A new pope doesn't mean we can rest

We’ve talked a lot since the election of Pope Francis about how he has an enormous duty to protect kids and help prevent future sex abuse. But just because there is a new Pope doesn’t mean we can give church officials who have previously covered up crimes against children any slack.

And that is why, regardless of Francis’ actions, our case at the ICC will proceed.

So far, in the year and a half since we first launched our case, we’ve learned that the crimes and cover ups are indeed current and global, and that victims across the world will step forward, if they believe that somehow their courage will result in greater safety for kids.

Knowing that this is the case, our attention now turns to those who work within the church itself. If some of those within the church who had information could come forward, this case could result in even more victims finding their voice and more crimes being exposed.

Whistleblowers play an important role, and especially with dealing with crimes in powerful institutions like the church. We will not stop seeking these whistleblowers just because Pope Benedict has stepped down. On the contrary, we will push harder for them.

We expect a lot from Pope Francis. But we expect a lot from many others as well. Our case will go forward and we will continue to devote our time and resources to finding victims across the globe, helping them heal, and doing everything we can to prevent future abuses.

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  • Lani Halter
    commented 2013-03-29 15:57:12 -0500
    March 29, 2013

    Dear David, Peter, Joelle and Barbara,

    In agreement with the “headline” of this particular blog posting, could you please let the rest of us know if the March 15, 2013 letter to the Pope, signed by the four of you, was ever acknowledged?

    Is there a way to know if it was actually delivered to at least the Pope’s secretary at the Vatican?

    It’s frustrating to think that so much intelligent and heartfelt effort goes into your letters and your requests for action, frustrating in that the letter may not ever “see the light of day” in terms of being read anywhere, but here…let alone, read by the “addressee”.

    So, please try to follow up on this particular letter. And, please let us all know the results of your follow up. Perhaps, this Cardinal George in Chicago that you mention in the March 15th “Media posting” by Peter Isely, will be able to find out, and let you know.

    Thank you,
    Lani Halter
  • Lani Halter
    commented 2013-03-21 00:23:59 -0500
    March 20, 2013

    Dear Mr. Clohessy,

    I’m thinking that if a link could be made between Adam Lanza having been raped by a Catholic priest when he was 6 years old, and the so-called mental illness that he suffered; that it might in fact be cause to have the Catholic church face our calls for justice and transparency, now, rather than later.

    I’m wondering if a posthumous autopsy were performed on Adam Lanza’s exhumed body, if it could be proven that he had suffered rape. I’m wondering if a forensic autopsy might prove that he had been sodomized at a very young age? I think that if this could be shown, and the link to the parish priest in the church his family attended when he was six, was in fact the priest named Fr. John J. Castaldo, perhaps the State’s Attorney General, could convene a grand jury and make a case against both that priest, Fr. John J. Castaldo and the Catholic Church hierarchy who aided and abetted him.

    I do believe that when some of the child victims are as traumatized as has occurred, it does seem that if no relief were offered nor any understanding, assistance and solace ever given, that their resulting physical and psychological condition could be mistaken for autism, and without said aforementioned understanding and solace ever being provided, it’s possible that a psychotic break could in fact occur. Additionally, I believe that if it can be proven that such a person was a victim of a pedophile Catholic priest, that the offending priest could also be held responsible for the ensuing murders during such a psychotic break.

    With the tragedy of Sandy Hook still so fresh in our collective memories, I do think that this possible theory for Adam Lanza’s mental “illness”, and or existing condition at the time of the shootings, and suggested motive for his killing so many six year olds, bears looking into in a serious manner at this time when there is already momentum building towards holding pedophile priests accountable for their heinous crimes against children and thus all of humanity.

    If you can agree with this as being a possible realistic scenario, I think that it should be brought to the attention of the proper authorities in CT, by you and/or the other leaders of SNAP.

    Lani Halter
  • Lani Halter
    commented 2013-03-20 15:42:16 -0500
    Good morning, from California. Wednesday, March 20, 2013

    Dear Mr. Clohessy,

    Although I know that you are traveling today, I want to write and ask if you were present at the Pope’s inauguration, and if so, was it possible to hear a translation into English of his homily as he spoke? I was not able to view the inauguration live and only saw snippets of it on TV news broadcast later in the day.

    This morning, I read online in USA Today, the written translation of the Homily provided by the Vatican, from yesterday. (The report did not give the sources of both the Scripture Gospel readings, so I had to do some research to find the source of the First Reading in order to be better able to understand P. Francis’ reference to David, in his homily.) And, not being a “cradle catholic” myself, only a “Catholic light” as my friends told me they used to refer to former Lutherans, I do not know if the readings of this Inaugural Mass were selected specifically by the incoming Pope, or if those were just the Church “pre-selected” readings for that given day of the year in that given year, or not.

    I found the new Pope’s references (or lack thereof) to the readings, interesting in light of the horrible conditions obviously still present, the heinous crimes of Catholic Church prelates and clergy who are pedophiles still, currently preying on innocent children daily, around the earth, that he did not specifically state that such abuse will be stopped, by him and the Church, if at all humanly possible. I suppose he refers to that tangentially, when he preaches that we must PROTECT the children and protect the “weakest”. Of course I wish he himself had actually had the courage and kindness and gentleness he did encourage in the rest of us, to specifically have said we (meaning he, and all of the church, including the Curia, as well as civil authorities) to have said at his inauguration, we must protect the children from pedophile predators found in the church as well as the world; but firstly, those predators found in the Catholic Church, today.

    I think and believe that he needs to say that. I pray that Pope Francis be brave enough and Godly enough himself and I pray that he will speak of this openly and publicly to the masses, soon. Silence and evil hidden in the dark recesses of the Church, must be broken publicly.

    David, I have to wonder if someone at the Vatican was watching and reading all of the posts on the SNAP website in these days leading up to the new Pope’s election and inauguration. And, wonder if perhaps anyone there were relaying anything that they deemed important to him (e.g. a copy of your letter to him)? I only wonder about this because I found it interesting that the first reading selected for the papal inauguration had “David” referenced. I know that he did not use the analogy of David and Goliath, but rather that of Nathan in the Second Book of Samuel, telling us that Nathan tells David that God builds his church and that God wants him to be faithful to God’s word and God’s plan, as sealed by the Holy Spirit. Hmmmmm? I don’t know if the new Pope believes that YOU, David Clohessy and your efforts on behalf of all those victims of pedophiles in the Catholic Church, could be part of God’s plan, but, I sure do!

    However, that would be the positive spin on a somewhat cloaked and veiled message to you and the whole group of those abused. Sadly, it could also be a somewhat “subliminal” negative message to you and the survivors to again, “bide your time”, and telling you he’s not ready “now” to make these crimes and criminals public.

    In any case, if we (those of us in SNAP) were not able to make as strong a case as we wanted, I still think that this has been the best combined effort (from all sources, including Mr. Gibny, and other victims) of those fighting this scourge, to date. And I truly believe that with timely continued effort we are on the precipice of the Catholic Church making the necessary changes perhaps because we are all of us, actually inspired by God, and the Trinity at this specific time in the history of the world.

    You know, I’m reminded of a time during WWII I believe it was, when an American mother lost all four sons in one battle of the war, and the U.S. Government and military, decided they would not again allow four brothers to serve in the same unit of any part of the military, in order to prevent something like that ever happening again (at least to try to prevent and insure against the possibility of the death of one person’s entire family of children being slain in one fell swoop), ever again.

    Well, I hope that having been all four brothers, and yourself, been a victim and survivor, (but also having a brother that did not well-survive such heinous acts) continues to inspire you to seize these days and times in the world, to continue with renewed purpose to be the light at the end of the tunnel, and a real victor in the fight bringing the needed actual changes in the Catholic Church at this time. And, I continue to hope that having the same first name of David of the Bible, will be of significance to you in your dealings with the Catholic Church and this new Pope!

    Good Health and Strength to You, David Clohessy!

    Lani Halter
    (now afternoon here, from California. Wednesday, March 20, 2013)
  • Judy Jones
    commented 2013-03-18 18:46:57 -0500
    The sex abuse and cover up within the church hierarchy is still going on to this day. In fact the truth is just beginning to come out. Cardinals and bishops are still covering up sex crimes against kids, they are still not removing predator clergy, and they still are not reporting to the police. Their so called “zero tolerance” policy is not being followed by the bishop who created it. They don’t have to, because there is no punishment for those bishops to force them to change their ways of protecting their image and the institution rather than protecting innocent kids.

    It is so sad that more children may have to be sexually abused before any of these church officials are held responsible, and many of them need to spend some time behind bars for any real change to happen. They still think they can get away with it even to this day. Victims are very upset and frustrated, because they are being ignored and intimidated, and they fear other children will be dealt the life sentence of being sexually abused.
    That is why we urge outside law enforcement and the ICC to get involved and investigate these crimes against humanity.

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511. snapjudy@gmail.com,
    SNAP (The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Silver Participant