Saturday, August 25, 2018

Pope Francis Admits Church Failed to Protect Children in Ireland, No Concrete Actions Going Forward to Hold Vatican, Bishops Accountable, No Plan to Expand Role of Laity, or Expand Women's Roles by Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP, August 25, 2018, See NCR And CNN Articles

My Response: In Ireland today, Pope Francis said: “It is my hope,” the pope said on Saturday, “that the gravity of the abuse scandals, which have cast light on the failings of many, will serve to emphasize the importance of the protection of minors and vulnerable adults on the part of society as a whole.”
I am disappointed that Pope Francis did not share any concrete actions that would provide a transformation of the clerical culture changing the top-down management of the decades old crisis Let's be clear, the Vatican and the bishops bear ultimate responsibility for the worldwide cover-up that shuffled pedophile priests to prey on children and vulnerable people. 

 Roy Bourgeois, who was expelled from his Maryknoll Order and excommunicated for his support of women's ordination points out the Vatican's futile efforts to denigrate women priests : "In 2010, the Vatican called the ordination of women as priests a crime comparable to that of the sexual abuse of children. Judging from its actions, however, it would appear that the Vatican views women’s ordination as a crime substantially more serious than child abuse. Among the thousands of priests who raped and sexually abused children, the vast majority were not expelled from the priesthood or excommunicated. Every woman, however, who has been ordained to the Catholic priesthood has been excommunicated by the Vatican."
 Pope Francis needs to address this glaring injustice and lift the excommunication against Roman Catholic Women Priests and our supporters. 

Now is the time for a South African like tribunal run by world-wide Catholics. Let's admit the obvious  the Vatican is at the center of the scandalous cover up of the world-wide sex abuse crisis. The Vatican  mandated that the bishops refer all cases to its jurisdiction.  
See CNN link below. 
Going forward Pope Francis needs to chart a clear path out of this morass by holding the Vatican and bishops accountable ( including firing bishops who covered up abuse) 
In addition, Pope Francis should remove the canonical penalties that attempted to scapegoat Roman Catholic Women Priests by equating us with pedophiles. This is a travesty of justice that the Vatican used to divert attention from the crime of pedophilia.  
If Francis wants to heal the Church of  centuries-old misogyny he must expand the role of women as equals in all areas of the Church's life. Until women are at the altar and decision-making table , sexism and injustice continues to be the reality in our Church.  Catholics can discover a welcome alternative today in our empowered, egalitarian inclusive communities of faith in the United States, South America, South Africa and Europe. Roman Catholic Women Priests are living gospel equality now in grassroots faith communities. 
I  pray that Catholics in the pew will rise up now and challenge business as usual in the Vatican and in their dioceses as they speak truth to power and demand action. 
For all who love the Church, it is time for action!
Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP,,, 703-505-0004


Pope Francis walks in front of a candle in memory of victims of sexual abuse as he visits St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral in Dublin Aug. 25. A baby cried in the cathedral as the pope prayed in front of the candle in the Blessed Sacrament chapel. (CNS/Paul Haring)
Update: A second update was added to this story at 9:55 a.m. U.S. central time to include information about the pope's visit to St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral.
This article was updated at 7:49 a.m. U.S. central time to include reactions to the pope's speech. 
DUBLIN — Pope Francis began his two-day trip to Ireland by acknowledging that Catholic leaders in the country failed over decades to protect children from sexual abuse by priests and clergy, saying bishops and superiors had caused what he termed "grave scandal."
In a speech to Ireland's political leaders shortly after landing from Rome Aug. 25, the pontiff said the church's inability to prevent "repugnant crimes" of abuse "has rightly given rise to outage, and remains a source of pain and shame for the Catholic community.Read this Next: Fr. James Martin urges Catholics to examine attitudes toward LGBT community"I myself share those sentiments," said Francis, before quoting a 2010 letter to the Irish people from Pope Benedict XVI that promised "just and effective" measures would be taken to protect children going forward.
While the pope did not outline specific steps being taken to hold bishops who protected abusive priests to account, he said that with his recent Aug. 20 letter on the issue to all Catholics around the world he had made "a commitment ... to eliminating this scourge from the church no matter the cost."
Francis is visiting Ireland Aug. 25-26 primarily to take part in the ninth World Meeting of Families, a triennial Vatican-hosted gathering that seeks to share the Catholic Church's family teachings and show its closeness to families around the world.
But the focus of attention ahead of the visit has been on how he would address clergy sexual abuse in the country, where a series of government inquiries in the 1990s and 2000s uncovered wide spread abuse of children by individuals, enabled by church institutions and systemically covered up by church officials.
Several prominent abuse survivors had called on Francis ahead of the visit to admit to the Vatican's role for decades in helping cover-up abuse cases, which he did not do in the Aug. 25 speech.
Instead, speaking to about 250 Irish political, civil and religious leaders at the 13th-century Dublin Castle, Francis said he was "very conscious of the circumstances of our most vulnerable brothers and sisters."
"With regard to the most vulnerable, I cannot fail to acknowledge the grave scandal caused in Ireland by the abuse of young people by members of the church charged with responsibility for their protection and education," the pontiff continued.
"The failure of ecclesiastical authorities -- bishops, religious superiors, priests and others -- adequately to address these repugnant crimes has rightly given rise to outrage," he said.
In his speech greeting Francis, Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar directly asked the pontiff to "use your office and influence" to "bring about justice and truth and healing for victims and survivors.
"There can only be zero tolerance for those who abuse innocent children or who facilitate that abuse," Varadkar told the pope. "We must now ensure that from words flow actions."
The prime minister also referred to the recent release of a grand jury report in Pennsylvania that revealed that Catholics priests in the state abused at least 1,000 minors over a period of seven decades.
"We have all listened to heart-breaking stories from Pennsylvania of brutal crimes perpetrated by people within the Catholic Church, and then obscured to protect the institution at the expense of innocent victims," said Varadkar. "It is a story all too tragically familiar here in Ireland."
Several clergy abuse survivors and advocates criticized Francis' words on the issue.
Colm O'Gorman, an Irish survivor and founder of survivor support organization One in Four, said on Twitter that the pope had been given an opportunity to "finally acknowledge the proven truth of Vatican's role in the cover up of crimes perpetrated against so many people here."
"He failed to do so," said O'Gorman, who now leads Amnesty International Ireland. "This seems to me to be a shameful deflection of responsibility on the part of the Pope, and an insult to faithful Catholics."
Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of abuse tracking website, told NCR Francis "gave little comfort to heartsick victims and Catholics yearning for an end to the abuse and cover-up crisis."
"The Pope addressed the crisis but again chose to give no specific plan for ending it," said Doyle. "Nor did he squarely acknowledge his own responsibility for it: nothing in his tone suggested a 'buck-stops-here' mentality."
Marie Collins -- an Irish abuse survivor, former member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, and attendee of the pope's speech -- said simply: "Disappointing, nothing new."
Francis is only the second pope to visit Ireland, after John Paul II in 1979. The country has changed in ways large and small in the intervening 39 years, transforming from the Catholic bastion of Europe into a more modern, secular society.
In one example of the dramatic shifts over the past four decades, an overwhelming majority of the country voted in May to repeal an amendment to the Irish constitution that made abortion illegal in nearly all circumstances. Three years earlier, a similar referendum approved same-sex marriage.
Francis did not mention either issue in his address at Dublin Castle, but did say that the World Meeting of Families is a "prophetic witness to the rich patrimony of ethical and spiritual values that it is the duty of every generation to cherish and protect."
The pontiff also did not refer to the pending exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, which many Irish fear may impact relations between the Republic of Ireland, an EU member, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK.
Of particular concern is the border between the two entities, which is currently open and essentially unnoticeable. Some fear the process could lead to the re-imposition of border controls, which were removed after the Good Friday Agreement.
The pope did praise the Irish peace process, and expressed hope that Ireland and Northern Ireland will "overcome every remaining obstacle and help give birth to a future of harmony, reconciliation and mutual trust."
Francis landed in Dublin mid-morning Aug. 25. After a somewhat austere greeting on the tarmac, the pontiff headed in a Czech-made Skoda car to the country's presidential palace, known as the Áras an Uachtaráin, for a more formal welcoming ceremony and a private meeting with President Michael Higgins.
Crowds along the pope's route through the capital were sparse, but there were small clumps of people flying Vatican flags and holding signs. One read: "We love the pope, he gives us hope."
Later in the afternoon the pope visited St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral, where he responded to questions from two young couples. The cathedral is a 19th century structure built during the era of Ireland's anti-Catholic penal laws that now maintains a perpetually lit candle for victims of sexual abuse.
Upon arriving at the cathedral, Francis sat in prayer before the candle for about three minutes.
In the evening Francis will take part in the "Festival of Families," a large concert and celebration for the last evening of the World Meeting of Families being held at Dublin's 82,000-capacity Croke Park Stadium.
In between songs and dances, the pontiff will hear testimonies from Indian, Canadian, Iraqi, Burkinabe, and Irish families before giving his own speech.
This year's World Meeting of Families is taking the theme "The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World," drawn from the pope's 2016 apostolic exhortation on family life, titled Amoris Laetitia, or, "The Joy of Love."
Francis will conclude his visit to Ireland Aug. 26 with a visit to a Marian shrine in Knock, about 120 miles west of Dublin, before returning to the capital for a public Mass and a meeting with the country's bishops.
[Joshua J. McElwee is NCR Vatican correspondent. His email address is Follow him on Twitter: @joshjmac.]

(CNN)For more than three decades, the Catholic Church has been rocked by sex abuse scandals spanning the globe.

And for decades, the church has been accused of protecting itself rather than the victims of child sexual abuse.
Here are some major scandals and revelations involving the Catholic Church and allegations of abuse.

USA, 2018

    Pennsylvania grand jury released a report in August 2018 detailing decades of alleged sexual abuses by priests and cover-ups by bishops.
    The report said internal documents from six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania -- some held in a secret archive to which only the bishop had a key -- showed that more than 300 "predator priests" have been credibly accused of sexually abusing more than 1,000 child victims.
    Pope Francis issued an unusually blunt letter six days after the report's release, acknowledging "with shame and repentance" the Catholic Church's failure to act, writing "we showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them."
    The letter directly referred to the Pennsylvania report, which "detailed the experiences of at least 1,000 survivors, victims of sexual abuse, the abuse of power and of conscience at the hands of priests over a period of approximately 70 years."
    Looking ahead, the pontiff said the church was working on a "zero tolerance" policy on abuse and coverups. He added, "If, in the past, the response was one of omission, today we want solidarity, in the deepest and most challenging sense, to become our way of forging present and future history."

    USA, 2018

    In July 2018, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, 88, who once led the Archdiocese of Washington and was a force in American politics, after a decades-old allegation of sexual abuse of a teenage altar boy forced the Vatican to remove him from public ministry.
    A month earlier, McCarrick issued a statement saying he was shocked by the allegations: "While I have absolutely no recollection of this reported abuse, and believe in my innocence, I am sorry for the pain the person who brought the charges has gone through, as well as for the scandal such charges cause our people."
    McCarrick was also accused three times of sexual misconduct with adults "decades ago" while he served as a bishop in Metuchen and Newark, New Jersey, the current bishops of those cities said in June. Two of those allegations resulted in settlements, the bishops said.
    The Vatican said Pope Francis had ordered McCarrick to "a life of prayer and penance until the accusations made against him are examined in a regular canonical trial."

    Chile, 2018

    Pope Francis called the country's bishops to Rome in May after he received a 2,300-page report detailing sexual abuses by priests in Chile.
    The report alleged that for decades, church officials in Chile had known about cases of sexual abuse and led a massive cover up, even destroying records.
    Seven years earlier, the Vatican had found Chilean priest Father Fernando Karadima guilty of child sex abuse.
    In January, while visiting Chile, Francis defended a Chilean bishop accused of concealing the abuse, saying he had been "slandered."
    But after Vatican investigators said church officials in Chile had helped cover up multiple cases of sexual abuse by the clergy, the Pope apologized.
    After the 3-day emergency summit at the Vatican in May to discuss the sex abuse scandal, all 34 of Chile's active and retired bishops offered the Pope their resignations.
    In August, police arrested one former priest over the alleged abuse of seven minors. Prosecutors say there are 158 people including bishops, priests and lay people under investigation.

    Australia, 2018

    Australian Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide was found guilty in May of concealing the abuse of altar boys in the 1970s by pedophile priest James Fletcher.
    Wilson was the highest-ranking Catholic official ever to be convicted of covering up sex abuse.
    In July he said that he intended to appeal the ruling under the "due process of law" and would resign if his appeal was unsuccessful.
    The next week the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had accepted Wilson's resignation.

    Australia, 2017

    Australian Cardinal George Pell was charged with historical child sex offenses.
    Cardinal George Pell, one of the most senior members of the Catholic Church, was charged with multiple historical sexual assault offenses in his home country of Australia, police said in June.
    Pell serves as a top adviser to Pope Francis and heads the Vatican's secretariat for the economy. In 2013, he was named one of eight cardinals tasked with investigating ways to reform the church. He is the most senior member of the Catholic Church in Australia but has been placed on leave from the Vatican while the allegations are investigated.
    Pell said he's innocent and maintains that the charges -- relating to claims of sexual abuse spanning three decades -- are false.
    In May 2018, a magistrate ordered him to stand trial and he entered a formal plea of not guilty.
    In a statement, the Vatican said: "The Holy See has taken note of the decision issued by judicial authorities in Australia regarding His Eminence Cardinal George Pell. Last year, the Holy Father granted Cardinal Pell a leave of absence so he could defend himself from the accusations. The leave of absence is still in place."
    A 2017 commission found that 7% of Australian priests were accused of abusing children between 1950 and 2015.

    Dominican Republic, 2014

    Jozef Wesolowski died in 2015 before he went to trial.
    Jozef Wesolowski, a former Vatican ambassador to the Dominican Republic was found guilty of sexual abuse of minors by a Vatican tribunal and defrocked in 2014. He was accused of sexual abuse of minors and possession of child pornography during his time as papal nuncio to the Dominican Republic. Italy's Corriere della Sera reported that Wesolowski's laptop contained more than 100,000 files with pornographic images and videos.
    Wesolowski was the highest-ranking Catholic official arrested for alleged sexual abuse of minors. He died in 2015,before he could be put on trial.

    The Netherlands, 2011

    Thousands of children suffered from sexual abuse in the Dutch Roman Catholic Church over more than six decades, and about 800 "possible perpetrators" have been identified, according to an independent Commission of Inquiry, issued in 2011.
    The commission said it received 1,795 reports of church-related sex abuse of minors and the "reports contained information about possible perpetrators."

    Multiple countries, 2010

    Pope Benedict and the sex abuse scandal 02:30
    Allegations of sexual abuse spread across a half dozen countries -- including Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and Brazil, home of the world's largest Catholic population.
    Revelations about church abuse included the Munich, Germany, archdiocese where Pope Benedict XVI once served as archbishop.
    Under the Pope's tenure as archbishop in the early 1980s, the Munich archdiocese ignored warnings to keep a molesting priest away from children, said the doctor, Werner Huth, who issued those warnings.
    Huth demanded the priest, Rev. Peter Hullermann, never be allowed to interact with children again. Instead, the church allowed the priest to return to work and to deal with children. Hullermann was convicted of abusing minors in 1986. Pope Benedict had left the Munich archdiocese for a new post in 1982.

    Ireland, 2009

    A bombshell report commissioned by the Irish government concluded that the Archdiocese of Dublin and other Catholic Church authorities in Ireland covered up clerical child abuse.
    The Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation's 720-page report said that it has "no doubt that clerical child sexual abuse was covered up" from January 1975 to May 2004, the time covered by the report. The commission had been set up in 2006 to look into allegations of child sexual abuse made against clergy in the Irish capital.
    The report named 11 priests who had pleaded guilty to or were convicted of sexual assaults on children. Of the other 35, it gave pseudonyms to 33 of them and redacted the names of two.

    USA, 2004

    Children accused more than 4,000 priests of sexual abuse between 1950 and 2002, according to a report compiled by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
    The report, based on church records, found that 6,700 of the 11,000 allegations were investigated and substantiated, and another 1,000 were unsubstantiated. The remaining 3,300 were not investigated because the priests involved had died by the time the allegation was made.

    USA, 2002

    Former priest John Geoghan became a central figure in the clergy sexual abuse crisis in Boston, along with Cardinal Bernard Law, who admitted receiving a letter in 1984 outlining allegations of child molestation against Geoghan. Law assigned Geoghan to another parish despite the allegations.
    From 1962 to 1995, Geoghan sexually abused approximately 130 people, mostly grammar school boys, according to victims. Over the years, church officials ordered him to get treatment or transferred him to other parishes, but kept him on as a priest. The Boston Globe coverage on sexual abuse by clergy brought the issue to the forefront. The story was later adapted into the award-winning movie "Spotlight."
    Geoghan was found guilty of molesting a boy in a swimming pool and sentenced to prison in 2002. A year later, he died after an attack by another inmate at the state prison.
    Law resigned as archbishop of Boston in 2002.
    In 2004, Archbishop Sean O'Malley issued a statement saying that 815 people had made claims of sex abuse of a minor by a priest and 150 people had made claims against a deacon, non-incardinated, or religious order priest between 1950 and 2003.
    In 2011, O'Malley published the names of 159 clerics accused of sexual assault over that time period. The names of an additional 91 clerics who had been accused were not included for reasons including their deaths before the completion of inquiries when they had not been publicly accused.

    Austria, 1998

    Cardinal Hans Hermann Groër of Vienna was forced to give up all his duties amid allegations he molested young boys. A statement by Groer asked for forgiveness but made no admission of guilt, reported the BBC.

    USA, 1985

    Father Thomas Doyle warned of sexual abuse by clergy in a report given at the US conference of bishops. It was ignored.
    Gilbert Gauthe in Louisiana became the first to gain national attention in a case of a priest accused of sexual abuse. In 1985, he admitted to abusing 37 boys and pleaded guilty to 34 criminal counts, reported the New York Times. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison, but released after 10 years.

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