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 Vatican and the Jeyapaul Case
from the Bishops Accountability website
In 2004, Catholic priest Jeyapaul Joseph Palanivel was accepted by the U.S. Diocese of Crookston in Minnesota for parish work. The arrangement had been proposed for Jeyapaul, as the priest is usually known, by his home diocese of Ootacamund in the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India.
Jeyapaul was in Crookston for less than a year, but in that brief time, he is accused of sexually abusing two female minors, is suspected of abusing at least one other girl, and is now the subject of a police investigation and a civil suit. Jeyapaul is also accused of taking money from the Crookston diocese.
Crookston bishop Victor Balke wrote repeatedly to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, urging it to take the Jeyapaul case, and even appealed to the office in person.
Yet as of April 5, 2010, over five years after he allegedly committed the crimes, Jeyapaul is a senior official in the Diocese of Ootacamund, with the schools as one of his portfolios, and the CDF has ignored the case.
The link, below, the Bishop Accountability Web page on the case provides documents that were obtained by counsel for the plaintiff in the civil suit, Jane Doe 121 v. the Diocese of Crookston.
"The documents show the Vatican allowing a priest to remain in ministry, though the CDF has long possessed strong evidence that he is credibly accused."-- Bishops Accountability website, July, 2010.
At a time when the role of the Vatican bureaucracy in abuse cases is coming under increased scrutiny, the Jeyapaul documents show the Vatican allowing a priest to remain in ministry, though the CDF has long possessed strong evidence that he is credibly accused. At a time when foreign priests are being used to patch a U.S. priest shortage, the Jeyapaul documents cast doubt on the formation of such priests, and on the system's ability to monitor and discipline them effectively.
Below is a link to the timeline of the Jeyapaul case with links to dozens of documents. The paper trail of neglect by Cardinal Levada at the CDF is contained in five documents: Bishop Balke's original 2005 request, the CDF's inadequate response, and then Balke's increasingly urgent letters, as the case worsened in his own diocese: see the letters he wrote in November 2006, December 2006, and March 2007.
Follow the document trail and read "Vatican, CDF, and Cardinal Levada's involvement from 2005 to the present in sexual abuse allegations against Father Joseph Jeyapaul" on the Bishop Acccountability website ...
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Celestine V assumed the papacy in 1294 at age 85 and resigned five months later, saying he was not up to the task.
Read the story on Earthink's International News website ...
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According to a comprehensive, in-depth article on the failures of Ratzinger's office in the sexual abuse scandal, published in yesterday's NYTimes, church documents and interviews with canon lawyers and bishops cast a 2001 secret meeting and the future pope’s track record in a new and less flattering light.
The Vatican took action only after bishops from English-speaking nations became so concerned about resistance from top church officials that the Vatican convened the secret meeting to hear their complaints.
"And the policy that resulted from that meeting, in contrast to the way it has been described by the Vatican, was not a sharp break with past practices. It was mainly a belated reaffirmation of longstanding church procedures that at least one bishop attending the meeting argued had been ignored for too long, according to church documents and interviews." -- NYTimes, 02 July 2010.
Read the entire article 'Church Office Failed to Act on Abuse Scandal' in yesterday's NYTimes ... Read SNAP's complete response to the Times article on the SNAP national website ...
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That may sound like an exaggeration, but the court's decision that the Vatican does not have legal immunity in a claim of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest could have far-reaching ramifications for the church.
"But the real issue in the case has been immunity. The Vatican attempted to invoke the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) of 1976, under which foreign states cannot be sued. The supreme court refused to allow this." -- The Guardian, July 1, 2010
Britain's news outlet The Guardian reported yesterday of one lawyer calling the Supreme Court decision comparable to the fall of the Berlin wall.
Read the entire article 'Without its immunity, can the Vatican survive?' in yesterday's UK Guardian ...
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“Today’s action by the Justices is an answer to the prayers of literally thousands of survivors of sexual abuse who finally have a real shot at obtaining justice, and the truth, about the complicity of Vatican leaders in covering up the criminal acts of Catholic priests against innocent children." -- Plaintiff attorney, victim advocate Jeff Anderson
Read the full news release on the SNAP Great Plains website ...
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"Catholics have no elections, recall procedures, or impeachment processes that allow them to replace those in authority. Withholding donations is the best way for a disenfranchised laity to send, with one voice, a message to church officials in the only language they understand--MONEY!
We urge Catholics to re-direct their Peter's Pence collection donation
on June 27 to a non-church charity of their choice.
The bishops have squandered our trust. We need to send them a strong message. We urge all Catholics to Send the Bishops a Message by withholding cash, check, and credit card donations on designated 'Withholding Sundays.'" -- Send the bishops a me$$age website.
Join the movement! Stop the outrage!
Visit the 'Send the bishops a me$$age" website NOW ...
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Speaking of the church hierarchy, of which he is a high ranking member, Mahony said,
"I believed ... in our ability to treat and monitor (the pedophile priest) effectively."
The archdiocese attempted unsuccessfully to have a judge seal the document from public view.
KTLA, Los Angeles, reports today that according to church documents, the priest, Michael Baker, told Mahony in 1986 at a priests' retreat that he had molested two young boys from 1978 to 1985. Mahony did not notify police and sent Baker to a residential facility that treated priests for sexual abuse problems.
In the years that followed, Baker was assigned to nine parishes but was barred from having one-on-one contact with minors. He violated those restrictions three times, according to church personnel file summaries previously released by the archdiocese.
Baker was not removed from the priesthood until 2000, after two men filed a lawsuit alleging he sexually molested them between 1984 and 1999. He is currently serving 10 years in prison for abusing children.
Responding for SNAP to Mahony's excuse for not reporting Baker to police because the children had already left the country, Barbara Blaine, President of SNAP, said:
"This is among the most absurd excuses we've ever heard a bishop make - that he refused to call police because an admitted predator claimed the victims had left the country. The legal status of children who are molested is irrevelant and it's shameful that Mahony would claim otherwise.
If, in fact, Fr. Baker's victims had left the US, Mahony's duty to call police was even greater, since the chances that the kids themselves would contact law enforcement was virtually nil."
Read the full story in the Los Angeles Times ...
Read the story on the KTLA website ...
Read SNAP President Barbara Blaine's response ...
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"No entity can effectively police itself, least of all an ancient, rigid, secretive, all-male monarchy with a widely-documented track record with predatory employees and complicit supervisors." -- SNAP Executive Director David Clohessy
Read Clohessy's complete article in Monday CNN news ...
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Law resigned as Boston’s archbishop in 2003 following the clergy sex abuse crisis. Area Catholics said he knew of sexual misconduct and covered it up.
Law was transferred to Rome after his resignation where the last eight years he has been the archbishop emeritus of Boston and archpriest of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore.
Members of National Survivor Advocates Coalition, Speak Truth To Power and People of Conscience picketed outside the Cathedral Sunday while a special mass to honor couples celebrating their gold and silver wedding anniversaries was going on.
Protesters said they wanted to remind church goers that there was something wrong about Cardinal Law being allowed to maintain his position with the Vatican.
Read more on the SNAP Great Plains website ...
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“It was to be expected that this new radiance of the priesthood would not be pleasing to the ‘enemy,’” Benedict XVI said. “He would have rather preferred to see it disappear, so that God would ultimately be driven out of the world.” - Pope Benedict XVI
"The term "the enemy" is a traditional Catholic way of referring to the Devil." -- National Catholic Reporter
"Tonight, the Pope passed up a perfect chance to:
- announce bold steps that actually safeguard children,
- urge thousands of priests to call police if they see or suspect or learn of child sex crimes, and
- acknowledge and thank the few, brave whistleblower priests like Fr. Thomas Doyle, Fr. James Scahill and others who have found the strength, courage and compassion to expose their corrupt, predatory colleagues and supervisors." -- David Clohessy, SNAP Executive Director
- Read about Benedict's "apology" in the NYTimes ...
- Read SNAP Director David Clohessy's response ...
- Read SNAP President Barbara Blaine's response ...
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Victim of sexual abuse by a priest, Joelle Casteix , member of U.S.-based Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), holds a banner during a news conference in downtown Rome June 8, 2010. -- Credit: Reuters/Tony Gentile
(Reuters) - Victims of sexual abuse by priests Tuesday demanded Pope Benedict take concrete steps to discipline clerics who have molested children, saying a public apology they expect this week from the pope will not be enough.
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"Focusing on the laity, especially regarding mass attendance and confession, more than "misses the boat." The problem has been and remains a rigid, secretive, self-serving all-male monarchy that consistently puts its own comfort and reputation above the safety and well-being of its flock." -- David Clohessy, executive director of SNAP
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"An ecclesiastical environment which allowed such aberrant behaviour can no longer be tolerated." -- Pat Powers, Auxiliary Bishop, Australia April 23, 2010.
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Senator Jeffrey D. Klein of the Bronx and Westchester (was) one of the Democrats who opposed the measure, which had been vigorously opposed by Catholic officials.
The other Democrat who voted no was Senator Neil D. Breslin of Albany. Senator Shirley L. Huntley, a Democrat from Queens, voted “no recommendation.”
“I think (recent public awareness of the child abuse by Roman Catholic priests scandal) actually did increase public support, but that does not always translate into legislative remedy,” said David Clohessy, the executive director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.
Mr. Clohessy said the vote ended efforts this year in three states to pass laws suspending the statute of limitations for a limited period in sex abuse cases. Similar bills have already been defeated in Arizona and Wisconsin.
California and Delaware are the only states to have adopted such legislation, though similar laws have been proposed in about 15 states since 2002, he said.
Read the story in the NYTimes ...
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The proposal, called the Child Victims Act, would open a one year ‘window’ to allow those under 54 years old who were sexually assaulted as children to file civil lawsuits against both the predator and any employers/supervisors who ignored or concealed the crimes. It is fiercely opposed by some Catholic and Orthodox Jewish officials.
Read the SNAP statement on the national website ...
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"The official church position would mandate that the correct solution would be to let both the mother and the child die." -- Lisa Sowle Cahill, Catholic theologian, Boston College, NPR, All Things Considered, May 19, 2010
Read the full story on the NPR website ...
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"The crisis facing the church is deeply complicated by the fact that in 1980, as Archbishop of Munich, the future Benedict XVI appears to have mismanaged the assignment of an accused pedophile priest under his charge." -- Time Magazine cover story May 2010
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Moreover, the fact sheet reports that sexual abuse of female parishioners by clergy is an extremely prevalent problem.
A study by Dr. Pamela Cooper-White of The Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, estimates that more than 95% of clergy sexual abuse victims are women. ...
Most recent study, conducted by Baylor University researchers in 2008-2009, revealed that "one in every 33 women who attend worship services regularly has been the target of sexual advances by a religious leader" (source).
Get the facts, and what you can do about them on the NOW website: Fact Sheet and Action Guide ...
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A fellow DFW SNAP member sent this to me today and I thought it was beautiful and worth sharing. It may touch you in some way as it touched me. I warn you, it may be a tear-jerker though.
For Someone Awakening to the Trauma of His or Her Past
For everything under the sun there is a time
This is the season of your awkward harvesting,
When pain takes you where you would rather not go,
Through the white curtain of yesterdays to a place
You had forgotten you knew from the inside out;
And a time when that bitter tree was planted.
That has grown always invisible beside you
And whose branches your awakened hands
Now long to disentangle from your heart.
You are coming to see how your looking often darkened
When you should have felt safe enough to fall toward love,
How deep down your eyes were always owned by something.
That faced them through a dark fester of thorns
Converting whoever came into a further figure of the wrong;
You could only see what touched you as already torn.
Now the act of seeing begins your work of mourning.
And your memory is ready to show you everything,
Having waited all these years for you to return and know.
Only you know where the casket of pain is interred.
You will have to scrape through all the layers of covering.
And according to your readiness, everything will open.
May you be blessed with a wise and compassionate guide
Who can accompany you through the fear and grief
Until your heart has wept its way to your true self.
As your tears fall over that wounded place,
May they wash away your hurt and free your heart.
May your forgiveness still the hunger of the wound.
So that for the first time you can walk away from that place,
Reunited with your banished heart, now healed and freed,
And feel the clear, free air bless your new face.
from: To Bless the Space Between Us by John O'Donohue, 2008.
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My serious questioning started when I found myself on the inside looking out as the clergy sex abuse scandal started to unfold back in 1984 ... I saw first-hand the duplicity and institutionalized lying of the self-proclaimed “successors of the Apostles”... Thomas P. Doyle, priest, Catholic canon lawyer, and Survivors Advocate - 20 May 2010
Read Tom Doyle's new and very personal faith statement on his newly revised clergy abuse bibliography ...
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"As elite members of the last feudal system in the West and one of the last absolute monarchies in the world, we shouldn't be surprised if bishops, as princes of the realm, are answerable only to their sovereign, the bishop of Rome.
"If the hierarchy's royal accruements were simply vestiges of their medieval past, they might be harmless enough. But these episcopal conceits have forged a culture of privilege, secrecy, and exemption that is now exposed as a detriment to both their teaching and pastoral roles." -- Donald Cozzens, Jesuit university professor.
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