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Pope names members of Commission for the Protection of Minors.

Pope Francis has named the first eight members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, which he announced last December. Half are women. Five are laypeople. Two are Jesuits (one of them was formed in Argentina by the pope himself). One is a cardinal--Sean O'Malley--and he's the only American. Here they are:

Dr. Catherine Bonnet (France)
Mrs. Marie Collins (Ireland)
Prof. the Baroness Sheila Hollins (UK)
Card. Sean Patrick O’Malley  (U.S.A.)
Prof. Claudio Papale (Italy)
Her Excellency Hanna Suchocka (Poland)
Rev. Humberto Miguel Yañez, SJ (Argentina)
Rev. Hans Zollner, SJ (Germany)

They will be tasked with writing the "statutes" of the commission, and more members will be added at a later date. In a statement, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi, SJ, explained that the commission "will take a multi-pronged approach to promoting youth protection, including: education regarding the exploitation of children; discipline of offenders; civil and canonical duties and responsibilities; and the development of best practices as they have emerged in society at large."

Brief bios (except Bonnet's) from the Holy See Press Office after the jump.

Marie Collins was born in Dublin, Ireland and is married with one son. She is a founder Trustee of the Marie Collins Foundation, a UK NGO dedicated to the needs of children, young people and their families for whom sexual abuse and harm has arisen via the internet and mobile technologies. Marie was a victim of sexual abuse as a child in the 1960's and brought the priest who abused her to justice in 1997. She has campaigned actively for the protection of children, justice for survivors of clerical sexual abuse, and for a better understanding of the effects of sexual abuse on children and in 2010 Marie was one of the joint recipients of the Irish Humbert Summer School award for Courage. Marie was a founding member of the Irish depression support group "Aware" in 1985 and ran their voluntary "Helpline" for many years, and she is founding Trustee of the Advocacy and Counselling support group for abuse survivors, One in Four (Ireland).  She assisted the Archdiocese of Dublin in setting up their Child Protection Service and drafting of the Catholic Church's all-Ireland child protection policy, "Our Children Our Church."

Professor the Baroness Hollins was born in England and is married, with two children. Sheila is a life peer in the House of Lords, Chair of the Board of Science of the British Medical Association, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry of Disability at St George's University of London, and Honorary Professor in Theology and Religion at the University of Durham. She is a specialist in mental health and has conducted extensive research into clinical and social aspects of the mental and physical health of people with learning disabilities, with a particular focus on bereavement, palliative care and sexual abuse. Sheila has also served as Chair of the World Health Organisation’s Euro Steering Group (2008), President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (2005-2008) and President of the British Medical Association (2012-2013).

Cardinal O'Malley was born in Ohio and a member of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. Cardinal Seán is Archbishop of Boston, a member of the Council of Cardinals, the Congregation for the Clergy, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and the Presidential Council of the Pontifical Council for the Family. The Cardinal holds a PhD in Spanish and Portuguese literature from the Catholic University of America, where he served as professor (1969-1973) and is presently a Trustee. He founded Centro Católico Hispano in Washington, DC, an organization which provided educational, medical and legal help to immigrants. Since his ordination to the episcopacy in 1984, the Cardinal has also served as the Bishop of the dioceses of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands; Fall River, Massachusetts; and Palm Beach, Florida. Cardinal Seán is well-known for his extensive efforts for the protection of children and was one of the Visitators for the Apostolic Visitation of dioceses and seminaries in Ireland (2010).

Claudio Papale is a married man from Rome, Italy.  He is extraordinary professor on the Faculty of Canon Law at the Pontifical Urban University and is also a civil lawyer. He holds a doctorate in Jurisprudence from the Roman University of Tor Vergata and a doctorate in Canon Law from the Pontifical Urban University. Dr. Papale is also an offical of the Disciplinary Section of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Substitute Defender of the Bond on the Regional Tribunal of Puglia.  He recently gave a presentation on "Crimes against morality" on the occasion of an intensive course on crimes reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that was given through the Pontifical Urban University.

Hanna Suchocka was born in Poland. Her Excellency is Professor, University of Poznan, Faculty of Law, a specialist in Constitutional Law, and author of numerous papers and scientific articles on themes regarding human rights. She is the former Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland (1992-1993), Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Republic of Poland (1997-2000), and Ambassador of Poland to the Holy See (2001-2013). She has received honorary degrees from Institut for Family at the Lateran University, Kardinal Wyszynski University in Warsaw, and John Paul University in Krakow. Among many awards, Hanna has received the Max Schmidheimy Stiftung Peace Prize and the Gold Medal of the "Jean Monnet" Foundation (Lausanne) for her activity in favor of integration and human rights.

Humberto Miguel Yáñez, SJ, from Argentina was born in Mendoza in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1986.  He is currently Professor of Moral Theology at the Gregorian University and the Pontifical Urban University.  He is Director of the Department of Moral Theology at the Gregorian University. While in Argentina, he was Director of the Center of Research and Social Action and served as Director of the Center's Review. He also taught on the Faculty of Theology of San Miguel and at the Interdiocesan Seminary of Resistencia and at the Seminary of Moron.  He was a member of the Theology Group that organized the Symposium on the Sexual Abuse of Minors "Towards Healing and Renewal" that was held at the Gregorian University two years ago.

As a Jesuit scholastic, Fr. Janez was formed by Fr. Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who was then rector of the Colegio Maximo of San Miguel. Fr. Janez also worked in the parish of San José were he served as founding pastor with a special concern for pastoral programs for young people.

P. Hans Zollner, SJ, Dr. theol., was born in 1966 in Regensburg (Germany). He is a licensed psychologist and psychotherapist, Academic Vice-Rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University, Director of the Institute of Psychology, and Chair of the Steering Committee of the "Centre for Child Protection" of the Institute of Psychology of the Pontifical Gregorian University. Father Zollner was Chair of the organizing committee of the Symposium "Towards Healing and Renewal" on sexual abuse of minors which was held at Gregorian University in February 2012 and a member of the Scientific Working Group of the "Round Table on Child Abuse" of the Federal Government of Germany.

About the Author

Grant Gallicho is an associate editor of Commonweal. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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At face value, this is very encouraging to see the diversity and depth of the commission and the number of lay persons and women. Altough most of these names are unkown to those in the US, I would guess, this truly shows the international issue and POV. Kudos, Pope Francis... may this now really address issues... and especially episcopal complicity!

Here' a brief report from the Irish Times about Marie Collins, an appointee.  It includes the following quote from Fr. Lombardi:

 

 'Vatican spokesman Rev Federico Lombardi said in a statement.

“'Looking to the future without forgetting the past, the Commission will take a multi-pronged approach to promoting youth protection,” he said.

"'These will include taking criminal action against offenders, educating people about the exploitation of children, developing best practices to better screen priests, and defining the civil and clerical duties within the Church, Lombardi said.'"

News for marie collins sex abuse victim ireland

I wonder just what the last sentence means.

 

Interesting timing and interestsing group of people. Maybe the UN's critique stung, even if it did go beyond what prudence may have dictated - stick to the point  The defensiveness Francis has shown indicates that he may be becoming somewhat aware of the fact that this savage wound to the church will not heal until something is done about it that impacts the hierarchy and not just the CYO coaches.

O'Malley refused to say anything of substance about whether accountability for bishops is in the offing. But unless it is, the festering wound will continue to fester. He is probably the best conduit for American Catholics to Rome.  But do American Catholics who have sat passively for more than a decade now, complacently supporting the church financially and otherwise, be pushed into taking at least some action by writing to O"Malley and declaring their intention to cease supporting the institution financially - at least by boycotting the cardinals' and bishops' appeals, if not withholding from the parish?

I  gave up on my fellow Catholics a few years ago. Most simply didn't care enough about the fact that the bishops across the board protected pedophiles to actually do something real in protest. Those who were fed up (like me) finally gave up on them and left and the rest just continued to sit on their hands, complaining but doing nothing. If the Catholics in the pew would simply speak out and take action (by refusing to give money directly to the institutional church, and direct it instead to those who actually do the work on the ground - like Catholic Relief Services -  the bishops and Rome would at some point be forced to pay attention. I hope that at least some of the passive, complacent Catholics will at least write to O'Malley and say enough is enough. It's long past time to develop policies that hold bishops accountable, and it is also long past time that Rome remove Finn or another bishops as a symbol of its intention. Until Rome demonstrates through actions that it really does "care" about the clericalism that put pedophile priests ahead of children who were their victims,  it's all just empty words.

Granted that any real reform has to addres episcopal issues and a means tro remove them, I choose to remain hopeful about this commission hoping its guidelines include such recommendations.

In the NCAA betting season mood, I'd place a small wager on Finn being out of office within the year -resignation "for health reasons" being the most likely.

This doesn't address the institutional issue, but his seems to be the most blatant case currently.

I wonder why there is no mention of Dr. Catherine Bonnet's credentials.

A quick Google search brings up:

"Retired consultant in child and adolescent psychiatry in France and in UK.

Authors of books:
Geste d'amour, Gesture of love (1990) Why do women give up their baby under anonymous    birth

Les enfants du secret: The children out of secrecy.(1992) How replying to adoptive children/children born from donors about their birth parents?

L'enfant Casse, The Broken Child (1999) the detection of child sexual abuse and their therapy in children under 9 years old. The history of first French backlash in France with Ambroise Tardieu

L'enfance muselée, The Muzzled childhood,(2007) the new backlash against physicians after reporting child sexual abuses with false allegations, parental alienation syndrome, etc. How to sort out from this and protect the children."

We will have to wait and watch what happens.  It's worth noting that the US may be ahead of many other sectors of the church in awareness, safeguards and prevention, etc.  I would guess that part of the commission's work will be focused on helping the rest of the world catch up to (or surpass) the measures that the US has had in place for some time.  And as we've noted many times, the current regime of measures in the US leaves considerable room for improvement, and not just in terms of episcopal accountability.  Based on the qualifications of the members, it seems that the commission will be looking at causes, psychology, law, healing - many different aspects.

David P - you're sticking your neck out :-).  This may be worth considering: a forced resignation / firing is not the only possible punishment for bishops who are derelict.  Without wishing to defend Bishop Finn in any way for what he has done and failed to do, an argument might be made that a regime of bishop accountability needn't be one-strike-and-you're-out.  Perhaps an escalating scale could be devised.  For example: if Finn were publicly reprimanded, with the understanding that future offenses will result in stiffer punishments, that might serve as both a punishment and a deterrence.  Would that suffice for Finn's known failures to date?  Not really for me to say, I suppose, but - maybe?

 

Thanks, Grant........a couple of thoughts:

- it states that this group will grow.......suggestions:   Bishop Geoffry Robinson (Australia); Bishop Martin (Dublin); Thomas Doyle; Richard Sipe.   It will be a balancing act between US concerns and where folks are scattered across the globe.  Wonder if they can also call upon folks for consultation; short term input, etc.?

- O'Malley's non-response to the question about episcopal accountability is still the *elephant in the living room*

- too early; but no mention of timeline; what are the tasked to produce?; what authority do they have - merely consultative?  enquiring minds want to know.

 

http://blogs.mediapart.fr/blog/dominique-ferrieres/291112/catherine-bonn...

Catherine Bonnet is a child psychiatrist. Known for her books on child abuse, in 1996 she ran into trouble  for reporting to the justice some cases of child abuse, often pertaining to children of divorced parents who refused to go and visit their father. A fathers' association complained to the order of doctors (claiming that many of the children's reports were lies fabricated by manipulations from their mothers), she lost her license to exercise medicine three times for three years, and consequently her job and house. That was eventually revoked and in 2001 she received a national honor, the title of "chevalier de la legion d'honneur".

She's been giving support to 200 other persons in the medical profession who are in trouble for similar reasons. She is advocating a change in French law, according to which, currently, doctors can be sued both for reporting and for not reporting child abuse to authorities. As a model, she proposes the US law, according to which reporting child abuse is mandatory and doctors may not suffer adverse consequences for doing it.

It is clear that most, if not all, of the group have solid credentials in the field of child abuse. Some have been abused.  The advocacy for children comes through. Some of them have done scholarly work on the subject. It seems to me, from their resumes, that most of them are eager to do something about this world wide problem. I am impressed that there are lay people on the panel. The panel is historic. I detect fire in this group. I believe that they will fight hard for justice. 

Here's some info from John Allen about what the group has been commissioned to do. Concerning the cover-up bishops, its job will only be to establish methods of proceedures in such cases.

“I hope this commission will help the church develop protocols, so there will be a very clear path to follow” in such cases, O’Malley said. He added that it would likely not be the commission’s job to investigate individual cases, but rather to help develop procedures the pope can apply when charges arise that a bishop has failed to respond appropriately.

"The new commission is expected to meet two or three times a year, with members staying in touch by phone and e-mail in the meantime."

Francis names O'Malley to Vatican anti-abuse panel

Here's some info from John Allen about what the group has been commissioned to do. Concerning the cover-up bishops, its job will only be to establish methods of proceedures in such cases.

“I hope this commission will help the church develop protocols, so there will be a very clear path to follow” in such cases, O’Malley said. He added that it would likely not be the commission’s job to investigate individual cases, but rather to help develop procedures the pope can apply when charges arise that a bishop has failed to respond appropriately.

"The new commission is expected to meet two or three times a year, with members staying in touch by phone and e-mail in the meantime."

Francis names O'Malley to Vatican anti-abuse panel

Sorry about the duplicate post, but a message told me to  try to post the comment a second time, so I did.

We are pleased that Marie Collins has been chosen to be a part of the Vatican commission to protect children from abuse.

But Pope Francis needs to take decisive actions 'now' to protect kids.
--Every day that passes by, while a commission studies the sexual abuse and cover up within the Catholic church, leaves another child at risk of being sexually abused by clerics.
--Every day that passes by, which high ranking bishops and cardinals who have and still are covering up these crimes are not held accountable, leaves another child at risk of being sexually abused by clerics.

Tragically the sex abuse and cover up within the church hierarchy throughout the world is still going on to this day. Cardinals and bishops are still not removing accused predator clergy, and they are still not reporting to law enforcement. Their so called "zero tolerance" policy is not being followed by the bishops who created it. They don't have to, because there is no punishment to force the bishops to change their ways of protecting their image and the institution rather than protecting children.

It's hard to stay hopeful. But thankfully because of the brave victims, law enforcement, journalists, and prosecutors, (not hand picked Vatican commissions), we continue to hope for change.

Judy Jones, "SNAP"
SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the worlds oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 15,000 members. Despite the word priest in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers.
 

This group of people looks good at first sight. This time, there's a majority of lay people, and there are even some women. I thought that Pope Francis didn't seem interested in the issue, but it's a good sign that one of them has direct access to pope Francis. There are a number of people who know about law of various kinds. Catherine Bonnet is focused on French doctors that she claims are legally caught between a rock and a hard place, with an expectation of discernment and obligation of confidentiality on the one hand, and an obligation to report dangerous situations on the other hand. Maybe the pope views bishops as being similarly caught between conflicting duties. Maybe this group will work on a proposal to change canon law to resolve that conflict. 

Claire --

Yes, this issue of bishops' covering-up for priests is yet another matter of conflicting rights and duties.  But it seems to me that when fair judgments in individual cases cannot easily be discerned that the judgments should favor the children, and investigations and punishments should be pursued even though an investigation risks being unfair to an accused adult. The potential damage to the child is just too much greater than the potential damage to the adult. 

Ann - I agree, but that's not so clear in canon law, and apparently that's not so clear either in French law for doctors, so Bonnet's expertise may be useful for proposing changes to canon law.

 

I am not aware of any writer commenting (someone must be doing it) on the pope's emphasis on avoiding "clericalism."  I keep trying to get everyone's attention on it. He is showing how clerics are not more important than the rest of the church. He keeps saying this but no response. I dont think many get it.  Here are the Pope;s words. 

"The body of Christ is the harmony of the different,” the Pope explained condemning the phenomenon of “clericalism” which afflicts many lay people, to the point that it can be defined as an “added evil”. “Some bishops and priests are drawn by the temptation to clericalise the laity, but there are also many lay people who get down on their knees and ask to be clericalised: it is a two-way sin.” But according to Francis, “a lay person has the strength that comes from baptism and his lay vocation is not negotiable.”

 

The Pope criticised the tendency some prelates have of pushing lay people who do a lot of great work in their parishes - they may be great organisers, for example - to be come deacons. Another thing that often happens, Francis said in his off-the-cuff address to representatives of Italian diocesan broadcasters, is that “when there is a lay person who does a good job and is committed, their parish priest goes to the local bishop – and this happened to me in Buenos Aires – and says: “Why don’t we make him a deacon?” This is a mistake: if we have a good lay person, let him carry on being just that,” the Pope stressed.

 

 “The way I see it, clericalism prevents lay people from growing,” the Pope added. And this “is a two-way temptation because clericalism would not exist if there weren’t any lay people who wanted to be clericalised.” 

03/22/2014  La Stampa …Vatican insider

 

The Pope criticised the tendency some prelates have of pushing lay people who do a lot of great work in their parishes to be come deacons.

Really? I thought that was the way to go. Lay people may be doing a good job, but you cannot count on them in the long term. They move, they get another job, their famiy situation changes, and suddenly, "sorry, but next year I will no longer be able to do what I have been doing for the parish until now." With deacons, there is more of a commitment, and their work in the parish is no longer a free gift that might stop at any time, but becomes something that can be counted on and incorporated into plans for the future. I am one of the ones who wishes that more committed lay people became deacons.

Plus, I dream of the day when married men will be allowed to become priests, and in order to prepare for that time, I'd like every rural parish to have a deacon ready to step up and provide us with the Eucharist when it becomes allowed. 

“...when there is a lay person who does a good job and is committed, their parish priest goes to the local bishop – and this happened to me in Buenos Aires – and says: “Why don’t we make him a deacon?”

What?  I know some women in parishes who do great jobs and are committed even more than some of their male counterparts and nobody suggests that they become ordained!

Anyway, I have worked in parish and other church settings and I would never think of ordination.  It would cramp my style.

 Claire -

Yes, the issue of cover-ups is a matter of conflicting rights and duties.  But it seems to me that if it is difficult to discern what a fair judgment would be when the rights of a priest and the rights of a child conflict, then the child should be given the benefit of the doubt,  The abused child has so much more to lose from a wrong decision than the adult does.

 

Bonnet sounds like an excellent addition to the Commission -- not only did she speak out but she spoke out when it cost her a great deal personally, and she did that several times!  Maybe she's a saint? Surely she's an uppity woman :-)

Briefly, Anne Chapman and Judy Jones. You sound like latter day Jacobins. Off with the heads of anyone who doesn't measure up to your standards!

More generally, It's one thing to criticize what someone says or does. It's another thing entirely to insist that someone has to do what you want when you want it. Bluntly, to take that tack is to deny your target the respect that each person is ALWAYS entitled to. Yes, present your case, but acknowledge that, like every human being, you are neither omniscient nor morally without flaw.

BD:  neither Anne nor Judy have risen to a positiion in which deference and obedience are EXPECTED.  Respect is earned, not demanded.

From those to whom much has been given, much can and should be expected ... and they need to be called out if it doesn't happen.

The new Pope has set up a new Council of eight Cardinal Advisers, dubbed the C8, and now the first eight members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

I’ve been wondering why eight?  Is there a reason?

Then I read a reference that says that the spiritual symbolism of the number 8 is NEW BEGINNINGS.

Can it be?

 

The classic reaction of Judy from SNAP and the eternally angry JIm Mc Crae - proves he point defiinitvely.

These types of  groups and people will  NEVER NEVER ever be happy. They don't want healing or reconciliation  or even justice. They want a 'revenge' and that includes the 'dstruction' of the 'enemy' - i.e. the institutional church calvinism . They are USA 'calvinists' deep down  - where there can never be enough punishment  - except for the  'elect' like them who  ar 'saved'  in their self rightousness. Only they are the  'pure' ones with integrity...

Stay tuned now to watch them   wist and contort  everyhing this group does to  sanely and compassionately move forwards. No way they will support this. They want no movement forward to healing   - only an endless recycling of their pain and the toxicity in their lives.

 

 

The classic reaction of Judy from SNAP and the eternally angry JIm Mc Crae - proves he point defiinitvely.

These types of  groups and people will  NEVER NEVER ever be happy. They don't want healing or reconciliation  or even justice. They want a 'revenge' and that includes the 'dstruction' of the 'enemy' - i.e. the institutional church calvinism . They are USA 'calvinists' deep down  - where there can never be enough punishment  - except for the  'elect' like them who  ar 'saved'  in their self rightousness. Only they are the  'pure' ones with integrity...

Stay tuned now to watch them   wist and contort  everyhing this group does to  sanely and compassionately move forwards. No way they will support this. They want no movement forward to healing   - only an endless recycling of their pain and the toxicity in their lives.

 

 

@ jesse pruzak:  Perhaps you'd be more "happy" listening to Sr. Cristina belting it out with her cover of Alicia Keys?  [See previous dotCommonweal blog post]

Survivors have waited a long, long time for justice.  Our skepticism is more than warranted given the abyssmal record of deceit and complicity by the Church hierarchy.

Cardinal O'Malley's inclusion in the commission is probably good politics on Papa Francesco's part given the sorry state of the hierarchy these days.  But, IMHO, O'Malley's position on this commission will be to first and foremost to protect the backsides of his brother hierarchs.  Don't let his Franciscan habit fool you:  He's about as slippery as they come.  

I consider O'Malley among one of the church's more gifted apologist-in-chiefs, nothing more.  He has been one of the Vatican's chief broom sweepers cleaning up after the hierarchy elephants have soiled their own churches.

I must say some of the "lay" folks sound really impressive from their CV's.  For all the testaments to their expertise, I have never hear of any of them.  I don't think that they have been published in American professional journals.  I'll have to do some research to have an informed opinion about them.

Survivors have taught me to be patient and persistent in the pursuit of justice.  Of course, as Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote from the Birmingham jail:

Justice too long delayed is justice denied.

I don't know how to provide you with a link.  So I have just reproduced the following press release:

 

National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) Media Statement

Regarding Vatican Announcement of Sexual Abuse Commission Members

For Immediate release:  March 22, 2014

We wish anyone well who is willing to try and convince Pope Francis that strong and decisive action both against perpetrators and enablers of perpetrators is what it will take to end the sexual abuse crisis and protect children.

Only strong action will count not a ton of meetings and speeches and reports from a commission.

This is not a difficult subject to grasp. The rape and sodomy of children is a crime. People who rape and sodomize children are criminals. People who protect people who rape and sodomize children are criminals.

You can “get it” as the Vatican now says it does but “getting it” is not an accomplishment, getting rid of it is. 

Let’s face it, it didn’t take a commission for Pope Francis to remove a German Bishop who built himself a luxury palace. Convicted Bishop Robert Finn remains the head of the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph, Missouri.

Pope Francis played defense in his recent interview about the crisis. If he and the  commission aren’t going to play offense, the game ought to be called off now before a  dollar or a euro goes into meetings and reports.

Representation is crucial. The commission should be weighted in favor of survivors and whistleblowers. Survivors should certainly have more than a one eighth voice. They bear all the suffering, not just one eighth of it.

The commission is heavily Europe weighted. Europe’s a fine place and the European commission members may be fine people but where are the multiple seats for United States, the country that set off the major illumination for Catholics about this scandal in Boston in 2002? Where are the seats for Australia where a royal commission on abuse is seated and developments unfold by the day? 

Credibility is needed. To get there those responsible for the cover-up need to be held accountable – no matter who they are: bishops, cardinals, pope, curia and chancery officials.

Game playing must end. Putting priests who have abused on a “prayer and penance” list in order to continue paying them isn’t strong and decisive action. We point to the recent action taken in the case of  Monsignor Daniel Pater of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and a former member of the Vatican diplomatic corps. He is neither old nor ill but the Vatican’s resolution of his case, after the Church’s 21 years of knowledge of the abuse,   is he’s on the prayer and penance list.

We extend our concern and support to the survivors of sexual abuse around the globe as this development grabs headlines.

--- Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) KristineWard@hotmail.com 937-272-0308

National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) is an all volunteer organization,(based in Dayton, Ohio, United States), of in-the-pew Catholics and men and women of goodwill working to educate society regarding sexual abuse to increase protection for children, seek legislative changes, and promote justice for survivors of sexual abuse.  

Jim McCrea, the claim that respect must be earned is both wrongheaded and dangerous. There is a fundamental respect that is due each and every person simply because he or she is a human being, in religious terms, a child of God. This respect is not some minimum base line. Rather, it defines the field for decent human interaction, for objections and replies, for charges and defense against those charges. No one has to earn this respect. No one ever loses his or her title to it. Any other position is fundamentally contrary to both Jewish and Christian thought. Probably also contrary to Islamic thought, but I don't know enough to make that claim.

So, please couch your criticisms of Cardinal O'Malley or Pope Francis  or anuyone else in a way that shows fundamentao respect for them as human beings. You have done so when you replied to me. I turst that you will see my response to you as one that is in sharp disagreement with what you have said, but that does show fundamental respect for you as a person.

"The commission is heavily Europe weighted. Europe’s a fine place and the European commission members may be fine people but where are the multiple seats for United States, the country that set off the major illumination for Catholics about this scandal in Boston in 2002? Where are the seats for Australia where a royal commission on abuse is seated and developments unfold by the day?"

We have no idea how much sexual abuse has been in European countries.  Hitler used accusations (propaganda) about it in WWII.

Bernard, where do you get the idea that I think I'm either omniscient or without flaw? I am neither. But I am not blind or ignorant either.

We know that the bishops and Rome have protected pedophile priests for decades if not longer. We know that the US bishops did nothing at all when presented with Fr. Tom Doyle's report. We know that they have done nothing since the Boston Globe broke the story in the US to hold themselves or their brother bishops accountable. We know that the US bishops continued to violate their own norms, written at Dallas, and continue to stonewall about their responsibility. We also know that Rome has not held a single bishop accountable - in the US, or Ireland, or Australia or England or anywhere else in the world for facilitating child abuse.  And yet Rome did not hestitate to force Bishop Morris (Australia) to resign because he favored reexamining the issues of mandatory celibacy and the denial of a sacrament to women because of their DNA.   Francis did move to "discipline" the German bishop who spent millions on his new house.  Yet nothing is done about bishops who protected pedophiles.

Nobody has to be omniscient, they just have to read the news.  Nobody has to be Jacobin to ask that those who facilitated child abuse by protecting the predators and moving them from place to place be held accountable. 

I hope that those who have been appointed to this commission will do what needs to be done, because so far, nobody in Rome has been willing to.  

 

The Vatican *does* need to earn out trust and respect on the issue of sex abuse - there is a history of obfuscation and deceit that must be overcome.

 

@ Bernard Dauenhauer:  Yes, Cardinal O'Malley and Papa Francesco are certifiably human.

However, they are also extremely sucessful politicians in the world's oldest all-male feudal oligarchy.  And like the politicians that they are, we need to hold them to account for their actions, not for sanctimonious words.

The source of all the skepticism you see on this blog should be obvious to you:  Survivors of sexual abuse and exploitation by priests still cry out for justice and redress of grievances.  

How long, O Lord?  How long?

How do you think O'Malley and Bergoglio got to the positions they hold today?  It wasn't from how many rosaries they've recited, how many baptisms they've performed, or how many people they've confessed.  It wasn't from their exemplary performance of the corporal works of mercy, either.  

To quote Mae West:  "Goodness had nothing to do with it!"   

P.S.  I'm sure everyone respects you "as a human person."  

Jim Jenkins

Ok I get it you have integrity  but Pope Francis and Cardinal O'Malley are scheming politicians !!

Wow!!!! What arrogance!

Your statement about how both Francis and O'Malley came to hold their positions  "It wasn't from their exemplary performance of the corporal works of mercy, either. '   says it all and is a disgrace.

Your are engaging in vioent perdonal abuse  - shame on you ...

Jim Jenkins

Ok I get it you have integrity  but Pope Francis and Cardinal O'Malley are scheming politicians !!

Wow!!!! What arrogance!

Your statement about how both Francis and O'Malley came to hold their positions  "It wasn't from their exemplary performance of the corporal works of mercy, either. '   says it all and is a disgrace.

Your are engaging in vioent perdonal abuse  - shame on you ...

The Committee composition is impressive.  I know some folks were frustrated that Pope Francis seemed to take his time in responding to the sex abuse crisis, but I think it takes a while to develop a thoughtful, effective response. This Committee seems to be a good start.

There are contributors who will never be happy until their agenda is adopted in toto. Women priests, the abolition of celibacy, the imprisonment and or dismissal of bishops like Finn, Rigali, etc. In the case of SNAP, they don't appear to even know that the church has a mission which includes mercy and justice. Jacobites was a good description, but I'm reminded of the Puritans. Now in an effort to avoid a personal attack on me, I am a recovering victim who would be happy to see a procedure for episcopal accountability, and happy to see unrepentant  bshops dismissed..

A La Stampa interview with Mary Collins:  http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/inquiries-and-interviews/detail/articolo/collins-francesco-francis-francisco-32910/

Her value to the commission has been recognized by Abp. Martin very positively:  “The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, congratulated Collins on her nomination saying: ‘Her contribution to the work of child protection in the Archdiocese of Dublin has been crucial and her advice and critical comment have been of invaluable help and inspiration to me personally.’  ”

She will obviously bring a personal real-world perspective to this commission than none of the other members can do. 

I am very glad that Francis is taking the important step of letting the laity be in the majority on this commission and hope that eventually membership will be extended outside of Europe, no matter how convenient it is to have the members close at hand.

I think Carolyn Disco and Fr. James Connell should be added to the commission.

@ jesse pruzak:  Arrogance?  Really?  That's funny coming from you!  

I acknowledged that hierarchs are human - what do you want?  It just so happens that the vast majority of hierarchs are little more than amibitous political gulls.  It's all they live for.

All of these hierarchs are the very men who have been in charged while the church over the last four decades has lurched over the cliff and into the abyss of the greatest scandal to befall the church since the crusades and the Inquisition - and all of this without any accountability!

In a few days, the Vatican is going to "canonize" Karol Wojtyla - JP2 who presided over this precipitous decline in the moral integrity of the church.  Go figure?!?  You can't make this stuff up! 

If Sean O'Malley were such a "good shepherd" why has he spent his entire episcopal career going from diocese to diocese cleaning up messes left by priests and bishops who have exploited and abused children?  You think maybe he has used the "scandal" to advance his own career?  Now, it would appear he is the Vatican's go-to guy on this new commission.  Makes one wonder?

Why do you think hierarchs have been called "the leprosy of the church?"  I didn't say that;  Papa Francesco did.

Just how do you think men advance up the clerical ladder in the all-male feudal oligarchy of our Catholic hierarchy?  If their lips aren't puckered into a perpetual kiss for the guy on the next rung-up of the ladder, they aren't ever going to be cardinal or bishop?

That's just the way feudalism works:  I'm not calling names.  Another reason I'm so glad America had a revolution to get rid of feudalism.  Maybe you are not?   

You have never heard of the Peter principle?  Where a cleric rises to the highest rank of his incompetence, then the Vatican promotes him.  Don't blame us sheeple for their political hegemony over the church.

By all accounts O'Malley has not sought out opportunities to clean up sex abuse messes as a way to advance his career. 

He got sent to Palm Beach. His tenure there helped that diocese. Faced with the mess in Boston, it's a rational decision to send somebody who had experience dealing with the aftermath of such a crisis elsewhere and did a good job.

We don't have a waiting list of men eager to clean up sex abuse messes. O'Malley was very depressed in Boston. To assume this was a career move on his part doesn't tally with the facts. 

Thanks, Rita......was going to post the same.  In fact, it appears that the election of Franics and now his G-8 has rejuvenated Cardinal O'Malley.  If I were in his shoes, it would have lifted me also.

@ Rita Ferrone:  I certainly don't have as sanguine a view of O'Malley's career as you do, for sure.  I know he looks good in his Franciscan habit, practices the right theatrics, but that hasn't really distinguished his actions, especially about the abuse scandal, from his brother bishops.  

I like to take my cue about hierarchs from the survivors who have had dealings with a particular hierarch.  I'm sure there are some who have good things to say about O'Malley.  But, from most of them, it seems he is really not all that different from any other Catholic hierarch.

I do know that no one gets to be cardinal-archbishop of Boston if he ever really exposed child predators, help bring them to justice, or the hierarchs who were complicit with the predators.  To directly quote a former chancellor of SF archidocese - now bishop of San Jose, "That's not the way things are done around here."

Remember, all throughout O'Malley's rise to the top of the hierarchy heap hierarchs have been managing and colluding on the local level a worldwide strategy to limit the church's liability for the redress of survivors' grievances and deflect any moral and corporate responsibility for the rape and sodomy of children by priests.  O'Malley is a creature of that system, it seems to me - a quite sucessful creature at that wouldn't you say?

I can't imagine that O'Malley NEVER ONCE in his career approved "hush money" in exchange for survivors silence about their assaults?  O'Malley would never have been appointed bishop if he didn't tow the Vatican's party line and concerted practice about how to deal with abuse cases - Not ever going to happen!

If you like O'Malley, have at it if that's the kind of church you want.  Knock yourself out.  However, don't be surprised if a lot of us sheeple are not drinking that Kool-Aid.

It's not a case of liking O'Malley or not. I was responding to the suggestion that he sought out the chance of cleaning up after sex abuse disasters as a way to advance his career. 

@ Rita Ferrone:  To paraphrase Forrest Gump's mother:  Complicit is as complicit does.

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