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In his first public statement regarding the child sex abuse scandal that is at the core of the Church's issues, Pope Francis calls for decisive action in child sex abuse cases.

A Vatican statement said the Pope had urged Bishop Mueller to "act decisively as far as cases of sexual abuse are concerned, promoting, above all, measures to protect minors, help for those who have suffered such violence in the past (and) the necessary procedures against those who are guilty".
However, I join with other advocates for children in saying actions truly do speak louder than words.  I have hope in that this Pope appears to be one who lets his actions speak for him - who has routinely broken with tradition and seems to be a Pope of the people - but this is one subject that he MUST be decisive about as its effects are far reaching and even far more painful to those who suffered at the hands of abusive priests and a culture of cover-up for years.
The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) responded to the statement by calling for actions rather than words.

"We can't confuse words with actions," SNAP Outreach Director Barbara Dorris told the BBC. "When we do, we hurt kids.

Australia Setting the tone?

A comission in Australia has begun investigating child sexual abuse within that country and are expected to hear from over 5000 victims, some of whom were abused within the Catholic Church.  

PM Julia Gillard has warned that the commission will unearth "some very uncomfortable truths".

She said that its opening was an "important moral moment" for Australia.

The inquiry will look at religious groups, NGOs and state care providers as well as government agencies.

But commission officials have warned that it is unlikely to complete its task by the end of 2015 as requested.

They say that is because the scope of the inquiry is so large - in relation to the number of people testifying and the number of institutions who may be affected by the allegations.

Prime Minister Gillard is a true advocate for victims, stating this should be a "moment of healing" for the survivors of child sexual abuse - "because for too long, so many of these survivors have just run into closed doors and closed minds...We've let children down in the past as a country. We need to learn what we can do as a nation to better protect our children in the future."

However, one thing that looks to be certain is that the Church didn't want to acknowledge this problem:

Catholic Church leaders in Australia were contributing to the ostracism and scapegoating of child sex abuse victims, showing little leadership and little ''will to know'', the inquiry into how churches handled sex abuse has heard.

Irish Fleeing the Church

In a large part due to the child sexual abuse and cover up within Ireland, many parishoners are turning away from the church and this is affecting the Catholic Church's once stronghold in that country.

According to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, in 1984, nearly 90 percent of Irish Catholics went to weekly Mass. In 2011, only 18 percent did.

A series of church-based and government investigations in the south revealed widespread abuse of children as well as illicit heterosexual relationships extending over the last quarter of 20th century. Compounding the problem, offending priests had been reassigned by bishops, seeking to cover up or ignore problems.

The revelations were particularly painful for a population that revered priests and saw the church as its social bedrock.

"Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe."

I attribute the above quote to our very own MeteorBlades - but it is true.  Pope Francis must ACT - we've had enough words from the Church.  In fact, the last Pope spent a good part of his tenure on the apology tour.  Now is the time for decisive action, as this Pope seems to be calling for

Australia
During a visit to Australia in July 2008, Pope Benedict XVI met some of the victims and made a public apology for the abuse.

Ireland
In 2010, Pope Benedict apologized to the Irish Church, admitting there had been “serious mistakes.” But victims’ groups felt the statement did not go far enough in accepting responsibility or positing change.

Britain
Pope Benedict XVI said Saturday he was ashamed of the "unspeakable" sexual abuse of children by priests, telling the British faithful during mass in Westminster Cathedral that he was deeply sorry and hoped the church's humiliation would help victims heal.

The Church's "humiliation" does nothing to heal victims.  Holding accountable pedophile priests help validate victims of child sexual abuse.  Opening up the secret files of allegations of child sexual abuse help victims in their healing, by pressing charges against those who so callously stole their youth and betrayed their trust.  Reporting to police EVERY ALLEGATION of child sexual abuse helps victims heal.  Weeding out predators from among your midsts helps victims heal.  Actions, not words, help those who most desperately need it.  Protecting children rather than clergy prevents future children from becoming victims.  

Please.
Act.
Now.

Originally posted to TreeClimbers on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 07:47 AM PDT.

Also republished by House of LIGHTS and Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  Please. Act. Now. Today, children are being (22+ / 0-)

    abused by priests.  Because they know they can get away with it.  The only way to stop child sexual abuse is to talk about it.  As uncomfortable as it is.  These "uncomfortable truths" must be told, must be heard, must be dealt with.

    Because today, children are being raped.

    Please.
    Act.
    Now.

    "...I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul" Invictus - William Ernest Henley Please donate to TREE Climbers, our 501(c)(3).

    by Roxine on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 07:50:03 AM PDT

  •  Real simple: Turn over ALL records to prosecutors. (13+ / 0-)

    But I bet he won't order that and the church won't do that.

    Suggested liberal gun lovers' motto: "More liberal than the NRA on everything except guns."

    by Bob Johnson on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 08:01:41 AM PDT

  •  apologists (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SilentBrook

    I have read reader comments at couple of articles recently from abuse apologists quoting a study that public schools are the real problem because X number of children are abused in public schools yet only a relatively small number have been abused by priests.  

    I looked online for more information about this study but wasn't really able to find much.  I don't doubt the raw numbers would show schools to have a higher rate considering that (basically) all kids go to school, every day, for extended periods.  Not all kids go to a Catholic Church, even fewer are there all day, every day.

    I would be interested to see some analysis of whatever this study this was.  I get the feeling it was probably some kind of right wing think-tank study that wants to "left wing media" bash and demonize public education at the same time.  The arguement to me was rather disgusting as they are trying to claim there is nothing that needs fixing with the CC.  Hopefully the Pope means what he says.

  •  From your lips to God's ears (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roxine, FarWestGirl

    We need action! the time for talk is long past. Yes talking about it helps to open the door to some sort of action, but there has been only words and shuffling till now. Let us hope and pray that the new pope has some morals and ethics and will be willing to purge the church of pedophile preists.
    Peace and Blessings!

    United we the people stand, divided we the people fall.

    by Penny GC on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 08:35:56 AM PDT

  •  Church has all sorts of records on these priests (8+ / 0-)

    They have scrupulously documented almost a century of abuse.  Simply invite the DA in each parish to come and examine all of their records.  Simply throw open all the books and let the chips fall where they may.  That would be the courageous thing to do but I am not holding my breath

  •  Why didn't we hear this new "pope" (0+ / 0-)

    clamoring for rectifying the abuse problem in Brazil or anywhere else way before this??

    Because he didn't.

    Trusting this guy on anything is like trusting the old fox by the henhouse not to hurt the chickens.  It's silly.

    •  Cardinals don't have much authority (5+ / 0-)

      beyond the borders of their archdiocese. I'd have to look into what was being done in Argentina, which is where he served.

      Any progress at this point would be welcome -- long overdue, but still welcome.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 09:03:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  sorry... got Brazil wrong. (0+ / 0-)

        His response to this issue is on the record in Argentina and I believe was reported in a diary here.

        Waiting for the Roman Catholic church to do something moral is like waiting for the second coming of Jesus... ain't gonna happen.

        •  What I've read here and elsewhere is that in (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RainyDay, SilentBrook

          Argentina he turned abuse matters over to the police.

          "Don't Bet Against Us" - President Barack Obama

          by MRA NY on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 10:08:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  From Betty Clermont's A Pope Too Good to (4+ / 0-)

            Be True on Daily Kos...

            "To Bergoglio’s credit, he has no record of covering up abuse and eventually came around to instructing all bishops to report sexual abuse to the police. But he has refused to meet with victims of clerical crimes and refused them compensation.

            The pope protected Fr. Julio Cesar Grassi, a convicted sex offender. “Grassi was not expelled from the priesthood after the guilty verdict. Instead, Church officials led by Bergoglio commissioned a lengthy private report arguing that Grassi was innocent.”

            During most of the 14 years that Bergoglio served as archbishop of Buenos Aires, rights advocates say, he did not take decisive action to protect children or act swiftly when molestation charges surfaced; nor did he extend apologies to the victims of abusive priests after their misconduct came to light."

            •  I have been critical of Pope Francis' previous (3+ / 0-)

              dealings with this issue

              In Tree Climbers: Pope Francis - Vow of Silence Should NOT Be in Regards to Child Sex Abuse I detail two high profile cases where then Cardinal Bergoglio either supported the perpetrator or failed to support the victims and their families...

              The article notes that there is no evidence, then Cardinal Bergoglio, now Pope Francis conspired to cover up child sexual abuse.  

              However, his failure to acknowledge victims while defending his pedophile friend and claiming him innocent - speaks volumes.

              However, now that he is Pope, perhaps he WILL do something.  I must remain hopeful.

              "...I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul" Invictus - William Ernest Henley Please donate to TREE Climbers, our 501(c)(3).

              by Roxine on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 11:08:02 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Weary.... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Roxine

                ....between the church and the scout and all the other scandals, it's been almost arduous since a lot of folks just don't seem to take this problem seriously.  "Why can't they just move on?"  "Can't they just get over it?"  I developed an all-too frequently employed coping mechanism of trying to protect people; a left-over from feeling helpless to protect my sister when we were young.  I get too angry and frustrated over things for which I have no control, and I'd be willing to be that I'm not the only one, aye?

                It's hard when my spouse has returned to the faith and doesn't understand why I'm so sensitive about the abuse issues of the church.  I feel so tired.  Am I the only one who feels this way?

                Crying is all right in its own way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do. ― C.S. Lewis Much Love, Andrea Lena.

                by Andrea D on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 02:47:56 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  No - not the only one Andrea - For you in message (0+ / 0-)

                  Sometimes we have to rely on others to carry the water for us.  When you need to disconnect, come up for air, do so.  Take care of YOU first - and when you're ready to come back fighting, I'll be here.

                  I've taken a few days off myself - just need to breathe somehow.  

                  I am encouraged that the headlines are still filled with CSA stories - because it means that we have to deal with it.  I am more encouraged than ever at this moment in time.

                  Oh, and in case you didn't see it - the Curley/Spanier/Schultz trial is proceeding - the judge refused to throw out Cynthia Baldwin's testimony - so that's good news...

                  http://www.post-gazette.com/...

                  "...I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul" Invictus - William Ernest Henley Please donate to TREE Climbers, our 501(c)(3).

                  by Roxine on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 03:05:04 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  I have been critical of Pope Francis as well (0+ / 0-)

              In Tree Climbers: Pope Francis - Vow of Silence Should NOT Be in Regards to Child Sex Abuse I  highlight at least two high profile cases where then Cardinal Bergoglio either sided with the alleged abuser or failed to even meet with victim's families.

              I ended with this:

              The article notes that there is no evidence, then Cardinal Bergoglio, now Pope Francis conspired to cover up child sexual abuse.  

              However, his failure to acknowledge victims while defending his pedophile friend and claiming him innocent - speaks volumes.

              .

              "...I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul" Invictus - William Ernest Henley Please donate to TREE Climbers, our 501(c)(3).

              by Roxine on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 11:11:21 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  But I MUST remain hopeful - to do otherwise is (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Marko the Werelynx

                far too troubling.

                With the high profile cases across multiple organizations perhaps NOW is the time that we actually start protecting our kids and stop talking about it.

                Kid's lives MATTER.  They are not expendable.  They will not get over it - they will not outgrow it.

                They are our FUTURE - please let's stop fucking them up - literally. (forgive me being crass - I'm a bit triggered today.)

                "...I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul" Invictus - William Ernest Henley Please donate to TREE Climbers, our 501(c)(3).

                by Roxine on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 11:14:30 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  ARGHHH double post - sorry n/t (0+ / 0-)

                  "...I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul" Invictus - William Ernest Henley Please donate to TREE Climbers, our 501(c)(3).

                  by Roxine on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 11:17:20 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  This was NOT the pope's statement. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  sturunner, SilentBrook

                  More than three weeks after his election, the pope remains silent on this issue. Today's statement was issued by the Vatican after a meeting between the pontiff and Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, prefect of the congregation ruling on the Catholic doctrine. “The Holy Father recommended that the Congregation continue the line desired by Benedict XVI..." Which is that while pedophile priests may be removed, every bishop throughout the world can still lie, cover-up, protect priests as he chooses, can or cannot implement programs to protect the laity as he chooses and remain free from being reprimanded, held accountable or punished by this pope.

                  •  That is how it is being reported - BBC: (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    SilentBrook
                    Pope Francis told his staff to take "decisive action" when it comes to cases of clerical sex abuse of minors.

                    In a statement, the Vatican said the pontiff ordered the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to "act decisively as far as cases of sexual abuse are concerned, promoting, above all, measures to protect minors, help for those who have suffered such violence in the past (and) the necessary procedures against those who are guilty."

                    The BBC reports this was the new pope's first public statement on the issue, which has plagued the church for years.

                    Granted, the Vatican released the statement, but he is quoted in it.  And, as I pointed out, this is not enough.  Words do nothing to heal the giant chasm this abuse scandal has created within the church.  

                    Pope Francis MUST ACT.

                    "...I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul" Invictus - William Ernest Henley Please donate to TREE Climbers, our 501(c)(3).

                    by Roxine on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 12:30:21 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

  •  I have heard that Pope Francis (3+ / 0-)

    went to the church where Cardinal Law is, and was really pissed off -- he's ordered Law to be removed from his cushy job and sent off to a monastery. (Personally I'd prefer Law to be returned to the US to stand trial, but if that monastery is in the US and the flight happens to be routed through Logan Airport, well then... ;-) ) That's a good sign right there.

    Not saying that the Church is going to become a hotbed of progressivism, but if they can take a few baby steps and at least protect the children, maybe I won't need to set up that millstone concession in front of the Vatican after all. (By the way, did you know that verse is in 3 out of the 4 Gospels? That's usually a sign that it's pretty important.)

    There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

    by Cali Scribe on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 08:58:51 AM PDT

  •  Pope Francis has (4+ / 0-)

    hit the ground running.  I wasn't too sure about him at first, but he appears to be someone who won't submit to cloistered life in the Vatican.  If he maintains his connection with real people, he may do some real good.  This is a start.  Let's see if he can overcome the glacial pace of change within the Church....

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 09:28:41 AM PDT

  •  Even if the RCC is not moved to action (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BYw, SilentBrook

    by the simple moral imperative at stake here (which obviously they should be), from a resource and ministry standpoint, they are going to have to do something to stop the hemmorrhaging of people from the pews in the west and in Europe. It would be a shame if the right thing is done for pragmatic purposes only, but at least it would be the right thing, which is somewhat Jesuit of me.

    Its indescribably sad to me that this is even at debate in a faith community, but that is the sad reality in which all privileged faith communities exist.

    Peace is never simply the absence of war, it is the active presence of justice. It has to do with human fulfillment, with liberation, with wholeness, with a meaningful life and well-being, not only for the individual, but for the community as a whole.

    by left rev on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 09:30:01 AM PDT

  •  He's the Pope, tell the priests to do right! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Betty Clermont, SilentBrook

    I'll believe he cares when he sends a letter to every Catholic bishop & priest. A very simple instruction. Which he can give since he is their leader.

    Everyone who committed abuse go directly to the local cops where the crime happened and confess, fully and completely to any & all crimes.
    Everyone who is aware of such crimes. Either because of confession by the guilty or investigations inside the church. You have a responsibility to keep those secrets and that is fine. You don't need to go to the cops with what you know. What you need to do is go to those who committed those crimes and encourage them to confess. Put the entire weight of your authority behind forcing them to do the right thing.

    That will never happen, so same old same old.

  •  I'm withholding judgment (0+ / 0-)

    until we see what he does.

    My hope is that he will do the right thing.

    (No, I am not saying I am convinced he will do the right thing.  That's why I said hope instead of belief.)

  •  Pope Francis' statement in 2011 (then Cardinal (0+ / 0-)

    Bergoglio)  regarding the broader issue of the sexual exploitation of children in society.

    “In this city, there are many girls who stop playing with dolls to enter the dump of a brothel because they were stolen, sold, betrayed,” he said in 2011.

    “Women and girls are kidnapped, and they are subjected to use and abuse of their body; they are destroyed in their dignity,” he said. “The flesh that Jesus assumed and died for is worth less than the flesh of a pet. A dog is cared for better than these slaves of ours, who are kicked, who are broken.”

    I am not Catholic, but something tells me that this man will do the right thing.  I must believe this.  There are far too many who have been hurt by the Church, then revictimized by the cover-up.  So tonight, I will be on my knees praying to God for those lost children, that they may find justice.

    "...I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul" Invictus - William Ernest Henley Please donate to TREE Climbers, our 501(c)(3).

    by Roxine on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 12:51:30 PM PDT

  •  I would have preferred a direct order (0+ / 0-)

    that stated that as soon as a complaint of sex abuse is filed, bishops and or pastors (if the priest serves under a pastor) MUST turn the information over to the police as part of a fiduciary duty to report cases of suspected child abuse. Ditto any teacher in a Catholic school.  He needs to spell it out so there's no room for weaseling around it.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 02:12:46 PM PDT

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