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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Keystone XL Oil Pipelines, pollution, pedophiles and abuse of Native Americans

“Man Camps” like this one near Watford City, North Dakota are breeding grounds for abuse against Native Americans.
The Keystone oil pipeline carries oil sands from Alberta, Canada to oil refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. It runs south through North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska. The Keystone XL, is a 1,179-mile shortcut that would go through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. Getting oil sands out of the ground requires “fracking” -  a process which creates toxic environmental runoff and more air pollution than regular oil drilling. A leak from such a pipeline also causes more environmental damage than a leak from a standard oil pipeline. Much worse than the damage to the land is the damage to the people – especially the Native Americans who live near the pipelines.  “Man-camps” – housing set up for pipeline workers are breeding grounds for abuse against Native Americans.


At existing man camps in North Dakota (AP, 1/24/15), the region is already overrun with organized drug operations, sex trafficking and scammers. 'It's not Mayberry anymore,' U.S. Attorney Tim Purdon says of the Wild West mentality taking over the Bakken, ND oil fields.

But it gets worse.  Jacqueline Keeler reporting in Indian Country Today (8/19/15) talks about what workers who live in “Man Camps” would do to South Dakota tribes. Three of these camps would be built near territory of the Yankton Sioux, Rosebud Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes. The camps are managed by Target Logistics, which manages 12 such camps in Bakken.

At hearings before the South Dakota’s Public Utilities Commission the pipeline builder—the energy giant TransCanada did not show that it could prevent damage that workers might do to residents of the nearby Yankton Sioux Reservation. TransCanada did not consult with local tribes, and there was no plan for dealing with criminal activity that their camp residents might commit. The company’s website quotes Dunn County Sheriff Clayton Coker as saying, “This place is a safe haven. . . . No fights, no thefts, no issues at all in here.”

But reports from Bakken paint a very different picture. There have been triple increases in trafficking, assault, abduction, domestic violence and sex crimes affecting neighboring Native American communities during the oil boom of the past five years.

Annita Lucchesi (Southern Cheyenne), who works for the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Council, heard chilling remarks from Bakken workers. “They were saying, ‘Oh yeah, North Dakota is the f—ing best; in North Dakota you can take whatever pretty little Indian girl that you like, and you can do whatever you want, and police don’t give a f— about it ” she told Pacific Standard magazine. “To hear something like that—he was literally talking about kidnapping and raping girls in public at three in the afternoon—that is how bad it is,” said Lucchesi.

Grace Her Many Horses, a former Rosebud Sioux Tribe police chief, witnessed widespread crime when she worked in the Bakken on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. In 2014, she told the Rosebud Sioux newspaper,  “We found a crying, naked, four-year-old girl running down one of the roads right outside of the Man Camp. She had been sexually assaulted.” Man-on-man assault was also a problem; she told how a 15 year old boy had gone missing and was found in one of the man camps with an oil worker. They were passing him around from trailer to trailer. “It was scary,” she said.

TransCanada spokesperson Rick Perkins denied complaints about rape or sexual harassment, drugs or human trafficking at man camps run by Target Logistics.  Pressed by Yankton Sioux Tribal attorney Jennifer Baker, Perkins testified that in Target Logistics camps prostitution is not prohibited by the company’s code of conduct. Perkin said that neither Target Logistics nor TransCanada requires camp worker background checks for criminal records. Even registered sex offenders can work for the company or live in the camps. Also, the company subsidized training of local police forces so it is not surprising that the police deny any wrongdoing by the company.

Trans Canada is doing nothing to insure that rapes of children and adolescents in the new South Dakota camps will be prevented. This is just another case of those in power, like Pope Francis, priests, nuns and the catholic church – abusing the helpless and buying off the authorities.  Who else is sexually abusing children and defenseless adults? Do you have a story to tell? Let me know and I will write your story on this blog.    

http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/enewsletters/ictweeklyaugust192015-161431  page 6 for full story


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Pope Francis: are you helping clergy abuse survivors and protecting children?

David Clohessy is the St. Louis, Missouri-based national director and spokesman for the Survivor's Network of those Abused by Priests, the largest and oldest self-help group for victims of clergy molestation in the United States.
What has Pope Francis really done to protect children and help survivors? David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) will tell you in this revealing Q&A (davidgclohessy@gmail.com)

Q & A on Pope Francis and the abuse/cover up crisis by David Clohessy


Q: Francis has done more about the abuse crisis than his predecessors. Isn't that encouraging?

A: First, we should judge church officials NOT by what their terrible predecessors did but by what responsible officials would do. It's little comfort to a girl who's been raped under Francis to say "Well, under Benedict, there might have been an even smaller chance of your predator being ousted."

Neither Benedict nor Francis has exposed a single child molesting cleric or really punished a single complicit church official. They've made lots of reassuring talk but taken little meaningful action.

Q: But several bishops have been forced out because of abuse. Isn't that good news?

A: We don't think this is true. A tiny handful of bishops (Finn in Kansas City, Nienstedt and Piche in St. Paul) have resigned. Were they forced out? Who knows. Continued Vatican secrecy means that no one can be sure whether they were forced and if so, what the real reason or reasons might have been.

There's nothing new about bishops resigning, while keeping their titles and paychecks and honors. A pope firing bishops would be new. And it would deter wrongdoing. But it didn't happen under Benedict and it isn't happening under Francis.

Q: What about the Paraguay bishop? Francis ousted him.

A: That's true. But within hours, the official papal spokesman said that this move was NOT because the bishop mishandled abuse. (Bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano had promoted Fr. Carlos Urrutigoity, who has been described by bishops from Switzerland to Pennsylvania as 'dangerous,' 'abnormal,' and 'a serious threat to young people' and against whom a $400,000 settlement was paid.)

The bishop was ousted because he alienated his brother bishops, called them gay in public, etc. (see: http://www.snapnetwork.org/rome_evidence_suggests_bishop_not_ousted_due_to_abuse)

Q: But three US bishops accused of concealing abuse have resigned just this year. Isn't that progress?

A: Again, not a single one of the world's 5,100 bishops found the courage to say "Finn enabled abuse" or "Neinstedt endangered kids." That would have been progress.

Real progress will happen when 1) dozens of complicit bishops are openly defrocked, demoted or at least disciplined and denounced, and 2) Catholic officials say – clearly and publicly – that it's because they enabled or concealed child sex crimes.

We're glad these three aren't in office any more. Their resignations have temporarily made some Catholics and victims feel better. Their resignations, however, are not signs of reform. They are signs that these prelates are so clearly discredited that the Vatican had no choice but to let them step down.

Q:What about the new papal commission?

A: Pete Saunders and Marie Collins are wonderful people. But this panel is based on a deceptive premise: that Vatican officials must "learn more" about abuse and cover up. They don't. They need courage, not information. They've dealt with this crisis for centuries in private and for decades in public. They know what to do.

This panel perpetuates the self-serving myth that Catholic officials need more information. What they need is courage. They usually refuse to do what's right because they are monarchs and like their power and the status quo more than anything else.

Over the past 20 years, thousands of lay people, including dozens or hundreds of clergy sex abuse victims, have sat or still sit on church abuse panels but these panels have produced little if any real reform.

Q: The first-ever Vatican criminal trial will happen soon involving the Polish archbishop. Your thoughts?

A: There is an open, impartial, time-tested process for adjudicating child sex cases. It's called the secular justice system. That's where these cases belong, not in some new, untested, biased, self-serving internal church process. Catholic officials have always fought long and hard to keep child molesting clerics out of the criminal process. This is just the latest iteration of that dangerous pattern.

Q: Francis set up a process to hold complicit bishops accountable. Isn't that progress?

 A: No, he has not. He has SAID he'll set up a process. He hasn't done it yet. So at best, this is yet another promise by yet another prelate about yet another procedure that may never be used. And at worst, it's disingenuous.

Again, every pope can oust any bishop for virtually any reason. Pope’s don’t need more processes. (No new procedure was needed to get rid of the Bishop of Bling.)

If history is any guide, this tribunal will likely (and grudgingly and belatedly) be used once or twice – with great fanfare. Then, as public pressure wanes, it will return to "business as usual." (see our June 10 statement on our website)

We believe thousands of Catholic officials are hiding predators, promoting enablers, stonewalling police, destroying documents, deceiving parishioners and playing legal hardball against survivors. So even if a handful of prelates are disciplined, this is a tiny, tiny drop in an enormous ocean of corruption.

If this new "process" results in dozens of complicit bishops being ousted from office, we will be encouraged. But again, there is no shortage of church processes and panels and procedures and protocols.

There IS, however, a shortage of courage by church officials, who still refuse to use the vast power they have to stop, expose and prevent clergy sex crimes and cover ups.

Remember: The pope has virtually limitless power. By now, he could have sacked dozens of complicit bishops. He has, however, sacked no one. Nor has he demoted, disciplined or denounced even one complicit church official – from Cardinal to custodian, because of abuse cover ups. None of his predecessors did either.

So in the face of this widespread denial, timidity and inaction, let's be prudent, stay vigilant and withhold judgment until we see if and how this panel might act.

Imagine a huge oil company that had never disciplined a single manager and won't admit it's drilling offshore. If it sets up an internal panel to recommend possible manager discipline to its CEO, few would get excited.

That's what we have here. Catholic officials have disciplined virtually no one for ignoring, concealing or enabling abuse, anywhere on the planet. And Catholic officials won't admit there are deliberate cover ups, instead disingenuously claiming "mistakes," "oversights," and "miscommunication." Not one Catholic official on the planet found the courage to publicly blast Bishop Robert Finn of Missouri who was convicted of withholding evidence of child sex crimes from the police, even though more kids were hurt as a result of his law-breaking.

If you can't properly name a crisis, you're likely unable to fix it.

Kids need a courageous church culture, not another church committee. Kids need brave behavior by church officials, not more bureaucracy. Kids need church members and staff to bring evidence to prosecutors, not to Vatican officials.

Church officials still fight civil lawsuits, criminal prosecutions, governmental investigations and independent institutions like the United Nations. So at one level, this looks again like an effort to stone-wall secular authorities, saying "Back off. Go away. We're dealing with this internally."

Accountability necessarily involves consequences for wrongdoers. Whether a new, untested, Vatican-ruled process will mean consequences for wrongdoers remains to be seen.

This move will give hope to some. But hope doesn't safeguard kids. Punishing men who endanger kids.. That is not happening. And that must happen – soon – if the church is to be safer.

Q: What would you like to see Francis do?

A: Turn over every document about clerics who commit and conceal child sex crimes to law enforcement. Insist that bishops lobby for, not against, secular legislative reforms to protect kids. And quickly, publicly and harshly fire dozens of complicit bishops.

(Note: on 3/7/13, we listed 20 steps Pope Francis should take in this crisis: http://www.snapnetwork.org/rome_snap_s_20_steps_for_pope_francis

Put the phrase "Francis should" – in quotes – in our website search box and find 28 statements outlining what we'd like to see him do.)

With lightning speed, Francis ousted a German bishop who mismanaged church money. But with glacial speed, Francis ignores bishops who endanger children and protect predators.

He's making major strides in improving church finances, governance, and morale. But he's posturing on abuse and cover ups. He's making nearly no meaningful strides to actually prevent abuse and cover ups.

If anything, Francis' popularity has perhaps made children more vulnerable in the church, because so many people wrongly assume that since Francis seems to be an activist, he must be taking action to stop abuse and cover ups. But he's not.

There are few differences between popes John Paul II, Benedict and Francis. All three apologized to and met with victims, only after horrific disclosures were made that couldn't be ignored. All three, however, have refused to take proven steps to expose those who commit or conceal clergy sex crimes. All three have promoted priests and bishops who have protected predators and endangered kids.

Each new pope has worked harder than his predecessor to convince parishioners, the public and the press that he's "fixing" this crisis. But none of them have taken the kind of clear, strong and decisive public steps needed to really make a difference.

Thank you, David for telling us how cruel, deceptive and ineffective the Pope really is. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pope Francis: When you talk about the filthy world don’t forget the dirty-handed bishops

How dirty are your hands bishop Myers?

Earlier this year (2/21/1) I wrote about Newark Archbishop John J. Myers spending his weekends at his 4,500-square-foot $800,000 home on 8.2 wooded acres in the hills of Hunterdon County, NJ. If that wasn’t enough misuse of funds, parishioners were angered when they found that the archdiocese was spending $500,000 for a 3,000 sq. foot addition with a 28-foot by 28-foot gallery and a "wellness room" with a hot tub and a 14-foot by 7-foot Endless Pool. This is where Myers will retire.

It gets worse.  Besides his obvious greed, Myers has long been accused of sheltering abusive priests. A group of advocates for molestation victims who call themselves the Catholic Whistleblowers, urged Pope Francis to use the new Vatican tribunal he formed on negligent bishops to investigate Myers. The Whistleblowers, who are priests, nuns and canon lawyers, said they will present evidence to the Vatican that Myers has been persistently hostile toward people who come forward with abuse allegations, and had left guilty clerics in parishes in the Newark archdiocese and in his previous post as bishop of Peoria, Illinois.

The Associated Press article noted that Pope Francis will visit the U.S. in September but the “unfinished business of the molestation scandal is hanging over the trip. The Press went on to say, ”The crisis erupted in 2002 with the case of one pedophile priest in the Archdiocese of Boston before spreading nationwide, then engulfing the Roman Catholic Church.”

While hundreds of accused clergymen have been barred from serving as priests there has been no direct penalty for bishops who covered up allegations and kept the clerics on the job. Myers came under heavy criticism in 2013 after he allowed Michael Fugee, a now defrocked priest who had been accused of groping a teenage boy, to attend youth retreats and hear confessions from minors –even though prosecutors had barred him from contact with minors. Myers also had privately allowed another priest who had been removed over molestation claims to live in the rectory of a church with a school and youth groups.

In Peoria, Larry and Helen Rainforth, parents of a son (one of 13 people) who received a settlement over abuse by former priest Norman Goodman, said Myers threatened people who came forward with libel lawsuits and excommunication.

While the official Vatican itinerary for the pope's U.S. trip doesn’t say Francis plans to address the issue of bishop cover-ups like that of Myers’ there are those who think he will face it. Let’s just do it Francis – you owe it to the children past and present who are abused by your clergy. You said the world is filthy – well so are the hands of the bishops who enable sexual abuse of children.





Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Pope Francis you have company: other faiths and groups that abuse children

There’s a saying, “birds of a feather flock together” and in this case the birds are different religious groups and what they all do is sexually abuse children.  Although Pope Francis and the catholic church are notorious for abusing the most children for the longest time these perpetrators are not alone.

It’s good that the catholic church has had so much press and revelation of what goes on behind closed church doors.  Now, the truth about other religious organizations (and Boy Scouts and athletic organizations) is seeing the light:


Mennonites

SNAP, the Survivor’s Network of Those Abused by Priests has a new chapter: SNAP-Menno an Anabaptist-Mennonite chapter formed by twelve survivors of sexual abuse and their advocates. One of the founders, longtime victim-advocate Ruth E. Krall, an emerita professor at Goshen (Ind.) College who dedicated decades of her life to understanding and penetrating the deeply hidden plague of sexual abuse among Mennonite clans.  Krall wrote a book, The Elephant in God’s Living Room, about Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder’s sexual abuse of women.

Barbara Graber, a former professor at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va., is an associate editor of ourstoriesuntold.com, a website devoted to preventing sexualized violence among Mennonites. As a survivor of sexual abuse, Graber was drawn to the “wealth of knowledge and hope” in the SNAP organization.  “I was overwhelmed with emotion walking into a room of several hundred survivors who had, like me, been sexually violated by the same persons who taught us about God and were members of our faith community,” Graber says about the 2014 SNAP annual conference.*  There are other SNAP chapters for Presbyterians, Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, children of missionaries, Orthodox Christians and Boy Scouts, among others.

2015 Conference Information (July 31-Aug 2 in Alexandria, VA)

Mormons and the Boy Scouts Link

Child molester + Mormons = easy prey

The Sins of Brother Curtis: A Story of Betrayal, Conviction, and the Mormon Church by Lisa Davis is an account of one of the most prolific serial child molesters in the U.S., Frank Curtis. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Curtis was a Sunday School teacher and Boy Scout leader, so he had double access to children. He molested boys in several Portland, Oregon from 1976 to 1991. At a lawsuit trial against the LDS Church is was discovered that bishop had told the victim’s mother that they “knew” Curtis was a pedophile and hadn’t warned the family—that it was discovered that the church had known for years that Curtis was a danger to children. (Sound familiar Pope Francis?) Curtis was excommunicated (for homosexuality rather than pedophilia) then re-baptized and returned to the positions from which he preyed upon children.

So what do the Mormons have to do with Boy Scouts (other than molesting them)?   According to Davis while the Boy Scouts of America is a separate entity from the LDS Church, but the Mormon church is the largest single sponsor of the BSA. So almost all Mormon boys are Boy Scouts and many have been molested in both places.  So the LDS Church decided that leaders of church Boy Scout troops had to be checked out by the BSA – that’s like asking the fox to watch the chickens.  

The LDS must have used the catholic church for a role model: it took so many years before their crimes saw the light of day, there were so many victims, and the church fought a battle to keep it secret and the perpetrator “repented” and was given another chance to have access to children. Like the catholic church, the LDS had the deep pockets and the lawyers to wear the victim’s lawyers down. [The LDS Church’s lawyers] were fighting a war of attrition, in which one side wins just because the other side can’t keep up.
It turns out that Curtis had a criminal record from way back – stealing, armed robbery in the same area where Al Capone did his dirty work. Curtis’ criminal record said that he had inappropriate sexual behavior with boys. There was a clue that was missed. If, in 1929, they say that he’s having sex with young boys, and his last victim was molested in 1991, that’s more than 60 years.

Jehovah’s witnesses


Again, like their counterparts in the catholic church Elders in the Jehovah’s Witness leadership have been covering up child sex abuse.  Recently, a group of ex-Jehovah’s Witness members put up a billboard calling out leadership in the church for failing to adequately address sexual abuse — and even for actively covering it up. The billboard points viewers to a website (www.JWAWAKE.com) that offers evidence for the claims. The group hopes for the message to make an impact during upcoming conventions, which thousands will attend.


They want to hold Elders accountable for failing to report sexual abuse. Now, Elders are instructed to only turn over to authorities cases in which there are two witnesses — which means that in addition to the victim, either the perpetrator must confess, or the abuse must have been performed where another church member could witness it — something most sexual predators know how to avoid. They’re asking every Jehovah’s Witness to contact the governing body of the church and call for change -- to call for Elders to be ordered to report every incident, with or without a witness. The billboard will be present through two Jehovah’s Witness conventions on July 31, and August 7.  Having the Elders be accountable is a good step to take but direct reporting to the police would be better for the children.

Revelations on Rabbis


It not only Christian denominations sexually abusing children, the Jewish institutions in Israel and in the U.S. do their share of abuse.

In Israel the past week, two men heading religious institutions in Israel were added to the list of sex predators in the religious Jewish world. Rabbi Ezra Scheinberg was caught by police two weeks ago at Ben Gurion airport trying to avoid arrest on charges of rape, sexual harassment and indecent assault. Ten women have come forward – with more expected because the court lifted the ban on releasing his name. Scheinberg, 47, married with eight children raped women who came to him for spiritual counseling, and told the women it was part of their healing treatment. (We’ve heard that story before).

One of his victims said, “After all these years of your intimidations, we are no longer scared. Your scare-tactics no longer work on us….If you had one drop of integrity of justice, of truth you would ask for our forgiveness. But your heart was always made of stone.”  Scheinberg’s students,  originally shocked, threw his books in a big trash can, and staff are calling him “an abomination.

Just like Pope Francis and his bishops, the Chief Rabbi Eliyahu, was the cover for abusive rabbis. Dr. Hannah Kehat, one of the founders of a group established by Orthodox activists to investigate complaints of sexual abuse within the religious sector, said Eliyahu “waged terror against any woman who dared to complain.”  The victims were called liars in public and learned that rabbis support the offender and not them.

Like their catholic counterparts, many rabbis advise and encourage victims and survivors of child sexual abuse and their families to not report these crimes to the police. They believe that incidents of child sexual abuse should be addressed internally, led by the rabbi. To keep victims from going to the police, they defend the perpetrators saying “he has a wife and children so why make his entire family suffer?”, “the abuse happened many years ago,” “it was a moment of weakness,” “he’s a righteous, God-fearing person,” “you’ll be bringing shame on you, your family and our community,” “you’ll ruin your marriage prospects,” and so on. 

Because of the closed Orthodox society there is greater opportunity for abuse and cover-ups – for example, having large families, use of male mikveh (ritual bath-house), limited or no sexual education, desire to protect the reputations of leaders/rabbis and institutions, isolated communities that often reject the use of mainstream law enforcement, the existence of extreme taboo/stigma etc.  Some experts believe that around 50% of Hassidic boys in Brooklyn are sexually abused. Much of the community is in denial but like the catholic church, exposure will wake up the faithful.



Monday, July 6, 2015

Thirty years of the abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. Barbara Blaine, founder of SNAP talks to the National Catholic Reporter

Barbara Blaine, holding a photo of herself as a child, protests at the Vatican in April 2005. (ZUMA Press/La Presse/Mauro Scrobogna)
This week the National Catholic Reporter is running a series about 30 years of child sexual abuse by the Catholic Church.  It is a series worth reading. The first article is the sad but empowering story of Barbara Blaine, founder of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).  Barbara says, “A single issue of NCR changed the course of my life and eventually led to my starting an international movement of survivors of clergy abuse. I am extremely grateful to NCR!”  Please read the whole series – the more people who read this story, the safer children will be all over the world.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Catching Cardinals in the clergy sex abuse scandal: next stop Pope Francis

Cardinal George Pell


The Royal Commission in Australia has been investigating how institutions like schools, churches and sporting groups handle child sexual abuse cases.  In the spotlight currently is Cardinal George Pell. Pell has been under fire since allegations that he turned a blind eye to abuse resurfaced last week at the royal commission into child sexual abuse in Ballarat, Victoria. Pell has been accused of bribing abused victims to keep them quiet and ignoring victim’s complaints.  

Peter Saunders, a victim of sexual abuse himself, has broken his silence about Cardinal Pell. Saunders established the National Association for People Abused in Childhood in Britain 16 years ago. Last December, he was hand-picked by Pope Francis to lead the Vatican’s commission for the protection of children.

Appearing on Nine Network's 60 Minutes program*, Saunders described Pell as a dangerous individual. Saunders said about Pell in the interview: “He has a catalogue of denigrating people, of acting with callousness, cold-heartedness, almost sociopathic, I would go as far as to say – this lack of care.”  “Pell had shown disregard for victims of child sexual abuse through his repeated denial of any knowledge of abuse within the church”, Saunders said.



Judy Courtin, from Australia’s Monash University’s law faculty, has extensively researched abuse within the Catholic church. In response to the interview.  Pell said he was considering his legal options, a move which Courtin described as “highly insulting to victims”.

Courtin said that for justice to be done, victims needed to be able to tell their story and also to know that senior figures in the institution where the abuse occurred were held to account.  “He seems more concerned with protecting his reputation than supporting victims,” she said about Pell.

The president of the Care Leavers Australia Network, Maureen Cuskelly, whose organization supports survivors of sexual abuse within institutions, also said it was concerning that Pell was considering his legal options.

Our efforts are succeeding.  We are exposing the abusers of children and all those who ignore or cover up the crimes of these abusers. Pope Francis is feeling the heat as the fires of justice get closer and closer.   


Monday, June 15, 2015

Another Catholic Church Committee Self-Serving and Ineffective

Barbara Blaine, founder and president of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a national advocacy group for survivors of clerical sexual abuse.
Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) wrote yesterday in the Chicago Sun Times:

“It’s been 30 years since the first pedophile priest case attracted nationwide attention. Since then, we’ve seen literally hundreds of Catholic abuse panels of one stripe or another. So it’s hard for us in SNAP to feel excited about the promise of another one, especially one in which clerics will judge fellow clerics.”

In Barbara’s opinion:

“Each church committee feels like another move to handle criminal matters quietly and internally. There’s a far better alternative: the time-tested set of independent “tribunals” already in place to deal with those who commit or conceal child sex crimes called the secular justice system. It is where abuse and cover ups in other institutions are handled. But in most cases, church officials fight such legal action vigorously. They always have and still do.

If Vatican officials want to really protect kids and deter cover-ups, they have all the power and policies they need. They can start by insisting that bishops world-wide lobby politicians for stronger child safety laws, and turn over all files about accused predators to police now.

Within weeks of taking office, Pope Francis quickly ousted a German bishop who spent $42 million renovating his house. He could – and should — take similarly decisive action against hundreds of his complicit staff. No new “mechanism” was or is needed.

That’s the advantage of a clear, rigid monarchy –those on top can easily sack underlings. But Catholic officials won’t defrock, demote, discipline or denounce even one church employee, from custodian to cardinal, for protecting predators. Not one ordained cleric on earth even criticized by name Missouri Bishop Robert Finn, who was criminally convicted of endangering kids.

What the church hierarchy lacks are not policies, procedures, protocols and panels. It lacks the courage to “render unto Caesar” known and suspected criminal church officials who selfishly put their clerical careers and comfort ahead of the safety of their flock.

No words on paper – however reassuring or encouraging – will give these clerics the courage they’re missing. Let’s be prudent, stay vigilant and withhold judgment until we see if and how this panel might act.”

Thank you Barbara for clearly showing that Catholic officials don’t protect children from predatory clergy – they protect themselves at all costs.




As Time Goes By –Vatican and Pope Never Change

Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis resigned June 14
Steve Sheehan, publisher of the National Survivor Advocates Coalition News had this to say today about Pope Francis’ latest attempt to show that he is chasing down bad bishops:          

“Hark the Papal Tribunal sings!  It seems to me I heard that song before. Well, play it again, Sam!”

 Do you remember:

“1985: The Doyle, Mouton, Peterson report?  Well, let's just put that aside and perhaps it will simply fade away.

2002:  The Boston Globe Spotlight report?  Well, we'll have a conference, write a charter, create a Review Board and then it'll just be history.  Let's move Bernard Law to Rome where he'll be out of the hot seat.

2004:  We were told that the clergy sexual abuse crisis is now "history."

2004 to 2012: Rather than seeking to heal the Church, the US Catholic bishops went on the offensive seeking to reassert their lost moral authority by politicizing the Eucharist and focusing on divisive social issues such as religious liberty and marriage equality at the expense of speaking out collectively for the poor, further surrendering their moral voice.  

2012:  Finn? Well, we'll just sit this one out and people will forget about him. In a few years he'll retire and we'll be out of the woods.

2013: Maybe we should form a Pontifical Commission.  That'll look like we're doing something positive.

2015: The commission recommends a tribunal be established to look into holding bishops accountable. It'll take several years for that to get into action and in the meantime we'll talk about the environment and the economy and divert people's attention. Another encyclical will occupy their minds.

It's still the same old story - and the melody lingers on.”


What Steve says is true – these commissions are just window dressing – attempts by the Catholic Church hierarchy to look good and do nothing.  What Pope Francis doesn’t realize is that we see through his smoke screen and we are the people that he can no longer fool.