Posts Tagged Catholic Whistleblowers

Pope Francis’ child protection panel takes another positive step? / Voice of the Faithful

Sept. 16, 2016 – Pundits were once again this week debating the effectiveness of Pope Francis’ Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, as news spread that commission members have been speaking with new bishops and Vatican offices about child protection best practices. Voice of the Faithful believes this action is another step in the slow progress of Francis’ papacy toward dealing with the clergy sexual abuse scandal, while not yet the substantial steps needed.

Pope Francis has repeatedly condemned abuse, including bishops who cover up or enable abusers continued access to children. He has often slammed clericalism in the Church, which VOTF has long said is a major factor in the scandal. In early 2014, he set up his child protection commission to develop best practices and to educate the Church about them. This past June, he promulgated an apostolic letter that expanded “grave reasons” for removal from ecclesiastical office to include “negligence of bishops in the exercise of their office, in particular in relation to cases of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults.” This motu proprio also empowered several Vatican dicasteries to investigate allegations against bishops, initiate removal, and report to him. Previously, only the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith handled abuse cases.

The child protection commission also reported this week that members have long been talking with and educating clergy about preventing sexual abuse of children. Their new initiatives include a training program for bishops and a template to help bishops’ conferences and Catholic associations prevent and deal with abuse.

Demonstrating just how desperately bishops need such help, the Catholic Whistleblowers, a network of clergy, religious and laypeople who have reported or support reporting abuse, this week sent a follow-up letter to the Vatican requesting investigation of the U.S. bishops’ abuse policies. They sent the first letter nine months ago and have yet to receive a reply, and apparently none of the bishops investigations they requested more than a year ago have been initiated.

For nearly 15 years, VOTF has sought changes in Church structures to better protect children. No one can tell yet whether these initiatives by the Pope’s commission are the beginnings of such structural change, but in VOTF’s experience, constant, continuing vigilance will be required until such change is achieved.

Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in the governance and guidance of the Church. For more information, www.votf.org, or call (781) 559-3360

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Abuse whistleblowers renew request for Vatican inquiry of U.S. bishops / National Catholic Reporter

“Eight months without a reply, Catholic advocates for survivors of clergy sexual abuse have hit resend on their request for a Vatican investigation into the abuse policies of U.S. bishops.”

The Catholic Whistleblowers mailed a second letter Sept. 1 to the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, addressed to its prefect Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Canada.

“The brief one-page letter summarizes and refers back to another letter the advocacy group sent at the beginning of the year. That first letter raised concerns that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was not fully implementing its zero tolerance policy toward abusive priests, and as a result putting children and communities at risk while also creating scandal in the church.

“Specifically, Catholic Whistleblowers argues the conference and its bishops have not reported all appropriate abuse allegations to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and lack a mechanism to assure bishops pass such cases to the congregation at all.”

By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Catholic Whistleblowers request Vatican investigation of flaws in U.S. bishops’ sex abuse policies / National Catholic Reporter

After years of raising concerns to U.S. bishops about potential holes in their clergy sexual abuse policies to little avail, a group of Catholic advocates has requested Vatican intervention.

“Catholic Whistleblowers, in a formal request for investigation, alleges the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has not followed through fully on its policy of zero tolerance toward abusive priests and deacons, in part because its guidelines lack a mechanism to assure that bishops send the necessary cases to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In addition, the organization argues that the conference uses a higher bar than church law to determine which cases require review by Rome.”

By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Advocates for victims seek Vatican inquiry of Rigali, Burke / Associated Press on ABC News

Priests, nuns and canon lawyers who advocate for clergy sex abuse victims urged Pope Francis, on the eve of his U.S. visit, to investigate the child protection records of Cardinal Justin Rigali, the former archbishop of Philadelphia, and Cardinal Raymond Burke, who led dioceses in Wisconsin and Missouri.

“The group, which calls itself the Catholic Whistleblowers, wants an inquiry of Rigali, who was Philadelphia archbishop from 2003 to 2011 and retired amid an uproar over grand jury allegations that he was keeping about three dozen suspected abusers in ministry. His successor, Archbishop Charles Chaput, has removed several priests from church work since he took over.

“The advocates are also calling for an investigation of Burke, who led the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin, and the Archdiocese of St. Louis before leaving for Rome to lead the Vatican’s highest court. The advocates have accused him of insensitive treatment of victims and their families.”

By Michael R. Sisak and Rachel Zoll, Associated Press, on ABCNews.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Voice of the Faithful 2015 National Assembly Will Take Place in Hartford, April 18

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Voice of the Faithful, a Roman Catholic Church reform movement focusing on issues surrounding the clergy sexual abuse scandal and the laity’s role in Church governance, will hold its 2015 National Assembly on Saturday, April 18, at the Connecticut Convention Center, Hartford.

HartfordJuneLMitaWebShadowThe featured speaker will be Marie Collins, a Catholic clergy sexual abuse survivor from Ireland who pioneered child protection policies there and is on the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

Organizers also have scheduled five interactive workshops to allow attendees to offer opinions and learn about VOTF activities surrounding several issues:

  • Degrees of Transparency: The Good, the Bad, and the Confusing in Diocesan Financial Accountability
  • Towards Healing the People of God
  • Let’s Talk About It: Can Clergy & Laity Speak to Each Other as Equals
  • Survivor Support: A Discussion with Fr. Tom Doyle
  • Your Voice for the Synod on the Family

MarieCollinsWebShadowCollins was among the first in March 2014 whom Pope Francis appointed to his Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. She has spoken out for years on the Church’s need to provide better protection for children and justice for clergy sexual abuse survivors. She helped the Dublin Archdiocese set up its Child Protection Service in 2003 and was a member of the Lynott Committee drafting the Church’s all-Ireland child protection guidelines. She was among survivors who lobbied the Irish government for the Murphy Commission, which reported in 2009 extensive clergy child abuse and coverup in the Dublin Archdiocese. In 2012, she spoke about being a clergy abuse victim at the Vatican symposium on child sexual abuse “Toward Healing,” which was attended by Church leaders from around the world.

The documentary “A Matter of Conscience: Confronting Clergy Sexual Abuse” also will be screened at the Assembly. The film, produced by Boston College faculty members John and Susan Michalczyk, features several members of Catholic Whistleblowers, a group Catholic priests and religious formed in 2013 to support other whistleblowers and identify shortcomings in Church child protection policies.

Registration for the 2015 National Assembly is at the Voice of the Faithful website, votf.org.

Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at votf.org.

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Pope Francis already has the power and authority necessary to hold bishops and religious major superiors accountable / Catholic Whistleblowers

Catholic Whistleblowers appreciates the efforts of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors to hold accountable those bishops and religious major superiors who have failed to deal with priests who have sexually abused minors. We especially commend the two members of the Commission who are victims/survivors of clergy sexual abuse, Irishwoman Marie Collins and Englishman Peter Saunders, for their strong and publicly stated commitment to truth, justice, and healing.

“Yet, we also note that the Commission does not need to reinvent the wheel. The Code of Canon Law already provides the way for Pope Francis to deal with these bishops and religious superiors.

“Indeed, the pope has power and authority over all of the Church which he is always able to exercise freely (cc. 331, 333, §1 and 590, §1). And nothing in Church law prohibits the application of Church law by the pope regarding bishops and religious superiors.”

By Catholic Whistleblowers Steering Committee — Click here to read the rest of this statement.

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National Catholic Reporter Names Catholic Church Abuse Whistleblower Jennifer Hasselberger It’s 2013 Person of the Year

Thank God for the courage of abuse survivors and the families of victims who will not let our bishops and leaders forget the abuse and their complicity in it. Thank God for activists who stand with survivors. But most of all, thank God for one very special class of people: the priests and church personnel who do stand up to their leaders and cry out for justice.

“People like Dominican Fr. Thomas Doyle and former Benedictine Patrick Wall, who sacrificed promising ecclesiastical careers because they sided with the victims of abuse and not with those who would cover it up. Thank God for the recently formed Catholic Whistleblowers, a group of mainly priests and religious women, Catholic insiders dedicated to fighting the scourge of sex abuse and its cover-up.

“Finally thank God for Jennifer Haselberger.”

Click here to read this entire editorial in National Catholic Reporter.

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