ROME - Pope needs to take action, not make statements

ROME - Pope needs to take action, not make statements

Once again, as has happened hundreds of times already, a top Catholic official says he’s asking another top Catholic official to take action about pedophile priests and complicit bishops. 

Big deal.

Actions speak louder than words. And one of the first actions Pope Francis took was to visit perhaps the most high profile corrupt prelate on the planet – Cardinal Bernard Law – who remains a powerful church official despite having been drummed out of Boston for hiding and enabling crimes by hundreds of child molesting clerics.

It's tragic that Pope Francis is asking a top aide to stay on the irresponsible path charted by Pope Benedict. It's tragic that a pope who's shown a willingness to send signals that hint at change in several ways is not signaling that he wants no change in how the church deals with child sex crimes and cover ups.

Kids won’t be helped by a “continuation” of the tiny symbolic gestures taken by Pope Benedict. Kids will be helped by decisive changes. Thus far, Pope Francis hasn’t even discussed, much less adopted, even a single reform. In fact, by visiting Law, the pope has continued to ignore – and thus encourage – heinous wrongdoing.

Some will say "At least the new pope is discussing abuse within his first month as head of the church. Isn't that progress?" It's not. Catholic officials have long discussed abuse - privately for centuries and publicly for decades. Action, not discussion, is needed.

We can't confuse words with actions. When we do, we hurt kids. We must insist on new tangible action that helps vulnerable children protect their bodies, not old vague pledges that help a widely-discredited institution protect its reputation.


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  • commented 2013-04-05 14:40:02 -0500
    Please accept my correction: Mark 9:41
  • commented 2013-04-05 14:33:07 -0500
    April 5, 2013

    Dear Mrs. Dorris,

    Thank you for your timely posting. I did also read the attached USA Today article wherein Mr. Clohessy is quoted. Doing so, made me want to comment the following.

    I have noticed that it is often difficult for those who have been abused and/or those who have been made outraged upon learning of abuse, to refrain from being sarcastic. I notice because as a child, I was often accused of being sarcastic and I didn’t know what that meant, so finally, sometime in my teens and after many years of being “labeled” sarcastic, I looked it up.

    I understood better why I was called that, but it took me nearly 50 years after that to understand why I would resort to using sarcasm in dealing with my “tormentors”, i.e. it took me fully 50 years not only to realize why I was being labeled “sarcastic” during that time and it also took nearly 50 years to fully realize that my personal tormentors were and had always been, three of my four siblings. (Honestly? I did not want to know or believe that.) I should tell you here, that my suffering did not involve being sexually assaulted or sexually abused in any way. What it did in fact involve, was a constant daily barrage of verbal and physical abuse and emotional extortion. Most days of my childhood, I felt ostracized from my own family. Trust me…all of it hurt me.

    Because I was not physically strong, I used what seemed the only “weapon” available to me; words. Words strung into sentences in as many ways as I could imagine, that I hoped might help me, including using words sarcastically.

    Please note, that I finally learned that the sarcasm was not effective.

    And here is my reason for bringing this up, now. I learned (the very hard way) that being sarcastic was NOT EFFECTIVE, nor truly helpful in any way, e.g. my being sarcastic did not beget relief or redress of my being harmed, nor did it “satisfy” my yearnings to “be delivered from” or to have the abuse, stopped. And, it gave me no mental relief and finally I realized that being sarcastic might actually have served to aggravate my suffering.

    Might I suggest to all of us here on the SNAP website, that if and when it is at all possible for us to refrain from being sarcastic when trying to honestly be helpful and in attempting to seriously deal with the egregiousness of the Catholic church’s crimes against humanity, that we not “give them (the Pope and all those of the hierarchy and laity below him) the “satisfaction” of our being sarcastic.

    No. I say, fight fire with fire! I believe that not only should we SNAP members continue almost as though a broken record player continually replaying a record, to quote CHAPTER AND VERSE, i.e. MATTHEW 18:6, MARK 9:42 and LUKE 17:2 to the pope, and all the priests and laity; AND that we simultaneously also pursue with a heretofore unimagined ferocity and with ALL HASTE AND VIGILANCE, all OF THE LEGAL AVENUES MADE AVAILABLE TO US, now and until we see the end of the catholic pedophile war on children and the catholic pedophile war on those who are too vulnerable to fight off these criminals.

    I suggest that we persevere and we fight in the CRC and the ICC at the Hague and in the legislatures of the world, but especially in the legislatures that are already most strong and in well established countries AS IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, until these criminals are brought to justice and this scourge that is surely a plague as deadly as any that mankind has experienced, is ENDED.

    Please remember such things as the following portions taken from ICC filing, that helps disclose and describe the enormity and serious gravity of crimes by religious pedophiles and our task to rid the church of them:

    “While the Commission’s findings were eye-opening in terms of the ‘cautious’ estimates of the scale of sexual abuse in the Netherlands, what the Commission left out of the report was equally shocking: reports of the castration of at least 10 boys in retaliation for reporting sexual assault in the 1950s. The first known victim of this offense was an 18-year-old student at a Catholic boarding school when he attempted to report to police that he had been sexually assaulted by the brother superior of the school. He was taken to a Roman Catholic psychiatric ward, declared a homosexual and castrated. It is reported that this procedure was forced onto at least ten other students at the school who attempted to report sexual assaults.”

    And perhaps most importantly for we SNAP members who have been catholic to remember is this comment that is found later in the ICC filing, and was reported from Poland:

    “January 2012: Reports of Increasing Calls for Accountability in Poland. Increasingly, there have been more and more reports surfacing over the years of serious sexual violence by priests and cover-ups by higher officials in Poland.

    For the first time in the summer of 2011 a Catholic publication in Poland addressed the issue of clerical sexual violence and observed:

    The harm caused by sexual molestation of children is unquestionable — but the evil is much greater when pedophilia occurs in the community of faith, and when, in a falsely conceived defense of the church, the authorities hide the facts, conceal the perpetrators and ignore the suffering of victims.”

    Barbara, and David, I think we all know that it would be next to impossible for the current pope to not already know and understand this.

    However, I believe what the pope needs to have made PUBLICALLY known to him at this time, is THAT WE ALL of US HERE ON THIS SITE already KNOW the EVIL AND HARM CAUSED and WE DO KNOW thus far, the church’s involvement, responsibility and duplicity.

    I believe that this new Pope Francis needs to again be informed that, God help us and God willing: WE WILL MAKE SURE THAT THE ABOVE PARAGRAPH (from the Polish newspaper) IS MADE CLEAR TO ANY POPE and ALL FUTURE POPES, AND ALL OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. AND THAT HE, AND THEY WILL BE MADE TO UNDERSTAND THAT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH WILL NO LONGER HAVE UNWITTING , UNWILLING and UNINTENTIONED ENABLERS AND ABETTERS IN THEIR CRIMES. THAT THEY WILL NO LONGER BE ABLE TO USE THEIR PERVERTED SENSE OF THE CATHOLIC FAITH TO INTIMIDATE AND HARM ANYONE; AND, THAT PEDOPHILIA and RAPE WILL NO LONGER BE CONSIDERED AN ACCEPTABLE “LIFESTYLE” for catholic clergy and prelates, nor will an active pedophile be considered to have committed a “misdemeanor” or a “forgivable offense”, nor will these crimes be considered such by ANY MEMBER OF CATHOLIC CLERGY AND LAITY., nor any standing and legitimate government, and judicial system.

    FULL STOP!!!

    Always remember Christ’s words in: MATTHEW 18:6, MARK 9:42 and LUKE 17:2 NEVER FORGET.

    Respectfully,
    Lani Halter
  • commented 2013-04-05 09:42:38 -0500
    Unfortunately, it does sound like the same song on a different day.