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.
"This month, it was the Leadership Conference of Women Religious that bishops were concerned about. Before that, it was Catholic Charities in the United States. Then it was Caritas, the church's umbrella organization for the coordination of international charity. And now it is the Girl Scouts." -- Joan Chittister
Joan Chittister is a well-known and outspoken Benedictine nun in the Roman church in America. In her column 'From Where I Stand' published May 16 on the National Catholic Reporter website, Joan speaks up loudly about the preposterous and apparently random gyrations of the all-male Catholic hierarchy caste, asking the following key question:
Where has all this energy for empirical destruction come from in a church now projecting its own serious problems with sexual issues onto everything that moves?
In the powerful article, Chittister says that each of the groups attacked has been "curtailed, 'investigated' or put in some kind of canonical receivership because of their reputed lack of orthodoxy on sexual issues or because of association with other groups that, according to the bishops, have the same problem. And all of that in the face of the sex abuse debacle of the church itself, still to be resolved, never monitored, and totally closed to outside investigation."
The article also briefly reviews a new book: Pius XII: The Hound of Hitler by noted historian Gerard Noel. Noel traces the rise to power of Eugenio Pacelli (a.k.a. Pius XII) whose goal became the centralization of the church, and the control of all its organizations. "Under Pacelli, law became the power of the church; the Gospel, its victim."
Chittister goes on:
"For the first time in history, the Vatican took sole control of episcopal appointments, extended "infallibility" to "definitive" statements like encyclicals and gave the pope the right to declare on universal issues without the advice and consent of episcopal conferences, synods or councils. It was a recipe for monarchical control. And it worked.
"Now, as a result, bishops are cut out of common cloth. They are chosen to be what the Vatican wants rather than what the culture or the people need. They are an arm of the Vatican rather than the voice of the flock in dialogue with the Vatican."
Read the full article in the National Catholic Reporter of 16 May 2012:
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Read the story from the Philadelphia Inquirer ...
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In the statement, Pesha said that "after much thought and consultation" Carlson had decided to restructure the archdiocese's legal representation, pointing out that "a number of dioceses throughout the country follow this similar structure."
Read more in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ...
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The BBC's This World program reports that as late as 2010 Brady had the names and addresses of those being abused by Brendan Smyth, "Ireland's most prolific pedophile," but did nothing about it, and did not ensure their safety.
Read the full story in the BBC News ...
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"Given the known scope of the abuse in the California dioceses, it is nearly unfathomable that, even now, the California bishops are lobbying against modest extensions of the statute of limitations and meaningful background investigations for those working closely with children on a regular basis" -- Victims advocate, attorney Marci Hamilton
Read full article: 'Catholic bishops lobby against legislation to protect children new=true'
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Robert Finn, religious superior of the Kansas City - St. Joseph diocese of the Roman church, will be compelled to face a jury of his peers to plead absolution from the criminal charges which he denies.
With the decision in the Missouri court Thursday, Finn becomes the first Roman hierarch to face criminal charges in the decades old Roman Catholic priest sexual abuse crisis.
- Judge orders Kansas City bishop to stand trial in abuse case
- Judge John Torrence's order
- KC bishop charged with failure to report child abuse
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In a case that represents a shift toward holding the Catholic Church hierarchy legally accountable for failing to warn parents or police about abusive priests, and under 5 years of county prosecutor supervision, the church that refuses women ministerial leadership roles, has accepted their court-watched leadership to avoid further prosecution, and is allowing the women to plan the protection of the diocese's innocents from abusive and pedophile priests.
The womens' plan, in its simple essence, is this.
When abuse is suspected,
1. Call the police;
2. Call an abuse hotline;
3. Call the church -- IN THAT ORDER.
"The diocese’s model for responding to abuse concerns has changed fundamentally. The initial response has been taken out of the hands of clergy" -- Carrie Cooper, leader of child protection efforts for the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.
We would suggest one change in the plan for our site's visitors and readers: if your own diocese is not under court insistence to comply, AND under leadership other than clergy, then the plan should be this:
- Call the police;
- Call an abuse hotline - period.
The Roman Catholic Church in the United States has, for over ten years, ignored SNAP's insistence that they do precisely that.
Now, out of one hand,
- The KC diocese lawyers attack SNAP -- with obvious approval from the USCCB;
- under criminal indictment, secular court supervision, and the leadership of women, the diocese starts protecting its children.
The result of this secular enforcement finally begins to put some parishioner donations -- and the actual protection of the innocent -- where only their priests', bishops' and pope's mouths have been in the past.
- Read the lead story in the Kansas City Star:
- Read the Associated Press story:
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In the book’s most striking accusation, one of the authors, José Barba, who holds a doctorate from Harvard in Latin American studies, writes that in 2001 Joseph Ratzinger (today, a.k.a. Benedict XVI) and his chief canon lawyer Tarcisio Bertone (a high ranking member of the Roman Curia) modified the statute of limitations in church law regarding sex with minors retroactively in favor of the rapist priest and the order's founder Marcial Marciel, outrageously violating the human rights and legitimate interests of his victims.
- Read the Jason Berry article in the National Catholic Reporter:
'Ratzinger altered canon law to soften Maciel punishment, book argues' ...
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The documentation has been compiled in a book "La voluntad de no saber" ("The will to not know"), which is co-authored by Jose Barba, a former Legion priest who along with other priests in 1998 brought a church trial against the Legion's founder, the Rev. Marciel Maciel, for having sexually abused them while they were seminarians.
"The importance of this book is that it documents the irrefutable evidence and proof that the Vatican has been lying about Maciel," said Bernardo Barranco, an expert from the Religious Studies Center of Mexico and author of the prologue of the new text.
- Read: Washington Post article 'Pope Mexico trip clouded by documents that show Vatican knew of Legion founder’s abuse'
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The bank of the Roman Catholic Church has been trying to clean up its image after 30 million dollars of its assets were frozen at the end of 2010 in a money laundering investigation.
The pope immediately issued a "motu proprio" - in effect, an executive order -- creating an internal mechanism in an effort to satisfy the international banking community over transparency issues related to fraud and money laundering. JP Morgan's current move seems to indicate that that effort to save papal face has not been very successful.
The public image of the Holy See's bank has also been harmed by the so-called "Vatileaks" scandal, in which highly sensitive documents, including letters to the pope, were published in Italian media.
Some of the leaked documents appear to show a conflict among top Vatican officials about just how transparent the bank should be in dealings that took place before it enacted its new laws.
Once again, the Roman Church hierarchy shows its true colors, valuing its cash over the protection of children. But even in that case, the 'sacred' subterfuge and silencing speaks volumes.
- Read the Huffington Post article: Vatican Bank Account Closed At JP Morgan, Image May Be Hurt
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Sources for the newspaper said that the surgical removal of testicles was regarded as a treatment for homosexuality and also as a punishment for those who accused clergy of sexual abuse.
Sources told Dutch news that surgical removal of testicles was regarded ... as a punishment for those who accused clergy of sexual abuse...
-- The Telegraph, 19 Mar 2012.
The castration was also reported to an official inquiry into abuse within the Catholic Church by a family friend who knew Mr Heithuis in the 1950s. But the report, and the evidence with it, were ignored in the final report.
Dutch officials will call for a parliamentary investigation.
- Read The Telegraph article: Dutch Roman Catholic Church 'castrated at least 10 boys' ...
- Read The Huffington Post article: Dutch Roman Catholic Church Castrated Boys As 'Treatment' For Homosexuality ...
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The court threw out the complaint, saying that Missouri law does not allow it because judging the supervision of the priest would require inquiry into religious doctrine, which it contends would violate the First Amendment.
Let's repeat the core of that: the Missouri court said:
The Supreme Court will have an opportunity on Friday to reverse that decision. Let's hope the high court does precisely that.
"This bizarre conclusion would grant churches a special exemption from neutral, generally applicable laws designed to protect children. The United States Supreme Court now has an opportunity to reverse this erroneous interpretation of the Constitution." -- NY Times Editorial, 14 Mar 2012
The question to be presented to the Supreme Court on Friday will be this:
Does the First Amendment shield religious organizations from accountability for negligence and negligent supervision and retention of their employees who sexually abuse children?
Read: Clerical Abusers and the First Amendment in yesterday's NYTimes ...
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