Vatican is focusing on the wrong problem, SNAP says
New revelations are surfacing about Catholic employees castrating boys in the Netherlands and Catholic nuns essentially stealing babies in Spain.
The Pope has set up a new church investigation, but not into these crimes. Instead, it's focused on "leaks" in the Vatican hierarchy.
Again, the church hierarchy shows its true, and tragic, priorities. The priests and nuns who abuse and torture children are rarely pursued and punished. Instead, those who allegedly leak details of the Vatican’s mishandling of child sex cases are.
On Saturday it was revealed that during the 1950s, psychiatric wards under the auspices of the Dutch Roman Catholic church were castrating young boys for suspicions of homosexuality (http://www.rnw.nl/english/bulletin/victims-call-catholic-castration-inquiry). In the late fall of last year, Spain was rocked by thousands of reports of babies being stolen by nuns and priests and sold for a profit, a practice that continued for decades (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15335899). Despite the horrors of these crimes, Church officials have responded more quickly - and devoted greater resources - to uncovering those who hacked its website and which officials leaked information.
This is shameful. These crimes show a level of depravity that is outweighed only by the unconscionable cover-up by the church. We suspect that church officials will backpedal, issue a stunted and halfhearted apology and claim ignorance, just as they have claimed ignorance on the hundreds of thousands of other cases of sexual violence by Catholic Church officials.
This should not happen. Church officials should be held accountable. Guid Klabbers, chairman for the Dutch support organization for victims in the Netherlands called KLOKK (Koepel Landelijk Overleg Kerkelijk Kindermisbruik) has said these are crimes against humanity and ought to be punished as such. We second this call.
Corruption and financial mismanagement are crimes. We don’t dispute that at all. But it is terribly misguided to spring a criminal investigation on financial crimes when there are documented cases of torture, sexual violence, and physical abuse occurring both before and during the financial crimes.
The Vatican should dedicate itself to making the Catholic Church a safe place for children and for rooting out the causes and perpetrators of these horrific crimes against children. But they won’t. It’s far easier to find and punish the man who leaked information than it is to overhaul a secretive and self-serving monarchy. Concrete steps to make children safe should be the highest priority for Pope Benedict.
It is time for other nations and investigative agencies to step in and intervene in the church’s gross mishandling of crimes against children. Cases like these are why SNAP and CCR (Center for Constitutional Rights) have asked the prosecutor at the ICC to open an investigation into crimes against humanity committed by top-ranking Vatican officials. Cases like these are why it is imperative that the ICC brings the Pope and his cohorts to justice. The safety of children today and justice for children in the past depends on it.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.