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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.