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Pope Call For Commission on Sexual Abuse: Advancement or Another Barrier?

13 comments

The Pope has called for the creation of a commission  investigating the sexual abuse of minors.  It is good that the Pope is talking about the issue  because  silence has been what has been driving most of what the Church has done with this tragedy.  However,  what will a commission do?    Will it be filled with either yes men or individuals with no authority?  Will it be prevented from getting all available documents?    Will there be cannon law vs. common law distinctions made that are used to prevent disclosure?

The New York Times reported on two very important reactions:

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, the leading United States-based support group for clergy abuse victims, called the news a disappointment that reflected badly on the new pope. David Clohessy, executive director of the group, said the announcement suggested that the Vatican remained strongly resistant to making sexually abusive members of the clergy and their church protectors accountable to external criminal prosecution.

“A new church panel is the last thing that kids need,” Mr. Clohessy said in a telephone interview. “Church officials have mountains of information about those who have committed and those who are concealing horrible child sex crimes and cover-ups. They just have to give that information to the police.”

BishopAccountability.org, an organization that has amassed an enormous collection of documents on the abuse problem in the church, gave a cautious welcome to the announcement, but also expressed skepticism.

“It’s good that the Vatican will be giving this terrible problem high-level and focused attention,” Anne Barrett Doyle, the group’s co-director, said in a statement. “But we are concerned that the commission will be toothless and off-target.”

The issue is that they don’t need the commission. What they need to do is to turn over the names of those who are still active in the church who are the perpetrators of these crimes.  They need to look at Zero Tolerance and actually practice it.  They need to be hailed by the UN for their openness and not questioned about their commitment to truly protect children.

The next year will show what if anything will change.

Will future kids be protected and will those pedophiles who continue to offend be disclosed?

Will survivors of the past be allowed to come into the light and see real justice for what they have suffered?

Will the Church stop fighting Statute of Limitation changes who open the window for those that have suffered?

Will all lists out there be finally disclosed?

Will we finally see an end to the practice of hiding and transfers?

Justice can be achieved.  It will be either as a fight or in real action and repentance.

Recently,  it was announced that the Pope has been named the Time Person of the Year.   A interesting perspective can be found with Jeff Anderson’s:    Pope Francis: Person of the Year?

Abuse of children and the continued silence by the offenders needs to be prevented. If you suffered, saw, or suspected such events, it is important to know that there is help out there.

13 Comments

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  1. Sister Maureen Paul Turlish says:
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    Sister to pope: Tackle the scandal

    Pope Francis would be wise to address the church’s sex-abuse scandal head-on.

    Philadelphia Daily News, 12/24/2013

    POPE FRANCIS has been in the news recently due to his removal of more than a dozen cardinals from the Congregation of Bishops and his appointment of others.

    American Cardinals Burke and Rigali are in the former group, while Cardinal Wuerl, of Washington, D.C., is in the latter.

    In the news as well is a notice that the pope has decided that cardinals will begin hearing confessions regularly at churches around Rome.

    As important and interesting as such announcements may be to some, should they really be paramount in people’s minds?

    First things first:

    Will Pope Francis address the single-most critical issue facing the Catholic Church today, which is the continuing clerical sex-abuse scandal?

    Given the description of the pope’s papal commission on clerical child abuse, especially coming after a United Nations panel criticized the Vatican over its handling of abuse cases, with the Vatican saying that the responsibility for such cases rested with individual bishops, expectations on such a significant level have been decidedly mixed.

    Pope Francis’ words establishing this new commission in the church’s central bureaucracy would be commendable if at the same time he announced plans for disciplining and/or the removal from church offices those bishops who, by the abuse of their episcopal authority, were complicit in the sexual abuse of thousands of children in the United States alone.

    Overseas, in the Netherlands, Dutch bishops have recently acknowledged the abuse of tens of thousands of children, according to a Reuters article.

    Perhaps Pope Francis has decided to go the distance with this commission, but if Boston’s Cardinal O’Malley’s statements are accurate, the pope’s creation of such a committee appears to be more along the lines of putting the cart before the horse than anything else.

    Any way one looks at it there is really no way to avoid an issue which, if not finally addressed in its totality, will result in even further public-relations fallout for the Catholic Church worldwide.

    Remember that diocesan bishops, their underlings, along with the provincials and superiors of religious congregations, created this horrific scandal by protecting known clerical sexual predators with essentially no regard for the Lord’s little ones, leaving these lambs unprotected before ravaging wolves.

    “The new commission is expected to tell church officials to collaborate with civil authorities and report cases of abuse,” O’Malley said.

    Is this a decision that calls for a papal commission? No, not to my thinking.

    The hierarchy has already exhausted its credibility and moral authority by its flawed response to this scandal over past decades, and neither will be regained by having the ecclesiastical body responsible for covering up that scandal charged with either its evaluation or correction.

    That has not worked well since 2002.

    Moreover, statements like those quoted above appear ludicrous given the nature of such heinous violations: crimes against the humanity of children.

    Sister Maureen Paul Turlish
    New Castle, Delaware

    http://goo.gl/fLJhXH

  2. Mike Bryant says:
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    All very true, this is a world wide problem, thank you for reading and the comment.

  3. Judy Jones says:
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    Why does the Pope need to formed a new “sex abuse commission”? He already knows what to do.

    Pope Francis needs to—
    –Fire every bishop and cardinal who has and still is covering up sex crimes against kids
    –Order the “Catholic Conference of Bishops” to stop hiring lobbying firms to fight the removal of statute of limitations for child sex crimes.
    –Order all high ranking church officials to release all the names of credibly accused clerics/employees, whether they are dead or alive and then turn their secret documents over to local law enforcement to be investigated.
    –Order all high ranking church officials to pick up the phone and report to law enforcement, as soon as they suspect or receive a complaint of child sex abuse. ( church officials have no business investigating these crimes )
    –Turn over all Vatican documents of child sex abuse to the United Nations Child Rights Committee.

    Until the pope takes decisive actions, he is only delaying and stalling the full truth from being exposed, and in the meantime more children will be sexually abused within this secret system. Pope Francis could do the right thing, he does have this power, he just needs the will.

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511. snapjudy@gmail.com,
    SNAP (The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

  4. Mike Bryant says:
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    Very true, Judy, thank you for reading and the thoughtful comment.

    PS as I have said in the past, they should stop harassing SNAP and start listening to them instead.

  5. Kay Ebeling says:
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    When oh when will reporters do something besides quote a paid corporate spokesman for a story? There are a hundred thousand pedophile priest victims in the USA and all we ever read are quotes from David Clohessy and he never says enough. And he never says enough. There are at least a hundred thousand other voices out here that are never being heard.

  6. Mike Bryant says:
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    Thank you Kay for reading and the comment.

  7. John Thompson says:
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    The time for words and committees is over. There are committees all over the world dealing with the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse of children epidemic. The only difference between Francis and Benedict is Francis has better PR skills. Everyone knows Benedict made such a mess of this problem that he was forced to resign and lives at the Vatican because it gives him diplomatic immunity. Talk is cheap and it is time for action. Beware Wolves in Shepherd’s Clothing.

  8. Mike Bryant says:
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    when it is all said and done you are probably correct John, thanks for reading and the comment

  9. David Mittleman says:
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    From your mouth Mike to the Pope’s ears!

  10. Mike Bryant says:
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    Hopefully he is listening to those that are asking for Justice. Thanks for the comment

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