maandag, augustus 27, 2007

It's time to face facts about industrial school failings

Irish Independant
Saturday August 25 2007

BROTHER Edmund Garvey, in this week's press statement about Artane, claims that the Department of Education inspection -- following Fr Moore's Report -- made by two senior inspectors together with Dr Anna McCabe, the Medical Inspector, was not notified in advance.

He says: "The Brothers in Artane at the time did not have prior notice of the inspection, contrary to reports in recent media commentary."

It was the regular practice, in all industrial schools, for prior notification to be given by the Department of coming inspections.

As a result, special food was served, clean clothing issued and everything was smartened up.
It was a charade, but it allowed everyone to go on as before and reform nothing. Countless inmates have testified to this factual situation.

It is not sufficient to challenge what Brother Garvey has said about the inaccuracy on this point in Irish Independent coverage, which he criticises.

There is more evidence, however. The boy who served meals to Fr Moore -- who generally fed on his own -- knew of the inspection in advance and knew also that Fr Moore expected it.

As soon as they arrived he drove out of Artane and back to his house. There was no doubt, in Fr Moore's and the boy's minds, as well as in gossip among the Brothers, that there was prior knowledge of the visit.

Conflict of evidence goes deeper. Reading the sustained and unrelentingly negative judgments made by Fr Moore in his Report, it is inconceivable that a two-day visit by inspectors could in any way whatever refute the testimony.

And it is a disgrace that the two approaches were treated to cancel each other out.

The Moore Report, presented to the Archbishop, was concerned with every aspect of Artane witnessed over almost two years (Fr Moore remained at Artane as chaplain for seven years).

The other, done more or less on the orders of the chairman of the inter-departmental committee, Peter Berry, was done with Charles Haughey's backing. He as minister was the instigator of the response.

Department of Education alarm -- expressed very strongly by its representatives at meetings of the committee -- sought to refute everything the priest had said. To do so would have needed a stay at Artane of months, rather than two-days.

It was done as a 'response' to Fr Moore, according to Bridget McManus, present secretary general, in her testimony to the Commission on June 12, 2006.

She said the inspectors, whose brief was "to state the facts reasonably and with discretion, good and bad to be included", had, in their two-day inspection and according to department records, managed to look "at virtually every aspect of life in Artane ... including food the children were eating and the clothes they were wearing ... the relationship between boys and teachers ... virtually every heading ... [and] the Department's report was satisfied that there was no substance to the allegations of Fr Moore."

According to Bridget McManus, "there was some criticism subsequently in the Interdepartmental Committee minutes and discussions that perhaps they hadn't dealt with all headings". Hardly surprising if their assessment was confined to two days.

Later, the Medical Inspector, Dr Anna McCabe, agreed with part of Fr Moore's report but rejected its findings over food.

This was later to have a humourous postscript. When Dr McCabe, a formidable lady, retired in 1965 she visited Artane for a farewell lunch, dressed for the occasion in a tweed suit and wearing a smart tweed hat. She was accompanied by the senior brothers.

Informed in advance, the boys were given the usual 'special day' food of boiled pork chops in gravy.
When Dr McCabe came into the dining hall the boys were picking up the unusual food and inspecting the chops. Deciding that they were in her honour, those near the entrance threw them at her.

Both she and the senior brothers beat a hasty retreat. A large detachment of brothers later entered the dining hall and anyone without a chop on his plate was flogged. The event became known as giving Dr McCabe 'the chop'.

Compared with the reprehensible handling of Fr Moore's report, the treatment of Dr McCabe was light relief.

Brother Reynolds, who appeared at the Commission for the Christian Brothers, said, in talking about Fr Moore, he found himself "in difficulties". These difficulties were the 1994 conviction against Fr Moore for sexual abuse, 30 years after his report.

Brother Reynolds started his testimony saying: "I am so sorry, I need some direction ... I meant to do this before... a name was mentioned and it has caught up with me... I am not too sure how to put this without saying what I want to say. I am not too sure how to deal with this."

Instead of stopping him, Commission chairman Sean Ryan directed him to continue on the grounds of vital public interest. He allowed the references to a conviction of Fr Moore for sexual abuse to be made, and for a general debate about what might be done with this extraneous and -- to Fr Moore and his report -- damaging testimony.

This is just one of the many loopholes of error in the whole industrial school saga.

We still have a long way to go.

The Archbishop of Dublin should give us more help of the kind he gave in releasing Fr Moore's Report.

Dishonesty on Artane Abuse Probe Exposed...Eventually.

Irish Independent
August 18, 2007
Diarmuid Martin has released 'The Private Report on Artane Industrial School' which was furnished to his predecessor, Archbishop John Charles McQuaid, on July 7, 1962.

In so doing he has honoured his pledge, that the only possible resolution of the child sexual abuse scandal would be when everything came out.

The Archbishop should be congratulated for that. He has also said: "There are no short cuts. Over the past five years there has been a change in the Church's handling of the issue with a policy of openness and of rapidly addressing problems."

Some would dispute this, pointing to the disparity between what has happened in other countries and what has happened here. But the Archbishop is still a new broom and should be encouraged in what appears to be the beginnings of a new policy here.

He has put himself at odds with the Government and with the more reactionary elements in the Church, in respect of the abuse issue, and this is where the release of the Father Moore Report is an important action.

It throws into doubt the whole method and direction of what should have been a scrupulous investigation but has turned out to be a flawed one.

The Archbishop has drawn our attention, perhaps unwittingly, to the dishonest and biased handling of the Moore Report and its content in the hearings before the Commission on Child Abuse.

That Commission has concluded its public hearings and its chairman, Judge Sean Ryan, now has to prepare his own Report.

Father Henry Moore's Report shines a clear light of judgement upon the iniquities of Artane and upon the wider iniquities of the Industrial School System for letting what happened at Artane and elsewhere continue unchecked for decades.

The annual reports on industrial schools, year after year, told the same lies, that "the physical and educational needs of the children were adequately catered for", that "those fitted for post-primary education were enrolled in secondary or vocational classes", and that "where it was considered that pupils would benefit from secondary or vocational classes, they were enrolled in such classes".

These regular mantras were simply not true.

Moore's Report was the result of a confidential charge given him by Archbishop McQuaid. It was factual and complete. It was also, it must be said, written intelligently and with style. It followed a careful reading of the Cussen Report of 1936, itself a damning indictment of Artane, and Father Moore found -- 26 years later -- that nothing had changed.

Moore endorses Cussen's finding, that "in Artane only the minimum standard of literate education required by the regulations is provided" and that trades taught were obsolescent and "useful to the schools rather than providing a groundwork for future employment. The boys are regarded as juvenile labourers".

Moore said Artane "is in need of drastic revision". Management methods employed "are obsolete, proper training is neglected, and there is no attempt at rehabilitation". Artane is "dilapidated, colourless and uninspiring, and reflects the interior spirit".

Admission is "indiscriminate" with "no regard for background, medical history, antecedents or suitability for the training". Medical history would not have mattered anyway because the Department of Education inspectors were entirely indifferent to "the seriously inadequate medical facilities in the school" -- no matron or nurse, but run by an unqualified brother "transferred from care of the poultry farm".

Food was sufficient, but plain and unappetising. Methods of serving were crude and unhealthy. Clothing was inadequate, uncomfortable, unhygienic and dirty, as were the boys. The winter during which Moore surveyed conditions was cold, and the one that followed his report was one of the coldest of the last century.

"It is pathetic to observe hundreds of boys walking the roads even in deep winter without overcoats," Moore wrote. "All the clothing was indiscriminately shared. Handkerchiefs are not used."

A trifle, in the broader spectrum of a place run like a prison, but Moore comments: "This fundamental disregard for personal attention inevitably generates insecurity, instability and an amoral concern for the private property of others. This I consider to be a causative factor in the habits of stealing frequently encountered among ex-pupils."

Discipline he found outrageously severe -- "regimentation"; "without proportion"; "boy severely beaten on the face for an insignificant misdemeanour", are phrases used. The result was "undue fear and anxiety", loss of self-esteem and an inability to establish relationships.

He condemned the chapel as dirty and damaged, with mouse-droppings on the Chasuble.

Severest judgements were against the levels of education, with widespread illiteracy in boys up to 14. Technical training was completely out of date, vocational guidance non-existent, choice of trade training bore no relation to wishes or capacities of the boys. This was all contrary to the Children's Act of 1908.

A counter move by the department, made aware of the report, was to send inspectors on a two-day visit, the Brothers knowing of it in advance. A whitewash followed. An inter-departmental inquiry heard Moore's evidence and accepted a good deal of it but he was given a punishing time, causing his mentor, Archbishop McQuaid, to respond to the department and to the Government.However, any public confrontation would bring shame on the Church, so the matter was dropped.

As to the charges on education, clothing, care, food, recreation and all the other matters dealt with by Moore, the Commission did not discuss, debate or raise them in a direct and open way, putting each of Moore's criticisms into the public arena for debate and cross-examination.

Doodscertificaat van Patsy Flannigan, een van the boys of Artane, 1951
en hier staan de openbare verhoren.

Dank je wel, voor jullie gecontinueerde moed!

"...My worry is that many victims won't adequately appreciate the huge achievements they've made - in their own healing, in protecting others, in prodding law enforcement and in alerting citizens...."

Bruno's simple request

Last week saw a flurry of Irish diplomatic activity in the Vatican, where Government secretary general Dermot McCarthy spoke publicly of formalising church/state dialogue, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Ahern, met the Pope and invited him again to these shores.
Mary Raftery reports.

As we contemplate the possibility of another papal visit, it is worth considering the extraordinary case of Bruno Hrela. Bruno has a remarkable file of correspondence with the Vatican, from which the following information has been taken.

Bruno was born in Croatia in 1938 into a devout Catholic family. His father was killed during the second World War when their house was bombed from the air and destroyed. He, his two sisters and his mother, Maria, became refugees and fled to Italy.

There they met a fellow Croatian, a priest who suggested to Bruno's mother that she go to Ireland where she could start a new life in that most Catholic of countries.

With this priest's help, Maria Hrela and her family eventually arrived in Dublin in 1951. However, she received little assistance here and was unable to find work.

Within months, Maria's children were taken from her and placed in industrial schools. Bruno, then 12 years old, ended up in Artane, which at that time housed up to 800 other boys, and was of course run by the Christian Brothers. As Bruno tells the Pope in his letters, it was here that his personal tragedy began.

These letters describe the abuse Bruno suffered as a child at Artane. At the time, he managed to tell his mother what was happening not just to him but to many other boys as well.

She was distraught by the accounts of daily beatings and humiliations endured by her son, and embarked on a most unusual course of action. She decided to write to then Pope, Pius XII.

Bruno had fluent Italian from his time spent in that country, and so his mother dictated to him and he translated and physically wrote the two-page letter to the Pontiff.

It outlined the abuse suffered (physical and sexual, says Bruno) by the boys at Artane, and spoke of the fear and anguish in which they lived. Bruno describes it as a desperate cry for help.

Surprisingly, the Vatican appears to have acted on the letter. Bruno describes a bishop arriving at Artane, with the children all lined up for his inspection.

The bishop - Bruno cannot remember his name - was brought over and introduced to Bruno. In front of the Christian Brothers in charge, the bishop asked the boy if he had any complaints about the school.

Bruno froze in terror, and did not confirm the accusations of abuse made in the letter to the Pope. The bishop departed, and Bruno was left alone with the Brothers. As he explained in the letters to the current Pope, they beat him into unconsciousness and left him bleeding on the floor.

Bruno now wants that original letter, written in the early 1950s, alerting Pope Pius XII to the abuse of children in Artane.

He first made the request in 2001. He was curtly informed that the Vatican archives were available for inspection only up until 1922, the end of the pontificate of Pope Benedict XV.

Everything since 1922 remains sealed. He has tried again and again, humbly pleading with Pope John Paul, but the response every time is brief and blunt - his request is refused.

All Bruno wants from the Vatican is a copy of what after all is his own letter, written over 50 years ago by his own hand and containing his mother's words.

It is, he says, a part of his own story, his own experience.
It is almost literally breaking his heart that the Pope won't listen to him.

From time to time, Bruno phones me from London, where he has lived for many years.

When he talks about Artane and his letter and the current Pope, there often comes a point where he can't continue, where he breaks down and cries. The sadness never leaves you, he says.

Of course, were it from the Irish State that Bruno had requested any material relating to himself, he would be given it without argument. His right to any documentation relating to himself is now enshrined in our freedom of information legislation.

Perhaps the formalisation of church/state dialogue in this country might be of some value if it avoided abstractions and addressed itself instead to issues such as Bruno Hrela's very simple request from the Vatican.

It is one area where the Irish State could teach the Vatican a thing or two about basic duties and obligations, and in the process ease the burden on one man who has suffered much at the hands of both church and state.

Twenty-five years ago, when the Pope last visited Ireland, we did not know Bruno's story or those of thousands like him whose lives have been tortured by their experiences as children in Catholic Church-run institutions.

Today, in the context of a possible second visit by the Pontiff, we no longer have that excuse.

Mary Raftery - Email
18th November 2004
© The Irish Times

Brothers vent anger at Archbishop over Artane

Friday August 24 2007

THE Christian Brothers have launched an extraordinary attack on the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, over his decision to publish a report on conditions at the Artane industrial school, compiled 45 years ago.

In an unprecedented public attack on an Archbishop by a religious order, the Brothers said they were "shocked and dismayed" at the decision of Dr Martin to release rea 1962 Church report into the conditions at the school which is the subject of an inquiry by the Ryan Commission on Child Abuse.

The report, compiled by Artane's then chaplain, Fr Henry Moore, followed a request from his Archbishop, John Charles McQuaid, to conduct a "confidential survey" on the management of the Artane school.

His report dealt with a number of issues including general care, diet, clothing, discipline and education of the 450 boys who were resident at the school at the time. On the controversial issue of discipline, he wrote that while the boys were reasonably well fed, discipline was rigid and severe and "frequently approaches pure regimentation".

"Constant recourse to physical punishment breeds undue fear and anxiety. The personality of the boy is inevi-tably repressed, maladjusted and in some cases abnormal," he said in his report.

A follow-up special inspection to the chaplain's survey was made by two inspectors of the Department of Education and the medical inspector. But it was Archbishop Martin's decision to make Fr Moore's report public following repeated requests from SOCA, the Survivors of Child Abuse organisation, that has raised the ire of the Christian Brothers.

In a lengthy statement, the Brothers said Dr Martin's decision to release the controversial 1962 survey was "unconscionable."
Bishop calls for Catholic reform
Barney Zwartz August 25, 2007

THE Catholic Church is still not serious about confronting sexual abuse, only "managing" it, according to the Sydney bishop who headed Australian efforts to tackle abuse.

Bishop Geoffrey Robinson says the Catholic Church needs to reverse 2000 years of teaching on sex and power as part of radical reforms from the Pope down.

While it refuses to look at some fundamental teachings — including sex outside marriage, women priests, homosexuality and papal power — the culture that produced and protected abusers will continue, he says.
These explosive claims — unprecedented for a bishop — are in a book to be launched tomorrow: Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church.

A Sydney bishop who became an advocate for church sex abuse victims has revealed his own abuse by a stranger.
Linda Morris reports.August 25, 2007

During the darkest days of the priesthood, when the Australian church was wrestling with the scandal of sexual abuse, Sydney's Catholic auxiliary bishop, Geoffrey Robinson, was coming to terms with his own demons.

Only now, three years after his retirement, has Robinson has gone public with an extraordinary and personal disclosure: he was the victim of an abusive stranger. He had kept the secret hidden "in the attic of my mind" for 50 years until hearing the stories of victims began to stir "strong echoes within my own heart and mind".

But the church leader who could have become archbishop of Sydney did not reveal the abuse, and the indelible mark it left, to anyone outside a small circle of friends.

But this week Robinson, shy and guarded, broke his lifelong silence in an explosive critique of the church's use and misuse of power which outlines a radical vision for the church that questions the very nature of its power and sexual ethics and slays the sacred cow of papal infallibility.

Robinson, 70, was a teenager at the time of the abuse, the nature of which he does not fully disclose. The offender was neither a family member nor a priest.

Even now he finds it hard to tackle the topic and prefers his book, Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church, to speak for him. "Neither in my age at the time it happened nor in the duration of the abuse was it as serious as much of the abuse I have encountered in others, and yet, if the man had been caught in any one of his acts against me, he would have been sent to prison," he writes in the book's introduction.

"It was never a repressed memory but for most of my life it was, as it were, placed in the attic of my mind. That is, I always knew it was there but I never took it down to look at it."

When he was appointed in 1994 to the church's national professional standards committee to help develop procedures to respond to sex abuse complaints he made a vow to himself to "never defend the indefensible". He strove to act as a "decent human being, a good Christian and caring priest" and listened to the complaints of as many victims as possible so he could to learn from their experiences.

"It was talking with victims and some of the things they said aroused feelings and memories in my own mind. With the help of counsellors, I became conscious of some of the effects it had had on me." The memories not only inform his compassionate response to fellow victims but have fed his growing disenchantment with church authorities.

Robinson has written two other books but neither is as close to his soul as the latest.

His book sets out fearlessly and with faith what others have thought for a long time: that instituting legal and pastoral procedures is not enough to beat the crisis of sexual abuse in the church. More fundamental changes are needed to make the church relevant and credible today and to re-establish the message of Jesus Christ at it core.

Robinson says his writing was in development for almost 50 years, from the age of 12, when he entered the rarefied atmosphere of a seminary.

In his description of seminaries and novitiates as unhealthy places to grow into maturity, there is a sense of the wounded boy. He laments the absence of parents and other nurturing figures, the lack of intimacy and the perception of women as threats to vocation rather than as a positive and essential influence.

"At the time I wouldn't have found seminary life impossibly difficult but looking back I observe absences," he says now.

"I never wish to see any boy taken into the seminary at that age again."

Even in retirement Robinson is a leading church figure, which is why his open questioning of papal authority, compulsory celibacy for priests and the Vatican's "extreme" position on sexual ethics is so startling and explosive. This is usually lonely territory trod by the likes of progressives such as the assistant Bishop of Canberra, Pat Power.

Papal power has gone too far and there are inadequate limits on that power, Robinson says, and bishops and the faithful have been marginalised. He calls for a new parliament, a new hierarchical system for the local church, even new attire for priests and bishops, and raises for discussion the church's prescriptive attitude towards committed couples having sex before marriage.

He was studying in Rome when the winds of change blew from the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) and he believes it has been unfairly blamed for all the church's ills; the hierarchy should look beyond St Peter's Square for explanations for the massive changes and upheavals which have marked the modern world, he says.

The mobile phone, television and car had robbed Catholic parishes of their role as a powerful social centre.

"This is a very unusual book," says the church historian Ed Campion. "Bishops normally keep dissident thoughts to themselves but Bishop Robinson has gone public with his disquiet about how church authorities responded to sexual abuse scandals. He calls for change at the highest levels of the church, including the papacy. His compassion for abused victims is remarkable and welcomed.

"This grew out of his hard years of caring for injured people. Beyond this, the book is a fresh look at the fundamentals of Christian faith. When a Catholic bishop does this he surprises many people. Others will be grateful that Bishop Robinson has now joined in an ongoing conversation about what it means to be a Christian today."

Father Michael Whelan, of the church reform group Catalyst for Renewal, says Robinson's lifetime of service in the Catholic Church, including 20 years as auxiliary bishop of Sydney, has been one of intelligence, fidelity and generous commitment.

"He is a man beyond reproach. He is also a man of considerable intellect and substantial scholarship. No one who knows him could doubt his love for the church. Indeed, those of us who knew something of his personal struggles with the Vatican in the late '90s will be always grateful for the faith-filled and humble manner in which he continued with his duties as a pastor during that time.

"This, above all else, has shown him to be a leader of the Catholic Church in Australia."

Robinson probably raises more questions than he answers, but he turns his searching gaze and reforming zeal to every corner of the church. His message of love to the church is that it must take its role to tackle sexual abuse more seriously, not simply manage the scandals.

Whelan says Robinson is urging all Catholics to dare to imagine a new way of being a church, a way that is more obviously rooted in the gospels and less obviously beholden to the Roman Empire and the historical circumstances of the fourth and fifth centuries. "Geoffrey Robinson has written a gracious book about a graced institution that too often forgets grace," he says.

"In its forgetfulness, that institution becomes prey to the 'absolutising instinct' and means become ends. Relative rules and relative teachings and relative roles and relative customs mysteriously become absolutes.

"Robinson asks us to remember the gospel and the reality of Jesus and common sense and humility.

If this book has one message for us Catholics - and it is addressed primarily to us - it is simply this: Remember who you are. Remember why you are church. Remember Him."

A fellow member of the national committee for professional standards, Sister Angela Ryan, remembers Robinson for being dogged in his pursuit of a just church response to abuse claims.
In Australia, a country of 5 million Catholics, a nationally binding response to sexual abuse required the unanimous consent of more than 160 people, including bishops and religious superiors. When Robinson had finished cajoling and crafting the document only two refused their consent.

As a result of Robinson's persistence, the Towards Healing protocols is a "standout document" that has no peer in any other Australian religious denomination, says Patrick Parkinson, a professor of law at the University of Sydney.

"The first version of Towards Healing was a victim-centric document. He was adamant that victims of abuse should hear the church cared for them, wanted to help the victims and that they would not tolerate the abuse in future, and Towards Healing was, and is, still full of that," he says.

Robinson concedes the document will never satisfy everyone but says it succeeds in encouraging priests to confess their misdeeds, sparing the victims more pain and adversarial criminal proceedings where convictions are rare.

But the Vatican has at times been far from impressed with Robinson's championing of victims' rights.

Robinson discloses that he was reprimanded by the Vatican bureaucracy after he told an abuse victim he was unhappy with Rome's response. The comment, a response to a question from the victim, was made at a public meeting, in front of several journalists.

He received an official letter expressing the "ongoing concern of the Congregation for Bishops" that his public position was "seriously critical of the magisterial teaching and discipline of the church".

Two months later he received a further letter, informing him that his case had been forwarded to the church's doctrinal watchdog, implying he was suspected of some form of heresy.

Robinson was hurt by the criticism. The church was not perfect, but sometimes there was "only a fine line between accepting that I must work within an imperfect church and becoming complicit in the harm that those imperfections are causing to people", he later wrote.

He felt let down: "Here was the perfect opportunity for the papacy to fulfil its most basic role of being the rock that holds the church together but this did not happen, and the church fractured. I found it impossible to accept that I must give submission of mind and will to most words written by a pope but a failure to give leadership in a crisis seemed to count for little."

Like every bishop, Robinson takes seriously his oath of fidelity to the Pope. Rebellion is like breaking an oath to God. He eventually resigned, and Pope John Paul II accepted his retirement in July 2004, due to ill health. It was true that Robinson was battling a coronary condition that brought on bouts of pneumonia.

Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church by Geoffrey Robinson (John Garratt Publishing, $34.95).


P Auxiliary Roman Catholic bishop of Sydney (retired) 1984-2004
P President, Canon Law Society Australia and New Zealand 1976-83 (secretary 1969-76)
P Director, Regional Tribunal Catholic Church NSW and ACT 1972-84
P Lecturer, Canon Law Catholic Institute Sydney 1967-83
P Assistant priest 1965-84
P Ordained priest 1960

P Marist Bros School (NSW), St Columba's College (NSW), Pontifical Urban Uni (Rome)

P Marriage Divorce and Nullity 1984;
A Change of Mind and Heart 1994;
Travels in Sacred Places 1997

Priest accuses Colombian archdiocese of sexual, financial misconduct - Catholic Online

BOGOTA, Colombia (CNS)The former head of the Archdiocese of Cali's ecclesiastical tribunal has made charges of widespread sexual and financial misconduct in the archdiocese.

Father German Robledo, a 67-year-old priest and head of the tribunal until 2004, went public Aug. 21 with accusations against priests and other church officials in Cali. He said he was doing so because he had not been satisfied with reaction from archdiocesan officials.

Father Robledo said that before first making the allegations last December he met with other Cali priests to discuss the problems. Father Robledo said he was acting as their spokesman when he went public.
"We have criticized and have denounced all of these things without success," he said.

In late August, Archbishop Juan Sarasti Jaramillo of Cali acknowledged that some priests had violated their oaths of celibacy but said that it was unfair to make general accusations. He said Father Robledo's accusations would be investigated.

"Many things are said, but it is necessary to wait until they are proven legally," he said.

Father Robledo said several priests have ongoing sexual relationships, including one with a woman who pretends to be his secretary and another with young boys. Father Robledo said several priests secretly have children and that two of them have been sued by the mothers for child support.

He said parishioners' contributions are used to pay people who obtain children for sexual relationships, as well as being used to pay the youths themselves. Father Robledo said there has been financial and other corruption within the archdiocese. He said he has videos of people who allegedly had sexual relations with priests or knew about them, local news media reported Aug. 23.

Father Robledo also said priests who had been accused of sexual abuse in the United States had been sent to Cali to work.
The priest said that he had presented his accusations in a letter to Archbishop Sarasti in April. The daily newspaper El Pais quoted the April letter as warning about "chronic and shameful homosexual conducts of friends and close collaborators" of the archdiocese.

Father Robledo also asked in the letter: "How is it possible that conducts such as requesting alms from the faithful for deceptively noble ends are tolerated when they are really for paying debts, even extortions for old and recent homosexual services by degenerates from the street and youths who come to request economic assistance?"

The priest said that dozens of youths came to the cathedral in Cali to demand blackmail payments from priests with whom they had had sexual relationships.

Father Robledo charged that on the same day that one priest was ordained a woman gave birth to the new priest's baby. In his letter, he asked the archbishop what he had done about that case.

In a radio interview, Father Robledo said that Archbishop Sarasti responded to the charges by saying that such acts belong to the priests' private lives.

Father Robledo served on the ecclesiastical tribunal for 23 years. He said he resigned from the tribunal in 2004 because the church did not take action in response to complaints against it. He added that in 2000 he was offered the title of bishop, but he declined the title.
Father Robledo resigned from public priestly duties in February, because he said he was disappointed with the archbishop's response and wanted to speak more freely.

Mario Fernando Prado, the El Pais reporter who first broke the story, said that when Father Robledo first came to him with the information it struck him as "absurd." But then he interviewed other priests and said he verified "that it was true."

Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Fiscalía investigó al padre Fred Potes

Cali on line; El Pais

Entidad abrió, en el 2004, una investigación preliminar contra el sacerdote por el delito de inducción a la prostitución.

Tras las denuncias realizadas por el padre Germán Robledo contra monseñor Fred Potes Venegas, El Pais conoció que en el 2004 la Fiscalía abrió una investigación preliminar contra el sacerdote por el delito de inducción a la prostitución a un menor de edad.

In opdracht paus
Staatssecretaris Bertone naar Peru vertrokken

Geplaatst door Theo Borgermans 24 aug '07

VATICAANSTAD ( - De Vaticaanse staatssecretaris, kardinaal Tarcisio Bertone, is donderdag in opdracht van paus Benedictus XVI vanuit Rome naar Peru vertrokken. Hij zal er de paus vertegenwoordigen bij de slachtoffers van de recente aardbeving en het eucharistisch congres van de Peruaanse Kerk bijwonen.

De nummer twee van het Vaticaan zal persoonlijk de streken bezoeken die op 15 augustus door de aardbeving werden geteisterd. Het Vaticaan maakte eerder al 200.000 dollar vrij voor noodhulp in het getroffen gebied.

Paus Benedictus XVI heeft al twee keer openlijk opgeroepen tot solidariteit met Peru en concrete hulpacties voor de geteisterden te steunen.

Kardinaal Bertone wordt vandaag ontvangen door kardinaal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, de aartsbisschop van Lima, en door de Peruaanse president Alan Garcia Perez.
Daarna bezoekt hij de steden Ica en Pisco die het ergst getroffen werden door de aardbeving.

Morgen opent hij in Chimbote het eucharistisch congres in aanwezigheid van alle Peruaanse bisschoppen. De aanwezigheid van kardinaal op dit congres was gepland voor de aardbeving. Het eucharistisch congres wordt op 30 augustus beëindigd met een eucharistieviering in de kathedraal van Chimbote. (tb)

’Kerk is Gods meesterwerk’
Staatssecretaris Bertone hekelt berichtgeving seksueel misbruik
Geplaatst door Theo Borgermans 22 aug '07 (Bron: Christian Today)

VATICAANSTAD ( - Kardinaal Tarcisio Bertone, staatssecretaris van de H. Stoel, valt uit naar berichtgeving in de Italiaanse media over seksueel misbruik in de katholieke Kerk.

De staatssecretaris hekelde de ’overdreven aandacht’ de voorbije weken voor bepaalde gevallen van seksueel misbruik door Italiaanse geestelijken.

“Ook in de katholieke Kerk zijn er enkele vervallen en donkere plaatsen, zoals dat ook in de Sixtijnse kapel het geval is. Media belichten enkel deze duistere plekjes”, klaagt de kardinaal.

Zelf omschrijft hij de Kerk als een meesterwerk van God. “Als staatssecretaris heb ik – ook in de landen waar christenen de minderheid vormen – ervaren dat staatsmannen uit de hele wereld de positieve rol van de Kerk en haar bijdrage op caritatief vlak loven. Daarom klaag ik deze valse voorstelling van de Kerk aan.”


zondag, augustus 26, 2007

Canada: INDEPTH REPORT: Males surviving abuse; the 'overlooked' victims

Stefania Moretti, Special to

It's hard for our society to accept boys as powerless. They are expected to "watch their own backs" and be able to defend themselves whenever their safety is threatened. And yet, according to the Canadian Department of Justice, 31 percent of all substantiated child sexual abuse and exploitation victims are male. Worse still, over 90 percent of all male victims of sexual abuse will never tell anyone.

John Field, a London Interfaith Counselling Centre therapist, believes that London is no exception to these troubling national averages and is frustrated with the double standards that plague society.

"For some reason a man's sexuality is challenged if he has been abused," said Field. "Men will often say to me: 'I wish I was hit, I wish I was cut,' because the bruises heal but the injuries are psychological."

It is easier for society to perceive women as victims than it is for them to see men in the same light. And as a result, the types and number of services available to men are scarce. "The services in London just aren't enough," said Field.

In June of this year the Ontario's Victim Services Secretariat approved $80,000 for services in support of the 47 female victims of Charles Sylvestre (a priest in London's Roman Catholic Church diocese convicted of sexually abusing young girls). The diocese is also providing an additional $44,000 to the women. In comparison, male victims of childhood sexual abuse in Windsor Chatham-Kent and London are getting $30,000 from the diocese. This is despite estimates that 75 percent of all victims of sexual abuse by clergy are male.

Another challenge for men is that they are more often isolated. "As a man you don't talk about your weaknesses or about your victimization," said Field. This only allows abuse to flourish in the silence.

When asked if he thought male survivors were overlooked, Field said, "In a word? Yes." And added, "But it shouldn't be that way." He believes men and women need to work together to provide support for one another while protecting all children from sexual predators in the future.

But as of late male victims in the London area have finally begun to unify in ways that women have been for decades.

Many survivors have vowed to be silent no longer and several London-area men have chosen to forge their own paths, filling the systemic gaps in service as they go. Some have even sought alternative methods of both healing and public advocacy.

Take for example, Chris LeMesurier. At the recommendation of his wife, LeMesurier started publishing his experiences on two separate online blogs. His blog entries are at times vivid with graphic description of abuse, at times muddled with emotional confusion. When asked if blogging provided a secure outlet for him, LeMesurier shrugged and said, "It worked for me at the time."

You would be mistaken to interpret LeMesurier's shrug as a sign of ambivalence. In fact, he is one of several men actively pursuing new and more effective channels for male survivors of abuse to access help and raise public awareness.

Field and LeMesurier are just two members of a public advocacy group called Male Abuse Survivor Support Initiative (M.A.S.S.I). The group aims to help men access care and help fund new and existing services while increasing local awareness.

LeMesurier is also a founding member of the Male Survivors Group (MSG). The group holds meetings on a regular basis exclusively for male survivors. Field says groups like this are necessary since government sponsored services such as those at London Interfaith and Thames Valley Family Services offer only short-term counselling. "The injuries caused by abuse don't heal in six weeks, they require long-term care. Oftentimes men who seek community services are left abandoned and feeling betrayed," said Field.

Londoners Robert Bérubé and Donald D'Haene have opted for creative outlets to help cope with their abuses and in turn help other men.

Bérubé's play, "The Highbury Hilton" was recently staged at the local Fringe Festival. A survivor of abuse by clergy himself, Bérubé stages the quest for emotional resolve of one abused psyche through the voices of three female characters in residence at a psychiatric hospital. The piece is a blunt and critical portrayal of his experiences with the available government services and the church.

He is frustrated by the long waits male survivors experience accessing care in London and fears that it discourages other men from seeking help. "You go through a 12-week course and that's it, you're on the street. There is no place like a men's center for men who have been abused. And that is very sad. It's lacking in our city and lacking in our country," said Bérubé.

Another local author has earned critical acclaim with this book "Father's Touch." Donald D'Haene penned a novel several years ago detailing his own childhood in which he suffered sexual abuse at the hands of his father. The book even has foreword by a leading therapist in the field, Mike Lew. "We may not be comfortable with what Donald D'Haene has to say, but we need to hear his words. Father's Touch is an important book, and Donald D'Haene is someone we need to know," writes Lew.

Simply throwing money at the problem will not rectify the crisis of adequate assistance to male survivors of sexual abuse, here in London, or anywhere for that matter. Instead, the solution will be much harder earned. It is about changing our backward and hurtful perceptions about men who have experienced the misfortune of being taken advantage of as boys. An innocent child is vulnerable regardless of gender.

The Department of Justice reports that boys between the ages of four and seven are most at risk of being sexually abused.

Why then should such terrible crimes be the burden of these young children as they grow into adult men? Bérubé struck the nail on the head when he said, "Society thinks that if you are a male then you should be able to take care of yourself, and that outlook needs to change."

donderdag, augustus 09, 2007

Gaat een rechter uitmaken welke kardinaal, LA Mahony of Rivera, Mexico liegt?

Mexican cardinal deposed in case involving alleged sexual abuse by Mexican priest
International Herald Tribune/The Associated Press
Published: August 8, 2007

MEXICO CITY: Mexico's most prominent cardinal was deposed Wednesday in a U.S. lawsuit accusing him of complicity in the alleged rape of a child by a Mexican priest.
Cardinal Norberto Rivera and his lawyers
rushed past reporters and photographers waiting outside offices of the Archdiocese of Mexico without giving comment.

Later in the afternoon, archdiocese spokesman Rev. Hugo Valdemar Romero said Rivera gave his statement voluntarily and argued that a Los Angeles court should not be handling a case involving Mexican clergy and an alleged victim in Mexico

In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in September, Joaquin Aguilar Mendez alleges he was raped by priest Nicolas Aguilar in Mexico City in 1994 when he was 12 years old.
According to the suit, Aguilar Mendez had gone to the priest's room at the rectory to use a restroom when he was grabbed and sodomized.

The alleged rape came after the priest already had been charged with 19 felony counts of committing lewd acts on a child in California.

The suit alleges that Rivera conspired with Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony to protect Rev. Aguilar. It accuses Rivera and Mahony of negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, civil conspiracy and sexual battery, and charges Aguilar with sexual battery.

The victim's attorney, Jeffrey Anderson, said Mahony settled with Aguilar Mendez privately last month around the same time the archdiocese reached its record-breaking US$660 million (€478 million) settlement with alleged abuse victims.

He said Aguilar Mendez's case, however, was handled separately and the amount was "modest" compared to the average US$1.3 million (€940,000) promised to other victims.

Anderson said Rivera's attorneys in Los Angeles had sought to limit the scope of the deposition and prevent the plaintiff from videotaping it and filing a transcript with the Los Angeles Superior Court. Judge Elijuh Berle denied their motions.

Attorneys from both sides, a court representative, and a translator were at the deposition. Mexican Bishop Rodrigo Aguilar Martinez from Puebla state was scheduled to be deposed Thursday, said Eric Barragan of the Chicago-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, which had backed Aguilar Mendez.

Rivera's attorney, Bernardo Fernandez, has said only a Mexican court has the authority to rule on the lawsuit. Proponents of the suit argue it involves church officials from both countries.

The lawsuit alleges Rivera, who was a bishop in Puebla state, transferred Aguilar to Los Angeles in 1988 for nine months despite knowing of allegations of abuse against the priest.

In a declaration filed in February, Rivera said he sent a letter to Mahony in 1987 suggesting Rev. Aguilar had problems. Tod Tamberg, spokesman for Mahony, has said the U.S. cardinal never received the letter.

A Los Angeles court gave Mexico extradition orders for Rev. Aguilar in 1988 and 1993, but he continued to work as a priest in Mexico. Since the filing of the lawsuit, his whereabouts have been unknown.
Barragan said the Los Angeles court is expected to decide whether to proceed with the case in September.

US Lawyers Grill Top Mexico Cardinal in Abuse Case
Cardinal Norberto Rivera, was questioned by U.S. lawyers who accuse him of protecting a priest wanted for child sex abuse.

Mexico's top clergyman, Cardinal Norberto Rivera, was questioned by U.S. lawyers on Wednesday in a child sex abuse case that is a new blow to the Roman Catholic Church in its second-largest stronghold.

The lawyers met with Rivera at the capital's archdiocese building to ask about charges in a U.S. civil case that he colluded with Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony to protect a Mexican priest wanted for multiple child rapes.

Abuse scandals have rocked the Catholic Church around the world recently and the Los Angeles diocese this year agreed to pay $660 million settlement.

In Mexico, sexual abuse cases against the church have rarely come to trial but last year the cardinal was accused of covering up abuse in a civil suit lodged in Los Angeles.

"Justice cannot be had in Mexico, that's why we have to take this to foreign courts," said Eric Barragan, spokesman for SNAP, a U.S.-based group for victims of sex abuse by priests.

The attorneys argue that former altar boy Joaquin Aguilar Mendez was raped aged 13 in Mexico in 1994 by a priest named Nicolas Aguilar, who the church shunted between Mexico and the United States to avoid abuse charges.

Rivera, a vocal figure in Mexican public life, was set to be questioned for at least six hours.
"Cardinal Rivera has voluntarily received the lawyers," said a Catholic Church official.

The church is one of Mexico's most important institutions but has been losing influence as lawmakers in the capital legalized abortion and gay civil unions. Evangelical churches also are gaining ground in Mexico while legislators are studying liberalizing laws against euthanasia and prostitution, despite objections from the church.

Rivera, once seen as an outside candidate to succeed Pope John Paul II, says the Los Angeles court does not have jurisdiction over him because the incidents in the altar boy's allegations all took place in Mexico.

Rivera, whose Mexico City diocese is one of the world's largest, is accused of sending the priest to Los Angeles briefly, knowing that he was a pedophile who later raped the altar boy in Mexico's Puebla state in 1994.
The priest is believed to be on the run in Mexico and is wanted on multiple charges of sexually abusing boys in California. He has not been excommunicated.

The two cardinals have contradicted each other's version of events. Mahony says the Mexican church did not warn him of Aguilar's record when the priest arrived in Los Angeles.

Mahony publicly apologized after Mass one Sunday last month to more than 500 plaintiffs in priest abuse cases in Los Angeles who received the record $660 million settlement.
Published: August 08, 2007 19:18h

woensdag, augustus 08, 2007

Pastor Arrested for Defilement

The Monitor (Kampala)
NEWS5 August 2007
Posted to the web 6 August 2007 Kampala

POLICE have arrested a pastor for allegedly defiling a 16-year-old girl in Rukungiri District. Pastor Grace Okello preaches at Revival Mission Church in Rukungiri Town Council. Rukungiri CID Officer Henry Mbabazi said the case had been registered at the police. "We arrested him and investigations are still going on," he said.

It is alleged that on Friday, Pastor Okello took the girl (name withheld) to his office on Karegesa Road where he defiled her. The girl said at the police station that Pastor Okello had forcibly pulled her into his office and in the ensuing scuffle she hit him on the head with an unknown object. Sunday Monitor saw a fresh wound on Mr Okello's face at the police station.

The neighbours to the Pastor's office said they heard the girl screaming for help as the pastor shouted, "Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ". They thought he was possibly praying for the girl.

A neighbour only identified as Irene, said that after the scuffle, the girl came out of the pastor's office holding torn underwear, which she went with to Rukungiri Police Station.
Pastor Okello followed the girl to the police station from where he was arrested. Mr Mbabazi declined to comment on the case, saying he would need to examine the file before making any statement on the matter.

Security sources said that police have been investigating Pastor Okello for arson which he allegedly committed in Rwenkuba Cell in the town council in February this year.
It is alleged that when Pastor Okello failed to win over Mr Peter Wako to his Revival Church, he burnt his Bahai religious books worth Shs20 million. Pastor Okello is a popular gospel preacher on Radio Rukungiri on Sundays. One of his co-pastors, Mr Emmanuel Guma, said that Pastor Okello's arrest was plotted to destroy his gospel ministry.

Knowledgeable sources said that Pastor Okello, who has lived in Rukungiri for about 20 years, recently entered into partnership with Compassion International and has been getting donor support to help more than 200 orphans under his ministry.

Defilement is a capital offence and a guilty person is liable to a maximum death sentence. That punishment, however, has never been handed down. Recent police and human rights research findings show that defilement is top on the national crime list.

Several pastors of the Pentecostal born-again churches have of late been reported in the press on various accusations of extortion, sexual enslavement, defilement, sodomy and outright fraud against their faithful.
Several pastors are now under police investigations for the alleged crimes.

Belfast Information sought into church sex abuse


The Public Prosecution Service has asked the PSNI for further information on a Northern Ireland-wide probe into alleged clerical sexual abuse dating back decades.

The police investigation – sparked by the Ferns Inquiry in Co Wexford – had previously come under fire because the PSNI agreed not to inspect Catholic Church archives first hand, instead accepting summaries of allegations.

In 2005, the Ferns Inquiry found 21 priests had sexually abused children in Co Wexford over 40 years. The PSNI and Social Services later met with Catholic Church representatives to explore the implications for Northern Ireland.

In March last year, Archbishop Sean Brady said everything in the Church's knowledge about Northern Ireland from 1965 to 2005 – proven or unproven – had been reported to the relevant authorities.

But a senior source in the Church later confirmed to the News Letter that only "summaries" of allegations against 81 employees on file were passed to the police.

Two charities which support sex abuse survivors, Nexus and One-In-Four, called on the PSNI to press for full access to the original records.

The PPS has now confirmed it had been passed a file by the police on April 5 which covered PSNI investigations into the period concerned. It said the latest position was that the PPS had asked the police for further information in relation to the file.

Upper Bann DUP MP David Simpson said he was worried that the PPS now required more information after concerns had been raised that not all information may have been handed to police.

"It is certainly a matter of concern that the PPS now require further information on these allegations. "I have been unable to get confirmation that the police did not settle for only summaries of church archives dating back to the 1960s.

"This would be a worrying development as it would create a greater possibility that not all of the evidence would be set before the PPS and would give a greater possibility that
some people guilty of serious criminal activity could get off," he said.

"In a parliamentary answer to me on July 12, Security Minister Paul Goggins failed to clarify whether or not only summaries of abuse allegations were handed to police."

What is needed is full disclosure that would allow for a thorough investigation – not just of those who may have been guilty of abuse – but also of anyone who may have been implicated after the event by failing to take proper action or by simply moving criminals on to new areas."

He said he was heartened that his long-standing call for full disclosure was supported recently in the Assembly by Health Minister Michael McGimpsey.MEP Jim Allister discovered the PSNI had passed their file to the PPS after writing to the Chief Constable.
"I will await the outcome of the PPS deliberations on the file with interest," he said.

vrijdag, augustus 03, 2007

De noodzaak van het waarom antwoord

The way forward to reconciliation
Natinal Catholic Reporter
Issue Date: August 3, 2007

When people cry out for justice, no one can maintain the suppression of information at the expense of human rights -- whether it’s in Guatemala or the Los Angeles archdiocese.

But is truth enough? We say it’s not. The next step is reconciliation.

In No Future Without Forgiveness, Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu tells us that negotiations, peace talks, forgiveness and reconciliation happen most frequently not between those who like one another. They happen precisely because people are at loggerheads and detest one another as only enemies can.

In Guatemala, researchers are now uncovering secret police archives that document the torture and killing of the country’s citizens for more than a century. In Los Angeles, the release of confidential priest personnel files is an important part of the recent settlement agreement.

These files document pain and unimaginable suffering, but simply releasing their contents to a judge is not by itself a comforting action.

For many victims and their loved ones, the future has become unimaginable because the present is held captive by past grievances and offenses. They struggle with feelings of guilt, anger and resentment. And while anger and hurt are fitting and proper, unlike fine wine, they do not improve with age.

Lewis Smedes once said that one of God’s better jokes was to give us the power to remember the past without the power to undo it.

For the latter part of the 20th century, many countries worldwide used truth commissions to address human rights abuses over a certain period of time or in relation to a particular conflict in that nation. These commissions have fact-finding as their core, but they are also known for their focus on healing situations that have little hope for resolution.

The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, established in 1995, is one of the better known applications of this process.
In general, the goal is to resolve conflict leftover from the past.

Less well known is Guatemala’s truth commission, the Historical Clarification Commission, established in 1994 by the Oslo Accords. Its mandate was to clarify with objectivity, equity and impartiality the human rights violations and acts of violence connected with the armed confrontation that caused suffering among the Guatemalan people during the nation’s 36-year civil war.

It was not established to judge, but rather to provide an answer to the questions: Why did part of a society resort to armed violence in order to achieve political power? Why did these acts of brutality take place?

Recent events in the Los Angeles archdiocese suggest that the Catholic church, as an institution, is now facing the consequences of choosing legalistic methods to address the clergy sexual abuse crisis rather than using a process of truth and reconciliation. The release of the Los Angeles priest documents, though helpful in getting to the truth, will neither remove the scars of the church’s wounds nor alleviate the suffering of the victims of clergy sexual abuse. As in Guatemala, the wounds within the Catholic church have no remedy.

Cardinal Roger Mahony’s recent statement reiterates this reality: “So many of the victims told me in various ways that even though the cases are resolved, even though they’re receiving some compensation, there really is no way to go back and give them that innocence that was taken from them. It is the one part of the settlement process that I find the most frustrating, because the one thing I wish I could give the victims, I cannot. And that is a restoration of where they were [as children].”

The cardinal also said: “Sometimes I honestly had reached the bottom. I didn’t know what to do next. It seemed like everything I tried to do was wrong, somebody thought it was wrong. I think spiritually ... when you are totally empty, the only way up -- without your resources -- is God. Spiritually, it’s been an enormous time, times of frustration but also times of great spiritual strength, knowing that I don’t have all the answers and relying on God to show us the way forward.”

Cardinal Mahony, it’s OK not to know what to do next, but it’s not OK to ignore those who can show you the way. The Catholic church has always taught that the Holy Spirit moves through the community and reveals itself through those around us. The victims of Guatemala and South Africa can show you the way. They know what it’s like to be empty, but they also know what it’s like to build a future once thought unimaginable.

The Catholic church must take upon itself the challenge to accept a commission of reconciliation that learns from the best of what this process has taught the world about addressing irreparable harm. A process for truth and reconciliation is not about forgetting the past or denying it. It’s about finding a way to create a future that otherwise cannot exist.

National Catholic Reporter, August 3, 2007

en dan nu naar bed en geen bidprentje, verhaaltje voor het slapen

Lang verhaal met kort verhaal mogelijkheden:

vuile was oud-deken binnensmonds onberoerd laten .

Maar geen bidprentje in Gulpen.

150 aanwezigen Oud-deken Haffmans begraven
Geplaatst door Theo Borgermans op vr 3 aug '07 om 14:09u (Bron: ANP)

SITTARD ( - Ongeveer 150 mensen woonden vrijdag de uitvaart bij van oud-deken Joep Haffmans van Gulpen. Onder hen waren veel priesters en nieuwsgierigen uit Gulpen.
Deken Wilbert van Rens van Sittard droeg de mis op in de 14e eeuwse St. Petruskerk in Sittard, waar Haffmans ongeveer 33 jaar geleden als kapelaan begon.

Haffmans overleed zaterdag. Hij werd verdacht van het plunderen van de armenkas van zijn parochie, reden waarom hij een jaar geleden zijn actieve priesterambt beëindigde. Justitie heeft het strafrechtelijk onderzoek naar zijn vermeende verduistering van gelden na zijn dood stopgezet.

In zijn preek tijdens de uitvaartdienst vrijdag zei Jan Liessen, priester van Rolduc, dat Haffmans het afgelopen jaar naar bekering zocht. Tot teleurstelling van veel kerkgangers was bisschop Frans Wiertz niet bij de dienst aanwezig. Ook werden na afloop niet de gebruikelijke bidprentjes uitgereikt.