Voiceless Victim

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

Category Archives: Catholic lies about child rape

Getting it is not an accomplishment. Getting rid of it is. When’s that going to happen?

I am reposting here in full an excellent editorial written by Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) about the disgraceful performance of the Vatican’s paedophile protectors in front of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on January 16, 2014.

Bishop Charles Scicluna at the UN, the face of Vatican compassion for children they knowingly exposed to rapists

Bishop Charles Scicluna at the UN, the face of Vatican compassion for children they knowingly exposed to rapists

EDITORIAL

 “The Holy See gets it,” Msgr. Charles Scicluna, declared before the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child at a meeting in Geneva, reports the Los Angeles Times.

“Getting it” is not an accomplishment.

Getting rid of it is.

Not only is “getting it” not an accomplishment, it’s not an “ah hah” moment, it’s not even Christianity.

Getting the rape and sodomy of children is basic humanity.

Raping and sodomizing children is criminal.

Luring children into situations where you can rape and sodomize them is criminal.

This is not a complex theological argument.

Getting it is when Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, MO packs a moving van after being removed from his office.

Getting it is extraditing a Polish archbishop to Poland to answer Polish authorities’ questions about being a sexually abusive priest/archbishop — one who is being investigated in the Dominican Republic and Poland. Getting it is not saying you will deal with the matter with your own courts.

Getting it is releasing the documents. They are the place where the truth lives.

Removing Finn, extraditing Weslowski, releasing the truth doesn’t take commissions, papal or otherwise.

They take a Pope.

The Vatican has had one for over 2,000 years. In some years, it’s had more than one.

You can “get” this intellectually or emotionally – your choice – but out of basic humanity the journey is not a long one, the road is not laden with obstacles, the distance from Point A to Point B is short.

Getting this is simple.

Adults under no circumstances should rape or sodomize children. Period.

People who are in authority over those who rape and sodomize children shouldn’t harbor the people who do it, provide the needs of life for them, shuttle them into safe places, or hide them.  If they do, they are complicit in the rape and sodomy of children.

This is doubly, if not triply true if you are a religious institution which claims 1.2 billion members and you have a sign out that says you know the way to the moral life and you are exporting it.

It is inherently true if this religious institution also has a sign out that proclaims the priests of its largest rite as well as the professed men and women religious in the outfit don’t have sex, period – not with anybody, least of all by raping and sodomizing children.

If Catholics and the world at large accept the “we get it” explanation along with the rest of the Vatican representatives’ testimony before the UN Committee as to what is good and right and proper and what needs to be done for justice to be had in this crisis — it’s outrageous.

What the Vatican ”gets” is that the world is catching on to it and it had no other viable defensive option than to appear before the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva.

The world is catching on, make no mistake about this, because of the courage and the dedicated hard work of the survivors.

Here we applaud the heavy lifting that is done by SNAP.

And when you are causing the world to “grill” in unprecedented fashion one of its most powerful institutions, that’s some lifting.

The Vatican representatives ducked and dodged and deflected in the testimony before the UN.

We make available for you at the end of this editorial the text of Archbishop Silvano Tomasi,’s address as the Vatican Information Service presented it.

We call your attention to the Vatican’s characterization that Tomasi, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, was at Geneva as part of a periodic reporting event, — not as a player in an historic, unfiltered sit-down-and-answer-questions about your record on the sexual abuse of children for all the world to see and hear.

Routine event as the Vatican Information Service tried to characterize it in its official record? Nothing could be further from the truth. Seems in cover-up, as in war, truth is also the first casualty.

The catalyst for this particular committee “grilling” as news reports told the world, was the failure of the Vatican to provide required annual reports as a signer on the UN Treaty of the Child. The failure existed for 11 years. Some periodic reporting.

We will give the Vatican this: along with Tomasi whom they could have sent alone, — they did send Monsignor Scicluna and to his credit Scicluna went. Scicluna knows where the bodies are buried and it was a high level risk to send him. He worked for Joseph Ratzinger in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He knows what’s in those records at the Congregation.

One has to wonder as Scicluna sat there being grilled by civil authorities if he thought that his former boss in the Congregation of Faith, should have been sitting there taking the heat or at least feeling it radiate at the other end of a video conferencing camera within his Vatican castle.

Catholics, we do hope, will not be hoodwinked by this performance and add insult to injury to survivors by being sucked into another re-run of “it’s history.”

Pope Benedict XVI had every opportunity on any day of the week, any moment of the day or night, during nearly the entire papacy of Pope John Paul II  and the entirety of his own papacy to clean house of sexual abusers, to move the backlog of laicization cases still gathering dust in the Congregation, to remove abusive and cover-up bishops, to release Vatican documents, to order bishops and cardinals and congregations to release documents, to order bishops, cardinals and congregations to release names, — to come clean.

He didn’t do it.

That’s a choice, a clear choice, not a failure or a deficiency in “getting it.”

The sitting pope had scandal on his mind, too, as his representatives were on the hot seat in Geneva.

Said Pope Francis, it is reported, in his homily:

“But are we ashamed? So many scandals that I do not want to mention individually, but all of us know…We know where they are! Scandals, some who charged a lot of money…. The shame of the Church! But are we all ashamed of those scandals, of those failings of priests, bishops, laity?(emphasis added). Where was the Word of God in those scandals; where was the Word of God in those men and in those women? They did not have a relationship with God! They had a position in the Church, a position of power, even of comfort. But the Word of God, no! ‘But, I wear a medal,’ ‘I carry the Cross ‘ … Yes, just as those who bore the Ark! Without the living relationship with God and the Word of God! I am reminded of the words of Jesus about those from whom scandals come … And here the scandal hit: bringing decay (it: decadenza) to the people of God, including (it: fino alla) the weakness and corruption of the priests.”

We added the emphasis to the  phrase “ priests, bishops and laity” because we believe there should be howls of protest from the laity – who never see the light of day in parallel references with priests and bishops when it comes to anything else in the Church but they are lumped into the shame of scandals in equal proportion.

This is insulting.

Yes, there are lay people who have been on parish or school staffs that have abused –they have been prosecuted in vastly higher numbers than priests and bishops who have abused and covered up abuse , no comparison — and after being accused they have not been given hiding places and financial underpinning by the Church — nor had their bail paid by the Church. There are lay chancery officials who have covered up but their known number does not rise to anywhere near equal portion to the known number of priests and bishops who have abused and covered up and who had and have the power to end this crisis but fail to end this crisis. Same holds true on the financial scandal front.

This largest crisis in the Church in the last 500 hundred years has not been caused by  lay people. Good grief.

Getting it is not an accomplishment.

Getting rid of it is.

When’s that going to happen?

Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) KristineWard@hotmail.com

TEXT of the Vatican Information Service report:  

Vatican City, 16 January 2014 (VIS) – Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, C.S., Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva, spoke this morning before the Committee on the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC). He presented the Holy See’s periodic report on this issue.

ARCHBISHOP TOMASI BEFORE COMMITTEE OF CHILD RIGHTS: HOLY SEE AND ITS INSTITUTIONS ARE COMMITTED TO DEFENCE OF INVIOLABLE DIGNITY OF EACH CHILD

Vatican City, 16 January 2014 (VIS) – Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, C.S., Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva, spoke this morning before the Committee on the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC). He presented the Holy See’s periodic report on this issue.

“The protection of children remains a major concern for contemporary society and for the Holy See,” the prelate said. “… Abusers are found among members of the world’s most respected professions, most regrettably, including members of the clergy and other church personnel. …”

“Confronted with this reality, the Holy See has carefully delineated policies and procedures designed to help eliminate such abuse and to collaborate with respective State authorities to fight against this crime. The Holy See is also committed to listen carefully to victims of abuse and to address the impact such situations have on survivors of abuse and on their families. The vast majority of church personnel and institutions on the local level have provided, and continue to provide, a wide variety of services to children by educating them, and by supporting their families, and by responding to their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Egregious crimes of abuse committed against children have rightly been adjudicated and punished by the competent civil authorities in the respective countries.”

“Therefore, the response of the Holy See to the sad phenomenon of the sexual abuse of minors has been articulated in different ambits. On the level of the Holy See, as the Sovereign of Vatican City State, the response to sexual abuse has been in accord with its direct responsibility over the territory of Vatican City State. In this regard, special legislation has been enacted to implement international legal obligations, and covers the State, and its tiny population.”

“On the international level, the Holy See has taken concrete action by the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990. In 2000, the Holy See acceded to the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution, and Child Pornography, as well as the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict. The Holy See then promotes and encourages these international instruments.”

“At the same time, the Holy See as the central organ of the Catholic Church has formulated guidelines to facilitate the work of the local Churches to develop effective measures within their jurisdiction and in conformity with canonical legislation.”

“Local Churches, taking into account the domestic law in their respective countries, have developed guidelines and monitored their implementation with the aim of preventing any additional abuse and dealing promptly with it, in accordance with national law whenever it occurs. … The result of the combined action taken by local Churches and by the Holy See presents a framework that, when properly applied, will help eliminate the occurrence of child sexual abuse by clergy and other church personnel.”

The Permanent Observer explained that “the Holy See’s ‘Periodic Report on the CRC’ is divided into four Parts: Part I deals with general considerations, including the nature of the Holy See as a subject of international law. Part II responds to the concluding observations of the Committee to the Holy See’s Initial Report, and, in particular, questions concerning reservations; the Committee’s four principles and the duties and rights of parents, the education of girls, education about health, and education on the CRC. The Holy See also discusses the principles it promotes concerning the rights and duties of the child within the context of the family. Part III presents the international contributions of the Holy See in advancing and promoting basic principles recognized in the CRC on a full range of issues pertaining to children (e.g., the family, adoption, children with disabilities; health and welfare; leisure and culture; and special measures to protect children, including questions pertaining to sexual abuse, drug addiction, children living on the streets and minority groups). Finally, Part IV addresses the implementation of the Convention in Vatican City State.”

“In the end, there is no excuse,” the prelate repeated, “for any form of violence or exploitation of children. Such crimes can never be justified, whether committed in the home, in schools, in community and sports programs, or in religious organizations and structures. This is the long-standing policy of the Holy See. … For this reason, the Holy See, and local Church structures in all parts of the world, are committed to holding inviolable the dignity and entire person of every child—body, mind, and spirit.”

“Pope Benedict XVI,” the prelate concluded, “speaking to the Bishops of Ireland in 2006 had these important words to say: ‘In the exercise of your pastoral ministry, you have had to respond in recent years to many heart-rending cases of sexual abuse of minors. These are all the more tragic when the abuser is a cleric.’ … Likewise, Pope Francis clearly … undertook new action and has announced the creation of a Commission for the Protection of Minors, with the aim of proposing new initiatives for the development of safe environment programs for children and improving efforts for the pastoral care for victims of abuse around the world.”

Stay safe everyone.

VV

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Who is Looking After the Children? Certainly Not the Catholic Church.

Crack paedophile protection team on the job

Crack paedophile protection team on the job

When a normal human being looks at a child they see a fellow human being. A human being who is tiny, innocent, vulnerable, loveable and full of potential. One who deserves our utmost efforts to protect them from harm.

When a narcissist looks at a child they see an object who is easier than most to manipulate into giving them whatever they want. The child is nothing to them but a tool to use to obtain their desired objective.

When a sociopath looks at a child they see an easy mark, one they can dominate much easier than most adults, and one they can train to bend to their will. The child is nothing to them but a target they can derive pleasure or power from, through subjugating and harming the child.

Those who rape children are usually narcissists, sociopaths, or both.

They look at a child and see an object for sexual release, or someone they can enjoy harming through forcing them to submit to abhorrent sexual acts against their will.

Those who sexually abuse children do so because:

  1. They believe they are entitled to sexually prey upon the vulnerable, and that any child who cannot defend themselves or is not protected by the adults around them is fair game
  2. They believe they can get away with it

Religious institutions both produce and attract so many child rapists because of the existence of four crucial conditions conducive to the sexual exploitation of children. These are highly exaggerated entitlement, imbalance of power, sexual dysfunction and lack of accountability.

The catholic church in particular has a problem with its priests raping children in large numbers, in every country where it has a presence. Though catholic officials, dissociated from both reality and humanity, see the problem as one of the victims selfishly and unfairly reporting the crimes committed against them.

Catholic religious, and priests in particular, are trained to believe they are special, above lay persons or normal human beings, and are entitled to special treatment. Many readily accept the proposition that they are more holy, purely by virtue of their position, and therefore far more deserving than ordinary mortals.

As their entitlement grows, so the relative entitlement of lay persons is diminished, particularly low status lay persons such as women, children, the disadvantaged and the disabled.

In dysfunctional individuals this robs any such people they come across of even the core right to refuse an entitled cleric sexual access to their bodies.

This distorted entitlement is dangerous enough by itself. When matched with the ultimate unquestionable, godlike authority demanded for catholic priests by the catholic hierarchy, it becomes doubly dangerous.

But even a highly entitled individual in a position of overwhelming power over children does not automatically desire to rape them. Normal, healthy human sexual development generally results in adults looking for consensual sexual relations with other adults. But no catholic priest is offered the opportunity for normal healthy human sexual development, unless they come to the priesthood as an already normal adult.

Most of the rapist priests causing recent or current problems were not given a choice in the decision to become a priest, whether by compulsion or extraordinary family pressure. Many were locked away in a dysfunctional, often abusive seminary system, some as as young as 11 or 12, well before they were capable of making a lifetime decision about the priesthood and its requirement for celibacy. Most were deliberately denied the support of their families throughout their formative years to ensure their dependence on the church alone.

They were shut away from female company, and as the Royal Commission hearings revealed in December, the entire teachings on sexuality amounted in many cases to “Don’t”.

Many were brutalised, bullied, manipulated and abused, including sexually. Some seminaries operated in such a way that new recruits were simply pounced upon by sexual predators the minute the door shut behind them.

Is it any wonder then that research reveals the majority of priests are psychosexually immature, and a large proportion are sexually dysfunctional?

But even this does not make them child rapists.

Even if these entitled, powerful, sexually dysfunctional individuals existed in an otherwise just or humane environment, child rape would not flourish to reach the epidemic proportions seen in the catholic church.

Unfortunately the catholic church supports and protects the rapists and punishes and undermines their victims. This happens on such a scale that the rapists know without a doubt that the church will ensure they not only get away with their crimes, but are also helped to continue them.

In fact many come to believe they are not just entitled to rape whomever they please, but also entitled to escape responsibility for their crimes.

The catholic church, like the rapists themselves, views children with the eyes of a narcissist.

Children are not considered precious or valuable by the catholic church. They are not vulnerable or deserving of protection. To the callous hierarchs they are either unimportant, beneath notice, sexual prey or collateral damage.

Of course church officials know they need to make occasional deceptive statements about loving and valuing children, if they are not to lose most of their flock. But if children were truly valued in any way, the way human beings value children, the church would surely have acted to protect these innocents from the very real and very well known and understood danger of being raped by entitled clerics.

Much more precious to the narcissist church is la bella figura or pleasing façade. This façade is crucial to the hierarchy’s continued ability to operate profitable tax free commercial enterprises, receive generous government funding, and dictate government policy around the world.

For centuries the catholic hierarchy have been able to behave like criminals and be honoured as saints. This is achieved by maintaining a fanatical obsession with supporting the lie that the church does good works and all priests and religious are holy.

Properly protecting children from rape by priests necessarily involves admitting that priests rape children. Admitting that priests rape children is a far worse outcome in the opinion of the catholic hierarchy than even hundreds of thousands of children being raped.

But why?

Because the catholic system of brainwashing from childhood, controlling throughout their lifetime, and profiting from the billions of lay catholics could not continue without the widely held belief in the holiness and superiority of the poorly paid, often severely dysfunctional priests who shore up the hierarchy’s lives of power and luxury.

This fantasy of specialness, otherworldliness, sacrifice and nobility is supported by the fallacy of clerical celibacy.

Universal mandatory celibacy is unique to the catholic church. It plays an important role in the incidence of child rape in this institution, though it is not a “cause” of child rape.

The cause of child rape is the belief that it is acceptable to rape children, a positive assessment of the relative risk of such behavior, and the decision to act accordingly.

Celibacy in the catholic church is not widely observed. Experts estimate as many as 50% of clerics are not celibate at any time. The number who have never broken their vow of celibacy must indeed be small.

Whether or not a priest is celibate is, frankly, a private matter. But the catholic church has chosen to deceitfully promote their clerics as non sexual, and therefore not just holy but unquestionably safe around children.

Because of this public appearance of celibacy, any sexual liaison by a priest is, at least within the catholic church, illicit, and must remain hidden from general view.

A secret homosexual affair is normal and hardly frowned upon, especially if kept in house, for example with another priest.

Preying upon barely adult vulnerable girls who can be manipulated to blame themselves for the liaison, and can be controlled and exploited for sex without scandal, often for decades, is also common. It is also rape, by the way.

Child rape is common amongst the more disturbed and sexually predatory because children are unlikely to speak out for decades, and even if they do, are unlikely to be believed. Children, because of their size and development, can be easier to dominate and control than fully grown adults, who may be able to resist physically or have an adult understanding of their rights. Children are also easier to frighten into silence and to convince to blame themselves for the priests’ crimes.

Not only are the child rapists more dysfunctional than those raping adults of either sex, they also tend to be more prolific. Adult-oriented predators may be satisfied with a single sexual partner for decades and may amass at most a handful of victims over a lifetime of abuse.

Child rapists by comparison tend much more to have multiple concurrent victims, such as my abuser. The worst cases can get their hands on thousands of primary victims, and destroy many entire communities. Some child rapists are not obsessed with a particular type of victim but rather the power over another. These predators will rape boys, girls and occasionally adults of either sex as well, depending upon opportunity.

Imagine the number of opportunities for being caught, either in the act or at least acting inappropriately, such as having a child overnight in their bedroom, that prolific predators present. How many lay catholics or other religious see things that should result in action to save a child from such a terrible fate, but do nothing?

How many bishops receive reports of such activities or complaints from victims or their families and do absolutely nothing?

The sexual predators see this, and they learn very quickly, that in the catholic church, almost no-one puts the safety of an unimportant child, or even thousands of children, above the reputation of a priest and the church itself. Certainly no-one in a position of power. Anyone in a position of power who tried to protect children rather than the church would not be in power for long.

And so child rape is considered by many priests a soft and relatively low risk option for their illicit sex. The church hierarchy’s lack of an effective response to these crimes solidifies the view that is it acceptable to rape children as long as scandal is avoided.

Interestingly, it is not the rape of thousands of innocent children that will bring to life the catholic church’s considerable ability to control and punish its priests, but something few outside the church would see as harmful.

Normal consensual relations with an adult woman is perhaps the most illicit sex of all for catholic priests. The most frowned upon by the catholic hierarchy.

Marry a woman you love and who loves you, and you will be thrown out of the church immediately in disgrace.

Rape thousands of children, ruin countless lives, including family members of the victims, and cause scores of suicide deaths, and you’ll probably be promoted and honoured as especially holy in life and in death.

You will certainly be forgiven, offered every possible assistance, and protected from publicity and law enforcement throughout your life.

This misuse of the concept of forgiveness by the catholic church is also crucial in exposing more children to rape by priests.

The catholic church, because of the strong desire to coverup these crimes to maintain la bella figura, defines them as mistakes, missteps, slips and unfortunate occurrences.

It readily forgives the rapist and tries to rob the victims of their right to decide whether to forgive, or even to complain. It bullies the families of victims to stay silent, pressuring them that it is unchristian to deny forgiveness, regardless of the fact the criminal has neither admitted his past offences or even stopped offending.

In recent years many documents have come to light revealing a long history of predilection for this appalling crime, detailed knowledge of its seriousness, and edicts outlawing it and recommending the most stringent possible punishments. Such efforts have either been temporary, ineffective or insincere as the problem has continued throughout church history.

Today’s church has turned its back on such attempts and chosen to allow, even positively enable, the rape of children.

More recent documents show an obsession with enforcing secrecy about these crimes, a declaration that something as inoffensive, some would say positive, as the ordination of women should be considered a crime of equal seriousness with child rape, plus official instructions to bishops not to co-operate with local law enforcement in these matters, and to punish victims for speaking out far more stringently than the offender is punished for raping children.

Faced finally with some of the truth of these crimes reaching the public, and no longer able to get away with the traditional approach of point blank denial, the church hierarchy now engage in a PR war to further harm victims and ensure child protection remains inadequate or non existent.

These particularly callous efforts meld insincere apologies, avoidance of responsibility, deflection of blame, focus on the church and its officials as victims not perpetrators, with vague promises that never result in any meaningful change, action or increase in child protection.

When under particular media pressure, church hierarchs will announce the formation of a review body, committee, council, or resource group, or commission research or issue guidelines.

Experience has shown these efforts are cynical, meaningless and possibly dangerous. Mendacious claims include: “we know much better now”; “things have changed”; “we are doing everything possible now”; “the church is the safest place for children”;  “we followed the advice of lawyers/psychologists”; or “we were no worse than society in general”.

Independent inquiries such as in Ireland and Philadelphia have revealed in detail that such claims are baseless, and not just the law but even their own woefully inadequate guidelines are today still not followed.

Many independent experts have resigned in disgust over bishops’ efforts to exert dictatorial control over and effectively hobble the operation of supposedly independent review bodies or research organisations, including members of the National and local Review Boards set up by the US Bishops’ Conference, and the German equivalent of the widely criticized John Jay Study.

German Bishops commissioned “independent research” yet expected to be able to manipulate the research and rewrite the report so that the results reflected their propaganda objectives, rather than the outcome of data analysis. The researchers resigned the commission last year, after first ensuring all other German researchers were aware of the deceitful tactics of the bishops and would not be similarly misled.

German Bishops pumped out industrial quantities of misinformation, refused to accept responsibility for their own actions, and falsely blamed others: the usual strategy when in danger of being seen for what they truly are.

The hierarchy of the catholic church demands respect for religious practices, tax breaks and unquestioned authority and trust when it suits them. But they also claim diplomatic immunity and other benefits as a nation state, even in instances when they are functioning as the headquarters of the criminal catholic church.

The Vatican is rapidly filling with fugitives from local law enforcement eager to benefit from claimed diplomatic immunity or the lack of extradition treaties with the country or countries where their crimes were committed. Many of these fugitives are under investigation for or already proven guilty of child rape or enabling and covering up child rape.

Yet the Vatican arrogantly informs the UN that as there are few children within its tiny borders (apart of course from child prostitutes temporarily shipped in to service the various lusts of these self declared celibates), therefore there are few child protection issues for the Vatican to address.

Thankfully, at the review of the Holy See’s compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child on 16 January in Geneva, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, whose purpose is to stand up for children’s rights everywhere, gave zero credence to Vatican attempts to yet again avoid responsibility for its steadfast refusal to protect the countless children deliberately and knowingly exposed to its rapists throughout the world.

The fact that this is a consistent worldwide problem is a result of the consistent worldwide practice of this church, as dictated from the Vatican.

As first world countries become more aware of the problem, instead of shuffling child rapists between parishes or states, the trend is now more frequently to shuffle the criminals between countries, and especially to developing nations, where victims are less likely to be heard or believed.

In every possible way, the culture, structure and operation of the catholic church supports and enables the widespread and systemic rape of children.

Based on which actions by priests and bishops they support and promote, and which they punish and discourage, the conclusion is inevitable that the catholic church hierarchy, based in Vatican city or as they prefer to be known when pretending to be a nation state member of the UN, The Holy See, have no desire or intention to put child protection first. They did not in the past, they do not now and there is no sign of any genuine intention to do so in the future.

Thankfully the UN have put the Vatican on notice that they must make real changes, not just perform another PR display of the appearance of change.

Or risk losing the protection of la bella figura.

Without la bella figura, the whole extremely profitable edifice will come crashing down.

Perhaps the Church of Child Rape and the Paedophile Protector-in-Chief will finally take this issue seriously.

Stay safe everyone.

VV

Does Papal Pretender Deserve Person of the Year? No Way Jorge

The announcement that Time Magazine had declared Pope Frank, the Paedophile-Protector-in-Chief, their Person of the Year for 2013 left all of us who are not either brain dead, brainwashed or irretrievably corrupt completely speechless.

Pope frank on time

Surely this would be the joke of the new century, if it were not so terribly tragic.

The subsequent announcement that this old man in an old fashioned, baggy white dress and retinue of silly hats and caps, has been declared Esquire Magazine’s Best Dressed Man of the Year is simply ridiculous beyond belief.

Even more bizarre is that The Advocate, a gay magazine, declared the leader of this vehemently anti-gay, though largely homosexual, religion as their Person of the Year, too. Despite recent carefully crafted murmurings of a softening of the traditional hate filled hard line against gays, there is simply no way Francis of the Facade is any friend to openly gay men, or their interests.

The vatican’s new, and no doubt highly paid, PR supremo, Greg Burke, a member of the catholic cult Opus Dei, and a former Fox News staffer, is clearly no stranger to the tricks used to spread ultra conservative, orthodox religious spin. The information that the cunning Mr Burke is also a former Time employee makes a little more sense of Time’s puzzlingly inappropriate award.

It is easier to accept that a sleazy Vatican employee pulled in all his favours from his very good friends and former colleagues at Time than that otherwise seemingly intelligent editors came to this decision without inducements or prompting. Of course the publishers at Time, and the other magazines, no doubt enjoy the controversy and spike in readership that such a stupid choice generates. And it seems they really don’t care about any loss of credibility amongst those still in possession of a brain. Or perhaps they’ll have moved on to a new job before any fallout is felt.

This pope has done absolutely nothing to eradicate the epidemic of child rape destroying the lives and threatening the very existence of hundreds of thousands of the most innocent and vulnerable in this world. This man, Jorge from Buenos Ares, who claims infallibility and holiness, and demands slavish adoration and unquestioning respect in the face of a crime wave that puts the mafia, his collaborators, to shame, has done nothing, has achieved nothing, that justifies in any way a fraction of the media attention thrown away on him.

Far less an honour stolen from the truly deserving but less grasping.

Why do the mindless adore Francis the Fake?

Well, it’s certainly not for his good looks.

pope frank cartoon 3

Benny the Rat could not help but look as evil as his actions, even after a makeover. Foolish Frankie looks dorky, he smiles, and tries very hard to come across as benign, even human.

Sure, the puppet master Burke has regularly staged deliberately heart tugging photo opportunities as part of the media profile makeover to soften the image of this head of the world’s wealthiest criminal organisation. But why can so few people understand how cynical this carefully constructed facade, designed to please, distract and mislead, really is?

Cringe worthy stuff from the paedophile protector in chief

Cringe worthy stuff from the paedophile protector in chief

The fact that an immensely rich and supremely powerful world leader, who could do so much good at the stroke of a pen, but chooses not to act, is not as bad an habitual criminal as his predecessor, is not any reason to declare him person of the year.

This latest papal pretender is more of a clean skin than the master of clergy child rape enabling and coverup, Ex-Benedict the former Holiness, who these days makes good use of the specious claims of Vatican city to be a nation state, hiding out for the rest of his life from law enforcement.

But now that the latest heartless narcissist, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, has swapped pink for white and is firmly ensconced in the ostentatious arms of Vatican gold, at least away from the cameras, he cannot help but be just as culpable as all his fellow popes. Unless he does something to change the centuries of tradition whereby unimportant children of lay catholics are thrown under the wheels of the solid gold gravy train driven by Vatican Inc.

Has anyone seen any evidence of Francis implementing actual change, not just more weasel words?

pope x 2

Has the warm, caring fantasy of humility and change meant F1 has finally revealed the full details of these crimes, or thrown open the carefully hidden secret files, ordered cardinals to stop obstructing justice and assist local law enforcement, removed known dangerous sexual predators from their hiding places in the bosom of mother church, or introduced real child protection measures, not just the appearance of change.

Anyone deserving the title of human being, let alone person of the year, would do at least that.

Not So Very Frank Francis can’t quite manage what most of us would do without hesitation, and in a heartbeat, but he has announced another fake body to look into this issue. A committee paid for and controlled by the catholic church, despite any nonsensical claims to “independence”.

If such a committee were to actually be independent, it should be made up of and seek input from survivors, whistleblowers, uncorrupted law enforcement and law makers, and those who have worked to rebuild lives destroyed by centuries of papal inaction. The funding of an independent committee would be completely independent of church hierarchy. And any results would never be filtered through church officials, or only released once rewritten to their satisfaction. There is zero possibility of Faker Frank’s Fake Committee looking anything like that.

Genuine investigations have been conducted and are being conducted throughout the world by properly qualified, suitably empowered and truly independent investigators.

There is no additional need for the criminals to investigate themselves. The very notion itself is preposterous. There is no societal need for the Vatican to swamp the media with their lies. This deluge has been going on for centuries, and it is these very lies that have allowed the crimes to continue, and have prevented the operation of justice.

There is no need to hear the Vatican’s excuses and misdirections on this subject once again, even after supposedly “expert” contributions. Because the only “experts” the Vatican consults, or listens to, are those who say what they have been instructed or paid to say.

There is no knowledge gap in this area that requires addressing by those committing the crimes. Plenty of people and institutions have first hand experience and decades of understanding of what is really going on, what the cause is, and how to prevent it continuing. These are people who live in the real world and have no trouble facing difficult concepts such as truth, reality and the crimes committed by catholic clerics.

The only stumbling block is the fanatical secrecy of the catholic church, and the criminality of their actions in protecting and enabling child rapists to escape law enforcement and continue to rape children.

The catholic hierarchy misuses respect for religion and the religious belief of millions of catholics as a justification to get away with pretending not to be criminals, while continuing to commit their crimes. 

And the cowardice of many politicians and law enforcement officials, manipulated, threatened or corrupted by catholic church officials to neglect their duty to enact and enforce laws that protect children rather than dangerous but powerful predators, means that, as required, catholic criminals are treated as above the law, and so continue to flout it.

Any Vatican conceived and controlled facade of an investigation is hardly going to address that aspect, let alone resolve it.

The apologists pumping out the catholic hierarchy’s propaganda would have us ignore this crucially important issue and instead bathe in the reflected glow of Friendly Frankie. Yet what could be more important than the safety of our children?

Only childless, self absorbed, sexually dysfunctional yet sex obsessed, developmentally delayed little boys in the bodies of grown men, who are spiritually dead yet pretend to talk with their invisible friend while playing dress ups and participating in canabalistic rituals, could fail to understand that so completely.

What do vatican PR spin masters under the instructions of Burke want to distract us with? What do they promote as more important than saving children from being raped repeatedly by dangerous men claiming the authority of god?

The media circus that is the cult of Francis the Humble.

How things have changed

How things have changed

pope frank bells and smells 2

Or the winner of my award for Con Job of the Year.

The man once took a bus, when he could have taken a limo.

No limos here

No limos here

Give the man a Nobel peace prize.

The man makes it known he is staying in a hostel, when he has a free room in a gold encrusted palace.

Really? He actually sleeps there? He doesn’t sneak back through the secret passages at night and luxuriate in silk sheets and solid gold toilet?

Wouldn’t a truly humble man do other things in a similar vein?

Wouldn’t a truly humble man in the midst of such greed make significant changes?

Wouldn’t a truly humble man do these things because they were the right thing to do, and not perform them for the cameras and announce them in media releases?

And even if Frankie the Fixer did actually do what is claimed for him, why does he not donate any savings to the poor, or to victims of his vicious policies?

If some good came of his choices, other than truly spectacular PR victories, then it might in some way, any way, be meaningful.

Oh, the symbolism

Oh, the symbolism

But he does not and it is not.

This obscenely wealthy pope, who hoards countless billions in cash and property, and could fill a dozen world class museums with his priceless art treasures, makes a few token gestures, makes a few vague comments, and continues with evil policies, while refusing to act to prevent so much suffering in the world, much of which is easily in his power to prevent.

Those who seek, or even accept without seeking, great power of any kind, have great responsibility to use that power wisely and for the greater good. Popes have almost unlimited power of every kind, and could single handedly make this world a safe place for children. Could institute effective programs to offer every child shelter, an education, health care and enough food to eat.

But they see only that any sharing of their wealth, any use of their power, except to shore up their own power and add to their own possessions, means less wealth and less power for themselves. These empty, soulless men grasp desperately to posses everything, but can never fill the gaping hole in themselves. Because they are filling it with the wrong thing. They stridently claim spiritual superiority, but are spiritually bereft and the ultimate materialists. Nothing, not even the enslavement of the whole world to their bidding, and the pouring of the whole wold’s resources into their coffers will ever satisfy them.

No amount of deceit, no amount of crime, no amount of corruption or destruction of the innocent is repugnant or wrong to them, if it is in the pursuit of their own wealth and power.

And so the deceit of Francis The Great Pretender should be seen as business as usual.

Yet it stings.

How can so many be fooled by this paper thin nonsense?

The tiniest application of logic or thought to this tomfoolery makes the whole rotten edifice crumble before your eyes.

pope frank smirk

Yet one picture of a goofy looking, smirking hypocrite makes people feel safe and that everything will be okay after all. That these self described good, holy men could not really be pretending, could not really be evil monsters preying on us and our children in every possible way.

Well they are.

pope frank not impressed

And it is time to grow up.

It is time to investigate the comforting lies and find the real truth.

And if that truth is even worse than expected, and it is, it is time to face it.

Because there is only one thing worse than facing such a horrible truth.

And that is by ignoring the problem, allowing it to continue.

Stay safe everyone.

VV

Catholic church opens Commission hearing with a slap in the face for survivors

Last week survivors, many of whom had travelled long distances, crowded into the hearing room for the historic first Royal Commission hearing into how the Catholic Church handles child sexual abuse. Many lasted only until the well paid Church lawyer first opened his mouth. What emerged was so offensive, so deliberately designed to undermine and to harm survivors, that it prompted a mass walkout and a flood of tears in the foyer.

I absolutely agreed with their actions and was equally as offended, but decided to stay to hear what other tricks the trained monkey would pull.

Below is a transcript of that low point of the legal profession in Australia. I have added my translation of each section, for those who do not have the benefit of a lifetime of suffering at the hands of callous and deceitful church officials. The lawyer who uttered these carefully crafted passages was Peter Gray SC.

-o0o-

This is a searing and decisive moment in the history of the Catholic Church in Australia.

Well, we certainly never thought this day would happen, especially after all our efforts to prevent it.

The sacred place of children, their innocence and their trustfulness is central to the Christian tradition and to the Catholic faith.

The punters love this fantasy stuff about innocence and trust. It keeps the focus on what they like about religion, and not on our behaviour.

Many will remember from their own childhoods the ageless words from the Gospel of Mark:

First let me throw in the obligatory quote from the bible – takes the high moral ground immediately and undermines both victims themselves, and the tendency to support them.

Let the little children come to me; do not

stop them; for it is to such of these that

the kingdom of God belongs.

Isn’t that clever of us, taking the very quote seen so often on signs outside this and other hearings and using it against those pesky victims. Though of course we prefer a different translation, to avoid that unfortunate word, “suffer”.

And again from Mark, driving home the point:

Whoever causes one of these little ones who

believe in me to stumble, it would be

better for him if a great millstone were

hung around his neck, and he were cast into

the sea.

Now, if the first verse hasn’t slapped victims hard enough, here’s the second to really undermine them. Plus the millstone bit makes us look like we take this issue seriously.

The Catholic Church comes before this Royal Commission acutely aware of its failures in this fundamental part of its mission.

I guess denial is really no longer an option, is it?

For many Catholics, the realisation that some Catholic priests and religious, of all people, have betrayed the trust of children and their parents by abusing them in sexual ways has been almost unbearable.

Let’s get Catholics thinking about their own suffering and not that of victims.

 The further bleak realisation that such behaviour was sometimes covered up, with wrongdoers protected while victims were disbelieved or treated coldly, has made an already disgraceful situation even worse.

Oh yeah, these days we have to refer to this aspect as well, but we can get away with going pretty soft, because understanding of our cover-up is still limited.

For the vast majority of priests and religious, dedicated and selfless and innocent themselves and truly faithful to their vows and their vocations, the revelations of recent decades have been heartbreaking.

Pow. Two of our most effective excuses. “Good” priests, and non abuser priests as victims. We’re going hard on this because it is so effective at distracting from what happened to victims. And we get it in first to leave many minds less inclined to listen to rubbish about victims.

But for the victims and their families, the effects have obviously been, and continue to be, shattering and devastating. Terrible wrongs have been done to them.  Complex, ongoing damage has been caused, the real extent of which may not, even now, be fully appreciated.

We don’t usually go here because it creates sympathy for victims, not us. But if we want to pull off the “we have changed” con, it is unfortunately necessary to sound a bit better informed than previously on the effects of abuse.

 A great poet and priest, Gerard Manley Hopkins, found words which capture something of this nightmare:

No worst, there is none …

Comforter, where, where is your comforting?

Mary, mother of us, where is your relief?

We position Hopkins as an authority, then use his quote to soften the facts of our criminal coverup, while demonstrating that we get this i.e. no further action needed.

I will say something in a moment about the way in which the church intends to participate in and contribute to the work of the Royal Commission.  But first, let me repeat the unequivocal commitment made by the leaders of the Catholic Church in Australia.  It is on page 1 of our written submission to the Commission.  It is in the following terms:

The leaders of the Catholic Church in Australia recognise and acknowledge the devastating harm caused to people by the crime of child sexual abuse.

Much as it hurts, we are going to have to state the bleeding obvious, which we have studiously managed to avoid doing until now.

We take this opportunity to state:

1.         Sexual abuse of a child by a priest or religious is a crime under Australian law and under canon law.

2.         Sexual abuse of a child by any church personnel, whenever it occurred, was then and is now indefensible.

3.          That such abuse has occurred at all, and the extent to which it has occurred, are facts of which the whole church in Australia is deeply ashamed.

4.         The church fully and unreservedly acknowledges the devastating, deep and ongoing impact of sexual abuse on the lives of the victims and their families.

5.         The church acknowledges that many victims were not believed when they should have been.

6.         The church is also ashamed to acknowledge that, in some cases, those in positions of authority concealed or covered up what they knew of the facts, moved perpetrators to another place, thereby enabling them to offend again, or failed to report matters to the police when they should have.  That behaviour, too, is indefensible.

7.         Too often in the past, it is clear, some church leaders gave too high a priority to protecting the reputation of the church, its priests, religious and other personnel, over the protection of children and their families, and over compassion and concern for those who suffered at the hands of church personnel. That, too, was and is inexcusable.

8.         In such ways, church leaders betrayed the trust of their own people and the expectations of the wider community.

The words stick in our throats, unused as we are to honesty on this topic, but that just shows how damaging and irresponsible those blasted victims really are, selfishly promoting their own interests, no matter the damage it causes the church.

 9.         For all these things the church is deeply sorry.  It apologises to all those who have been harmed and betrayed.  It humbly asks for forgiveness.

We’ve said sorry about this so many times. Once more through gritted teeth changes nothing. They can force us to say it but they can’t force us to mean it.

The leaders of the Catholic Church in Australia commit ourselves to endeavour to repair the wrongs of the past, to listen to and hear victims, to put their needs first, and to do everything we can to ensure a safer future for children.

We commit ourselves to nothing specific, just a lot of PR friendly concepts, all heavily qualified. Naturally, there is no means for anyone to measure success or even track if we actually do anything. The imbeciles fall for this one every time.

When this Royal Commission was announced, the leaders of the church – that is, the bishops and religious leaders from all around Australia – appreciated that this Commission would be, as it is, a watershed in church history and, indeed, in Australian history.  They realised that the issue of abuse within the church is so fundamental and so serious that at least three things needed to happen.

We knew this damn commission would be bad. That’s why we undermined all efforts to hold one for so many years.

First, the church must, wherever possible, speak with one voice at the Commission.

We need to tightly control the message. Individuals could say anything, even, God forbid, the truth.

Second, any of the old ways that still remained, shrouded in secrecy, defensiveness or damage control, must be renounced.

Yeah, the Vatican’s really going to let us break with the long tradition of coverup. I should be a stand up commedian.

Third, the church should seize the opportunity provided by the momentous circuit-breaker of the Royal Commission to renew itself, to look closely at the ways in which it has responded to the issue both in the past and up to the present time, and to do so with humility and openness and generosity of spirit.

If we really have to do this, we are going to bury some smelly old skeletons, and bury them deeeep. They’ll never come back to haunt us.

As to the second and third of these, time will tell, and the community will ultimately be the judge.

As time passes, everyone will forget about any commitments we make now.

As to the first, let me say something about the Truth, Justice and Healing Council.  The council was established in February this year by the peak body of bishops, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, known as the ACBC, and the peak body of religious, Catholic Religious Australia, known as CRA.  It is the council which will represent and speak for the many dioceses and religious institutes which have authorised it to do so.

The Catholic Church in Australia is not a single discrete entity or thing.  It is made up of people in complex and disparate groupings, the millions of lay people, as well as the priests and bishops and religious. There are some 34 dioceses and over 180 different religious orders and congregations.

Each individual diocese and each individual religious institute is basically autonomous and independent of every other.  For example, no archbishop or bishop has any authority or control over any other bishop.

Not surprisingly, to achieve a consensus amongst so many different and independent people and bodies and groupings has, in the past, often been difficult, but on this issue, that of the tragedy of child sexual abuse, differences of view have been put aside.

Good luck with finding anyone ultimately responsible, or tracing the chain of command. We have centuries of practice in dodging responsibility, amateurs.

The first major demonstration of that approach was the development of a uniform national protocol for responding to complaints of this kind.  I will say something about that shortly.

The second is that the Truth, Justice and Healing Council has been brought into existence.  Every diocese and well over 100 orders and congregations have authorised the ACBC or CRA to represent and act for them in the engagement of the church with the Royal Commission.

The ACBC and CRA have, in turn, delegated that authority to the council.

For practical purposes, therefore, the council will ordinarily speak for the whole church, its dioceses, its religious institutes, its priests and religious in the Royal Commission.  All of them are united in their support for the principles stated in the commitment which I reiterated at the beginning of these remarks.

Talk to the hand.

Let there be no doubt about the attitude and approach of the church to the work of this Royal Commission.  The church, through the council, intends to cooperate with the Commission fully, without reservation.

Of course, co-operation only applies to in front of the cameras. Behind the scenes we’ll fight as hard as ever to prevent the truth getting out.

Tens of thousands of documents have so far been produced from all around the country.  Witnesses have been and will be made available.  Bishops and archbishops and religious leaders will participate as the Commission may require.

We are going to bury you in paperwork and delay this baby till we can convince you that all the current office holders are too old or too dead.

The council’s aim is to do everything in its power to ensure that the Royal Commission has available to it from the church all the material that it needs for the work it seeks to do, so as to ensure that a light is shone on dark places and times and events – in the words of St Augustine nearly 2,000 years ago, to flood the path with light to ensure that nothing is concealed or covered up in respect of what church personnel did or failed to do, and so to give the victims and also the church itself a better chance to heal.  In that way, in the end, something good may be able to emerge from the awfulness and suffering which have occurred.  If it does, it will be the victims and their families who will have brought that about.

Another biblical reference. Another fine sounding but impossible to measure or assess PR objective. Don’t we sound like we are open and honest about this? All without actually having to be open and honest. Brilliant stuff.

Stay safe everyone.

VV

Coming soon: Part 2 – specific comments on the cases to be studied and Chair, Justice Peter McClellan, reprimanding Mr Gray for repeatedly trying to dictate to the Commission what to conclude.

Victims Heard at Last

Statement issued by survivors of Catholic child sexual abuse, their families and supporters on the first day of Royal Commission hearings into the catholic Church’s response to child sexual abuse:

The children of Australia have long been denied our basic human right to safety.

In order to protect the reputation and assets of wealthy institutions and those who control them, we have been knowingly exposed to terrible danger.  We have suffered unbearable pain, and many of us have not survived.

When we begged for help or for justice our voices were ignored.

Those in a position to help us left those responsible for inflicting this harm to “deal with” the crimes committed aginst us.

In doing so they neglected their duty of care to us and to tens of thousands of children of this country over a long period of time.

But now, thanks to the bravery of survivors, insiders in various organisations and the media, speaking out about this issue when no-one wanted to listen, we are here, at last, to witness the truth being told by a few heroic individuals.

As you listen to their experiences, we hope you will gain a greater understanding of the real impact of these crimes, and we ask you to remember also all the others, heard and unheard, who have been through similar pain.

Our stories are hard to hear, but they are even harder to live, and immensely difficult to tell.

We tell them so that future children will not be callously exposed to danger, as we were.

We ask you to open your hearts and your minds to the suffering of so many Australian children, and in doing so secure the right to safety for future generations of children.

We ask that those responsible be held responsible. We ask that those accountable be held to account.

We ask for laws that protect children rather than predators, and we ask that they be enforced uniformly, that no person or institution be considered above the law.

We ask that all children be offered the same protection, no matter where they live, who their parents are, or what they believe.

We ask you not to be swayed by comforting but meaningless promises of change by institutions proven to continually lie about this issue.

We call on all State and Federal Governments to express support for and move towards implementing the recommendations of the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry. We ask that this become the bedrock of child protection and justice for survivors in Australia, a solid foundation upon which the Royal Commission, with its more extensive investigations and recommendations, can build.

But most of all, we who know first hand what it is to be abused, abandoned and to live in constant fear, beg the Royal Commission, the media, our politicians, and the public to remember this is not about point scoring, or reputations, or power. It is most definitely not about religion. Or politics.

This is about living in a safe and just society.

This is about protecting children.

Stay safe everyone.

VV

RIP Father Kevin Lee – a disobedient priest and a good man, punished for his honesty

The sad news is filtering through about the death of Father Kevin Lee in last week’s massive typhoon in the Philippines.

This was no doubt a very great tragedy for his friends and especially his young family, with whom he had spent so little time.

Kevin saw his daughter Michelle born in late September, knew her for a few short weeks, and will never see her grow up. But he was satisfied and happy, writing prophetically in his blog,

“I am watching you Michelle and I never want to feel regret that I did not love you enough. I want to know that whatever happens, I am grateful to God and Josefina for giving me the best treasure in my life. I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know how long I have with you. But.. every day…grateful … that you are my daughter…”

This terrible tragedy will also touch survivors around the country, as Father Lee was one of an extraordinarily rare breed. A catholic, and a priest, who eventually found the courage to put truth and justice before personal expediency and protecting the crimes and the criminals of his institution.

Father Kevin Lee was an Australian catholic priest who was in a loving and committed relationship with a woman.

It is not unusual for catholic priests to have sex with adult women. At least amongst those priests who are not gay or who don’t find it acceptable, convenient or exciting to rape children. What was unusual about this relationship was that it was consensual and loving, not abusive and exploitative.

If he had preyed upon a vulnerable young woman like so many of his colleagues, and forced her into both a sexual relationship and the secrecy made necessary by the catholic church’s celibacy requirement, he would have been in less trouble with the catholic hierarchy.

The point of the nonsensical celibacy rule is that, like in Orwell’s 1984, it is designed to be broken. Priests are human beings, very very far from divine and certainly not asexual. But once the celibacy rule is broken and the hierarchy or fellow priests have knowledge or evidence of it, they suddenly posses leverage, power and, most importantly, control over those who lapse in this way.

Consequences are threatened but rarely eventuate.

This blackmail, often mutual, is the oil which greases the many cogs of the Vatican machine.

You don’t tell my secrets and I won’t tell yours

It makes for some very strange bedfellows.

But Kevin went further. He committed what was, in the eyes of the hierarchy, a very great crime. A far more serious crime in their twisted thinking than raping thousands of children or vulnerable women and leaving behind a trail of immense suffering and death.

His heinous crime?

He married a woman.  While still a priest.

Strangely enough, the earth didn’t open up and swallow him.

He got on with his role as a priest and did some good for his community. For a whole year. And no one noticed the difference.

Now to remain a “good priest” and a “good catholic”, all he had to do was to keep up the lie. As long as the deceit and the fiction is maintained, no one has a problem.

But Kevin chose to be a moral and authentic human being instead, and told the truth.

Only he didn’t stop at the fact he had been married for a year and it hadn’t interfered with his ability to perform his duties as a priest.

He also told the truth about the widespread criminal coverup of systemic child rape within the catholic church.

Any up to date, reasonable, responsible, well managed organisation would welcome the information provided by Kevin, assess what it meant and revise their policies and procedures accordingly.

But no one except the seriously deluded has ever accused the catholic church of being up to date, reasonable, responsible or well managed.

Instead church officials refused to listen to Kevin and kicked him to the curb.

Now they had every right to do that.

What he did was not wrong, evil or unlawful in any way. Quite the opposite.

But he broke their stupid, senseless rules and they grabbed at the opportunity to terminate him.

What makes this so sinister is the comparison with the fact that thousands of other priests serially, systemically, routinely break the law by raping, in many cases, stupendous numbers of defenceless children, ruining hundreds or even thousands of innocent lives each, but they suffer little or no consequences, and in some cases are promoted.

And this is still the case.

Australia has now provided numerous examples of priests being swiftly (for anyone, not just the glacially slow church machinery) evicted from their ministry and the church altogether for what amounts to, if we stick with the Orwellian 1984 theme, thoughtcrime.

Hold the wrong opinion, or even worse express it publicly, and a priest can expect the most stringent penalty in the canon law arsenal enacted with lightning speed.

We are not talking cruel, discriminatory, vicious opinions here. Rather we are talking about not supporting the Vatican’s political and power seeking agenda, the fantasy of papal infallibility, and the cruel, discriminatory, vicious dictates insisting on blind, mindless obedience to the immoral, harmful, impoverishing and perversely intrusive sexual, marital and reproductive policies of these out of touch, obscenely wealthy, dysfunctional, childless old singletons.

By comparison, if a priest destroys the lives of thousands of innocent children, including the murder of those who suicide from their assaults and subsequent mistreatment by deceitful officials,  every excuse not to act will be rolled out, and every support and assistance provided to hide and protect the criminal and obstruct secular justice.

Look at this situation outside of the distorting effect of religious belief. Is this a world you want to live in, where this is what routinely happens, is widely acknowledged to happen and yet no-one in power does anything to change it, or even thinks they should? Do we really live in a democracy? Do we really have rule of law? Or are we already in a vicious theocracy by stealth?

Kevin Lee was not prepared to live in that world. He tried, using the power of the truth, to change it.

And it has changed. Thanks to Kevin, along with the efforts of so many others, we now have a National Royal Commission investigating the handling of child rape in the catholic church and other institutions.

I certainly hope before he died Kevin had a chance to give his evidence to the Royal Commission. Or perhaps they can question the officials, including Cardinal George Pell, to whom he reported his evidence.

Though what are the chances of Pell actually telling the Royal Commission what Kevin told him?

I can hear another few hundred “I can’t recall” moments coming on.

The battle is not won yet. Those same church officials who ignored Kevin’s evidence will try to hide the truth, undermine the Royal Commission’s efforts, and lobby to ensure no recommendations are implemented.

For those who are, like Kevin was, ministers of the catholic church and have knowledge about the coverup of these very serious crimes, now is the time to honour Kevin, and the victims and survivors, by continuing the fight to let the truth be known by the Royal Commission. To let an understanding of the full truth shape how we deal with this issue in the future.

The strategy, quoted by so many who consider themselves “good” priests or bishops, as a reason for staying put and keeping quiet, to try to “change the system from within” will never work.

Because unless you are part of the hierarchy, unless you are listened to and exert influence in the corridors of Rome, you are not really on the inside.

You are one of a cheap and largely powerless labour force, treated with utter contempt by those with real power, and used to milk as much money as possible from, and usurp the moral authority of, the mindless millions of lay catholics.

You are on the bottom of a pyramid of narcissists and sociopaths, who will never let people less cruelly self absorbed, less damaged or less obsessively ambitious than themselves climb the ladders of influence, nepotism and corruption.

But you are also likely to be a witness to many serious crimes.

You may have been told that to fight the church’s inquisitors and face down criticism for others’ actions is courageous and honest.

But the catholic church does not value courage or honesty. It punishes them.

It perverts them and mislabels them. Calling the cowardly brave and the liar an honest man.

Now is the time to utilise these very real, very human attributes.

Now is the time to rediscover your humanity.

Now is the time to stand up to the bullies and the liars and the criminals.

Now is the  time to tell the truth.

Just like Kevin Lee did.

RIP, and thank you, Kevin.

Stay safe everyone.

VV

Will the Royal Commission Use Its Teeth?

There have been a number of times when evidence before the Royal Commission’s public hearings has been conflicting. Confusing. Dodgy even.

But this week’s questioning of YMCA managers has uncovered what only the most naïve would consider to be anything other than direct and deliberate lies to the Commission.

Witnesses flatly contradicted the evidence of other witnesses, or of documents. One witness contradicted her own earlier sworn evidence taken in a private hearing. But in response to attempts to straighten out these inconsistencies and about-faces, they give the same, carefully rehearsed, defensively unco-operative evasive non answers.

Senior Counsel Assisting Gail Furness SC and Commissioner Justice Peter McClellan made it perfectly clear when they were frustrated by witnesses’ pretense of not understanding in order to avoid answering difficult questions. And they simply did not accept nonsensical assertions about how well this matter was handled in the face of clear evidence to the contrary.

The carefully polite questioning occasionally slipped with these witnesses. Justice McClellan in particular showed his quiet anger when anyone arrogantly flaunted their contempt for both the powers of the Commission and the intelligence of those questioning them.

Some of these managers were emotionally shut down and avoidant, with their coldly defensive and self-righteous manner. They brushed aside, both verbally and with their body language, any suggestion they could have done anything in any way wrong.

Wrong things happened, certainly, but despite being in positions of responsibility, little or no responsibility – personally, as a management group, or as an institution – was admitted or accepted.

This attitude was maintained even when managers were questioned directly about their own or others’ lack of adherence to YMCA policies, lack of proper conduct of reference checks, lack of adequate supervision and training, and employees unable to report upwards their concerns about worrying behavior of a colleague.

The more junior YMCA staff witnesses last week were clearly distressed that they did not do more to follow up on feelings of something not right about Jonathan Lord’s interaction with the YMCA’s clients. They understood how they could have acted differently, how the situation could have been managed differently, and that as a result, children may have been saved from suffering. Not so the middle and senior managers, despite their far greater responsibility and ability to take effective action.

Those who have most to answer for in allowing Jonathan Lord unquestioned access to his favourite prey, not only deny there was a management problem, or any responsibility for the problem, but support and even promote each other.

Despite claims from YMCA about how seriously they take the issue of child protection, those responsible for what the Commission and an expert described as a clear failure of management have not analysed any problems with the management of their centres or sought to learn from those failures, and have not been put through intensive external training in management and child protection, but have instead been rewarded with even more senior, influential, strategic and no doubt financially lucrative positions.

Some of these managers have demonstrated such a dedication to protect certain individuals and the institution from the truth and from facing responsibility, such a lack of consideration for victims and neglect of the safety of children, that they could be considered ideally qualified to become Catholic bishops. Except, of course, some are in possession of the wrong set of genitalia.

This forensic examination of these managers’ actions shines a light on individuals who, like most catholic officials, are callous, defensive and self serving in their response to these horrific crimes. We can observe, even if we can’t understand, how they shut down their humanity, shut down any consideration of the innocent child victims and their shocked families, and of anything other than protecting themselves and their institution.

The question that must be asked of the Commissioners is, will there be any consequences for those who lie to the Commission?

Certainly many of the misleading or incorrect assertions made under oath were subjected to a detailed re-examination armed with sharp logic and strong evidence to the contrary, and most eventually resulted in a more truthful admission. But in some cases the witness simply refused to accept the truth.

If such behavior is rewarded by having no consequences, as long as a witness is able to maintain their fiction and refuse to admit to the truth, how will the Commission cope with all the complicit catholic religious and bishops, who have been given official Vatican encouragement to lie through their teeth via the policy of mental reservation, and have sworn an oath to protect the reputation of the catholic church, no matter what?

Especially dangerous are bishops and cardinals, who are expressly required, encouraged and rewarded for putting their loyalty to the church hierarchy in Rome and the pope in particular, above the law of the land. These princes of the church consider themselves to be doing the right thing, and even acting heroically, by thwarting the efforts of local law enforcement and other legal and judicial authorities.

Will the deceit of “I can’t recall”, “I don’t remember”, “to the best of my recollection”, “I was not aware at the time” and others be allowed to block access to the truth?

Or will witnesses be required to actually provide answers, rather than a confection of carefully rehearsed excuses, and legally directed evasive strategies?

November and December promise to be exceedingly interesting months.

Stay safe everyone.

VV

A Tale of Three Australian Inquiries – Part 1: The NSW “Special” Commission of Inquiry

Hartigan can't recallmalone can't recalllucas can't recalllonergan hasn't asked a question

Everyone supporting survivors in Australia seems to have been suffering from constant exhaustion for the last few months, trying to keep up with three different inquiries and numerous media issues.

They do say to be careful what you wish for. Every time we are tempted not to bother dragging ourselves out to attend hearings, provide input, support survivors or front the media, all we have to do is remember how hard it was to bring this issue to public and media attention, and how important it is we not waste these once in a lifetime opportunities to reveal the truth and achieve lasting law reform.

There will be time to rest, time to cry, time to spend time on recovery, and time to blog regularly once the hard work is done.

For those not able to attend the many inquiries currently under way, let me give you a brief taste of their work. These are personal opinions based on what I have seen personally, which may or may not represent the full picture.

Inquiry No 1 – The NSW “Special” Commission of Inquiry

Following the stunning accusations made late last year by Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox, no one actually wanted or asked for a narrow political inquiry designed to protect the reputation of the NSW Government and senior police.

Yet such a beast was imposed on us by Premier Barry O’Farrell within days of Peter Fox’s open letter to the Premier and his subsequent television interviews.

When it was followed just days later by Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s historic announcement of a national Royal Commission, Barry O’Farrell was presented with an ideal opportunity to fold his “Special” Commission into the real thing, the Royal Commission.

Unusually, a state Premier didn’t avail himself of an opportunity to let the Federal Government pick up the tab, and proceeded with this expensive exercise in punishing a courageous whistleblower.

It is hard to tell whether Commissioner Margaret Cuneen SC has been ordered to deliver something other than the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, or whether she has simply been given a poisoned chalice by the Catholic Premier and Attorney General.

Certainly the misogyny of the male dominated legal profession towards female lawyers in general, and this crown prosecutor in particular is no secret. Smug male lawyers and politicians are most likely snickering over Margaret’s predicament right now.

In public hearings Ms Cuneen’s role has been more of a referee than a driving force, though behind the scenes this may be different.

But there was a hand directing what evidence was examined and what questions were asked, and that hand steered the heavy machinery of the “Special” Commission, at least in the first term of reference, firmly in the direction of mowing down Peter Fox and avoiding everyone else.

The question is, whose hand?

Who instructed Ms Lonergan to examine in microscopic detail any evidence which could be used to discredit Peter Fox? Who told her to spend days making accusation after accusation of vague wrongdoing, whether or not supported by the facts or Peter’s answers to her questions? Who told her to do such a good job of taking over the role of the defence barristers and undermining Peter and his evidence in every possible way.

I was in court when she finally finished questioning Peter for the first time and said to myself, “surely the defence barristers will have nothing to do now that she has already done their job for them?”.

I was wrong.

The wolves actually scuffled to see who could take first nip at Peter’s flesh. The vicious animals were unleashed to maul the man standing bound hand and foot before them.

Ms Lonergan had at least couched her endless litany of repeated insinuations and accusations in a professional and respectful manner.

The legal thugs paid by NSW police and church officials to land as many body blows as possible had no such compunction. Their manner was so aggressive, so offensive and so abusive that Ms Cuneen intervened, more than once.

The worst offender? Counsel for the victim hating General Secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishop’s Conference. This barrister was eventually dismissed when it was realised his attacks had zero relevance to his client and were nothing but courtroom antics and particularly ugly intimidation.

No doubt the defence counsel were eager to show their clients some result for their exhorbitant daily fees. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, when such disgraceful behaviour is allowed in a court supposed to be delivering justice.

Just because it is accepted practice doesn’t make it right. And it is so far from appropriate behaviour towards victims, that I sat in the public gallery in horror at the prospect that victims may be subjected to this blood sport.

Thankfully the “Special” Commission protected other witnesses, including victims, from this legal bullying.

But not Peter. For despite his heroic strength, his smiles and quips, his refusal to be beaten down, and his stoic endurance under terrible pressure, there was an horrific price to pay for the crime of speaking out for abused children, and against the criminal coverup of the crimes against us.

Peter and his family have paid that price every day since his letter to the Premier. But the price was particularly heavy in the Newcastle Supreme Court under Premier Barry O’Farrell’s “Special” Commission of Inquiry.

The “Special” Inquiry’s second term of reference focussed on the role of church officials, and hearings into this issue were held separately, after a short break. I’m so glad that, when drafting the terms of reference, someone remembered that an inquiry into the cover up of crimes within the catholic church should, at least for the sake of appearances, ask a few questions of church officials.

Those few questions were asked gently, and with obsequious respect for the greedily claimed but undeserved dignity of their religious roles.

Survivors in the public gallery were even more distressed by this Special treatment from the Special Inquiry, than they were by the brutality unleashed on Peter Fox. Or perhaps it was the comparison, the double standard, the hypocrisy, and the continuation of years of giving criminals in drag a free pass from legal responsibility for their actions, that hurt so much.

It is possible Counsel Assisting Julia Lonergan SC was attempting to catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.  These entitled princes of the Church of Child Rape do not even deign to pretend to co-operate with anyone rude enough to ask them a direct question. But they will chat familiarly with someone who goes along with their little charade and acts as if they are, by virtue of their self appointed titles, incapable of wrongdoing.

And this is when they unconsciously reveal the twisted thinking behind their inhumanity.

Lowlights of the weeks of evidence from church officials include the mysterious virus that conveniently robbed so many of them of memory of anything even vaguely incriminating.

Not all memory, just any memory that got a little too close to the uncomfortable truth. This virus has similarly affected church officials in other countries whenever anyone has tried to hold them accountable for their actions.

Even Julia Lonergan SC found the frequency of the answer “I don’t recall” to “beggar belief”.

Bishop Michael Malone’s distaste for looking at sex abuse files failed to generate the desired sympathy from those forced against their will to endure the far more distasteful sexual assaults from his carefully protected predator colleagues.

But Father Harrigan got plenty of sympathy, and a week to recover, from Commissioner Cuneen after the horror of having survivors and supporters sedately express a fraction of their disgust for the crimes of the clergy. In return, said sedate protestors were threatened with contempt of the Commission. Even that rebuke was more than the child rapists ever faced.

The excuse of blaming dead people, so favoured by Archbishop Dennis Hart and Cardinal Big George Pell, and many others, didn’t wash here since documentary evidence to the contrary was right in front of them.

Instead the vile Father Brian Lucas resorted to the ridiculous claim to be acting in victims’ best interests in covering up our abuse. In my personal experience, echoed by so many others, the only way this vicious church enforcer would like to help us, is into an early grave.

Much of the church evidence was held in camera, away from public view and the media. Purportedly because of the possibility of criminal charges.

Frankly, in my layman’s view, even much of the evidence in public hearings justified the laying of charges for misprision of felony or covering up serious crimes.

Will this Special Inquiry break with the long held tradition to ignore, dismiss, or fail to follow up on crimes by Catholic clergy, particularly the cover up of child sex crimes, and particularly those committed by senior church officials?

Experience would suggest it will not, but I would welcome being proved wrong on this.

And I am prepared to protest loud and long in front of NSW Parliament House if the evidence of a long term systemic criminal conspiracy to cover up ongoing child sex crimes is not passed to NSW police to investigate.

The Commission is now finished its public hearings and we can do nothing but wait for the report due on September 30.

Nothing except perhaps to demand of the staunchly Catholic NSW Attorney General an explanation why the brief of evidence delivered to him by Strike Force Lantle stills sits on his desk and has not been approved for the recommended charges to be laid against church officials.

The police finished their investigations by July 2012, and the DPP has been in possession of the brief of evidence at least since October 2012.

Is he looking for a good distraction, such as a Federal election, to bury the news that he refuses to proceed on this matter? Or if he intends to allow the law to operate without political interference, why has he not done so before now?

Stay safe everyone.

VV

Song of Lying Bishops

To the tune of Song of Joy

Come, hear our lame excuses

We tell to all Inquiries

We don’t care if you believe us

We fool the Catholics on their knees

 

Lie after lie we can tell

And no one will ever

Do a thing

That’s because the Catholic Mafia

Ensure that we’re above your laws

 

Will this be any different?

No one has ever

Got to the truth

We will pull out dirty tricks

The like of which you can’t conceive

 

The suffering of little children

Really doesn’t rate a snap

We’re the ones deserving sympathy

Having to deal with this crap

 

Come, hear our lame excuses

We can keep this up all day

‘Cause we know that no-one acts

No matter what we do or say

 

Come, hear our lame excuses

Lets all pretend that we have changed

Even though its same as same as

Under a new and hurtful name

Feel free to sing to any bishops entering or leaving the inquiry of your choice.

 

Stay safe everyone.

 

VV

Newcastle Diocese’s Disgrace – Memory Loss, Distaste for the Truth, and Prayers but no Action

Pat protesting

Public hearings of the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry in Newcastle in recent weeks have left survivors and supporters disappointed, horrified, traumatised, gasping in disgust, occasionally giggling, and even bravely protesting before the media contingent.

And finally, applauding the amazing bravery of AH in exposing his private pain to public scrutiny. Nothing less, it seems, will serve to stop church officials from evading responsibility for any crimes they may have committed, or from continuing to expose children to serious danger.

One reaction we have not experienced is surprise.

The predictable list of excuses is being rolled out with gusto.

Blaming dead people, impenetrable vagueness about important details, convenient claims of memory loss, avoidance of personal responsibility, denials, excuses, and insulting assertions that refusing to listen to us, neglecting our needs and bullying us into not seeking the help we so desperately want is actually in our best interests; all these are being spouted ad nauseum.

It is no surprise either that these tactics eerily echo similar excuses used in the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry hearings and in numerous investigations of this issue around the world.

Despite all this, some survivors will be helped. Some truth is coming out, mostly in documents. Some admissions are being made, where their own documents leave no room for continuing denials.

The abuse problem in this region is staggering. But this narrow and politically constrained investigation is not allowed to see the full picture. Nowhere near it.

Plus, there are other regions in NSW, and in other states, that have suffered equally from this destructive epidemic. But they were not the subject of politically embarrassing claims on TV. And so, predictably, they do not warrant the time and expense of this Special Commission.

The NSW Government will no doubt claim this whole exercise is intended to help survivors. But we can recognise, through long and painful familiarity with the hypocrisy of church officials, when our abuse is used to further exploit us and harm us, under cover of helping us, by those engaged in self serving power games.

And so we watch and listen as a brave whistleblower is viciously targeted. And church officials are given a public platform for their usual smug, entitled and evasive performance, while survivors and supporters are largely silenced.

We wait to see whether this inquiry will be allowed to do anything with the glimpse of the truth it has been permitted to see through the cracks in the previously unbreachable, heavily armed wall concealing the church’s real actions.

And we wait for the real inquiry, the Royal Commission, to start its public hearings.

Stay safe everyone, this is a challenging time but it is not the end, just the beginning.

VV