Wednesday, January 27, 2016

#SNAP supports whistleblower #catholicpriest

Members of SNAP support Fr. Gallagher

Update: Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, gathered on the sidewalk near the Diocese of Palm Beach to support Father Gallagher who was demoted after he exposed a pedophile priest (see yesterday's post).

 "Instead of being praised for protecting a child victim of sexual abuse, it seems as though the Bishop and the Church are punishing the ones who are doing the right thing," SNAP member David Pittman told CBS12 reporter Al Pefley .  "I was told I that I had a choice of either taking a demotion or to resign from priesthood. Those were my options," said Gallagher.  SNAP* is calling for an investigation to make sure there was no cover-up.  The Diocese has not commented.

*SNAP is an advocate for child and adult sexual abuse survivors of any religion or organization.

Monday, January 25, 2016

#CardinalO’Malley tells whistleblower #catholicpriest to get lost

Father Gallagher
Father John Gallagher, a priest from West Palm Beach says the Catholic Church is trying to force him out because he blew the whistle on a pedophile priest.  When Gallagher found out that one of his priests, Jose Palimatton, had shown child pornography to a teenage boy, he reported it to the Diocese of Palm Beach. But he says they didn't want to hear it.

"When I made the initial phone call to the Diocese, I was told we are used to this, we normally put people like this on an airplane," Gallagher said.  The head of the Diocese, Bishop Gerald Barbarito, told Gallagher that he didn't want to know the details of the crime.  So Gallagher called the sheriff's office. Palimatton was arrested, pleaded guilty, got 6 months in jail and was deported back to India.

Since then, the church has treated Gallagher like an outcast:  while he was out on medical leave, the Diocese removed all his possessions from the rectory where he lived and changed the locks on the door.   When he tried to tell Cardinal Sean O'Malley in Boston – who is on Pope Francis’ committee to stop clergy crime, O'Malley told him to take a very long vacation – and this was in back in October, 2015.

"And what did you take that to mean?" asked CBS12 reporter Al Pefley. "That means what it means. Go away," Gallagher explained. Even though the police wrote a letter to Cardinal Sean O'Malley in Boston, commending Gallagher for his actions, O’Malley ignored him.  The Diocese of Palm Beach of course, denied they were harassing Gallagher and said he went on medical leave “freely on his own”. 

Is it any wonder that more whistleblower priests don’t come forth? Pope Francis with O’Malley as head of his sex abuse commission -- that has done nothing to help the abused for three years -- is doing what comes naturally for the catholic church: stonewalling, denying, covering up and continuing the abuse.

Friday, January 15, 2016

A pope and a priest: brothers in crime in the catholic church

Joseph and Georg

In my book, “Smothered” in 2012 I wrote a letter to the former pope Benedict (Joseph Ratzinger). I said:

“You are truly evil. It runs in your family. Your older brother Georg Ratzinger, a priest and choirmaster worked in two schools for boys. (Georg is pronounced: GAY-org, with 'org' as in 'organization'). He admitted that he smacked children and that he knew that priests were molesting the boys and did nothing about it. What other reason would he have to purposely smack children who were raped except to keep them quiet?”

A new investigation of brother Georg began in 2015.  As reported by Walter Einenkel   (Daily KOS, 1/12/16) at least 231 children were abused during former Pope Benedict XVI's brother's watch.  Georg Ratzinger led the Regensburger Domspatzen choir for 30 years while these children were being abused.

Lawyer Ulrich Weber, who was commissioned by the choir to look into accusations of beatings, torture and sexual abuse, said that the actual abuse affected even more children than the 231. When asked whether Georg Ratzinger, who conducted the Regensburg choir from 1964 to 1994, knew about the abuse, Mr. Weber said, “After my research, I must assume so.” Most of the abuse was done by Johann Meier, director of the school connected with the choir between the years 1953 until 1992. Meier has since died. Weber said at least 40 of the 231 abuse cases also involved sexual violence, “from fondling to rapes.” Most cases are too old for legal action now, he said.

Joseph Ratzinger, who became Benedict XVI was the Archbishop of Munich from 1977 until 1981, when he went to head up the powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, one of the branches of the Church that dealt with priestly sexual abuse.

Joseph Ratzinger understood better than most that priestly abuse was a crime that went against everything the Church was supposed to stand for. But, for much of his career, he spent his time doing everything but stopping the clergy abuse of children. At the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was too busy disciplining anyone who dared step out of line with Church teachings on personal sexuality and family planning to think about the thousands of priests molesting children.

The church traditionalists wish for the good old days when the pope’s authority was unquestioned, civil authorities treated the church with extreme deference, and parishioners obeyed without objection. They ignore the facts that those good old days were also a time when children were slapped, beaten, and often sexually abused, and  bishops, parents, and police looked away.  These “good old days” are still going on for all the priests and nuns who got away with these crimes, those still committing these crimes and for the bishops, cardinals and the pope who know what is going on but do not stop it.  Pope Francis can stop it but will talk with no action as long as the faithful put up with his lies.  

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Boston vigil for clergy abuse victims ends because Pope Francis protects criminals

Jane Braunsky (right) spoke to Paul Kellen after she attended Mass on Sunday
In January 2002, after the Boston Globe Spotlight Team published the first story detailing the church’s attempt to cover up the abuse of children by priests, a dedicated and courageous group of people started a 14 year vigil for the abused children.

Every week, in in sleet, snow, rain, and heat, members of the group were there outside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston – they never missed a week. They protested the Catholic Church’s poor response to the clergy sexual abuse crisis.

“I’ve decided that, after 14 years, the church is not going to change,” Kenneth Scott, 76, said as he staged his final protest with five others huddled under umbrellas.  He will still support and help the victims but will find other ways. 

Brian Harlow

 Brian Harlow, a 41-year-old North Cambridge resident and survivor of clergy sexual abuse, came Sunday to express his gratitude to the protesters, who stand silently on the sidewalk and hold signs displaying the photos of abuse victims. “I’m just so grateful,” he said. “They didn’t have to do this. They just care. They’re the most amazing people you’d ever hope to meet.”

The protesters decided to quit after Pope Francis praised American bishops in September for their “courage” in dealing with the abuse scandal – causing outrage from victims for his insensitive and cold comment.  Francis supported all the bishops still working for the church and still unpunished for their criminal cover ups of pedophile priests.

“The pope’s message last fall was disheartening, discouraging, dismaying,” said Paul Kellen, a 79-year-old from Medford, “I don’t see any hope.”

What do the parishioners at the cathedral, which serves as the mother church of the Archdiocese of Boston think about the protesters? Some shout at them, some thank them. But too many just don’t get it:  the fact that children are still in harm’s way, pedophile priests are still being moved from parish to parish and molesting children every day, that bishops are still covering up for their criminal clergy, that all over the world millions of victims lead lives that are ruined – all at the hands of a church, of a pope, that hides behind God and does the work of the devil.

Here is a typical parishioner, Kim Curry, who said to the Boston Globe reporter,  Michael Levenson, that she sees the protesters after Mass and is not sure why they are demonstrating. “We’re all aware what happened,” she said. “What is it that they want done?”  How about putting all the criminal clergy and their enabler bishops in jail!

Another parishioner, Jane Braunsky, said she, too, is not sure what they want. “Apologies have been made, bishops have made them, both popes have made them, the cardinal has certainly mentioned it during his sermons, if they had listened,” she said. “I’m not sure what more can be done. So, if they’re Christian, they should say, ‘OK, we’ll take that as an apology and go forth and live.’”

Does an apology take away the memories of being raped by a “man of God”, of being beaten and smothered into a coma by nuns – like I was? Does it bring back my brother who committed suicide because of what they did to us.  Does it take away a lifetime of disability, of lost ability, of daily flash-backs?  Does it help other victims who became alcoholics, drug-addicts and committed suicide?  If these parishioners are really Christians, they will demand justice for the abused and protection for the children now being abused by a church and a pope who do nothing to stop it. It’s time to show the Holy Cross protesters that their years of trying were not in vain.  If the church won’t do anything to help then tell it what to do by walking away with your contributions in your pocket – not in the church’s bank account where they will use it to bail out criminal clergy.