by Nicole Sotelo on Jan. 06, 2011
"Here is just a sampling of what survivors, and the Catholic community, continues to face nine years after the bishops’ conference passed their Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and promised change:
Within the last month, Bishop Richard J. Malone of Portland, Maine announced that new credible allegations against seven priests in that diocese had been brought forward but refused to give the priests’ names, some of whom had been identified before.
Malone is not the only one putting children at risk. Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska continues to ignore portions of the USCCB Charter and refuses to conduct diocesan-wide background checks, potentially putting thousands of children at risk. (See NCR’s 2008 story: Repeated attempts to petition U.S. bishops fail)
Last October, the San Diego diocese finally released documents chronicling years of sexual abuse -- three years late. (See NCR’s story: San Diego diocese documents released)
In a 2007 settlement with survivors, the Diocese promised to release the papers but then delayed the release for years as it battled the process in court. The documents contain the names of 48 perpetrators, some of whom had never been publicly released; this nearly nine years after the bishops promised openness and accountability for the safety of our children.
In December, the bishop of Winona, Minn. and the archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis both filed legal motions to force a survivor of sexual abuse to repay the legal costs the archdiocese incurred fighting against his claims in court -- totaling approximately $130,000...
Meanwhile, the perpetrator, Thomas Adamson, remains free despite the fact that more than two dozen survivors have accused him of sexual abuse and Adamson himself has admitted abusing youth starting in 1964, according to a database at the BishopAccountability.org Web site.
What’s more, there is no push from the top urging these bishops to make any changes in the way they obfuscate the truth and impede the progress of systemic justice that is desperately needed for the church to heal..."
[Nicole Sotelo is the author of Women Healing from Abuse: Meditations for Finding Peace, published by Paulist Press, and coordinates www.WomenHealing.com. A graduate of Harvard Divinity School, she currently works at Call To Action.]
Bridget Mary's Reflection:
What other church would get away with acting like a crime family? Catholics should demand accountability from their bishops in the treatment of sexual abuse victims and the Vatican should get its financial house in order. If Pope Benedict can create a watch dog agency "to promote compliance with international rules against money laundering, insider trading, market abuse, and financing terrorism, he can also take punitive action against bishops who do not comply with child protection policies and who fail to do justice for sex abuse victims. The Vatican Bank is supposed to be the financial arm of our church, instead it is mired in corruption and scandal. Catholics should boycott the Vatican Bank until the civil authorities report that this institution has achieved true financial transparency. "the Vatican's former prefect of Propaganda Fdie, Naples Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe is suspected of making sweetheart construction deals with Italian politicans in exchange for millions of euros in public funds. The other investigation is focused on the Vatican Bank, where some 30 million in assets was seized by cvil authoriites earlier this year for violations of European anti-money laundering laws... " ( "Facing Financial Scandals, Pope Creates New Vatican Watchdog", by John Allen, National Catholic Reporter, Jan. 7,2011)
The pope should move as quickly to fire the bishops who fail to protect victims of clergy sex abuse as he did to police the Vatican Bank after its 30 million in assets were seized.
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP