Friday, January 20, 2023

Abusive Anti-Gay French Priest Tony Anatrella Sanctioned by Vatican; Survivors Say They Expected More

Catholic Church Tells Bishops They Are Not Obliged to Disclose Child Sex Abuse: Report
"Catholic Church Tells Bishops They Are Not Obliged to Disclose Child Sex Abuse: Report," 
Time (11/2/2016)

Earlier this week, the Catholic archdiocese of Paris announced that after investigation of charges made against influential French priest Tony Anatrella, a previous sanction of Anatrella remains in place and and he continues to be banned from celebrating Mass publicly or hearing confessions. He is also forbidden from continuing his work as a psychotherapist.

Multiple credible allegations were made by young men Anatrella counseled about sexual advances he made against him, even as he claimed to be helping them move beyond their homosexuality and become "normal."

Anatrella has played a prominent role at the Vatican, advising Catholic officials about issues of sexuality and urging the Vatican to bar gay men from the priesthood. He was a consultant to the Pontifical Council for the Family. Wikipedia's entry for him provides a good summary, with documentation — and for more, you can click his name in the tags here, since I have commented about him previously on this blog. for a summary: 

As my friend Jean-François Garneau wrote on his Facebook page (in a public posting) when the archdiocese of Paris made its announcement about Anatrella earlier t his week: 

This guy has been one of the 'intellectual" authorities behind the most outrageous statements made by JP2 and B16. For it is only beginning with those two reactionary popes (and with this sexual abuser behind as an intellectual caution), that even homosexual tendencies and, indeed, homosexual people were declared intrinsically disordered. Before those two reactionary popes, only homosexual acts, together with any non-procreation oriented heterosexual acts were deemed intrinsically disordered (whatever that means --but at least that was the tradition not what JP2 and B16 fantasized). The Vatican is now forced to recognize that this supposed authority they used was all along homosexually abusing his patients while providing his antigay pronouncements!

As theologian James Alison wrote in an article entitled "Homosexuality among the clergy: caught in a trap of dishonesty," several years ago,  

Would it shock you to know that the leading force behind the term "gender ideology", and the campaign against it, was a gay cardinal? Or that a gay priest wrote the official 2005 explanation as to why gay men could not be priests?

I learned of the (now dead) Latin American cardinal’s reputation for violence towards the rent boys he frequented from a social worker in his home town, and later discovered that this and other outrages were open secrets in both his homeland and Rome. Paris-based Mgr Tony Anatrella was a Vatican expert on homosexuality, one of very few authors the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith recommended on the subject, alongside Drs Joseph Nicolosi, Gerard van den Aardweg and Aquilino Polaino, gay-cure proponents all. Anatrella had long been reported to have engaged in inappropriate touching with seminarians and others who came to him for help in dealing with their so-called 'same-sex attraction' As recently as this June, and after many years of shameful ecclesiastical obfuscation in France and Italy, those reports have been found to be credible, and Anatrella has been suspended from public ministry. If it does shock you that such paragons of homophobia-dressed-as-Christianity might have been 'protesting too much', prepare yourself for a rough ride over the next few years. ...

In all these cases, in as far as the behaviour was adult-related, plenty of people in authority sort-of-knew what was going on, and had known throughout the clerics’ respective careers. However, the informal rule in the Catholic Church – the last remaining outpost of enforced homosociality in the Western world – is strictly 'don’t ask, don’t tell.' Typically, blind eyes are turned to the active sex lives of those clerics who have them, only two things being beyond the pale: whistle-blowing on the sex lives of others, or public suggestions that the Church’s teaching in this area is wrong. These lead to marginalisation.

Given all this, it seems to me entirely reasonable that people should now be asking: "How deep does this go?" If such careers were the result of blind eyes being turned, legal settlements made, and these clerics themselves were in positions of influence and authority, how much more are we going to learn about those who promoted and protected them? Or about those whom they promoted?

Survivors of clerical sexual abuse in France are unhappy, by the way, that he retains his clerical state (and its perks and privileges). As Nicole Winfield reports, survivors of Anatrella's abuse are unhappy that, despite "several well-documented complaints against him," in disciplining Monsignor Tony Anatrella, the Vatican has chosen to restrict his priestly functions, not defrock him. Winfield quotes Nadia Debbache, attorney for the victims, who says that the Vatican decision not to defrock Anatrella disappoints the victims because he abused them in a therapeutic context. 

Héloïse de Neuville writes

The Vatican has banned one of its longtime priest-advisors on sexual and moral issues, Tony Anatrella, from practicing psychotherapy, following longstanding allegations that the Paris cleric abused male adult patients.

The decision, which was taken last month by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) and announced Tuesday by the Archdiocese of Paris, left Anatrella's accusers deeply disappointed. They had hoped the priest – who will be 81 next month – would be removed from the clerical state.

The Paris archdiocese said the DDF "ordered the interested party to immediately renounce any professional activity as a therapist". But the DDF did not place any restrictions on Anatrella's priestly ministry. The archdiocese had already done that in 2018.

It was announced on Tuesday that Archbishop Laurent Ulrich has reinforced those earlier sanctions, forbidding Anatrella from exercising "any activity related to psychotherapy" or "publication of work"; banning him from "presiding or public concelebration" of the liturgy and removing his "faculties to hear confessions". Archbishop Ulrich has also confined Anatrella to "a life of prayer in a more remote daily life".He is also banned "from all participation in colloquia, public meetings, conferences, etc.", due in part to his February 2022 attendance at a symposium on the family at the Vatican.  ...

"It's a disappointment," said Nadia Debbache, the plaintiffs' lawyer. "We thought there were enough elements for Tony Anatrella to be dismissed from the clerical state. We are talking about serious, repeated acts of sexual assault," she told La Croix.

Anatrella remains a man with powerful connections. I'm told that Anatrella was photographed in the Vatican during Benedict's lying in state, praying beside Benedict's body, though I have no proof of this and want to note that it's hearsay. But I have seen the photo in question and, as with a number of others who saw it, I think the man in the photograh is, indeed, Anatrella.

No comments: