Posts Tagged child abuse
“The patriarchal nature of Catholic institutions meant that abuse went unchallenged and, while a small number of nuns were abusers, the report found the risk of offending was much higher in institutions where priests and religious brothers had minimal contact with women. The report estimated about 7% of clergy had abused children between about 1950 and 2000.” (The Guardian)
Mandatory celibacy and a culture of secrecy created by popes and bishops are major factors in why such high rates of child abuse have occurred in the Catholic church, a comprehensive study has found.
“The report, which looked at the findings of 26 royal commissions and other inquiries from Australia, Ireland, the UK, Canada and the Netherlands since 1985, found that while the endangerment of children in institutions has been considerably lowered in Australia, children remained at risk in Catholic parishes and schools and Catholic residential institutions in other countries across the world, especially in the developing world where there are more than 9,000 Catholic-run orphanages, including 2,600 in India.
“The patriarchal nature of Catholic institutions meant that abuse went unchallenged and, while a small number of nuns were abusers, the report found the risk of offending was much higher in institutions where priests and religious brothers had minimal contact with women. The report estimated about 7% of clergy had abused children between about 1950 and 2000.”
By Melissa Davey, The Guardian — Read more …
Australian police complicit with Catholic Church in covering up clergy sexual abuse of minors / The Australian
The extent of Victoria Police complicity in covering-up child abuse by clergy in the scandal-plagued diocese of Ballarat has been detailed by former senior members of the force who shunned the influence of the so-called Catholic Mafia.
“An investigation by The Australian has confirmed extensive evidence of the force actively shielding wrongdoing and perverting the course of justice by forcing the transfer of a notorious clergyman rather than prosecuting him.
“The details of how the late Monsignor John Day abused hundreds of children in the 1960s and 70s but was protected by the force — and the church — are outlined in a new podcast examining the rarely-discussed fact that police worked with the church hierarchy to protect offenders like him.”
By Peter Hoysted and John Ferguson, The Australian — Click here to hear the podcast “Ballarat’s Children.”
When Pope Francis ascended to the chair of St. Peter in March 2013, the world looked on in wonder. Here at last was a pope in line with the times, a man who preferred spontaneous gestures to ritual forms. Francis paid his own hotel bill and eschewed the red shoes. Rather than move into the grand papal apartments, he settled in the cozy guesthouse for visitors to the Vatican. He also set a new nondogmatic tone with statements like ‘Who am I to judge?’
“Observers predicted that the new pope’s warmth, humility and charisma would prompt a ‘Francis effect’ — bringing disaffected Catholics back to a church that would no longer seem so forbidding and cold. Three years into his papacy, the predictions continue. Last winter, Austen Ivereigh, the author of an excellent biography of Pope Francis, wrote that the pope’s softer stance on communion for the divorced and remarried ‘could trigger a return to parishes on a large scale.’ In its early days, Francis’ Jesuit order labored to bring Protestants back into the fold of the church. Could Francis do the same for Catholics tired of headlines about child abuse and culture wars?
“In a certain sense, things have changed …”
By Matthew Schmitz, The New York Times — Click here to read the rest of this commentary.
The Royal Commission has exposed a Catholic Church culture in desperate need of change / Newcastle Herald
During his evidence to the royal commission Bishop Bill Wright made the observation that he felt concentrating on events of 30 years ago was not a useful exercise, and it is more important to understand what is happening now with regard to child abuse and protection. The Commissioner’s response was to state that the community had asked for a royal commission into organisations and that this be done in the public eye.
“Understanding the history of abuse is vitally important to the health of the current community. Let me explain why.
“First, it is vital to bring to public knowledge the traumatic events that occurred across Catholic parishes and schools in the last 60 or so years …”
By Kathleen McPhillips, Commentary in the Newcastle Herald — Click here to read the rest of this column.
The Vatican has defrocked a priest after a church investigation found he was guilty of abuse of a minor, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston said Thursday (Mar. 31).
“Thomas H. Maguire, who was ordained nearly 40 years ago, had in the past bemoaned the personal and spiritual effect the church sexual abuse scandal had taken on his colleagues and the archdiocese.
“Maguire had been removed from public ministry since 2012, when he faced an allegation of inappropriate sexual conduct in the presence of minors.
“At that time, Maguire was pastor at St. Helen Mother of the Emperor Constantine in Norwell, and church officials said the alleged behavior had happened near the time he was removed from ministry.
“Law enforcement reviewed the case, and could not substantiate the accusations against Maguire, the archdiocese said. But church officials said other accusers came forward with reports of ‘inappropriate sexual conduct which had occurred in the mid-1990s and before.'”
By Andy Rosen, The Boston Globe — Click here to read the rest of this story.
“Pope Francis was yet to show strong leadership on the issue”
Cardinal George Pell ‘destroyed the unity’ of the Catholic church’s response to child sex abuse, an Australian bishop has told the royal commission.
“Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, who played a key role in developing the Australian church’s response to child sex abuse, also said Pope Francis was yet to show strong leadership on the issue and one of his predecessors, John Paul II, responded ‘poorly’ to revelations of child abuse.
“Robinson worked with other bishops on an Australia-wide clergy response to abuse, Towards Healing, from 1994. When Towards Healing was close to finalization in 1996, Pell created the Melbourne Response, taking the country’s largest diocese out of a united response.
“Robinson said Pell, then the archbishop of Melbourne, created the rival program because he wanted to be seen as a leader on abuse.”
By Bridie Jabour, The Guardian — Click here to read the rest of this story.
And so begins the disclosure of systemic coverup and additional sexual abuse of children in the Chicago Archdiocese, along with the excuses or minimizing of current hierarchical officials, some of whom are complicit in the pattern of coverup. Will this be another round of ho-hum responses by people in the pews, or might they wake up to what one survivor told Pope Benedict was a cancer in the body of the Church. But for the courage of survivors and the legal advocacy on their behalf, the Church hierarchy in Chicago and around the world would be spinning the same denials as they have been for the last 12 years. — Bill Casey, former Voice of the Faithful® Board of Trustees Chair
“Thousands of pages of secret church documents released Tuesday (Jan. 21) as part of a court settlement provide an unprecedented and gut-wrenching look at how the Archdiocese of Chicago for years failed to protect children from abusive priests.
“The documents provide new details and insights into how the nation’s third-largest archdiocese quietly shuttled accused priests from parish to parish and failed to notify police of child abuse allegations. The paper trail, going back decades, also portrays painfully slow progress toward reform, accountability and openness.” By Manya Brachear Pashman, Christy Gutowski and Todd Lighty, Chicago Tribune
Click here to read the rest of this article, “New Abuse Documents Detail Chicago Archdiocese Missteps.”
“After a 13-year-old boy reported in 1979 that a priest raped and threatened him at gunpoint to keep quiet, the Archdiocese of Chicago assured the boy’s parents that, although the cleric avoided prosecution, he would receive treatment and have no further contact with minors.
“But the Rev. William Cloutier, who already had been accused of molesting other children, was returned to ministry a year later and went on to abuse again before he resigned in 1993, two years after the boy’s parents filed a lawsuit. Officials took no action against Cloutier over his earliest transgressions because he “sounded repentant,” according to internal archdiocese documents released Tuesday (Jan. 21) that show how the archdiocese tried to contain a mounting scandal over child sexual abuse.” By Tammy Webber, Associated Press, in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Click here to read the rest of this article, “Chicago Archdiocese Hid Decades of Child Abuse.”
The Catholic Church figures prominently in the Australian state of Victoria’s report released today on the Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and other Non-Government Organizations.
As an indication of the impact of the inquiry, the news coverage is too extensive even to list a sampling, but click here for a Google round-up of stories about its investigation and results. One of the most recent stories, Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse Prompts Push to Make Abuse Silence a Crime, reports, “Horrific sexual abuse cover-ups by the Catholic Church has led to a parliamentary committee recommending new offences for grooming children and failing to report crimes.”
As you might expect, the report is rather lengthy, but here are links to the executive summary and both volumes: