The Choice for Chicago

Pope Francis’ choice to replace Cardinal Francis George is Bishop Blase Cupich who will leave the Diocese of Spokane, Washington, to take over the helm at the Archdiocese of Chicago.  

Apropos of nature’s season of changing colors, Cupich’s official outerwear will undoubtedly change from magenta to red in the not too distant future, again significantly ratcheting up his influence within the Church’s internal structure.  

There will be mountains of words written about this choice now, at his installation, and at the time of the change-of-color events.     

For now, deep into this crisis of monumental proportions with a huge Vatican public relations operation underway, we think the proof still remains in the pudding. 

No matter what descriptive label is affixed to this choice, or parallel peering into the motivations of Pope Francis, or turn in the road that may be imagined or real, we think it suffices to say only these two words: we’ll see.     

* Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition, Kristineward@hotmail.com   

 

Hold the Applause, Please

EDITORIAL

Hold the Applause, Please

We considered not saying anything about the homily delivered by Pope Francis yesterday or the Vatican’s comments about the private meetings he held with six survivors from Ireland, Germany and Great Britain.

Silence for what was, in essence, another round of someday we are going to do something – just you wait – theater seemed the most appropriate match to the events.

It is possible that many of our readers will think we should have stuck with our initial reaction

As the day flowed on and news outlets including the Vatican carried the full text of the homily and characterizations of Father Frederic Lombardi’s comments, we changed our mind.

We changed it in large measure because silence practiced and nearly perfected by the Vatican is a foundational block of why sexual abuse by priests and nuns and the octopus of its cover-up still hangs like the sword of Damocles over the Roman Catholic Church today.

We changed it.   We believe every voice should be raised to rail against the missed opportunity the day presented.

We changed it because of a growing feeling that the possibility existed the real outcome of the day may be spreading of the illusion for Catholics in the pews and indeed men and women of goodwill who seek good intent from this pope that movement was taking place and accountability was happening.

We ask Catholics in the pews and men and women of goodwill to look hard, look deeper, look for the real and ask themselves what has changed in the past 24 hours in regard to sexual abuse.

First, we believe it is important to say that the survivors should not have been asked for anything by the  pope – including forgiveness – no matter how pleasant the pope, how well turned the phrase, how Scripturally linked, how beautifully spoken the ask.

This is not about the forgiveness of the survivors.

This is about what the chief authority in a worldwide institution can and should do about the rape and sodomy of children and its aftermath by the men and women whom the institution gave power to, and sustains with power, and the men and women in the institution who actively blocked aiding these children both as children and as adults and who are complicit not only in sin but in crime.

If this pope – or any pope wanted or wants an accountable Church regarding sexual abuse by priests and nuns, he can have it. He can order it. He can create it. He can make it happen. This simple fact cannot and should not be lost, swept away in lovely language, or overshadowed by gesture.

Eleven years ago, Pope John Paul II said, “ People need to know that there is no place in the priesthood and religious life for those who would harm the young.”  Yesterday, Pope Francis made nearly an  identical statement. Full text of the homily:

Full text of Pope John Paul II’s statement http://www.vatican.va/resources/resources_american- cardinals-2002_en.html

How is it that this Church cannot get to the place where these words mean something?

Francis referred to the “sins of omission” that had covered up the crisis. These were not sins of omission. The cover-up by popes, cardinals, and bishops and heads of religious orders was not and is not a passive activity. It was and is intentional and actively worked at and intently created and sustained.

Francis pledged accountability by his Church.

One need look no further than the weekend’s announcement that the Vatican would not turn over the documents requested by the Royal Commission in Australia or closer that the continued sitting of Bishop Robert Finn at the head of the Diocese of Kansas City- St. Joseph to doubt this statement.

In its simplest fashion, yesterday could have been a signal call to Catholics by the Pope to do as he does — to open their parishes that have remained in overwhelmingly large measure cold and castigating toward sexual abuse victims. But he did not do so.

We ask Catholics and men and women of goodwill to examine the events of yesterday and to hold both Pope Francis and the chief architect of the day, Cardinal Sean O’Malley to account.

— Kristine Ward, Chair National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) KristineWard@hotmail.com

Curious and Curious-er

EDITORAL

 

It’s a mighty rare occasion when in this space we take up for a bishop.

But we think that about 5,000 of them got quite an unfair swipe during Pope Francis’ airborne press conference on his way back from the Holy Land.

We are not shedding many tears about that but we do ask: Why aren’t the about 5,000 bishops in the world who aren’t under investigation asking who is at the top of their now under suspicion lungs?

Why should people have to guess about it?

Why is a cloudy picture left of whether  these bishops abused or aided and abetted abusers – and/or or both?

How can Catholics or any men and women of goodwill in the world buy this as progress in the resolving of the sexual abuse crisis?

If any President, Speaker of the House, President Pro Tem of the Senate and/or Chief Justice of the United States or any Associate Justice dropped into a press conference that three members of the United States Congress, three United States Ambassadors, three Justices of the Supreme Court, three members of the White House senior staff were under investigation for crimes, didn’t name them but said one of them was found guilty but the decider of punishment did know what it should be — who would stand for this? Let alone think the sayer was swell?

And why doesn’t a Pope know how to punish a bishop who has been, in Francis’ words, “found guilty?”

Bishops and cardinals are created and sustained in their positions because a Pope created and sustains them.

If a bishop or a cardinal is found guilty of a crime a Pope needs to remove them from office.

Why is this hard?

We know, as do our readers, Pope Francis’ comments on the sexual abuse crisis included his announcement that he would meet with survivors.

To that, we heartily suggest that Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who is organizing this meeting,  listen to what  Bernie McDaid a survivor who was part of a Pope Benedict/survivors “meeting”  has to say about that meeting . To quote McDaid, it was “weird.”

At the end of this curious and curious-er press conference in the air, we can’t possibly fathom what Pope Francis could mean when we speaks about  “zero tolerance.”

For a man who doesn’t know how to punish a guilty bishop what could zero really mean?

— Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) KristineWard@hotmail.com

Prayer-and-Penance-Sanctioned Priest and Death Honors

EDITORIAL

 The Vatican’s United Nations Envoy Monsignor Tomasi revealed during the UN hearings earlier this week that in the last 10 years 848 priests were laicized and 2,572 were sanctioned and ordered to live a life of prayer and penance.

Here’s a link to one of the news stories:

https://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/23287624/vatican-has-shown-total-commitment-in-anti-abuse-fight/

Here is the obituary of a priest of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati who died May 3. He was “sanctioned” as a “prayer and penance” priest.

 The Reverend Francis A. “Father Frank” Massarella(May 16, 1915 – May 3, 2014)
Massarella, The Reverend Francis A. “Father Frank” 98 of Dayton, OH passed away at Siena Woods Nursing Home, Dayton, OH on Saturday, May 3, 2014.  Born May 16, 1915 to John and Antonette {Parisi} Massarella.  He is preceded in death by his parents and 4 brothers; Matthew, Clarence, Joseph and Angelo Massarella.  He is survived by his nieces Rosemary Fogarty, Annette Shea and Alice Massarella; and nephew Joseph Massarella.

Father Massarella did his preparatory studies at St. Gregory Seminary and studied theology at Mt. St. Mary Seminary of the West. He was ordained a priest by Archbishop John T. McNicholas at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Norwood, Ohio on June 7, 1941.  He worked with the Glenmary Home Missioners, 1941-1945 before entering the Trappist Monastery at Gethsemane, KY, 1945-1951. On May 25, 1951 he was appointed Assistant Chaplain at Good Samaritan Hospital, Cincinnati. In June 1952 he was appointed Assistant at Saint Mary Parish, Piqua and its two mission parishes. Later that year he was appointed Assistant at Guardian Angels Parish, Cincinnati and to the faculty of McNicholas High School.  On January 27, 1953 he was appointed Assistant at Saint Patrick Parish, Cincinnati. In 1954 he was appointed Assistant at Saint Mary Parish, Springfield and Chaplain of the Civil Air Patrol.  Father Massarella was then appointed Assistant at Saint Edward Parish, Cincinnati and to the faculty of DePorres High School. In 1956 he was appointed Chaplain to Siena Retirement Home in Dayton. He also served for approximately 40 years at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Tipp City before retirement in 2002.

Reception of the body will take place at 9:00 AM on Friday, May 9, 2014 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 753 S. Hyatt St., Tipp City, OH with Reverend R. Marc Sherlock, Celebrant. Visitation will continue until time of Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 AM at the church, Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr, Celebrant and Reverend R. Marc Sherlock, Homilist. Rite of committal will follow in St. John’s Cemetery, Tipp City. Contributions may be made in loving memory of Father Frank to St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. Arrangements have been entrusted to FRINGS AND BAYLIFF FUNERAL HOME 327 W. Main St., Tipp City, OH 45371.

Here is the link to the funeral home’s website:

http://www.fringsandbayliff.com/fh/home/home.cfm?fh_id=12230

 Seems no priestly honors in death are part of “prayer and penance” priest sanctions.

So while, on the one hand, the Vatican touts its “numbers” for taking action against priests who abused would you think from this obituary, the picture and the planned services that anything went awry here – let alone abuse?

 A former Vatican diplomat, Father Daniel Pater, also a priest of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, who is neither ill,  infirmed, nor elderly, is also a priest on the “sanctioned” list.

In his description of “prayer and penance” priests, Monsignor Tomasi failed to include that continuing to pay these priests is part of the “prayer and penance” status.

Pater settled out of court with a victim in 1993. It didn’t stop him from climbing the Vatican’s diplomatic ladder. Only the aftermath of the Boston incarnation of the scandal did that. He was removed from ministry in 2006 after news media exposure by the Dallas Morning News. . He was placed on the prayer and penance list this year.

These are items Catholics may wish to keep in mind – or you may wish to remind Catholics about — when diocesan appeals that include priest retirement funds are in full marketing swing. Think a bit of a push back on where the money goes from these appeals is in order?

— Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) KristineWard@hotmail.com

Media Release

National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC)

Statement on the Conclusion of the Meeting of Pope Francis’ Commission on Sexual Abuse

For Immediate Release

Dayton, OH

May 3, 2014

We now have a commission that’s met.

That is the only thing that’s happened.

All of those who have protected priest and religious sister perpetrators remain safely in their positions of authority in the Church, except the dead ones. And for that, the Lord, not a Pope, took action.

The commission’s words are lovely: hope, future, accountability, education, best practices – and the ever popular: some where off in the future we are going to do something.

Where’s the beef?

This is more like pheasant under glass – ritzy, protected, and not nourishing for the masses.

We hope the commission enjoyed their three days in Rome, it’s a marvelous city but — no child is safer.

It is interesting to note, that while Cardinal O’Malley, says the commission will be proposing that bishops will be held accountable, notably absent (according to news reports) from the Vatican Congregations/commission/authorities with whom the commission had contact, was the Congregation for Bishops.

The status quo couldn’t be quo-er.

— Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition, NSAC, KristineWard@hotmail.com 937-272-0308

(National Survivor Advocates Coalition is an all volunteer organization of in-the-pew Catholics and men and women of goodwill advocating for justice for survivors and their families and working for the protection of children and the education of society regarding sexual abuse by those in religious authority)  

A Large Omission and a Second Chance

EDITORIAL

We note with great chagrin today our large omission of the work that SNAPAustralia has and is doing and our failure to speak about in the editorial It’s a Small World After All which ran in NSAC News Thursday 5/1/14.

SNAPAustralia precedes the Royal Commission by three years shining a light on the search for truth, and being a determined effort to let victims and their families know they are not alone.

With our apology, we say hats off to SNAPAustralia’s coordinator and webmaster, Steven Spaner.

On the SNAPAustralia.org site you will find great information about the Royal Commission, including Public Hearings webcasts, and the Announcements of Issue Papers and Submission, as well as a running news briefing on the many angles of the crisis in Australia and the testimonies of victims.

Our omission does afford us the opportunity to repeat our call to all of our readers and all of those to whom they forwarded this message and yesterday’s edition of NSAC News –this being a gentle reminder to do it, if you haven’t.

It is a small world and it is no stretch of reality at all to consider that children in the United States were and can be in harm’s way by acts of Australian priests, brothers and religious sisters, as well as Australian children from United States priests, brothers and religious sisters who have been stationed in Australia.

Once again, let us make clear that we are not saying that every Australian priest, brother and religious sister who came to the United States or United States priests, brothers and religious sisters who were stationed in Australia abused children. But there is evidence that the molestation of children knows no borders.

There is now an openness in Australia to be in strong pursuit of the truth about the rape and sodomy of children.

We ask you again to consider that you may be the only person on earth able to initiate the contact that will give a survivor or a survivor’s family hope and some measure of peace and certainly a message that they are not alone and that justice may be possible.

A small effort may have an Everest of an effect in an individual life.

— Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition, NSAC, KristineWard@hotmail.com

It’s a SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL

Editorial

Australia may seem like a million miles away from you.

It really isn’t.

In as-the-crow-flies miles, it’s:

  • 9,946 miles from New York City
  • 10,102 miles from Boston
  • 9,072 miles from Chicago
  • 7,497miles from Los Angeles
  • 8,896 miles from Dallas

And in case you’re interested, it’s:

  • 5,568 miles from Beijing
  • 4,609 miles from the South Pole, Antarctica
  • 7,560 miles from Nairobi
  • 10,075 miles from Quebec City
  • 10,153 miles from Rome
  • 7,339 miles from Buenos Aires

Compared to a million that’s not so far.

In the modern world of air travel and communications, Australia is even closer than you think.  You probably know someone that’s been there on a vacation or who does business there or someone who has come to the United States from Australia on vacation or to work.

In January 2013 Australia set up a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Australia is serious, it appears from the diligence of its work, about finding survivors and learning from them.  It also appears to be serious about protecting its children.

Here is the Commission’s description of itself:

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is investigating how institutions like schools, churches, sports clubs and government organisations have responded to allegations and instances of child sexual abuse.

It is the job of the Royal Commission to uncover where systems have failed to protect children so it can make recommendations on how to improve laws, policies and practices.

The Royal Commission is about creating a safer future for children. It can look at any private, public or non-government organisation that is, or was in the past, involved with children. This includes where an organisation caring for a child is responsible for the abuse or for not responding appropriately, regardless of where or when the abuseoccurred.

The Commission offers a variety of ways that survivors may tell their stories:

  • Private in person sessions with a Commissioner
  • In writing
  • In interviews

The details may be found on the commission’s website:

http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/share-your-story/private-sessions

What NSAC wishes to encourage is the dissemination of information that the Royal Commission is sitting, is actively seeking survivors, and appears to be listening.  Day after day there are news stories about the testimony of survivors in Australia.

Think you don’t know anyone who may have been abused by a cleric or nun in Australia – or a religious authority figure who came to Australia from the United States and abused in the States?

Think again.  Really, we mean it. We are urgently calling upon you to think about it.

Religious order members, priests, brothers and nuns have been assigned throughout the world by their religious communities.

A Marianist brother who served in Dayton, Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Bernard Hartman is facing trial in Australia in April of 2015 on 18 charges of abuse.

In 2011 one of his accusers went public and the Marianist brother returned to Australia in 2013 to face charges. A court in Melbourne found sufficient evidence to set the trial date.

The Marianist Province of the United States first learned of the accusations against him in 1997, removed him from a high school teaching position in Pittsburgh and sent him to a treatment center. The Marianist Order says he was not returned to educational ministry and the Marianist Provincial said in a newspaper interview in March 2014 that Hartman  “ was assigned to internal ministry under a safety plan.”

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/03/22/Former-North-Catholic-teacher-charged/stories/201403220087#ixzz30PddbEgI

http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/news/crime-law/former-dayton-marianist-brother-facing-charges-in-/nZnwP/

Australian priests also came to the United States.

Broken Rites details the case of Paul David Ryan, an Australian priest who made seven trips to the United States where he was connected to parishes. Ryan was convicted by an Australian court and sentenced to prison. There are known victims of Paul David Ryan from the parish where he served in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He also lived for a time in a parish in Dayton, OH.

http://www.brokenrites.org.au/drupal/node/54

(Ryan was convicted before the seating of the Royal Commission)

Broken Rites has been researching the cover-up of sexual abuse in Australia by the Roman Catholic Church since 1993.

NSAC uses these two examples to emphasize that there can be victims of rape and sodomy by a priest, brother or religious sister who served in Australia or an Australian priest, brother or religious sister who came to the United States and lived in a parish you were part of or you know people who were or are parishioners.

NSAC is not saying that every priest, brother or religious sister who came to the United States from Australia or who went to Australia from the States abused.

But NSAC is asking you to think about this. To talk about it with people you know. To ask questions. To forward NSAC News. To work for justice. To seek to protect children.  To open conversations. To get other people to think.

Please disseminate the information about Australia’s Royal Commission.

You may be the only person on earth able to help ease a particular survivor’s pain and burden and give that survivor the opportunity to consider contacting the Royal Commission.

The royal commission can also be found on Facebook and also on Twitter @CARoyalComm #shareyourstory.

It’s a small world after all.

— Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) KristineWard@hotmail.com

When the Saints Go Marching In

COMMENTARY

We have questions for the participants, the faithful, and the observers of Sunday’s double hitter canonization scheduled to elevate to sainthood Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII.

Here they are:

  1. The Vatican says there are no documents that show Pope John Paul II was involved in the case of the Legion of Christ founder Father Marciel Maciel In the two decades plus of a standing Saturday appointment with Pope John Paul II, why didn’t Pope Benedict XVI when he was Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith tell Pope John Paul:

a) about Maciel?

b) about the myriad cases of sexual abuse funneling into the Congregation?

  1. Will some one lean over, shout out, text him, email him and/or hold up a sign at the ceremony and ask him?
  2. Why didn’t Pope John Paul’s longtime aide Cardinal Stanislaus Dziwisz who now talks openly about the “rumors going around” about Maciel tell Pope John Paul?
  3. Will some one lean over, shout out, text him, email him and/or hold up a sign at the ceremony and ask him?
  4. Why didn’t the Prefect of the Congregation for Religious (congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life after a name change) Archbishop Piergiorgio Silvano Nesti tell him? The courageous former Legionnaires, including Juan Vaca, sent their filing to the Congregation in 1999 when Nesti was the Prefect. Why didn’t subsequent Prefects tell him? Does any one believe that Prefects don’t go through previous Prefects files? Especially the juicy ones?
  5. Will there be a live chat option that will pop up on the 17 jumbo screens throughout the City of Rome so that we can ask Pope Francis to stop the music and ask Pope Benedict and Cardinal Dzwizis and every body else who knew why they didn’t tell Pope John Paul?
  6. Why didn’t all of the Cardinals of the United States, including Cardinal Bernard Law, Cardinal Roger Mahony, Cardinal Francis George give him the details of what was in their files about the largest crisis in the Roman Catholic Church since the Reformation when they met with him in April 2002?
  7. Will someone lean over, shout out, text them, email them and/or hold up a sign at the ceremony and ask them?
  8. Will there be a live chat option that will pop up on the 17 jumbo screens throughout the City of Rome so that we can ask them?
  9. Will Pope Francis’ commission on sexual abuse ask Pope Benedict, Cardinal Dziwisz, the US Cardinals and all the others, including Cardinal Angelo Sodano and Cardinal Francis Rode, staunch supporters and defenders of Maciel what they knew and when they knew it – and why they didn’t tell Pope John Paul?
  10. Will the faithful, the observers, and the news media that will be gathered for the canonizations buy that Pope John Paul didn’t know about the crisis? – and for all the gumption and grit he showed on the world stage standing against communism and showing the flag of the faith in record breaking travels that he didn’t want to know what was going on in his Church for whom he had absolute and ultimate the-buck-stops-here authority, particularly regarding priests, bishops, cardinals and his Curia?
  11. Will these same people allow the thought to cross their minds that as the supreme pontiff he could have and should have picked up a telephone, leaned against a dinner table, stopped a Cardinal/Bishop/Aide in a hallway and ask about what was going in his Church and ordered one of them to get to the bottom of it when he found his strength ebbing?
  12. Will the canonization of Pope John Paul II be seen as the last act of a political deal that went extremely well for the deal makers, Joseph Ratzinger and Cardinal Stanislaus Dziwisz,       Pope John Paul II’s personal assistant — the masterful horse trading of a papal throne for sainthood and with it the money that will flow to Poland from it — not to mention the invisible shield of protection for both of them – collaborators with a saint.
  13. What deal did the Italians find so sweet that they threw under the Polish bus their boys — Pius IX, Pius XII, Paul VI — whom they had linked together for so long with the sainthood cause of Pope John XXIII knowing that he would be able to carry the opposition load for most of them – Pius XII being the most iffy – and accept a double header with Pope John Paul II?

Just asking.

NSAC honors the courage of the survivors of Maciel and all victims of sexual abuse by priests and nuns, the dedicated work of SNAP, Bishop Accountability and Road of Recovery for exposing the truth, seeking justice, protecting children and caring for one another.

The lead up to the canonizations and the bestowing of this “honor of the altars” is and will be difficult for them burrowing into wounds already too deep, too throbbing, too raw.

Do Catholics think about that?

— Kristine Ward, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC), KristineWard@hotmail.com

 

Pope Francis and Human Trafficking

EDITORIAL

We don’t think anyone should be trafficked as a sex slave. We don’t think anyone should be trafficked as a slave for any purpose.

We do think those who are trafficked deserve and should receive the support of the moral leaders on the planet.

We believe these moral leaders should do everything within their considerable powers to end human trafficking including calling a spade a spade.

Pope Francis met with victims of human trafficking and went to the human trafficking conference to deliver remarks to those attending the two day international conference of religious and law enforcement leaders held at the Vatican.

He has declared human trafficking to be a “crime against humanity. “ And so, it is.

News story links, Washington Post, Vatican Radio, Catholic Herald, UK:

 http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/religion/pope-francis-human-trafficking-is-a-crime-against-humanity/2014/04/10/50f0c0f2-c0d3-11e3-9ee7-02c1e10a03f0_story.html

 http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2014/04/10/pope_francis:_human_trafficking,_an_open_wound_on_society/en1-789497

http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2014/04/10/pope-francis-human-trafficking-is-an-open-wound-on-society/

What astounds us is that the rape and sodomy of children by Roman Catholic priests and nuns is not so definitively declared to be a crime by the leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

What, in heaven’s name, does he think the bundling up of altar boys and trooping them off to beach houses to be passed around for molestation by groups of priests is if not human trafficking?

Even without the trooping around and passing around, what is the corrupt invoking of the approval of Almighty God used by religious authority figures against these children, if not a twisted weapon of slavery?

What is the corrupt invoking of the fear of Almighty God as a silencer if not a weapon to enslave these children?

What is the meaning of not rebuking the Italian bishops for agreeing to a document that says they don’t have to report sexual abuse and letting stand the president of the Italian Bishops Conference statement that they did this to “protect” victims?

Also, not to be missed is this nugget from newly minted Cardinal Vincent Nichols of the United Kingdom (the Bishops Conference of England and Wales was an organizer of the conference from the Vatican Radio report:

Asked what for him was the most shocking aspect of what the victims of human trafficking have to endure, the Cardinal replied: “the utter sense of darkness” in which the victims live and “the depth of empathy” they have for all the other victims still being held as slaves. Hello, have you met any victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy and nuns and their brothers and sisters in other religious denominations? All popes have a pulpit on the world stage but this pope has pulpit of immense proportions.

The one place that he has absolute authority, — not moral suasion, not suggestion, not a “let me be a model for you” clout, — absolute authority — is over priests, bishops, cardinals, curia officials, and members of religious orders of priests and sisters.

Bishops aren’t recognized as bishops in the Roman Catholic Church without a piece of paper with a pope’s signature on it naming the man as a bishop. Cardinals don’t become cardinals without being selected by a pope. Priests aren’t ordained unless the Vatican says they are, and they remain priests until the Vatican says they aren’t, religious orders are either approved or not approved by the Vatican. All of this stays spinning because a pope sits on the chair of St. Peter.

Taking moral stands on the issues of the day and using the considerable force of the papacy to drive points home is what power is for – it derives from the Godhead and is to be used for good.

When in God’s name will it be used by a pope to save the children that are counted as part of its 1.2 billion population from predator priests and nuns and non-accountable hierarchy?

This does not happen by a pope setting up a commission, defensively declaring his institution as being picked on, or by declaring that human trafficking is a crime.

The elephant continues to own the room and it gets uglier and bigger by the day.

— Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition, KristineWard @hotmail.com

Special Notes

 Pennsylvania

 Hats off to all in Pennsylvania who worked hard to get bills for strengthened mandated reporter requirements regarding sexual abuse to the governor’s desk. The governor is expected to sign the bills.

Here’s the link:

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2014/04/child_abuse_mandated_reporter.html

New York

Maybe the pain of having a legislature turn on you when you thought you had a “done deal” will boost Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s empathy for sexual abuse victims – they suffered the same fate with legislators in Ohio who did an about face on statute of limitation reform after being leaned upon by the bishops of Ohio.

Here’s the link to Cardinal Dolan’s venting:

dailynews.com/news/politics/timothy-cardinal-dolan-outraged-state-approve-tax-credits-article-1.175131

Missouri

A grateful salute to Kansas City police detective Maggie McGuire for her work on the Shawn Ratigan child pornography case. We remind our readers that convicted Bishop Robert Finn remains the sitting bishop with jurisdictional authority in the Diocese of Kansas City- St. Joseph, Missouri. “Blistering” remarks were made at the award ceremony about Bishop Finn.

Here’s the link:

http://www.kansascity.com/2014/04/09/4948230/kc-detective-honored-diocese-blasted.html

— Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Commission, (NSAC) KristineWard@hotmail.com

The Money Anger

EDITORIAL

We hope with all our hearts that the aggravation and outrage that Catholics have poured into emails, letters and any other avenues of speaking up and out they used in Atlanta are the beginning and not the end of their involvement in what ails the Roman Catholic Church.

In a statement describing his ineptness, Atlanta’s Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, caught in his plush plans for a $2.2 million residence, backed down saying:

“While my advisers and I were able to justify this project fiscally, logistically and practically, I personally failed to project the cost in terms of my own integrity and pastoral credibility with the people of God of north and central Georgia,” he wrote. “I failed to consider the impact on the families throughout the archdiocese who, though struggling to pay their mortgages, utilities, tuition and other bills, faithfully respond year after year to my pleas to assist with funding our ministries and services.

First off, if these “advisers” really did provide these kinds of justifications they should be fired.

Secondly, Archbishop Gregory’s apology should not be limited to the Catholics of central and north Georgia. All Catholics are hurt by his actions. Just as they are by the actions of the bishop of bling in Germany, the Archbishop of Newark John J. Myers’ weekend and planned retirement $800,000 home, as well as the Camden’s Bishop Dennis Sullivan’s $500,000 home and Archbishop of Cincinnati Dennis Schnurr’s half million home – and the list, of course, doesn’t stop there.

This planned opulence prior to Pope Francis, during Pope Francis and after Pope Francis is not the message of the Gospel.

So how is it that the “teachers” can’t get the lesson plan right from the basic text which would, of course, be the Scripture?

It is disappointing to see Catholics get their backs up in large numbers over money but not children — but at this stage in this long running crisis we’ll take it and hope it can be a building block.

We hope with all our hearts that these Catholics can see their way clear to take their aggravation and turn it into action so that children can be protected from rape and sodomy and that those who cover up the criminal actions of priests and nuns who rape and sodomize children are held accountable.

If their aggravation and displeasure can only encompass the money items, then we hope with all our hearts they can use the money door to get involved to end the sexual abuse crisis in the Church because, indeed, plenty of money is being spent by the Church on attorneys’ fees and public relations to keep from holding the hierarchy responsible for crimes.

If Catholics can only get aggravated in large and productive numbers about money and bishops’ homes then hopefully the Catholics of the Atlanta Archdiocese will send letters in the fine tradition of St. Paul to the Newark Archdiocese’s Bishop John Myers who also lost his “pastoral” perspective.

Maybe in so doing, they will have a road to Damascus experience that will lead them to an uproar for the children’s sake.

We would hope for fraternal correction from Archbishop Gregory to his “brother” Archbishop Myers but this is the same Archbishop Gregory, who as the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) who in 2004 characterized the crisis as “history.”

We’d rather put our hope where there is more than a snowball’s chance in hell for it.

— Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) Kristineward@hotmail.com