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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A New Trinity: Castro, Obama and Pope Francis – beware faithful Cubans!





                                             Hijacking Cuban children
                              Filling the cupboard for church pedophiles

What is Pope Francis doing meddling in U.S.-Cuban relationships?  I can see why the U.S.  wants to re-open interactions with Cuba – so it can sell them U.S. goods and open banks and businesses there. Maybe Obama would like a more friendly neighbor 90 miles away from Florida.

What’s in it for the pope? Francis is so “happy to see two peoples take a step to move closer after being distant for so many years”.  About half of Cuban citizens are catholic – so does he want to convert the other half? Does Francis want more access to the pockets of the faithful in Cuba?  Even though most Cubans are poor, the church will take their money. The catholic church has been trying to regain a foothold in Cuba for many years – the two previous popes were working at it.

Some people think that Francis is just looking for more headlines. One ex-political prisoner from Cuba, Arturo Suarez-Ramos, a 50-year-old Miami waiter who was jailed in Cuba for 27 years said, “He's trying to get a legacy at any price.”

Francis has changed his attitude about Cuba – most likely to fit a new agenda. Now that he sees that the U.S. can help him get his foot in the door, he has nothing but praises for Cuba.  In 1998 Jorge Mario Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) wrote a booklet on his views on Cuban society.  Bergoglio harshly criticized socialism (communism) and Castro's atheist revolution.

Conservative journalists from The American Spectator say happy communists are calling the alliance “a new holy trinity: Fidel Castro, Barack Obama, and Pope Francis.” Paul Kengor, Spectator journalist says, “When communists are celebrating America’s position on Cuba… that is not comforting.”   So the American communists like Obama and they like the pope. Both Obama and Castro thanked the Pope for his help in promoting this (un)holy alliance.  The only thing that might derail this three way alliance is the fact that the new Republican-controlled U.S. Congress takes office in January. They will try to reverse or block diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba. 

Senator Marco Rubio, a Cuban-American said Cuban democracy activists "feel betrayed" by Obama. "He completely ignored them and threw them to the side in this whole process," Rubio said. "My opposition to what the President has done is it won't do anything to further that cause (of democratization), Rubio said on NBC's "Meet the Press."  So many Cuban Americans don’t want the U.S. to be friendly with the Castro regime – that’s why they left Cuba – to get away from communism. Does the pope care about them or is he just looking out for church interests as usual?

This topic, gets Francis into the spotlight and catches the attention of the news media and the public.  It distracts everyone from the most important issue: Why isn’t Francis devoting any time to fixing the damage the church has already done to millions of children?  In his Christmas message we hear him talk about child abuse and trafficking going on in other countries now – but nothing about what the church did to children for the last 2,000 years – nothing about helping the millions of victims suffering every day. Of course the criminal catholic church does not want to acknowledge the rampant child abuse and cover-up of rapist priests – practices that still go on. Catholics confess their sins.  Where is your confession Pope Francis? Are you following your own agenda and not acting like a true catholic? What do you want with Cuba? Do you want access to Cuban children? Given his track record* and that of the catholic church if I was a Cuban I would shut the door in his face.  

*Conveniently for the U.S. Government and for the catholic church, no one talks about Operation Peter Pan run by a Miami priest, Bryan O. Walsh. In 1960-62 over 14,000 Cuban children were taken from their parents and sent alone to the United States.  More than half of them never again saw their families. This was part of a U.S. propaganda plan to frighten Cuban parents by saying that Fidel Castro would send them to Russia. A film was even made, approved by then attorney general Robert F. Kennedy as part of this U.S. anti-communist campaign. 

According to María de los Ángeles Torres, a professor at the University of Illinois in Chicago, one of the many children (known as Pedro Pans) who were exiled to the U.S., the Catholic church helped convince the parents to give up their children. Some of the children went to catholic orphanages where they suffered indescribable abuse. Others were given up for adoption with U.S. families.

One displaced Cuban says, “my parents were terrified and put me on a plane headed for the United States to save me from communism and the panic that had been sown. I lived among mistreated, abused and abandoned children.” Alex was sent to a camp, along with many other children. After protesting over sexual abuse by the priests there, a social worker promised to send him to a boarding house in Ohio. Instead, he was relocated to an orphanage to silence him. I know personally what happens to children left in catholic orphanages.

This abuse of helpless children was repeated during Argentina’s Dirty War, (1976-1981) when members of the Catholic Church including Jorge Mario Bergoglio (now Pope Francis)  conspired with the brutal military dictatorship led by General Jorge Rafael Videla. Church members took away the young children and babies of leftist prisoners and found them “more suitable” parents. (see this blog March 9,2014 for details on Pope Francis and the Dirty War).

Cuba doesn’t need the catholic church - it has won accolades for its treatment of children. “In Cuba, there are no children on the streets, no children out of school, no children without access to health services or culture, and there are no unprotected children without opportunities for development,” said Jose Juan Ortiz, UNICEF representative in Cuba. Pope Francis should stay out of politics – he doesn’t pay taxes and shouldn’t have any say in U.S. government actions. He should stay away from children and stop lying about what he does with donations from parishioners. Cuba does not need another hierarchy and dictator especially one that commits crimes in the name of God.


Friday, December 19, 2014

“Credibly accused” means a slap on the wrist for pedophile priests






In Gallup, New Mexico the local catholic diocese made public a list of priests who were “credibly accused” of sexually abusing children between 1951 and 2013. This diocese includes Apache, Navajo and Coconino counties – the sad details of abuse of American Indian children by catholic clergy is well known.  The list includes over a dozen other clergy and a layperson, but it does not outline any criminal charges, sanctions or how many children were sexually-abused.

Six of the accused priests are deceased.  This release of abuser names follows the usual pattern of the church:  crimes made public when it is too late to do anything about it.  One Arizona lawyer, Robert Pastor explained what “credibly accused” meant to the church: the accused would be prosecuted by the church, not the civil authorities and this was just a way to justify hiding pedophile priests.

A spokesperson for the church had only sketchy details of any “punishment” – some priests were removed or later left the priesthood. Others were later found to be working in different dioceses. Some offenders were sent for rehabilitation –even though the psychiatrists know that pedophiles are never cured.

Barbara Dorris, outreach coordinator for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said that this disclosure was a step in the right direction but said:  "It feels like they only do the bare minimum and only when forced…They have had years to do outreach, to try to find these persons who have been hurt, to perform with law enforcement to get to the truth in these instances, and yet what they have carried out is extremely tiny." She said that many priests whose names were on the list are still alive "and, we fear, still have access to kids."

EJ Montini, a columnist for azcentral.com writing about the release of names asked how could it have taken so long and whether other dioceses are still covering up.  He related the facts about Rev. George Bredemann, a local priest who in 1989 pleaded guilty to three counts of attempted child molestation and, according to prosecutors, acknowledged 15 other child victims.

To show what is wrong with the attitude of the church, after Bredemann's admission the local Bishop O'Brien said, ''I'm saddened that this has happened to a priest in the Diocese in Phoenix.'' Said Montini, “I noted at the time that his excellency the bishop was confused. That nothing had happened to the priest. It had happened to little boys.”   Montini says that according to victim advocates there has never been a full accounting. “There might never be such a thing, not in this life, anyway. I'd guess, I'd hope, however, that for pedophile priests there is a special place in hell,” said Montini.


BishopAccountability.org has an extensive list of Publicly Accused Roman Catholic Priests, Nuns, Brothers, Deacons, and Seminarians in the United States – see if your diocese is listed. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Catholic hospitals are hazardous to your health and finances


My wife had surgery in a catholic hospital because her surgeon only operated there and she was in a lot of pain. It was a trauma for me.  I had to listen to religious music for 4 hours. I sat there reliving the deadly torture I had from nuns and priests.  I noticed where the donations of faithful parishioners go: there was a huge atrium with a waterfall, mountains, real trees, rocks and a life-size nativity set up.  While waiting I heard some nurses talking about holy water – that if kept in the home it would ward off evil.  More likely it is enriching the pockets of companies like this one:

“Catholic owned and operated from the company's owners, to product buyers, to our marketing staff, and our warehouse employees. Due to our ecumenical nature as Catholics, it is not a requirement that our employees be Catholic. However, being faithful members of the Catholic Church enables us to better support you and your gift-giving needs. Selling online since 2001, The Catholic Company has since been nationally recognized as being a leader in online retail with several awards in customer care and technology”.

So it’s a big business for something that should have no commercial pressure on us. God should bless the water not men – especially not those who are pedophiles or those who support and enable them. 

Then, because my wife was not well enough for us to stop off at our local inexpensive pharmacy, we had to use the hospital pharmacy. I said I only had $20 on me and they took it all. In keeping with the holiday spirit (they had none) they refused to give us a partial prescription for the pain medicine and I had to pay for 40 pills. When it was time to leave they were in a hurry to get us out even though my wife was throwing up. This was after she took one of the same pills that had been prescribed and after my wife told them she couldn’t tolerate that medicine. They said it was the only type they prescribe – too bad for her.  The hospital is just a money making machine and doesn’t care how they get the money. 

Many people are telling me about their experiences with mean and greedy clergy – if you have an experience to relate please share it with all of us.  You can also reach me on twitter @georgebarilla.




Thursday, December 4, 2014

Vatican finds stashed money – what you are doing with it Pope Francis?



The Vatican's economy minister Cardinal George Pell says hundreds of millions of euros were found "tucked away" in Holy See department accounts. None of it appeared in the city-state's balance sheets. By their own admission "It was impossible for anyone to know accurately what was going on overall," said Pell. 

This is the same Cardinal Pell of Australia who did not believe that there needed to be an Australian Royal Commission investigating clergy sex crimes and cover ups. This is the same Cardinal Pell who, when a boy spoke up about being raped by a priest -- called the victim’s statements "irresponsible and untrue."  This is the same Cardinal Pell who refused to hand over documents about child sex crimes by Catholic officials, to the Royal Commission and stonewalled the the UN Committee Against Torture.  So Pope Francis picked a real loser to straighten out Vatican finances.

Pell went on to say that overall Vatican finances were in better shape than previously believed. "It is important to point out that the Vatican is not broke ... the Holy See is paying its way, while possessing substantial assets and investments."  We can see from the photo of Pope Francis where some of this excess money goes to – the Vatican kitchen and the Pope’s dinner plate.

At this time of year especially, the Pope should be thinking about sharing all of this excess money with hungry and homeless people and not celebrating this windfall over a seven course meal.



Friday, November 28, 2014

Rapist priest gets 10 years in jail for abusing boy in summer camp


The Newburyport, MA news reported that Richard McCormick, 73, a priest who at one time was in a position equivalent to that of a bishop, was found guilty of five counts of child rape, incidents that took place at a summer camp in Ipswich operated by the Salesian order on the grounds of the former Sacred Heart Retreat during the early 1980s.

Lawrence Superior Court Judge Mary Lou Rup said McCormick “preyed on and exploited the vulnerability of a young boy who was in his care,” leaving him with lifelong scars.  Judge Rup said that the victim’s testimony shows that the effects of abuse are permanent. 

Everyone saw the man, now 44, cry as he remembered being put in a storage closet by McCormick who repeatedly raped him during two summers in 1981 and 1982.  The victim said, “The only thing that matters now is he can’t do it to any more children.”


The convicted McCormick showed little reaction to the sentence, which will be carried out in the state prison in Walpole and if he is still alive by then it will be followed by 10 years of probation. I hope this is a message to the rest of the rapist priests that justice will be served. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Get off your chair Pope Francis and send the pedophile priests to jail, not to the streets





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

Shine the Light – Uncovering child sexual abuse by the catholic church

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

Child rape, bestiality and plundering native peoples – crimes of Pope Francis and his priests

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

Latin Mass, Nazis and anti-Semitism: What is pope Francis thinking?

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.  

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Priest charged with sexual abuse in Portugal hospital: a worldwide menace in the name of God

A priest (no name given, see his photo) and his accomplice, a hospital employee, are charged with sexually abusing patients between 2004 and 2010 in several Portuguese hospitals run by a roman catholic order:  "The charge relates to the sexual abuse of four patients in the care of institutions run by the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God," prosecutors said in a statement this week.  One of the hospitals mentioned in the indictment is an institution specialized for the mentally ill.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Beware! The order operates more than 250 medical centers around the world:  in Africa, Asia, Australia, all of Europe, Mexico and South America and in the U.S. in Los Angeles and New Jersey. Here we have representatives of the roman catholic church who advertise that they are “a national charity helping vulnerable people to lead fulfilling lives and reach their potential.”  Note the word, “vulnerable” – that is just the people these criminals prey upon.  They “treat” people with learning and physical disabilities, people with mental health problems, those who have difficulties with drug and alcohol abuse and migrants who are vulnerable to homelessness – all those who cannot defend themselves.  They hide behind God and have the nerve to call themselves (in Italian): Fatebenefratelli, meaning "Do-Good Brothers".   “Do-Evil” is more like it.

This latest church scandal comes when the Portuguese catholic church is already under fire for the case of another priest named Luis Miguel Mendes. He was sentenced in 2013 to ten years in prison for the sexual abuse of six minors aged between 13 and 15.

A good example of how the Saint John of God “brothers” operate is what they did in New Zealand.

Marylands School which taught pupils with learning difficulties in Christchurch, New Zealand was the scene of a high-profile scandal with sexual charges made against three members of the order.  By 2006, the Australasian branch of the Saint John of God order had paid out $5.1 million to survivors who had been sexually abused at the school. Over 120 complaints were made in regard to sexual and physical abuse that occurred at the school, most in the 1970s.

Bernard Kevin McGrath, a Saint John of God brother, age 65, received 21 guilty verdicts, pleading guilty to only one charge of sexually abusing boys. There were nine victims aged between 7 and 15 at the School where McGrath was a teacher and housemaster.   The five-year jail term he got produced an angry reaction from people packing the High Court in Christchurch: "Die, you ... priest," said one man. "What a waste of time," said another as McGrath was led away to the cells.   A man who had been at Marylands and knew the nine men McGrath had abused, said: "I'm not too impressed. This sentence is not going to bring closure for the boys." The manager of the Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust, Ken Clearwater, said he was in shock. "Five years is a joke. For what that man's done, it's an insult to the victims. I know there will be a lot of men hurting out there at the moment. I hope they have supports in place to help them get through this."

McGrath had two earlier prison terms - three years in Christchurch in 1993 and nine months in Sydney, Australia for similar offending – the church knew this and kept supporting him. The judge was skeptical of his current claims of remorse. It was determined that McGrath had not made full admissions in 1993 and had  received a two-year "discount" on his sentence for his phony “full and frank” admissions of guilt. "You were there to be their protector. In truth you were their abuser," said the judge. "They had nowhere to turn, no one to go to. It is no wonder they reacted in such a distressing way when they gave evidence."

Before the sentencing, the church had McGrath attending a sex offenders' course in the United States and another offenders program New Zealand.  It is common knowledge that sexual offenders are never cured by such programs or by any type of therapy – even castration.  Once a rapist, always a rapist.  But the church persists in useless actions like these and just moves the “cured” offender to the next parish where he resumes raping.  "I don't think you should ever be placed, or allow yourself to be placed, in the situation where you are with young people," said the judge. Crown prosecutor Kerryn Beaton said McGrath's sexual abuse had been marked by violence, threats and sometimes cruelty. 

In 2008 another brother Roger Maloney, head of the Marylands School, was found guilty of seven sex abuse charges. After being extradited from Australia, he was jailed for three years for committing sex offenses. After serving 13 months of a 33-month sentence he was paroled and accepted back into the Australian branch of the Order of St John of God.  A former member of the order's professional standards committee, psychologist Michelle Mulvihill, said the return of Maloney was "shocking".   About taking care of Maloney, Mulvihill said, “The order will do that in secure, safe accommodation, where he will live in supervised retirement." Mulvihill doubts Maloney will be kept under observation. "There will be no supervision for him. The idea it is like some kind of lockup is just silly. The only rule will be not to talk to the media," she said.

Another brother, Raymond John Garchow was given a stay of proceedings relating to eight charges over the sexual abuse of boys because he was too ill to stand trial.

So the scenes are repeated: rape and abuse of children by clergy and cover up by the church, light sentences and support in retirement for even the worst offenders. Do we believe pope francis when he says he is doing something about the clergy abuse problem?  It doesn’t ring true. Francis will meet with abuse victims – how does that help the hundreds of thousands of children and women and helpless people still being abused all over the world? As the vatican always does, there are many meetings and commissions but no results. The abuse continues.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Catholic bishops judged by the company they keep: Pope Francis doesn’t hold them accountable.

Every spring the American bishops meet at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. As usual, protecting children is not a key initiative for the bishops. The chairman of their National Review Board stated that the church "continues to slowly make progress" on the child abuse issue. Although urged not to be so untroubled about clergy sexual abuse of minors, the bishops spoke little of holding one another accountable for failures in protecting children.

Besides their lack of concern about the children, they invited a controversial speaker: W. Bradford Wilcox, co-author of an article in the Washington Post about violence against women. Wilcox, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Virginia outraged every major publication on the Internet by saying that one way to end violence against women is for women to stop sleeping around and get married. Sounds like a ridiculous statement but maybe this is what bishops want to hear.  They don’t want to hear that the problem is actually abusive men, not unmarried women.

Said Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, “We're saddened but not surprised that America's bishops have invited a man to speak to them who minimizes and mischaracterizes abuse.”

Bishops often consult with questionable "experts," like Paul McHugh who said “I believe that the belligerent frenzy characteristic of media reports on priestly sexual abuse has done much damage and needs to stop."  The bishops liked him so much they put McHugh on their first National Review Board overseeing the pedophile priest crisis.

McHugh previously testified on behalf of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and a priest A. Joseph Maskell, who were sued in 1995 by two women who claimed the priest raped them in the 1970s as high school students. The women sought an exemption to the statute of limitations on such lawsuits, arguing that post-traumatic stress disorder prevented them from recalling the rape for 20 years. McHugh discounted the scientific validity of such recovered memory of sexual abuse.  The Maryland Court of Appeals sided with McHugh.

When the bishops do think about the abuse crisis, it’s about the priests, not the victims. They send accused predator priests to therapists like Father Benedict Groeschel, who said in 2012: “In many cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 is the seducer.” He made the comments while being interviewed by the National Catholic Register who later removed the interview from their website. Groeschel  even had sympathetic words for convicted Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky:  “Here’s this poor guy Sandusky. It went on for years. Interesting. Why didn’t anyone say anything?”

The bishops have a Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People but when someone asked  the chairman of their conference whether all of the bishops are implementing it in their dioceses, the chairman said, "We are not able to say that."


If we are judged by the company we keep it is easy to see who the bishops are—self-serving, misogynists, sympathizers with child rapists and defenders of criminal clergy.  They have a long heritage of putting themselves and the church first at the expense of children, families and God.  


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Clergy rape and torture of children reflects catholic church policy: Tell us the truth Pope Francis.

Genocide was and is a way of life in the catholic church. A little bit of church history will explain how priests and nuns, enabled and protected by their superiors can continue to torture and kill children and defenseless adults: They choose to perpetuate such atrocities while hiding behind God. No one as yet has stopped them.

Where did the basic teaching of Christ – non violence, get perverted to become the church’s decree that any violence is acceptable and unpunishable if done to preserve and further the church’s agenda?

Alex Wilhelm writing for the Huffington Post said (May 5, 2010) that in the last 50 years some 30,000 people in 25 countries reported abuse committed by the catholic church. Only one-third of victims ever report rape; it is very under-reported. Wilhelm says “this statistic is nothing less than horrifying.” But how much more goes unreported when it is done to mentally ill or retarded children, those in third world countries and orphans -- many of them too young or too damaged to talk -- or those who are too devastated to report abuse or are dead. Says Wilhelm, “Tragically, the odds are quite high that there are children in the world this very day who will be sexually abused by their priest.”

Child rape and abuse is not a new problem in the church. There was NEVER a time when the church prevented or stopped these atrocious crimes. Says Wilhelm, “The church has hung itself with its own paper trail and history.” Commenting on the repeated scandals in the media, Wilhelm says, “Each successive blow has added to a growing global discontent against a Church that claims to know God yet in these affairs seems to lack even basic human decency.”

Church documents from 70 A.D. talked about banning the murder and rape of children. Nothing was done to stop these crimes. The church excluded and condemned all non-Christians: “unbelievers deserve not only to be separated from the church but also…to be exterminated from the world by death: Thomas Aquinas 1271 Summa Theologica.

In 309, the church wrote "Those who sexually abuse boys may not commune, even when death approaches." No sacraments for rapist priests but the crime was not reported to civil legal authorities, same as today. In 1049, Saint Peter Damian wrote that the clergy was “a veritable cesspool and dedicated the "Book of Gomorrah," to the pope. He condemned sodomy against both children and young priests and said, “True reform in the Church begins at the top - with a strong and independent papacy”. Same story, no results.

In 1231, the church began “inquisitions” or “witch hunts” designed originally to question and kill Jewish and Muslim converts to Christianity suspected of still practicing their religions. Pope gregory IX assigned inquisitions to the dominican order of nuns and priests who condemned, tortured or murdered dissenters. In 1252, pope innocent IV authorized the dominicans' use of torture and they never stopped using it. They used it on me.

In 1578 the inquisitors’ handbook said that punishment wasn’t for the person being punished – it was for the public so others “may become terrified and weaned away from the evils they would commit.” They were the original terrorists and they haven’t changed. Death sentences were often given to the rich and all their wealth confiscated by the church. Cardinal Josef Ratzinger ran the Inquisition (name changed to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) before he became Pope Benedict XVI.

What history next tells us is that the model for Nazi hierarchy and political structure was actually the catholic church:

Adolph Hitler said, “There has never been anything more grandiose on the earth than the hierarchical organization of the Catholic Church. I transferred much of this organization into my own party.” Hitler learned how to commit genocide from the catholic church. In 1933 Hitler declared:

“I have been attacked because of my handling of the Jewish question. The Catholic Church considered the Jews pestilent for fifteen hundred years, put them in ghettos, etc., because it recognized the Jews for what they were….I do not set race over religion, but I recognize the representatives of this race as pestilent for the state and for the Church, and perhaps I am thereby doing Christianity a great service by pushing them out of schools and public functions.” “Pushing them out” became wholesale killing.

Hitler got more ideas to justify killing Jews from Martin Luther, a catholic German priest who condemned Jews in his book, On the Jews and Their Lies (1543). Luther believed in the murder of Jews who refused to convert to Christianity, writing that "we are at fault in not slaying them."

In 1933, the holy see and Hitler signed a concordat (agreement) giving the church rights in return for safety. Church members and bishops joined the Nazi Party. German bishops would not speak out against Nazis even when they destroyed synagogues and imprisoned and murdered Jews in 1938. Hitler supported church schools and made catholic religious education available in public schools. So abusive and rapist nuns and clergy got free access to the German children in the schools. Hitler’s support of the schools made him look good while he was busy planning and carrying out his recipe for serial genocide.

Because the church and Hitler were so cozy, everyone trusted Hitler, allowing him to get more powerful and kill 11 million people including Jews and non-Jews in Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Ukraine, Russia, Holland, France and Germany. Also included were gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, priests, pastors, and the disabled.

The Nazi past finally caught up with them:

In 1945, Robert Jackson, Chief of Counsel for the United States led the Nuremberg Nazi trials in Germany. He said, “The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant, and so devastating, that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored, because it cannot survive their being repeated. The common sense of mankind demands that law shall not stop with the punishment of petty crimes by little people. It must also reach men who possess themselves of great power and make deliberate and concerted use of it to set in motion evils which leave no home in the world untouched.”

We can substitute “the roman catholic church, or the Vatican, or the pope” for the Nazis in Jackson’s statements because the planned, tolerated and systematic rape, abuse and murder of children is genocide on the scale of Nazi holocausts. There are still Nazis today and they are roman catholic priests.

Nicole Winfield (Huffington Post 9/16/11) reported on the vatican’s relationship with a group of catholics, including a bishop who denies that the Holocaust ever happened. The group, the Swiss-based society of st. pius X (SSPX) was formed in 1969, when it wanted to continue to believe and preach that Christ's death was the fault of all Jews.

Winfield reports that German-born pope benedict had tried for two decades to bring the pro-Nazi group back under the vatican umbrella. There was outrage in 2009 when Benedict lifted the excommunication of Richard Williamson, the SSPX bishop who denied that Nazi gas chambers were used for mass killing. Williamson has called Jewish people “enemies of the Church.” SSPX has six seminaries, three universities and 70 schools worldwide. It has three other bishops, more than 550 priests and 200 priests in training and more than a half million members.

Pope benedict also expanded the use of the tridentine mass – favored by Williamson. This mass 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. 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. Pope Francis is giving 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. As recently as January, Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, one of Rome’s top dogs, wrote a letter to SSPX priests, pleading for “reconciliation and healing.”

Can an organization with a history of planned torture and murder of innocent people, close ties to Nazis and centuries of child rape and murder be trusted today with the lives of our children? I don’t think so. I pray that the United Nations Committee Against Torture doesn’t think so either when they return their recommendations later this week.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

UN Committee Against Torture questions Vatican officials: tweet #VaticanAccountability – You too Pope Francis!

Vatican officials (representing Pope Francis) are being investigated again by the United Nations Committee Against Torture this Monday and Tuesday May 5 and 6. Live on the internet will be leaders of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) from different countries and their attorneys from the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR).

The hearings will be streamed live here: URL: http://www.treatybodywebcast.org/ From 10 am-12 pm CET (4 am-6 am EST) on Monday, May 5th, the Committee will question the Vatican on its compliance with the Convention. From 3 pm-6 pm CET (9 am-12 pm EST) on Tuesday, May 6th, the Vatican will respond to the Committee’s questions. Both broadcasts will be in English. Afterwards SNAP will report:

Tune in to our report-back on Tuesday, May 6, at 8:30 pm CET (2:30 pm EST): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au3ZwOOwGvs on YouTube. You can follow the global conversation about this historic hearing on Twitter using the hashtag #VaticanAccountability and ask questions before or during the report-back by tweeting to the hashtag or emailing your questions to askCCR@ccrjustice.org. SNAP will answer as many as possible during the livestream. Pope Francis likes to tweet – will he tell the truth about church torture and cover up?

Barbara Blaine, President and Founder of SNAP has a message to survivors of rape and abuse by the representatives of the Catholic Church:
“Please know that we are carrying your courage, compassion and support! Lots of the information we have conveyed came from your stories and efforts to expose the truth. We only hope we are doing you proud! If you want to convey any information, concerns or questions please let us know asap! Gratefully, Barbara Blaine”

This is the second time this year the Vatican has been called by an international body to account for its handling of the crisis of sexual violence throughout the Catholic Church. I hope such global attention will continue until the Catholic Church stops doing what they did to me and countless others while hiding behind God.

SNAP knows and I know firsthand that worldwide the children and vulnerable adults have been and continue to be subjected to widespread and systemic rape and sexual violence by priests and others associated with the Roman Catholic Church. Because of all the media attention now they do it anywhere children are isolated: Third World countries, on Native American reservations, in homes and convents where children are hidden away from society. The Vatican’s policies and practices enable this violence.

The Committee Against Torture has been clear that rape and sexual violence constitute forms of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. In April, SNAP and CCR submitted reports to the Committee, detailing how the Vatican has violated the core principles of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, which it ratified in 2002.”

In the 5/2/14 article on the Huffington Post website (Vatican Urges U.N. Not To Equate Sex Abuse With Torture As Hearings Get Underway), the Vatican’s chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi stressed the Holy See’s “strong commitment against any form of torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.” Lombardi urged the U.N. Committee Against Torture to resist pressure from nongovernmental organizations “with a strong ideological character” that are intent on including the sexual abuse of minors in a discussion about torture. Of course he is referring to survivor advocacy organizations that include SNAP and BishopAccountability.

The Vatican’s permanent observer to the U.N. in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, made the same lame comment heard so often: that the incidence of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy was “the lowest” among all the professions, including teachers and judges. Pointing the finger is not a solution to rapist priests. He said suggestions that the church was some kind of “incubator” for abusive clergy were “dishonest and illogical.” Thou doth protest too much – because that is just what it is a hatching ground for vultures that prey on children.

Pope Francis and his cohorts did not appreciate the scathing report by the U.N. (last February) ordering the Holy See to open its files on clergy who had “concealed their crimes” and called on the church to remove suspected or known abusers. Pope Francis defended the church saying it had acted with “transparency and responsibility” on the issue. Every day we read accounts of another rapist priest, another cover-up by the bishop of a diocese, another survivor’s life ruined by mental and physical torture – how can he lie and deny?

SNAP, which represents 18,000 victims, said Friday that hundreds of children and adults were still being “sexually violated, tortured and assaulted” by Catholic priests. “Torture and violence can be subtle and manipulative. Or it can be blatant and brutal,” said SNAP President Barbara Blaine. “Either way, it’s horribly destructive to the human spirit, especially when inflicted on the young by the powerful, on the truly devout by the allegedly holy.” “Nothing has succeeded in getting Vatican officials to stop this violence,” she added. All of us, survivors, advocates and loved ones will never give up until they are stopped.

When the agents of the Catholic Church rape and torture children, they enter the Gate of Hell. As Dante wrote in one of the greatest literary works of humankind, it says on the Gate of Hell:

Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'entrate -- Abandon all hope, ye who enter here...
In Italian, it means more than just losing hope – but Pope Francis can read Italian so he knows what it means – they are losing their souls.

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.