Thursday, January 20, 2011

Lucia Abuse smoking gun nothing more than a boiling kettle

Catholic haters have jumped the gun on this one. Again, the world's media falsely accuses the Vatican of a sexual abuse cover-up with yet another newly discovered document that is inflated to mean more than it actually does.

A newly revealed 1997 letter from the Vatican warned Ireland's Catholic Bishops not to report all suspected child-abuse cases to police - a disclosure that victims' groups described as "the smoking gun" needed to show that the Vatican enforced a worldwide coverup.

That's from an AP article on the front page of today World section in the Dominion Post.

So, what is wrong with this picture?

Signed by the late Archbishop Luciano Storero, Pope John Paul II's diplomat to Ireland, the letter instructs Irish Bishops that their new policy of making the reporting of suspected crimes mandatory "gives rise to serious reservations of both a moral and canonical nature."

In other words, the Irish Bishops are being warned that mandatory reporting is not a good idea. Mandatory reporting, of the type where there only has to be an accusation made of abuse and it must be reported to the police. Mandatory where the victim doesn't want to go to the police, no that would not matter, any crime of a sexual nature would be automatically reported to the police. Proof would not matter, credibility would not matter, the wishes of the victim would not matter - all that would matter is that the Bishops would be seen to be tough on sex abuse.

That's what is wrong with the picture.

The late Archbishop Luciano Storero never says to not report credible sexual abuse crimes to the police, all he warns against is the mandatory reporting policy the Irish Bishops were thinking of implementing.

This does not show that the Vatican enforced a worldwide culture of coverup as the article states. The only people making such a leap are those that already believe this and no evidence to the contrary is good enough for them.

The only story here is that no matter how small the pretext, the worldwide media, New Zealand's included, is ever ready to accuse the Vatican, Catholicism, the Popes and even every day Catholics of the most heinous crimes without any evidence. I suppose we can be relieved for now, that unlike the Muslims, they are not calling for our blood, yet.

Read More : Vatican warned Bishops not to report child abuse! ~ National Catholic Register, Jimmy Akin

18 comment(s):

ZenTiger said...

I'm still waiting for the liberal left to try "mandatory reporting" of teenage pregnancies to the parents, rather than conduct abortions without legal consent.

In those circumstances the right to privacy is suddenly to be respected. Yet they want to make a mere accusation public, in spite of the potential wishes of the victim.

I think it is important that the victims parents or legal guardians (if under 16) are informed, and it should be them that take a formal complaint to the secular authorities.

There have also been several documented cases where false allegations were made, and later proven to be false, but enormous damage was done to those falsely accused. It can be a complex situation and blanket rules such as this may not yield the best results.

Either way, this is not about a cover-up but a debate on finding a course of action that fairly protects the privacy of the accuser and the rights of the accused. Remember, there is no prohibition on any person going to the police and lodging a complaint.

leftrightout said...

Perhaps you'd like to watch the RTE program, and then make a decision. It's online, and it's free.

http://www.rte.ie/tv/wouldyoubelieve/av_index.html

Blessings.

leftrightout said...

Would anyone care to comment on In a January 1997 letter to each Irish bishop, marked “strictly confidential”, the Vatican said it would support the appeal of any priest defrocked by the Irish church in connection with child sex abuse. It did so in a number of cases, leading to a threat of resignation by one Irish archbishop.

That seems pretty clear to me.

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/0117/1224287680501.html

Andrei said...

Load of horse radish LRO - the Bishops put together a document on what to do about priests who were abusing kids.

The Vatican critiqued it and expressed some concerns about canon law which if violated would give a abusing priest recourse to the Vatican if defrocked.

The letter isn't an order it is an warning not to violate canon law when dealing with this.

The Church is under Satanic attack, always has been and this is what this is pure and simple.

leftrightout said...

zen, I've read you post above and all I can say is "Have you read the Irish Church document?". I suggest you pay particular attention to 2.2.3, 2.2.5 and 2.2.6

Furthermore, I fail see any relevance in this document, or the 1997 letter, with abortion, unless it is to abort the consequences of priestly rape.

I alos wonder what this has to do with "the liberal left", whomever thay may be. This is a church issue being poorly handled and being brought in to the light so we may help the church heal.

libertyscott said...

I thought carefully about this one, and don't think the letter is enough in itself.

However, it is conclusively established that the church in Ireland conspired with the state to suppress the crimes of its employees on a scale that should appal anyone.

To claim that victims, who were in church care by state authority, could ever stand up and complain about abuse, is beyond incredulity. These children had nowhere to go, no loving Catholic families were adopting them, and the warm embrace of the church shielded their rapists and abusers. The state went along with this happily. The Vatican did nothing on its own accord until victims, journalists and governments forced its hand.

To claim there isn't any evidence, when the behaviour of so many who worked for the church was on the level of a mafia, is being wilfully blind.

I can almost laugh at Andrei saying the church is under satanic attack. I guess it is, from the inside, for I suppose that is the only way you might construe the two priests who raped my uncle when he was a child, oh and the other priest who beat him when he complained about it and told him never to tell anyone, oh and maybe the superstructure of an organisation that didn't have any way for children to speak out safely against it.

The common response to this is to say "it happened elsewhere", which is a bit like any gangster saying "but there are other gangs that do violence". As if it is not that bad if I beat up my wife because others do it. Moral depravity indeed.

Maybe if the Vatican decided to excommunicate all priests convicted of such crimes it might show itself to truly be keen to treat these crimes for their seriousness?

I.M Fletcher said...

Bill Donahue makes an interesting point that civil liberties groups (including Planned Parenthood) only want mandatory reporting in the case or private institutions, not public. In other words, they're hypocrites. It has nothing to do with looking out for victims, it's all political; just another attempt to smear the Church.


Last month, several media outlets ran a story on how a rabbinical court in Brooklyn ordered its 10,000 members not to report crimes to the police. Not among those reporting on it was the New York Times. Moreover, this same newspaper has consistently opposed a law in New York State mandating that crimes involving the sexual abuse of minors be reported to the police if the law applies equally to public, as well as private, institutions; it only backs mandatory reporting for private institutions.

The reason there is no mandatory reporting about these crimes in New York State is because the New York Civil Liberties Union and Family Planning Advocates (the lobbying arm of Planned Parenthood) have successfully killed such legislation.

So who wants mandatory reporting for everyone? The Catholic bishops want it—it's the liberal media and liberal activist groups who don't.

leftrightout said...

oh this is just tooooo funny.

libertyscott quite rightly says The common response to this is to say "it happened elsewhere", which is a bit like any gangster saying "but there are other gangs that do violence". says

And then, beautifully on cue, along comes IMF with

Bill Donahue makes an interesting point that civil liberties groups (including Planned Parenthood) only want mandatory reporting in the case or private institutions, not public. In other words, they're hypocrites. It has nothing to do with looking out for victims, it's all political; just another attempt to smear the Church.



As if this has any relevance at all.

The point under discussion is the systemic abuse within the catholic churc and the attempts to cover up the abuse, within the catholic church.

I quite quite remember the words, but motes and specks were in there somewhere

I.M Fletcher said...

LRO, again, I'm not excusing any abuse. You want to know what upsets me about this? What really riles me is that the people pointing the accusing finger are pointing it solely at the Catholic Church because they do not like the Catholic Church, in the first place, and second, think they can make a lot of money from their lawyers suing the Church. That's the reason the Church is getting so much attention.

Thus they ignore abuse by other groups :

* the aforementioned rabbinical group who tells their members not to report anything to the police;

* the practice of mandatory reporting only for private groups, not public.

* the abuse in schools where the 2004 Shakeshaft report said "... the physical sexual abuse of students in [public] schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by [Catholic] priests."

In 1994, Shakeshaft published a report based on a four-year study of 225 sexual abuse complaints—184 in New York State and 41 in other states—against teachers made to federal authorities from 1990 to 1994.[2] She found that "All of the accused admitted sexual abuse of a student, but none of the abusers was reported to the authorities, and only 1 percent lost their license to teach. Only 35 percent suffered negative consequences of any kind, and 39 percent chose to leave their school district, most with positive recommendations. Some were even given an early retirement package."

So, where's the outcry about that? Yes, I know the Church is supposed to have higher standards than the secular world, and the secular world calls the Church on it sometimes, but I mean....really? It's like saying, "hey we're abusing kids and not reporting it, but we're going to pick on you doing it because you're supposed to be better than us"

To put it harshly - people in the mainstream media don't really care about children being abused or other victims. They're only interested in a story. They only care about attacking the Catholic Church because it holds up traditional morals and family values that conflict with the secular practices of homosexuality, abortion, euthanasia, and gay marriage that they want everyone to be "tolerant" towards.

LRO, I am wondering if you fall into this group as well.

So, these attackers of the Church will go through every single letter - every scrap of correspondence - looking for something they can spin; some bit of innocuous information that they then project their own evil thought onto; something they can use to convince the public that the Church is evil and not their own liberal practices of killing babies in the womb, same-sex adoption, euthanasia, legalizing of prostitution etc.

By the way, most of the abuse of children by preists (and indeed in the secular world) is homosexual - men offending agssint boys. The media doesn't like to draw attention to that though, because homosexuality is the sacred cow they dare not speak agasint.

Lucia Maria said...

LibertyScott,

The Church in Ireland is not the Vatican - you are confusing the two. The Vatican is in Rome, and relies on all Dioceses, around the world, to obey all the rules of the Church. However, in many places, such as Ireland, such obedience has been very thin, in fact, the Irish tend to suffer from a isolationist mentality - they don't like being told what to do by outsiders, the Vatican included.

Are you referring to something in my post? when you say, "To claim there isn't any evidence, when the behaviour of so many who worked for the church was on the level of a mafia, is being wilfully blind."

Excommunication is not the punishment you think it is. All that is required to reverse the excommunication is repentance, ie it's not necessarily permanent. However, what is permanent is that all priests convicted of such a vile crime against children are stripped of their priesthood. In the past, the secular punishment used to be death. Unfortunately, we in the West do not consider this crime serious enough for that anymore.

ZenTiger said...

LS, I'm responding on the basis your comment was directed to me.

However, it is conclusively established that the church in Ireland conspired with the state to suppress the crimes of its employees on a scale that should appall anyone.

I fully accept the findings of the reports.

To claim that victims, who were in church care by state authority, could ever stand up and complain about abuse, is beyond incredulity.

I never claimed that at all. I was making a general comment about the pros and cons of mandatory reporting, as it relates to a wide variety of situations, not just orphanages. As you note, the police were often informed of abuse cases and did nothing. How would mandatory reporting actually help there anyway? The answer has to be better than jumping up and down with a simplistic response.

If the answer was "end presumption of innocence and base our system on "guilty until proven innocent" I would also argue the cons of that approach.

The Vatican did nothing on its own accord until victims, journalists and governments forced its hand.

For the most case we are looking at historic abuse cases, and the media mixes up "the Vatican did nothing" with incidents where the Vatican did not know the full extent of the problem before some of this came to light. In direct contrast to what people believe about the Vatican, it didn't historically exert much control or have any oversight of the running of the Church facilities in different countries, and so the problems of historic abuse cases (because the report covers a range of abuse, from light corporal punishment, to the extremes of physical or sexual abuse) in Ireland should rightfully fall on the Church and State leaders in Ireland of those times.

Joe Heschmeyer said...

LRO,

Your link is wrong. Here's the original document in full (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/world/Ireland-Catholic-Abuse.pdf?ref=europe). It doesn't say what your source claims it does. Besides that, the right to due process is provided to every accused, even (perhaps especially) those accused of horrible crimes. Are you opposed to that? How is that a cover-up, or even a moral ill?

If the civil government gives convicted murderers the right to appeal, and perhaps even walk free based upon violations of their due process, does that mean that the government is pro-murder?

It almost seems as if your logic goes:

A. Some Catholic bishops covered up the sex abuse scandal.

B. Therefore, any confidential document from a bishop (or better yet, the Vatican) dealing with the sex abuse scandal is part of a cover-up.

And I just don't see how you get from A to B. Can you show me where in the document itself (rather than inflammatory coverage about the document) that you find any of the points you're making? In Christ,

Joe.

ZenTiger said...

(Part II)

To claim there isn't any evidence, when the behaviour of so many who worked for the church was on the level of a mafia, is being wilfully blind.

I did not claim of lack of evidence. The point of the post was to explain the specific letter being cited as evidence of a conspiracy by the Vatican is not any such thing.

I can almost laugh at Andrei saying the church is under satanic attack. I guess it is, from the inside, for I suppose that is the only way you might construe the two priests who raped my uncle when he was a child, oh and the other priest who beat him when he complained about it and told him never to tell anyone, oh and maybe the superstructure of an organisation that didn't have any way for children to speak out safely against it.

I'm one of the ones that believe the Statute of limitations should be greatly extended, and I can be persuaded the death penalty is appropriate for some of these cases. That doesn't stop me from trying to distinguish between lynch mob mentality against the wrong targets and otherwise.

Regarding statute of limitations - it is a failure of secular authorities to deal with this by adjusting them. The Vatican has extended its statute of limitations to enable victims to come forward many years later, but secular authorities are slow to do so. I often wonder why people aren't demanding stronger justice from the secular organisations that are the ones legally obliged to provide justice.

The fact that people in these situations haven't any way of speaking about it is changing in these times, because of the increase in publication of such abuse cases and completely different attitudes to this. This applies to state institutions just as much, although I note that they often are much softer in chasing up historic claims. Why? Are those victims any less important?

The common response to this is to say "it happened elsewhere", which is a bit like any gangster saying "but there are other gangs that do violence". As if it is not that bad if I beat up my wife because others do it. Moral depravity indeed.

I'm not saying that. The report was issued, the State needs to act on the report and make prosecutions.

Maybe if the Vatican decided to excommunicate all priests convicted of such crimes it might show itself to truly be keen to treat these crimes for their seriousness?

I think that process is in place. The Pope said in 2010:

The Pope continued: "Therefore, in this year of our Lord, 2010 Anno Domini, let it be known that any and all Priests within the global Catholic community found guilty of the sin of sexual immorality with any child, past, present, or future, within or without the boundaries of their current or past parish, shall be brought to justice within the Catholic church for formal excommunication before years end ... and all necessary police authority shall be notified, as is fitting with our duty to adhere, not only to the laws and commands of Almighty God, but to the laws of the land within each diocese, as He has sovereignly established."


However, I think excommunication is in itself not a complete answer, because the way is open to repent and be absolved, which will infuriate the public more. Excommunication and its purpose and function is not well understood by the public. What the public rightfully wants is a priest to be defrocked.

Personally, I wouldn't want such a priest to be released from the priesthood. I would want them (if they escape secular punishment) to be confined to a monastery for the rest of their lives, to sit and reflect on their life.

Joe Heschmeyer said...

Liberty Scott,

I agree with a lot of what you said. The comparison of many bishops to Mafioso was raised by former Oklahoma governor Frank Keating, himself a conservative Catholic, after working on the USCCB's sex abuse panel. He was absolutely right. Too many were worried about protecting their own, rather than seeing justice done or the innocent kept from harmed. These men were/are bad bishops who will answer to God. Even some within the Vatican likely shared this "protect your own" clericalist mentality.

But I've seen not a shred of evidence that the Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland (or anyone else in the Vatican) was complicit in any cover-up. The Irish mandatory-reporting provision was poorly structured, and a bad idea (albeit well-meaning); that doesn't mean that credible abuse allegations shouldn't have been reported. They should have been, and to the extent that there weren't, I support the civil authorities' prosecution of those who behaved like Mafioso.


The fact that some bishops were bad, and some bishops covered up sex abuse (which is absolutely true), doesn't mean that all bishops were bad or covered up sex abuse. And increasingly, the media treats all internal Church documents related to the sex scandal as "proof" of a cover-up, regardless of the contents. This letter is totally benign, but the media (spurred on by plaintiff's attorneys, as some of the article allude) act as if the docs say something that they just flat-out don't.

I think it's important that in condemning the bad actors we not fall into the temptation to treat every bishop everywhere like a bad actor. A lot of bishops, including the present pope, were vigilant in trying to weed out the "filth" from within the Church. In Christ,

Joe.

Lucia Maria said...

Here is a version of the Recommended Reporting Policy (which we don't know if it were the one that the Nuncio was commenting on)

2.2.1 In all instances where it is known or suspected that a child has been, or is being, sexually abused by a priest or religious the matter should be reported to the civil authorities. Where the suspicion or knowledge results from the complaint of an adult of abuse during his or her childhood, this should also be reported to the civil authorities.

2.2.2 The report should be made without delay to the senior ranking police officer for the area in which the abuse is alleged to have occurred. Where the suspected victim is a child, or where a complaint by an adult gives rise to child protection questions, the designated person within the appropriate health board/health and social services board should also be informed. A child protection question arises, in the case of a complaint by an adult, where an accused priest or religious holds or has held a position which has afforded him or her unsupervised access to children.

2.2.3 The Advisory Committee recognises that this recommended reporting policy may cause difficulty in that some people who come to the Church with complaints of current or past child sexual abuse by a priest or religious seek undertakings of confidentiality. They are concerned to protect the privacy of that abuse of which even their immediate family members may not be aware. Their primary reason in coming forward may be to warn Church authorities of a priest or religious who is a risk to children.

2.2.4 The recommended reporting policy may deter such people from coming forward or may be perceived by those who do come forward as an insensitive and heavy-handed response by Church authorities. This is particularly so where the complaint relates to incidents of abuse many years earlier.

2.2.5 Nonetheless, undertakings of absolute confidentiality should not be given but rather the information should be expressly received within the terms of this reporting policy and on the basis that only those who need to know will be told.

2.2.6 In making its recommendations in regard to reporting, the Advisory Committee considers to be paramount the safety and protection of children and the need to prevent, where possible, further abuse.

LRO said to Zen, "I suggest you pay particular attention to 2.2.3, 2.2.5 and 2.2.6"

What exactly were you trying to say, LRO?

ZenTiger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MK said...

Exactly right Zen, when it comes to abortions and such, the left's yearning for mandatory reporting quietly evaporates.

Lucia is right, mandatory reporting isn't always the best option. Some might say that the courts can decide, but it's just just that, often when such allegations are made, that's enough for the public to try and convict.

A prime example being the leftist attitude towards peaceful, law-abiding Conservatives and Christians. Facts, reason and evidence never seem to slow them down when it's time for a witch hunt or for their hatred and bigotry to reveal itself.

libertyscott said...

I don't think I can be accused of wanting to ignore the abuse committed by state agencies, or other religions. However, to shift attention from vileness that is close to home to that of others is simply wrong, unless the person pointing out the vileness excuses the others.

IM Fletcher: I don't know where you get that most of the abuse in the secular world is homosexual, since all the stats I've seen indicate girls are far more likely to be abused than boys overall. Priests I suspect simply had more exposure to boys, hence it was opportunistic with all boys institutions dominated by men.

Lucia: Fair enough, although it is also fair to consider Ireland to be the "branch office". If it was a company (and it has some parallels), the fact some parts of the company didn't follow orders would be no excuse. I did think excommunication did mean condemnation to hell, and the forgiveness was not a matter for life, but after death. If so, then it still seems like an appropriate punishment.

Zen: Thanks, little to disagree with. I think public humiliation and disgrace are effective punishments. Facing victims who wish to confront them would be helpful too. However, none of this should be up to me, but a matter for the victims and the state.

Thank you all for your insightful comments.

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