Friday, August 17, 2018

More Commentary on Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report, as Vatican Sends Thoughts and Prayers

That there should be mass defrockings is obvious. That there should also be a swath of criminal convictions also seems beyond question….Evil is real, and it walked the earth in Pennsylvania. It entered through our church doors.

It is long past time for the U.S. Department of Justice to initiate a full-scale, nationwide investigation into the systemic rape and sexual violence, and cover-ups in the Catholic Church, and, where appropriate, bring criminal and/or civil proceedings against the hierarchy that enabled the violations.

I absolutely agree with SNAP's call for a federal investigation of the criminal actions of the Catholic hierarchy and many priests, of course. The statement I have shared from Rita Ferrone (and here) which doubts that a legal-juridical approach to this horror show will be effective is speaking of internal legal procedures within the institution itself — and no, those would not be effective at all, because the leaders of the Catholic church do not intend to be forthcoming or accountable or to investigate themselves. 

"It’s all about the bishops. That’s the single most damning line from a new, 1,300 page report, released by the Pennsylvania supreme court on Tuesday, which found that 300 predator priests in the state had abused more than 1,000 children since 1947. It's the latest scandal in the Catholic church's continuing child abuse crisis…. 
The incidents of abuse are shocking and deeply disturbing. They include a minor who was impregnated by a priest who paid for her to have an abortion, as well as a priest who confessed to the rape of at least 15 boys. In one instance, a priest abused five sisters in one family, including an 18-month-old girl. 
The probe concluded that bishops "followed a playbook for concealing the truth" and while "priests were raping little boys and girls, [bishops] hid it all. For decades". Pennsylvania attorney general Josh Shapiro noted that in some cases, "the cover up stretched all the way up to the Vatican" and that bishops "protected their institution at all costs". Most disturbingly, jurors believe that, even today, bishops are working hard to protect themselves. 
The report says that while 1,000 victims were discovered in this investigation, there are likely thousands more who have yet to step forward. 
And that’s where my hope lies. 
For nearly 30 years, I have been intimately involved in battling for the rights of those abused by the clergy as children. Four of the six kids in our family were sexually violated by our parish priest, Father John Whiteley. I sued him and his bishop, unsuccessfully, and went on to work full time with Survivor's Network of those Abused by Priests, the world’s oldest and largest support group for victims. 
The single most valuable truth I've learned is this: change only comes when victims speak out.

"We are ready to listen humbly, first of all to victims and their advocates, who might tell us how to begin to ease suffering and to make recompense. We welcome prosecutors and lawyers and historians into our archives, so that the full truth, however damning, might be known. We acknowledge that our system of seminary education is deeply flawed, and ask how it might be reformed so as to produce leaders who thrive as human beings. We submit to new layers of oversight, because the ones we ourselves imposed failed so miserably. We are listening. We are learning. We ask for God’s mercy, and yours." 
Will we hear statements like these? Unlikely. But we are owed nothing less from our ordained leaders as collective atonement for the sins of their brothers.

Both sexual predation and anti-choice politics are rooted in patriarchal ideology and a culture of sexual shame.

Young women and their children faced physical and emotional violence at the hands of the church tantamount to those victimized by sexual abuse. All of these victims and survivors also deserve a perfect act of contrition by the pope, the hierarchy, the clergy and women religious. 
Though the nuns ran the laundries as contractors for the state, the creation of these institutions was based on punitive doctrines, developed solely by men, that criminalized women's sexual desire.

"Regarding the report made public in Pennsylvania this week, there are two words that can express these horrible crimes: shame and sorrow," read a statement from Vatican spokesman Greg Burke.

Sending thoughts and prayers!

Catholics have heard this empty refrain after every new explosion of information about the corruption inside the clerical and hierarchical club.

We know by now exactly how the script will play out all over again: thoughts and prayers! Shame and sorrow!

But transparency, accountability, action? Absolutely not. Because that would call for reform of a system that itself is the source of the corruption, a system that is abusive in its very make up, since it accords all governing power within the institution to the ordained and none at all to the laity.  It is set up to serve the interests, power, and privilege of clerics, who do not choose to reform what provides them such unmerited power.

I find the graphic at the head of the posting at various sites online, some of them crediting a source on Twitter for the original graphic, but not providing a link to that source.

No comments: