victims. Indeed, it is how many others in the Catholic Church have dealt with the problem, a yearlong Dallas Morning News investigation has found.11

The crimes committed by the hierarchy of the RCC against the children of the world have been documented many times in many countries. In each country from Poland, to Ireland, to the United States around and down to Australia, the story is the same. Priests who commit criminal acts of sexual abuse against children are shuffled from country to country with no regard for either local or international law. These priests are shuffled by a complicit hierarchy who are guilty of aiding and abetting criminals. Once transferred, these priests are free to prey upon a fresh population of unsuspecting families who revere the priest as god’s representative on earth.

Cardinal George Pell

Cardinal George Pell

In 2002 Pope John Paul II stated before the world, “There is no room in the priesthood for those who sexually abuse children.”12 But nothing was done; priests were still being shuffled and names of priestly perpetrators are still a closely guarded secret. In April of 2008, while on the plane over to the United States, Benedict XVI said, “I am deeply ashamed” 13 while referring to the Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal. On July 19, 2008, in Australia, he said,

“I ask all of you to support and assist your bishops, and to work together with them in combating this evil. Victims should receive compassion and care, and those responsible for these evils must be brought to justice.”14

“And those responsible for these evils must be brought to justice!” Strong words from the pope! The pope is an honorable man; bishops and cardinals are all honorable men and they speak well. Yet nothing was said about revoking Crimen Sollicitationis. Did he forget that as Cardinal Ratzinger in 2001, he reaffirmed its validity? He can say one thing publicly, but as long as he still binds everyone with knowledge of clergy abuse to the absolute law of secrecy under the chapter 11, “ a secret of the Holy Office,15” the pope is only mouthing words. As long as Cardinals, Law, Mahony, George, Egan and Levada remain in office, he is only mouthing words. As long as bishops and the leaders of religious orders who shuffled pedophiles from country to country remain in the priesthood, the pope is only mouthing words. The pope is the only one who can start bringing those responsible for these evils to justice!

It is time to put an end to the global scourge of clerical child abuse and put these criminal priests behind bars along with the members of the hierarchy who have purposefully aided them. (It seems that Pope Benedict agrees with me.) These crimes are a violation of God’s law, Church law, Civil law, and International law (all covered in this treatise). As proven in the United States, the only thing that will change the way the RCC harbors their criminals is a courtroom. Interpol must aid in the capture of these international child abusing fugitives and the U.N. must bring charges against the Vatican in the World Court. Only the credible threat of listing the Vatican as a criminal organization, making them stand trial for the abuse of tens of thousands of children and covering-up for thousands of priests will force the much needed changes while making the world a safer place for children. Interpol and the UN had every right to get involved in the clergy abuse scandal because it violates their conventions. Now both the UN and Interpol have an invitation to get involved straight from the pope’s mouth. Pope Benedict XVI has just asked for “aid and assistance” followed up by “those responsible for these evils must be brought to justice.” The Vicar of Christ on earth is asking for help in bringing to justice to those who committed and helped in crimes of sexual abuse against children. What greater invitation can be made?

Note 1. To any lawyers who may represent or have represented survivors of sexual abuse. Crimen Sollicitationis means “crime of solicitation” which refers to crimes of the confessional. Reading this text is extremely difficult because everything up until Title V is about soliciting in the confessional. Title V paragraph 72 states: “Those things that have been stated concerning the crime of solicitation up to this point are also valid, changing only those things necessary to be changed by their very nature, for the worst crime,” TakeCrimen Sollicitationis (English version) and put it in a Word document. Then do a find/replace with find Solicitation and replace it with child abuse. You will be amazed at how it clarifies the document giving you a clearer understanding of what Crimen Sollicitationis says about the clergy abuse of children.

About the author: Vinnie Nauheimer has written extensively on the subject of clerical abuse. He has written two books on the subject of clergy abuse. One of poetry “Silent Screams” and one comprised of selected letters sent over an eight year period on the subject of clergy abuse called “Epistles on Clergy Abuse.” His art, poetry and writing can be found on websites around the world. Though they don’t issue a degree in Clergy Abuse, Mr. Nauheimer successfully survived advanced classes from the School of Intimidation and Slander sponsored by the NY Archdiocese. Both his and his family’s degree of pain were acknowledged by a Grand Jury probing the issue of clergy abuse. His goals are the same as those stated by Pope Benedict XVI in Australia on July 19, 2008: “Victims should receive compassion and care, and those responsible for these evils must be brought to justice.”

References
1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholic_sex_abuse_cases_by_country#See_also July 9, 2008 and http://www.scribd.com/doc/1021887/SEXUAL-ABUSE-IN-THE-CATHOLIC-CHURCH-2002   – July 9, 2008
2. http://www.priestsofdarkness.com/crimen.pdf   – July 10, 2008
3. The 1922 Instruction and the 1962 Instruction “Crimen Sollicitationis,” Promulgated by the Vatican: Thomas Doyle, O.P., J.C.D.   – June 30, 2008
4. http://www.priestsofdarkness.com/crimen.pdf   – July 10, 2008
5. http://www.interpol.int/Public/Children/Default.asp   – July 11, 2008
6. http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/longterm/stories/Runaway_
priests_hiding_in_plain_sight.5ee1e9be.html,   – July 11, 2008
7. http://www.interpol.int/Public/Children/Conventions/unConvCR.asp   – July 12, 2008
8. http://www.unicef.org/pon95/chil0008.html   – July 12, 2008
9. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news/2004_09_12_Dunklin_InThe.htm   – July 12, 2008
10. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/resources/resource-files/timeline/2002-04-20-Murphy-Diaz.htm   – July 13, 2008
11. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news/2004_06_20_Dunklin_ConvictedSexual.htm July 13, 2008
12. http://www.poynterextra.org/extra/abusetracker/2002_04_21_archive.htm   – July 18, 2008
13. http://aftermathnews.wordpress.com/2008/04/15/pope-says-he-is-deeply-ashamed-of-clergy-abuse-scandal/  – July 18, 2008

14. http://www.thewest.com.au/default.aspx?MenuID=2&ContentID=85771   – July 19, 2008
15. http://www.priestsofdarkness.com/crimen.pdf   – July 10, 2008.

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The Shadow Behind ‘Spotlight’: How Predator Priests Derailed Boston’s Would-Be Pope, Cardinal Bernard Law


The Shadow Behind ‘Spotlight’: How Predator Priests Derailed Boston’s Would-Be Pope, Cardinal Bernard Law

Sins of the Father

10.26.151:03 AM ET
Cardinal Bernard Law

Cardinal Bernard Law

The shadow villain of Spotlight, Bernard Law was one of America’s most ambitious and prominent cardinals—until his handling of the sex-abuse scandal caught up with him.

Spotlight is a gripping new film by Tom McCarthy on The Boston Globe’s investigation of how that archdiocese concealed child-molester priests. Set in 2001, the film serves as backstory to the Pulitzer Prize-winning series that began on Jan. 6, 2002—“Feast of the Epiphany,” as we learn in the intelligent script by McCarthy and Josh Singer.

Taking on the church in heavily Catholic Boston was no small order. Several of the reporters came from Catholic homes. Marty Baron, the Globe’s new editor, by way of The Miami Herald, suggested the investigation after reading a Globe columnist on a priest abuse case. Baron wanted to know more; he later became editor of The Washington Post.

Played by the bearded Liev Schreiber, Baron presents as a shy man, of few but forceful words, an outsider to tribal Boston, and a Jew, as a Catholic businessman says, sotto voce, to Michael Keaton in his edgy, pensive portrayal of Spotlight editor Walter “Robby” Robinson.

Robinson’s clutch of reporters worked months before the first article appeared, finding documents and tracking down victims of some 30 priests. The turning point in 2001 came when a court ruling against the church unsealed lawsuits that put clergy personnel documents into the public record. The Globe ultimately reported that the archdiocese had sheltered 249 predatory clerics going back several decades.

The Globe unmasked Cardinal Bernard Law, then Boston’s Archbishop, for shielding predators; he made Newsweek’s cover in March 2002. Spotlight ends two months before that, just as the newspaper series begins. A line onscreen at the end of the film says that Law resigned as archbishop in December 2002, and later became pastor in Rome of a historic basilica, Santa Maria Maggiore (note to reader: at a salary of $12,000 a month, according to The New York Times).

Law left Boston a figure of ridicule and disgrace, yet still a Prince of the Church, as cardinals are called. He has never given an interview in the 13 years since then. In researching a 2011 book on Vatican finances, and more recent reporting trips to Rome, I pieced together a picture of the cardinal in winter (he turns 84 next month) as he rebuilt a power base. His story echoes the wisdom of Heraclitus: character is fate.

The Globe series ignited a chain reaction of reports at the networks and daily newsrooms, not least at The New York Times, which owned the Globe then and competed hard on investigations of its own. For the church, the earthquake convulsed well into 2004; the impact continued on for years, as dioceses and religious orders settled thousands of victim lawsuits.

Early into Spotlight, Baron pays a courtesy call on Cardinal Law, played by a silver-haired Len Cariou with a suave patrician gravitas, saying that as a young monsignor in Mississippi in the 1960s, “I was close to the Evers brothers,” and that he wrote for the Jackson diocesan paper. In a dash of hubris the cardinal suggests common cause in a healthy press, and then gives editor Baron a copy of the thick Catholic Catechism. Schrieber’s facial twist registers irony as he takes the book, knowing that news will come of rules long broken by the church.

I let out an audible mmmm at that moment in the screening; my wife whispered, “Is something wrong?” I shook my head, no, thinking of Law: All that promise…

Globe reporters interviewed me in late 2001 and several times in 2002 because of a work I published in 1992—Lead Us Not Into Temptation, the first book to investigate the nationwide crisis of priest sex abuse. (The book actually has a cameo in the film; a survivor activist shows his copy to Spotlight reporters with other material he urges them to read.) The Globe reviewed the book favorably in 1992 during heavy national coverage of an ex-priest, James Porter, who left a trail of agony in Massachusetts towns going back many years, before taking a plea bargain and 20-year sentence for child sexual abuse. He died in prison six years later.

Cardinal Law was irate over the Porter coverage, blustering at one point, “We call down God’s power on the media, especially the Globe.”

The book took seven years, with endless photocopying and FedEx bills—this was pre-Internet—to obtain legal documents on far-flung bishops shielding sex offenders. But I was unable to get documents from New York, Boston, and Los Angeles: Church lawyers had a tight lid on cases. Other attorneys assumed that the victims took settlements in exchange for silence. Nine years later, Boston survivors came forth, with wrenching personal stories, after Judge Constance Sweeney, a Catholic, ruled that press freedom trumped church secrecy, unsealing lawsuits and giving victims the right to speak. The scene is a key moment in Spotlight.

Cardinal Law, the reporters’ ultimate target, is not a major character in the film; Baron tells his reporters to go after “the system,” not the man, though it goes unspoken that Law was the system.

I met Bernie Law, as priests in Mississippi called him, in Jackson, the state capitol, in the summer of 1971 while working as press secretary in Charles Evers’s quixotic campaign for governor. A week after graduation from Georgetown, I arrived as a volunteer, wrote a press release when they needed one, and got hired for $75 a week.

Law was vicar-general, the bishop’s top assistant. Evers, whose brother Medgar had been assassinated in 1963, respected Law for his editorials in the Catholic paper urging tolerance during the violent years. In a heavily Baptist state prone to racial demagogues, Law had been on the right side of history. By 1971 the riots and Klan violence had abated; but tensions were palpable, race relations still raw. I was curious about Law, and when I called, the monsignor invited me to dinner. When I parked my dented VW in the chancery parking lot, he said, “Let’s take my car.” It was larger and more comfortable.

He was 40, plump but energetic, a Harvard graduate with early silver hair, a cool mind and warm wit. I liked him immediately. He sang praises of the Italian restaurant where he had a reservation.

The owner gave him a lavish hello, and scowled at me. “Sorry, Monsignor, we can’t take him—the hair is too long.” Law frowned. I blushed. The hair stopped just shy of my shoulders, but this was Mississippi and the guy didn’t like suspected hippies. Law protested, without yelling, to no avail. I knew it wasn’t a moment to stand on constitutional rights and expect to eat lasagna.

Law was mortified as he drove to another restaurant, telling me somberly that backwards Mississippi really had made important strides. At dinner he brightened; we talked national politics, theology, and church changes since Vatican II.

As we left the restaurant, Law said: “How’d you like to meet the bishop?”

Sure. Joseph Brunini, the bishop of Jackson, came from a family with a prominent law firm; he too had been a voice of moderation in the dark years. The bishop, 52, had a condo outside Jackson at the vast Ross Barnett Reservoir where people with sailboats had slips.

Barnett was the former governor known for inflammatory speeches and standing in the doorway at the University of Mississippi in 1962 to block James Meredith as the first black student. Meredith was escorted in by white federal marshals. “Which of you is James Meredith?” said Barnett to the only black man in eyesight. The campus soon exploded in a riot that left two people dead as federal troops secured Meredith’s place. The state named the big lake for the worst governor Mississippi ever had.

We sat on the deck of the condo, sipping Scotch as the insects sang outside. Brunini was an amiable man, a Georgetown graduate curious about my time there, the three of us trading thoughts about race relations and the church. I realized that Mississippi’s Catholic community amounted to a minority religion, a tiny social presence, quite different from the New Orleans of my upbringing. Brunini wished me well and made a point of blessing me as we left.

As Law and I drove back to the chancery, his demeanor changed. He was smiling, a man on a cloud. “Did you like the bishop?” he said. Yes, a very nice man. “Did you think he was—cool?” Uh, sure.

This man wants to be a bishop, I reported to myself with the brilliance of a 22-year old. As we pulled up to my car, he stuck out his hand. “Call me Bernie.”

Campaign work intensified; he made a trip to Rome and I didn’t see him again; we chatted a few times by phone.

As the years passed I followed news on him. He became a bishop in Missouri, and several years later, in 1984, vaulted to Boston, as archbishop, and soon a cardinal. I’ve known journalists to fume over people they wished they’d kept up with. I soon felt that about Law, wishing I’d sent notes, Christmas cards, anything to cultivate a relationship. The regret hit me in the mid-’80s as I reported on the prosecution of a pedophile priest in Lafayette, Louisiana. In a circuitous way, those events led to Law.

In January of 1986, the weekly Times of Acadiana ran my final piece, reconstructing how Bishop Gerard Frey had played musical chairs with seven priests who had abused children over several years. The paper ran an editorial calling for the Vatican to remove the bishop, for which it got hit with an advertisers’ boycott fomented by a retired judge, Edmund Reggie, and a prominent monsignor. The paper lost $20,000 before cooler heads prevailed. In July, the Vatican sent a new bishop.

In February of that year I shifted to work on the book, and flew to Washington, D.C., to interview Father Tom Doyle, a canon lawyer at the Vatican Embassy. Doyle, I learned, sent a shot across the bow as co-author of a 100-page report in the spring of 1985 on the pedophile cases before it became a crisis. The document went to every bishop in America. A classic whistleblower, Doyle lost his job; he became an Air Force chaplain.

Doyle told me how he had given Cardinal Law a briefing on abuse cases in various states in 1984 before his work on the report. Law supported Doyle in the effort; he even contributed $1,000 to cover photocopy costs so the document could be sent to 150 bishops. Many years later, Law testified in a deposition in one of the Boston cases and said he could not recall details of that 1985 report, which became a “smoking gun” for advising bishops to remove predators and reach out to victims. Many bishops opted to recycle perpetrators after stints in psychiatric treatment facilities, and ignore victims until they filed lawsuits.

The next time I saw Law was 1993 in New Orleans where the bishops held their summer conference. Activists with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests were staging a protest. Law stepped off an elevator at the Hyatt Regency and nearly collided with me. “Your Eminence, it’s been a long time since Mississippi. Would you have time to talk?”

He shook his head grimly and moved on. I noticed he was much heavier.

In 1998, the artist Channing Thieme was preparing an exhibition called “Boston Faces,” portraits of a cross-section of Bostonians. She was not a Catholic, curious about a man as powerful as Law, and delighted when he agreed to sit for her at the cardinal’s mansion in Brighton. She found him a charming conversationalist in two drawing sessions. When she returned with the finished graphite portrait, Law was delighted. She said: “What’s the toughest part of your job?”

“Judgment—the decisions I must make,” Law replied. And, as if looking ahead to a bitter reckoning, he added: “That is the half of it. The other half is the judgment I must one day face myself.”

She was amazed at the statement. The words do not ring of false modesty.

Law in 1998 was the most powerful American churchman in Rome. Close to Pope John Paul and Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Secretary of State, Law cultivated ties in the Roman Curia and served on major Vatican committees. Yet that artist’s question, as he gazed at his black-and-white image, seemingly unloosed an inner coil. He apparently felt guilty about something. Could it have been the scores of pedophiles he had sent to treatment tanks, some of them recycled, with little thought of their ravaged victims?

Power is the movement of money. The out-of-court settlements Law had approved, predicated on victims’ silence, put the survivors out of sight, out of mind.

Judgment stalked him in civil depositions as the media coverage wore on; reporters used his testimony to shatter the credibility of the man who had urged John Paul II to authorize the updated, very long Catholic Catechism, the one that the cardinal in the movie gives to the editor with his quiet, quizzical face.

Law resigned just before Christmas 2002, after a private meeting with Pope John Paul II in Rome; he left Boston for sanctuary in a Maryland convent with nuns. Imagine the psychological blow to a man who had once told friends that he hoped to be the first American pope, a man whose support of migrants from the Dominican Republic entering Boston stood for the values of a church giving comfort and succor to the poor.

Nixon sought redemption after Watergate by writing books and holding dinners for selected journalists, a careful campaign to rehabilitate himself as a foreign policy sage.

Law turned to the one place where he had support—cardinals and bishops in the Roman Curia, the Vatican bureaucracy. “The curia is a brotherhood,” Cardinal Sodano once told The New York Times. Law had friends in the brotherhood after 17 years in Boston. A member of the Congregation for Bishops, he helped select new American bishops.

The news of Law’s new job in Rome in the spring of 2004 came at the worst possible time for his successor, Archbishop (later Cardinal) Seán O’Malley. O’Malley had approved an $85 million settlement to 542 victims, only to take public criticism for a wave of church closures, consolidating parishes in a controversial plan to sell property after the huge deficit Law had left. O’Malley had already sold the cardinal’s mansion for $108 million to Boston College. All that, and John Paul rewarded Law with a cushy perch at one of Rome’s great basilicas.

“Many people in Rome would say that he paid the price in the form of his resignation and that there’s no reason that he shouldn’t make a contribution,” Vatican correspondent John L. Allen Jr. of the National Catholic Reporter told Boston Magazine two years after Law assumed his position. (Allen now writes for Crux, an online branch of the Globe that covers the Catholic Church.)

After many years away from Mississippi, I went to Jackson in 2004 to promote a book, written with Gerald Renner. Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II explores the Vatican’s role in the abuse crisis. Before the evening lecture, I did several media interviews, and spent time with SNAP leaders Johnny Rainer and Kenneth Morrison.

Morrison was 39, an artist in Chicago who had grown up in Jackson. He was one of three sons of a physician, by then deceased. His mother came to the book event. The family had moved to Jackson from Boston in 1969 when Kenneth’s dad, Dr. Francis Morrison, an oncologist, took a teaching position at the state medical school. As Boston Catholics, the Morrisons found a friend in Bernie Law, the Harvard graduate. The Morrisons also befriended Father George Broussard who, as pedophiles will do, ingratiated himself with the family, slowly molesting the three young boys.

As we drove around Jackson that day, Kenneth, a strapping guy who did industrial art projects in Chicago, pointed to several church buildings where, he said, Broussard had forced sex on him as a boy of 5, 6, and 7 years old—“there, in that one, and that one, and that one.” As we drove past the chancery, his memories of being abused spilled into my thought field from 1971. The summer evening I pulled into the chancery parking lot to meet Bernie Law, matched the time period when little Kenneth was being preyed upon by Father Broussard nearby.

Morrison sued the Jackson diocese in 2003. The diocese faced lawsuits against seven other priests, several dating back to Law’s tenure there.

Law was the bishop’s right hand when Dr. Morrison reported what Broussard had done to the chancery. As Morrison would later allege, Broussard began receiving “treatment,” while staying at another parish. Law was close to the Morrisons, and to Broussard. Knowing what he knew, what should Law have done?

“The sexual molestation of minors wasn’t even on my radar screen,” Law testified in a deposition in the Morrison case. “It wasn’t the issue that it is today… it didn’t come up.”

But the diocese did investigate, as William Houck, who succeeded Brunini as bishop, stated under oath: “Broussard said he subsequently admitted the accusations to Bernard Law and to Bishop (Joseph) Brunini, and attended confession with Bernard Law.”

Law had moved to Rome when the Jackson diocese agreed to an out-of-court settlement with Kenneth Morrison.

In late 2012, I spent five weeks in Rome for GlobalPost, reporting on the Vatican investigation of liberal American nuns—the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

Cardinal Law was a catalyst in sparking that investigation, as I reported, though he played no direct role in the interrogations, meetings, and correspondence that the sisters had with Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The C.D.F. is housed in the majestic palazzo where in 1616 the Inquisition punished Galileo for his position that the Earth revolves around the sun.

After leaving Boston in humiliation, Law found a fraternal womb in the Curia; but after the blows to his stature and ego, he wanted other people to “face judgment”—an outsized projection of his own faults in the desire to bring those liberal nuns to heel. The man who suggested the new catechism wanted obedience to authority, of which he himself had little.

Levada, it is worth adding, had been archbishop of San Francisco, and up to his chest in litigation over pedophile priests, when the newly elected Pope Benedict tossed him a ladder in 2005 as if from a celestial helicopter, lifting him up and away from the muck in the City by the Bay to beautiful Rome and great status as theologian-in-chief.

Levada refused to be interviewed. I called Law, hoping against hope that he might agree to talk. A priest took the call at Santa Maria Maggiore, let his cold silence register for a number of seconds, and stated: “The cardinal does not give interviews. There are no exceptions.”

Pope Francis would later oversee the termination of the proceedings against the nuns, and make a point of meeting with several of the leaders of American sisters for a reconciliation with news photographers present.

“Law is a presence on the embassy social circuit,” a Western diplomat in Rome told me in 2012. “He’s a cardinal, an official of the Curia, so he’s on the invitation lists. He’s sociable and mingles easily.”

The Holy See assumes a decorum among journalists who cover the Vatican. Many reporters who work in the press room off St. Peter’s Square have broken stories critical of church officialdom—Nicole Winfield of AP and Philip Pullella of Reuters prominent among them; but you don’t see journalists in packs ambushing church officials as if they were Chicago or Louisiana politicians heading into criminal court. Pope Benedict was reeling from the Vati-Leaks scandal in late 2012 when I attended a reception for a group of newly invested cardinals.

It was a rare chance to get inside the Apostolic Palace, which is closed to the public save for ceremonial occasions. The large reception parlors have elegant tapestries adorning the walls. The papal apartments and pope’s office on the top floor were off-limits. In one parlor a sizeable crowd of people who had come from Nigeria waited in a receiving line to greet their new cardinal, Archbishop John Onaiyekan of Abuja. Many of the Nigerian women wept as they hugged him. The rich colors of Yoruba design on the dresses and dashikis of men were emblazoned with the new cardinal’s photograph. The vibrant festivity of the multicultural pageant in the life of the church reminded me of The Canterbury Tales.

Across the crowded Rome I saw the bloated, hulking figure of Cardinal Law, flanked by two priests, make his way past a receiving line toward two Italians in the red hat of cardinals. I moved that way, camera in hand. A priest at Law’s elbow saw me and glared, stationing himself closer to the cardinal to prevent a clear angle. I stood there for several minutes, without shooting, and then turned away, thinking of Kenneth Morrison.

A frequent Daily Beast contributor, Jason Berry’s books include Render unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church, and Up From the Cradle of Jazz: New Orleans Music Since World War II.

 

Pope Francis Defies UN on Torturing Children


Pope Francis Defies UN on Torturing Children

Jun 07, 2015 4:55am PDT by Betty Clermont

From the link: http://m.dailykos.com/story/2015/06/07/1391284/-Pope-Francis-Defies-UN-on-Torturing-Children

The UN Committee against Torture “found that the widespread sexual violence within the Catholic Church amounted to torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.” After Vatican officials were called to Geneva in May 2014 to respond to tough questions like why the pope believed his responsibility for protecting children against torture only applied on Vatican property, the committee issued its report.

The members “ordered the Vatican to hand over files containing details of clerical sexual abuse allegations to police forces around the world, … to use its authority over the Roman Catholic Church worldwide to ensure all allegations of clerical abuse are passed on to the secular authorities and to impose ‘meaningful sanctions’ on any Church officials who fail to do so.” With the exception of a couple of staged PR events, the pope has refused to take any of these measures.

The Vatican had issued an “Initial Report” preparatory to the hearing. “Nowhere in the Holy See’s [the name of the Church’s global government] Initial Report under the Convention does it make any mention of the widespread and systemic rape and sexual violence committed by Catholic clergy against hundreds of thousands of children and vulnerable adults around the world. There is no mention of acts that have resulted in an astonishing and incalculable amount of harm around the world – profound and lasting physical and mental suffering – with little to no accountability and access to redress … [T]he Vatican has consistently minimized the harm caused by the actions of the clergy, through both the direct acts of sexual violence and Church officials’ actions which follow, such as cover-ups and victim-blaming. … The Holy See’s Initial Report to this Committee is itself evidence of the minimization of these offenses and the resulting harm.”

The Committee against Torture report came “after senior officials sought to distance the Vatican legally from the wider Church … saying priests were not legally tied to the Vatican but fell under national jurisdictions. But the committee insisted that officials of the Holy See – including the pope’s representatives around the world and their aides – have a responsibility to monitor the behavior of all under their ‘effective control.’”

The committee also urged a “prompt and impartial” investigation in the case of Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, the pope’s nuncio (ambassador) to the Dominican Republic.

Wesolowski solicited sex for money from Santo Domingo’s poorest boys. “We learned from the children that Wesolowski took pictures of them while they were masturbating. Oral sex was performed,” Nuria Piera, an investigative journalist in the Dominican Republic, said. “He abused that poverty and used that mechanism to approach children and take advantage of them for years,” according to Yeni Berenice Reynoso, National District prosecutor.

A dossier accusing 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 on August 21 via confidential letter. But the pope never reported Wesolowski to civil authorities nor made the information public.

All prelates should make credible allegations public as a warning to avoid contact with the accused. Also, any other victims should be encouraged to contact a law enforcement agency perhaps making the investigation easier, apprehension and prosecution more certain. The group, Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), defines failure to take these steps as a “cover up.”

Wesolowski left the country before a local TV program broadcast an exposé on August 31. It was reported in January 2014 that Wesolowski “is now thought to be living in Rome and is protected from extradition by diplomatic immunity.” “For me it was a surprise to see Wesolowski walking along Via della Scrofa in Rome,” Santo Domingo Auxiliary Bishop Víctor Masalles tweeted on June 24, 2014.

Embarrassed, the Vatican announced on June 27 that Wesolowski had been laicized (defrocked) “in the past few days … Measures will be taken so he is in a precise restricted location, without any freedom of movement,” said Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, without specifying how this would be accomplished. The press reported this as proof of the pope’s “zero tolerance” for child sex abuse.

Defrocking means a cleric is fired without being reported to the police. The most serious punishment available to the pope is excommunication. Pope Francis excommunicated an Australian priest for supporting women’s ordination and same sex marriage. He also excommunicated the leaders of the lay group, We Are Church, for celebrating mass in their home.

The New York Times had an article about Wesolowski on its August 24, 2014, front page including statements that Dominican officials would prosecute him if it were not for the former ambassador’s diplomatic immunity. The next morning Lombardi made an announcement that Wesolowski did not have immunity and could be extradited by the Dominican Republic. Dominican officials, however, had expressed regret for the past year that “there’s no extradition treaty between the Vatican and the Dominican Republic. … The ideal thing would’ve been and our desire is that he be tried here, but the law forbids us.”

On September 25, Lombardi said Wesolowski had been put under house arrest inside the Vatican City State “because the Polish prelate represented a flight risk and because Vatican prosecutors feared he might tamper with evidence.”

The next day, the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Serra reported that Wesolowski was arrested by order of the pope because “there was a serious risk that the nuncio would be arrested on Italian territory at the request of the Dominican authorities and then extradited.” Wesolowski had more than 100,000 computer files of pornography. “Some were downloaded from the internet and others the victims themselves were forced to take. The prelate stored part of this chamber of horrors on his own laptop. The material, which is classified by type, shows dozens of young girls engaged in sexual activities but the preference is for males. Images show youngsters aged between 13 and 17 being humiliated for the camera, filmed naked and forced to have sexual relations with each other or with adults. … Wesolowski is suspected of belonging to an international network that extends well beyond what has emerged so far.”

Pope Francis allowed his prelate 15 months freedom to commit crimes involving child pornography which sometimes involves their tortuous death – something to think about the next time the pope speaks out against the sex trafficking of children.

November 22, 2014: Wesolowski was seen “walking quietly inside the Vatican City…in apparent freedom” and is presumed to still live there under house arrest.

After almost two years, Wesolowski’s trial has not yet begun.

The Pope’s Enduring Contempt for Children

People who have been sexually abused as children live shorter lives than those who have not been abused according to expert testimony. They have a life expectancy about 10 to 20 years shorter than those who have not.
•    Trauma produced both physical and psychological damage, affecting children’s development, including their personalities and sense of self.
•    Children’s brains and immune systems were also affected, making them more prone to a range of auto-immune diseases.
•    They also often have unhealthy lifestyles so they’re prone to substance abuse and poverty and unemployment.
•    There was also a strong link between child abuse and suicide, which could be influenced by a variety of factors including depression and substance abuse, which exacerbated negative thoughts.

As archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio “refused to meet with victims, and he stayed largely silent on the issue of clergy sex abuse, except to issue a surprising denial that he had ever handled an abusive priest. His only known action was to commission a behind-the-scenes report to judges that sought exoneration of a criminally convicted priest by impugning the credibility of the priest’s victims.” BishopAccoutability.org, a group dedicated to documenting the Catholic sex abuse crisis, showed Bergoglio’s involvement in five specific cases.

One month to the day after his election, Pope Francis appointed a group of cardinals, now referred to as his “C9”, to be his closest advisors.

Cardinal George Pell had been making headlines in Australia for decades regarding the sex abuse scandal. When asked what he thought was the root cause, Pell replied, “it’s obviously connected with the problem of homosexuality.” As archbishop and creator of the “Melbourne Response,” a system “designed to control the victims and protect the Church … Pell intended to minimize the crimes, conceal the truth, manipulate and intimidate the victims. … Some relatives of abused children have called the cardinal a ‘sociopath.’”

The John Ellis case “was all about deterrence.” Ellis sued Pell and the trustees of the Sydney archdiocese in 2006 over abuse he suffered as an altar boy. Pell spent more than $1m fighting Ellis despite him asking for just a tenth of that amount in settlement, put him through “distressing and unnecessary cross-examination” and threatened him with legal costs. Pell’s “Ellis Defense” is “an exemplar of litigation going wrong, causing further trauma for a victim of abuse.”

Pell personally knows hundreds of the people involved – the victims and their families as well as the abusers. … He was a very senior authority in the Catholic Church when the court cases began in the 1990s and the top Catholic figure in Australia until he went to Rome. … [H]e was the leader of a system that protected the guilty and failed innocent people. … [H]e was the man in charge during many years of this scandal. Therefore, he can be held accountable and responsible for it.”

Pope Francis also chose Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa as a close adviser. Errazuriz had made national headlines for protecting Fr. Fernando Karadima, the “worst scandal” of the Chilean Church. “Power is the true point of the case. The [sexual abuses against children] were not possible without a network of political, social and religious power working for 50 years,” stated political analyst Ascanio Cavallo, Dean of the Journalism School of the Adolfo Ibáñez University.Church officials were warned as early as 1984 about Karadima’s “improper conduct.”  The first known reports to reach Errazuriz were in 2003. In 2006, a priest appointed by Errázuriz to investigate the claims reported to the cardinal that he believed “the accusers to be credible.”

According to court testimony in a 2011 civil complaint filed against Karadima, Church officials, including Errázuriz, tried to shame accusers into dropping claims, refused to meet with them and failed to carry out formal investigations for years. A judge dismissed the criminal case against Karadima in November 2011 because the statute of limitations had expired but also determined that the allegations were “truthful and reliable.”

When Pope Francis, who during the above period was cardinal primate of the neighboring Argentina, appointed Errázuriz to his C9, one of the claimants called it “a shame and a disgrace.” On September 15, 2013, Errázuriz said that the archdiocese had no responsibility for their “tremendous pain.”

On July 1, 2013, the United Nation’s Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) sent a request to the pope for “detailed information on all cases of child sexual abuse committed by members of the clergy, brothers or nun” for the past fifteen years and set November 1 as a deadline for a reply. The questions were sent as preparation for a public hearing scheduled for January.

As one of the signatories to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Church was fifteen years late in delivering a report describing whether it had acted to “protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence” as the convention requires. Additionally, the questionnaire sought to establish whether “perpetrators of sexual crimes” were allowed to remain in contact with children, what legal action was taken against them and whether reporting of suspected abuse was mandatory. It also included queries about support for victims, and any incidents where complainants were silenced.

By issuing its questions, the Geneva-based CRC brushed aside a Vatican warning that it might pull out of the Convention on the Rights of the Child if pushed too hard on the issue. In a report of its own posted on the UN website last October, the Holy See reminded the CRC of reservations on legal jurisdiction and other issues it made when it signed the global pact. It said any new “interpretation” would give it grounds “for terminating or withdrawing” from the treaty.

Within weeks of his election, Pope Francis had ordered that the Vatican “continue along the lines set by Benedict XVI” in handling torturing children. But on July 11, 2013, the pontiff enacted a civil law criminalizing leaks of Vatican information to the press and sexual violence against children, including child pornography. The crimes were punishable by up to eight and twelve years in prison, respectively. The law was applicable inside the Vatican City State and for employees of the Holy See in its extraterritorial properties including embassies. In hindsight, one could question if the pope was preparing for a Vatican civil trial against Wesolowski as justification to keep him out of a foreign prison.The November 1 deadline for a response to the CRC came and went.

Pope Francis responded to the CRC on December 4 by stating that it was not the practice of his government to “disclose information on specific cases unless requested to do so by another country as part of legal proceedings” and “that the Vatican can provide information only about known and alleged child sex crimes that have happened on Vatican property.”

A rarity, Francis’ response was criticized. The next day, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley stated that the pope would create a special Commission for the Protection of Minors with no authority other than to advise him on ways to address the subject.

On January 16, 2014, the day the CRC hearings were to begin in Geneva, Pope Francis again showed his contempt for his Church’s victims by concelebrating mass, followed by a private meeting, with Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles. The Washington Post (among others) had condemned Mahony for protecting known abusers, stating he’s “lucky not to be in prison” and that “his continued prominence reflects the culture of impunity in the Catholic Church a decade after its tolerance and complicity in the abuse of children was exposed.” After his private meeting with the pope, Mahony blogged “the topic of scandal never came up.”

The same day, Lombardi said the Church had developed “a series of initiatives and directives” that are “extremely helpful” to other communities. He also criticized the assumption that bishops or religious superiors act “as representatives or delegates of the Pope.” He said this belief is “utterly without foundation.” Rather, civil authorities in countries that have signed the UN convention are directly responsible for its implementation and for the enforcement of laws that protect children.

The UN panel asked Vatican representatives for responses to the questions they had sent in July. While the American media trumpeted a statement made by one of the Vatican officials that he “gets it,” the foreign press was not as fawning:
Germany’s Deutsche Welle: Vatican response ‘fails smell test for ordinary people’
Venezuela’s El Nacional: The Vatican at the UN today dodged providing detailed information on issues relating to sexual abuse of minors by clergy in a rhetorical exercise in which it attempts to demonstrate determination to prevent new offenses.
Spain’s El Pais: The Vatican still does not take responsibility for sexual abuse

BishopAccountability.org noted five significant moments of the hearing:
•    For the first time, the Vatican had to admit publicly that it still does not require the reporting of child sex crimes to civil authorities. Nor does it take this step when priests are defrocked.
•    The Holy See still refused to provide the data requested on July 1.
•    The Vatican believes that it is the obligation of the individual perpetrator, not the Church, to compensate victims.
•    Religious orders, which comprise one third to one half of the world’s Catholic clerics, still are not being compelled by the Holy See to create abuse policies. (Pope Benedict XVI ordered the world’s bishops to do this in 2011. The order was widely ignored, even by the cardinal archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio.)

Vatican delegate to the UN, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, responded in an interview: “At the same time we have to keep in mind that even though there are so many millions, forty million cases of abuse a year regarding children, unfortunately some cases affect also Church personnel.” Tomasi also suggested that the UN committee may have been influenced by “Some NGOs that support homosexuality, same-sex marriage and other issues probably presented their own views and ended up reinforcing [the committee’s] line of thought in some way.”

On March 5, 2014, Pope Francis stated that, as regards the sexual torture of children, “The statistics on the phenomenon of violence against children are shocking, but they also show clearly that the great majority of the abuses come from the family environment and from people who are close. The Catholic Church is perhaps the only public institution that moved with transparency and responsibility. No one else did as much. And yet, the Church is the only one being attacked.”

Some negative press coverage ensued. So on March 7, Lombardi sent an email to the Associated Press reminding the media that the sex abuse commission remained a priority for the pope.

Keith Porteous Wood, Executive Director of the National Secular Society, praised the work of both UN committees. “We do not share any enthusiasm, however, for the Vatican’s defrocking of thousands of abusing clerics resulting in them being released into the labor market without being subjected to secular justice, and the resultant criminal record. This will almost certainly put other children at risk from former priests reoffending.”

The United Nations Committees on the Rights of the Child and on Torture, requested the Holy See to abolish the pontifical secret for allegations of child sexual abuse, and to order through canon law mandatory reporting to the civil authority. In September 2014, Pope Francis rejected that request on the grounds that mandatory reporting would interfere with the sovereignty of independent States. Mandatory reporting would only interfere with such sovereignty if a State law prohibited reporting of clergy sex abuse of children to the police. No such State exists. But the Vatican … illustrates its very real intention to interfere in the sovereignty of independent States by prohibiting reporting once canonical proceedings start, even when the civil law requires reporting. …
The de facto privilege of clergy by the use of secrecy, rendering clergy immune to civil prosecution for child sex abuse, was set up in 1922 by Pope Pius XI, and was continued and expanded by five of his successors. Regrettably, it seems that Pope Francis gives every indication of adding himself to the list as the seventh pope.

Barros and FinnIn January 2015, the pope appointed Juan Barros Madrid, formerly Military Bishop of Chile, as bishop of Osorno, Chile. Within a month, 1,300 lay Catholics, nearly half of Chile’s Parliament and thirty priests in the diocese signed a letter demanding that the pope rescind the appointment. Victims of Karadima said Barros was present when they were molested, did nothing to stop him and later covered up for Karadima.

“’Put your head on my chest. Take the little tongue,’ said Karadima. Thus began a long journey of torture and suffering for Juan Carlos Cruz Chellew … He denounced the ‘hypocrisy and simulation of Pope Francis’ on the ‘zero tolerance’ for pedophile priests: ‘The pope says good things, but does the opposite for victims to have access to civil justice. We are re-victimized while he rewards the abusers and abettors naming them cardinals and bishops.’”

The pope’s nuncio to Chile expressed support for Barros. President of the bishops’ conference, Cardinal Ezzati, said that “the Holy Father has chosen a pastor for the Church of Osorno and we, as Catholics, are in communion with the pope.”

Barros was installed as bishop on March 21 “amid riot police and shouting protesters … hundreds of churchgoers dressed in the black of mourning denounced Barros.” Since then, Barros “has had to sneak out of back exits, call on riot police to shepherd him from the city’s cathedral and coordinate movements with bodyguards and police canine units.”

In an interview published March 26, the Archbishop of Concepcion disclosed the details of a meeting he had with Pope Francis on March 6. “Archbishop Chomali explained that he gave Pope Francis a ‘document with detailed information on the consequences of the appointment he had made. All the documentation that I cited came to him, whether through the nunciature or the Chilean embassy to the Holy See. He was very much up to date on Bishop Barros’ situation, and in fact a few days prior he had spoken with him. With firmness and much conviction he told me that he had analyzed all the past records and that there was no objective reason that Bishop Barros should not be installed as diocesan bishop.’”

“Pope Francis has to withdraw this appointment or I and others may find it impossible to stay on the commission,” said Peter Saunders who was sexually abused as a child in London by two Catholic priests and the headmaster of his Catholic primary school and is a member of pope’s Commission for the Protection of Minors.

Saunders threat was published on March 27, two days before Palm Sunday when the Church begins a series of special liturgies culminating on Easter. If carried out, it would have been a PR disaster for the pope.

Cardinal O’Malley met with members of the commission the week after Easter – April 12. Bishop Joseph Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., found guilty in 2012 of failure to report suspected child abuse, was called to Rome for an April 14 meeting with Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

A priest under Finn’s supervision was sentenced to fifty years in prison for producing hundreds of pornographic photos, using his own parishioners as victims, some under the age of three. And for years prior, Finn not only refused to look into or even acknowledge any of the many complaints about this priest’s behavior, some of which came directly from the principal of the school that most of the victims attended, he also stonewalled once the child porn came to light, failed to inform or warn any of the families of the victims, gave the priest continued access to children, was complicit in the destruction of evidence, spent $1.4 million of diocesan money defending himself against two misdemeanor charges in court, only alerted the police when forced to, and, in short, put children at risk and failed to get the offending priest any serious help or counseling.

“Even if Finn is removed, that’s no tremendous sign of progress because there are literally hundreds of Catholic officials around the world still on the job, who have done what Finn did,” SNAP director, David Clohessy, had said earlier.Finn’s resignation was announced April 21. Although this occurred 30 months after Finn’s conviction, 25 months into this pontificate and Finn remains a bishop still carrying out his episcopal functions, members of the commission and the media were appeased about Barros’ promotion.

Pell and Barros

Before Pope Francis chose him to be one of his closest advisers and promoted him as head of Vatican finance, Cardinal George Pell had made national headlines during the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse hearings which covered Pell’s response as archbishop of Melbourne and then Sydney. In February 2015, the Royal Commission – the highest form of investigation in Australia – found that Pell placed the Church’s financial interests above his obligation to victims of childhood sexual abuse as part of an aggressive legal strategy to protect the assets of the Sydney archdiocese.

Currently, the Royal Commission is holding hearings about what transpired in Ballarat where Pell had been ordained and served until 1987. “Scores of children were abused by Catholic clergy from the 1960s to the 1980s. Many victims in Ballarat and elsewhere in Victoria state committed suicide, in one of the worst clusters of clerical abuse trauma in the world.”

•    Timothy Green said when he was 12 or 13 he told Pell in 1974 that Brother Edward Dowlan was abusing boys at St Patrick’s College. “Father Pell said `don’t be ridiculous’ and walked out.”
•    A victim said another priest walked in while Fr. Gerald Ridsdale was raping her at the Ballarat East presbytery and did nothing. Ridsdale says he doesn’t know who the priest was. Pell and one other priest lived in the same house with Ridsdale at the time.
•    Pell was at a 1982 meeting of the College of Consultors which discussed moving Ridsdale from the Mortlake parish, but he says no claims of abuse were raised at the meeting. Ridsdale was convicted of more than 140 offenses of child sexual abuse and indecent assault charges against children as young as four years old between 1993 and 2013.
•    David Ridsdale accused Pell of trying to bribe him in 1993 after being abused by his uncle, Fr. Ridsdale. Pell allegedly asked him: “I want to know what it will take to keep you quiet.”

More than 55,000 people signed a petition last month addressed to Pope Francis calling for Pell to return to Australia to answer questions from the Royal Commission concerning these current allegations.

Peter Saunders, speaking on Australia’s “60 Minutes” program on Sunday, May 31, said of Pell: “He has a catalog of denigrating people, of acting with callousness, cold-heartedness, almost sociopathic I would go as far as to say, this lack of care. He is making a mockery of the papal commission (into child abuse), of the pope himself, but most of all of the victims and the survivors.” He thought that Pell should be dismissed.

Before the program had even aired (after the network released promotional material), Pell issued statements calling Saunders’s comments “false”, “misleading” and “outrageous”, and said he would consult legal advisers. On Monday, Lombardi said that “Mr. Saunders spoke for himself and not for the commission which does not investigate or judge individual cases.” Australia’s Catholic archbishops made a statement that Pell is a man of integrity.

Meanwhile, “retired Bishop Juan Luis Ysem of Ancud has called on Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno to resign before he is asked to leave by Pope Francis.”

So, again it looks like a prelate will “resign” (this time Barros) and will members of the sex abuse commission and the press be appeased about the current allegations against Pell?

If you’re not feeling mollified and want to help, you can donate to the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) or BishopAccountability.org which operates the Abuse Tracker website from which most of the above information was obtained.

(Betty Clermont is author of The Neo-Catholics: Implementing Christian Nationalism in America (Clarity Press, 2009))

APPENDIX

The UN Committees found child sexual offenders were still in contact with children, Church officials were not cooperating with law enforcement authorities, the pope’s representatives and their aides were not monitoring the behavior of those under their “effective control” and that there was no accountability for hierarchs.

Given that sexual assault is one of the most under reported crimes, “with 68% still being left unreported,” and that it can take 20, 30, even 40 years for victims to fully recall the details of these excruciating crimes,  consider the following information to be only a sampling of what is currently still taking place in the Catholic Church.

Failing to protect children

Similar to Wesolowski, Pope Francis dismissed Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Miranda Melgarejo of Ayacucho, Peru, via letter in May 2013 without notifying the public or the police. On August 21,  2013, a Spanish lawyer wrote in his blog that the Vatican “accepted the resignation” of Miranda for “having sex with minors and adults, too” which had been “solicited in confession.” Miranda is still at large.

June 2015: “Prosecutors in Minnesota filed criminal charges against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, accusing church leaders of mishandling repeated complaints of sexual misconduct against a priest and failing to follow through on pledges to protect children and root out pedophile clergymen.”

February 2015: “Philippine Bishop Arturo Mandin Bastes right now is keeping a known abuser, Fr. Arwyn N. Diesta, in ministry.”

February 2015: “Some Catholic religious orders are still failing to adequately protect children against sex abuse 20 years after the scale of the problem became evident [in Ireland] according to a review by the National Board for the Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church … In one case, a priest who admitted accessing child porn was still in ministry and was an acting prior with “ambitions to continue or undertake a leadership position within the order”, according to the review.”  “Religious orders, which comprise one third to one half of the world’s Catholic clerics, still are not being compelled by the pope to create abuse policies.”

January 2015: Gian Piero Milano, whose official title is Vatican Promoter of Justice, “reported two cases of possession of child pornography within its own walls last year.” A Vatican spokesman said one of them involved Jozef Wesolowski.” So after his arrest, Wesolowski “continued to possess child pornography” while inside the Vatican City State? Who else possessed child pornography inside the Vatican?

Sex offenders moved around

April 2015: A US federal grand jury indicted Rev. Joseph Maurizio accused “on charges pertaining to sex trips to molest boys [in Honduras] as well as three counts of transmitting funds into and out of the US in furtherance of his criminal activity.”
“The priest was arrested Sept. 24, nine days after a raid on the parish rectory and his farmhouse in Paint Township, Pennsylvania.”

February 2015: “A Flemish priest who has been repeatedly accused of sexual abuse for many years has been in charge of an orphanage in Brazil. The Dutch congregation to which John D. belongs to is aware of the allegations, but has so far hardly intervened.”

December 2014: “Alessandro De Rossi, a priest accused of sexual abuse in Salta [Malvinas, Argentina] was arrested in Italy. Since then Salta Justice is in the process of extradition to stand trial in religious local courts … The priest is charged with the crime of ‘aggravated sexual abuse seriously outrageous and corruption of minors.’” De Rossi was a “fidei donum” priest, still attached to his diocese but sent abroad to do missionary work. With the approval of the pope, Don Alessandro was appointed priest in the Roman “parish of celebrities” on December 1, 2013. One Italian parishioner noted, “There were suspicious goings on around kids in the parish.” Another questioned, “Is it possible the Church did not know of his past with the law?” At the time, they were only informed the “de Rossi is back in Rome for health reasons with a positive view of the local bishop.”

November 2014: “Fr. Joseph Jeyapaul who fled to his native India to avoid facing felony criminal sexual conduct charges was just extradited back to Minnesota. He is accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old and 16-year-old girl.” One alleged “that he’d masturbated in front of her, groped her, and forced her to give him oral sex.”

November 2014: “Although he received accusations from two victims of sexual abuse against a Fr. ‘M.D.’,  Belgian Bishop Jozef De Kesel did not prevent the priest from going to Brazil where he now works with street children.”

October 2014: Fr. Roger Mount “who was allowed to continue preaching in Papua New Guinea despite being named in child abuse compensation settlements was deported to Australia and is likely to face being extradited from Queensland to Victoria.”

October 2014: “U.S. Marshals are attempting to find a Catholic priest who disappeared after he was accused of molesting a six-year-old Brooklyn girl last June. We found out he has friends and family down here,” said Deputy U.S. Marshal Juan Lara, the agency’s local spokesman.

February 2014: Monsignor Carlos Urrutigoity is now second-in-command of the Diócesis de Ciudad del Este in Paraguay.  “A former Diocese of Scranton [Pennsylvania] priest, Urrutigoity was accused more than a decade ago of abusing local children in a federal sexual abuse lawsuit … Bishop Martino carefully and consistently expressed his grave doubts about this cleric’s suitability for priestly ministry … to appropriate Church officials, including Bishop Rogelio Livieres, Bishop of the Diocese of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay; the Apostolic Nuncio to Paraguay; and the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.”

Fail to report abuse charges to proper authority

April 2015: In Kerala, India, Fr. Edwin Figarez had been accused of repeatedly raping a 14-year-old girl between January and March this year, “mostly when she came for confession.” The bishop followed Canon (ecclesial) Law and “suspended Figarez for the time being” but did not turn him over to the police. The mother went to the police. Figarez “remains underground and continues to evade the police.”

April 2015: Nine recent cases are cited by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) where credible allegations of child sex abuse were kept secret from the public by U.S. prelates. “We could cite dozens and dozens of other examples proving that the self-serving secrecy that caused the church’s global abuse and cover up crisis remains in force.

March 2015: “The spokesman for the Polish Catholic Bishops Conference, Fr Jozef Kloch, stated that as a matter of policy Polish bishops would not report allegations of child sex abuse by clergy to the civil authorities. It was up to the victims to report, he said.”

March 2015: Philippine Church “authorities have never turned over a clerical child sex abuser to the civil authorities. Never has a priest sex abuser been convicted. The bishops, who represent the management of the Church, should be held to account for they simply ship off child-abuser priests to dioceses abroad in some cases. When they abuse abroad and are investigated they rush back to a hideout the Philippines.”

January 2015: In a special report profiling a dozen key cases of priests in the Philippines accused of child sex abuse: “These cases are important because they reveal an enduring resistance by Filipino bishops to punishing and exposing offending priests.”

March 2014: The Italian bishops’ conference declared they had no official obligation to report the sexual abuse of children to any legal authorities outside of the Catholic Church with no objection from the pope.

Appeals, Petitions, Letters

June 2015: The Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission demands that the Pope come to Canada to apologize “for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children in Catholic-run residential schools.” The commission’s report says there has been “a patchwork of apologies or statements of regret” in Canada that few residential school survivors or Church members may even know exist. “It has been disappointing to survivors and others that the Pope has not yet made a clear and emphatic public apology in Canada,” the report says.

January 2015: Two people who say they were sexually abused as teenagers asked Pope Francis via press conference to investigate the way the Diocese of Buffalo handled their complaints.

December 2014: Two Argentine women traveled to Rome to ask Pope Francis for justice in the case of Fr. Héctor Ricardo Giménez who was found saying mass in a hospital chapel in 2013. “We think this man abused hundreds of children,” stated Estefania Gelso. Like the letter they had in January 2014, their trip produced no results.

December 2014: “Three priests have written to Pope Francis seeking an investigation into the Milwaukee archdiocesan bankruptcy. One of their concerns, a controversial move by then-Archbishop Tim Dolan to put $57 million into a cemetery trust fund he admitted was to provide improved protection of these funds from ‘any legal claim and liability.’ The intent of the bankruptcy proceeding for Church officials was ‘to exhaust silence and slander victims as well as to serve as a warning to others,’ the letter asserts.”

December 2014: Leaders of victims in three countries wrote an open letter to Pope Francis asking that he “take concrete action to protect children now.”
They want him to:
-Fire the predators,
-Order all bishops to report suspected sex crimes, open files and turn over evidence to police, and
-Punish bishops and Church officials who knowingly transfer predators and/or shield predators from police.”

July 2014: Open letter that Pope Francis “dismiss Cardinal Norberto Rivera of Mexico City for his clear participation in the cover-up of [Legion of Christ founder] Marcial Maciel, and Father Nicolás Aguilar and other pederasts … [T]he manifesto signed by 128 abuse survivors, lawyers and supportive groups was announced at a news conference in Mexico City, where the newspaper La Jornada called the Church’s deeds ‘crimes against humanity.’”

July 2014: A group of Argentine survivors called on Pope Francis to “amend hazardous defects of ecclesiastical laws so that permissive bishops will no longer remain in office.”

May 2014: Italian victims of pedophile priests sent a video to Pope Francis asking for sympathy and compensation. Among them were “eight deaf and mute people who were enrolled in a school in Verona, where 25 priests abused at least 100 students from the 1950s to the 1990s. Rete l’Abuso (Abuse Network) organization produced the video. The organization’s website identifies 148 priests convicted of child molestation, and a map of Italy detailing the Catholic parishes where the crimes occurred.”

May 2014: “Request the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn … after he failed to report a priest who had taken or possessed hundreds of pornographic pictures of young girls.”  263,594 supporters of this petition were ignored until the pope needed a scapegoat to quell the fury over his appointment of Barros.

April 2014: After the pope promoted Pell as his chief financial official, Australian Catholics petitioned, “Pope Francis: Sack Cardinal Pell Now…. His lack of empathy, justice and compassion for the victims of [sex] abuse is hard to reconcile with what Jesus did and taught. His few words of apology were hard to take seriously.”

September 2013: Two hundred people in a Scotland parish signed a petition accusing the Bishop of Galloway, John Cunningham, of persecuting and ostracizing Fr. Patrick Lawson. Lawson was removed from the parish after nearly two decades  of calling the Scottish hierarchy to take action against Fr Paul Moore who he accuses of sexually abusing altar boys.

August 2013: “Pope Francis: Stop Recycling Pedophile Priests” a petition signed by almost 7,000 because Newark Archbishop John J. Myers “failed to take action against a sexually abusive priest.”

May 2013: A petition to Pope Francis: Address the Global Sex Abuse Crisis and Convene a Truth and Reconciliation Commission begun by two of Karadima’s victims. The petition gained 10,229 supporters.

May 2013: “Call for the resignation of Rev. John C. Nienstedt, Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis“ for “deception” in handling pedophile priests.

Pope’s appointments

May 2015: “Right now, the Irish betting firm Paddy Power has Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of the Philippines as the favorite to be the next pope, giving him 11/2 odds. Already dubbed the ‘Asian Francis,’ Tagle got another boost this week with his election to lead a global federation of Catholic charities.” “In a 2012 interview, Tagle said that zero tolerance was a subject of debate in the Philippines [and] in a little-noticed 2012 video interview he observed of the Asian church’s response to clergy sexual misconduct, “I think for us … exposing persons, both victims and abusers, to the public, either through media or legal action, that adds to the pain.”

January 2015: Pope Francis appointed Blase Cupich archbishop of Chicago in September 2014. Fr. Michael W. O’Connell “was temporarily suspended in December 2013 after the archdiocese received an allegation of sexual misconduct involving a boy years earlier.” He was reinstated “even though the Cook County Sheriff’s Department never closed the criminal case. Weeks later, new allegations surfaced involving alleged abuse of a different boy in the 1990s.” Cupich is keeping O’Connell on the job with admonitions to “to avoid the parish school” and “not be alone with a child,” a contention that SNAP calls “ludicrous and dangerous.”

December 2014: Pope Francis promoted Bishop Christopher Coyne to bishop of Vermont. Coyne was “Cardinal Bernard Law’s former mouthpiece. For years, time and time again, then Fr. Coyne repeated deceptive public relations spin about heinous child sex crimes and callous cover ups by Law and other Catholic officials. While a bishop in Indiana, [SNAP] prodded Coyne to aggressively reach out to anyone who may have seen crimes by Fr. Francis Markey who was arrested by US marshals at his Indiana home in connection with the alleged rape of a 15-year-old boy twice, including the day of the boy’s father’s funeral. As best we can tell, he ignored our request.”

November 2014: Pope Francis promoted Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher to Secretary for Relations with States. “This important role is the equivalent to that of a Foreign Minister.” As nuncio to Australia, Gallager “claimed diplomatic immunity in response to repeated requests for archival documentation that might assist” the New South Wales Special Commission of Inquiry into child sex abuse by Deputy Senior Crown Prosecutor Margaret Cunneen. Gallagher told Cunneen that his office is “the high diplomatic representative of the Holy See to the Commonwealth” and citied “the protections afforded by international agreements, including the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.” Gallagher later relented.

November 2014: Pope Francis appointed Fr. Robert J. Geisinger as prosecutor of sex abuse cases at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) even though he had allowed a fellow Jesuit, a notorious serial sexual predator, to remain in ministry for years.

November 2014: Pope Francis appointed Archbishop José Luis Mollaghan to a new panel to assist the CDF in prosecuting clerical sex abuse. Mollaghan was “suspended in May as head of the Rosario archdiocese in Argentina due to accusations that he mismanaged Church funds” and “has a dismal record on abuse in his home diocese and nation.”

September 2014: Fr. Robert Oliver was appointed the Vatican’s “point man on sexual abuse” as chief of staff for the pope’s sex abuse commission, Oliver was “a champion of accused priests” while he was a canon lawyer for Boston cardinals Law and O’Malley.

February 2014: In his first consistory for naming cardinals, in addition to elevating Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller (see below), the pope included Santiago Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, another Chilean prelate who had also covered-up the sexual abuse of children by Fr. Fernando Karadima.

January 2014: Pope Francis promoted Lexington Bishop Ronald Gainer to head the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, diocese. As bishop of Lexington, Gainer failed to take action against Fr. Carroll Howlin. “Last year, the Chicago Tribune reported that Fr. Howlin, suspended for sexually abusing Illinois boys, still lives and works – unsupervised – in McCreary County. The cleric has reportedly also molested two Kentucky boys, one of whom committed suicide. Despite his suspension, however, the Tribune reports that Fr. Howlin’s supervisors in both the Lexington and the Joliet Catholic diocese have basically ignored him … Gainer put Fr. William G. Poole back into a parish even though Poole was twice charged with public indecency (1990 and 2001) and accused (in 2003) of molesting a boy. A Catholic lay panel in the Covington diocese found the child sex abuse allegation against Poole to be credible and paid a settlement to the victim. But Gainer recklessly put Poole back on the job.”

December 2013: Pope Francis reconfirmed Cardinal William Levada to the powerful (because they help select new prelates) Congregation for Bishops although Levada has one of the worst records among the U.S. episcopate for covering up for criminal clerics.

December 2013: Pope Francis appointed Fr. John Doerfler as the new bishop for the diocese of Marquette, Michigan. During the trial of a serial child molester, Doerfler admitted under oath that he had deliberately destroyed “nearly all records and documentation in the secret Church files of at least 51 reported to have sexually assaulted children after the Wisconsin State Supreme Court ruled that victims of childhood sexual abuse could file fraud suits against Catholic dioceses in the state for covering up for clerics….When specifically asked if it bothered him that clerics who abused children were being dumped into the community without public notice, Doerfler chillingly answered: ‘No’”.

September 2013: Pope Francis approved Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the office of the Holy See that has dealt with all sexual abuse cases 2001. As bishop of Regensburg, Germany, Müller promoted Fr. Peter Kramer, previously convicted of child sex abuse and ordered not to work with children, to pastor.  Müller concealed Kramer’s conviction from parishioners. When victims learned of Kramer’s new assignment, additional victims came forward and Kramer was convicted of additional child abuse.

April 2013: The pope also chose Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley as a C9 member. “A close look at the cardinal reveals a career-long pattern of resisting disclosure of information, reinstating priests of dubious suitability, and negotiating mass settlements that are among the least generous in the history of the crisis.”

Legal Maneuvers

March 2015: “The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the office in charge of abuse cases, has refused to cooperate with civil authorities in Italy concerning a well-known priest that Benedict XVI dismissed from the clerical state in 2012 … But Pope Francis re-instated him last summer after he appealed the decision and then sentenced the priest to a ‘life of prayer and penance.’ The Italian Magistrates were seeking access to documents ‘subsequent to the canonical trial’ at which Fr Mauro Inzoli was initially dismissed.  The Vatican’s rejection of their demand seems to confirm that once canonical proceedings commence, the pontifical secret applies, and any disclosure of information obtained in those proceedings is strictly forbidden’”

February 2015: A settlement was reached between 232 plaintiffs sexually abused by priests and nuns at the Ursuline Academy in St. Ignatius, Montana. “The agreement breaks down to less than $20,000 per victim. “These nuns no doubt say they’re ‘poor’ but frankly we doubt that claim. When it suits them, Catholic officials say they’re part of a huge global church. But when it benefits them, like in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases, they claim each diocese or religious order is autonomous.
Did these nuns even try to borrow money from other Catholic institutions (like Boston’s disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law did) or raise more money in any way, so they could do justice by these hundreds of still-suffering victims? We doubt it. Shame on them.”

February 2015: “The Archdiocese of Mobile [Alabama] is attempting to block subpoenas related to sexual abuse allegations, according to court documents. Reverend Johnny Savoie at St. Pius X Catholic School is being sued by four parents for allegedly failing to protect their children from claimed bullying problems.”

September 2014: Justice Murray Sinclair, head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission looking into the abuses that occurred over the years in Indian residential schools, said the “’government of Canada and the Catholics have not provided documents’ needed for the commission to complete its work. He also said the churches were being unco-operative, and the Catholic Church in particular fears more abuse stories will emerge against living clergy. Seventy per cent of the 140 Indian residential schools were run by the Catholic Church with the remainder operated by the Anglican, United, Presbyterian, Congregationalist and Methodist Churches.

May 2014: “A judge rejected a lawsuit filed by the Diocese of Arecibo [Puerto Rico] seeking to block the release of additional information to prosecutors regarding sex abuse allegations … The judge gave the diocese two weeks to hand over the information.

April 2014: “The Netherlands Church is still not properly handling allegations of sexual abuse by priests and brothers according to three victims’ organizations. They are outraged that the Church has unilaterally terminated mediation and victim assistance.”

Statutes of Limitations

February 2015: “Those who say they suffered childhood sexual abuse by clergy will have to comply with 2010 statute of limitations after a narrow vote by a South Dakota legislative committee. In 2010, with the backing of Church lobbyists, state lawmakers approved a new statute of limitations restricting some types of civil litigation in childhood sex abuse cases. Proponents testified that alleged abuse in Catholic Indian Boarding Schools happened so long ago few of the accused are alive to defend themselves. Opponents to that law argue the new statute of limitations was applied retroactively by the courts resulting in the dismissal of several ongoing childhood sex abuse lawsuits—further damaging the victims who are still alive today.”

February 2015: “A Spanish court has dropped charges against 11 out of 12 suspects in a clerical sex abuse scandal because the crimes fall within the statute of limitations. The Grenada court dropped charges of “sexual abuse with penetration, exhibitionism, and concealment of evidence” against nine priests and two laymen accused of abusing an altar boy.” This case became famous because the victim wrote a letter to Pope Francis. The pope phoned him “asking him to ‘forgive this extremely serious sin’ [and] that “people are already working so that all of this can be resolved.’” Granada’s Archbishop Francisco Javier Martínez only suspended the three priests directly accused of child abuse. His refusal to suspend the seven priests charged for covering up the crime sends the appalling message that enabling, tolerating, cooperating and covering up child rape is acceptable behavior that should not be punished. However, “the Holy Pontiff continues to support the controversial archbishop” because he is still in office.

March 2013: Cardinal Timothy Dolan “has successfully lobbied Albany to block SOL reform. Furthermore, before coming to New York, he himself testified publicly against window legislation in Wisconsin and is rumored to have paid off pedophile priests.”

Vatican ‘must immediately remove’ child abusers – UN


Vatican ‘must immediately remove’ child abusers – UN

From the Link: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26044852

he UN has said that the Vatican should “immediately remove” all clergy who are known or suspected child abusers.

The UN watchdog for children’s rights denounced the Holy See for adopting policies which allowed priests to sexually abuse thousands of children.

In a report, it also criticised Vatican attitudes towards homosexuality, contraception and abortion.

The Vatican responded by saying it would examine the report – but also accused its authors of interference.

A group representing the victims of abuse by priests in the US welcomed the report.

In its findings, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) said the Holy See should open its files on members of the clergy who had “concealed their crimes” so that they could be held accountable by the authorities.

It said it was gravely concerned that the Holy See had not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, and expressed its “deepest concern about child sexual abuse committed by members of the Catholic churches who operate under the authority of the Holy See, with clerics having been involved in the sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children worldwide”.

It also lambasted the “practice of offenders’ mobility”, referring to the transfer of child abusers from parish to parish within countries, and sometimes abroad.

The committee said this practice placed “children in many countries at high risk of sexual abuse, as dozens of child sexual offenders are reported to be still in contact with children”.

The UN report called on a Vatican commission created by Pope Francis in December to investigate all cases of child sexual abuse “as well as the conduct of the Catholic hierarchy in dealing with them”.

Ireland’s Magdalene laundries scandal was singled out by the report as an example of how the Vatican had failed to provide justice despite “slavery-like” conditions, including degrading treatment, violence and sexual abuse.

The laundries were Catholic-run workhouses where some 10,000 women and girls were required to do unpaid manual labour between 1922 and 1996.

The report’s findings come after Vatican officials were questioned in public last month in Geneva about why they would not release data and what they were doing to prevent future abuse.

The Vatican has denied any official cover-up. However, in December it refused a UN request for data on abuse on the grounds that it only released such information if requested to do so by another country as part of legal proceedings.

In January, the Vatican confirmed that almost 400 priests had been defrocked in a two-year period by the former Pope Benedict XVI over claims of child abuse.

The UN committee’s recommendations are non-binding and there is no enforcement mechanism.

‘Non-negotiable’

The BBC’s David Willey in Rome says the Vatican has set up new guidelines to protect children from predatory priests.

But, he adds, bishops in many parts of the world have tended to concentrate on protecting and defending the reputation of priests rather than listening to the complaints of victims of paedophile priests.

Meanwhile several Catholic dioceses in the US have been forced into bankruptcy after paying out huge sums in compensation to victims of abuse by clergy.

The Vatican said in a statement following the report’s publication: “The Holy See takes note of the concluding observations…which will be submitted to a thorough study and examination… according to international law and practice.”

But it added that it “regrets to see in some points of the concluding observations an attempt to interfere with Catholic Church teaching on the dignity of human person and in the exercise of religious freedom” and “reiterates its commitment to defending and protecting the rights of the child… according to the moral and religious values offered by Catholic doctrine”.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, head of the Holy See’s delegation to the United Nations in Geneva, told Vatican Radio the report had failed to take into account the fact that the Vatican had made “a series of changes for the protection of children”, and its efforts at reform were “fact, evidence, which cannot be distorted”.

He added that the UN could not ask the Church to change its “non-negotiable” moral teachings.

Victims groups welcomed the report as a wake-up call to secular law enforcement officials to investigate and prosecute Church officials who were still protecting “predator priests”.

Barbara Blaine, president of a group representing US victims of abuse by priests – Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (Snap) – told the BBC that the UN report “reaffirms everything we’ve been saying. It shows that the Vatican has put the reputation of Church officials above protection of children”.

“Church officials knew about it and they refused to stop it. Nothing has changed. Despite all the rhetoric from Pope Francis and Vatican officials, they refuse to take action that will make this stop.”

Catholic Church abuse scandals

  • Germany – A priest, named only as Andreas L, admitted in 2012 to 280 counts of sexual abuse involving three boys over a decade
  • United States – Revelations about abuses in the 1990s by two Boston priests, Paul Shanley and John Geoghan, caused public outrage
  • Belgium – The bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, resigned in April 2010 after admitting that he had sexually abused a boy for years
  • Italy – The Catholic Church in Italy admitted in 2010 that about 100 cases of paedophile priests had been reported over 10 years
  • Ireland – A report in 2009 found that sexual and psychological abuse was “endemic” in Catholic-run industrial schools and orphanages for most of the 20th century

Analysis by David Willey, BBC Rome

The Vatican quickly moved into damage control mode after publication of the UN report.

While promising “thorough study” of the criticisms, the Holy See robustly rejects some of the points made by the UN.

The Vatican has always given precedence to Church law, called Canon Law, over local criminal law in dealing with ecclesiastical crime. It does not easily tolerate interference by civil authorities in ecclesiastical matters.

The recent case of a senior Vatican diplomat, a Polish archbishop, who was suddenly recalled to Rome from his post in Santo Domingo after serious police accusations of sexual abuse of minors there is a case in point.

The Vatican has refused an extradition request by justice authorities in Poland and says an internal police investigation is under way inside Vatican City.

 

The Vatican still does not take responsibility for sexual abuse


The Vatican still does not take responsibility for sexual abuse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cardinal George Pell backs Vatican over dealings with abuse victims


Cardinal George Pell backs Vatican over dealings with abuse victims

 

  • Herald Sun
  • August 21, 2014 3:42PM

From the Link: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/law-order/cardinal-george-pell-backs-vatican-over-dealings-with-abuse-victims/story-fni0fee2-1227032175413?sv=6abf015f21205d06311103e05f9b1614&nk=7a95cce4e928348f27a4e9b21b943770

Pedophile Pimp, Cardinal George Pell

Pedophile Pimp, Cardinal George Pell

 

CARDINAL George Pell last night backed the Vatican over victims of sexual abuse saying it was unreasonable for the Royal Commission to request papal documents regarding every case of abusive clergy.

Giving evidence to the abuse royal commission via videolink from Rome Cardinal Pell said the Vatican was right to refuse to release papal documents relating to every abuse case involving an Austrlian cleric. Describing those documents as “internal working documents of another sovereign state” Cardinal Pell said the Church had provided 5000 pages of documents which he deemed sufficient.

In a letter to the commission in July Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin refused a request by commissioner Justice Peter McClellan for documents with respect to “each case” of clerical abuse.

He said the Commission wanted to understand the extent to which Australian clerics accused of child sexual abuse had been referred to the Holy See. The Cardinal outraged victims by admitting he hadn’t been following the Royal Commission because he had been busy in Rome.

The comments sparked audible gasps from victims who had turned out to watch his evidence.

During almost three hours of testimony he was forced to defend claims he acted disingenuosly when dealing with victims.

He was also forced to reject suggestions he sought to protect the Church’s finances instead of helping victims.

“My primary concern was to try to help the victims,” Cardinal Pell said. “I have been wrestling with the problem for 18 years.”

Cardinal Pell introduced the Melbourne Response to deal with complaints of sexual abuse in 1996 just months after being appointed Archbishop of Melbourne.

He said he knew he had to act to deal with the suffering of dozens of sexual abuse victims.

“There was evidence that something needed to be done to deal with the suffering,” he said.

“It was felt this compensation panel was only one arm of the appraoch, to lessen suffering and to help these people and to do it quickly rather than have it drag on forever.

“We fully accepted our moral responsibilty towards those who had suffered”. He said he never anticipated the volume of complaints against paedophile priests when he launched the program.

Almost 20 years after its inception more than 300 victims of sexual abuse have been paid more than $17 million through the Melbourne Response scheme. But it has been heavily criticised for discouraging victims from going to police about their abuse.

Cardinal Pell admitted the structure of the church made it difficult for victims to seek compensation through the courts.

He said victims of sexual abuse had two choices: take a maximum church payout of $50,000 or risk getting nothing.

“Many of the peole we helped through the compensation panel would have received nothing or very little after going through thte courts,” he said. “Some certainly would have received more. They were free to choose whether they entered into our compensation system, knowing there was a $50,000 cap or go through the courts.

“We only did what other comparable groups did or paid.

“Certainly I myself and the members of that compensation panel were aware of the contemporary standards of compensation then and our record shows we were ahead of the curve.”

The church considered creating a legal entity in 1996 that could be sued by victims, but designed the Melbourne Response compensation scheme instead which limited payouts to victims to $50,000 that later increased to $75,000. Cardinal Pell told the royal commission earlier this year he believed the church should now create an entity that could be sued.

In 2007 the New South Wales Appeals Court ruled the Church could not be held liable for the conduct of its priests.

It also ruled it could not be sued.

Victims have, on average, received $33,000 from the Melbourne archdiocese, while those who pursued independent actions received, on average, $293,000. The Melbourne Response was one of the global Church’s first schemes to offer redress to victims of paedophile priests.

 

Vatican envoy rejects UN panel’s critical verdict on clerical abuse scandal


Vatican envoy rejects UN panel’s critical verdict on clerical abuse scandal

Committee attacks church’s handling of sex abuse allegations, but archbishop says findings are outdated and ideological

The leadership of the Roman Catholic church is engaged in a tense standoff with the United Nations after a damning report on the Holy See’s handling of the clerical sex abuse scandal was branded out of date, unfair and ideological by a top Vatican official.

After the appearance last month of a Holy See delegation before the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the expert panel published a series of highly critical observations accusing the church of failing to acknowledge the scale of the problem and implementing policies that led to “the continuation of the abuse and the impunity of the perpetrators”.

The committee said it was particularly concerned that, when dealing with allegations of children being abused by priests, “the Holy See has consistently placed the preservation of the reputation of the church and the protection of the perpetrators above children’s best interests”.

The panel also found fault with some central church teachings and their impact on children’s health, urging the Vatican to reconsider its stance on abortion and contraception, and encouraging it to tone down criticism of homosexuality in an attempt to reduce “social stigmatisation” and violence against gay youths and children raised by gay couples.

In a swift and terse response, the Vatican released a statement saying it would submit the findings “to a thorough study and examination” but did not appreciate being asked to change its position on issues it considered immutable.

“The Holy See does … regret to see in some points of the concluding observations an attempt to interfere with Catholic church teaching on the dignity of [the] human person and in the exercise of religious freedom,” it said.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See’s permanent observer at the UN in Geneva, went further, saying he had been surprised by the findings, which he considered “not up to date” and a distorted depiction that ignored recent progress.

Tomasi, who was part of last month’s delegation, said the report seemed “almost to have been prepared before” that meeting, and ignored the “precise responses on various points” that he and other officials had given. Asked by Vatican Radio why he thought the findings had been so harsh, he said he suspected pro-gay rights NGOs had influenced the committee and “reinforced an ideological line” in the UN.

Advocates for the survivors of clerical sex abuse welcomed the committee’s findings. “This day has been a long time coming, but the international community is finally holding the Vatican accountable for its role in enabling and perpetuating sexual violence in the church,” said Katherine Gallagher, a senior staff attorney at the US-based Centre for Constitutional Rights.

“The whole world will be watching to ensure that the Vatican takes the concrete steps required by the UN to protect children and end these crimes.”

Pope Francis has referred to clerical child sex abuse as “the shame of the church”, yet has not often spoken out about it, preferring to focus on other issues such as poverty and the evils of the global financial system. In December he announced the establishment of a commission of experts to look at how the church could better protect children from potential abusers.

When they appeared in Geneva last month, Tomasi and Charles Scicluna, a former sex crimes prosecutor at the Vatican and auxiliary bishop of Malta, said guidelines already put in place by the Holy See and Catholic churches around the world had, when properly applied, presented a way of eliminating the scourge of abuse. “The Holy See gets it,” Scicluna declared.

But, according to the UN committee, that is yet to be proved. “The committee is gravely concerned that the Holy See has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators,” it wrote in its first concluding observations on the Holy See – a signatory to the UN convention on the rights of the child – since 1995.

Dismissing a key plank of the Holy See’s argument – that the church is not comparable to a global business and the Vatican cannot be expected to keep in check all clergy in all parts of the world – the committee said that by ratifying the convention it had committed itself to implementing it “not only on the territory of the Vatican City state but also as the supreme power of the Catholic church through individuals and institutions placed under its authority”.

Attacking what it described as a “code of silence” that had restricted the reporting of suspected crimes, the committee criticised the practice of moving priests found to have abused children from parish to parish or to other countries “in an attempt to cover up such crimes”.

The committee noted: “The practice of offenders’ mobility, which has allowed many priests to remain in contact with children and to continue to abuse them, still places children in many countries at high risk of sexual abuse, as dozens of child sexual offenders are reported to be still in contact with children.”

Last month Scicluna told the panel that this was “a grave concern”, but said dioceses and parishes were now obliged to pass on information concerning a priest wanting to move on. He also said: “It is not a policy of the Holy See to encourage cover-ups.”

The UN panel also criticised the Holy See for refusing to hand over data concerning all cases of abuse brought to its attention during the period in question, and their outcomes. It said confidential disciplinary proceedings had “allowed the vast majority of abusers and almost all those who concealed child sexual abuse to escape judicial proceedings in states where abuses were committed”.

The findings were not limited to clerical abuse, exploring other areas – from the classification of “illegitimate” children to the use of so-called baby boxes – where it said the Catholic church could improve its protection of children’s rights.

It was particularly critical of the Vatican’s handling of Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries scandal, in which thousands of women and girls were abused and enslaved, saying a full Vatican investigation should be launched and the abusers prosecuted. It demanded full compensation be paid to the victims and their families who were caught up in the system in Ireland.

Last year the Irish state finally said sorry to 10,000 women and girls incarcerated in Catholic church-run laundries, where they were treated as virtual slaves. The taoiseach, Enda Kenny, said what happened to the Magdalene women had “cast a long shadow over Irish life, over our sense of who we are”, and he “deeply regretted and apologised” for the hurt and trauma inflicted.

Clerical sex abuse: the UN’s recommendations

• All known and suspected child abusers must be immediately removed from their positions and the relevant civil law enforcement authorities notified. This reporting to civil authorities must be mandatory; clear rules and procedures should be set up to facilitate it; and all church employees must be taught that these obligations prevail over church law.

• Pope Francis’s commission should investigate independently all cases of abuse and “the conduct of the Catholic hierarchy in dealing with them”. It should consider appointing representatives of civil society and victims groups.

• Archives of past cases dealt with by the Holy See must be opened to allow for both the abusers and those who may have sought to conceal their crimes and “knowingly placed offenders in contact with children” to be held accountable.

The committee’s findings are non-binding. The report notes that most of the recommendations made by the panel in 1995 have “not been fully addressed”.

The Church’s Errant Shepherds


Op-Ed Columnist

 

The Church’s Errant Shepherds

 

BOSTON, Philadelphia, Los Angeles. The archdioceses change but the overarching story line doesn’t, and last week Milwaukee had a turn in the spotlight, with the release of roughly 6,000 pages of records detailing decades of child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests there, a sweeping, searing encyclopedia of crime and insufficient punishment.

But the words I keep marveling at aren’t from that wretched trove. They’re from an open letter that Jerome Listecki, the archbishop of Milwaukee, wrote to Catholics just before the documents came out.

“Prepare to be shocked,” he said.

What a quaint warning, and what a clueless one.

Quaint because at this grim point in 2013, a quarter-century since child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church first captured serious public attention, few if any Catholics are still surprised by a priest’s predations.

Clueless because Listecki was referring to the rapes and molestations themselves, not to what has ultimately eroded many Catholics’ faith and what continues to be even more galling than the evil that a man — any man, including one in a cassock or collar — can do. I mean the evil that an entire institution can do, though it supposedly dedicates itself to good.

I mean the way that a religious organization can behave almost precisely as a corporation does, with fudged words, twisted logic and a transcendent instinct for self-protection that frequently trump the principled handling of a specific grievance or a particular victim.

The Milwaukee documents underscore this, especially in the person of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, now the archbishop of New York, previously the archbishop of Milwaukee from 2002 to 2009 and thus one of the characters in the story that the documents tell. Last week’s headlines rightly focused on his part, because he typifies the slippery ways of too many Catholic leaders.

The documents show that in 2007, as the Milwaukee archdiocese grappled with sex-abuse lawsuits and seemingly pondered bankruptcy, Dolan sought and got permission from the Vatican to transfer $57 million into a trust for Catholic cemetery maintenance, where it might be better protected, as he wrote, “from any legal claim and liability.”

Several church officials have said that the money had been previously flagged for cemetery care, and that Dolan was merely formalizing that.

But even if that’s so, his letter contradicts his strenuous insistence before its emergence that he never sought to shield church funds. He did precisely that, no matter the nuances of the motivation.

He’s expert at drafting and dwelling in gray areas. Back in Milwaukee he selectively released the names of sexually abusive priests in the archdiocese, declining to identify those affiliated with, and answerable to, particular religious orders — Jesuits, say, or Franciscans. He said that he was bound by canon law to take that exact approach.

But bishops elsewhere took a different one, identifying priests from orders, and in a 2010 article on Dolan in The Times, Serge F. Kovaleski wrote that a half-dozen experts on canon law said that it did not specifically address the situation that Dolan claimed it did.

Dolan has quibbled disingenuously over whether the $20,000 given to each abusive priest in Milwaukee who agreed to be defrocked can be characterized as a payoff, and he has blasted the main national group representing victims of priests as having “no credibility whatsoever.” Some of the group’s members have surely engaged in crude, provocative tactics, but let’s have a reality check: the group exists because of widespread crimes and a persistent cover-up in the church, because child after child was raped and priest after priest evaded accountability. I’m not sure there’s any ceiling on the patience that Dolan and other church leaders should be expected to muster, especially because they hold themselves up as models and messengers of love, charity and integrity.

That’s the thing. That’s what church leaders and church defenders who routinely question the amount of attention lavished on the church’s child sexual abuse crisis still don’t fully get.

Yes, as they point out, there are molesters in all walks of life. Yes, we can’t say with certainty that the priesthood harbors a disproportionate number of them.

But over the last few decades we’ve watched an organization that claims a special moral authority in the world pursue many of the same legal and public-relations strategies — shuttling around money, looking for loopholes, tarring accusers, massaging the truth — that are employed by organizations devoted to nothing more than the bottom line.

In San Diego, diocesan leaders who filed for bankruptcy were rebuked by a judge for misrepresenting the local church’s financial situation to parishioners being asked to help pay for sex-abuse settlements.

In St. Louis church leaders 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.

In Kansas City, Mo., Rebecca Randles, a lawyer who has represented abuse victims, says that the church floods the courtroom with attorneys who in turn drown her in paperwork. In one case, she recently told me, “the motion-to-dismiss pile is higher than my head — I’m 5-foot-4.”

Also in Kansas City, Bishop Robert Finn still inhabits his post as the head of the diocese despite his conviction last September for failing to report a priest suspected of child sexual abuse to the police. This is how the church is in fact unlike a corporation. It coddles its own at the expense of its image.

As for Dolan, he is by many accounts and appearances one of the good guys, or at least one of the better ones. He has often demonstrated a necessary vigor in ridding the priesthood of abusers. He has given many victims a voice.

But look at the language in this 2005 letter he wrote to the Vatican, which was among the documents released last week. Arguing for the speedier dismissal of an abusive priest, he noted, in cool legalese, “The liability for the archdiocese is great as is the potential for scandal if it appears that no definitive action has been taken.”

His attention to appearances, his focus on liability: he could be steering an oil company through a spill, a pharmaceutical giant through a drug recall.

As for “the potential for scandal,” that’s as poignantly optimistic a line as Listecki’s assumption that the newly released Milwaukee documents would shock Catholics. By 2005 the scandal that Dolan mentions wasn’t looming but already full blown, and by last week the only shocker left was that some Catholic leaders don’t grasp its greatest component: their evasions and machinations.

I invite you to visit my blog at http://bruni.blogs.nytimes.com/ , follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/frankbruni and join me on Facebook.

Priest from Wilkes-Barre found guilty of child sex abuse


Priest from Wilkes-Barre found guilty of child sex abuse

Thomas Shoback, 66, convicted on nine counts and could face essentially a life sentence.

Published: May 01. 2013 12:01AM
Last Modified: May 01. 2013 11:24PM

By

From the link: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/480174/Priest-from-Wilkes-Barre-found-guilty-of-child-sex-abuse

A Diocese of Scranton priest who was once assigned to several parishes in Luzerne County, including a Catholic high school, has been convicted of sexually assaulting an altar boy.

Diocese officials on Wednesday confirmed that the Rev. Thomas Shoback, 66, of Wilkes-Barre, was convicted Tuesday in Tioga County Court of Common Pleas on nine of the 32 counts with which he had been charged. Most of those counts exceeded the statute of limitations. Still, he reportedly could face essentially a life sentence.

State police had said the assaults took place from 1991 through 1997 when the boy was 11 to 17 years old, while Shoback was assigned at St. Mary’s Parish in Blossburg, Tioga County.

The diocese suspended Shoback in November 2011 when the allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced.

Diocese spokesman William Genello said the diocese has cooperated with the investigation and prosecution of the criminal case since then.

After receiving the allegations, diocese officials notified the Tioga County District Attorney’s Office, reported the incidents to the Child Line and Abuse Registry operated by the state Department of Public Welfare, removed Shoback from ministry and suspended his faculties to exercise priestly ministries within the diocese, Genello said.

“Now that the criminal justice system has brought this case to closure, the Diocese of Scranton recognizes that the announcement of this verdict will serve as a very painful reminder of the wounds many survivors carry with them, most especially those who were harmed by Father Shoback,” the diocese said in a prepared statement.

Responding to the verdict, Scranton Bishop Joseph C. Bambera said: “At this time, I express my personal sorrow for the pain endured by those who suffered this abuse and extend my apology for any way in which the Church, and particularly its bishops, priests and deacons have failed them.”

He also reaffirmed a personal commitment to exercise vigilance in the protection of children and young people and thanked all who worked diligently to resolve the case.

With the civil law process completed, in accordance with The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, Shoback is permanently removed from ecclesiastical ministry and his status as a priest will be referred to the Holy See in Rome for a final determination, Bambera said.

“While Church law has been and will continue to be exercised with regard to this situation, anyone who believes that they have been the victim of child sexual abuse is encouraged to contact law enforcement,” Bambera said. He asked the faithful to pray for the victims of abuse and all seeking healing, reconciliation and peace.

The diocese said Shoback was ordained in 1977 and served as pastor of St. Mary and St. Andrew Parish in Blossburg from February 1989 until July 1997.

He was previously assigned at Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary in Jermyn, Lackawanna County; St. Joseph’s Parish and Sacred Heart Parish, Plains Township; Holy Redeemer Parish, Exeter Township; St. Joseph’s Parish, Hazleton; Nativity BVM, Plymouth Township; the former Bishop Hoban High School, Wilkes-Barre, and parishes in Monroe and Lycoming counties.

Shoback was a teacher at Bishop Hoban from 1984 to 1989.

According to The Times Leader archives, Shoback’s brother, Edward J. Shoback, a former Diocese of Scranton priest who worked for more than 20 years at Luzerne County parishes and schools, was suspended in 2004 amid similar allegations of sexual abuse.

Edward Shoback reportedly admitted to those allegations and was defrocked by the Vatican in 2009.

Catholic priests unmasked: ‘God doesn’t like boys who cry’


Catholic priests unmasked: ‘God doesn’t like boys who cry’

A shocking investigation into the Catholic church’s attitude to the victims of its abuser priests. By Catherine Deveney

From the link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/apr/07/catholic-priests-unmasked-god-boys

March 13, 2013. The world is waiting. Television screens show days-old footage of cardinals in red and white, processing past Vatican guards into the magnificence of the Sistine Chapel for the papal conclave. Every image, from the polished marble floors and gold ceilings to the priceless frescoes on the walls, tells a story of wealth, pageantry and power. Outside, in St Peter’s Square, the crowds are cheering for a man whose name they do not yet know. But there is another soundtrack. The day before, Pat McEwan, a 62-year-old from Scotland, had described to me how he was raped at the age of eight by a priest. His voice drowns out crowds and choirs. “I ran home shaking like a dog. I had wee short trousers on and the shite was running down my leg. My mum and my auntie had to wipe me down.”

The juxtaposition of those two images: the powerful institution that represents 1.2 billion Catholics and the abused child, tells the story of a church with two faces: one public and one private. Last month, the church was plunged into crisis when the Observer revealed that three priests and one ex-priest had complained to the Papal Nuncio about Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh. The cardinal, who publicly decried homosexuals as degenerate, had, they said, privately been making advances to his own priests for years. But the story was never about one man. It wasn’t about personal weakness. Keith O’Brien was merely a symptom of a wider sickness: an institution that chooses cover-up as its default position to conceal moral, sexual and financial scandal.

This was not paedophilia but it was an abuse of power – a man in authority acting inappropriately to young seminarians and priests under his control. It was made clear that a full sexual relationship had been involved. Yet there were attempts to cloud his behaviour in moral ambiguity. First, there was denial. The cardinal “contested” the allegations. A day after publication, he resigned. The next week, he issued a statement admitting his sexual conduct “as a priest, a bishop and a cardinal” had fallen short. Many ignored what that confirmed about the extent and duration of his behaviour: he was made cardinal in 2003.

Next, came obfuscation, with the church claiming it did not know the substance of the allegations, despite being given written notice before publication. Then, anger and the minimising of wrongdoing – the cardinal had been destroyed for mere “drunken fumblings” from 30 years ago. Why, he had probably been to confession and received absolution. But most revealing of all was the attempt to turn the spotlight on the complainants’ motivation, to blame the accusers rather than the accused. It has been a familiar pattern in Catholic abuse cases over the years.

The stories you are about to read will take you from the late-1950s to the present day, a sweep of more than 50 years. Society has changed radically in those years, from the black-and-white morality of the 1950s, tenement slums and rag-and-bone men, to the fast-living, flat-screen, iPhone generation of 2013. And yet, through all those decades, all those changes, the behaviour of the Catholic church towards abuse victims has changed remarkably little.

Two concepts are critical to understanding church behaviour. The first is “scandalising the faithful”. Traditionally, the hierarchy believed the greatest sin was shaking the faith of Catholic congregations. Protecting them meant concealing scandal. Adopting that as your moral standpoint means anything goes. You can cover up sexual misconduct from those you demand sexual morality from. You can conceal financial corruption from those who put their pounds in the collection plate. You can silence the abused and protect the abuser. Guilt about sacrificing individuals is soothed by protecting something bigger and more significant – the institution.

The second concept is “clericalism”, a word used to describe priests’ sense of entitlement, their demand for deference and their apparent conformity to rules and regulations in public, while privately behaving in a way that suggests the rules don’t apply to them personally. (O’Brien was, in that sense, a classic example.) The Vatican is an independent state; the Holy See a sovereign entity recognised in international law and governed by the Pope. The Nunciature operates like government embassies in different countries worldwide. It is even governed by its own rules: Canon Law. All this contributes to the notion that the church can conduct its own affairs without interference or outside scrutiny. It demands a voice in society without being fully accountable to it.

In the weeks following O’Brien’s departure, several priests’ meetings were held in his diocese. One was chaired by his temporary replacement, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow, and O’Brien’s auxiliary bishop, Stephen Robson. Some priests wanted messages of support sent to the cardinal, encouraging him to return to Scotland for his retirement. Compassion for a sinner? Or clerical cover-up? Some not only knew of the cardinal’s behaviour, they may have been subject to it.

“The clerical power structure not only protects clergy who are sexually active but sets them up to live double lives,” says Richard Sipe, an American psychotherapist and ex-priest who has spent many years researching celibacy and abuse. “Corruption comes from the top down. Superiors, rectors and bishops do have sexually active lives and protect each other – a kind of holy blackmail.”

Is this the biggest crisis for the Catholic church since the Reformation, asked Professor Tom Devine, one of Scotland’s leading historians? But one cardinal is not the crisis. Thousands of abused children around the world, and an institution that silences them: that is the real crisis. The church claims child-protection policies have been in place in Scotland since 1999. Judge them for yourself in the following stories. Events come right up to the last few weeks, with Keith O’Brien’s resignation as backdrop. The American civil-rights activist, Martin Luther King, once said, “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” In the Catholic church, that moment has long since passed.

Speaking publicly for the first time, Pat McEwan says he fell prey to a paedophile ring of priests. His main abuser, his parish priest, encouraged Pat to visit him, then appeared to slip into a trance. Pat shook him. “I’ve just been talking to Jesus and he says would you like to go to heaven?” said the priest. Then he asked, “Do you love your mummy?” Yes Father. “Do you love your daddy?” Yes Father. “Do you love me? Because this is our little secret and you mustn’t tell your mummy or daddy or you will go to the burny fire.”

This was the 1950s. Parish priests were honoured guests in Catholic homes. The priest arranged for Pat’s devout mother to visit Carfin Grotto, leaving Pat with a priest friend of his. Pat remembers watching through the window while his mother disappeared into the grotto. As soon as she did, the priest turned to him. “I want you to do for me what you have done for your parish priest,” he said. Then he raped him. Afterwards, he tried to quieten the child’s tears before his mother returned. “God doesn’t like boys who cry. Be a soldier of Christ.”

Child abuse is rarely contained within childhood. The events bleed into every aspect of adult choices, relationships, employment and health. Victims suffer from alcoholism, mental-health issues and post-traumatic stress disorder. It is not uncommon for male victims to end up in prison. Cameron Fyfe is a Scottish lawyer who has dealt with more than 1,000 Scottish cases of abuse by the Catholic church. “Not one person has come out unharmed,” he says. “Every one has had their life smashed.” Pat is no different. He became an alcoholic, though he has now been sober for 18 months.

Pat approached the church in the late-90s. He never once asked for money. Instead, he sought counselling, a spiritual retreat – and acknowledgement. “This has always been about justice.” He enlisted the support of Alan Draper, a child-protection expert who had worked for the church in the mid-90s. Draper had left, unhappy with the bishops’ persistent refusal to take appropriate action. Now, he accompanied Pat to a meeting with Bishop Joseph Devine of Motherwell. In their accounts both Pat and Draper say that the bishop’s solution to the horrifying tale was simple. “Pat, he’s an old man,” he said. “Please let him away with it.”

Pat produces a file of letters, not just from the bishop but from his safeguarding team. The tone is frequently hostile, as if “safeguarding” in the diocese is not so much about protecting victims as protecting the church from victims. In one, Pat is berated for telephoning the office. “Could I please ask,” writes diocesan safeguarding adviser Tina Campbell, “that if you wish to make contact with any member of the diocesan safeguarding team, this is done by letter and not on the phone?”

In 2010, Pat approached O’Brien. Despite being the most senior Catholic in Britain, O’Brien said he could not interfere in Bishop Devine’s area. Draper subsequently wrote to Devine on Pat’s behalf in February 2011, asking him to meet them both. He refused. Pat, he insisted, should meet him alone. “If he were to be accompanied by yourself or anyone else, the meeting would be cancelled,” he wrote. “I take it that I have made myself clear to you on this matter.” At the meeting, Devine rounded on Pat. “You are nothing but an alcoholic,” he said.

“All Pat wanted,” says Draper, “was for the bishop to say, ‘Sorry, we believe you.'” In November last year, Pat finally received a letter from Tina Campbell saying that in “an attempt to bring some sort of closure” they were referring the case to Motherwell police, who are currently investigating. Pat’s main abuser is now dead, but one remains alive. It has been a long journey.

The reality of “safeguarding” in the Catholic church is that each bishop presides over an independent fiefdom. Draper has asked for evidence of annual reviews that the church agreed to back in 1996. So far, they have not been forthcoming. In response to questions regarding church procedures in abuse cases, the Catholic church’s director of communications, Peter Kearney, told the Observer, “‘The church’ as referenced in your question doesn’t actually have a locus in this issue, in that in Scotland, ‘the church’ consists of eight separate and autonomous diocese, each with its own bishop and each responsible for the issue of safeguarding in their own area. The way a complaint is handled in one diocese should be the same as in every other, but… that hasn’t always been the case.”

It confirms, says Alan Draper, what he has been saying for years. “The bishops exercise tight control and do nothing for victims. The so-called national co-ordinator is effectively sidelined into training the laity and is toothless to do anything that really matters. It is a sham.”

Ann Matthews also lives in Bishop Devine’s diocese. In the 1980s, she was regularly abused from the age of 11 to 17 by her priest. She has never told her parents. They were extremely devout and the priest frequently said prayers in their house. After visiting Ann’s dying grandmother, he came downstairs and tried to have sex with her on the sofa.

After accepting the abuse had happened, Devine quietly sent the priest away for counselling, telling the parish he was retiring due to ill health. That, says Ann, denied other parents the opportunity to assess whether their children had also been affected. Some studies suggest abuser priests may have around 50 victims.

Ann says her life has been broken. She suffers from eating disorders, sleep disorders, anxiety and depression. She is frequently suicidal. She has no job. She has a partner, but will never have children as she doesn’t want to inflict her insecurities on a child. “Sometimes, it feels like I died a long time ago, that there’s this body that walks around the earth and doesn’t know it should lie down.”

In a meeting that included priests of the diocese, she was asked why she allowed the abuse to continue. But Ann was a child. She tried to convince herself abuse was love. “I said to them, I am sitting here as a grown woman, but when this happened I had knee-high socks and bobbles in my hair.” “Oh come on!” retorted one of the priests, before adding, “Give her money and let her run.”

She never received money, but she did get counselling, which she was grateful for. In the next 12 years, the church never once asked for a report. Last year, they wrote out of the blue, telling Ann her funding was being withdrawn. Her final session would be May 2013. Her counsellor wrote to the church saying Ann has been suicidal for substantial periods and still needs support. “It’s as if they calculated that I was abused for seven years,” says Ann, “but had counselling for 12 – so time up. I’m just someone who has had a vast claim on their resources.”

On 11 February, the day Pope Benedict resigned, Ann attended a meeting with safeguarding officer Tina Campbell regarding the termination of her counselling. She was accompanied by her psychotherapist and an advocacy worker. But the behaviour towards her was so hostile that she quickly fled in tears. The advocacy worker confirms she had to intervene because the church’s behaviour was so unacceptable. An appeal was lodged and they were informed it would be held in Edinburgh. Ann has since received a letter saying that, “due to the complex situation in the Diocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh”, no appeal can go ahead. Now, she waits.

The church has no policy regarding counselling. Again, individual bishops decide. Helen Holland was a victim of serious physical and sexual abuse in the 1960s and 70s in Kilmarnock’s Nazareth House. As a child she was hooded, held down by a nun and raped by a priest. She went on to become a nun herself, but eventually left her order. Now vice-chair of the Scottish survivors’ group, Incas, she has spoken on behalf of victims in the Scottish parliament.

The legacy of her abuse is still with her and Helen has paid for counselling at different periods in her life. But in recent years, she started experiencing “night terrors”, regularly sleepwalking outside her home. “It’s like being a child all over again. My counsellor said I was trying to reach the child within and I said that little girl Helen died. She doesn’t exist any more. But it’s not as simple as that. I can’t put the lid back on it.”

Now on disability allowance because of ill health, Helen could no longer afford counselling. She wrote to the church last June, asking for help. She never received a reply. The nun who abused her was Irish so she made an application to the Irish government. It now funds her treatment rather than the church.

Charles Simpson, an Edinburgh man who says he was abused and raped by his parish priest in the 1990s, also ran into a church wall of silence. Charles had alcohol and drug problems following the abuse, and ended up in prison for continually breaking into the parish house where it had happened. “I was hitting back at the church. It was an angry time in my life.” He is still on antidepressants and methadone. “I want to be able to function, to be a member of society, but it’s hard. He had me so wrapped up in fear and loneliness, telling me my family was poor because they were unemployed. The things he said made me feel I had no strength.”

Charles sought the help of a priest who approached O’Brien on his behalf. “The priest was told to keep quiet,” says Charles, who subsequently asked the church for counselling. He, too, got no reply. The silence prompted him to take legal action: he is now suing the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh for £100,000. His lawyer, Cameron Fyfe, says the church’s official defences in the action have been surprising. For the sake of a legal defence, they have denied that one of their objectives is to “spread the word of God”. And they have claimed they had no power to move or remove the priest, or to control – or even direct – his activities.

The time bar rule in Scottish law means civil action should be taken within three years of either the abuse, or the victim’s 16th birthday. Most civil cases against the church have failed for that reason. Fyfe hopes the court will use its discretion to allow this case to proceed, but the process could take years. “Money…” says Charles wearily. “It doesn’t change what happened. I feel like I’m up against it. To me, they are just legal gangsters.”

In the wake of the O’Brien scandal, Archbishop Tartaglia, said – as if it were a rare accusation – that the most “stinging charge” against the church was hypocrisy. Yet the hierarchy knows further scandal is only a whisper away. The four complainants against the cardinal were accused of being part of a gay cabal. They were not. But priests and church insiders say a gay culture does exist in the Scottish church. This is about cronyism, secrecy and an all-male culture. The Scottish church still bears the scars from Roddy Wright, bishop of Argyll and the Isles, who ran off with a woman in 1996. Until O’Brien’s behaviour was revealed, it was perhaps tempting for the hierarchy to believe gay priests were “safer”. Homosexual affairs – especially with other clergy – are easier to hide than those involving women and children.

Homosexuality is only an issue because of the church’s public stance on it. It should go without saying that there is no link with abuse. But Richard Sipe believes there may be a link between abuse and celibacy. In 1990, he published a 25-year American study showing that at any one time, 50% of priests will have been sexually active in the past three years. That figure has been replicated in other places: Spain, Holland, Switzerland and South Africa. “O’Brien and Scotland are not alone or exceptions,” says Sipe.

The Catholic church has created a hierarchy of sexual morality with celibacy at the pinnacle. But that can create distortions. Sipe’s studies suggest around 70% of priests display psychosexual immaturity. Celibacy, he argues, is not something most people can achieve. When legitimate sexual outlets are forbidden, some turn to illegitimate ones. “The majority of clergy are unable to deal with sexual deprivation in healthy ways,” he argues. Around 6% of priests will have sex with minors. In Australia, abuse by Catholic priests is six times higher than other churches combined.

David has direct experience of Australia and New Zealand. He rebuffed the sexual advances of a 65-year-old Jesuit in New Zealand when he was 14. He later joined the religious life himself and was sexually approached both in a Cistercian order and a seminary. In Australia, he was approached by a senior priest in a Dominican priory. Many priests have similar stories, but keep quiet because they are still part of the institution. David, however, left the religious life.

Afterwards, he had an affair with a man he calls Peter, who had left a seminary in Rome. Peter took David to his old haunts, calling in on a convent he had visited for weekly confession. His confession was always heard last, after the nuns, by a priest who later became a bishop. “At the top of the convent,” says David, “there was a comfortable room set aside for confession. But what started as confession turned into a weekly lover’s tryst. Peter, who was somewhat bitter about having quit Rome, was eager during that holiday to tell me the exact nature of their lovemaking. It involved anal intercourse.” The priest – whom David names – was operating at the highest levels of the Vatican.

There were those who tried to make O’Brien into a victim. Perhaps he was a victim of a dysfunctional system. But the real victims are the powerless and voiceless. Many live lives they feel are tainted and will never wash clean. Michael is an ex-seminarian who went to the police when O’Brien refused to take appropriate action against his abusers in seminary. Known in the Scottish press as “Michael X”, he eventually received £42,000 compensation from the Catholic church, which Sipe estimates has paid out £3bn worldwide.

Michael has previously described how he told his spiritual director about the abuse. The man assured him he was not to blame – then made sexual advances, too. What Michael hasn’t revealed before is his guilt at what happened next. He had to serve on the altar for the spiritual director at a private mass. “At the prayer, ‘Lord have Mercy’,” Michael recalls, “he dropped to his knees and grabbed my legs. He was shaking from head to toe, saying, ‘Lord have mercy, Michael have mercy.’ It was horrendous. He disintegrated in front of me.” The priest died of a brain haemorrhage not long after. When it was suggested the cause was stress, Michael felt devastated.

Many shoulder the guilt and shame that belongs to their abusers. Ann cannot let go of that question, “Why didn’t you do something?” In an email after we talk, she writes: “I am not sure how much longer I can go on. The sad thing is that even if I ended my life, I would simply become another statistic.”

Crisis always provokes choice: to go on in the same direction or to change course. When Martin Luther King talked of the betrayal of silence, he said decisions had to be made. “If we but make the right choice,” he continued, “we will speed up the day… all over the world, when justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Some names have been changed