Posts Tagged cover-up

Turning the abuse crisis discussion to deeper themes / National Catholic Reporter

“If we want to build a culture, a group of people that have things that they teach and learn, it has to be about relationships that are marked by love over fear, mercy over judgment and inclusion over exclusion.” (Sr. Carol Zinn in National Catholic Reporter)

Two Catholic leaders recently turned the discussion about the crisis in the church away from a focus on institutional change to the less measurable work of transformation, the significance of relationships and the need for members of the hierarchy to confront that culture’s past.

“Sr. Carol Zinn, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Philadelphia and executive director of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, and Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, widely considered one of the most significant forces in revealing the truth of the sex abuse crisis, advanced their ideas in separate interviews.

“The two were among participants and panelists in a Feb 28-29 session organized by the Leadership Roundtable, an organization formed in 2005 following the revelations of widespread abuse and cover-up in Boston. The Leadership Roundtable event, “From Crisis to Co-Responsibility: Creating a New Culture of Leadership,” was held at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington. The two-day event explored ways in which mostly structural change could lead to more transparency and accountability and greater involvement of laypeople in the life of the church.

“In a phone interview, Zinn provided an explanation particularly of comments she made differentiating between change and transformation and emphasized the significance of relationships in moving into the future. Scicluna, on another panel, referred to Zinn’s remarks, saying she had “profound insights about relationships. It’s all about relationships.”

By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

(Voice of the Faithful leaders President Mary Pat Fox and Vice President & Trustee Margaret Roylance were among the guests taking part in the discussions during the Leadership Roundtable’s 2020 Catholic Partnership Summit, Feb. 28-29, at the Fairmont Hotel, Washington, DC.)

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SNAP in the crosshairs II / Thomas Doyle

Photo of Tom DoyleRev. 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

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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.”

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Grand jury investigating sex abuse in Allentown / The Morning Call

The Pennsylvania attorney general’s office is looking into allegations of abuse by priests in the Allentown Diocese as part of a bigger statewide investigation, a lawmaker who was called to testify told The Morning Call on Thursday  (Sept. 15).

“The Harrisburg Diocese also is under investigation.

‘I can acknowledge that the Diocese of Harrisburg has received a subpoena from the state grand jury,’ spokesman Joe Aponick said Thursday.

“State prosecutors have been taking testimony in Pittsburgh for months in a wide-ranging investigation that started with a scathing March report detailing allegations of abuse by about 50 priests and other religious leaders in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese and a cover-up by church officials. It’s not clear how many of the state’s eight dioceses are being investigated.”

By Steve Esack, Peter Hall and Matt Assad, The Morning Call — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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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.

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Pope’s sex abuse panel scores awareness victory in Vatican / Associated Press

Pope Francis’ sex abuse commission has scored a victory within the Vatican: Members have been invited to address Vatican congregations and a training course for new bishops, suggesting that the Holy See now considers child protection programs to be an important responsibility for church leaders.

“Commission members praised the development as a breakthrough given that bishops have long been accused of covering up for abusers by moving pedophile priests from parish to parish rather than reporting them to police. For decades, the Vatican too turned a blind eye and failed to take action against problem priests or their bishop enablers.

“Commission members have already addressed the Vatican congregations for priests and religious orders and the Vatican’s diplomatic school. This week, members including Irish abuse survivor Marie Collins and the Vatican’s former sex-crimes prosecutor, Bishop Charles Scicluna, will address the new bishops’ course, which the Vatican hosts for all bishops named in the previous year to teach them how to run their dioceses.”

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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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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