Monday, January 27, 2014

What does Pope Francis say about nuns who abuse children? Nothing so far.

We all know what the priests have been doing to children – their evil deeds and the cover up of those deeds by the catholic church hierarchy make headline news every day.  But is that the whole story?  What about the catholic nuns?  Many of us remember the nuns in the catholic schools and homes for children and the memories are not happy.  What are the facts about the nuns?  Remember, there are many more nuns than priests and that equals a much greater opportunity for nuns to abuse children – and that is just what they did.
The nuns have been called “soldiers” of the pope by me (book: Smothered, 2012) and by others.  These nun ground troops have a long history of child abuse starting during the Inquisition in the eleventh century.  During Inquisitions the pope and his armies went on crusades to torture and kill those who did not agree with their beliefs

In the year 1231 pope gregory IX gave the job of carrying out inquisitions to the dominican order of nuns (and priests).  In 1252, pope innocent IV authorized the dominicans' use of torture and they never stopped using it. In 1578 the inquisitors’ handbook said that punishment wasn’t for the correction and good of the person being punished – it was for the public good so others “may become terrified and weaned away from the evils they would commit.” The nuns learned the lesson and applied it to children.  They beat a child as an example to other children.
 Dwayne James Mitchell, a teacher and survivor of catholic school nun abuse who writes on the blog “Catholic Nuns, Child Abuse and Vows, made this comment about the nuns:

“Again the goal [of the church] was to get control of the individual at the earliest point in time so they would have them under control for the rest of their lives. ---- Along the way, they made it a point to instill “fear” within the young person about their soul, and that the Catholic Church was the only way to save their soul from damnation. ---- Everything along the way was orchestrated so as to get the individual under their complete control and in alignment with their agenda both in the “here and now” and in the future!”  So they started with the children – in catholic schools and in catholic homes or orphanages: physical, sexual and psychological abuse was their agenda.
Dwayne says that regarding abuse of children by nuns, “What we are seeing is just the "tip of the iceberg" and that “We need to uncover the "motivation" behind the actions of the nuns… Every order of nuns was following orders from someone.”  We can guess at that “someone.”  The pope is the head of the catholic church. He is, in fact, the king of the Vatican state. All of the orders for everything come from him, down to the cardinals and bishops and priests and finally to the nuns.  Dwayne knows and I know that there are many more survivors of nun and priest abuse. We ask that you share your stories with us. Were you abused by nuns in catholic schools or catholic homes?  Why do you think they treat children this way? The pope is welcome to voice his opinion.   

Monday, January 20, 2014

Pope Francis sends bishops for Swiss grilling by UN

This is a great summary of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child vs. the Vatican by the dedicated people at

The Monitor | UN Grills the Vatican: 5 Remarkable Moments | January 17, 2014

For six hours in Geneva, Switzerland yesterday, two Vatican officials faced the 18 human rights experts who make up the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, fielding a polite bombardment of pointed questions on child sexual abuse. To help the UN Committee prepare its approach, submitted a letter and report; these provide, we think, succinct and powerful overviews of the Holy See's involvement in child sexual abuse worldwide. See our submission here.

Yesterday's hearing contained many important moments and a few revelations, not all of which were captured in news reports. We thought we'd list five that struck us as particularly significant.

1. For the first time, the Vatican had to admit publicly that it still does not require the reporting of child sex crimes to civil authorities. Committee member Jorge Cardona of Spain asked, "Shouldn't the Guidelines [the Vatican's 2011 instructions to bishops' conferences on abuse policies] refer to the fact that in all cases crimes must be reported?" Bishop Charles Scicluna replied, "Our guideline is to follow domestic law." [See more on this issue in our Report.]

2. The Committee's most repeated question? They want the data about abuse cases that the Holy See has refused to provide. Committee chair Kirsten Sandberg of Norway reiterated the request six times.  "You say that providing data is up to the country where the crime takes place. But your giving out data would help ... You have these data and could provide them. We ask again that you provide us ... the data that has been asked for." [See our discussion of the Holy See's data in our Letter to the Committee.]

3. The Vatican believes that it is the obligation of the individual perpetrator, not the Church, to compensate victims, Bishop Charles Scicluna said: "We promote personal responsibility. The person causing the damage has the duty to compensate." (In a 2012 interview, Scicluna called civil court rulings that the Church is liable "unfair.")

4. The Holy See appears to have no intention to return nuncio Józef Wesołowski to the Dominican Republic to face charges that he sexually abused five boys there.  The Holy See's Permanent Observer to the UN, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, said yesterday that Wesolowski will be tried instead in the Vatican, under the city state's newly revised criminal code.

5. Religious orders, which comprise one third to one half of the world's Catholic clerics, still are not being compelled by the Holy See to create abuse policies. This fact was uncovered by Committee member Cardona, who asked about the Holy See's "Circular Letter" of May 2011. Cited frequently by the Holy See as proof that it now "gets it," the Circular Letter requires bishops' conferences in every country to develop binding abuse policies. "Is it also for religious orders? Are there instructions for Jesuits, Benedictines ...?" It pertains only to bishops' conferences, Scicluna conceded. But "there is a section that says major superiors are 'strongly invited'" to participate, he added.

The Committee is the first international entity to hold the Holy See publicly accountable for its obligations to keep children safe from sexual violence. Its inquiry has been profoundly constructive. We look forward to its concluding report, which is due in early February.

Warm regards, 

Anne Barrett Doyle, Co-Director  (you can go to the website for details)


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Vatican answers to UN Committee on the Rights of the Child: will Pope Francis tweet this?

This news break from SNAP needs repeating:
This Thursday, for the first time ever, the Vatican will be questioned about its record on child sexual violence by an international body. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva is holding the meeting in two sessions on Jan 16, each three hours long. SNAP and our attorneys from CCR will be there. Later in the evening (Geneva time) CCR and SNAP are hosting a reportback via Livestream directly after the review to report about it to survivors, advocates and supporters. Two separate events and you can view them both on the internet.
Watch the UN review via livestream here!

The review will take place on Thursday, January 16, 2014 from 10am-1pm CET, (4am-7am EST) where the Vatican will be reviewed on their compliance with the Convention on Rights of the Child and then from 3pm-6pm CET (9am-12 noon EST) the Vatican will be reviewed on their compliance with the Optional Protocols on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.
**This will be broadcast in the English language. This is broadcast by the UN.
Then two hours later at 8 pm CET (2 pm EST) we will have the “reportback” by CCR and SNAP.  Tune in here .

You can  follow the conversation on Twitter and ask questions before or during the livestream by tweeting to the hashtag #HolySeeConfess or by emailing questions to
SNAP and CCR submitted reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child detailing how the Holy See has violated the core principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
If you have questions please email or call the SNAP office at: 312 455 1499 or .
Don’t miss the chance to participate in this historic event!
 Barbara Blaine

It’s time that Pope Francis accepts responsibility for the child abuse crimes committed by those under his control.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The courts giveth and the Vatican taketh away: Pope Francis’ lawyers strike a blow against children

Digital Journal reporter Yukio Strachan wrote (12/26/13):  In a shocking blow to victims of child sexual abuse and their advocates, a Roman Catholic Church senior official who was found guilty of covering up child sexual abuse for years had his conviction overturned Thursday by a Pennsylvania appeals court.”  Why would a court overturn this landmark conviction?  


Last year, when the priest, William J. Lynn of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was found guilty, survivors and advocates against clergy sexual abuse felt that “justice was served for the hell that victims and their families were put through because of the negligence of priests like Lynn who put the protection of predator priests over the protection of vulnerable children,” Strachan reported.


A three-judge Superior Court panel interpreted as valid an old law stating that:  A parent, guardian or other person supervising the welfare of a child had to be directly supervising the child. A new revision of the law says that a person that employs or supervises someone who directly supervised a child is also guilty. But the three judges reversed the previous decision of Judge M. Teresa Sarmina who had said that the new law applied to Lynn.


The Digital Journal article quoted Barbara Dorris, outreach director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests SNAP):  “We felt that this conviction sent a very strong message that if you protect predators, you would be punished.  "We hoped it would cause other prosecutors to go after other people protecting pedophiles. We thought it was a trend, a start." SNAP was heartsick and so am I.  


While the Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams strongly disagreed with the decision and will appeal it, continuing this fight is a hardship for all of the good people who want to stop child abuse by the catholic church. The church has deep pockets to hire all the lawyers it needs – all those donations from the faithful are put to whatever use the church decides.  Individual victims and advocate organizations like SNAP stretch their limited resources but they keep fighting because no one is more important than the children.


Take a Vatican quiz (Pope Francis can answer too)

Which is worse?

1.    Pedophile priests loose in the parish

2.    Priests who cover up for pedophile priests (like William Lynn in Philadelphia)

3.    Judges who overturn priests’ sexual abuse convictions (like John T. Bender)

Who do you choose?  In all three cases the priests are still out there molesting children. The next post will give you more information about these pedophile enablers.