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, 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: 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 and Phil Saviano, founder of the New England SNAP group – all working together to protect our children and support survivors. 

For further information:

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Pope Francis and the Dirty War in Argentina

Last year on March 15th the New Yorker Magazine wrote an article: Pope Francis and the Dirty War.  The article called the Pope, “an Argentine with a cloudy past”.
“Cloudy” has to do with his role during Argentina’s anti-Communist actions over 30 years ago. The military regime ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983, a time called the Dirty War. Their goal was to eliminate Communists and other “subversives.” As many as thirty thousand people were tortured and killed. There was trafficking in babies: pregnant women were killed after they gave birth and their babies adopted by childless military families and friends of the regime. According to the article many of these children grew up not knowing that their parents “are, in effect, their biological parents’ killers”.

History repeats itself for the catholic church. During Spain’s Civil War, the Church openly sided with the Fascist Franco’s inquisition. In Rome during the Second World War Pope Pius XII signed a concordat (agreement) between the holy see (the pope and his advisors) and the German Reich giving Hitler the credibility he needed to gain power. The Argentine Catholic Church involvement in the military regime’s anti-Communist campaign was once again an alliance with the dictators. One of Jorge Bergoglio’s (now Pope Francis) predecessors, Archbishop Juan Carlos Aramburu, openly sided with the military’s purge.
The catholic church acted as a spiritual guide for the military and some bishops were given soldiers as personal servants in their palaces. Military chaplains were blessing drugged bodies of suspected guerrillas as they were loaded onto military planes, from which they were then hurled to their deaths, unconscious, over the Rio de la Plata.

What was Jorge Bergoglio doing at this time? Accusations, including testimony from several priests and bishops say that he was involved in the Dirty War. He was the head of the Society of Jesus in Argentina (the Jesuits). The key allegation against him is that he pointed out rebel priests to the military, leaving them exposed and that he did not defend two kidnapped clerics or ask for their release.
Gabriel Pasquini, an Argentine writer and editor of the online current-affairs magazine El PuercoespĂ­n said about Bergoglio: “For someone who aspires to be a bastion of moral values, it doesn’t seem like a great precedent. Never, in the years he headed the Catholic Church in Argentina, did he acknowledge its complicity in the dictatorship, much less ask for forgiveness. Will he do so now, from the Vatican?”

Said Jon Lee Anderson of the New Yorker: “Whatever the truth, Francis the Humble, it would seem, has much to clear up about what he thought, how he behaved, and what he did during his country’s Dirty War. As with the role of the Church he has long served, it remains a mystery.”