Searing Testimony Heard at Vatican Sex Abuse Summit

Pope Francis has warned bishops that the Catholic faithful are demanding more than just condemnation of clergy sex abuse but concrete action to respond to the scandal.

Feb 21, 2019.

Sex abuse survivor Alessandro Battaglia, right, is hugged by survivor and founding member of the ECA (Ending Clergy Abuse), Denise Buchanan, during a twilight vigil prayer near Castle Sant’ Angelo, in Rome, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019. Pope Francis opened a landmark sex abuse prevention summit Thursday by warning senior Catholic figures that the faithful are demanding concrete action against predator priests and not just words of condemnation. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Sex abuse survivor Alessandro Battaglia, right, is hugged by survivor and founding member of the ECA (Ending Clergy Abuse), Denise Buchanan, during a twilight vigil prayer near Castle Sant’ Angelo, in Rome, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019. Pope Francis opened a landmark sex abuse prevention summit Thursday by warning senior Catholic figures that the faithful are demanding concrete action against predator priests and not just words of condemnation. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


BY NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The day began with an African woman telling an extraordinary gathering of Catholic leaders that her priestly rapist forced her to have three abortions over a dozen years after he started violating her at age 15. It ended with a Colombian cardinal warning them they could all face prison if they let such crimes go unpunished.

In between, Pope Francis began charting a new course for the Catholic Church to confront the “evil” of clergy sexual abuse and cover-up, a scandal that has consumed his papacy and threatens the credibility of the Catholic hierarchy at large.

Opening a first-ever Vatican summit on preventing abuse, Francis warned 190 bishops and religious superiors on Thursday that their flocks were demanding concrete action, not just words, to punish predator priests and keep children safe. He offered them 21 proposals to consider going forward, some of them obvious and easy to adopt, others requiring new laws.

But his main point in summoning the Catholic hierarchy to the Vatican for a four-day tutorial was to impress upon them that clergy sex abuse is not confined to the United States or Ireland, but is a global scourge that requires a concerted, global response.

“Listen to the cry of the young, who want justice,” Francis told the gathering. “The holy people of God are watching and expect not just simple and obvious condemnations, but efficient and concrete measures to be established.”

More than 30 years after the scandal first erupted in Ireland and Australia, and 20 years after it hit the U.S., bishops and Catholic officials in many parts of Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia still either deny that clergy sex abuse exists in their regions or play down the problem.

Francis, the first Latin American pope, called the summit after he himself botched a well-known sex abuse cover-up case in Chile last year and the scandal reignited in the U.S.

The tone for the high stakes summit was set at the start, with victims from five continents — Europe, Africa, Asia, South America and North America — telling the bishops of the trauma of their abuse and the additional pain the church’s indifference caused them.

“You are the physicians of the soul and yet, with rare exceptions, you have been transformed — in some cases — into murderers of the soul, into murderers of the faith,” Chilean survivor Juan Carlos Cruz told the bishops in his videotaped testimony.

Other survivors were not identified, including the woman from Africa who said she was so young and trusting when her priest started raping her that she didn’t even know she was being abused.

“He gave me everything I wanted when I accepted to have sex; otherwise he would beat me,” she told the bishops. “I got pregnant three times and he made me have an abortion three times, quite simply because he did not want to use condoms or contraceptives.”

Manila Cardinal Luis Tagle choked up as he responded to their testimony.

In a moving meditation that followed the video testimony, Tagle told his brother bishops that the wounds they had inflicted on the faithful through their negligence and indifference to the sufferings of their flock recalled the wounds of Christ on the cross.

He demanded bishops and superiors no longer turn a blind eye to the harm caused by clergy who rape and molest the young.

“Our lack of response to the suffering of victims, yes even to the point of rejecting them and covering up the scandal to protect perpetrators and the institution, has injured our people,” Tagle said. The result, he said, had left a “deep wound in our relationship with those we are sent to serve.”

After he offered the bishops a vision of what a bishop should be, the Vatican’s onetime sex crimes prosecutor told them what a bishop should do. Archbishop Charles Scicluna delivered a step-by-step lesson Thursday on how to conduct an abuse investigation under canon law, repeatedly citing the example of Pope Benedict XVI, who turned the Vatican around on the issue two decades ago.

Calling for a conversion from a culture of silence to a “culture of disclosure,” Scicluna told bishops they should cooperate with civil law enforcement investigations and announce decisions about predators to their communities once cases have been decided.

He said victims had the right to seek damages from the church and that bishops should consider using lay experts to help guide them during abuse investigations.

The people of God “should come to know us as friends of their safety and that of their children and youth,” he said. “We will protect them at all cost. We will lay down our lives for the flocks entrusted to us.”

Finally, Scicluna warned them that it was a “grave sin” to withhold information from the Vatican about candidates for bishops — a reference to the recent scandal of the now-defrocked former American cardinal, Theodore McCarrick. It was apparently an open secret in some church circles that McCarrick slept with young seminarians. He was defrocked last week by Francis after a Vatican trial found credible reports that he abused minors as well as adults.

Francis, for his part, offered a path of reform going forward, handing out the 21 proposals for the church to consider.

He called for specific protocols to handle accusations against bishops, in yet another reference to the McCarrick scandal. He suggested protocols to govern the transfers of seminarians or priests to prevent predators from moving freely to unsuspecting communities.

One idea called for raising the minimum age for marriage to 16 while another suggested a basic handbook showing bishops how to investigate cases.

In the final speech of the day, Colombian Cardinal Rubén Salazar Gómez warned his brother bishops that they could face not only canonical sanctions but also imprisonment for a cover-up if they failed to properly deal with allegations.

Abuse and cover-up, he said, “is the distortion of the meaning of ministry, which converts it into a means to impose force, to violate the conscience and the bodies of the weakest.

Abuse survivors have turned out in droves in Rome to demand accountability and transparency from church leaders and assert that the time of sex abuse cover-ups is over.

“The question is this: Why should the church be allowed to handle the pedophile question? The question of pedophilia is not a question of religion, it is (a question of) crime,” Francesco Zanardi, head of the main victims advocacy group in Italy Rete L’Abuso, or Abuse Network, told a news conference in the Italian parliament.

Hours before the Vatican summit opened, activists in Poland pulled down a statue of a priest accused of sexually abusing minors. They said the stunt was to protest the failure of the Polish Catholic Church in resolving the problem of clergy sex abuse.

Video showed three men attaching a rope around the statue of the late Monsignor Henryk Jankowski in the northern city of Gdansk and pulling it to the ground in the dark. They then placed children’s underwear in one of the statue’s hands and a white lace church vestment worn by altar boys on the statue’s body. Jankowski is accused of molesting boys.

The private broadcaster TVN24 reported the three men were arrested.

Jankowski, who died in 2010, rose to prominence in the 1980s through his support for the pro-democracy Solidarity movement against Poland’s communist regime. World leaders including President George H.W. Bush and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher visited his church to recognize his anti-communist activity.

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More AP coverage of clergy sex abuse at https://www.apnews.com/Sexualabusebyclergy

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Retrieved: https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2019-02-21/pope-opens-sex-abuse-summit-amid-outcry-from-survivors

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Vatican Summit

Justice has been elusive, throughout our world, amongst various Religions and Institutions. Recent news pieces on ABC news covered Vatican calls of the Catholic Church, in Coping with this International matter.

On one hand, it is relieving that the reality is becoming known, yet on the other the same bodies at the basis of these ordeals continue to be largely hidden away.

GPS’s growing count…

With the unfurling truths, since the CARC (Child Abuse Royal Commission, 2013-17) most, if not all, Private Schools in SEQ GPS are being involved in Claims of Child Sexual Abuse. As a courtesy to all involved past & present students, each reported school is listed below:

BGS | Brisbane Grammar School

Gregory Terrace | St Joseph’s

BBC | Brisbane Boys’ College

Churchie | Church England Grammar School

TSS | The Southport School

NC | Nudgee College

Brisbane ex-principal’s role in Anglican Diocese response to child abuse probed

EXCLUSIVE BY ALEXANDRA BLUCHER, ABC INVESTIGATIONS

PHOTO 

A royal commission found Gilbert Case was told two of his staff were abusing children.

AAP: DAN PELED

The former principal of one of Queensland’s most prestigious Anglican schools is understood to be one of the main subjects of a police investigation into the handling of child sex abuse complaints in the 1990s.

Key points:

  • Qld police have ramped up an investigation into the Anglican Diocese’s handling of child abuse complaints in the 1990s
  • The ex-headmaster of St Paul’s School in Brisbane and former governor-general Peter Hollingworth are both main subjects in the new investigation
  • Dr Hollingworth says police have told him they are not seeking to interview him

New witnesses have spoken to police, with both Brisbane’s St Paul’s School former headmaster Gilbert Case and former governor-general Peter Hollingworth understood to be the main subjects of the investigation.

Dr Hollingworth and Mr Case are being looked at due to their positions of authority in the 1990s, as part of a wider investigation into the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane’s response to child sexual abuse complaints at the time.

The revelation comes as Queensland police swell the ranks of the team tasked with investigating the diocese, growing from one detective to up to six officers since June.

Police are also examining allegations about the handling of complaints that were not heard at the child sexual abuse royal commission.

Child abuse protection advocate Kelvin Johnston said he thought the investigation was being broadened.

“A lot of it has to do with … not reporting it [abuse],” Mr Johnston said.

“They should go straight to the police when they hear about them.

“Not doing that is just protecting a brand and that’s not good enough when you’ve got children’s lives and wellbeing at stake.”

There are no allegations of child sexual abuse being committed by Dr Hollingworth or Mr Case.

Fresh investigation follows royal commission findings

Mr Case was the headmaster of prestigious Anglican Diocese-owned St Paul’s School in Brisbane between 1979 and 2000.

The royal commission found during this time, Mr Case was told two staff members at the school — music teacher Gregory Robert Knight and counsellor Kevin Lynch — were sexually abusing boys.

Mr Case denied to the royal commission that he was told in a meeting with two of Mr Lynch’s victims about the offending.

He did not report the allegations to the police and gave Knight a reference in 1984 for a new teaching job in Darwin.

Knight and Mr Lynch were subsequently charged with child sex offences. Knight was convicted and Lynch killed himself while on bail.

Mr Case was later promoted to the role of executive director of the Anglican Schools Office by a panel on which Dr Hollingworth was a member.

The royal commission found Dr Hollingworth knew of a claim Mr Case “failed to respond” to a child sexual abuse allegation at the time of the promotion, but Dr Hollingworth denied this.

Mr Case’s lawyers have been contacted for comment but did not respond.

Abuse survivors speak to police

Dr Hollingworth was Archbishop during the 1990s and later resigned as governor-general in 2003 over his handling of abuse complaints.

The ABC can reveal at least two child sexual abuse survivors who have raised concerns about Dr Hollingworth’s handling of their complaints have recently spoken to the police.

Beth Heinrich gave her account of a sexual relationship with an Anglican priest from the age of 15.

She says Dr Hollingworth heard her speak of this relationship at a failed mediation session with the clergyman in 1995 where he was an observer.

She told the ABC the detective visited her last month where she lives in Victoria.

“He was interested in what had occurred between Hollingworth and myself and documentation that I had to prove my story,” Ms Heinrich said.

The royal commission also found Dr Hollingworth made a “serious error of judgement” when he was Archbishop, by allowing paedophile priest John Elliot to continue in the ministry after finding out he had earlier abused two young boys from the same family.

One of these survivors also confirmed to the ABC he had recently spoken to police.

Police not seeking interview: Hollingworth

Lawyer for Dr Hollingworth, Bill Doogue said his client was not being investigated, and the royal commission and previous enquiries had never suggested Dr Hollingworth had committed any offences.

“I rang the Queensland Police and they told me that they were not seeking to interview Dr Hollingworth,” Mr Doogue said.

The lawyer said there was no legislation mandating the reporting of child sex abuse in the 1990s in Queensland.

Mr Doogue said his client only found out about the abuse committed by John Elliot when the survivor was in his mid-twenties.

“Dr Hollingworth made the priest go and confess … which he did,” Mr Doogue said.

“At any point after that the family could have gone to the police … which the victim did in fact do a couple of years later.”

Mr Doogue also said when Dr Hollingworth was invited to be part of a mediation between Ms Heinrich and the clergyman she accused of abusing her, the clergyman was at that point denying the allegations.

Calls for state-wide team

Queensland State Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said the Queensland Government needed to create a specialist statewide taskforce that investigated historical cases of child sexual abuse, like that which exists in NSW.

“We understand that police resources are already stretched and regional child-protection units do not have the allocation of detectives needed to fully investigate some of these historical abuse claims,” Mrs Frecklington said.

“Many stretch back decades and contacting witnesses can be very challenging.”

Mrs Frecklington wrote to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in June asking for more resources after advocates raised concerns about police resourcing with her and the Premier.

Mr Johnston said a special taskforce to investigate historical cases was essential.

“That’s what has got to happen, and if it doesn’t then the Queensland Government is negligent,” Mr Johnston said.

The Premier has been contacted for comment.

The child sexual abuse royal commission has made close to 700 referrals relating to all institutions to the Queensland Police Service (QPS) for investigation.

There were 371 complaints of child sexual abuse to the royal commission against the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane alone, the highest of any diocese in Australia.

QPS said all referrals had been “assessed and appropriately managed within current resources”, with all investigations conducted by the Sexual Crimes Unit and regional child-protection units.

“The QPS is continuing to review allegations concerning the handling of complaints of child sexual abuse by the Anglican diocese,” the Queensland Police Service said in a statement.

“The investigation is appropriately resourced.”

Retrieved: https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-18/brisbane-ex-principal-role-anglican-diocese-response-child-abuse/10376578?pfmredir=sm

The plot thickens …

Having re-watched a favourite TV Series (Da Vinci Demons), attention was drawn to something that’s now screaming out louder and loader. Despite the appalling deception, tomfoolery & murders committed in the times of Leonardo Da Vinci (15th Cen.) in this staged re-enactment, the common powers possessed by the Catholic Church was always taken for granted. Social dynamics included a default framework of the church’s primary inclusion in the basic ecosystem. Australia’s recent mis-focus on Captain Cook, ahead of Captain Flinders & Bungaree. Each summarises how History has been remembered, not genuinely proven.

Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse had been the Initial national confrontation, followed by numerous other global countries addressing this common issue. Catholic Vatican’s Pope (Francis) has at least begun publicly addressing this issue, after Millenia of denials-hiding evidence-moving wrongdoers & almost a century of rewritten Papal Orders advocating sins being hidden. As mammoth an issue this is, what’s becoming apparent is the immensity of addressing it. The lives of these children is paramount, as is the resulting residual impacts these Sexual Abuses has had. Postings such as these help share some of these factual truths.

As numerous bodies of Surviving Victims, Medical, Commercial & Community bodies provide help, News reports in the Journalism of individual to broad scale cases & each country offering their own nuances of interpreting & reacting to these ordeals – the immensity of this understanding also risks being ‘swept under the carpet‘ as CSA had been, to grow to what it had. Together, we need to openly address this publicly, openly, transparently & suitably as possible. Groups such as this RoyalCommBBC are only getting started on our mission & via your simply sharing these posts about your contacts – another Survivour may remember things & get suitable help, pictures may remind a family of an unsolved mystery or News of someone being caught out for inappropriate behaviour triggers off flashbacks leading to arrest. We hope this helps out open up our lives.

At least 231 children abused at Catholic boys’ choir run by Pope Benedict’s brother

AT LEAST 231 children at a famous Catholic boys’ choir in Germany were victims of physical abuse, a lawyer commissioned to investigate the scandal said today.

The Domspatzen, a 1,000-year-old choir in Regensburg, Bavaria, was dragged into the massive sexual abuse scandal plaguing the Catholic Church in 2010, when allegations of assaults that took place several decades ago went public.

The choir was run by Pope Benedict’s elder brother, Georg Ratzinger, from 1964 to 1994 when most of the claimed abuses took place.

Ratzinger has said that the alleged sexual abuse was “never discussed” in the time that he ran the choir attached to the boarding school.

Lawyer Ulrich Weber, who had been commissioned by the diocese to look into the cases, said at a press conference today that his research, which included 70 interviews with victims, uncovered abuse that took place from 1945 to the early 1990s.

“I have here 231 reports of physical abuse,” he said, announcing a figure far higher than had previously been assumed.

These ranged from sexual assault to rape, severe beatings and food deprivation, said Weber.

The reported cases of sexual abuse in Regensburg were mostly concentrated in the period of the mid to end 1970s.

Weber added that “50 victims spoke of ten perpetrators”.

The director and composer Franz Wittenbrink, a former pupil of the boarding school, had told Der Spiegel magazine in 2010 that there was a “system of sadistic punishments connected to sexual pleasure”.

Several other German institutions have also been engulfed by the ongoing clerical abuse scandal, including an elite Jesuit school in Berlin which had admitted to systematic sexual abuse of pupils by two priests in the 1970s and 1980s.

Most of the priests concerned are not expected to face criminal charges however, because the alleged crimes took place too long ago.

However, there had been calls for a change in the law and for the church to pay compensation to victims.

In February last year, the Regensburg diocese had said there were 72 victims of abuse, and had offered  compensation of €2,500 each.

 Â© AFP 2015

Retrieved from https://www.thejournal.ie/regensburg-domspatzen-ratzinger-benedict-choir-child-abuse-scandal-2538826-Jan2016/

Potiphar’s Wife | The Vatican’s Secret and Child Sexual Abuse

Overview – Potiphar’s Wife by Kieran Tapsell
English summary: The cover-up of child sexual abuse by the Catholic Church has been occurring under the pontificate of six popes since 1922. For 1500 years, the Catholic Church accepted that clergy who sexually abused children deserved to be stripped of their status as priests and then imprisoned. A series of papal and Council decrees from the twelfth century required such priests to be dismissed from the priesthood, and then handed over to the civil authorities for further punishment. That all changed in 1922 when Pope Pius XI issued his decree Crimen Sollicitationis that created a de facto privilege of clergy by imposing the secret of the Holy Office on all information obtained through the Churchs canonical investigations. If the State did not know about these crimes, then there would be no State trials, and the matter could be treated as a purely canonical crime to be dealt with in secret in the Church courts. Pope Pius XII continued the decree. Pope John XXIII reissued it in 1962. Pope Paul VI in 1974 extended the reach of pontifical secrecy to the allegation itself. Pope John Paul II confirmed the application of pontifical secrecy in 2001, and in 2010, Benedict XVI even extended it to allegations about priests sexually abusing intellectually disabled adults. In 2010, Pope Benedict gave a dispensation to pontifical secrecy to allow reporting to the police where the local civil law required it, that is, just enough to keep bishops out of jail. Most countries in the world do not have any such reporting laws for the vast majority of complaints about the sexual abuse of children. Pontifical secrecy, the cornerstone of the cover up continues. The effect on the lives of children by the imposition of the Churchs Top Secret classification on clergy sex abuse allegations may not have been so bad if canon law had a decent disciplinary system to dismiss these priests. The 1983 Code of Canon Law imposed a five year limitation period which virtually ensured there would be no canonical trials. It required bishops to try to reform these priests before putting them on trial. When they were on trial, the priest could plead the Vatican Catch 22 defencehe should not be dismissed because he couldnt control himself. The Church claims that all of this has changed. Very little has changed. It has fiddled around the edges of pontifical secrecy and the disciplinary canons. The Church has been moonwalking.

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