A message from SNAPDFW’s facilitator, Lisa Kendzior
Acknowledge your courage
It takes courage to acknowledge that we’ve been abused and it is not easy to even admit it to ourselves. Just browsing this website is a big step.
Know that you are not alone!
If you’ve been victimized by clergy, please know that you are not alone. You can get better. You can reach out to others who’ve been hurt just like you have.
Together, we can heal one another.
BishopAccountability.org provides a valuable service by providing facts about clergy sex abuse. They do this without being partisan and without skewing information. They are archivists of information, not any sort of propaganda organization. It is one thing for Vatican officials to turn a blind eye to these facts, as they have done for years, but it is quite another to attempt to prevent others from seeing them as well, particularly by lying about its content.
The very name of this organization (BISHOPS ACCOUNTABILITY) shows exactly what church officials are afraid of; being held accountable for their decades of inaction on clergy sex abuse. Today, they finally took action, but once again, it was the wrong one. By refusing to allow themselves to be held accountable, they prove ever more how it is true that it is people, not polices that are the problem.
This is a cowardly move, and it should be known as such. We applaud BishopAccountability.org in their work, and the fact that they are trying to be silenced today proves just how much of an impact they have made, and despite this setback, will continue to make.
(Note: The report says It is still possible to access the website from non-Vatican controlled servers. Only Vatican servers are blocking the site).
Read 'Access to clergy sex abuse site limited at Vatican' in the National Catholic Reporter ...
Read 'ITALY - Victims praise abuse archive; question Vatican censorship' on the SNAP national website
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O'Brien previously denied the allegations through his spokesman. On Saturday, he released a statement acknowledging the abuse and asking forgiveness.
As a Roman Catholic cardinal, appointed by Benedict XVI, O'Brien was entitled to take part in the secret vote to determine the next leader of the Roman Catholic Church
However, he recused himself from the conclave following news reports of allegations of abusive and unwanted sexual contact with three priests and one former priest. The incidents are reported to have occurred over the past 30 years.
Read the full account in 'Scottish cardinal admits improper sexual conduct' on the National Catholic Reporter website ...
Read 'Don't call it an affair. Call it what it is - the illegal and dehumanizing abuse of professional religious power ' here on the SNAPDFW website ...
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Like all UN member states signing the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Vatican is required by international law to submit regular reports on its efforts to safeguard child rights, well-being and dignity.
But the Vatican has ignored these repeated UN requests to file their report for over 15 years.
The UN committee has summoned the Vatican to answer questions about its record of ensuring children are protected from sexual violence. This is the first time the Holy See will have been called to account for its actions on these issues before an international body with authority. The first meeting will take place in Geneva in June.
SNAP FILES ALTERNATE REPORT
On 28 February 2013 the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed an alternate report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child documenting the ongoing worldwide sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.
“When the Committee on the Rights of the Child meets in June and demands answers from the Vatican on its handling of the epidemic of sexual violence in the church, it will be a historic day for survivors. The church has put itself and its reputation above the welfare of children at every step, in many cases knowingly moving a pedophile priest from one congregation to the next to keep things quiet, allowing the priest to continue to operate and have contact with children. This UN body has authority to determine whether the Holy See has violated the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It’s a long overdue calling to account.” -- Pam Spees, Senior Attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights
According to the UNICEF website Unite for Children, filing the report is a legally binding, international responsibility:
""The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first legally binding international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights—civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. In 1989, world leaders decided that children needed a special convention just for them because people under 18 years old often need special care and protection that adults do not. The leaders also wanted to make sure that the world recognized that children have human rights too." Unite for Children, UNICEF
- NSAC Editorial: Yet Another Deadline Passes, Still No Report
- Vatican 13 years delinquent in submitting legally required UN report on 'Rights of the Child'
- SNAP petitions international court to investigate the pope and top Vatican officials for possible crimes against humanity
- Amnesty International human rights report lists Vatican for failure to protect children
- Vatican 2010 priorities: protect assets; ignore 'Rights of the Child'
- Moral bankruptcy of Roman hierarchy read into record of United Nations Human Rights Council
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So writes one of only two (the other being Benedict XVI) still living Vatican II Roman Catholic theologians, Hans Küng.
Writing in the New York Times this week, Küng speculates on the future of the Roman church. He also reflects on the broken papacy of his one time colleague, Joseph Ratzinger:
"The major scandals during his papacy are known: there was Benedict’s recognition of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre’s arch-conservative Society of St. Pius X, which is bitterly opposed to the Second Vatican Council, as well as of a Holocaust denier, Bishop Richard Williamson.
There was the widespread sexual abuse of children and youths by clergymen, which the pope was largely responsible for covering up when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. And there was the “Vatileaks” affair, which revealed a horrendous amount of intrigue, power struggles, corruption and sexual lapses in the Curia, and which seems to be a main reason Benedict has decided to resign."
If the next conclave were to elect a pope who goes down the same old road, the church will never experience a new spring, but fall into a new ice age and run the danger of shrinking into an increasingly irrelevant sect.-- Vatican II theologian Hans Küng in the New York Times
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When persons in positions of power — counselors, pastors, physicians — attempt to engage in sexual relationships with those over whom they have authority, the relationship is not consensual ... the act is legally defined as abuse because of the authority the professional holds.
-- Diana Garland, Dean of Baylor University School of Social Work
SNAPDFW not only supports and advocates for survivors of clergy abuse occurring in childhood, but for adults abused by clergy as well.
In an article published in the Waco, Texas Tribune on January 24, 2010, guest columnist Diana Garland, Dean of Baylor University School of Social Work, addresses the highly misunderstood issue of abuse perpetrated upon adults who trust in the care of their clergy.
"Clergy sexual misconduct with adults is a more nuanced issue than the sexual abuse of children. Sexual involvement of an adult with a child is always wrong because we know that children are not developmentally able to give consent. Because adults always have authority over children, children cannot “just say no” to adults.
When the sexual offense occurs between adults, however, we assume that if there is no physical coercion, the relationship is consensual. In fact, however, when persons in positions of power — counselors, pastors, physicians — attempt to engage in sexual relationships with those over whom they have authority, the relationship is not consensual. The feelings or willingness of the victim are irrelevant; the act is legally defined as abuse because of the authority the professional holds."
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According to a report by an independent council of Zen teachers assembled to hear the stories of those affected, these sexual encounters were often initiated "in the formal setting, privacy, and 'face-to-face' encounters of the sanzen room."
I have decided to come forward now because to allow this kind of abuse to go unacknowledged, when so many of us know it has been happening is, in my opinion, inexcusable. I will not be silent any more. -- Eshu Martin, former Zen Student of Sasaki
Sanzen is a ritualized private meeting between a Zen student and Zen teacher. Their report also stated that there were reports of coercion and that Sasaki would at times frame the sexual contact as being a form of Zen teaching, or otherwise beneficial to the student.
SNAP PROVIDES INDEPENDENT SUPPORT CONTACT FOR SURVIVORS OF ZEN ABUSE
Barbara Dorris of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) has graciously offered to serve as an independent contact person for women who experienced the behavior of Joshu Sasaki currently under discussion.
An item on the Sweeping Zen website says, "Barbara (Dorris of SNAP) has been dealing with people who have been involved with clergy for many many years and is completely trustworthy. She also is not a Buddhist cleric or affiliated with any Buddhist institution that might have vested interest in whatever reports might be received."
Barbara can be reached at: (314) 862-7688.
Read the Sweeping Zen Article 'Everybody Knows' by former Sasaki student Eshu Martin
Read the report by independent council of Zen Teachers
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“I find these files to be brutal and painful reading. "The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil. There is no excuse, no explaining away what happened to these children."- Jose Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles, January 31, 2013
After 5 years of legal stonewalling, engineered by the then Cardinal Archbishop of Los Angeles, Roger Mahoney and designed to prevent public release of documents incriminating the diocese, the Roman church, and Mahoney himself in the cover up of years of power and sexual abuse by priests, the diocese was finally ordered by the court to release the 12,000 pages of files.
The long secret files and other priest personnel records showed how Mahoney worked with top aides to protect the Roman Catholic Church from accepting responsibility in the abuse crisis.
"I find these files to be brutal and painful reading," said Jose Gomez, Mahoney's successor appointed to rule over the enormous California archdiocese by the Roman pontiff.
Gomez said Mahony, now retired, would no longer have administrative or public duties in the diocese. The unprecedented move by Gomez came less than two weeks after the long-awaited court order.
The timing of Gomez's action is suspect, suggests Terence McKiernan, president of Bishops Accountability.
"Gómez has had these documents for months and known about Mahony's wrongdoing long before now. And yet Mahony has continued to be an honored prelate and prince of the church. The difference is that now the people have access to evidence of Mahony's misdeeds. Sadly, we see the church acting ethically in these matters only when its actions become known,"- Terence McKeirnan, president Bishops Accountability
Furthermore, it remained unclear early Friday exactly what it means to limit Mahony's duties. He has not been removed from ministry -- the Church's now required policy for abusers.
And an archdiocese spokesman, Tod Tamberg, told the Los Angeles Times that Mahoney will remain a "priest in good standing."
"The church files are filled with outrage, pain and confusion. There are handwritten notes from distraught mothers, accounts of furious phone calls from brothers and perplexed inquiries from the police following up on allegations of priests sexually abusing children."- NYTimes, February 1, 2013
Read 'Diocese Papers in Los Angeles Detail Decades of Abuse' in the NYTimes, Feb 1, 2013
Read 'Priest files reveal disturbing stories of child molestation, coverup' in the Los Angeles Times
Read 'Leading U.S. cardinal punished for role in abuse scandal' in USA Today February 1, 2013
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Her story talks about a church here in Dallas, Prestonwood Baptist Church. She has paid a high price for speaking out, but she is one of the few who “walks the walk” and we are proud to call her friend. Amy is an unrelenting fighter and someone you want on your side.
This is my story
This is my story of how I came to be an advocate for survivors of child sexual abuse and the personal price I would pay as a result. But I would do it again.
I loved my church, Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas. I spent my years in high school as a dedicated member of the youth ministry, and while attending Baylor University, I spent my summers as an intern on the youth staff at Prestonwood. It was there I met my then youth music minister, John Langworthy. John soon became a close friend of our family, even living in our home for a while in the mid 1980s while on staff at Prestonwood and attending seminary. I was in his wedding in Mississippi. He was a friend and mentor.
Read the full story ...
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Hundreds of Roman Catholic priests have been credibly accused or convicted of sexual abuse of thousands of both children and adults in recent years. Yet only 2 Roman hierarchs have been convicted of abetting this horror, and only one of those has been sentenced to prison.
The only top ranking Roman official to be convicted of leaving a pedophile priest on the job, the bishop of St. Louis, was given a walk – a suspended sentence, no jail time, and he will walk away with no criminal record.
- Read the story in The Guardian …
- Read the NYTimes editorial …
- Read SNAP’s ignored letter to the pope …
- Read the facts agreed to by both sides …
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A well-known Catholic priest who hosts a weekly religious television show said in an interview this week that child sex abusers are often seduced by teenage boys and should not go to jail on a first offense.
The Rev. Benedict Groeschel, 79, who hosts a weekly show on Catholic television network EWTN, made the comments in an interview with the National Catholic Register. He also referred to convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky as a "poor guy."
"People have this picture in their minds of a person planning to - a psychopath. But that's not the case. Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him.
"(In) a lot of the cases, the youngster ... is the seducer," Groeschel is quoted as saying in the interview, which is no longer available on the paper's website.
The interview, billed as a reflection on the 25 years since Groeschel founded the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal order, covered many topics, but has gained attention for Groeschel's comments on child sex abuse.
Read this unconscionable story at ABC news ...
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View the discussion on the Huff Post website ...
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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—working directly with victims, their families, accused priests, bishops, and other high-ranking Church officials.
In this lively interview by Allison Hope Weiner on the Media Mayhem website, Doyle pulls no punches in discussing the continued gravity of the Roman Catholic priest sexual abuse crisis, poses such provocative questions as why is it that Penn State would take down those who covered up the hideous crimes of a revered football coach, while the Roman Catholic hierarchy continues legalistically defending itself and its established vested interests from any and all accusations of wrong doing?
Watch this insightful and provocative discussion by one of the world's leading experts in the clergy abuse crisis.
Watch this video, and see many others, on the Media Mayhem pages on thelip.tv website ...
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