Posts Tagged clergy sexual abuse scandal
“The central question (still confronting Catholic Clergy: What caused us, members of the Catholic clergy culture, to arrive at the point where we could devise a rationale that allowed us to walk away from the incalculable suffering of the community’s children in order to protect those members of the clergy culture who caused the suffering?” (National Catholic Reporter)
The story of Marie Collins, an Irish victim of clergy sex abuse and a witness of unimpeachable integrity, is a dual tale of how far the church has come in acknowledging and handling the scandal and of how wholly and demonstrably incapable the Catholic clerical culture is of dealing with its own sin.
“Collins was one of two survivors of clergy sex abuse who were appointed in 2014 to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, an agency created by Pope Francis. She resigned the commission in March, providing NCR with a long explanatory statement.
“Her decision to leave was not lightly taken. She had rejected the logic of some critics early on that any cooperation with church efforts was selling out to an institution that had generally ignored or re-victimized the abused for decades. She had later defended the work of the commission when its only other victim member, Peter Saunders, openly criticized the group for the slow pace of reform.
“In March, however, three years after her appointment, she wrote: ‘I have come to the point where I can no longer be sustained by hope. As a survivor, I have watched events unfold with dismay.’
“Among the primary reasons for her despair, she listed ‘lack of resources, inadequate structures around support staff, slowness of forward movement and cultural resistance.’
“Those first three are easily remedied: more money, more staff, pick up the pace.
“The last one — ‘cultural resistance’ — is the impenetrable, if invisible, shield, a kind of carapace protecting the clergy culture. It prevents the disturbing, ugly reality of what experts have termed the ‘soul murder’ of children from penetrating the deepest levels of the clerical culture. The awareness inside the encasement can expand only so far before it runs into the resistance of rigid boundaries.”
By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
Culture of silence abetted abuse of at least 547 German choir boys, inquiry finds / The New York Times
“‘Many described this time as the darkest period of their lives, dominated by violence, fear and helplessness,’ Mr. (Ulrich) Weber said (attorney leading independent inquiry).” (The New York Times)
For decades, a ‘culture of silence’ pervaded a Catholic music school where the brother of a future pope directed a renowned boys’ choir, contributing to an environment in which at least 547 children were abused, a lawyer who carried out an investigation of the mistreatment said on Tuesday (Jul. 18).
“The estimate of the number of children abused was far greater than a previous figure, 231, that the lawyer gave last year.
“The choir — the Regensburg Domspatzen, literally the Cathedral Sparrows — dates to the 10th century and continues to perform at Sunday Mass in Regensburg’s 16th-century Gothic cathedral. The choir’s music director from 1964 to 1994 was the Rev. Georg Ratzinger, whose younger brother, Joseph Ratzinger, reigned as Pope Benedict XVI from 2005 to 2013.”
By Melissa Eddy, The New York Times — Read more …
What continues to thwart the work of the church in finally putting this scandal behind us is that the hierarchy has yet to undertake the deep and likely painful examination of the role the all-male clerical culture of the church has played in this scandal. At its core, this scandal is not about sex, it is about how power and authority are wielded in the church. Until that changes, little else will.”
By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff — Read more …
“Despite Pope Francis’ call for ‘zero tolerance’ by the church in handling cases of clergy abuse against minors, change has not been swift worldwide. ” (National Catholic Reporter)
Three months after India’s theologians and Catholic religious pressed a congress of bishops to act aggressively against a wave of sex abuse cases involving priests, no official response has come.
“But top church leaders told National Catholic Reporter in exclusive interviews that bishops in India are following Vatican-approved guidelines for handling clergy abuse cases. The guidelines took effect in 2015 but have not been shared beyond bishops and religious superiors to protect the policy from being misused, an officer in the bishops’ conference told NCR.
“The March 22 letter, signed by 127 Catholic religious, theologians and feminists, was sent to Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, with copies to heads of India’s three ritual churches.”
By Jose Kevi, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
“But (Robert) Mickens said Francis has never made the church’s sexual abuse crisis a priority of his administration.” (Religion News Service)
As the Vatican reeled from news that one of its top officials was taking a leave to fight historical sex abuse charges in Australia, the spotlight quickly turned to Pope Francis, with his critics slamming him for failing to do enough to tackle the vexing issue.
“Cardinal George Pell, the most senior figure in church history to face child sex abuse charges, is the Vatican’s financial czar and a trusted adviser to the pope.
“Pell, 76, is facing ‘multiple charges in respect of historic sexual offences,’ said police in the Australian state of Victoria.”
By Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service — Read more …
Jun. 29, 2017―The Catholic clergy sexual abuse scandal today reached into the heart of the Vatican. Pontifical advisor and prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy Cardinal George Pell of Australia has been granted leave by Pope Francis to return to Australia to answer charges over allegations of historical child sexual abuse.
Allegations of abuse and coverup have dogged Pell for years, at least since 2002, but he was never charged with historical child sex abuse until now. The Australian police have released no additional information about the present charges.
Voice of the Faithful applauds the actions taken thus far: Pell’s return to Australia and leave of absence from his position in Rome. Our regret is that such steps are, like so many responses to charges of clergy sex abuse, long-delayed by past reluctance of both civil and Church authorities to credit the complaints of victims.
Mary Pat Fox, Voice of the Faithful president, said she commends the Australian authorities for making every effort to hold those responsible for the abuse of minors accountable regardless of when the abuse occurred. “The Statute of Limitations in most states within the U.S. has stood in the way of many victims getting justice. We are pleased to see Pope Francis support actions of the civil judicial system. Though a person is innocent until proven guilty, the Church has often acted to stand in the way of the judicial system.”
Voice of the Faithful Statement, Jun. 29, 2017
Contact: Nick Ingala, firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.
“The pope has achieved global popularity for his emphasis on inclusiveness and mercy, but he has come under increased criticism for the slow pace and reported internal resistance to efforts to safeguard victims of sexual abuse by priests and protect children in the church.” (The New York Times)
In an extraordinary statement, the Holy See announced on Thursday (Jun. 29) morning that Pope Francis had granted a leave of absence to Cardinal George Pell of Australia, a top Vatican official, adviser to the pontiff and as of this week the highest-ranking Roman Catholic prelate to be formally charged with sexual assault, so that he could return to Australia to defend himself.
“Speaking at the Vatican press office, Cardinal Pell, wearing simple black clerical cloths and a dangling cross, read a statement declaring his innocence against the charges and what he called leaks by the news media and ‘relentless character assassination.’
“‘I am looking forward finally to having my day in court,’ Cardinal Pell said as he sat next to a Vatican spokesman. ‘I am innocent of the charges. They are false. The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me.’
“The Australian police served the cardinal’s legal representatives hours earlier in Melbourne and have yet to reveal the details of the charges or the ages of the complainants.”
By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times — Read more …