ITALY- Six hurtful Vatican moves on first day of papal meetings

To understand why so many Catholics and victims are disillusioned with the church hierarchy, consider what happened in Rome yesterday.

-- The first action by the College of Cardinals was to draft a thank you message to Pope Benedict. Not a letter to the Magdalene laundry victims in Ireland. Not a letter to the parents in Spain whose babies were sold by nuns. Not to the victims of Cardinal O’Brien in the UK. Not to the African nuns who, years ago, reported being assaulted by priests. Not to family members who lost abused loved ones to suicide. Not to any of the hundreds of thousands who have been victimized as innocent children or vulnerable adults by priests, nuns, bishops, seminarians or other church staff (and often later betrayed by prelates).

-- Cardinals heard a talk by the long-time “papal preacher” Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa.  According to the Associated Press, in a Roman church in 2010, Cantalamessa “likened accusations against the pope and the Catholic church in the sex abuse scandal to ‘collective violence’ suffered by the Jews.”

-- Slovenian Cardinal Franc Rode was one of three men who were tapped for a conclave leadership role.

In April 2010, he caused “a furor” by telling a newspaper that sexual abuse by clergy was a "statistically insignificant problem" that has been “inflated.” Rode also claimed that “97% of child abuse takes place in families, among friends and in institutions that are not at all linked to child abuse.”

--Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re was also given a leadership role. In 2002, Re tried to gut some of the already vague and weak abuse policies adopted by US bishops.

Re is also described (in the National Catholic Reporter) as a “powerful patron” of the widely-discredited Philadelphia Cardinal Justin Rigali, whose archdiocese has been severely criticized by prosecutors for keeping 37 accused priests on the job even after Rigali pledged reforms in the wake of a scathing grand jury report on cover ups by Philly church officials. (The NCR also suggested the Re pushed for Rigali’s promotion over that of then-Boston archbishop Sean O’Malley because he didn’t want to slight the disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law.)

-- Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe was also given a leadership role. In 2011, he called an International Criminal court complaint charging Vatican officials with crimes and cover ups “the usual anti-Catholic remarks.”

According to La Stampa, in June 2010, Sepe “was under investigation by Perugia's public prosecutor's office over alleged corruption cases. Media reports alleged that during his time as prefect, various “Propaganda Fide” apartments were made available, free or for a very low rent, to a variety of public figures including politicians, lawyers and journalists.”

-- Cardinal Francis George of Chicago disingenuously claimed that “zero tolerance” is now “the universal code of the church.” (It is not.) And while providing no proof whatsoever, George confidently – and again disingenuously – proclaimed “that efforts by American churchmen had led to a sharp reduction in reported abuse cases.” (It has not. Victims always have, and likely always will, struggle in silence for decades before being able to recognize and report their abuse, so it’s premature at best – and irresponsible at worst – to suggest that somehow over just ten years, centuries of abuse and cover up have suddenly been reduced thanks to rarely-enforced policies and procedures adopted by the very same men who cause the crisis by hiding crimes, shifting predators and deceiving parishioners.)

And remember, all of this happened on the first day of the pre-conclave meetings. When wrong-doing is ignored – or even worse, rewarded – wrongdoing is encouraged.


Showing 13 comments

  • Tom Sadloskos
    commented 2013-03-05 22:54:36 -0600
    What make you think even if they did ask some hardball questions he would have answered them? Haven’t you noticed how these people just turn their backs and ignore tough questions they have a hard time with, and refuse to say anything? I remember talking with this little creep of a priest one time, he didn’t mind talking with me as long as he had my undivided attention, and I agreed with everything he said. As soon as I disagreed, or challenged him on something, as far as he was concerned the conversation was over. He lost all interest in talking with me. He was one of these ultra right wing conservative prolife ones, I wanted to know why when the Catholic Church is supposedly so prolife, they do abortions in their own hospitals? He did not want to talk about that. As far as these pedophiles and the Bishops and Cardinals who cover up for them go, the only things they seem to understand are lawsuits, and jail time, and even that doesn’t always register with them. Maybe more convictins of Bishops and Cardinals, and longer sentences will.That is what we need to work toward achieving.
  • Robert Verhoff
    commented 2013-03-05 16:36:42 -0600
    I must try to add more of my inarticulate words to my feelings. Dr. Rosemary is able to put into words, my words that are struggeling to be put on paper (or screen). I have been wondering why the TV newscasters only lobby softball questions to this evil Cardinal Dolan (with that used car salesman laugh. Everything is a joke to this guy from that deaf school in Wisconsin). But than this Sunday morning news shows, my puzzeled brain found the answer. These 4 prominent and well known ABC newscasters where all Catholics. All they had to say, “as a practicing Catholic we could have some changes.” Then they would all chimed in that they also were also Catholic. They had just finished giving “softball questions” to Cardinal Dolan. Even the “softballs” he would dodge and change the subject. No follow-up “hardball questions.” Catholic schooling and colleges seem to pay-off in the long run. The mentaly crippled children are a small price to pay for this tuition and “Big Green” football. Watching Pope B leave the Vatican in his HELL ocopter; why was I reminded of Nixon in Marine One leaving his mess behind also.
  • Tom Sadloskos
    commented 2013-03-05 14:57:11 -0600
    Are there any government leaders that are willing to stand up to the Catholic Church and take on this fight? I wish there were, but so far I just do not see any. It is so frustrating to sit here and watch this organization hold itself up as so perfect, and high and mighty, and continue to cover these horrendous acts up, and for the most part get away with it. I still say law enforcement should have the power to be able to haul the Pope out of the Vatican in handcuffs, because the buck stops with him. You notice Benedict said nothing about this before he left his office, personally I think he should have stepped down long before this, I could never stand the idea of a former Nazi Hitler Youth as Pope of the Catholic Church.
  • Rosemary McHugh
    commented 2013-03-05 13:03:41 -0600
    Crimes of sexual abuse of innocent children have occurred and are still occurring by Roman Catholic clergy around the world, because there has been no accountability by the Pope nor by the Catholic hierarchy. The Pope has considered himself and the RCC above the law. This cannot be allowed to continue. Leaders of governments must make the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church accountable for their crimes. Civil law supersedes any church law, especially where the protection of innocent children from clergy sexual abuse is concerned.
    Sincerely, Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh, Chicago
  • Robert Verhoff
    commented 2013-03-05 12:35:21 -0600
    The only way this organisation will change is by government action. This is what I now believe. 1600’s Henry VIII had to kick the Church out of England because the Pope wanted to control his rule. Sounds familiar in our government. The Irish kicked the Bishop out of the country over the abuse of children. Government leaders need to have their feet put to the fire. This Church has infiltraded our government like a virus. A big start would be the IRS taking away their tax free staus. This Church continually puts their nose in our government affairs, which is totally against IRS rules.
  • Rosemary McHugh
    commented 2013-03-05 11:00:30 -0600
    Thankyou, David, for this excellent summary of what happened yesterday and for being in Rome with Barbara Dorris to advocate for the victims of church sexual abuse, to remind the cardinals of their duty to protect innocent children from sexual abuse, and to make the predators, and those complicit in abuse, accountable.
    Sincerely, Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh, Chicago, Illinois
  • Geoff Smith
    commented 2013-03-05 10:00:08 -0600
    Im still awaiting my apology,for their evil.The Birmingham 6,(the second 6)still waiting for justice .Our abuser is in year 3 of 21,and still not laicized,why not Benedict?
    Read my blog
    Learn what the bastards are really like.
  • Tom Sadloskos
    commented 2013-03-05 09:43:19 -0600
    I honestly think the heads of the Catholic Church think we are all stupid, and do believe what they are saying. I think they honestly believe they can do whatever they want, and not have it effect them negatively in any way, despite the declining numbers of practicing Catholics all over the world. They certainly believe they are well above man’s laws, and only have to answer to God’s laws. Let the priests do what they will, ultimately they will have to stand before God and answer for their sins. As far as the church is concerned, that is enough. We and law enforcement do not agree, and have no intention of allowing any such situation, but that does not seem to phase the church. It bothers me that all the law suits and bad publicity has not gotten that message across to these people, what is it going to take to accomplish that?
  • Thomas Doyle
    commented 2013-03-05 09:18:48 -0600
    Great summary and brilliantly documented. This is the reality of what is going on in the RC Church. The reality points out the glaring narcissistic hypocrisy of the cardinals……who fine tuned their hypocrisy as bishops and who as bishops, nurtured it to an extraordinary high level as priests. They show themselves to not only be hypocritical but stupid… Francis George and the other talking head really expect sane, normal people to believe the constant flow of toxic drivel that emits from their mouths.
  • Tom Sadloskos
    commented 2013-03-05 07:38:36 -0600
    Pope John Paul rewarded wrongdoing.after the scandal in Boston, he called Bernard Law to Rome,and gave him an exhaulted position in the Vatican. Here is someone who should be in jail, and instead he is living in comfort, with no fear of ever being held accountable for his actions. What kind of message does this send to the victims in Boston, and victims all over the world. It tells them the Catholic Church does not care about you. John Paul also sent a letter to American Bishops instructing them that when it came to sex abuse cases, they were to do everything they could to cover it up and keep it quiet. A copy of that letter signed by him surfaced during the last major scandal the church was involved in. This is the wonderful man so conerned with human rights, the one they want to make a saint? No one is ever going to convince me he could possibly be a saint, and as a Catholic I always believed in the canonization process, but not now. If the church would ignore actions like that, obviously it is nothing but a bunch of BS. If they do canonize him, they should make him the patron saint of pedophiles! He certaily did enough to protect them when he was alive.
  • John Bijarney
    commented 2013-03-05 05:15:14 -0600
    It’s a crime family NOT a religion. Isn’t that clear yet? Please don’t be hurt by high expectations. In this case they are wounds disguised as hope.
  • Gloria Sullivan
    commented 2013-03-04 21:43:45 -0600
    My prayer is that the GOD OF OUR FATHERS, who punished the evil of Sodom & Gamorah will do something to get the attention of the people who still believe this is the church CHRIST started..which it is not..It is not the CHRISTIANITY OF THE BIBLE but an institution of MAN!
  • Gloria Sullivan
    commented 2013-03-04 21:42:46 -0600
    My prayer is that the GOD OF OUR FATHERS, who punished the evil of Sodom & Gamorah will do something to get the attention of the people who still believe this is the church CHRIST started..which it is not..It is not the CHRISTIANITY OF THE BIBLE but an institution of MAN!

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