Posts Tagged clergy sexual abuse survivors

Swiss Catholic Church sex abuse victims may seek reparations / SwissInfo.ch

“Victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Switzerland may now seek financial compensation and other forms of reparation in cases that have exceeded the statute of limitations. This follows the launch of an independent sexual abuse commission. However, payments are likely to remain symbolic.”

The fight against sexual abuse within the Catholic Church took a step forwards on Tuesday (Jun. 21) with the official launch of CECAR, a sexual abuse commission that is ‘neutral and independent of the authorities of the Catholic Church.’

“CECAR is the result of almost six years’ negotiations and agreement between victims’ groups, parliamentarians and the Swiss Bishops Conference. The initiative is aimed at victims who were minors at the time of the incidents, but whose cases have encountered legal time limits.

‘Exceeding the statute of limitations does not wipe out suffering,’ said Charles Morerod, the Bishop for Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg at a news conference in Lausanne. He was one of the co-signatories of an accord in 2015 between the Catholic Church and the victims’ group SAPEC that led to the creation of CECAR.”

By Simon Bradley, SwussInfo.ch — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Vatican: No ‘objective reasons’ to preclude appointment of Chilean bishop / National Catholic Reporter

The Vatican has responded to public outcry against Pope Francis’ naming of a new bishop in Chile accused of covering up sexual abuse, saying the bishop’s candidature was ‘carefully examined’ prior to his appointment but no ‘objective reasons’ were found to preclude it.

“Marking a rare reaction to public criticism against a bishop’s appointment, the Vatican press office released a 19-word statement Tuesday (Mar. 31) in three languages regarding Bishop Juan Barros Madrid.

“Chilean clergy sexual abuse survivors accuse Barros, who was installed March 21 as head of the diocese of Osorno, Chile, amid protests in the cathedral, of covering up abuse by Fr. Fernando Karadima when Barros was a priest.”

By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Members of Vatican abuse commission question Francis’ inaction in Chile / National Catholic Reporter

Two members of the new Vatican commission advising Pope Francis on clergy sexual abuse (Peter Saunders, United Kingdom, and Marie Collins, Ireland, both clergy sexual abuse survivors) say they are both concerned and surprised at the pope’s decision to appoint a bishop in Chile who is accused of covering up abuse, even witnessing it while he was a priest.

Speaking in brief NCR interviews Thursday in personal capacities, the commission members also said some in their group are considering traveling to Rome to speak to the pope face-to-face on the matter.

Bishop Juan Barros Madrid was installed Saturday as head of the diocese of Osorno, Chile, amid protests in the cathedral. Chilean survivors accuse Barros of covering up abuse by Fr. Fernando Karadima, a once-renowned spiritual leader and key Chilean church figure who was found guilty by the Vatican in 2011 of sexually abusing minors, when Barros was a priest.

By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

Marie Collins of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, who is quoted in this story, will be the featured speaker at the VOTF 2015 National Assembly in Hartford, Connecticut, on April 18.

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Pope tells clergy: ‘never try to cover up child abuse’

For the first time, the full Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors will meet in Rome tomorrow, Friday (Feb. 6). Two members are clergy sexual abuse survivors: Peter Sanders from Britain and Ireland’s Marie Collins. Collins will be the featured speaker at the Voice of the Faithful® 2015 National Assembly in Hartford, Connecticut, on April 18.

Pope Francis has sent Catholic clergy a powerful reminder of their duty to stamp out sexual abuse of children by priests, warning that they must never let a fear of scandal lead to cover-ups.

“In a strongly-worded letter to the heads of national bishops’ conferences and religious orders, the pope demanded ‘close and complete’ cooperation with a new child protection watchdog he has established at the Vatican.

“‘Families need to know that the Church is making every effort to protect their children,’ he said.”

By Angus MacKinnon, Agence France-Press — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Voice of the Faithful® Catholic reform movement will return to Hartford for its 2015 National Assembly, April 18

MarieCollinsWeb

Marie Collins will be the featured speaker at the Voice of the Faithful 2015 National Assembly, April 18, in Hartford, Conn.

The Voice of the Faithful® Roman Catholic reform movement will hold its 2015 National Assembly on Saturday, April 18, at the Connecticut Convention Center, Hartford. The featured speaker will be Marie Collins, a Catholic clergy sexual abuse survivor from Ireland who is a member of the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

Collins has spoken out for many years on the need for change in the Catholic Church, better protection of children and justice for clergy sexual abuse survivors. She was a victim of this abuse while a patient in a Dublin children’s hospital. She suffered for many years with depression, anxiety, panic attacks and agoraphobia as a result of her abuse. Her abuser was brought to justice in 1997.

Collins helped the Archdiocese of Dublin set up its Child Protection Service in 2003 and also that year became a founding director of the advocacy and counseling support group for abuse survivors called One in Four (Ireland). She was a member of the Lynott Committee (2003/2004), which worked on drafting the Catholic Church’s all-Ireland child protection guidelines, “Our Children Our Church.”

Along with other survivors, Collins lobbied the Irish government to set up a Dublin Archdiocese commission of investigation to look into the handling of abuse cases in the diocese. The Murphy Commission issued its report in November 2009.

Collins was a founding member of the Irish depression support group “Aware” and set up and worked on their voluntary helpline phone service for many years. She was involved with other survivors in the preparation of the Liturgy of Lament and Repentance for Clerical and Religious Sexual Abuse, which was held in St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral in Dublin on Feb. 20, 2011, in the presence of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin and Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston.

In 2012 Collins gave her name to a new charity in Britain, The Marie Collins Foundation, and became a trustee. The charity helps those abused or exploited via the internet, mobile phone and such devices.

She has contributed chapters to the books The Dublin/Murphy Report: A Watershed for Irish Catholicism and Dark Night of the Catholic Church: Examining the child sexual abuse scandal. She was invited to speak about her experience as a victim of sexual abuse by a priest before Catholic Church leaders from around the world at the Vatican-sponsored symposium on child sexual abuse “Toward Healing,” held at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in February 2012.

In March 2014 Pope Francis appointed Collins to his new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. Its first meeting took place in Rome in May 2014.

Workshops at the VOTF 2015 National Assembly are presently planned to cover diocesan financial accountability, restorative justice for clergy sexual abuse survivors, clergy/laity dialogue, advocacy training for the development of an ordained female diaconate and a panel discussion on clergy sexual abuse survivor support. Other features of the assembly will be announced soon.

Anyone interested may register for the VOTF 2015 National Assembly by clicking here, checking the box next to VOTF 2015 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY: APRIL 18, HARTFORD, CT, clicking the Next button and filling out the brief online form. Those who do not like to pay online by credit card can register by calling VOTF at 781-559-3360.

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 governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.

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Movement of Catholics Motivated by Clergy Sexual Abuse Scandal Gathers for 2014 Assembly in Hartford, April 5

2014 Assembly Logo DRAFT Purple 102513Voice of the Faithful®, a movement of Catholics started in 2002 at the height of the Boston, Mass., clergy sexual abuse scandal, will hold its “2014 Assembly: Turning Talk into Action” on Saturday, April 5, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., at the Connecticut Convention Center, Hartford. Registration is $80 per person, and lunch is included.

Guest speakers will be John L. Allen, Jr., and Fr. Thomas Reese. Allen, associate editor for Catholic news and analysis at The Boston Globe and founder of the Vatican beat for National Catholic Reporter, will offer “Perspectives on Pope Francis and a Climate of Change.” Fr. Reese, National Catholic Reporter’s senior analyst, former associate editor of America magazine and author of The Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church, will discuss “Jesuit Spirituality.”

Six afternoon workshops, each presented twice, will help participants “turn talk into action”:

  • Parish Level Financial Accountability: Tools for Securing Collections – What simple steps can be taken to secure Sunday collections from basket to bank and all points in between?
  • Diocesan Level Financial Accountability: The Montana Hustle Case Study – How one Parish Finance Council doggedly pursued their bishop after their pastor misused funds and how new tools VOTF is developing will help monitor a diocese’s finances.
  • Clericalism – What is clericalism and how are the signs recognized? Participants will learn how this primary obstruction to collegial lay participation in the Church could be removed.
  • Priestless Parishes: There IS An Answer – How can the doors to optional celibacy be opened for a priesthood embracing the celibate and the married, so availability of the Eucharist is ensured?
  • Female Voices – How can women change the equation in a Church that too often positions them only in a mother or helper role? Today’s realities and future potential will be discussed with four women who serve as pastoral associates and in ministry positions.
  • Survivor Support: Spirituality & Trauma – Despite sexual trauma and clergy betrayal that leave scars that may involve rejecting church hierarchy and structure, the need for non-clerical spirituality continues, and Fr. Thomas Doyle will explore ways of healing and fulfillment.

An expert panel also will discuss Pathways to Healing and Reform, ways in which participants might help restore the Church. Panel members will include Fr. James Connell, canon lawyer and retired pastor who helped found Catholic Whistleblowers; Prof. Thomas Porter, trial lawyer, mediator, Methodist minister and teacher of restorative justice in Boston University’s School of Theology; and William Casey, coordinator of a restorative justice program at the Northern Virginia Mediation Service and former VOTF board chair.

Interested individuals may register online for the VOTF 2014 Assembly, download a printable registration form, make hotel reservations or get more information at www.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 governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.

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Is Catholic Church in Ireland Backpedaling on Child Protection

The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland appears to be backpedaling from earlier strict stances on child protection. Voice of the Faithful® in Ireland cites two examples.

First, Sean O’Conaill of VOTF in Ireland pointed out that Ian Elliott, CEO of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland for the past six years, has alleged that “over the past four years, there has been a successive reduction in the NBSCCC budget.”

Now retired, Elliott has published an article in this month’s issue of St. Patrick’s College’s monthly The Furrow, in which he said, “History has shown that the effective monitoring of (child protection) practice within the Church requires independence, and adequate resources. I would argue that to site investment within individual church authorities, and to starve the national Board of the support that it requires, is running the risk of a lapse back to poor risk management or possibly worse. I see no justification for it other than a desire to limit the role of the Board by covert means.”

“This is truly an alarming statement,” O’Conaill said. “Already, well informed Irish Catholics,” he continued, “have deep misgivings about the lack of strong structures of accountability for their bishops, especially on the issue of child protection. what Elliott warns about is a weakening of the limited accountability system that he established for bishops and religious congregations in Ireland.”

Second, O’Conaill indicated, the Church in Ireland has gone forward with development of spiritual support services for survivors after only token early meetings with survivors. This was done despite survivors having outlined the need to be “fully included in the development and delivery of such services” during meetings with the Irish bishops in 2008 and again in 2010 … On both occasions we felt sure that the bishops attending had heard this central message of the need to involve survivors in the development of pastoral support for themselves.”

Pastoral support for survivors is under the purview of Toward Peace, a program established in 2009 following from priorities the Irish bishops established to respond to survivors. O’Conaill quoted the bishops’ news release distributed at the end of their December 2013 meeting: “It is planned to launch Toward Peace in 2014.”

“We know of no survivor who heard of, or who attended any of the early meetings on this theme of spiritual support for survivors, who was subsequently fully involved in the development of a spiritual support service’ for survivors, or who has any idea of what this now forecast service ‘Toward Peace’ will provide – despite recent requests for information.

“Most importantly, we know of no survivor who is awaiting this soon-to-be launched ‘Toward Peace’ service with any trust or confidence – given the lack of transparency, the exclusion, the discourtesy and the condescension implicit in their experience of its development. These characteristics are diagnostic of the Catholic clericalism that has continued to delay their healing since their initial experiences of clerical sexual abuse – and are entirely incompatible with properly respectful and sensitive pastoral care, as well as with an understanding of the Church as the people of God.”

O’Conaill’s point is further elucidated by coverage of this issue in the Jan. 20 edition of the Irish Independent, “Survivors of Abuse Hit Out at Church Support Service.”

Two examples may not indicate a trend, but the situation bears watching.

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 governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.

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