Monday, November 10, 2014
All week we’ve been hearing about the excommunication of a pedophile Argentine priest as if it was a great step forward in Pope Francis’ policy for crimes against children. The priest, Jose Mercau sexually abused four teenagers and was given a 14-year prison sentence after he admitted his crimes. Instead he went to jail for 15 days in 2011 and then was sent to a monastery and got out last March – why so soon? So now he is excommunicated – how does that help the children he abused? Why was this covered in the media like it was some kind of miracle?
Not everyone thinks it was such a wonderful gesture by the Pope: "The church still has a long way to go," Sebastian Cuattromo, director of the advocacy group Adults for the Rights of Infancy, told the Associated Press. Francis' policies "are being carried out because of the long fight by the victims," said Cuattromo, who was sexually abused by a priest at age 13.
This is just more “smoke and mirrors” because the long history of the catholic church and its popes shows that much gets said but little gets done. So the pope met with victims of abuse from Ireland, Germany and Britain and he begged forgiveness for the church – how did that help? "Over the past 2,000 years, two popes have met with about two dozen clergy sex abuse victims. Very little has changed," Mary Caplan, a leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said in a statement sent to NBC News. "A dozen popes could meet with 100 victims, and very little will change. These meetings are public relations coups for the Vatican and a distracting placebo for others."
So priests are defrocked, excommunicated, sent to monasteries, where in most cases they just continue what they were doing – those let loose in the streets are unsupervised and God help the children.
It’s going to take much more work on the part of the church and the pope before children are truly safe. Pope Francis, get off your golden chair and send all the known clergy rapists of children to jail where they belong!
Saturday, November 1, 2014
This is an excerpt from the book “Smothered”, what I wrote about my abuse by a priest and nuns:
“There is no time limit on trying a murder case. There should be no time limit for bringing a child rape case to justice. If murderers get life imprisonment or the death penalty, pedophile rapists (and those who cover up their crimes) should get the same punishment because it is the same as killing the child – it is a death sentence for the victim – a living death or for many suicide stops the pain.”
What the sexual abusers of children do to their victims causes so much pain and suffering: physically and psychologically that they can’t function in society – it is carried in their minds and touches all of their relationships. It lasts a lifetime. Many survivors can’t tell anyone about their physical and mental pain and they don’t get treatment – they suffer silently, commit suicide, or they just die. You or someone you care about may be one of the survivors who went through the pain and suffering but remain silent.
We need you to speak out -- there are many ways to do so. If you have physical problems like I do -- with my shoulder that hurts because the nun knocked me off the bench – tell your doctor how you were injured. If you have emotional problems say where they came from. Recording what the abusers did and who they are identifies them for the world. Talking on blogs like this one spreads the message.
We need to speak as one voice to the senators, congressmen and other politicians and lobbyists. We need to tell them not to take vatican money (our money) to pass laws like the statute of limitations that eliminates the only chance that survivors have to get any justice in the courts. The vatican insists that it is an independent country so why is a foreign country creating U.S. laws
If the pope can recruit defenders of pedophilia, we can recruit defenders of children. We can fight with our votes and our voices. We can make their crimes visible to the world and to the law makers. We can change the laws that hurt victims. Voters have to find out how politicians voted on laws like having a statute of limitations that keep victims from testifying. Don’t vote for them if they are not helping the survivors or protecting our children. An article in the Daily Progress, Virginia, January 2011 quoted Grier Weeks, executive director of the National Association to Protect Children: “It’s a sad day when pedophiles and their enablers have paid lobbyists and victims have to beg for justice.”
Why do we let nun and clergy pedophiles run rampant in our churches and schools? The church gets to us through our faith: We believe in God. The pope and his minions take advantage of our faith and use God falsely – they hypnotize and blind us by hiding behind God in order to rape our children, to get our money and use it to defend pedophile rapists. They don’t realize that God is everything, that they are nothing and will be destroyed by their own evil. “No false gods” is their motto, but the vatican thinks they are gods. God knows of their arrogance: they pretend to be God’s translator but they have their own agenda. If they tamper with our faith in God they lose.
God had a reason for me to survive the deadly, fierce abuse: to halt them in their tracks, expose them, shed light on their perverted acts, take the battle right up to the pope in evil central and destroy their evil way of life. I hope others like me will speak out. We will use the media to expose them. They are nothing without our money and support -- they are worthless. We won’t have any kindness or mercy for them – they had none for us. The power in us, the survivors, is greater and more courageous than the lies of the pope and church for 2000 years. There will be a glorious victory for us. We outnumber the evil perpetrators and we can stand together to stop them – we can win the battles and win the war.
We are shining the light on evil: child abusers in the church and in society can’t hide from the truth. The world is better off without the pope and his brand of religion that deceives us in the name of God. Nothing lasts forever and their time has passed. We don’t need the church if it separates us from God. All we need is God in our hearts.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
For years in the 1970s and 1980s pedophile priest Eric Dejaeger victimized Inuit (Eskimo or native people living in artic regions in the U.S. and Canada). The 67-year old Dejaeger who was previously defrocked but not locked up – has been found guilty on 24 of 68 charges against him. His crimes were horrific: 24 counts of indecent assault, one of unlawful confinement, two of buggery, three of unlawful sexual intercourse, one of sexual assault and one of bestiality according to CBC News in Canada. Dejaeger’s victims were 12 boys, 10 girls and a dog he raped in front of two children. Most were between the ages of eight and 12, with some as young as four and as old as 18. So God’s creatures as well as children are fair game for rapist priests.
Dejaeger had escaped to Belgium in 1995, hiding there illegally. He was sent back to Canada in 2011 through the efforts of Lieve Halsberghe, one of several human rights activists who helped track down Dejaeger in Belgium. She said that the victims “showed extreme courage to face this monster after so many years and so much suffering.” The victims were afraid that no one would believe them --their parents did not believe them when they tried to tell them that they were forced to watch Dejaeger rape a dog.
Many of us want to know how Dejaeger got away with such abuse for so long. He used the same tactics that all rapist priests use: cajoling them with treats and using food to control poor and hungry kids. He directly assaulted them: one witness told of being taped to a bed and raped from behind as a child. Dejaeger also threatened them with “hellfire or separation from their families” if they told on him, according to CBC News.
Dejaeger had originally spent 5 years in prison on earlier charges but in 1995 he avoided a second set of charges when he fled to Belgium. He will be sentenced in January 2015.
Why is it so easy to commit these crimes and get away with them? It is because the catholic church follows the Doctrine of Discovery. In the 15-century papal bulls (laws) gave representatives of the catholic church permission to seize lands of Indigenous Peoples (native Americans, including in Canada) and to colonize their lands. The result was the wiping out of native languages and cultures.
The popes of the Roman Catholic Church encouraged the kings of Portugal and Spain to conquer “undiscovered” lands, enslave their non-Christian populations and steal their possessions and resources. The doctrine even gave Europeans the right to kill or enslave people who refused to convert to Christianity. This agreement among European nations stated that whichever nation arrived first had the right to explore, colonize and steal the land’s resources. The non-Christian indigenous (native) peoples did not have the right to own the land, only to occupy it.
It’s not just the church that follows this law. The Doctrine of Discovery has been on the U.S. legal books since 1823, when it was approved by a Supreme Court decision. It was still being used in 2005 in a land case against the Oneida Indian Nation of New York who was required to pay property taxes on native lands it had bought back from the city of Sherrill, N.Y.
How can so-called civilized religious organizations and countries stick to a law that blessed the massacre of millions of native people? The U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues called for Pope Benedict XVI to revoke and renounce this doctrine in 2006, calling it: "racist," "morally condemnable" and "socially unjust" -- but there was no response. As recently as last week, Pope Francis was also ignoring requests to stop these practices. Why does it continue? Because Pope Francis and the rest of the catholic church want access to native people, children and animals for their evil and greedy practices. We have to stop them.
Saturday, September 13, 2014
Steve Sheehan, advocate for survivors and sexually abused children stands up to Roman Catholic Church
Interview with Steve Sheehan
Q: Steve, You have been a crusader fighting for justice for the children and adults sexually abused by the Roman Catholic Church. How long have you been doing this and why did you start?
A: I have been working as an advocate for over twelve years. On January 6, 2002 the Boston Globe broke the story of the cover up of sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston. At that time I became a member of Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) a group whose mission is to reform the Catholic Church. VOTF helped people realize that Cardinal Bernard Law was responsible for the cover up in Boston and this increased the pressure on him to resign from the church.
In July 2002 there was a convention of VOTF at the Hynes Auditorium in Boston. David Clohessy from SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, www.snapnetwork.org ) was there, as was Tom Doyle (a priest and long-time advocate for victims of clergy sex abuse) and Jason Berry, a writer since the 1980's on the abuse cover up.
Immediately following the convention there was a meeting (demonstration) of survivors and advocates at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston which included three survivors who had spoken at the auditorium. The survivors told their stories and the last to speak finished by saying that she had always felt terribly alone. She opened her arms and said, "I'll never feel alone again." I decided that, if I could help it, the survivors would never be alone again.
On the following Sunday the survivors were standing on the sidewalk in front of the Church. I hesitated to join them because I had never been abused myself; I had no money to give them and was not a psychologist. I didn't know if a survivors group would want me to join them. I almost drove away but then I decided to say hello. I couldn't believe how happy they were for me to join them. They said they just wanted me to stand with them and to believe them.
Q: Steve, you've been involved in other demonstrations and with other organizations, what else do you do to help survivors?
A: In Massachusetts there was no effective Child Endangerment Law which made it difficult to indict Cardinal Law. But in New Hampshire there was such a law. I went to Manchester, NH where Bishop John McCormack (whom we called “safe house” Jack) was moving rapist priests from one parish to another. He had previously served as a top aide to Cardinal Law in Boston. McCormack made a deal with the Attorney General that he would turn over 9,000 pages of diocese documents and in return was granted immunity from prosecution. Every Sunday for a year we stood on the sidewalk in front of the cathedral calling for his resignation. McCormack resigned in 2010.
I also went around to churches where there were known abusers. I still participate in a vigil with the group STTOP at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross which has met every Sunday from 2002 to now.
Photo: STTOP group with Steve Sheehan in plaid suit
Q: What is STTOP? ( http://sttop.org/index.htm )
A: STTOP (Speak Truth to Power) was formed in response to revelations of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church. The group has weekly vigils in front of the cathedral in Boston and periodically in front of local churches where credibly accused priests have been reassigned.
Photo: Demonstration in front of St. Brendans, Steve Sheehan in center
Comment: STTOP demonstrated in November 2002 in Washington, D.C. at the annual Catholic Bishops Conference. Steve and others demonstrated in front of their hotel; they had signs. The bishops tried to ignore the STTOP demonstrators but when they had to go out for dinner, the only way to get to the bus transporting them was past STOPP. The bishops hurried by but they wouldn't make eye contact.
Q: You also belong to the NSAC, a national survivor advocate group, tell us about that group.
A: In Feb 2009, the NSAC (National Survivor Advocates Coalition) was formed and I became the newsletter editor for the group. http://nationalsurvivoradvocatescoalition.wordpress.com
This group promotes justice for survivors of sexual abuse -- especially by any clergy from any and all religious institutions. NSAC sent me to Ireland for the SNAP international conference and also sent a survivor from Africa. When Bishop Finn was convicted in Kansas City for withholding evidence, I went there with NSAC where there was a press conference for local media.
Photo: NSAC demonstration in Kansas City
Q: You are also a member of SNAP. How did you come to join this group? www.snap-network.org
A: In 2002, David Clohessy came to Boston several times. At that time a person had to be a survivor to join SNAP, so I asked David about it and he said that of course I could be a member, so I joined SNAP. I have been working with them ever since. I attend SNAP survivor meetings and their annual meeting and advocate for survivors.
Comment: Anyone who knows what the church has done to children, who knows about the torture and abuse is also psychologically abused by this knowledge and is a victim.
Photo: George Barilla and Steve Sheehan at SNAP meeting in Chicago 2014
Q: Steve, do you work with any group to help change sexual abuse laws?
A: I work with CORSAL, the Coalition to Reform Sex Abuse laws in Massachusetts. This group helps raise awareness and works with legislators to help pass bills that will help survivors. Carmen Durso, a Massachusetts attorne (who represents numerous survivors) chairs this group. I have testified before a joint subcommittee on revising the statute of limitations law. Recently the law was changed to allow survivors time to testify against their perpetrators until 53 years of age. (www.corsal.org )
Q: When they demonstrate, why do the survivors carry photos of themselves when they were children?
A: When people look at adult survivors, some think, “Why didn't you do something to stop the abusers? Why couldn't you get help?” Well, when they see the photos of the victims as children they realize that the abuse happened to young children who were helpless and frightened – not to the adult they now are. Then they understand how horrible the crimes are.
Q: Steve, what can you say to the survivors reading this blog, many of whom are still feeling that they are alone – and to the supporters of these survivors?
A: No two survivors are alike. Each is in his or her own path toward healing. If possible, survivors should find a way to share their personal abuse story with others as a step in healing. One way (but not the only way) is to join a SNAP survivor meeting group. Supporters must listen to these stories and reassure the survivors that they are believed and will be supported in their healing journey. Our goal is to support current survivors and to protect the children who remain so vulnerable.
Comment: I and other survivors appreciate what Steve does. We hope more advocates will follow his lead in his quest to help survivors and protect the children.
Monday, August 25, 2014
Archbishop rapes Dominican children and gets away with it: Pope Francis where is your zero tolerance policy?
For the first time, according to the New York Times, a top Vatican ambassador — a personal envoy of the pope — has been accused of sexual abuse of minors.
Sneaking around Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in black track pants and a baseball cap, he would walk along the oceanfront promenade where poor shoeshine boys worked and lure them down to the rocky shoreline or to a deserted monument for a local Catholic hero. The boys say he gave them money to perform sexual acts.
They never knew his identity until his picture was front page local news and after he was suddenly recalled to Rome: Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, the Vatican’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic.
Before the Vatican shipped him out, a local video crew got a tip about the stealthy molester and went to film him – he then disappeared from the waterfront. According to Dominican law enforcement authorities Wesolowski began sending a young Dominican church deacon to procure children for him.
The deacon, Francisco Javier Occi Reyes, was arrested by the police on June 24, 2013, accused of solicitation of minors, and jailed. Although Reyes wrote to Wesolowski he was ignored and left in jail. In his letter Reyes said, “We have offended God” and the church by sexually abusing children and adolescents “for crumbs of money.”
We all remember the recent claims of Pope Francis, who called child sexual abuse “such an ugly crime” and pledged to move the Roman Catholic Church into an era of “zero tolerance.” For priests and bishops who have violated children, he told reporters in May, “There are no privileges.”
Was he punished? Wesolowski received “the harshest penalty possible under the church’s canon law short of excommunication: he was defrocked by the Vatican. What terrible punishment for him! How does that help the abused children? What justice do they get? The Vatican says that it intends to try Wesolowski on criminal charges — we know what a great job they do policing themselves. What about criminal prosecution in a real court of law like any other criminal? What about sending him back for a jail sentence in the Dominican Republic?
It didn’t happen because the church, acting against its own guidelines for handling abuse cases, failed to inform the local authorities of the evidence against him, secretly recalled him to Rome before he could be investigated, and then invoked diplomatic immunity for Wesolowski so he could not face trial in the Dominican Republic. Diplomatic immunity ensures that diplomats like the serial pedophile Wesolowski cannot be sued or prosecuted in the country where they committed crimes and are given safe passage back home. This is a failure of justice for the sexually abused children.
Has the church changed? Is there still a culture of accepted and covered up child abuse? Where are the authorities? The United Nations recently condemned the Vatican’s behavior in handling child sex abuse cases – will they say something? If the Roman Catholic Church is serious about dealing with child sexual abuse they need to revoke Wesolowski’s diplomatic immunity, return him to Dominican Republic, and give authorities the evidence to convict him. We don’t know if Vatican representatives are committing the same crimes against children in other countries, but their failure to turn over Wesolowski to local authorities ensures that such crimes will be repeated over and over while pope francis ensures us how much he cares about the children.
Saturday, August 9, 2014
An article in the Washington Post (originally reported by Lilly Fowler, the religion reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 6, 2014) talked about the “rising popularity of the Latin Mass.” Because pope Francis has not been wearing some of the fancy garments that previous popes (like pope benedict) wore, some Roman Catholics were worried that Francis wouldn’t be saying the old Latin Mass – called the Tridentine Mass -- and that not saying it was threatening traditional worship.
But the Latin Mass, not much celebrated for the last few decades is “alive and well”. In fact, according to the Post, “a throwback movement is growing, in many cases with young people leading the charge.” There is even a Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei, a nonprofit based in Glenview, Ill., that promotes the Latin Mass. There is a slow but steady rise in the practice, with more than 400 churches offering the Latin mass today.
This is really dangerous. Why? Because the Tridentine Mass has long been associated with anti-Semitism and Nazis – including neo-Nazis. I previously posted information about this Mass (9/14/13 and 5/20/14) because many people do not know the history. There are others who do know the history and promote this Mass for their own agendas.
Back in 2011 Nicole Winfield reported (09/16/11 Huffington Post) that Jewish groups were worried about the vatican’s relationship with a group of Catholics, including a bishop, Richard Williamson, who denies that the Holocaust ever happened -- that Nazi gas chambers were used for mass killing. This Swiss-based society of st. pius X (SSPX) believes that Christ's death was the fault of all Jews. They favor the Tridentine Mass because it includes a prayer that asks God to lift the veil so they [Jews] may be delivered from their darkness.
The real darkness is in the black heart of this neo-Nazi society and popes who support it: Benedict who said SSPX could come back into the “fold” without having to give up their beliefs and lifted Williamson’s excommunication; and Francis gave indications that he might welcome SSPX back by supporting a Pontifical Commission called Ecclesia Dei, which has tried to lead the SSPX flock back into the fold.
SSPX allows convicted Nazi war criminals to be buried in their church cemeteries. In the 1990s the group had harbored Nazi collaborator and war criminal Paul Touvier. Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, one of Rome’s top dogs, wrote a letter to SSPX priests, pleading for “reconciliation and healing.”
SSPX is a growing danger because they have six seminaries, three universities and 70 primary and secondary schools around the globe. In addition to Williamson it has three other bishops, more than 550 priests and 200 priests in training. Are they training to incite another Holocaust? Pope Francis doesn’t talk about the real issues -- these skeletons in the vatican closet.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
No Excuse for Abuse: Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests celebrates 25 years of fighting child abuse by catholic clergy
When victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests first organized into a small band of volunteer activists: the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) in the late 1980s, reports of clergy molesting children were still new and relatively few. Most were minimized as “single occurrences” or dismissed altogether — much the way the victims were.
But today, as SNAP, marks its 25th anniversary at a conference in Chicago (Aug. 1-3), its members can take satisfaction in seeing that its claims have been validated, and that a few (though hardly all) of its recommendations have been implemented by the church hierarchy. (www.snapnetwork.org)
Because of SNAP’s advocacy on the Catholic scandal, victims now are much more likely to come forward to tell their stories, whether they were abused by clergy, by nuns, by athletic coaches or Boy Scout leaders or others.
SNAP soon developed a core membership of a few thousand people, mainly victims, who met in small support groups while also trying to push the issue onto the public agenda but the public was indifferent or outright hostile.
Then in January 2002, The Boston Globe began its groundbreaking series exposing the widespread abuse of children by priests in the Boston archdiocese, and the cover-up by bishops. The story caught fire and led to similar revelations across the nation and to an unprecedented level of media coverage, prosecutions and lawsuits.
SNAP’s membership took off, and now stands at more than 19,000, with 60 chapters around the U.S. and eight overseas. SNAP spends time and money helping survivors, maintaining support groups and providing costly legal support in cases against the perpetrators.
The 2014 SNAP Annual Conference will be a "reunion" conference on August 1-3, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place hotel in Chicago.
“No Excuse for Abuse” SNAP tee shirts (see photo) will be offered at the Conference for a donation of $15.00 to Boston-Worcester SNAP. The shirts come in adult sizes S, M, L, XL, and XXL. Checks should be made out to the Chapter Director, David O'Regan at 65 Greenville St., Spencer MA. 01562. All funds from the proceeds will help Boston-Worcester SNAP survivors along with helping monthly chapter expenditures.
I encourage all survivors of child sexual and physical abuse to join SNAP as I have – they are kind, supportive people – most are survivors themselves and they understand that together we will survive and thrive and stop the abusers.