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Because there should be consequences.

Mr. President, please stand with the hundreds of thousands of children who have been raped, sodomized and sexually assaulted, the children now being similarly tortured and the potentially thousands more to come because no world leader will hold the Catholic Church accountable.

Please inform the Vatican that you are canceling your March 27 meeting with the Pope due to his officials’ egregious response to the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child report. The subject of the 15-page document is the Vatican’s failure to adequately address its “systematic” responsibility for worldwide child sex abuse.

The Vatican still places children “at high risk of sexual abuse, as dozens of child sexual offenders (who operate under the authority of the Holy See) are reported to still be in contact with children,” according to the report issued Feb. 5.

The Committee stated it is “gravely concerned that the Holy See has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators.”

The Committee stated it was “particularly concerned” that in dealing with allegations of child sex abuse, “the Holy See has consistently placed the preservation of the reputation of the Church and the protection of the perpetrators above children's best interests, as observed by several national commissions of inquiry,” which included the Westchester Co., New York, grand jury report.

In their responses, no Church official “acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed,” expressed remorse, made an apology, committed to make amends or to do better. Rather, they tried to redirect scrutiny away from the Church’s horrendous crimes by politicizing the report, portraying the Church as a victim of ideological enemies which, by inference, includes your administration, Mr. President.

The Vatican, as a signatory to the 1990 U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, pledged to protect the health and well being of children and adolescents. So, in addition to sex abuse, the Committee also cited the case of a nine-year old girl, raped by her stepfather, who underwent an emergency life-saving abortion and was excommunicated by her archbishop along with her mother and doctor. The archbishop’s action was later approved by the Vatican.  Therefore, “The Committee urges the Holy See to review its position on abortion which places obvious risks on the life and health of pregnant girls and to amend [Church law] relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services can be permitted.”

Referring to the parts of the Convention “on the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, on adolescent health and on HIV/AIDS,” the Committee “reminds the Holy See of the dangers of early and unwanted pregnancies and clandestine abortion which result notably in high maternal morbidity and mortality in adolescent girls, as well as the particular risk for adolescents girls and boys to be infected with and affected by STDs, including HIV/AIDs.”

“The Committee also urges the Holy See to make full use of its moral authority to condemn all forms of harassment, discrimination or violence against children based on their sexual orientation or the sexual orientation of their parents and to support efforts at international level for the decriminalization of homosexuality.”

“The United Nations: Caring for Children or Caring for Culture Warriors” was the title of the official response by the director of media relations for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Sister Mary Ann Walsh. She wrote that the report “is weakened by including objections to Catholic teaching on such issues as gay marriage, abortion and contraception.” These objections, she said, “seem to violate the U.N.’s obligation from its earliest days to defend religious freedom….when the U.N. Committee strays into the culture wars to promote abortion, contraceptives and gay marriage.”  

Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley said the Committee “extrapolated to the life of the Church, which is not their competency, and interjected many of their own ideological preferences.”

Washington D.C. Cardinal Donald Wuerl claimed the Committee seemed “very upset about the Church’s teaching on abortion, as if the way to avoid child abuse is abort children? Where is the logic to something like that? And besides that, that’s not the issue that that commission was supposed to be looking at.”  

The Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the U.N., Bishop Silvano Tomasi, responded that “we have to keep in mind that even though there are so many millions, forty million cases of abuse a year regarding children, unfortunately some cases affect also Church personnel.” He suggested the report had a pre-determined “ideological line.” “Some NGOs that support homosexuality, same-sex marriage and other issues probably presented their own views and ended up reinforcing their line of thought in some way,” Tomasi said.  

The U.N. report said the Pope should:

  • Immediately remove all known and suspected child sexual abusers from assignment and refer the matter to the relevant law enforcement authorities for investigation and prosecution purposes. (“Due to a code of silence imposed on all members of the clergy under penalty of excommunication, cases of child sexual abuse have hardly ever been reported to the law enforcement authorities in the countries where such crimes occurred. On the contrary, cases of nuns and priests ostracized, demoted and fired for not having respected the obligation of silence have been reported to the Committee as well as cases of priests who have been congratulated for refusing to denounce child abusers.”)
  • Ensure a transparent sharing of all archives which can be used to hold the abusers accountable as well as all those who concealed their crimes and knowingly placed offenders in contact with children.  (“Although the Holy See has established its full jurisdiction over child sexual abuse cases in 1962 and placed them in 2001 under the exclusive competence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), it has declined to provide the Committee with data on all cases of child sexual abuse brought to its attention over the reporting period and the outcome of the internal procedure in these cases.”)
  • Ensure that the Commission created in December 2013 will investigate independently all cases of child sexual abuse as well as the conduct of the Catholic hierarchy in dealing with them. The outcome of this investigation should be made public and serve to prevent the recurrence of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.
  • Promote the reform of statute of limitations in countries where they impede victims of child sexual abuse from seeking justice and redress.

The Vatican Commission referred to above was announced on Dec. 5, the day after the Holy See refused to provide the U.N. Committee with information it had requested in July regarding the Church’s internal investigation on the sexual abuse of children by its clergy, brothers, nuns and lay employees. As yet, the Commission hasn’t really been “created.” The Pope has not named its members nor given any direction to its function, methods or goals.

By comparison, Pope Francis has created four commissions, hired 6 internationally-renowned consulting firms, and appointed numerous clerics  to protect and prosper his finances. This past week, with cardinals arriving from around the world for a series of meetings, the first order of business was the Vatican’s money. There was nothing on the agenda about child sex abuse.

It is the U.N. Committee’s recommendation about statutes of limitations which most directly effects the lives and health of American children. Professor Marci A. Hamilton, one of the leading church/state scholars in the United States and the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University, wrote:

This recommendation would require the Vatican and the United States bishops to do an about-face. The statutes of limitations (SOLs) have been the primary and often the only barrier to justice for the vast majority of child sex abuse victims in the United States and elsewhere.

Most victims can’t come forward until adulthood, on average age 42, so a deadline for filing criminal charges or civil claims that occurs before age 50 prevents access to justice. This deadline has halted cases where the perpetrator admits the abuse, the diocese has proof of its knowledge about the perpetrators is in its own files, and the victim has corroborating evidence.

Victims deserve a chance at justice. Their cases would educate all of us on who the hidden predators are, and who among us is now suffering in silence.

SOLs are often valuable in cases involving property and contracts or crimes where the victim is more likely to contact the authorities close to the crime, e.g., a burglary or armed robbery or car theft. In contrast, there is no SOL on murder, because the victim has no way to report the abuse. Child sex abuse is similar in that the victims are often incapacitated from coming forward for years. Unlike murder, though, where perpetrators tend not to be serial murderers, when it comes to child sex abuse, the perpetrator tends to have multiple victims, and is likely to do so even late in life. Therefore, shutting victims out of court at any age endangers other children, who might have been protected had the earlier victims been able to get into court.

Any case filed against a perpetrator holds out hope that others will be vindicated and will join forces with that victim against the perpetrator and any institution that empowered him. The only entities in the United States investing millions of dollars in blocking victims’ access to justice are the Catholic bishops in each state….Prosecution and lawsuits crack open the truth for the public to see. They are the only reliable path to the truth.

In the U.S., 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse according to the National Center for Victims of Crimes.  During a one-year period in the U.S., 16% of youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized.

“Victims of child sexual abuse are at anincreased risk of suicide and accidental fatal drug overdose,” concluded a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia. “Child sex abuse victims who died as a result of self-harm were predominantly aged in their 30s at the time of death,” the study said.

“In the U.S., victims of sexual assault report higher levels of psychological distress and the consumption of alcoholthan non-victims,” noted the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.

As reported just this past Thursday:

For now, the Catholic Church in South Dakota- along with schools, religious orders and other churches and institutions - appears to be off the hook for sexual abuse that Native Americans say they suffered while attending Church-run boarding schools during the 1960s, 70s and 80s. On February 18, the state legislature’s Senate Judiciary Committee listened to statements for and against Senate Bill 130, which was intended to give their day in court to Native victims who’d had their lawsuits against the Church terminated after legislative action in 2010….Finally, the members voted 5-2 to kill the measure, while noting that they opposed sexual abuse of children and “felt for” the victims….

The 2010 law, written by a Catholic Church lawyer, was passed after scores of middle-aged and elderly Native Americans sued the Church and individual perpetrators under the childhood-sexual-abuse statute of limitations in existence at the time….

During the meeting, one survivor recounted abuse as a student at what was then St. Paul’s Indian Mission, in Marty, South Dakota. “If you knew what happened to us you’d be appalled. I was raped, and they murdered my baby. We have to tell today’s children, ‘we will stand by you; when someone does this to you, you are not to blame.’”

“The Church and its employees were - and are - merciless,” said Ken Bear Chief, a Gros Ventre/Nez Perce/Nooksak paralegal and investigator with Tamaki Law Firm, in Washington State. “Native American survivors of childhood sexual abuse can’t get justice in South Dakota.”

The last time the Vatican conducted a “study” of child sex abuse two years ago, two Americans with ties to the U.S. episcopate reported “roughly 100,000 boys and girls in America have been sexually violated by Catholic priests. [However] this 100,000 estimate is the same number of alleged victims that was put forth in 1993by Fr. Andrew Greeley in an article in the Jesuit magazine America.”  

Pope Francis’ own actions communicate a powerful message to his officials around the world that aiding and abetting the rape and sodomy of children is no hindrance to receiving papal approbation or advancing one’s ecclesial career.

The Pope showed particular contempt for American children when, the day after his election, he cordially met with the infamous Boston Cardinal Bernard Law, virtually run out of the U.S. for his crimes against children. Additionally, on the same day in January his delegation was meeting with the U.N. Committee in Geneva, Pope Francis concelebrated Mass with and granted a private audience to the equally notorious Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony. Mahony blogged that during the private meeting with the pope following Mass, the “topic of scandal never came up.”  Together, Law and Mahony were responsible for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of unspeakably vile and violent crimes against children. Except for statues of limitations, both men would justifiably be behind bars.

Nor can we expect that the U.S. episcopate under the new Pope will stop sponsoring legislation dangerous to all our children. The above quoted Cardinal O’Malley was chosen by Pope Francis to be among his “kitchen cabinet” of closest advisors. Cardinal Wuerl was appointed to the important Congregation of Bishops which helps the Pope select U.S. bishops. Another American reconfirmed as a member of the same congregation, Cardinal William Levada, has a horrible record of protecting pedophile priests while archbishop of Portland and San Francisco.  

The Pope promoted Green Bay’s Vicar General Fr. John Doerfler as the new bishop for the diocese of Marquette, Michigan in December. During the trial of a serial child molesting priest, Doerfler admitted under oath that he had deliberately destroyed “nearly all records and documentation in the secret Church files of at least 51 priests reported to have sexually assaulted children after the Wisconsin State Supreme Court ruled that victims of childhood sexual abuse could file fraud suits against Catholic dioceses in the state for covering up for clerics….When specifically asked if it bothered him that clerics who abused children were being dumped into the community without public notice, Doerfler chillingly answered: ‘No’”.  

In January, Bishop Ronald Gainer was promoted head the Harrisburg diocese. While a bishop in Kentucky, Gainer allowed Fr. Carroll Howlin to live unmonitored and "minister" in eastern Kentucky. A four-time accused predator priest, Fr. Howlin allegedly used money to garner sexual favors from impoverished boys, was suspended for sexually abusing Illinois boys and has reportedly also molested two Kentucky boys, one of whom committed suicide. Additionally, “Gainer put Fr. William G. Poole back into a parish even though Poole was twice charged with public indecency (1990 and 2001) and accused (in 2003) of molesting a boy. A Catholic lay panel in the Covington diocese found the child sex abuse allegation against Poole to be credible and paid a settlement to the victim. But Gainer recklessly put Poole back on the job.”  

Nor are children in the rest of the world safer in this pontificate. As I’ve written before,  as cardinal primate of Argentina, Pope Francis “discredited young victims” and “advocated” for Fr. Julio César Grassi, convicted of sexually abusing a boy in his orphanage. In August, the Pope removed his nuncio to the Dominican Republic, Archbishop Josef Wesolowski, before the public and law enforcement officials became aware that he was seducing and performing oral sex with minors working in the streets.

Along with O’Malley, Pope Francis named two other cardinals to be his closest advisers, the Australian George Pell and Chilean Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa both of whom had made headlines in their countries for protecting predator priests. (The findings of a Vatican inquiry conducted under the authority of Pell and issued last month, “attacked the credibility of the alleged victims and said a decision to offer financial compensation was made ‘for actuarial reasons and to appear pastorally concerned.’” ) The head of this “council of cardinals,” the Honduran Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, blamed the “Jewish controlled media” for the sex abuse scandal.

The Pope’s choice for Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop (to become cardinal this weekend) Gerhard Ludwig Müller, while bishop of Regensburg, Germany, promoted an already-convicted pedophile priest who later was convicted of additional child sex abuse. Another new cardinal, Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, is also a Chilean prelate who protected a child abusing priest.

Mr. President, please – there should be consequences.

If you agree, you can email the President at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/...

You can email the Secretary of State, John F. Kerry at http://contact-us.state.gov/...

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Comment Preferences

  •  The real need is for Roman Catholics to stand up (17+ / 0-)

    and demand change for the protection of children in the church.  No president can tell the pope what to do, it is the Roman Catholic people who must take up this cause and make change, they are the only ones who can.

    •  I didn't say the pres. should tell the pope what (6+ / 0-)

      to do - just cancel his meeting in view of the Vatican response to the UN Committee.
      What you probably don't know is that the only time the Vatican got nervous is when Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenney closed their embassy to the Holy See. The threat that other gov'ts might to the same scared the Vatican.
      FYI Many Catholics do stand up. They have petitioned Pope Francis to remove Archbishop Myers and Bishop Finn with no result. Believe me, only an "international incident" will pierce the carefully constructed PR armor around this pontiff.

      •  They could stop going (5+ / 0-)

        I'm thinking empty pews and empty collection baskets might make them nervous too.

        When truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

        by Sun dog on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 05:49:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree Sun dog but what do they know now they (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fishtroller01

          haven't known for the past ten years.

          •  I don't know (3+ / 0-)

            Honestly I'm pretty baffled by it all and I don't mean that in a glib, impersonal way.  My family has been Catholic all the way back to the old country and I was raised in the Church, including 12 years of parochial school.  And yes, one of the priests from when I was a kid was arrested for molesting children.  It's not known publicly if it happened at our school because he was busted later at a new parish but the ostrich head in the sand response to this revelation didn't do much for my already jaded feelings about the Church.  

            When truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

            by Sun dog on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 06:17:22 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  The President absolutely should tell the Pope (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fishtroller01

        what to do on this issue. We are not discussing married priests (who are well known in the fact-based world, as are Catholic priests "living in sin" with the knowledge and tacit approval of congregations and bishops) or Catholic practice on birth control (where American Catholics feel free to ignore Church teaching), but egregious felonies on the part of the Pope's people.

        Nixon went to China, and frequently told off Soviet and Red Chinese leadership. Why does the Pope get a pass?

        Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

        by Mokurai on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 07:35:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Interesting point. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sturunner, gffish, Mokurai, murrayewv

      Faithful Catholics, as I understand it, were responsible for publicizing the church's sex-abuse scandal to begin with.

      It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

      by karmsy on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 05:55:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, the real need is for everyone else to stand up (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fishtroller01

      and say no to this global fraud.

      Jorge Mario Bergoglio has a lot more to answer for. In 1987, when Argentina's legislature was considering legalization of divorce (that's right, it wasn;t legal prior to then), the Catholic Church threatened to excommunicate legislators who voted for it. One bishop actually did excommunicate legislators within his territory.

      •  I agree roberb 7 but one world leader taking a (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        roberb7, Fishtroller01

        stand would make a difference. I also agree that in so many, many, ways Bergoglio is a fraud. His opposition to same sex marriage (which he called the Work of the Devil) his testimony before a commission on the Dirty War and his non-apology for the Catholic Church's role in that horrendous era.

         

  •  not a chance to abort meeting (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, gffish, Fishtroller01

    Power and more power
    Keep up the happy face
    Facts are not going to bring about change at the high levels of the oligarchy

  •  I'm glad President Obama is (11+ / 0-)

    meeting Pope Francis.  And, no, I am not Roman Catholic.  I do, however, reject religious bigotry.

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 05:52:33 AM PST

  •  I agree and disagree :) (13+ / 0-)

    First, I agree that the problem with sexual abuse within the church is a serious one, and as someone who has worked with agencies that help with that, the behavior of the church in the past is abhorrent.   They deserve a lot of negatives for everything that has happened.

    The UN asked what most reasonable law enforcement agencies would ask for: all prior records the church has in regards to sexual abuse.

    And here's where someone like a pope gets trapped.   In April of last year, the Church announced that they would no longer handle panels of this sort or allow accused to deal with church agencies about the issue.  Now, the Church will only deal with victims and allow local authorities to handle action.

    But what about sexual abuse before the Pontiff became Pope..?   Now he's screwed.   Under past popes, priests, bishops, whoever, where confronted and allowed to 'confess, repent' and seek treatment within the church.   Now he's hosed.   Catholics believe (as a spiritual matter) that you can go and confess anything (including crimes like Murder, child abuse, theft) and the priest cannot be compelled to say anything.  

    Because the prevailing thought is that many of the guilty used that as a shield, it is unlikely (very) that any pope at any point in the future will unseal any records, because if that priest/minister/bishop/whatever confessed, then by their oaths they are bound to say nothing.

    As an atheist, it bothers me a great deal.    But as someone who grew up catholic, I understand the pickle this presents with anyone, no matter how serious they are about reforms.

    The decision last year to not allow this to occur (no running to confession, all handled by local authorities) was a huge move by the church that broke all traditions.   It was also the right one.

    It does nothing, zip, zero for past victims.   That's a tragedy.  

    There is no right answer on this.   I understand those who are outraged at the lack of forward moving progress.  And I understand those who acknowledge what progress there has been.

    In the end, I don't imagine a solution that addresses both sides of the argument.   I do understand those who would like the president to refuse the meeting, but I tend to think that refusing the meeting doesn't solve this issue and gives us less time to address how to work with the new papal regime on how to make sure prevention going forward is in place, and how to work with them on reporting/etc.

    I do want to add something as well.. the meetings you talk about and reference as 'about protecting the vatican's money' are actually almost completely in reverse of that.   In the past, the Vatican Banking authority refused to disclose assets or value of assets to anyone.   The prior Pope, Pope Benedict, refused to disclose statements of worth to any outside banking authority which led to other european banks accusing the Vatican of nearly laundering money.  

    Pope Francis ordered a curia to provide to Italian and Swiss authorities a schedule of banking regularities.   This means, for the first time in any of our lifetimes, the church will account for it's wealth publically and allow outside audits.  

    This is probably going to be the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th big thing going on in the vatican because it is such a sweeping, monumental change in business practice that it has never been attempted before.  

    Pope Francis just fired most of the cardinals on the board of the Vatican Bank:

    http://www.reuters.com/...

    demanding more openness, and has not ruled out closing the bank altogether.

    I say this because while it's fair game to demand accountability and to chastise when deserved, it isn't really fitting to portray the current Pope as obsessed with monetary issues when he's the first pope in history to demand the bank provide accounting statements to international bodies.   Yep, the first... ever.  

    I think your key point of what has gone wrong in the catholic church is dead on.  And I think it will take a very long time to heal those issues.  As an atheist, I don't know if they can be.   But I also recognize the granular problems that make immediate redress very difficult, but can acknowledge positive movement for the first time in as long as I've been alive on several of these fronts.

    I guess in the end I come down to this: baby steps.

    No one should ever forget the tragedies that happened and children abused.  I think we have years before that is all over.   But I don't have anything that indicates the current sitting pope is/was an abuser, and refusing a meeting with him doesn't help expand the dialogue on future prevention and redressing the past.

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

    by Chris Reeves on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 05:53:56 AM PST

    •  I appreciate your comments but you are misinformed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fishtroller01, Don midwest

      on several points but I'll just cover two. First, this pope hasn't "reformed" Vatican finances which he wasn't forced to by the int'l financial community. All of his appointments are no more virtuous or engaged in "clean" finance than their predecessors. You can read my diary http://www.dailykos.com/...
      Second, the only time the Vatican worried about public opinion was when the Irish PM Enda Kenney closed his embassy to the Holy See in protest of the sex abuse scandal in Ireland.
      Believe me, nothing will pierce the PR armor built around Pope Francis like another "international incident."

      •  I think (6+ / 0-)

        That the way to interpret such events is very difficult to come up with something where I will say 'this is how it is'.   I've read your diaries before, and I appreciate the monumental amount of research and effort you put into them.

        Again, I have no skin in this fight, I'm not Catholic, I'm not a big booster of the pope (I too, wrote early before his tenure that I didn't expect much change) and much of the change has been far too mild for what I would perceive.

        That said, in regards to economic matters, we can argue whether these changes are by force, or by choice.. it's hard to know.   Outside regulators tried to force Pope Benedict, including refusing transfers to ATMs and shutting down wire transfers between the vatican bank, and Pope Benedict refused to make any changes, period.   So, whether or not the changes feel forced or not, it still takes someone to decide to go along.

        I value your viewpoint, as an atheist, I have my own views of organized faith.

        As a matter of principles of diplomatic status, though, I find that if we refuse to meet with people it rarely benefits.   Putin has led a regime which has promoted human trafficking (sex slave trade), promoted extortion, open violence and murder, and the like.  But if he wanted a meeting with Obama, I'd tell Obama to take that one to.  

        I think, due to the way in which some faiths work there will never be solutions of the kind that are truly just.   (thus why I am not religious) but I don't have a way to say 'there is no change' vs 'the change isn't enough'.

        Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

        by Chris Reeves on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 06:24:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Benedict appointed Von Freyburg and he is the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fishtroller01

          one changing the IOR to meet international regulations in order to stay in business. Francis is making changes which put the Vatican finances under his control .

          What do you really think Obama and Francis are going to accomplish other than photo ops meant to boost the prestige of each leader?

          •  Since I won't be in the meeting (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Satya1, lordcopper, marykk, bornadem

            I don't know.   But if just one word can be said.

            In regard to Von Freyburg, while appointed by Benedict - which was not a bad move at all, it wasn't until last year that the curia was given power to turn over officials for open prosecution, which is now ongoing.

            http://www.gmanetwork.com/...

            One of the most notorious is Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, a former Vatican prelate who worked in another Vatican department for 22 years and had close ties to the bank.

            Scarano is now on trial for an alleged plot to smuggle 20 million euros into Italy to help rich friends avoid taxes.

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

            In fact, since last year, according the Italian banking officials, the church has turned over documents that may link to several prosecutions.    

            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/...

            Last week, Pope Francis named five people to head a commission of inquiry into the bank, the Institute for Religious Works, or IOR, to get to the root of the problems that have plagued it for decades and mired the Vatican in scandal over the years.

            At the start of this week, the top two managers at the IOR resigned. Their boss, bank president Ernst von Freyberg, had just weeks earlier praised Paolo Cipriani and Massimo Tulli as 'truly happy' and helpful collaborators as the bank worked to comply with anti-money-laundering norms.

            Von Freyberg said it was clear that the bank needed new leadership 'to increase the pace' of the IOR's transformation - a suggestion that the two managers had in some way held back that transformation.

            And by the end of the week, von Freyberg was even more blunt in briefing the bank's board about the Scarano case.

            Without quoting a ton of articles, since last June, there have been 40 full investigations done with help of the Italian, Swiss and German banking authorities and a repatriation of about 40M+ Euros.

            This isn't perfect, and there is still a long way to go.  Like I said, I'm not catholic, but I feel as though the concept of 'nothing is happening' is not a valid way to approach this, more a 'not enough is happening' or 'more should be happening'.

            Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

            by Chris Reeves on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 06:48:56 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Again, I'm sorry you are misinformed. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Fishtroller01, Don midwest

              The curia has turned over NO ONE for prosecution either for sex abuse or financial crimes. Scarano was arrested by Italian authorities.

              The Vatican turned over documents to Italian authorities AFTER Scarano was arrested and because they want to mend fences with the Italian financial authorities. Shutting down the Deutsche Bank's Italian branch inside Vatican City has cost them a fortune, not to mention all the Vatican's other banking needs with Italy.

              I have not read that there has been "40 full investigations" of Vatican finances but how is that to the credit of Pope Francis if these investigations have been carried out by foreign banking authorities?

              I know you're not Catholic, but this diary was about how this affects ALL children. And I would hope you would care that children are being raped and sodomized and no one is doing anything about it.

              •  I think you're reading this not the way (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sturunner, marykk

                I have written it, either that or I'm not conveying this the correct way.

                In the past, the Church has protected it's members against prosecution from foreign bodies.   The turning over of documents to foreign authorities is something they haven't done prior, without which the upholding of a prosecution would be nearly impossible.

                The Vatican actually turned over documents prior to his indictment (July 2013) and the indictments (January, 2014) were based in part on the documents turned over, which EU investigators claimed were complete.   That's all I'm saying.

                Betty, I care greatly about rape and abuse.  I have worked in a battered women's shelter, and if you check my diaries, I've worked for more then 20 years as a sponsor for RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.   I've devoted a big part of my life to it.

                I recognize the horror of sex crimes, which occur often in America, and I've written and diaried about it here with great frequency.  

                I do care, I care a great deal.   I care about sexual abuse in Egypt where female genital mutiliation still occurs.  I care about sex abuse in Russia where sex-slaves are basically state sponsored and the sex slave trade had it's best year ever last year.

                I worry about the rape and abuse of minors, and our culture of shaming victims.  And I worry about victims who can't speak for themselves directly because of mental disability who face an underreported level of abuse.

                I care about all of those things, I care about them a great deal.  

                But I don't like the inference that 'no one is doing anything about it'.   As someone who has worked with RAINN, I can tell you that since last year, the policy of allowing priests to shuttle and quickly move has not been condoned from above; which has resulted in prosecutions in Poland, the Dominican Republican, and even arrests in the US.

                Is this situation perfect?  No.   As someone who gets the RAINN updates monthly, there are still sexual offenses that happen daily, ones that horrify and offend me.  

                Is enough being done?  No.  I believe the vatican can and should go much further.   I don't think they are doing remotely enough.    

                Do I think that avoiding a meeting gets us closer to that goal?  No.

                This is a problem that will take YEARS to address.   That will be unacceptable for a great many, but as an outsider, I can say that it is in the best case scenario how this will go.    

                It is also, at least, a situation where there are officials who are being more then slapped on the wrists, we've seen actual arrests, and we are finally starting to get a small peek beneath the veil.   Is it good enough?  No.  It's not good enough.

                But when I think about great catastrophes in Sexual Abuse, even though this ranks high, I have a more positive feeling about this now then I did say, a few years ago.  In comparison with the rapid rise of say, sex slavery in Russia, Thailand, Malaysia..

                I value your diary and rec'd it because you're calling attention to a problem that needs light put on it.   It's a problem that will not be solved for years to come.   It should always be a point of pressure.   And it can be a point of pressure as long as we keep talking.  

                If we stop talking, if we don't reach out and work with those who are trying to act as reformers - whether they are enough of a reformer or not - then we get nowhere.  I'm reminded of Gorbachev.   Gorbachev, then Russian leader was seen as a 'reformer' but too many outsiders commented that he wasn't moving fast enough, his failures on major issues (and there were a ton) but those reforms setup things.    Then again, when criticism of the eggs broken in those reforms took hold amongst the west, Russia retreated back to pre-reform era, and the rise in crime, illegal activities, etc. increased all over again, with a government that backed it.

                I think your diary is important.  I wouldn't have Rec'd it if I didn't think so.   I think more people need to make the argument you are making.   But I also think that we have to talk to them and to work to continue to encourage change.

                This may be a photo op event, as you note.. but if in that photo op just a few words can be said about US interest in working on this issue can be said, then it's worthwhile.   If this photo op inspires someone like you to diary about it to call attention to the problem, then that is also worth while.   There are a lot of people who don't pay attention to these, but you do, and this event gives you a better platform to reach more people.  I think all of that is good.

                It means more editorials will be written, more news articles published, and more attention on something you do care about.

                RAINN has always maintained that the best way to address these issues is to shine a light on them.   Even if the president and the pope say nothing about it, the media, yourself and others will use this occasional to highlight it.

                In the end, that's a net positive.  If there is no meeting, there is less reason to share commentary, to voice dissent.  It stays hidden in the closet and the  majority of the public doesn't care.

                I always say, embrace the platform when you have it.

                Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

                by Chris Reeves on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 07:52:03 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm quoting you back, so I don't think the problem (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Fishtroller01, Don midwest

                  is my reading. Here's part of the timeline on Scarano:

                  June 13: “Over the past few months, the Vatican’s contacts with Italy have been intense, many of them made through the discreet diplomacy of Italy’s ambassador to the Holy See, Francesco Greco. While Italian magistrates will probably have to deal with the wall of secrecy erected by the Vatican, a foreign power, attention still focuses on the actions of a number of IOR-related figures.” the Italian daily, Corriere della Sera reported.  
                  June 15: The Bank of Italy asked the Vatican’s FIA for information about a Msgr. Scarano.
                  June 26: Prosecutors in the southern city of Salerno placed Scarano under investigation for alleged money-laundering. Scarano came to the attention of authorities when he reported the theft of part of his art collection from his 7,500 sq. ft. luxury apartment in Salerno in 2012
                  July 7: The Salerno investigators have formally asked the Vatican bank – via Italy’s justice and foreign ministries – for information on a number of accounts there and more information about Scarano’s financial activities. When Scarano was arrested, the Vatican said it would cooperate with investigators. Salerno investigators said they had not yet received any information from the Vatican.

                  The reported theft was in 2012, so Italian investigators were on to Scarano long before any documents were handed over and, as I said, the Vatican's "cooperation" is very much in its own self interest. The above events were before Scarano's arrest and I would appreciate your citation that by Jan. 2014 "EU investigators claimed [documents] were complete."

                  Officials in the Catholic Church have not turned over any suspected priests to civil law enforcement agencies based on information only they held. Any cooperation has been after the fact, after the allegations became public or known to civil authorities.

                  I greatly admire your work, tmservo433, on behalf of RAINN. "Not condoning" is not good enough and has not led to any arrests in the countries you mentioned. According to evidence presented to the UN committee, there are countries where priests are still shuttled around.

                  No one with any clout is doing anything about challenging the Vatican's and Pope Francis' obstructing justice for the victims of sex abuse otherwise the Vatican's response to the UN report would not have been so egregious.

                   

                  •  I think the problem is (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Fishtroller01, Don midwest

                    That we are like ships in the night here.. I see your argument, I just disagree with the conclusion.   It doesn't mean I disagree with the argument.

                    You responded below, and I won't respond to both, because I feel it wastes both of our time.  

                    In the end, in your mind, the only thing that can salvage the Roman Catholic church is a monumental house cleaning or lining people up against a wall in a sense (NOT LITERALLY, I say that in reference to hitchhikers guide as more of a joking way to attribute a huge mass firing)

                    The problem is, I just don't forsee that happening.  It doesn't mean that it shouldn't, it means that no matter who the pontiff is, that is not a likely outcome.  If Pope Francis died tomorrow, and they appointed a new pope, I find it incredibly unlikely you would see a massive change on that, and I've diaried about that before.

                    The reported theft was in 2012, so Italian investigators were on to Scarano long before any documents were handed over and, as I said, the Vatican's "cooperation" is very much in its own self interest. The above events were before Scarano's arrest and I would appreciate your citation that by Jan. 2014 "EU investigators claimed [documents] were complete."
                    see, the problem with this analysis is that it represents a 'damned if you do'.    So what, they turned over documents  (and it was the right thing to do) there were ulterior motives to it.   Of course there were.   But they also had - in the past - refused to divulge those same documents in cases going back to the 80s.   They had full sovereign rights to refuse to turn them over as well, and they could have benefited from doing that as well.

                    There is nothing, considering this outlook, they could have done that would have in the end by this analysis been 'the right thing'  No matter what they did, they were wrong.

                    That's a hard road for anyone who walks in as a leader of a faith.  

                    Your right below that this is the first diary of yours I have read, and I read it because the title caught my eye and it is a subject I care about.   But just because we disagree on conclusions also doesn't make me - or you - the problem.

                    As an atheist, I don't buy into much religious stuff.  It's just not my bag.   But I've known good ministers/priests of multiple faiths as well as bad ones.  

                    You note in a comment below (I'm just going to respond to both here) that you don't care about mass media response/etc.   And all I can think is: that's a big part of the problem for years.   I do care.   I care a great deal.   For 10 years, it took organizations like RAINN a long time before major media would even pay attention to stories of rape and sexual abuse.  A LONG time.   For years in the 90s, it was treated as a bit of a 'guffaw' kind of moment when you raised sexual abuse issues, back page of the paper crime reports, nothing more.   But campaigning, awareness and an outreach to get people to talk about the issues meant a lot.  In large part, it meant that people knew that they could report rape or sexual abuse and that people would be there for them.

                    Rape, sexual abuse, and other crimes happen every day in the US.  Not just inside the catholic church but in every area, by lots of people.   We write diaries about it here too.  The appearance of the pope on US soil gives a lot of media a reason to write about what has happened with the cases that were ongoing before.   It gives us a chance to remind people that this isn't a problem that has been solved.

                    I say this because, despite my perceived not skilled look at the donor platforms, I'm quite aware of numerous serious donors and people who have put a lot of time and money into the help of promoting awareness into sexual crimes and abuses in the US of all areas of faiths, of all forms.  

                    Events like this give them a chance to make their case to the public loudly and with a full throat.

                    We do not always agree, but you and I want the same thing.   We want criminals brought to justice, we want to see crimes prosecuted.   We want fewer sexual offenses across the board.

                    You feel as though rejecting this meeting accomplishes that.   I feel as though keeping this meeting gives us a chance to raise these issues again.  

                    You are not hopeful that there will be change.   I remain somewhat hopeful.

                    The problem is, neither of us are really proposing much of a plan.   If the pope left, there is no plan of action for those who want more steps taken, it is far more likely that a reactionary conservative pope would be appointed then a more liberal one.   If the current pope stays, shunning the visit at least in my view does little to change the current outcome.

                    Is there a right answer?  I don't know if there is.  But it's a discussion worth having.

                    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

                    by Chris Reeves on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 11:01:14 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

  •  Important diary, thanks. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmservo433, sturunner, Fishtroller01

    You don't idealize this current pope, which sets you apart from a good many around here.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 05:56:50 AM PST

  •  Maybe the Pope should cancel, too (8+ / 0-)

    The use of drones to kill people comes to mind first, and I'm pretty sure there are aspects of the NSA issue that violate Church teachings.

    But I'm with tmservo433. What is to be gained by not talking? We can't forget the tragedies, but it seems to me that what you're worried about is that the President won't bring them up when he talks to Pope Francis. I'm not idealizing either man, thank you.

    •  Child sex abuse has deatroyed far more lives, not (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gffish, Fishtroller01, Don midwest

      to mention those of girls and women deprived of health care  and gays who are being killed for who they are. Add in the Church's unfailing support of the Republican Party and all plutocratic parties and governments around the world and the resulting suffering and premature deaths. In comparison, Obama looks far better than the pope.

      What is to be gained by not talking? What more is there to be said? A symbolic stand by an international leader against child sex abuse is a step forward for all our children.

      •  Catholics are not uniformly republican. (6+ / 0-)
        Add in the Church's unfailing support of the Republican Party and all plutocratic parties and governments around the world and the resulting suffering and premature deaths.
        No church in the US has directly donated to either party.  If they did, I'd campaign for them to not be a church.  

        In fact, Roman Catholics, in poll after poll, voted Democratic in the last few presidential elections (54%) in comparison to protestant faiths (47%).   Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that's what is being preached at them, but it's hard to say that an entire church backs a specific political group.   Doing so doesn't help the democratic party, either, which relies on those 20-30+ Million Catholic voters every four years.  (out of 68M catholics, but those who are eligible and based on models likely make up voting samples)  

        The church has numerous opinions I find heinous that are unlikely to change.  Which is why I am happy to remain non-religious.  

        The better move might be to take the meeting, and in the press conference after, point ou that the US government is still very interested in redressing years of sexual abuse and wrongdoings, and hopes that we can work to address that.   I'm OK with making that meeting uncomfortable.   I just don't know what cancelling it - which may bother those up to 30M democratic voters who thinks that maybe some change may be happening won't be so assured if we do nothing.

        In regards to sexual abuse, we also have to remember Catholics aren't alone, not even by a long shot.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

        hey do offend at a higher rate. But because this country is predominantly Protestant, more children are abused by Protestant ministers than by Catholic priests. In 1990, the Freedom from Religion Foundation issued a study on pedophilia by clergy. At that time, two clergy per week were being arrested in North America for sex crimes against children. Fifty-eight percent of them were Protestant.
        Sexual abuse occurs as a function of: Trust, Availability, Power.  It occurs in many organizations.   Some have made very serious efforts to do something direct about it (United Methodists a good example)  Some have not.  

        But it's hard to renounce all members of any given faith based on the acts of even a large number.   I'd feel the same for those who would admonish all muslims on the basis of leadership saying that beating women/etc. was allowable.   If Iran's religious leadership - who has previously made statements about the direct "inferiority of women" as they put it - wanted a meeting, I'd take that one too.  

        They may be heinous, but this is a president who went into office in 2008 saying he would meet with anyone, because talking was important.

        http://wizbangblog.com/...

        We said we'd meet with Iran.  We'd meet with North Korea.  We'd meet with anyone.

        I believe, like you, that this issue is very important.   But if we don't talk, we don't necessarily do much to improve the situation.

        I value your diary because I think it is very heartfelt and because I think you do a lot of great, great research.  I just disagree on the application.   Doesn't stop me from T&R'ing you, because I think this is a good discussion that should be had here.. and I wish there were more like it where tough questions came up and we could has through them.  :)

        Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

        by Chris Reeves on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 06:41:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Catholic prelates and their big donors ARE (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fishtroller01

          uniformly Republican. I'm sorry I didn't make the distinction on a website of politically savvy readers.

          No, the bishops don't give directly to the GOP. That's what "dark money" is all about. Every state battle on abortion and same sex marriage is heavily funded by Church officials' dark money with the purpose of drawing Republican voters to the polls.

          Did you read what Marci Hamilton wrote? The SOL battles are being financed by the Catholic bishops and yes, it effects all American children. That's my point.

          No where have I renounced "all members" of the Catholic Church.

          What's talking going to accomplish?? The only thing which has ever given the Vatican concern is when Irish PM Enda Kenney closed his embassy to the Holy See.

          This president went into office saying he would talk to anyone but has changed his mind after five years of GOP obstructionism. He is never going to "talk" the pope and his men into ceasing the systemic and global rape of children.

          •  My reply got eaten here.. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            UnionMade, marykk
            Catholic prelates and their big donors ARE
            uniformly Republican. I'm sorry I didn't make the distinction on a website of politically savvy readers.
            I consider myself fairly politically savvy, and I can tell you, I reject this notion out of hand.    The implication that 'Catholic big donors are all Republicans' is a cannard that is used to call out one faith in denial of the reality that big donors to many faiths are also Republican.. or that big donors to many faiths are also Democrat.  They are not uniformly anything.

            When we say things like that we bash the reality of the situation.   Your implication that 'their big donors are uniformly democrat' is on the basis of specific donors.

            I've got the numbers in front of me, and in the last cycle, Catholic donors - even big ones - donated quite well to both parties.  

            We elected a Roman Catholic governor, Terry McAuliffe, in Virginia.  as far as being a rich plutocrat, as much as I'd love to say no, there's one who lined up tons of donors.

            Did you read what Marci Hamilton wrote? The SOL battles are being financed by the Catholic bishops and yes, it effects all American children. That's my point.

            No where have I renounced "all members" of the Catholic Church.

            This is a term difference.  When you say above:
            Add in the Church's unfailing support of the Republican Party and all plutocratic parties and governments around the world and the resulting suffering and premature deaths.
            Most of us, even outsiders see a church as not buildings or leadership, but the entirety of the population.  You have to think about how people who will read this will think about this.   It was a minor slip, but you're right, I didn't interpret it the way you presented.   When you say "the Church's unfailing support of the Republican party AND all the plutocratic parties" I separate the two, which is why I said:  hold up, lots of democrats are Catholic.

            That's all.  

            Again, I said this above better, but I tend to believe that if there was no meeting, no talk, no nothing then you would have no reason for this diary.   News papers would not run stories about this.   The story would take a backpage and fewer people would pay attention.

            Even if nothing gets said out of the meeting you want to hear, that is a positive.

            Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

            by Chris Reeves on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 08:26:54 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Again, you misquote me. I didn't write "Catholic (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Fishtroller01, Don midwest

              donors", I wrote big donors to Catholic bishops. All religions are exempt from having to file financial reports according to their 501c3 tax status. So no one knows who contributes to the bishops only that they have millions to spend fighting SOL legislation and on anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage campaigns. You know that money is not coming from Democrats.

              For those who have followed the 21st century presidential campaigns and other US elections, there is no question but that the US episcopate supports the Republican Party. Yes, I should have written Church officials and not just the Church. My mistake.

              If you have the "numbers in front of you," and you believe those numbers give the complete picture of who funds our elections, than you are not "politically savvy."

              I don't expect any of my diaries to appear in the corporate media, thank you.

               

  •  Francis has done NOTHING for the (0+ / 0-)

    abused children and NOTHING ABOUT those still in power within the church who covered it up. But everybody is all excited that he canned a bishop in Germany for the sin of materialism.

    Obama does nothing for himself with this meeting. He's not running again, so he doesn't need the catholic vote. But Francis has much riding on these photo ops, so all the President is doing is cementing the age old political power mongoring of the RCC and giving it new legs.

    I am totally disgusted by this, but then it's no surprise with Obama... he hasn't a clue when it comes to religious issues, particularly separation of church and state.

    There is ANOTHER reason why Obama should not meet with Francis.  The PR on this meeting says that they have a mutual interest in the issue of elminating poverty.  One of the key causes of poverty is a lack of access for women and families to birth control and other reproductive services.  Having too many children burdens the whole family trying to climb out of poverty and burdens the healh and welfare of the mothers.  Obama should take Francis to task on this. But he won't. He has shown some gumption on the birth control issue in the US with the American bishops, but he wont' dare bring it up with Francis.  

    So this meeting has TWO reasons not to take place.

    •  Well said. Obama and Kerry are the 2 US politician (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fishtroller01

      who should know better than anyone else (because of the vitrolic attacks against both as presidential candidates by the US bishops) that there is nothing for Obama to gain from this meeting. The US episcopate is going to continue supporting GOP candidates no matter if there is a meeting.

      The Pope is NOT dedicated to eradicating poverty, only giving handouts and hands up to the poor. We know this because he opposed the Kirschners in Argentina and he keeps appointing and promoting pro-plutocratic prelates.

    •  Nothing? (0+ / 0-)

      Interesting definition of "nothing".  He's done more than his predecessors in this regard.

  •  The Pope needs to clean house in the Vatican (0+ / 0-)

    before he stands a chance at making serious change occur outside the Vatican. So far he is going in the right direction.

    •  He has not "cleaned" house, only put his own (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fishtroller01

      men in to replace those loyal to his predecessor. There is not ONE Bergoglio appointment who has any track record as being morally or ethically superior to the man being replaced.

      •  Is this because they have no track record (0+ / 0-)

        At all, or because there are provable flaws with them?  That would be a significant difference.

        We also have to remember the pope cannot act with full autonomy.  He cannot decree things out of a magic hat.  In order to promote people to those positions, they must also exist in other positions.   IE, he can't just grab the right guy off the street who may be perfect.. but isn't a bishop or a cardinal already... the rules prevent that.

        So, it may take years, decades, to get people into any position to change that.

        Which is partly why I'm happy to be a non-believer ;)  I can just say the whole thing is nuts.

        Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

        by Chris Reeves on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 08:29:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Forensic accountants with Interpol for example (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fishtroller01

          or people employed by governments in screening for compliance with financial regulations have "track records." I really don't believe you have read my diaries otherwise you would already know that he has brought in many experts in finances, but none with of a more virtuous or moral history than those he is replacing.

          Yes, the Pope CAN degree things out of a magic hat. although he wouldn't. He is the dictator.

  •  While I am no fan of authoritarian churches (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VirginiaJeff, marykk

    This Pope is way better than I would have expected.  He has been a reformer in many ways and I am unwilling to hold the past against him. He may help Democrats by peeling some Catholics away from the RW with his anti Randian comments.

    Never promote men who seek after a state-established religion; it is spiritual tyranny--the worst of despotism. It is turnpiking the way to heaven by human law, in order to establish ministerial gates to collect toll. John Leland

    by J Edward on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 07:57:00 AM PST

  •  Presidents meet all the time... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmservo433, VirginiaJeff, marykk

    ...with world leaders with less than stellar records.  Maybe Obama will take the opportunity to press the Pope on addressing the UN's concerns.  Besides, this has never been entirely about the Pope.  In cases of abuse, nothing can prevent a victim from coming forward, the police arresting, and the state prosecuting the alleged offenders.  There is no special protection for the Church, at least here.  There is not benefit of clergy, prelates and priests do not enjoy diplomatic immunity as if they are all agents of the Vatican, and churches and dioceses are not exempt from subpoening their records.  The Church moves slower than a lot of us like on a lot of things, but I'm inclined to praise whatever progress we can get rather than condemn what isn't moving fast enough for our liking.

    •  I agree that presidents meet all the time, but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fishtroller01

      I believe that actions speak louder than words. There is nothing to be gained, nothing negotiated, no trade considerations for the US to make with the Vatican.

      Regardless of the past, it IS entirely about the Pope now. He is the dictator of the Holy See and makes all policy and appointments. He appoints all the bishops. The bishops train, ordain and guide the ecclesial careers of the priests.

      As far as "nothing can prevent a victim from coming forward" please reread Hamilton's explanation of why statutes of limitations are so important.

      Not moving fast enough is not good enough for current and future victims.

  •  What's next, refusing to meet with Hassan Rouhani? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk

    Stomping our feet and refusing to meet world leaders we don't approve of (and the Pope is a world leader) is what conservatives want us to do.  I want Obama to meet the Pope. And I want him to meet the president of Iran, Vladimir Putin, etc.

    I'm a Christian, therefore I'm a liberal.

    by VirginiaJeff on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 10:13:39 AM PST

    •  There are legitimate national interests to be (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fishtroller01

      served in meeting with other civil leaders - energy, defense, trade, alliances.

      There is nothing of pressing interest to our national interest in the Vatican except that the Pope's appointments of US bishops, other prelates and his own example continue to put kids in harms way and prevent their obtaining justice.

      It's a point that Pope Bergoglio could learn: Actions speak louder than words.

      •  But your diary isn't about the U.S.'s relative (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marykk

        political interest in either the Vatican or the Pope.  It's just a diatribe about how the Pope is morally undeserving of a meeting with the president.  

        I'm a Christian, therefore I'm a liberal.

        by VirginiaJeff on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 01:22:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't know about the President (0+ / 0-)

          but I would agree that the Pope is morally undeserving of feeding off the PR this will bring him. Gotta say, the tactics of hiring former Fox news reporters to manipulate the media is working quite well for Francis.  The fact that Betty even has to write this speaks to the fact that we are forgetting the church abuse/cover up issue about as fast as we are forgetting the kids killed in CT and the gun issue.

          •  A lot of world leaders are morally undeserving (0+ / 0-)

            of the PR that comes with meeting the President.  I don't think that should be the criteria.

            I'm a Christian, therefore I'm a liberal.

            by VirginiaJeff on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 01:57:23 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  But they head actual countries. (0+ / 0-)

              We NEVER should have recognized the Vatican as an official state in the world.  AU (Americans United for Separation of Church and State) fought that idea big time.  But Reagan needed the catholic vote.  You know what the biggest arrogance of all of this is? The Vatican is the only "state" in the world that is allowed to tell us who to appoint as our ambassador to them. Plus the pope is the only head of a state who can't be indicted for crimes.  

              The whole arrangement stinks.

              •  Obama met with the Dalai Lama today. (0+ / 0-)

                What official state does he lead?

                I'm a Christian, therefore I'm a liberal.

                by VirginiaJeff on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 06:06:20 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Obama meets with all kinds of (0+ / 0-)

                  other types of leaders, official and symbolic, who represent certain kinds of issues within different regions and countries.  We don't have official State Dept. ambassadorship type relations with the Dalai Lama. This is a different situation.

                  Look, the Irish government seemed to have the cojones to stand up to the Vatican after receiving the official reports on the hundreds of thousands of kids abused in catholic schools in their country. They withdrew their ambassadors and complained bitterly about the RCC in the public media.  So why couldn't our President do the same?

  •  Perhaps the President (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VirginiaJeff, marykk

    intends to make his views forcefully  known at this meeting.  Despite all you write, Betty, which may indeed be  100% true, the fact is that Pope Francis enjoys  popularity & good will in this country among both Catholics & non-Catholics.  The Pope isn't  only a representative of child-raping priests, but of all Catholics.

    "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

    by DJ Rix on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 11:30:02 AM PST

    •  BTW, I reside in Newark Archdiocese (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marykk

      of the notorious, despicable  John Myers. My own Catholic mayor of a large city goes on Facebook & demands that Myers resign. The major newspaper, Star-Ledger,  editorially demands he resign, a rare thing  for a mainstream newspaper to do.  To no avail, so far.

      "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

      by DJ Rix on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 11:35:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The fact that Francis enjoys such popularity (0+ / 0-)

      speaks mostly to the fact that the American people are not paying attention to what is actually going on in the Vatican and they are paying too much attention to the manipulated media hype.   There are European journalists who are very much on top of the shenanigans and fluff being generated out of the "Holy See", but they don't make headlines here.   In fact, some of the most critical writing comes out of Italy.

  •  Be rude to the Pontiff -- that'll play well (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VirginiaJeff

    on Fox. The Catholic League will base a  national fundraiser around the sound bites ...  they'll light thousands of candles in thanksgiving for the propaganda opportunity.

    Remember, this is the President who "hates religion" and has a liberal secular "agenda." -  a "secret Moslem" who "wasn't even born in this Country."

    Besides:  if he can  meet  behind closed doors with Republican shot-callers ... he can meet openly with the head of the Vatican State -- and not suffer too much in the way of existential contamination.

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