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.
The official Vatican news outlet, L'Osservatore Romano, has added the Beatles to the Holy See's long "forgiveness" list of notorious 'evil secularists," once condemned by the morally aloof Roman church. The absolution was given to honor the 40th anniversary of the break-up of the Fab Four.
"This Beatles-is-beautiful revelation in the face of ongoing allegations of sexual abuse by priests worldwide is sadly illustrative of the Vatican’s handling of the matter. Irrelevant. Disconnected. And once again, decades too late." -- Commentary, ChronicleHerald.ca
Similarly, Wilde, who was once sent to prison for acts of "gross indecency" with Lord Alfred Douglas and later converted to Catholicism, and who was regarded by the Roman Church in the century since his death as a "dangerous degenerate and dissolute nonconformist" -- was just last year given Roman Catholic absolution as well. L'Osservatore published the holy office's turn-around saying that Wilde was "one of the personalities of the 19th century who most lucidly analyzed the modern world in its disturbing as well as its positive aspects."
But despite the ludicrous "forgiveness" of these notorious sinners, there is still this kind of memorial to commemorate:
"You want to talk anniversaries? Here’s one for the Catholic Church: 20 years ago, the Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John’s, N.L., was closed for good. That was 1990. The allegations of sexual and physical abuse by Christian Brothers and staff dated back to the 1950s. The official coverups started in earnest in the mid-1970s." -- Chronicle Herald
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French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero Wednesday said the remarks linking the abuse to homosexuality was "unacceptable." He said France is committed to the struggle against discrimination and prejudice linked to sexual orientation and gender identity.
Gay rights groups also condemned the remarks by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
Read the whole story on the Voice of America Website ...
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"The passage of this legislation could potentially have a devastating financial effect on the Catholic dioceses of Connecticut, including parish assets and those of other Catholic service organizations," said the letter to pastors from Archbishop Henry J. Mansell of Hartford, Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport and Bishop Michael R. Cote of Norwich.
The bill that would eliminate the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits in cases of sexual abuse.
Catholic News Service today reports that the bishops' letter was distributed in churches April 10 and 11. In it the bishops said H.B. 5473, which "also targets the Catholic Church across the state ... has potentially disastrous fallout for all of us" The measure could be voted on in the General Assembly within two weeks.
Read the story on the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Website ...
Read the CNS article in today's National Catholic Reporter ...
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"But it's clear that the age of the priest is of far more importance to Ratzinger than the age of the minors he raped. All the sympathy and concern is with the rapist, not the raped. This is a document about protecting the powerful even when they rape the powerless." -- The Atlantic, 10 April 2010
Read the full story in The Atlantic ...
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"Vatican II was a step toward the democratizing of the Catholic Church, which is why Catholic fundamentalists have been seeking to undo it ever since. Fundamentalist-in-chief has been Joseph Ratzinger. ...
An example of what must happen now came from the American nuns who recently defied the Rome-obsessed bishops to support President Obama’s health reform bill. The nuns acted as if the reforms of Vatican II are real. Now priests and lay people must do the same, rescuing the Catholic Church from its fundamentalists, including the present pope." -- Former priest, and columnist for the Boston Globe, James Carroll.
Read Carroll's "Rescue Catholicism from Vatican" in the Boston Globe ...
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Read the entire story in today's Boston Globe ...
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"History and commonsense tell us that ancient, rigid, secretive cultures change very slowly, especially when the basic structure causing and sanctioning hurtful behaviors doesn’t change at all. A dictator abuses power because he can. He can promise reform, but if he remains a dictator, it’s naïve to expect real change." SNAP President Barbara Blaine
Read the entire SNAP statement on the SNAP National Website ...
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Babini denied he had made any anti-Semitic remarks, and was backed by the Italian Bishops Conference (CEI), saying: “Statements I have never made about our Jewish brothers have been attributed to me.”
However, Bruno Volpe, who interviewed Babini for Pontifex, confirmed that the bishop had made the statement, which was reported widely in the Italian press today. Pontifex threatened to release the audio tape of the interview as proof.
Read the entire article in the British publication TimesOnline ...
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"The Vatican must realize that the church’s belligerent, resentful and paranoid response to the global scandal is not working because it now says it will cooperate with secular justice systems and that the pope will have more meetings with victims. It is too little, too late." -- NY Times, April 11, 2010
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Here is the paragraph from the letter, translated from Latin by the Times, in which Ratzinger listed "all involved" who would benefit from his judgment. They are:
- "The Universal Church;"
- "The petitioner" (in other words, the pedophile asking for laicization); and
- The church hierarchy, fearing "that granting the dispensation can provoke the community of Christ's faithful."
"This court, although it regards the arguments presented in favor of removal in this case to be of grave significance, nevertheless deems it necessary to consider the good of the Universal Church together with that of the petitioner, and it is also unable to make light of the detriment that granting the dispensation can provoke with the community of Christ's faithful, particularly regarding the young age of the petitioner." -- Joseph Ratzinger
Nowhere in the Ratzinger list, or in any other place in the letter, are the victims mentioned.
Read the letter, and follow the entire document trail in today's NYTimes.
Read the AP article reporting Vatican responses.
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“It’s evident that it’s not an in-depth and serious use of documents,” Lombardi said.
Judge for yourself, then, says the NYTimes:
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"Bishop Cummins had first petitioned the doctrinal office to defrock Mr. Kiesle in 1981. He also wrote directly to Pope John Paul II. Cardinal Ratzinger requested more information, which officials in the Oakland Diocese supplied in February 1982. They did not hear back from Cardinal Ratzinger until 1985, when he sent the letter in Latin suggesting that his office needed more time to evaluate the case." -- NYTimes, 09 April 2010.
According to records published today by the NYTimes, Kiesle was convicted of sexually abusing young boys between the ages of 11 and 13 in 1978. His bishop wrote the Vatican to have him defrocked -- which Kiesle himself demanded -- in 1981. Ratzinger responded in 1985, and Kiesle was defrocked in 1987.
Here are longer excerpts, followed by a link to the entire article and to SNAP's response.
"In August of 1978 he was arrested by the police and charged with having taken sexual liberties with at least six young men ranging from eleven to thirteen years of age during the period of November 1977 through May 1978. When he appeared in court, Father Kiesle pleaded "nolo contendere" (no contest) to the charges."
... "Given all the circumstances surrounding this case and Father Kiesle's irrevocable decision to leave the active ministry, it would seem to me most prudent that his petition be granted.
"Therefore, since all of these things are attested to in the Acts of the case, it is our opinion that this case should be submitted to you with the petition that Father Stephen Kiesle be relieved of all of the obligations of the priesthood."
-- John S. Cummins, Bishop of Oakland, 19 June 1981.
"This court, although it regards the arguments presented in favor of removal in this case to be of grave significance, nevertheless deems it necessary to consider the good of the Universal Church together with that of the petitioner, and it is also unable to make light of the detriment that granting the dispensation can provoke with the community of Christ's faithful, particularly regarding the young age of the petitioner. "
-- (signed) Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, November, 1985.
Kiesle was defrocked in 1987, 2 years after Ratzinger's reaction to the case, and 9 years after Kiesle's conviction as a pedophile.
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But the commentary goes even further, suggesting that the diplomatic immunity of the Vatican "state" itself is in question.
Former Bush administration lawyer John B Bellinger III, in 2005, had certified that Pope Benedict the XVI was immune from suit "as the head of a foreign state" when the pope and his entourage came to America. Bellinger is now notorious for his defence of Bush administration torture policies. His opinion on papal immunity is even more questionable. It hinges on the assumption that the Vatican is a state.
"But the papal states were extinguished by invasion in 1870 and the Vatican was created by fascist Italy in 1929 when Mussolini endowed this tiny enclave – 0.17 of a square mile containing 900 Catholic bureaucrats – with "sovereignty in the international field ... in conformity with its traditions and the exigencies of its mission in the world."
Read the full story in the Guardian.
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"The pope’s reluctance to take a firm stance on sexual abuse by priests is expanding into a crisis for the Catholic Church and fueling outrage over his papacy. Some Catholics are now even calling on Benedict, who has committed a series of gaffes since becoming pope in 2005, to resign." -- German Newspaper Der Speigel 06 April 2010
Read this explosive and detailed 7 segment critique of the current papacy on the Der Speigel Germany website.
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Read the whole story in the San Antonio Express-News.
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Pope Benedict and the Vatican have come under growing criticism as allegations of clergy sex abuse have spread across Europe. Some of the cases have raised questions about whether Pope Benedict did enough to root out pedophile priests under his watch before he became pope.
The renewed scrutiny has Bernie McDaid and another abuse victim who attended the 2008 meeting with the pope re-examining its meaning and lasting impact.
Read the full AP story from March 28 in the Ogden Standard.
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Read the full story in today's Washington Post.
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The Huffington Post reports today that in an Easter Sunday interview with Ian Masters on KPFK Los Angeles earlier today, Catholic author and former Paulist priest James Carroll (Practicing Catholic; Constantine's Sword; Toward A New Catholic Church) calls for all Catholics begin acting as if the reforms of Vatican II are reality.
Carroll calls on Catholics to break ranks with what he calls a "corrupt, pope-centered clerical system" at the root of the clergy sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.
Hear the entire 3 part, half-hour interview at the Website of The Huffington Post.
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Holy Thursday, April 1, 2010
The reports that Pope Benedict had mishandled a clergy sex abuse case when he was archbishop of Munich have sharpened the focus of international attention on the Pope, the Vatican and the seemingly perpetual problem of clergy sex abuse in the Catholic Church. This revelation coincided with what some believed might be the culmination of the furor in Ireland by the pope’s Pastoral Letter to the Irish People. Questions about the Munich case and the mixed reception of the papal letter have guaranteed that critical interest will intensify rather than recede.
First, a brief summary of what I suspect happened in Munich back in 1980. The priest in question was credibly accused of sexually molesting two minors. His bishop arranged for him to go from his home diocese, Essen, to Munich, to receive treatment. Read More...
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I’m excited to report that we have a great turnout for our Day of Rest and Relaxation this Saturday. I assure you that you will be glad you signed up.
This professionally-facilitated day has been developed to honor YOU and meet you where you are in your healing. It is not structured like an ordinary support group meeting. You can share as little or as much as you are comfortable. There are many of you who haven’t come to a support meeting. You just might find this Saturday’s event an easier introduction to SNAP DFW as there will be several brand new attendees. Moreover, I would really like to meet you.
I will be very happy to welcome you all, both survivors and those with loved ones who were abused. Let's all have a great day honoring each other and our fellow survivors everywhere.
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"Contrary to what a few in Rome are saying, we are not "ignoble," "despicable" or engaging in "petty gossip." We are men, women and children who are in deep pain, having been raped, sodomized and assaulted by Catholic clergy and often betrayed by Catholic officials. Our trauma - past and present - should never be trivialized by anyone, much less by those who profess to be caring shepherds." -- Barbara Blaine, SNAP President
Preaching to those gathered in St Peter's square during a Palm Sunday service, the pope, trivialized the global cries of the sexually abused victims of Roman Catholic priests and of the hierarchy that protects them, saying he would not allow himself "to be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinion".
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