dinsdag, september 29, 2009

European Commission: Flash Eurobarometer The Rights of the Child

Nederlandse kinderen minst bekend met hun rechten

In opdracht van de Europese Commissie is onderzoek gedaan naar de mening en kennis van Europese kinderen over hun rechten.

Opvallende uitkomst van het onderzoek is dat kinderen in Nederland vergeleken met kinderen uit andere Europese landen, het minst bekend zijn met hun rechten. Tegelijkertijd zijn de Nederlandse kinderen relatief vaak van mening dat de kinderrechten in hun land goed beschermd worden.
Rest artikeltje: DCI

The Flash Eurobarometer " The Rights of the Child" is part of a trend survey; the results of the previous wave were published in 2008. A comparison, between 2008 and 2009 results, concerning young people's knowledge and opinions about the rights of under 18 years olds, showed very few significant differences:

Knowledge and information about the Rights of the Child
Awareness of the Rights of the Child:

-Almost two-thirds of young people (15-18 years old) from the 27 EU Member States were
aware that people under 18 enjoy specific rights compared to adults.

-The Netherlands, Hungary and Denmark were the only countries where more than half of
interviewees were unaware of the specific rights of under 18 year -olds (61%, 60 % and 53 %, resp.).

maandag, september 28, 2009

Jan Palach, Melnik 11 augustus 1948 – 19 januari 1969 Praag

zondag, september 27, 2009

Monsignor Scicluna signals Vatican shift on sex abuse

Een onderzoek van Associated Press heeft 73 gevallen van misbruik van minderjarigen door priesters gedocumenteerd. Daarbij waren 235 slachtoffers betrokken. De voorvallen hadden allemaal in de afgelopen tien jaar plaats.

Malta Independent on Sunday
Christopher Sultana

Vatican-based Monsignor Charles Scicluna has revealed how the Holy See has changed its position with regard to priests who force children to perform sexual acts, The Malta Independent on Sunday has learnt.

The Maltese monsignor is the Vatican’s prosecutor in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handles cases of priestly sex abuse.

Interviewed recently by the Associated Press in the wake of a series of accusations levelled at Italian priests, Monsignor Scicluna acknowledged that priestly sex abuse was an age-old problem that needed to be rooted out, signalling an evident shift in the Vatican’s stance on the subject.

This year, dozens of former students at a Catholic-run institute for the deaf did something highly unusual for Italy: they went public with claims that they were forced to perform sexual acts with priests.

Monsignor Scicluna acknowledged that public awareness of the problem in Italy had increased as a result of the “tsunami” of cases that had come to light in the United States.

Referring to the despicable act, he said: “I do not think it is a question of whether it is happening. It has always happened. It is important that people talk about it, because otherwise we cannot bring the healing that the Church can offer to people who need it – both the victims and perpetrators.

“There is a change of mentality, and we find that to be very positive,” he added.

For decades, a culture of silence has surrounded priestly abuse in Italy, where surveys show that the Church is considered one of the country’s most respected institutions. Now, in the Vatican’s backyard, a movement to air and root out abusive priests is slowly and fitfully taking hold.

A year-long Associated Press tally has documented 73 alleged cases of sexual abuse by priests against minors over the past decade in Italy, with more than 235 victims. The tally was compiled from local media reports, websites of victims groups and blogs. Almost all the cases have surfaced in the seven years since the scandal over abuse by Roman Catholic priests broke in the United States.

The numbers in Italy are still a mere trickle compared to the hundreds of cases in the court systems of the United States and Ireland. And according to the AP tally, the Italian church has so far had to pay only a few hundred thousand euros in civil damages to the victims, compared to $2.6bn in abuse-related costs for the American diocese or e1.1bn due to victims in Ireland.

However, the numbers still stand out in a country where reports of clerical sex abuse were virtually unknown a decade ago. They point to an increasing willingness among the Italian public and – slowly – within the Vatican itself to look squarely at a tragedy where the reported cases may only just be the tip of the iceberg. The Italian church will not release the numbers of cases reported or of court settlements.

The implications of priestly abuse loom large in Italy: with its 50,850 priests in a nation of 60 million, Italy has more priests than all of South America or Africa. In the United States – where the Vatican has 44,700 priests in a nation of 300 million – more than 4,000 Catholic clergy have been accused of molesting minors since 1950.

The Italian cases follow much the same pattern as the US and Irish scandals: Italian prelates often preyed on poor, physically or mentally disabled, or drug-addicted youths entrusted to their care. The deaf students’ speech impairments, for example, made the priests’ admonition “never to tell” all the more easy to enforce.

vrijdag, september 25, 2009

Lost souls of Ireland BBC

"Een van mijn broertjes moest op de lagere school een opstel over arme mensen schrijven. Hij schreef: "Arme mensen. Er was eens een heel arme familie. De vader was arm. De moeder was arm. De bedienden waren arm. De chauffeur was arm. De butler was arm." "

In die films vragen soldaten: is de oorlog rechtvaardig of niet
Dat heb ik toen nooit gehoord.

We moesten doden, we moesten overleven.
Daarvoor schoot je desnoods iedereen dood: ook vrouwen en kinderen.
We zaten op een afschuwelijke plek waar veel werd gevochten.
Als je naar een rustiger plek wilde, moest je punten hebben.
Een wapen, een geweer van de vijand leverde punten op.
Een gevangene, een dode vijand.
Dus we schoten iedereen dood:
kinderen, vrouwen, ouderen telden als punten.
Niemand heeft het daarover.
Dat durven ze niet.
Niemand heeft het over de napalm.
Wij hadden napalm.
Wij hadden dat spul dat ze ook in Vietnam gebruikten om te ontbossen.

Het houdt je altijd bezig.
Waarom voelen we ons niet schuldig?
Ik voel me niet schuldig.
Ik begrijp niet waarom ik me niet schuldig voel.
Ik begrijp het niet.

We wilden weer levend naar huis.
We moesten die maanden daar uitzitten.
We wilden er levend uitkomen.

Hoeveel maanden was U daar?
27 maanden.

uit: De Verschoning.
Antonio Lobo Antunes.

U N Child Abuse and the Holy See

Published: September 24, 2009
The UN Human Rights Council has reportedly published a written statement by the International Humanist and Ethical Union on the role of the Holy See in the child abuse scandals.

The IHEU statement also accused the Church of a failure to honour obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the organisation's website states.

"The Holy See has been heavily implicated for decades in covering up cases of child abuse carried our by its clergy and religious orders, in obstructing justice, and in failing to deal appropriately with abusers," said Roy Brown, IHEU Main Representative at the UN Geneva.

"Yet for too long it has been given a free ride by the international community because of its presumed moral leadership. Our report is the first to bring the issue to the attention of the Council.

We shall be referring to our report in the plenary of the Human Rights Council next week."

The speech, as delivered at the UN

UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL: 12th Session (14 Sept – 2 October 2009)
Child Abuse and the Holy See

Speaker: IHEU Representative, Keith Porteous Wood: Tuesday 22 September 2009
Agenda Item 4: Matters requiring the attention of the Council

Mr President,

In 1990 the Holy See acceded to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It submitted its first and only report in 1994 about which CRC expressed several areas of concern.[1]

But since then – nothing.[2]

The extent of child abuse within the Catholic Church is well known. What we are addressing here, however, is the reaction of the Church authorities over which the Holy See exerts control.

Victims have been accused of lying, even in the face of strong evidence to the contrary.

The Church has covered up allegations, and generally failed to inform the civil authorities, even when obliged to do so. Moreover, dioceses have frequently moved alleged abusers from one location to another, resulting in repetition of the abuse.[3]

Clerics implicated in concealment have been permitted to remain in office, such as Bernard Law, Archbishop of Boston[4] who still enjoys papal support as archpriest of a papal basilica in Rome, and is still a cardinal.

The Church has argued that the problem was minor, [that it did not know the true extent of the problem, or was ignorant of the nature of child abusers or of their recidivist tendencies] yet the scale of the problem has been known to the Church since at least the 1980s. [5]

Every possible step has been taken by the Church to minimise both criminal sanctions and the amount of compensation it paid.

["Gagging" clauses are routinely imposed as part of the settlement of cases].[6]

[Mr President, the Holy See has been complicit in widespread attempts to cover up cases of alleged child abuse perpetrated by members of its clergy and religious orders, apologies are rare, and a general admission of the Church's culpability has yet to be seen.]

We urge the Holy See to recognise its responsibilities to children and the CRC, to bring its reporting up to date, and to instruct its dioceses and religious orders[7] to report all cases of alleged child abuse to the civil authorities. We suggest that as an institution that claims to have "the highest moral authority", it can do no less.

And we urge the international community to hold the Holy See to account.

Thank you sir.

(Due to to time limitations, text in square brackets was omitted from delivered speech.)References

[1] http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/pdfid/3ae6aec910.pdf
[2] http://www.catholicsforchoice.org/topics/other/documents/2002rightsofthechildshadowreport.pdf [3] Example: Diocese of Dallas: http://www.richardsipe.com/reports/sipe_report.htm#DIOCESE%20OF%20DALLAS
[4] http://www.bostonphoenix.com/boston/news_features/top/features/documents/01847611.htm [5] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/2548081.stm although it has treatment centres for child abusing priests (Richard Sipe http://www.richardsipe.com/reports/sipe_report.htm Fourth phase)
[6] http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article6354966.ece
[7] http://www.childabusecommission.ie/rpt/pdfs/CICA-Executive%20Summary.pdf

donderdag, september 24, 2009

Lost souls fled clerical abuse

Story from BBC NEWS:

It is estimated that 10,000 survivors of abuse in schools and reformatories run by Catholic religious orders in Ireland now live in Great Britain.

Cathy Spillane has been hearing about these institutions all her life.

Her father Joe spent his childhood in a Catholic Church-run school in Kerry. He was beaten regularly by the priests who worked there, and starved of love and affection throughout his childhood.

“It was so beyond comprehension, really,” she said, remembering how her father used to tell them how he was so hungry as a boy he would eat leaves off trees, and pretend they were chocolate.

His stories left a lasting impression on his daughter, who recognised much of what her father had gone through in the pages of the Ryan Report.

Ten years in the making, the Ryan Report was published in May and shocked the world with a detailed catalogue of almost mediaeval horror.

Children – some as young as a few months old – were placed in the care of Catholic priests and nuns in orphanages or so called “industrial schools”.

Many were put there simply because their families were too poor to support them.

The report found evidence of “endemic” child sex abuse and “pervasive, excessive and arbitrary punishment” in the institutions – where children were held until they were 16.

Brothers and sisters were often split up, and by the time they re-entered the outside world, many children had lost contact with any remaining family they had.

Not surprisingly, many left Ireland as soon as they could, and never looked back.

May Henderson was one of those who chose to go. She ended up in London, still in her teens, and, as she admits herself, unsure of what to do in the outside world.

She only learned to use a knife and fork after she left the convent.

“Because in the school, all we ever had was an enamel plate and a spoon,” she said.

“When you come out of there you don’t know anything”.

It’s hard to reconcile this bright-eyed, cheerful lady in her 70s with the frightened young girl who left Ireland all those years ago.


“They used to tell me I would end up like my mother ‘on the streets’,” she said of the nuns who brought her up.

She has copies of correspondence from her father to the nuns; heartbreaking letters, asking for news of May and her sisters. She does not know if they were ever answered.

May, like many of the emigrant survivors, has put Ireland behind her.

She has never been back to the land where she was treated so harshly. She has carved out her own life in London, with a family and close friends.

She applied to the Irish government for compensation for her time spent in the institutions, and was successful. But many don’t even make it that far.

Lost Souls of Ireland Lost Souls Of Ireland will be broadcast on Friday 25 September at 1100 BST on BBC Radio 4 or listen for seven days after that at BBC iPlayer

Many simply leave their Irish identity behind, and never look back.

They never read Irish newspapers, stay away from other Irish people and cut themselves off from anything that might remind them of their terrible pasts.

They are, in general, very hard to reach out to. But some do come forward – and often when they do, they ring Phyllis Morgan and Marie Aubertin at the London Irish Survivors Outreach Centre.

Phyllis is a whirlwind of energy and compassion. Like the people she helps, Phyllis too was raised in an institution.

She vividly describes one incident, when a nun dragged her from behind a door and began to beat her, as if it happened yesterday.

Since the Ryan Report was published their phones have been ringing off the hook, with more survivors speaking, often for the first time, of their ordeals.

There is still some way to go, it seems, before all the stories of horror are heard.

Media coverage of Ryan report not objective, priest claims

Irish Times
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
PATSY McGARRY, Religious Affairs Correspondent

THE MEDIA has been criticised for being “clearly not objective” in coverage of the Ryan report on child abuse and of being “not at all interested” in the religious congregations’ side of the story.

The criticisms, made and reported by author, commentator and Redemptorist priest, Fr Tony Flannery, appear in his introduction to the book Responding to the Ryan Report (Columba), which he edited.

He writes that, on publication of the Ryan report: “I found myself getting more and more irritated by the majority of the media coverage . . . Too many of the regular media commentators were clearly not objective, but rather had obvious agendas of their own.”

He continues: “In order to get a very necessary perspective on what had been revealed, I felt we needed some really independent, dispassionate voices, people who were genuinely knowledgeable and could help us get our minds around a situation which is deeply complex.”

Fr Flannery noted that “the other absent voice, of course, was that of the religious, who lost their nerve and were not willing to go public”.

Some of the religious told him “they were afraid they would not be listened to and that they would be savaged by more professional and media-savvy spokespeople. Some of them believed that the media were not at all interested in hearing their side of the story and that if they had gone on air to tell it, the response would have been ‘there they go again’.”

He says that “the effect of the shortage of genuinely knowledgeable and objective comment was that as the days went on the debate narrowed, and the problem was more and more laid at the door of the church and the religious, until eventually it got to the stage where it was being demanded that the Catholic Church and religious be removed from all involvement with the care of people”.

An “underlying assumption developed that abuse was a problem almost exclusively associated with priests and religious and that if they were removed from the scene it would be solved”.

The book, he says challenges such assumptions as “that a large proportion of priests and religious are child abusers . . . that Catholic Church teaching on sexuality is a true reflection of the teaching of Christ, and is adequate for the present age . . . that the Catholic Church’s zero tolerance policy of treating all errant priests and religious in the same fashion is either fair or just”.

Contributors to the book include theologians Fr Seán Fagan, Fr Donal Dorr, Mercy nun Sr Margaret Lee, academic Dáire Keogh, communications consultant Terry Prone and law lecturer Tom O’Malley.

reacties op paddy doyle's

woensdag, september 23, 2009

Niet vergeten Australiers The Journey of Forgotten Australians

Joanna Penglase
Care Leaver Memorial Ceremony

Thank you, it’s wonderful that we are all here together today for this event and I am honoured to be part of it. We are here to remember the Forgotten Australians. Not all of us identify with that term but it is useful because it does cover all of us: we who grew up in Children’s Homes, orphanages and other institutions and in foster care in NSW in the years from the 1930s, to the 1970s. We have many ways of describing ourselves: care leavers, care survivors, Home children, state wards, inmates, ex-residents and other terms. The history of each of us is unique but we all share one common experience, we all have something in common: we grew up without our parents, in the care of strangers. I’d like to ask those of you who are here today as visitors, well wishers and supporters, who didn’t share our childhood experience, to spend a little time later on today, thinking about what your life would have been like if you had grown up without your parents. Can you imagine what it would have been like to be without them? If you can, you’ll begin to have some understanding of what it was like for us.

We lost our parents, and not only our parents, we lost our brothers and our sisters, our grandparents, aunts, uncles, all our kin. And so we lost ourselves, we lost our identity. Family stories, family holidays, Xmases and birthdays, family characters and family friends: they all add up to you as a child in your family, this is your history, you take it in unconsciously and it shapes who you are and who you become.

We did not have that. So - what happened? The era of our childhood, not really so long ago, the recent past, was a very different time. No single parents’ pension, few preschools, no before or after school care, no holiday care, no respite care, none of the community or government supports for families that we take for granted today. Indeed the word ‘care’ was not used then.

The words that were used were ‘welfare’ and ‘charity’. When families broke down or broke up, in any family crisis, whether major or minor, there were very few options for parents and the children. This was a time – the years up to the 1970s or so - when it was assumed that all families had two parents, a breadwinner and a homemaker and if they didn’t it was an aberration and somehow their own fault. Of course that was never the full reality. But social policy operated as if it was. So when one parent died, deserted, was ill, including mentally ill, or was unemployed or when families were just too poor to carry on, the usual option, almost the only one, was to put the children in a Home. It had little to do with whether our parents loved us or wanted us and everything to do with whether they could manage to keep us. It’s also a sad fact that in the post-war era many children ended up in Homes who were the children of war veterans: in one large survey of care leavers, 44% who responded were the children of men who had come back from the Second War, and with no help to deal with their terrible experiences, had been unable to sustain family life.

There were once hundreds of children’s Homes in NSW, nearly 300 for example in 1956. They were run mainly by the churches and charities whose representatives are here with us today. In these Homes, brothers and sisters were separated along age and genders lines – Boys Homes, Girls’ Homes, Babies Homes – visiting was minimal, as was contact with the outside community, and Homes were run along strict institutional lines, almost like prisons. So within the Home, families were fragmented once again, and children, as we now know, were emotionally neglected and deprived, and frequently and commonly physically and sexually abused.

What did we feel in our Homes that weren’t home? We felt abandoned and forgotten, we felt fear and shame, we often felt hopeless. Said one care survivor ‘I thought I must have done something terrible, but I didn’t know what it was’. Many children and young people worked for no pay in laundries and on farms to earn money for the institution, a great many missed out on education, and most left their ‘care’ with no preparation for life in the world outside the Home.

In NSW in the 20th century there were around 200,000 children in what we now call ‘out of home care’, half of them in these non-govt institutions, the other half in state care, usually with the state as their guardian. ‘The Welfare’ as it was always called, was the other scenario: when the NSW Dept of Child Welfare, now DOCS, got involved. Then, children were removed from their families, often by the police. After that, you were taken to a receiving depot – all of us here who were state wards of NSW will remember Bidura or Royleston; then a court appearance, where you, the child, were charged with being neglected - in what felt like the first of your crimes. Then, you were made a state ward, and either fostered or sent to one of the Department’s 30 or so institutions. As a foster child you stood to lose almost all knowledge of your birth family, and of your brothers and sisters, simply through separation and a lack of concern that you stay connected. And you could be back and forth between those institutions and multiple foster placements, always made to feel it was you who had failed. If you were lucky you landed in a good placement but it depended on luck and on the goodwill of the strangers you were assigned to. And one thing we must take away today is the determination that children’s wellbeing should never depend on luck and the goodwill of strangers. The other way you came to the notice of the Dept was as an ‘uncontrollable ‘child and you know I say that word in inverted commas. If this happened, you could end up in one of the training schools like Parramatta Girls or Mt Penang, and as a last resort when your training needed to be intensified, Tamworth for Boys and Hay for Girls, both of them housed in former colonial gaols. What happened to children and young people in these places is one of the blackest chapters of our welfare history.

It’s important to acknowledge, and I do, that there were many good people working both in the non-govt sector and for the Department; but they were working within a system and set of policies which took little or no account of children’s families, feelings or human needs. And so children suffered, and carried that heavy load of trauma and loss with them into their adult lives.

We come together today to celebrate our survival, to honour those of us who are gone before their time, often by their own hand, and to share with others in remembering and acknowledging these events and these feelings.

Acknowledgment and apology are a significant step in our journey towards healing, and this day we hope means that we are on our way to no longer being Forgotten Australians.

Thank you.

Thank you.

zondag, september 20, 2009

The Catholic church sold my child

Martin Sixsmith
The Guardian,
Saturday 19 September 2009
Clerical Whispers

Unmarried mother Philomena Lee was forced to give up her son to Irish nuns, who sold him on to rich Americans. For decades she tried to find him. A chance meeting with Martin Sixsmith eventually uncovered the truth

It began with a chance encounter at a New Year's party in 2004. I was trying to leave, but a woman said she had a message for me. She knew I had been a journalist and she had a friend who wanted my help to solve a family mystery. I agreed to a meeting, and found myself embarking on a five-year quest for a man I had never met.

The woman's friend was called Jane, a financial administrator from St Albans. She was in her late 30s and had been through an emotional experience. Just before Christmas, her mother, Philomena, tipsy on festive sherry, had revealed a secret she had kept for 50 years – she had a son she had never mentioned to anyone.

Jane said her lost brother would be in his early 50s and probably living in America. The reason for the secrecy was that he had been born outside of marriage in Ireland at a time when such things were considered shameful.

A little later I met Philomena herself. She told me she had given birth in a country convent at Roscrea in County Tipperary on 5 July 1952. She was 18 when she met a young man who bought her a toffee apple on a warm autumn evening at the county fair. "I had just left convent school," she said with an air of wistful regret. "I went in there when my mother died, when I was six and a half, and I left at 18 not knowing a thing about the facts of life. I didn't know where babies came from ... "

When her pregnancy became obvious, her family had Philomena "put away" with the nuns. After her baby, Anthony, was born, the mother superior threatened Philomena with damnation if ever she breathed a word about her "guilty secret". Terrified, she kept it quiet for more than half a century. "All my life I couldn't tell anyone. We were so browbeaten, it was such a sin. It was an awful thing to have a baby out of wedlock ... Over the years I would say 'I will tell them, I will tell them' but it was so ingrained deep down in my heart that I mustn't tell anybody, that I never did."

I was intrigued to know why the nuns had been so insistent on the importance of silence and secrecy. The answer, almost certainly, lay in what had happened next.

Philomena was one of thousands of Irish women sent to convents in the 1950s and 60s, taken away from their homes and families because the Catholic church said single mothers were moral degenerates who could not be allowed to keep their children.

Such was the power of the church, and of Archbishop John Charles McQuaid, that the state bowed before its demands, ceding responsibility for the mothers and babies to the nuns. For them it was not only a matter of sin and morality, but one of pounds, shillings and pence. At the time young Anthony Lee was born, I discovered that the Irish government was paying the Catholic church a pound a week for every woman in its care, and two shillings and sixpence for every baby. And that was not all.

After giving birth, the girls were allowed to leave the convent only if they or their family could pay the nuns £100. It was a substantial sum, and those who couldn't afford it – the vast majority – were kept in the convent for three years, working in kitchens, greenhouses and laundries or making rosary beads and religious artefacts, while the church kept the profits from their labour.

Even crueller than the work was the fact that mothers had to care for their children, developing maternal ties and affection that were to be torn asunder at the end of their three-year sentence. Like all the other girls, Philomena Lee was made to sign a renunciation document agreeing to give up her three-year-old son and swearing on oath: "I relinquish full claim for ever to my child and surrender him to Sister Barbara, Superioress of Sean Ross Abbey. The purpose is to enable Sister Barbara to make my child available for adoption to any person she considers fit and proper, inside or outside the state. I further undertake never to attempt to see, interfere with or make any claim to the said child at any future time."

Philomena says she fought against signing the terrible undertaking. "Oh God, my heart. I didn't want him to go. I just craved and begged them to please let me keep him. None of us wanted to give our babies up, none of us. But what else could we do? They just said, 'You have to sign these papers.'

"I remember it was a Sunday evening ... I'm so sorry, I'm crying now when I think about it ... "

Philomena cried when Anthony was taken from her at Christmas, 1955. She was not told he was going or allowed to say goodbye, but she spotted him being bundled into the back of a black car. When she shouted to him, the noise of the engine drowned out her voice, but as the car pulled away she is convinced that he stood up and peered through the rear windscreen looking for her.

Afterwards, her father would not take her back because of the shame: he had told friends, neighbours and Philomena's sisters that she had gone away and no one knew where she was. So in the end the church dispatched her to work at one of its homes for delinquent boys in Liverpool.

Philomena trained as a nurse, got married in 1959 and had two more children. She longed to tell them about their lost brother, but couldn't. She kept her secret but never forgot her son. "Oh he was gorgeous," she told me. "He was a lovely, gentle, quiet lad. All my life I have never forgotten him. I would so often say, 'I wonder what he is doing? Has he gone to Vietnam? Is he on skid row?' I just didn't know what had happened to him ... "

Finally, without telling anyone, Philomena embarked on a lonely, desperate search to find him. She went back to the convent in Roscrea several times between 1956 and 1989 and asked the nuns to help her. Each time they refused, brandishing her sworn undertaking that she would "never attempt to see" her child.

When I agreed to help look for Anthony in 2004, we had little to go on. We knew his date and place of birth, but his name would certainly have been changed by his adoptive parents. Philomena had been told her son would be taken to the US, but little else.

Early on in the search I realised that the Irish Catholic hierarchy had been engaged in what amounted to an illicit baby trade.

From the end of the second world war until the 1970s, it considered the thousands of souls born in its care to be the church's own property. With or without the agreement of their mothers, it sold them to the highest bidder. Every year, hundreds were shipped off to American couples who paid "donations" (in reality, fees) to the nuns. Few if any checks were made on the suitability of the adopting families – the only condition laid down by Archbishop McQuaid was that they should be practising Catholics.

When rumours of the church's role began to emerge decades later, much of the incriminating paperwork disappeared in unexplained circumstances, and even today the church guards its adoption archives fiercely. It took a painstaking trawl through passport records and the piecing together of fleeting references in old newspaper articles to discover what had become of Anthony Lee ...

Doc and Marge Hess from St Louis, Missouri fulfilled the McQuaid criteria – they were good Catholics, a professional couple in their early 40s, and Marge's brother was a bishop. The Hesses already had three sons, but they wanted a daughter. In the course of my research, I came into possession of Marge Hess's diaries and was able to trace her innermost thoughts as she flew to Ireland in August 1955 to scour the church's mother and baby homes for a little girl. I read her first impressions of the shy three-year-old, Mary McDonald, who was offered to her by the mother superior of the Roscrea convent. And I discovered the twist of fate that led her to adopt Anthony Lee.

When Marge leaned down to pick up her new daughter in the convent nursery, she was charmed to see Mary's best friend, a little boy in baggy trousers, come running to give her a kiss. She fell for him at once. That evening she called her husband in St Louis and asked if it would be OK to bring two children back instead of one.

Anthony's spontaneous show of affection for Marge changed his life. By the end of 1955, he and Mary had been transported from rural Ireland to a new existence and new identities. He was renamed Michael Hess and grew up to be an A student. He was physically attractive and gifted, ran cross-country and sang in school musical productions. But he was haunted by half-remembered visions of his first three years in Ireland and by a lifelong yearning to find his mother.

Separated by fate, mother and child spent decades looking for each other, repeatedly thwarted by the refusal of the nuns to reveal information, each of them unaware that the other was also yearning and searching.

Michael became a successful lawyer. As a rising star of the Republican National Committee, he masterminded the party's electoral strategy, brokering the redistricting (gerrymandering) reforms that kept them in power for more than a decade. When George Bush Sr became president, he made Mike his chief legal counsel.

But Michael Hess was gay. He was obliged to conceal his sexuality in a party that was rabidly homophobic. He was tormented by the double life he was forced to lead and by the fact that his work was entrenching in power a party that victimised his friends and lovers.

He was tormented, too, by the absence of his mother and by the orphan's sense of helplessness: he didn't know where he came from, didn't know who he was or how he should live. He felt unloved by his adoptive father and brothers; he felt guilt over his sexuality and he had a series of stormy relationships. A spurned lover burned himself to death because Mike rejected him.

But he was loved by his adoptive mother and by the little girl who was plucked with him from the Roscrea convent who became his lifelong friend and sister. He found some happiness in a long-term relationship with a caring, loving partner. But he could never be at peace. He went back to Roscrea, first in 1977 and again in 1993, to plead with the nuns to tell him how to find his mother. They turned him away.

On his return to the US, he plunged into alcohol, drugs and unbridled sexual indulgence. His behaviour brought with it the terrible fear of exposure that would destroy him as a senior Republican official, but he could not stop himself. On one of his lost weekends he became infected with HIV.

He and Pete, his long-term partner, agonised over their future. Pete stood by him, but Michael's health began to deteriorate. Fearing the worst, they flew to Roscrea in 1993 to make an emotional appeal to the nuns ... but still they refused to tell him where he could find his mother, or indeed that her sisters and brother – his aunts and uncle – were living just a few miles down the road.

In desperation, Mike asked the mother superior if he could at least be buried in the convent if he were to die: he would put enough information on his gravestone to help his mother find out about his life "if ever she comes looking for me". As we know – but Mike did not – Philomena was looking for him, returning to Roscrea, seeking traces of her son ...

Obituaries in US newspapers after Michael's death in August 1995 provided vital clues in my search for him. The hunt for Michael took me through state and church archives, through adoption agencies, American university records and Republican party sources before it led to the end of the trail and the story's poignant, unexpected conclusion. It threw up a Hardyesque tale of coincidences and missed connections, and a powerful indictment of two historical eras: 1950s Ireland and 1980s America.

In addition to Mike and Philomena's quest, I discovered the thousands of other lost "orphans" whose lives were changed for ever by the greed and hypocrisy of church and state. Like Michael, many of them are still looking for their parents and, through them, for their identity.

Now in her 70s, and five years after visiting her son's grave for the first time, Philomena is remarkably devoid of bitterness. She has started to go to mass again. But she blames herself for everything, for giving her son away and for not speaking out about him earlier, when things could have been different: "If only, if only. I curse myself every time I think of it. If only I'd mentioned it all those years ago, maybe he wouldn't ... Oh Lord, it makes my heart ache! I'm sure there are lots of women to this very day – they're the same as me; they haven't said anything.

"It is the biggest regret of my life and I have to bear that. It is my own fault and now it is my woe."

The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith is published by Macmillan, £12.99. To order a copy for £11.99 with free UK p&p, go to guardian.co.uk/bookshop or call 0330 333 6846

...When Marge leaned down to pick up her new daughter in the convent nursery,
she was charmed to see Mary's best friend, a little boy in baggy trousers,
come running to give her a kiss.
Anthony's spontaneous show of affection for Marge changed his life...

God, wat zitten die minuten dat nieuwe vaders en moeders
van voetstappen met stemmen buiten op een speelplaats tot
zo'n dertig centimeter De Mensen
werden in die Amsterdamse Voorzienigheid
diep in dat en mijn systeem.

En wat ben ik, alweer, blij met dat vreselijk moment toen er op Schiphol
na 10 dagen afwezigheid wachtend op hun moeder
2 kaboutertjes straal langs mij heen keken.

Australie Senaats hansard transcripts implementatie Lost Innocents en Forgotten Australians april 2009 Dwellling crankily on old wounds

08/04/2009 Canberra

07/04/2009 Sydney

06/04/2009 Brisbane

30/03/2009 Melbourne


"We are sorry and we express deep regret for the pain and the hurt that they experienced through no fault of their own....

Mgr. Fischer

Dwelling crankily on old wounds.

Kim Christian

en dan ben je niet jong meer en wil je nog steeds wat.

Na 5 jaar: Premier Rees offers apology for casualties care system

A simple tale:

"Abuse was not a failure of the system,
Abuse was the system "

Fr. Kevin Hegerty, Ierland.

It comes five years after a Senate inquiry recommended the federal government apologise for widespread failures in the care system.

The inquiry found half a million children suffered from a 'litany of emotional, physical and sexual abuse, and often criminal physical and sexual assault', while lack of food, education and health care was widespread.

orphanages, children's and foster homes in New South Wales with many suffering abuse and mistreatment.

"To not know who you are, where you came from and still, at 50-odd, not to know who your brothers and sisters are, its a pretty terrible sort of situation to end up in," she said.

"To be there and to hear it, personally to hear it from the state I grew up in, is really meaningful and very emotional for me."

The Community Services Minister, Linda Burney, says a $9 million funding boost will help people access personal information and dedicated counselling.

"Part of the apology is the recognition that this was a pretty unpleasant experience for many people - it's part of our history," she said.

"There'll also be a lot of work done around providing case work for people that really have struggled with their experience."

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will deliver a national apology before the end of the year.

September 20, 2009 .

HUNDREDS of Australia's ''forgotten children'' gathered for an emotional apology and memorial unveiling ceremony at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney yesterday.

Now adults, the survivors of children's homes, orphanages, foster homes and institutions wept openly as Premier Nathan Rees apologised for the hurt and distress they suffered in the care of the state.

''This should never have happened,'' said the Premier, before unveiling a monument to ''the lonely, the frightened, the lost, the abused - those who never knew the joy of a loving family''.

''Today will be an important marker in the lives of many people who have lived with sad and dark memories of their childhoods. I hope the apology will help us all move forward,'' he added before announcing a $9 million increase in funding for counselling and support for care givers.

Dr Joanna Penglase, co-founder of the
Care Leavers Australia Network, said: ''There is a great deal of pain here today and a great deal of release and relief because acknowledgement is what we have sought for so long. We know what happened to us but no one would hear us or believe us; people didn't believe it could have happened.''

More than 200,000 children were taken into care in NSW in the last century, many suffering physical and sexual abuse after being separated from their families. Those gathered in the sunshine yesterday bowed their heads as former Dalmar Children's Home resident Pamella Vernon said: ''It wasn't our fault, we are not to blame.''

Former Parramatta Girls Home resident Bonney Djuric said: ''It's been a long time coming but it is an acknowledgement that we existed.'' But the apology was not enough for some of the care givers. Wendy Patton, wearing a ''Retribution Now'' T-shirt, was stopped when she tried to interrupt the Premier's speech.

''It's not enough,'' she said. ''I don't think Nathan Rees delivered that speech with true heartfelt sincerity.''

Carer abuse of disabled on the rise
September 20, 2009 .

DISABLED people are being assaulted, neglected or mistreated by State Government employees in greater numbers but formal investigations into complaints have fallen.

The Opposition has seized on new figures revealed during last week's budget estimates grilling of Disability Services Minister Paul Lynch to charge the Government with doing too little to guarantee the safety of vulnerable people in its care.

Mr Lynch told an upper house committee examining his department's performance that 353 allegations had been made in 2008-09 (compared with 331 the previous year), of which 47 had been investigated (compared with 55).

Eight complaints had been proved, and he expected the figure to climb to about 20 when the other investigations were finalised.

One staffer had been dismissed, the committee was told.

Opposition disability spokesman Andrew Constance said the figures were alarming. There was almost one complaint made a day, yet one was too many, he said.

''An urgent overhaul of the investigations process is required given the difficulties people with a disability face with the current internal reporting system,'' he said.

''We must examine ways to improve the system so hard-working employees doing the right thing are not tarnished by those who aren't.

''The bottom line is children and people with disabilities must have appropriate safeguards in place.''

Mr Lynch said the department ''went out of its way'' to ensure complaints were reported: ''People with a disability are among the most vulnerable in our society - that's why we strongly encourage people to bring forward any allegations.

''The vast majority of our 13,500 [care] workers perform their duties with great empathy. The minority [who] betray that trust can [be] and are dismissed and face the full force of the law.''

Most complaints were investigated by department staff and police were called in for serious allegations, Mr Lynch said.

zaterdag, september 19, 2009

O'Keeffe criticised for referring to Magdalen women as 'employees'

Irish Times
19 september 2009
Patsy McGarry, Religious Affairs Correspondent

MINISTER FOR Education Batt O’Keeffe has been strongly criticised for his description of women committed to Magdalen laundries as “employees” of those institutions, and for his rejection of their eligibility for State compensation.

Head of the Women’s Studies Department at UCD Dr Katherine O’Donnell said yesterday that, where news of spending cuts in sensitive areas is concerned, it was increasingly the case that “Batt O’Keeffe is turning out to be the big thug of this Government it’s a role he seems to relish”.

A spokesman for the Minister said he did not wish to comment on what he described as a personalised attack.

Dr O’Donnell was speaking in advance of a celebration of women who had been in the laundries, as well as psychiatric hospitals, and institutions investigated by the Ryan commission, which takes place at the Student Centre in UCD from 1pm this afternoon.

She pointed out that “an employee voluntarily gives his/her labour; is properly rewarded; and has a right to represesentation /free association with a union.” None of these were available to women in the Magdalen laundries, she said.

The State had “a responsibility to all of its citizens”, she said, including the many referred by its courts to the laundries. Of added relevance in the context was that for much of the 20th century “the special position” of the Catholic Church was recognised in the Irish Constitution (1937 to 1973).

She said that, anecdotally, indications were that the survival rate of women who had been in the laundries was “extremely low,” while their suicide rate was high. There was, she said “an obligation on the part of the citizens of this State” to look after such people.

Following representations by Tom Kitt TD, acting on behalf of Dr James Smith of Boston College, Mr O’Keeffe responded by letter that “the Magdalen laundries were privately-owned and operated establishments which did not come within the responsibility of the State. The State did not refer individuals to the Magdalen laundries nor was it complicit in referring individuals to them.”

He referred to the women as “former employees of the Magdalen laundries”.

Dr Smith has since pointed out that “the Irish courts routinely referred women to various Magdalen laundries upon receiving suspended sentences for a variety of crimes”. He can support this with documentary evidence, he said.

He also took grave exception to the use by the Minister of the word “employees” in the context.

informatief interessante reacties MJP

vrijdag, september 18, 2009

No redress for residents Magdalen laundries

Irish Times
Friday, September 18,
PATSY McGARRY Religious Affairs Correspondent

FORMER RESIDENTS of Magdalen laundries are not eligible for compensation from the Residential Institutions Redress Board, Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe has said.

“The Magdalen laundries were privately-owned and operated establishments which did not come within the responsibility of the State. The State did not refer individuals to the Magdalen laundries nor was it complicit in referring individuals to them,” he said.

He also pointed out that the laundries were not subject to State regulation or supervision and so had not been listed in the schedule to the Residential Institutions Redress Act, 2002.

Mr O’Keeffe was replying in a letter to Tom Kitt TD, who had made representations to the Minister concerning former residents of the laundries.

He did so on behalf of James Smith, associate professor at the English department and Irish studies programme in Boston College and author of Irelands Magdalen Laundries and the Nation’s Architecture of Containment , (2008, Manchester University Press). In his letter, Mr O’Keeffe made the point that “in terms of establishing a distinct scheme for former employees of the Magdalen laundries, the situation in relation to children who were taken into the laundries privately or who entered the laundries as adults is quite different to persons who were resident in State-run institutions.”

An exception to this, he said,would be children who were transferred from a State-regulated institution to a Magdalen laundry and suffered abuse while resident there.

“The justification for this [latter] provision is that the State was still responsible for the welfare and protection of children transferred to a Magdalen laundry from a State-regulated institution provided they had not been officially discharged from the scheduled institution,” he said.

Expressing gratitude to Mr Kitt for his efforts in the case on behalf of the Justice for Magdalens group, Dr Smith challenged the Minister’s use of the word “employees” when referring to women in the laundries.

“They were never ‘employees . . . if they were they would have received payment surely,” he said.

He continued: “If the Minister insists that they were ‘employees’ then surely the State holds some responsibility to ensure that the laundries complied with the Factories Acts in terms of safe work practices, fair pay, regular work days, etc.”

He also insisted that the State was complicit in referring women to the laundries.

“The Irish courts routinely referred women to various Magdalen laundries upon receiving suspended sentences for a variety of crimes, and I have archival documents detailing communication between judges and mothers superior of a number of convents arranging such referrals,” he said.

“Likewise I can document that these women were escorted by the States probation officers upon entry to the laundries. There is no record of the probation officers checking to ensure such women were released upon the end of their suggested period of confinement,” he said.

Magdelen laundries: a brief history of the institutions

THE FIRST Magdalen laundry opened on Dublin’s Leeson Street in 1767. After the Famine, four female Catholic religious congregations came to dominate the running of the laundries.

These were the Sisters of Mercy (SM), Sisters of Charity (SC), Sisters of our Lady of Charity of Refuge (SCR), and the Good Shepherd Sisters (GSS).

The latter congregation operated a Magdalen laundry in Belfast until 1977.

Altogether there were 10 Catholic Magdalen laundries in the Republic following independence. These were at Waterford (GSS), New Ross (SC), two in Cork (GSS and SC), Limerick (GSS), Galway (SM), and four in Dublin at Dún Laoghaire (SM), Donnybrook (SC), Drumcondra (SCR) and Gloucester/Seán MacDermott Street (SCR).

The last one in Ireland ceased operation at Gloucester/Seán MacDermott Street 13 years ago, in October 1996.

There was one Protestant-run “Magdalen Asylum” at Leeson Street in Dublin, which ceased to function as such in 1918/19 (though continuing as a baby home) and one in Belfast which operated until the 1960s.

Although there is dispute as to whether the (privately) Protestant-run Bethany House in Dublin’s Rathgar was a “Magdalen Asylum”, there are records of women being referred there by the courts.

It is not known how many women passed through these laundries, but as many as 10,000 passed through them in the 19th century, some of whom may have re-entered the laundries on a number of occasions.

Figures for the 20th century are unknown.

The religious congregations have not released any records for women entering the laundries after 1900.

However, hundreds of Magdalen women were interred in mass-burial plots at Glasnevin (115), St Laurences in Limerick (265), Bohermore in Galway (118), with a further 72 “consecrated Magdalen’s” buried at Forster Street there.

Many more are believed buried at the convent sites of other former laundries.

donderdag, september 17, 2009

Concerns over church child abuse guidelines

Irish Times
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
GRAVE CONCERN was expressed yesterday about a continuing lack of adherence by Irish Catholic bishops to implementation of the Church’s own child protection guidelines.
Maeve Lewis, executive director of One in Four, which helps people who suffered abuse as children, told The Irish Times that as recently as Monday last the agency had been contacted by three people on the matter.

Each had complained about clerical abuse to the bishops in their three separate dioceses and in no case had the bishop concerned acted in accordance with church guidelines, she said.

In one case the allegation was brought to the bishop’s attention three months ago, since when nothing had been done.

In another case, the accused priest still remained as chairman of the local primary school board, while in the third case the accused priest had “gone abroad”.

Church child protection guidelines state that a bishop must inform civil authorities immediately an allegation is made.

The accused priest is to be stood aside from ministry and contact with children, pending the outcome of church and State investigations.

Ms Lewis said there were only two Catholic dioceses of the 26 on the island of Ireland where she was confident that church child protection measures were being fully implemented. These were Dublin and Killaloe.

In each, “child protection came from the heart of the bishop”.

She was referring to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin in Dublin and Bishop Willie Walsh in Killaloe.

“On a day-to-day basis it is difficult to make bishops listen” regarding child abuse, she said. This had heightened her concern for child protection regarding primary schools, the great majority of which had the bishops as trustees.

“Following the [Louise] O’Keeffe case, no one is responsible for the protection of children in those schools,” she said.

It had further unnerved her to learn that the Catholic Church’s child protection watchdog, the National Board for Safeguarding Children, has no authority over the implementation of such measures in church-run schools.

Ms Lewis was speaking at the launch of One in Four’s 2008 annual report in Dublin yesterday.

Since the Ryan report was published last May, the agency had been contacted by 700 people seeking help, she said. This was more than in all of 2008.

She was “very disappointed that Minister Barry Andrews has been unavailable to meet to discuss once-off emergency funding. Apologies to survivors without action are meaningless.”

In 2008 the agency accommodated 75 new psychotherapy clients and 426 advocacy clients, with 22 sex offenders taking part in treatment programmes at the agency.

Of the abused it had helped in 2008, 21 per cent had experienced clerical abuse.

woensdag, september 16, 2009

Kortrijkse raadkamer verwijst priester naar rechtbank

Voor aanranding van de eerbaarheid

Geplaatst door onze redactie op zaterdag 12 september 2009 om 00:05u
KORTRIJK (RKnieuws.net) - Een vijftigjarige West- Vlaamse priester zal zich weldra voor de correctionele rechtbank in Kortrijk moeten verantwoorden wegens aanranding. Dat heeft de raadkamer in Kortrijk vrijdag beslist.

Het onderzoek tegen de geestelijke startte in 2005 na een klacht over handtastelijkheden op een jeugdkamp. De politie ondervroeg daarop verscheidene jongeren en voerde een huiszoeking bij de priester uit. De onderzoeksrechter liet hem vrij onder voorwaarden. Na de huiszoeking zette het bisdom de geestelijke op non- actief. De priester liet zich vrijwillig opnemen in de psychiatrie.

De geestelijke wordt vervolgd voor de aanranding van de eerbaarheid van een kind onder de 16 jaar en van een kind ouder dan 16 jaar.

; Voor vijf jaar ontzet uit burgerrechten

Voor vijf jaar ontzet uit burgerrechten
Vijftiger veroordeeld voor aanranding misdienaar

Geplaatst door onze redactie op woensdag 16 september 2009 om 00:05u

BRUGGE (RKnieuws.net) - Twaalf maanden celstraf met uitstel: dat is de straf die de rechtbank in Brugge dinsdag oplegde aan een 53-jarige man uit Blankenberge voor de aanranding van een misdienaar. De rechter heeft de man ook voor vijf jaar uit zijn burgerrechten ontzet. Het vonnis stelt ook dat de veroordeelde zich moet laten behandelen en geen contact meer mag hebben met het slachtoffer.

Aan de jongen moet de man vijftienhonderd euro schadevergoeding betalen. De moeder van de jongen krijgt zeshonderd euro morele schadevergoeding.

De man randde sinds eind 2007 de veertienjarige jongen aan na de wekelijkse eucharistieviering in de Sint-Rochuskerk in Blankenberge en stopte hem achteraf telkens vijftig euro toe. De politie rekende de man in na een tip van de moeder van de jongen.


Vijftiger opgepakt voor aanranding misdienaar
BLANKENBERGE - De politie van Blankenberge heeft zaterdagavond een 52-jarige man opgepakt op verdenking van aanranding van de eerbaarheid van een 14-jarige misdienaar. De kerkbezoeker randde de jongen sinds december 2007 regelmatig aan. Hij stopte hem 50 euro toe om hem te doen zwijgen.

De Blankenbergenaar werd na ondervraging vrijgelaten. Hij moet zich in afwachting van zijn proces voor de correctionele rechtbank laten behandelen. De man heeft volgens het parket niets met de kerkorganisatie te maken.


Veroordeeld voor seks met tiener

AALST - De rechtbank in Dendermonde veroordeelde Helenus V.H. (51) uit Utrecht tot een celstraf van zes maanden met uitstel. De man werd schuldig bevonden aan aanranding van de eerbaarheid op een 14-jarig meisje. De feiten vonden plaats van september 2007 tot januari 2008 op een camping in Aalst, waar hij geregeld met het meisje naartoe trok. De man kreeg een milde straf omdat het meisje toestemming gaf om met haar seks te hebben.

dinsdag, september 15, 2009

Tom Doyle on NY senate bill S-5893

September 9, 2009

Dear Senator,

I am writing in support of the proposed legislation, S-5893, the Child Victims Act. I am a Catholic priest. I have worked intensely with victims of sexual abuse for 25 years. Most of my experience has been with the victims of Catholic clergy. In time I became involved with victims of clergy of other denominations and victims of other classes of perpetrators including teachers, Scout leaders and family members.

The legislation is essential for a number of cogent reasons including the fact that it will serve to expose perpetrators from all professions who have escaped any form of accountability due to the protection of the statute of limitations. In California the passage of similar legislation was instrumental in identifying approximately 300 child sexual abusers who otherwise would have gone unchecked and ruined the lives of countless more children.

I believe the legislation is essential as well because unlike the victims of certain other crimes, those who have been violated sexually as children or as adolescents are so scarred emotionally and psychologically that they cannot disclose their abuse for many years after until they feel safe. The intense feelings of guilt, shame, isolation and fear trap these people inside a cocoon of terror. The limitations on the Statute of Limitations are based on grossly inaccurate information about the effects of childhood sexual abuse. The experts from the behavioral sciences who have both worked with victims and have researched the issue are in agreement as to the overpowering impact of sexual violation. It is ironic that the information offered by these experts, information based on experience and hard scientific evidence, is often challenged by private and public institutions that have hidden or otherwise enabled sexual abusers from their ranks. These institutions prefer to protect their financial security, their corporate image and the reputations of members over the welfare of the children whom they have tragically harmed for life.

Children who are violated sexually are robbed of their formative years, their adolescence and often of any meaningful adulthood. In many instances I have seen that the civil process whereby the victims are validated and believed has a profound healing effect. The primary and most important outcome is not a significant monetary award for a victim but the validation by the community which is a major impetus to recovery. Equally important is the identification of perpetrators who have escaped justice and the message to other potential perpetrators that the law will no longer protect them.

The Catholic bishops of New York have waged a brutal campaign to defeat any legislation that would help future victims of childhood sexual abuse. They have framed the issue as though it were an attack on the Catholic Church aimed at crippling its financial base. They have tried to deflect the issue by claiming that legislation will single out the Catholic Church while it ignores abuse in other institutions. One bishop even threatened to close churches in the districts of legislators who voted for the bill. All of the Catholic bishops’ extreme efforts are self-serving and grounded in false information.

Child sexual abuse is not exclusively a Catholic issue. However the revelations of extensive clergy sexual abuse and the blatant cover-up by Church leaders have provoked a sharply increased awareness of the almost unbelievable extent of child sexual abuse in our society. Demanding accountability of Catholic Church leaders or those of any other denomination certainly does not amount to discrimination against the denomination. No Church or Church official is allowed to harm children or to aid those who harm children, simply because he or she is a member of a Church. That clearly is not what the First Amendment is all about.

The Catholic bishops who claim that passage of the bill will result in a flood of cases which will bankrupt the Church are using untruthful scare tactics. Several dioceses in other States have filed for Chapter 11 protection yet none has claimed insolvency and all are financially secure. The passage of a similar bill in California did not have any negative impact on the Church’s financial base. In the time between the passing of the California bill and the year 2007 three of the dioceses with the greatest number of cases, Los Angeles, Orange and Oakland, all constructed new cathedral Churches at costs of $129 million, $115 million and $126 million respectively. None of the threats issued by the New York bishops or their highly paid lobbyists and attorneys are grounded in even a shred of reality.

I have worked with thousands of victims of childhood sexual abuse. I have experienced first-hand what it does to a victim and to the victim’s family because my youngest niece was severely assaulted at age 14 and still suffers the devastating after-effects seven years later. It is scandalous and outrageous that organized Churches or any other public or private institution in our country should actively campaign to deny present victims their right to justice and hopefully a meaningful life. It is equally outrageous that such institutions should fight so viciously to deny a secure future for the children of tomorrow.

(Rev.) Thomas P. Doyle, J.C.D., C.A.D.C.


I wish to address this issue. Although I live in Virginia I have worked directly with many victims of sexual assault in New York State.

The response of the Bishops of New York to S-5893 employs the same misleading arguments that Catholic dioceses in other States have used in their attempts to kill such legislation. The bishops lead off with protestations of their support for legislative change and then proceed to try to create opposition to the only effective way of providing justice to victims by shifting the focus to public institutions. They also use the tired argument that old cases are difficult to prove.

This legislation is not about the Catholic Church. It is intended to help all children who may have been sexually abused by a parent, friend or employee of any private organization or institution.

The issue is a “Catholic” issue only insofar as the pattern of institutionalized abuse that has been revealed about the Catholic Church has sparked serious concern for more realistic and just legislation for the protection of all children.

The Catholic officials talk like the passage of the bill is aimed at the financial devastation of the Church. This is misleading in the extreme. The Bill is about exposing predators who have avoided such exposure because of the Statue of Limitations. It’s also about alerting any organization or institution, Churches included, that they will no longer get away with enabling sexual abusers in their midst.

The legislation will allow victims who have been excluded from the judicial process a chance at presenting their cases in court. The diocese is trying to mislead the public by equating legislation that opens the door to the court house with the court process itself. It’s up to the judge to decide if evidence is insufficient.

Everything the New York bishops claim they have done for victims is certainly praiseworthy but hardly to the point here. No diocese in the U.S. has ever done anything for victims until the civil courts and the media created such pressure that Church leaders had no choice but to respond. In other words, whatever they did they were forced to do and would not have done otherwise. The present efforts may provide assistance for some victims but the proposed legislative changes look to the future to assure that institutions that protect abusers and the abusers themselves will always know that this vile form of human destruction will never be tolerated.

Sept. 9, 2009

Fr. Thomas Doyle, J.C.D., C.A.D.C.

Vienna VA

maandag, september 14, 2009

Italië worstelt met misbruik door priesters; doveninstituut


Het gebeurde nacht na nacht, zegt de dove man. Soms in de slaapkamer van de priester, soms in de badkamer, soms zelfs in de biechtstoel.

Als jonge jongen op een katholiek instituut voor doven werd Alessandro Vantini (59) zo vaak door priesters misbruikt dat hij zich voelde 'alsof ik dood was'. Vantini en tientallen andere scholieren hebben dit jaar iets gedaan dat in Italië hoogst ongebruikelijk is: ze hebben de openbaarheid gezocht met hun beweringen dat zij gedwongen werden seks te hebben met priesters.

Tientallen jaren werd gezwegen over mogelijk misbruik door priesters in Italië, een land waar de katholieke kerk een van de meest gerespecteerde instituten is. Maar nu ontstaat er langzamerhand een beweging die misbruik aan de kaak stelt.

Een onderzoek van Associated Press heeft 73 gevallen van misbruik van minderjarigen door priesters gedocumenteerd. Daarbij waren 235 slachtoffers betrokken. De voorvallen hadden allemaal in de afgelopen tien jaar plaats.

Het aanzien van de kerk zorgde ervoor dat kritiek niet werd geuit. Daarnaast speelden veel gevallen zich af in kleinere plaatsjes op het platteland, waar over aan seks gerelateerde onderwerpen al helemaal niet werd gesproken, laat staan seks tussen een priester en een kind. "Het is een taboe op een taboe", zegt Jacqueline Monica Magi, die in veel pedofielenzaken als aanklager optrad.

Nu breken 67 voormalige pupillen van een doveninstituut in Verona het zwijgen. Zij tekenden een verklaring waarin zij zeggen dat seksueel misbruik, pedofilie en lijfstraffen tussen 1950 en 1980 op de school voorkwamen. Verantwoordelijk hiervoor waren priesters en broeders. Ook een oud-bisschop van Verona die op de nominatie staat om zalig te worden verklaard, Giuseppe Carraro, wordt beschuldigd. Hij zou een van de scholieren in zeker vijf verschillende gevallen hebben misbruikt. Een onderzoek van zijn bisdom pleitte Carraro vrij van dergelijk misbruik, maar voor het onderzoek is niemand van de slachtoffers ondervraagd.
De huidige bisschop van Verona, Giuseppe Zenti, beschuldigde de voormalige scholieren aanvankelijk de aantijgingen te hebben verzonnen en noemde ze leugens. De hele zaak zou gaan om een geschil over onroerend goed tussen de congregatie en de vereniging van dove scholieren. Toen een van de beschuldigde geestelijken echter erkende seksuele relaties met scholieren te hebben gehad stelde Zenti een intern onderzoek in. Daaruit bleek dat er inderdaad sprake was geweest van misbruik, maar niet op de schaal die de scholieren beweerden.

Volgens juristen is het onderzoek echter ondeugdelijk, omdat geen slachtoffers zijn gehoord, maar alleen mensen die aan de school verbonden waren en wellicht zelf iets te verbergen hadden. Een woordvoerder van het bisdom liet daarop weten het onderzoek naar het Vaticaan te hebben gestuurd. Volgens hem waren voormalige scholieren gemanipuleerd en koesterden sommigen al langer haatgevoelens jegens de kerk. Zenti vroeg vergiffenis. "Het overheersende gevoel is een diepgemeende solidariteit met de slachtoffers van misbruik", zei hij in mei.

Onder de voorvallen die Associated Press onderzocht, waren gevallen van het verleiden van jongens tot prostitutie, deelneming aan satanistische rituelen en één beruchte zaak waarin de kerk zelf ontdekte dat een Florentijnse priester verantwoordelijk was voor 'seksueel misbruik, onjuiste mystiek en het beïnvloeden van het bewustzijn'.

Waar zaken tot veroordelingen leidden, verschilden die van twee tot acht jaar gevangenisstraf, hoewel het door de lange beroepsprocedures in Italië niet duidelijk is hoeveel daarvan ten uitvoer zijn gelegd. Schadevergoedingen aan slachtoffers, die zelden werden toegekend, liepen uiteen van vijftienduizend tot hondervijftigduizend euro.

Ondertussen lijkt ook het Vaticaan het probleem van seksueel misbruik door geestelijken steeds serieuzer te nemen. Dat het Italiaanse publiek zich bewuster wordt van het misbruik is het gevolg van de 'tsunami' aan zaken die in de VS aan het licht kwamen, zegt Charles Scicluna, aanklager van het Vaticaan voor zaken die seksueel misbruik betreffen. "Er treedt een mentaliteitsverandering op en dat vinden we erg positief."

Scicluna erkent dat seksueel misbruik een eeuwenoud probleem is dat uitgebannen dient te worden. "Ik denk niet dat het de vraag is of het gebeurt. Het gebeurde altijd al. Het is belangrijk dat mensen erover beginnen te praten, omdat we anders niet de zorg van de kerk kunnen bieden aan hen die dat nodig hebben -zowel slachtoffers als daders.

woensdag, september 09, 2009

Waltzing Mathildas koud vuur

A more extensive documentation of this still relatively little known aspect of Australia's social history can be found in the 2004 report of the Senate Inquirry into Children in Institutional Care, Forgotten Australians
and also in a published work by one of the authors of this report, Orphans of the Living, Growing up in care in 20th century Australia (Penglase 2005, Curting University Books; reprinted 2007 by Fremantle Press).

Survey analysed by Dr Joanna Penglase, cofounder of CLAN, with Lindal Sambrook, senior social worker, CLAN.

September 9 2009 Remembrance Day Former Residents of Institutional Care in Queensland

The Annual Remembrance Day service for Former Residents of Institutional Care in Queensland will be held on Wednesday September 9 2009

foto's: MicahInc

Clan Care Leavers Australia Network

By the end of 2009 the Australian Government will issue a formal statement of acknowledgement and apology, on behalf of the nation, to Forgotten Australians and former child migrants. In the spirit of the bipartisan nature of the Senate Inquiry reports, the Government will work with the Opposition to develop the remembrance event.

This is a significant national step in the healing process for Forgotten Australians and former child migrants.

Many former child migrants and other children who were in institutions, their families and the wider community have suffered from a system that did not adequately provide for, or protect children in its care.

In June this year, a further Senate Inquiry reported on progress since the 2001 and 2004 reports. This report said more needed to be done. The apology will address recommendations 1 and 2 of this recent report and the Government will table a full, formal response in coming months.

To further help the healing process, the Government is also providing $300,000 each to both the Alliance for Forgotten Australians (AFA) and the Care Leavers Australia Network (CLAN), over the next two years. We will work with these organisations to make sure that care leavers can get the practical support and information they need.

We will also be consulting broadly with state and territory governments, past care providers and those affected by these practices to develop the apology and the path ahead.

We have also begun a dialogue with mothers and children separated by past adoption practices which were inappropriate or unethical. The Government recognises that the pain and suffering of these women also endures.

We will work with the National Library of Australia, the National Museum of Australia and those who have suffered in the past on how to best to record, for the historical record, the experiences of the Forgotten Australians, former child migrants, and women and children affected by past adoption practices.

Redress to pay deceased victims $5K
8th September 2009
ABC News

The West Australian Government has announced ex gratia payments of $5,000 will be made to victims of child abuse in state care who have died before their application was finalised.

Redress WA was set up under the previous Labor government to compensate people who suffered abuse in Australia's orphanages, children's homes and in foster care.

Last month, the State Government cut the maximum payment for victims from $80,000 to $45,000.

The Minister for Community Services, Robyn McSweeney, has now announced payments of $5,000 will be made to the estates of deceased victims.

Ms McSweeney says Redress WA has identified 21 cases where victims have died before their claim was finalised.

She says victims who are terminally ill can apply for an interim payment of up to $10,000.

This afternoon a West Australian Federal Liberal MP joined about 100 people at State Parliament protesting against the Barnett government's changes to the Redress WA scheme.

Today's protest was the second in two months.

The Federal Member for Swan, Steve Irons, told the crowd his state Liberal colleagues had made the wrong decision.

"As I said before I am a Liberal and a strong supporter of the Barnett Government, however they have got this one wrong," he said.
"I ask Colin Barnett to reconsider.

"I will continue to support the remembered Australians in pursuing a positive outcome."