Voiceless Victim

A survivor of clergy child sexual abuse speaks out for those who can't speak for themselves

How to read a Papal apology

Each suffocating power obsessed bureaucracy has its own double speak that only the initiated can understand.  The Vatican is worse than most because it operates under the ideal conditions of secrecy, excessive reverence and infallibility.

But even if you don’t speak Vatican, most people can understand when they are being lied to. I can understand the Vatican’s lies behind the Papal apology to Irish sexual abuse victims really, really well. Because they’re talking about people like me.

And it is all lies.

All quotes below are the Pope’s own words.
“repairing past injustices and confronting the broader issues associated with the abuse of minors in a way consonant with the demands of justice”
Justice? Confronting the issues? Nope, I haven’t seen anything like that, and to my knowledge neither have any other victims.
Looks like a lie, smells like a lie.

“the task you now face is to address the problem of abuse that has occurred within the Irish Catholic community, and to do so with courage and determination.”
You can address the problem with courage and determination, as for Ratzo, he’s going to hide behind his self appointed status as “head of state”.
Avoiding responsibility. Big time.

“must first acknowledge before the Lord and before others the serious sins committed against defenceless children.”
Maybe they intend to do this one day, but so far all we’ve seen are excuses, minimisations, shifting of the blame to others, attacking the victims and those who stand up for them, normalising  the crimes committed (look, they did it too) and denial, denial, denial.
They’ve had enough time to do this. Really hard to see how this is anything but a lie.

“Only by examining carefully the many elements that gave rise to the present crisis can a clear-sighted diagnosis of its causes be undertaken and effective remedies be found. “
The statement may be factually true, but any inference that Ratzo may actually do that or help anyone else do it is way off the mark.
Deliberately misleading.

“to establish the truth of what happened in the past, to take whatever steps are necessary to prevent it from occurring again, to ensure that the principles of justice are fully respected, and above all, to bring healing to the victims and to all those affected by these egregious crimes”
No. No. No. No. No. Very hurtful to victims because this is exactly what we want to happen, and they are taking credit for actually doing it, while doing everything in their power to make sure it never happens.  The complete opposite of what is really happening. Makes us feel powerless and abused all over again.
Big, fat cynical lie.

“You betrayed the trust that was placed in you by innocent young people and their parents, and you must answer for it before Almighty God and before properly constituted tribunals.”
Not if they’ve got anything to do with it. Still too busy obstructing justice in my case and trying to avoid ever having to go before the properly constituted tribunal.
Again, a lie.

“God’s justice summons us to give an account of our actions and to conceal nothing. Openly acknowledge your guilt, submit yourselves to the demands of justice.”
Definitely not happening in my case. Once again the complete opposite of the truth.
Another lie.

“it is essential that you cooperate closely with those in authority”
Their lack of co-operation with police investigating my case belonged in stories of gansters and mobsters like Al Capone and the Godfather. Besides, the Church does not acknowledge any authority but itself and we all know how good it is at self regulation.
This one is just plain misleading. And so not true.

“continue to cooperate with the civil authorities in their area of competence. Clearly, religious superiors should do likewise. “
Now this one’s a little tricky. The instruction is to continue what they are currently doing. What they are currently doing is pretending to co-operate with civil authorities while obstructing justice in every possible way. Nice modification, “in their area of competence”. If you don’t accept they are competent/authorised to tell you what to do, you don’t have to co-operate.
Very clever, twisted lie.

“Only decisive action carried out with complete honesty and transparency will restore the respect and good will “
Once again, no-one actually said they were going to do it.
Deliberately misleading. Taking credit for something they have no intention of doing.

“to aspire to high ideals of holiness, charity and truth”
We are only talking about aspiring here, not actions.

So to summarise, the Pope has plenty of advice and tons of blame for absolutely everyone else but accepts no personal blame whatsoever despite being a totalitarian despot in charge of the whole sorry lot of them. He also reserves the right to hide behind his long white dress and funny hat if anyone tries to get the truth out of him.
Yes, there’s nothing like openness and honesty from the Vatican. Absolutely nothing like it.

If it was not intended to help victims, what was the real purpose of the Pope’s letter?

It was a PR stunt to make Catholics feel better about the Church. Here’s the proof.

It was read out at Mass, to practicising Catholics.

If the Pope had actually wanted to communicate with victims he would have known many victims cannot bear to set foot inside a church. It is not that hard to obtain addresses of victims and write to them personally, but that is not what this exercise was about.

Very little of the letter talked about victims at all, and almost none about actions that would help victims recover. Victims were the subject of the PR stunt, but most definitely not the intended audience.

Read the Pope’s insulting letter about Irish child sexual abuse victims.

A similar apology in Australia in 2008 went even further and deliberately excluded victims from the “apology” supposedly addressed to them. The real audience for that PR stunt was the world media gathered for World Youth Day.

The stunt backfired however because victims became so angry at their treatment by the abusive Catholic Church, that huge numbers, including myself, ended decades of silence and made statements to the police.

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