Posts Tagged clerical sex abuse
Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, who has a doctorate in canon law and five master’s degrees, sacrificed a rising career at the Vatican Embassy to become an outspoken advocate for church abuse victims. Since 1984, when he became involved with the issue of sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy while serving at the Embassy, he has become an expert in the canonical and pastoral dimensions of this problem. The first part of his commentary on SNAP was published earlier in this blog.
As soon as the media announced that the two leaders of SNAP had resigned and that a former employee had filed a lawsuit, the usual suspects came out of the woodwork to hammer SNAP, Barbara Blaine, David Clohessy and several others who have been connected with SNAP in one way or another. The information they broadcast about SNAP and its problems all came from the complaint that initiated the lawsuit. No one has any “inside information.”
A complaint in a lawsuit is exactly that: a list of things with which the plaintiff took issue. The purpose of the legal process is to determine whether these complaints are true.
The complaint about SNAP and its central leadership tries to give the impression that the entire organization is somehow corrupt and working against sex abuse victims. Nothing could be further from reality. Nor is the national leadership the totality of SNAP, and vice versa. Thus, while the lawsuit names SNAP, the fact is that it’s really about less than a handful of members.
Most of the news stories triggered by the lawsuit have not vilified SNAP or its leaders. The exceptions come primarily from two notorious sources: David Pierre and Bill Donohue. Both of these individuals consistently deny the scope of clerical sex abuse and attribute the actions of survivors and their supporters to anti-Catholic sentiments instead of to a thirst for justice.
Pierre operates a web site called the Media Report, which I have read only once or twice and was singularly unenlightened each time.
Donohue has complained for years that SNAP promotes anti-Catholicism, and he endorses the baseless claim made in the lawsuit that SNAP leaders have a “pathological hatred of the Catholic Church.”
It’s a silly accusation. Yes, of course a lot of sex abuse survivors and those who support them are highly critical of the institutional church—and of bishops in particular. It’s a natural response to being abused and then having to endure the lying, cover ups, demonization, and manipulation by their trusted shepherds. Whether Donohue likes it or not, sexual molestation of innumerable minor boys and girls by Catholic clerics is a reality. No amount of spin or bombastic raving or charges of anti-Catholicism can make it go away. (The other reality is that the number of false accusations is miniscule.)
The ultimate anti-Catholic behavior, in my view, is the lying, cover up, demonization, and manipulation of victims by the bishops. Indeed, the prime cause of scandal, anger and “Catholic bashing” has not been the sex abuse itself but the behavior of the hierarchy world-wide.
Bishops who have secretly transferred sex abusers from parish to parish, protected them, and then lied about it not only deserve severe criticism but also, according to the Church’s own law enacted last May by Pope Francis, dismissal from office. Why? Because tolerating, protecting and enabling the molestation of children violates teachings that come from the core of the Church’s belief system: the Gospels of Jesus Christ.
Vilifying the victims of the Church’s ministers and attacking those who support them as “anti-Catholic” may generate headlines, but it cannot erase those basic truths. Catholic clergy abused children for decades (centuries); the bishops covered it up; and the Church still has not fully come to terms with that massive failure.
Contrary to the wishful thinking of many in Church leadership, it is not “over.” Victims of clergy abuse are still coming forward. In numerous other countries, the victims are organizing and standing up to the institutional Church just as they did in the U.S. Victims no longer will cower in the shadows. That era ended almost 40 years ago.
The forces who demand honesty, accountability, and transparency will continue hacking away at the False-Church facade so that the real thing, the “People of God,” can emerge to its rightful place.
A final thought about the lawsuit. A number of people who have read the complaint seem to believe there’s something fishy about it. One wonders if the real purpose has nothing to do with justice or whistleblowing but, like some of the other lawsuits aimed at SNAP, aims to use the legal process to force SNAP out of business.
April 20, 2017
“Collins’ departure laid bare the cultural chasm between the commission’s (Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors) outside experts, who proposed best-in-class ideas for protecting children, and the reality of the Vatican bureaucracy and its legal and administrative limitations.”
Pope Francis on Tuesday (Apr. 4) named a new official to oversee the Vatican office that processes clerical sex abuse cases amid mounting criticism over a yearslong backlog of cases and Francis’ handling of the problem.
The promotion of Monsignor John Kennedy to head of the discipline section of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith was the second abuse-related appointment in recent days. Francis named the Rev. Hans Zollner, one of the Catholic Church’s top experts on fighting abuse and protecting children, as an adviser to the Vatican’s office for clergy on Saturday (Apr. 1).
Francis and the Vatican have come under fresh scrutiny over their response to the abuse crisis since Irish survivor Marie Collins resigned from the pope’s sex abuse advisory commission on March 1, citing “unacceptable” resistance to the commission’s proposals from the Vatican’s doctrine office.
Collins’ departure laid bare the cultural chasm between the commission’s outside experts, who proposed best-in-class ideas for protecting children, and the reality of the Vatican bureaucracy and its legal and administrative limitations.
By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press — Read more …
Pope Francis said that clerical sexual abuse is the work of the devil, there’s corruption in the Vatican, warned against new religious orders with a “restorationist” mentality, and even appeared to take a gentle shot at reputed Marian apparitions such as Medjugorje, saying the real Madonna is not “the head of a post office that every day sends a different letter.”
“These are only a handful of the points Pope Francis touched on during a meeting with 140 Superiors General of male religious orders and congregations last November, in an informal, behind-closed doors exchange.
“The transcript of the encounter was published on Friday by the Jesuit-run magazine La Civiltà Cattolica, which is celebrating its issue number 4,000.”
By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.
U.S. priest tells Irish safeguarding meeting: Church is not haven for abusers / National Catholic Reporter
The Catholic church is “no longer a safe haven for child abusers,” said a top priest psychologist who advises the U.S. bishops on child sexual abuse. Msgr. Stephen Rossetti told hundreds of Irish delegates to the first national conference on safeguarding children that the Catholic church in the United States spent $43 million on child abuse prevention and education just last year …
“Rossetti, a professor at The Catholic University of America and a visiting professor at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University, thanked Marie Collins*, a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and a victim of clerical sex abuse, ‘and all those like you who have stood up and told your story. More than anything, this is what is turning the tide.’”
By Sarah MacDonald, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
*Marie Collins will be the featured speaker at the Voice of the Faithful 2015 National Assembly in Hartford, Connecticut, April 18.
Pope names former top prosecutor to head board for clergy abuse appeals / National Catholic Reporter
Pope Francis named the Vatican’s former chief prosecutor of clerical sex abuse cases to head his new doctrinal team dealing with appeals filed by clergy accused of abuse.
“Auxiliary Bishop Charles Scicluna, 55, of Malta was appointed president of the new board of review within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
“The Vatican announced his appointment as well as the names of the board’s eight other members Wednesday (Jan. 21).
“Before being named an auxiliary bishop in Malta in 2012, Scicluna spent 10 years as promoter of justice at the doctrinal congregation, handling accusations of clerical sex abuse. He said the church must respond to allegations clearly and not react with “inertia, a culture of silence or repression.”
By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.