Un-hatting, Anyone?


Un-Hatting, Anyone?

The world knows Pope Francis can do surprising things.

He is not hide bound to tradition. The evidence is clear on a number of fronts, the latest of which being his Sunday announcement of the second round of cardinal appointments of his papacy.

Now, how about a surprise that might shake some sense into his hierarchy: un-hatting.

Today, January 6, 2015, — thirteen years into the Boston revelations of the sexual abuse scandal that became the tidal wave of revelations throughout the United States and rippling, then flooding across the world, — seems a most fitting day to consider un-hatting.

Cardinals who don’t deserve their station should have their red hats rescinded. If accountability is a real end of Francis the Reformer, then Francis the Giver should also be Francis the Taker Awayer – and no hat should come with a lifetime guarantee.

If the affront of a naked head would be too much to bear for those who made deliberate decisions not to protect children, then let Pope Francis create a switching-out day as well as a cardinal-making day. Switching out day could swap red hats for black ones.

Good Friday seems a fitting day for that — without a third day return policy built in, of course.

If not Good Friday, then any day that is a cause for fireworks. Or how about Chinese New Year which this year falls on February 19, just five days beyond the hatting of Francis’ new crop of cardinals. And interestingly enough, this year it’s the Year of the Sheep.

Un-hatting for the dereliction of duty which allowed and then turned a blind eye to the rape and sodomy of children seems a balanced opposite of what cardinals hear they are supposed to live up to when they kneel before a pope and receive a red hat:

“To the glory of Almighty God and the honour of the Apostolic See, receive the scarlet biretta as a sign of the dignity of the cardinalate, signifying your readiness to act with courage, even to the shedding of your blood, for the increase of the Christian faith, for the peace and tranquility of the people of God and for the freedom and growth of Holy Roman Church.”

Indeed, it must be said that for what is passed off as courage by most cardinals when juxtaposed to those in the world who daily are under the threat of the shedding of their blood, these words are betrayed by pomposity and eviscerated of the nobility of their promise.

What peace and tranquility is promoted when victims and their families are rent asunder by the savageness of the physical and psychological wounds of sexual abuse?

Who are the poor, if not the victims of sexual abuse?

Who are human trafficking victims, if not these?

Who are those whose freedom was unmercifully, selfishly, cruelly taken, if not these?

Pope Francis may say as many times as he wishes that being named a cardinal is not a promotion, but the perception of reality is reality and, make no mistake, news stories, conversation, comment and convention regarding these men will carry the words “elevated, prince, ceremony , celebration and exclusivity and privilege.”

Thirteen long years into a major revelations of the sexual abuse scandal in the United States, not to mention the revelations from Ireland, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Poland, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, and Argentina, to mention a few — and three popes on — we’ve got a papal commission peopled by only two survivors.

Surely that does not measure up to anyone’s definition of courage.

If the singular role of cardinals in the Church is the election of a pope can we really not find better people than these among more than a billion Catholics to elect the Church’s leader? Really?

This list of the un-hatted should begin with Bernard Law and Roger Mahony but certainly should not end with them — and it should not end within the ranks of cardinals. The list of bishops that should be un-hatted should begin with Robert Finn.

Isn’t it time for a real epiphany?

Think anew, St. Paul tells us.

Let the un-hatting begin.

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

Finn: A Fit Leader?


Finn: A Fit Leader?

The National Catholic Reporter (NCR) broke a story this week that Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa has conducted an apostolic visitation — at the behest of the Vatican — of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri.

The Archbishop, it is reported, asked of supporters and defenders of Bishop Robert Finn: Do you think Bishop Finn is fit to be a leader?

It is possible that given all of the mounds of heart breaking evidence that’s been produced through the courage of the survivors in this crisis – evidence that has been ignored, attempted to be explained away, and pushed under massive rugs – Oriental and otherwise — and vigorously assigned – but not staying put – as history, — that the Archbishop will answer his question in the affirmative and deliver the answer to the Vatican that Finn is a fit leader.

Or he if answers no that the Vatican and Pope Francis himself may decide that Finn should remain in place.

But, while we still are that fluid zone where the decision is yet to be make – or, if made, not yet carried out – it may be possible to entertain the thought of what hell freezing over would sound and look like.

A cautionary damper is placed on this, though, by the at first hopeful news and then disclaimered news that the reason Paraguayan Bishop Rogelio Livieres Plano was removed from office was his protection of Monsignor Carolos Urritigoity against whom a federal lawsuit charging abuse was filed in the United States. The suit was followed by a bishop to bishop warning from Diocese of Scranton Bishop James Timlin not to give Utttigoity faculties in Paraguay.

Now in the case of Finn’s fitness, Archbishop Prendergast stands in the breach.

We urge any one with information regarding Bishop Finn’s and his diocese’s conduct in regard to the Shawn Ratigan child pornography case and the Diocese’s protestation of payment of $1.1 million ordered by an arbitrator for violating the 2008 settlement conditions for victims of sexual abuse by priests in the diocese to raise their voices, their pen, their texts, their email, their faxes – and any other method of preferred communication.

We mean everyone with information: survivors, family members of survivors, neighbors, friends, classmates, teammates of survivors, attorneys, advocates, people in the pews, concerned citizens, chancery officials, priests, deacons, religious, and brother bishops.

We urge them to answer Archbishop Prendergast’s question: is Finn fit to be a leader?

Here is Archbishop Prendergast’s contact information through the Archdiocese of Ottawa:

The Diocesan Centre

1247 Kilborn Place Ottawa, Ontario

K1H 6K9

Telephone number: 613-738-5025 The voicemail system, the Archdiocese says, is available 24/7  Fax number: 613-738-0130  E-mail: reception@archottawa.ca

Or send your information to us and we’ll forward it.

We know that the Catholics of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph deserve better.

We certainly know the children who live in the Diocese of Kansas City- St. Joseph- Catholic or not – deserve better.

We know that it is incredible to believe that among the 38,275 priests in the United States there is not to be found a more fit leader for this Diocese.

We know that Bishop Finn should have found it within himself to offer his resignation.

The issue parallels the director of the Secret Service resignation. The logic is the same: when the persons you and your organization are charged to protect come into and remain in harm’s way because of the action, inaction, policies, inattention or incompetence, of your organization the “leader” needs to step aside for the integrity of the organization. The realization of what’s needs doing should not be a drawn out process. .

There is sensibility in resignation. Those who believe themselves to be leaders and those who keep them in positions of leadership should be able to see this. And not only this, but the horizon of harm that it does to the Church and the society in general when this kind of “leadership” is allowed to go on.

No waiting game should be played for a polite exit for Bishop Finn. No age game, no naming of a co-adjutor auxiliary (although for a diocese so small this would be a stretch), no walking away from plain truth.

We know that one can serve a Church without being a bishop and that being named one should not come with an unexamined lifetime guarantee.

We know it should be evident to Pope Francis – as it should have been to Pope Benedict — that a bishop who has conducted himself as Bishop Finn has is not fit to be a leader.

If it is, it is a new low in the standards of what should be sought in a candidate for bishop.

We also know that silence is not an option.

What’s at stake here ultimately are children.

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

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


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



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


 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:


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:


 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


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



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:


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.”



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.


(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


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