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Friday, April 11, 2014

Pope Francis asks our forgiveness for what rapist priests did to us: what about the rest of the church criminals?


Forgive what the priests did? What about the rest of the catholic church: the nuns who beat, tortured, sexually abused and murdered children, the bishops who covered up, the cardinals who looked the other way, the pope himself and all the popes before him who knew all of this was going on -- how about admitting that the whole church is rotten?

We don’t forgive them – we hold them responsible for their crimes and say: “Root out the rest who are still committing crimes against children, against humanity.” If Francis really took on all of the evil in the catholic church, including his own evil he would sink right down to hell faster.

Do these victims want the pope to ask their forgiveness? We don’t want forgiveness, we want justice. We want to see the criminals where they belong – in jail. We want it done now, not after another committee sits and talks about it for another decade or centuries like the church has been doing. We want assurance that no more children will lose their childhood, their hopes and dreams for a good life, their health and their sanity or their lives.

Will the pope impose “sanctions” like those given for the past 2000 years: “defrocking” (as if that stops them from raping more children), sending them for psychiatric care when there is no cure for serial child rapists, moving them to the next unsuspecting parish, giving them “desk” jobs while they still walk freely among the children --- none of these “sanctions” have ever made a difference and the children continue to be sacrificed.

Francis said, “"The church is aware of this damage, it is personal, moral damage carried out by men of the church, and we will not take one step backward…” – the church has been aware of “this damage” for 2000 years and with a track record of never having done anything don’t bet that they will change. Sure, they might not take a “step backward” – they will just spin their wheels in place as they have always done.

Francis said, “…you cannot interfere with children.” Are rape, torture and murder “interfering” with children or is it genocide? Show some integrity Francis, some backbone and admit what really happens to children!

Barbara Dorris, outreach director for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) says it is all talk so far and commented: "We beg the world's Catholics: Be impressed by deeds, not words. Until the Pope takes decisive action that protects kids, be skeptical and vigilant." We are waiting.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

New York Times: Wondering where Pope Francis’ heart lies

Last week the NYT (Clyde Haberman) reported on “The Shame of the Church” accompanied by a video that spotlights clergymen who prey on children. We all know about the predatory priests but what about the bishops who cover their crimes – do they ever get punished? Just like the rest of the perpetrators of child rape and abuse, the bishops don’t start talking until they get caught. The Times example is Cardinal Edward M. Egan, the former Roman Catholic archbishop of New York – he wasn’t the worst one but his mind set is typical of the bishops involved in child abuse scandals.

Egan wasn’t too concerned about priestly abuses in his former Bridgeport, CT diocese and said: “If in hindsight we also discover that mistakes may have been made as regards prompt removal of priests and assistance to victims, I am deeply sorry,” he said in a letter to parishioners. So he was implying that maybe nothing happened and if anything did it was just “mistakes.” Ten years later, after Egan had retired he said, “I never should have said that, I did say if we did anything wrong, I’m sorry, but I don’t think we did anything wrong.”

This stubborn attitude of bishops and all church clergy makes it unlikely that the church will “clean house.” With the pressure on the Vatican escalating it said in January that it had defrocked 384 priests worldwide in 2011 and 2012. This may sound like a step in the right direction but a number of the cases were decades old – there are thousands of more rapist priests still running free.

The Times lists the facts: Thousands of clerics “sexually abused and emotionally scarred many more thousands of boys and girls.” The church hierarchy consists of enablers who ignored the crimes and moved abusers from one unsuspecting parish to the next. The clergy crime monitoring group BishopAccountability.org, calculates that United States dioceses and their insurers have had to pay out more than $3 billion.

The Times is correct in saying that child rape and abuse and cover-up of these crimes are not Catholic monopolies: there are other Christian denominations guilty of crimes against children as are predatory rabbis and non-religious organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America and at Penn State. The difference is that the Catholic Church has been committing these crimes all over the world for 2000 years and has no intention to change – the pope still won’t report child rape by clergy to the police (see previous blog, March 31, 2014). With such a history is another committee to study the “problem” needed or is it just another method of stalling (see blog March 28, 2014).
This is a great video, with an interview of Barbara Blaine (President of SNAP) and Times reporter Laurie Goodman who was shocked at the criminal cover-ups.

Video Link
http://www.nytimes.com/video/us/100000002794204/the-shame-of-the-church.html?ref=romancatholicchurchsexabusecases

Monday, March 31, 2014

Pope Francis blesses plan to NOT report child rape

Under all the “bread and circuses” and smiling face of Pope Francis is his true nature: he doesn’t care if the child rapists in the church keep raping and never get punished.

The Italian Bishops' Conference, with the Pope’s blessing has once again embraced the policy that states they are not obliged to inform police officers if they suspect a child has been molested. If I, you, or anyone with humanity knew of a child rapist running loose we would report them to the police and they would be locked up. Are priests above the law? For the past 2,000 years they have been above the law or they were the law – isn’t it time to stop them?

David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said, “With the blessing of the Vatican, Italy's bishops have formally declared they have no duty to call police if they suspect that a child is being sodomized or raped. The stunning, depressing and irresponsible contradiction between what Vatican officials say about abuse and do about abuse continues. And the tragic consequences for kids continue too. This policy – which codifies the long-standing and heartless practice of most Catholic bishops on the plan – will mean that more innocent children will be sexually assaulted.”

The Italian Bishops' Conference said the policy reflected suggestions from the Vatican's office that handles sex abuse investigations. Any “suggestion” coming out of the Vatican has the Pope’s stamp of approval. So less than a week after Pope Francis appointed a new commission to help the Catholic Church put an end to clerical sexual abuse and a few weeks after the United Nation’s report blasted what it called the Vatican's code of silence" around abusive priests – the church is right back to its old criminal tricks.

After the UN report what did Pope Francis announce to the news media about his policy on clerical child rape? He said: "The Catholic Church is perhaps the only public institution to have acted with transparency and responsibility. No-one else has done more. Yet the Church is the only one to have been attacked." Is he in touch with reality – or is the reality that he approves of child abuse?

UN children's rights experts say that "tens of thousands of children worldwide" have been sexually abused by predatory clerics as a result of moving, rather than reporting, clergy child rapists and blasted what it called the Vatican's “code of silence" around abusive priests. How many more international organizations, child advocates, parents and survivors – how many crying children with destroyed lives have to tell the Pope and his minions who hide behind God to STOP HURTING THE CHILDREN!

So the next time you see Pope Francis smiling at the camera and saying what wonderful changes he is making in church policy -- know that he is lying when it comes to stopping the evil that touches millions of innocent children.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Pope Francis’ new sexual abuse committee: effective or the same old story?

Pope Francis has appointed a committee to study the clerical sexual abuse problem. He did this after being criticized by advocacy groups for abuse victims when he strongly defended the Roman Catholic Church’s handling of the sexual abuse crisis and after the United Nations commission issued a stinging report on the church’s handling of abuse cases.

Do we really need another study committee? The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a group founded in the United States that has now become international, said the committee “perpetuates the self-serving myth that Catholic officials need more information about abuse and cover-ups.” SNAP added: “They don’t. They need courage. They know what’s right already.” We can’t trust the church to do what is right because of their past actions.

In 2002 after the Boston Globe ran a series on pedophile priests, cover up of their crimes and relocation by cardinal Bernard Law, the church paid for a 1.8 billion dollar study. The study found that 4,392 priests in America had abused more than 10,000 children over the previous 52 years. Considering that the church sponsored the study, that the data came from bishops' responses to surveys, and that they would not give the study consultants access to church files, these numbers greatly underestimated the number of abused children.

Did the church do anything with the results? As usual they “passed the buck” saying that “Priests preyed upon children because the sexual turmoil of the 1960s and '70s put priests unprepared for the cultural shift under stress." They were saying that it wasn’t any fault of the church or the child rapists – that society made them do it. While cardinal Law resigned, he was rewarded with a job in Rome as the head of a major church. Victims of abuse and their advocates say that Law was never held responsible for his role. The pope and the college of cardinals already know who the perpetrators are – why don’t they just turn them over to the police?

Colm O’Gorman, who is the founder and former director of the advocacy group One in Four in Ireland, said, “What matters most now is what is the purpose of the commission, what are its terms of reference and what are its powers? Because too often we’ve seen commissions, in the U.S., in Ireland and in other parts of the world like Australia that ultimately run into sand and accomplish little”.

Pope Francis himself has a history of ignoring reports of clergy abuse. An article in The Tablet, the International Catholic News Weekly accused Pope Francis of failing to take appropriate action in a number of known cases of clerical child abuse while he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires.

According to BishopAccountability.org, a group documenting child abuse by the catholic church, the cases all came to the future Pope Francis (Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s) attention, but he either defended the perpetrators or would not meet with the victims. In one case five girls were abused by a priest, Mario Napoleon Sasso in a community soup kitchen. The bishop of the diocese covered up the crime and Cardinal Bergolio failed to respond when the families of the young girls asked to meet him.

Another priest, Ruben Pardo, told his bishop that he had sexually assaulted a boy. He was then found by police at the home of the auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires. It is unlikely that Pardo was able to live and preach in the diocese without the approval of Cardinal Bergoglio.

According to BishopAccountability, Bergoglio’s actions in these cases show a failure on the part of the now Pope to actively stamp out child abuse. Will he change his tactics now? I hope he doesn’t procrastinate while children around the world are still subject to attacks by rapist priests.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bishop Accountability: Making sure that child-abusing clergy can’t hide

Most of us know that catholic bishops have covered up for abusive priests and moved them from one parish to the next unsuspecting group of parishioners. Who is holding these bishops accountable for perpetrating these crimes against children and helpless adults? A small courageous organization, Bishop Accountability has been working to identify, expose and track these bishops, priests and clergy right up to the pope and publish their names on their website: www.bishop-accountability.org The information used to identify the perpetrators comes through the witness of survivors, through documents unearthed by law enforcement and the legal system, through depositions taken by lawyers, and through media reports. It does not come from the bishops who have made every effort to conceal the truth from parishioners and from victims with whom they negotiated settlements. Many of them are fighting the publication of accused priests' names, and even the production of legally subpoenaed files. Bishop Accountability believes that all church files relating to the crisis should be made public – not just those that the bishops and other church hierarchy choose to release. What can we do to help? We can send any information we have about clergy that abused us or anyone we know: photos, clippings, names and dates. We can volunteer to help Bishop Accountability gather information to add to the website. I have spoken to many of you who want to do something to stop child abuse and here is a good opportunity to participate!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Jesuit-run Indian Residential Schools: Pope Francis tell us about the American Indian Holocaust


Why has the catholic church abused so many children -- including Native American and African children -- for so many years? Because church laws state that the church has the right to do so.  In 1493, Pope Alexander VI issued the Inter Caetera:  orders that instructed Europeans to "civilize" every "savage" they encountered.  In this document, the pope said that "barbarous nations [should] be subjugated and brought to the faith itself," "for the spread of the Christian Empire." This wasn’t the first crusading Vatican decree – an earlier one called for "perpetual slavery" of Africans, by capturing, vanquishing, and subduing them, and by taking away all their possessions and property.

The Inter Caetera decree helped shape U.S. Indian law. In an 1823 Supreme Court dispute over land, Justice Joseph Story used in his ruling the doctrine of subjugation found in the Inter Caetera decree.  Basically it said that a European power owns the land it discovers and can extinguish the "right of occupancy" of the native occupants. Also, when they declared independence from Great Britain, the United States government inherited the British right of taking over Native American lands. To this day, this Supreme Court ruling, with its distinction between "Christian people" and "natives, who were heathens," remains in practice in the United States violating the human rights of American Indian nations and its peoples.

The result of this decree was an American Indian Holocaust:  genocide of over 100,000,000 Native American people in just a few hundred years. If the laws don’t protect the Native Americans (in Canada and the U.S.) and children in many other countries, who does?  One answer to this question is: Kevin Annett. He cares about all abused children, yours and mine all over the world.

Kevin Annett was ordained as a clergyman into the United Church of Canada. Contact with Native American parishioners alerted him to the horrendous abuse and murder of children in Canadian Indian Residential Schools – run by the United Church and many by the Catholic Church Jesuits. These Jesuit-run schools were also located in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.  After starting the first public inquiry into the cause of death of native children in the schools -- and the theft of native land by the United Church -- he was expelled from the ministry. He went on to film the Award winning documentary (Unrepentant, 2007), the story of the abuse and murder of Indian children. He was instrumental in getting the Canadian government to apologize for what was done in the Indian Residential schools and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013.

Will Pope Francis help these abused peoples?  Will he repeal the Inter Caetera and cancel church orders that allow genocide for the purpose of grabbing land?  I don’t think so – but Kevin Annett and his supporters in countries all over the world will make sure that Pope Francis, Jesuit Superior Adolfo Pachon and Church of England Archbishop Justin Welby all take notice.

 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests Meeting at New England Law: Please attend or help


On May 23, 2014 SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is celebrating 25 years of helping survivors of clergy and nun abuse. The meeting and fundraiser will be held at the New England Law School in Boston, MA.  Speakers include Barbara Blaine, the founder of SNAP, Vince Warren, Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, retired Detroit bishop Tom Gumbleton, Jetta Bernier, Executive Director MassKids.org and Phil Saviano, founder of the New England SNAP group – all working together to protect our children and support survivors. 

For further information: http://www.snapnetwork.org/boston_fundraiser_2014?recruiter_id=11556