A Thin Tissue

by Kristine Ward, September 28, 2015

So far, it is a thin tissue that Pope Francis and the Roman Catholic Church have handed to God as a comfort to weeping over the sexual abuse victims.

Pope Francis said on Sunday morning in his unscripted remarks to bishops and seminarians at the Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia following his meeting with five victims of sexual abuse that “God weeps” because of the sexual abuse.

Even to get the tissue, the Church had to be driven to the store by massive media reporting, grand jury investigations by civil authorities and lawsuits brought by survivors.

UFO sightings are more credible than the papal holding to account bishops, cardinals, chancellery and curia officials for the cover-up of the crisis.

At least the people who report UFO sightings see something. The Vatican tribunal that is heralded as the vehicle to hold bishops accountable does not exist except in words. It will take five years to set up this tribunal.

Given all of the urgings to go to the margins, be with the poor, protect the vulnerable, give hope to all that Pope Francis asked for this week, the bishops are the only group over whom he has direct control for appointing and sustaining in office.

Every bishop in the room at St. Borromeo Seminary – and any bishop who reads and hears Pope Francis’ words – knows that he has at minimum five years more of protection from accountability.

There have now been seven papal meetings with survivors and we are three popes from  the incarnation of the crisis post-Boston and we have come again only to a promise of accountability. An accountability that is always just a bit further down the road but never happens.

Will any of the 866,000 thousand persons at the closing Mass in Philadelphia, the 20,000 at the Madison Square Garden Mass, the 2,500 at the Vesper Service in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York or the 195 bishops with jurisdiction in United States dioceses’ throw open their parish doors next Sunday and all of next week, next month, next year to insist that the survivors be sought out, welcomed, heard and supported.

Will there be apologies for having shunned the survivors, rebuffed them on the steps of the parishes as they leafletted to protect children and educate parishioners, and for proclaiming that they were money grubbers, and that everything they speak of is history?

Will there be listening to the survivors’ stories and demand for the removal of bishops who aid and abet those who rape and sodomize children, and demand for the dropping of the bishops’ opposition to reform of statutes of limitation, and demand for a complete accounting by name and past and current location of all known pedophile priests and religious sisters and religious brothers?

If that happened, maybe God could count on getting a 2-ply tissue.

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

Many, Many More Images

by Kristine Ward, September 26, 2015

Today, NSAC feels the need to present more images in a welcoming place that we hope will console the survivors and their families and combat the onslaught of images streaming across television screens of Pope Francis.

becky_ilianiWe place the images of Judy Jones, Steve Spaner, John Pilmaier, Peter Isley, Joelle Casteix, Sister Maureen Turlish, Becky Ianni, David Lorenz all of whom have taken to the streets in strong and determined witness of the truth. To speak for survivors. To banish the sought after “it’s history” approach of the hierarchy and its pontiff.

There are more images today because we believe there is more need for comfort for the survivors, particularly in  light of Pope Francis’ second expansive praising of priests and religious sisters who the Pope said, “have suffered greatly” during the sexual abuse scandal.

Pope Francis said this during the Vespers’ service Friday evening in New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral.john pielmaier

Here are his words taken from the full text of his homily:

This evening, my brothers and sisters, I have come to join you in prayer that our vocations will continue to build up the great edifice of God’s Kingdom in this country. I know that, as a presbyterate in the midst of God’s people, you suffered greatly in the not distant past by having to bear the shame of some of your brothers who harmed and scandalized the Church in the most vulnerable of her members…

In the words of the Book of Revelation, I know well that you “have come forth from the great tribulation” (Rev 7:14). I accompany you at this time of pain and difficulty, and I thank God for your faithful service to his people.Peter Isley

Holy Father, no one commits suicide because of embarrassment.

Raped and sodomized men and women who were victimized by priests and religious men and women have committed suicide when the burdens of their molestation which far exceeded embarrassment have overtaken them.

Where are the priests who heard and saw the victimized children in rectories, beach houses, schools, on trips?  Where were they to save these children? Their lips have remained sealed. Where is the Book of Revelation’s burning coals for these lips?Sister Maureen NSAC - Copy (2)

Survivors cannot shed the agony of abuse that they wear like skin each day while a Roman collar or a habit can be laid aside like the pieces of clothing they are.

No one promised priests, religious sisters and religious brothers a rose garden. Pope Francis shouldn’t either.

Pope Francis also singled out the nuns of the United States for high praise:

In a special way I would like to express my esteem and gratitude to the religious women of the United States. What would the Church be without you? Women of strength, fighters, with that spirit of courage which puts you in the front lines in the proclamation of the Gospel. To you, religious women, sisters and mothers of this people, I wish to say “thank you”, a big thank you… and to tell you that I love you very much.Joelle Casteix

The religious sisters were investigated by the Vatican and they with strong supporters among the laity pushed back and were vindicated.

Where are these “fighters” in the battle against rape and sodomy of children by those in authority in the Roman Catholic Church and the bishops, cardinals, chancellery staff and Vatican staff who protect the abusers?

Yes. here and there they are religious sisters who have stood up for the survivors, Sister Maureen Turlish in Philadelphia a prime one, but their numbers are miniscule stacked against the numbers of religious sisters who got their backs up against the Vatican when their properties and their motives were questioned and threatened by the Vatican investigation.

Where are these women whom the Pope loves since they won against the Vatican?david_lorenz

Where is their influence with this new highly heralded Pope to seek justice for the survivors and protect children?

Make no mistake, members of the religious orders of sisters, “the good nuns” abused children, too. When religious congregations were confronted by survivors, the congregations lawyered up just like the bishops did.

The “distant past” isn’t so distant.

It is as close as 9/17/15 when USA Today published an article on Global Post’s expose of US and European priests who are abusers hiding out in the Pope’s home continent. Here is the link to the story: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/09/17/us-priests-sex-abuse-relocate-south-america/32551455/

It is as close as the conviction on 9/22/15 of a priest in Somerset County, Pennsylvania Tuesday for as the news story reports “having sex with three boys at a Honduran orphanage that he supported through his nonprofit foundation, transferring money outside the United States to fund his illicit activities and having pornographic photos of children.”Judy Jones

The story goes on to say that these activities went on for a decade. The bishop of the Diocese of Altoona-Johsntown said this about the convicted priest,” I preliminarily removed Father Maurizio from his duties in September 2014. As Bishop, I will continue to work to ensure that the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown takes the action necessary to protect children from harm in the Church.”  ‘’

And this is called “courage” by the boss?

The news story can be accessed here:
Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/9136740-74/maurizio-passarello-federal#ixzz3mn0rZDbR

Pope Francis heads into Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, today for the Meeting of Families.

In a place where independence was proclaimed and freedom rang out, we are grateful for those who speak this week on the streets of the cities where the Pope is a guest waging witness against the tyranny of the warping of the truth.

_ Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivors Advocates Coalition (NSAC) KristineWard@hotmail.com 937-272-0308


by Kristine Ward, September 25, 2015

On this day, when Pope Francis will address the United Nations in New York, we present the images of courageous people who have preceded him in dealings with this international body.

See in the faces of leaders in the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) Mary Caplan and Megan Peterson the nobility of rising from the hopelessness that molestation can impose as rigid bondage to the conquering of fear and rising to a summit place knowing that the foundation for the rise is truth. megan peterson

See in the face of Pamela Spees, an attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights, the combination of steel determination for justice and the honing of intellect to bring to bear on a world power, one which claims to be a moral guide for the planet, no less than accountability for what has happened and continues to happen to children by men and women in its ranks.

We place these images in our pages today in the hope that we may give strength and comfort to the survivors of sexual abuse who have been so cruelly treated by the pontiff by his choosing to pay tribute to the bishops of the United States in their handling of the sexual abuse crisis and to characterize them as being men of courage. Men, he said, who are selfless in divesting themselves of all unessentials in order to right the wrongs of the scandal.mary caplan

Nothing could be further from the truth.

With his words, the Pope abandoned the survivors to the barrios of inconsequentiality – the very place into which he reaches to lift all others up and to encourage and urge others to follow him.

He did so before the United States Congress on Wednesday and it is an easy prediction that he will do so before the world powers assembled before him today.

The Center for Constitutional Rights and the Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) preceded Pope Francis to the United Nations to advance the cause of the protection of children.

Pamela SpiesBecause of shadow reports by these organizations, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child investigated the sexual abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church, including the cover-up of the crisis by bishops, cardinals, popes and Vatican personnel.

The United Nations determined the Vatican “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 UN committee condemned the Vatican for “for adopting policies that allowed priests to rape and molest tens of thousands of children over decades.”

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the UN Committee Against Torture made the following recommendations about what a pope should do to end the “epidemic of sexual violence,” including:

(1) Immediately remove all known and suspected child sexual abusers from assignment and refer the matter to relevant law enforcement authorities for investigation and prosecution;

(2) Hand over files containing details of cases of sexual violence to civil authorities for investigation and prosecution of abusers as well as those who who concealed their crimes and knowingly placed offenders in contact with children;

(3) Make reporting to civil authorities mandatory everywhere the Catholic Church operates;

(4) Develop comprehensive procedures for the early identification of child victims of sexual and other forms of abuse;

(5) Ensure accessible, confidential, child-friendly and effective reporting channels for children who are victims or witnesses of sexual abuse, and that child victims and witnesses of crimes are provided with unconditional psycho-social support for their rehabilitation and reintegration.

(6) Fully cooperate with the UN Committees and provide all data requested.

Men of courage would do this.

A leader of men of courage would do this.

At the very least a man who speaks of courage and his band of brothers who are now shielded by an umbrella of his praise  would fraternally correct the wrongheaded and dangerous belief of the Bishop of the Diocese of Syracuse (NY) Robert Cunningham.

Cunningham asserted in a 2011 deposition that the teenager victim in the case in which he was being deposed was partly to blame for the crime that was committed against him in a molestation by a priest.

2011, dear readers, is not long ago. It is the length of a high school journey, the timeline of gaining a college education.

A New York courtroom is not some galaxy far, far way.

2011 is a year shy of a decade beyond the Boston eruption of the crisis.

It is nine years from the zero tolerance solution of the United States Bishops, the men praised by the Supreme Pontiff for their courage.

No bishop of the United States has spoken out, distanced himself from, or called for action against Bishop Cunningham.

This should not be mistaken for courage.

This should be named what it is: complicity.

The survivors of sexual abuse are the marginalized and the suffering who in every other circumstances Pope Francis fixes his intellect, his pulpit, and his gaze on.

Look out upon the world today, Pope Francis, and see your brothers and sisters who suffer.

See those who were made to suffer by agents of the Church. See the perpetrators and the protectors of the perpetrators.

To the survivors of these heinous crimes belongs the first pledge and the lived commitment of loyalty, love, and liberation.

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

And More Images

by Kristine Ward, September 24, 2015

We welcome sexual abuse survivors and their families and all men and women of goodwill to our pages today as a safety spot, a haven, a place to know that you are not alone in the midst of the massive news coverage of the visit of Pope Francis to the United States.

We chose the images of the good people of BishopAccountability.org  Terry McKiernan, Anne Barrett Doyle, Suzy Nauman for the images today because of BishopAccountability.org’s  relentless, vital, intense, hard work in building the repository of the documents that chronicle this crushing crisis.anne barrett doyle

The truth lives in the documents.

The truth is sacred.

Without the documents, and the depositions, and the testimonies of the survivors, the scandal would remain as bishops and the Vatican intended for it to remain: hidden.

These images, we believe, are important to be seen on the day that Pope Francis addresses the United States Congress.suzy_nauman2

We believe this because it is in legislative bodies across the breadth of this country and in United States territories that Roman Catholic bishops and many of their Church’s adherents have blocked, sucker punched, delayed, watered down and deep sixed statute of limitation reforms for victims of sexual abuse  – not only those raped and sodomized by Roman Catholic clergy and religious sisters and religious brothers but any citizen of the United States and its territories who have been so violated.

The largest lobbying group against statute of limitation reform is the band of brothers that Pope Francis calls his own and to whom he addressed these incredulous words yesterday at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC:

I am also conscious of the courage with which you have faced difficult moments in the recent history of the Church in this country without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice. Nor have you been afraid to divest whatever is unessential in order to regain the authority and trust which is demanded of ministers of Christ and rightly expected by the faithful. I realize how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims – in the knowledge that in healing we too are healed – and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated.terry McKiernan

This, dear readers of NSAC News and all persons to whom these words reach, is a fairy tale.

The word courage should never be used to describe the actions of bishops in the United States – or anywhere else in the world – regarding this crisis.

This word should be reserved for the survivors alone.

No bishop has suffered the debilitating sharpness of the all of the wheel spokes of the wounds of sexual abuse: torn and rent asunder personal relationships with spouses, children, parents and siblings, devastating afflictions of mind, body and spirit, the death of a molested child by suicide, the ravages of not being able to hold a job and all that it spirals out to in a family, the soul searing haunting of what a parent could have done to prevent this damage to a child.

What the bishop have shown is cowardliness.

Ask the survivors of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee alone how much the bishop or the previous bishops who include the Cardinal Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan were willing to “divest” themselves and their dioceses of in order to regain trust. Not much, that’s for sure.  And nowhere near the $60 million that now Cardinal Dolan moved into the cemetery trust fund in an attempt to hid it from availability for settlements with survivors.

If Pope Francis meant the words he said that he would work with his brother bishops to “ensure that such crimes would never be repeated” he should have asked for a laying down of red hats, beginning with Cardinal Roger Mahony followed by Cardinal Dolan and Cardinal Sean O’Malley and on down the line.

Until there are dire consequences for protecting criminal activity there will be a continuation and repeats of the sexual abuse crisis – and no lovely words in a pretty place will stop it.

Patting bishops on the back is not a firm purpose of amendment.

High fives to the troops does not make a sexual abuse commission work.

Feel good words, even those from a popular Pope, do not bind wounds, protect children or provide justice to survivors.

The Pope should never have said these words.

The fact that he did is evidence that he believes them, and that it is his intent to push the argument that the crisis is history, the bishops are put upon heroes, and the victims are afterthoughts mentioned only to give lip service while wrapping them in the envelope of the healing that never comes.

All the more reason to be grateful for those who keep, seek out and tend the documents.

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

Pope Francis’ Description of US Bishops Acting with Courage in Crisis is a Fairy Tale

National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) Statement on Pope Francis’ statement regarding Sexual Abuse during visit to the United States

Pope Francis’ description of bishops and the sexual abuse crisis in the United State is a fairy tale.

The Pope praised the bishops’ courage in the scandal. The word courage should never be used to describe the bishops, it should be reserved for the survivors alone. The bishops are best described as cowards who were unmoved by the survivors suffering until their neglect and complicity in criminality was unmasked by the news media and the courts.

The hurt and desolation that this Pope of mercy has heaped on the survivors in this one miscalculated section of an address is jaw droppingly stunning.

Pope Francis is aware of what words can do. He is a wordsmith but what he constructed in this speech is a faulty scaffolding that needs to be torn down.

Pretty words are not a firm purpose of amendment.

Pretty words do not make a sexual abuse commission work.

Pretty words, even those from a popular Pope, do not soothe wounds, protect children or provide justice to survivors.

The Pope should never have said these words.

The fact that he did is evidence that he believes them, and that it is his intent to push the argument that the crisis is history, the bishops are put upon heroes, and the victims are afterthoughts mentioned only to give lip service while wrapping them in the envelope of the healing that never comes.

This tin ear towards the victims of sexual abuse is a resounding rebuke to survivors and its damage is heavy.

— Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) 937-272-0308

The National Survivor Advocates Coalition is an organization of in the pew Catholics working to support survivors, educate society regarding sexual abuse and reform and enact legislation for the benefit of sexual abuse and human trafficking victims. www.NationalSurvivorAdvocatesCoaltion.wordpress.com

More Images

by Kristine Ward, September 23, 2015

Today in NSAC News we offer the images of Thomas Doyle, Richard Sipe, Patrick Wall, Robert Hoatson.

We place them here with our hope that these images will be a counterbalance and a safe place for survivors against the images that are nearly overtaking television screens and other forms of media
Patrick Wall 2during the visit of Pope Francis to the United States.

Pope Francis is the  man who could with stroke of a pen, or a word, a trademark off the cuff exhortation  a walk into the right crowd, or with the right phone calls address and eliminate the behemoth that looms over the largest crisis in the Roman Catholic Church in 5000 years – the complicity in the rape and sodomy of the innocents by the aiding and abetting of predators by bishops, archbishops and cardinals, vicar generals, hatchet and yes men on chancellery staffs,, and in the Curia.

Bob Hoatson_162x216Thomas Doyle, Richard Sipe, Patrick Wall, Robert Hoatson stand against that phalanx of clergy.

These four men were ordained to the priesthood.

All four of them became true priests. Their personal journeys brought them by varied road to the truth and to true priesthood. They found and remain on the right of the battle: justice for the survivors and leaders in the fight for the protection of children. Their routes took some of them off the official rolls of priesthood but not off real priesthood.

Thomas_P_Doyle2We can’t help but express that we believe it is these men who should have occupied reserved seats at the White House ceremony today followed by a tough talking sit down session with Pope Francis at the end. If Francis abhors clericalism, these are the men with whom he should feel the most comfortable in getting down to business in the sexual abuse crisis.

These are the men who would not take five years to set up a working commission with dragon slaying teeth to oust bishops, cardinals, bishops, archbishops and cardinals, vicar generals, hatchet and yes men on chancellery staffs,, and in the Curia.

We suspect that the intrepid John Wojnowski who has been in front of the Vatican Embassy in Washington for 17 years as a witness to the crimes of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy and nuns was not permitted to be within eyesight of Pope Francis when we arrived to spend the night on Tuesday or departed this morning or looked out a window in the in between hours —  but his spirit and the power of his witness was and remains there.

So is the spirit of Tom Doyle who worked in that Embassy, the Apostolic Nunciature.  It is the place where his education about the horrific crimes of sexual abuse and the murder of souls began.

Richard SipeTo all of the survivors of rape and sodomy whose innocence was violently wrenched from your childhood and in whose spirits remain the wounds of the violation, we offer our apology to you that your days are heavy and full of pain as others callously revel in the giddiness of a visitor in whom resides an ultimate power.

If pain could produce the Ultimate Power to act, yours, we know, would surge in a monumental tide today toward the Tidal Basin in Washington and to the White House and to the US Capitol to keep children free of what you have and do suffer.

Our hearts and spirits are with you today.

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


by Kristine Ward, September 22, 2015

Our thoughts are with the survivors and their families today as Pope Francis arrives in Washington to begin a six-day visit in the United States.

We salute the courage of survivors in the face of a bombardment of images on television screens, newspapers,  You Tube,  your phone, and Facebook.

We know that the audio images will assault you anew also.

Please come and linger on the NSAC News pages and on our website www.nationalsurvivoradvocatescoalition.wordpress.com during these days.

WeBarbara Blaine hope the images you see here will be an antidote that will bring you some comfort, a quiet haven, a connection so that you know that you are not alone in an agony that you bear each day but one that is intensified by a papal visit to the United States.

Today, we wanted to greet with the images of Barbara Blaine, the founder of the Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests (SNAP)  David Clohessy SNAP’s executive director and Barbara Dorris, SNAP’s Outreach Director.  We’ll provide more images in the days ahead that we hope you find comforting as this visit plays out in the media.

The people pictured here today are the first people who would say that it is the images of all the survivors who should be in NSAC News today and not their images.David Clohessy (2)

But we believe these images will give you a starting place for reaching for the strength for today’s journey.

May you
see in these faces the reflection of your own ability to endure, to give a hand and a shoulder and a piece of your heart to another survivor, to find out the depth of your ability to keep on keeping on,  no matter how hard the journey is for the protection of children and justice for all survivors.

If you can, take a hiatus from media during these days.

We know it is not alwBarbara Dorrisays possible to tune out from the ways of the modern world and its technology or well intentioned or self-serving people and since desert islands are in short supply for taking and parking your emotions and thoughts, come rest a bit here. We are privileged to stand with you.

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


Whistle: Tom Doyle’s Steadfast Witness by Robert Kaiser

 Whislte book cover

 He’s intrepid as a fighter for victims of sexual abuse.

You know him as friend, advocate, and champion.

Now there is a book that can help you tell all your friends and family about him.

He is, of course, Tom Doyle.

Robert Blair Kaiser, no lightweight himself in the field of reform, wrote his last book -literally completed on his deathbed – about Tom Doyle.

Kaiser saved the best for last.

Whistle: Tom Doyle’s Steadfast Witness for Victims of Clerical Sexual Abuse has just  been published.

You will want to stick this book in your luggage for a beach read, in your backpack for a bus, train or plane trip, your tote for grabbing every free minute to know more about this man who sees with wisdom eyes, loves with a compassionate heart, and walks with a gait intent on justice for survivors.

The National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) is pleased to offer this book as a thank you to our supporters as we seek to continue our work in support of survivors.

For a gift of $50 to NSAC, our thank you to you will be Whistle.

You may contact us:

  • through the Donate button at the top of every NSAC News edition,
  • through the Donate button on our website, http://www.national survivoradvocatescoalition.wordpress.com
  • by US Mail at NSAC, PO Box 183, Dayton, OH 45409 (Checks made by made out to NSAC)

Please include your US mailing address. We want you to receive your book.

We appreciate your support

We Will Wait and See What the Pope’s New Tribunal Will Do

For Immediate Release
June 10, 2015

National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) Statement Regarding Pope Francis’ Acceptance of Papal Commission’s Recommendations Regarding Bishops and Sexual Abuse

Contact: Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) 937-272-0308, KristineWard@hotmail.com

The proof is in the pudding.

We will wait and see.

Trusting in this action will require hope. We will hold out hope that The Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith will be capable of a 180 degree reversal of the thinking that permitted, indeed appeared to encourage Bishop Robert Finn, recently resigned from the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph from presiding at ordinations.

If this truly is a back to the drawing board moment, we will watch to see what the new picture looks like.

Sadly, though, there is no indication in today’s news that there will be any action taken retroactively against any Bishop regardless of the preponderance of evidence that has surfaced in the crisis. That’s a pity. Through depositions and other legal disclosures it has certainly become evident that  Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops have protected abusers and caused children to suffer.

Ultimately, it is Pope Francis’ responsibility to remove a Bishop and we hope he does so when a Bishop’s actions have protected perpetrators and caused suffering to children and the adults they become.

The National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC), based in Dayton, Ohio in the United States is a confederacy of in the pew Catholics and men and women of good will engaged in educating society regarding sexual abuse, promoting legislation to aid survivors, and working for justice for survivors in the church and in the civil society.

Tin Ears, Hard Hearts, and Hubris

The National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) sent letters to 55 Bishops—Archbishops, Bishops, Auxiliary Bishops and Retired Bishops – in Missouri, Kansas, Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois in search of one who would preside in the place of convicted and now resigned Bishop Robert Finn at the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph scheduled May 23rd ordination of candidates for the priesthood.

We offered to pay the transportation expenses for any one of them willing to stand and prevent this travesty from happening.

We are publishing the full text of our letter at this end of this editorial.

Because we have watched the behavior of Bishops in the 13 years since the eruption of the Boston incarnation of the scandal and learned even more from their depositions and dealings with survivors and their families, we know better than to be hopeful that another Bishop will preside in Finn’s stead on Saturday.

For that reason, we included in our letter a second request of the 55 Bishops: that unwilling or unable to preside at the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph’s ordinations, the Bishops at least contact the temporary administrator of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Bishop Joseph Naumann and request that he change the time so that he could perform the ordinations or incorporate the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph seminarians into the ordination ceremony in his diocese (Diocese of Kansas City, Kansas).

Finn presiding at these ordinations is egregious.

For that, in addition to Bishop Naumann, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Archbishop Vigano, the Vatican’s Apostolic Nuncio (ambassador) to the United States, both of whom approved of this arrangement at the time of Finn’s “voluntary” resignation, April 21, 2015, are responsible.

But ultimately, Pope Francis bears responsibility.

For all the lovely words that have been said about healing, protecting, getting it and moving on in the sexual abuse scandal, – the largest crisis in the Roman Catholic Church in 500 years – this action, allowed to stand, shows the Church’s true colors.

We hope those who plan to be cheering in the streets of the United States’ cities where Pope Francis will travel in September will remember this Saturday in May.

Beyond that, we do have to ask: why are Catholics in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph taking this insult? If they have no care for survivors, do they at least wonder what kind of priests the seminarians who are ordained by Bishop Finn – and who uttered not one word of protest about it – will become in the lifetimes of priesthood ahead of them? Is that the kind of priest they are seeking as leaders of their parishes?

We honor the survivors and their families who will once again bear the cruelty of the Church’s callousness.

The Church’s tin ear in regard to this event is downright appalling but tin ears can be repaired – hardened hearts and hubris prove all the more telling.

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



May 15, 2015 Dear Excellency: We sincerely request that you replace Bishop Robert Finn as the ordaining Bishop for the May 23, 2015 ordination of seminarians to the priesthood in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. We understand Bishop Finn can perform the ordinations but we seek your assistance in preventing yet another blow to the survivors of sexual abuse by priests and members of religious orders of the Roman Catholic Church.

While another Bishop can replace Bishop Finn for this public ceremony, no one can replace a survivor. It is the survivors’ pain that we believe should be a concern of the heart and soul of the Church as these ordinations approach and are carried out by a Bishop who was and remains a central figure in this crisis. There is no way healing can be real and true if actions such as Bishop Finn presiding at ordinations on May 23 following his resignation nearly three years after his conviction are allowed to continue and are viewed as good decisions.

The National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) would be happy to pay your expenses and arrange for your transportation if it would assist you in being the presiding Bishop at the ordination ceremony.

If you choose not to be the presiding Bishop we ask for your action to contact Bishop Joseph F. Naumann, Bishop of Diocese of Kansas City, Kansas and the temporary administrator of the Diocese of Kansas City- St. Joseph and with fraternal love and in the spirit of fraternal correction vigorously prevail upon him to change the time of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph ordinations in order for his schedule to permit him to be the ordaining bishop or that the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph men who will be ordained priests be included in the ordination ceremony planned by his own diocese where he will be the presiding Bishop.

We appreciate your consideration of our requests.

Sincerely, Kristine Ward Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition