Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Patrick Wall's Expert Declaration Supporting SNAP's ICC Filing: Valuable Testimony

Patrick J. Wall

As I've noted in previous postings, Patrick Wall is a former Benedictine priest who, as an attorney, is now helping to lead the movement to call Catholic leaders to accountability for endangering children's welfare by shielding clergy who have sexually abused minors.   He has submitted an expert declaration in support of the recent petition of survivors of clerical sexual abuse asking the International Criminal Court to investigate of top Catholic officials for protecting clergy who have abused minors.

This posting on Wall's blog links to a copy of his statement for ICC.  On the basis of his years of extensive insider knowledge of the cover-up of sexual abuse cases by the Catholic hierarchy, Wall concludes that there is an exceptionally sound basis for asking the ICC to investigate this cover-up, and, in particular, the Vatican as the center from which the cover-up emanates.

The heart of his argument:

The Holy See has superior knowledge of the existence of widespread rape and sexual violence, or 'abuse' in the church, and extensive experience in dealing with clerics who sexually abuse minors. Yet the Holy See does not inform the local civil authorities about the clear and proximate danger to children in order to protect the Holy See's image and avoid scandal (​ 19, pp. 8-9).


Despite superior knowledge of the delict of clerical sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults, internal canonical procedures and policing priest offenders, the Holy See has not been able to deter sexual violence against minors by its Bishops, Priests and Religious. In my opinion, the Holy See, through its lax enforcement of its own rules and procedures combined with the international movement of clerical sex offenders, is knowingly endangering children and vulnerable adults by exposing them to clerics with psychic infirmities who if placed in charge of minors and or in the proximity of minors have and will reoffend against innocent children. (​24, pp. 10-11).

I hope ICC will listen to Wall.  He knows what he's talking about.  And I love the way in which he interjects the following detail into his historical sketch of what previous popes have known when, and how they've responded:

Pope John Paul I served less than 30 days and he died suddenly the night before a Vatican Bank meeting (15, p. 6).

I wonder if the ears of criminal court officials will prick up when they read that statement.  They ought to.  Perhaps the cover-up of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy is not the only criminal action tucked away in secret places in the Vatican that needs to be brought into the light of day.

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