The UN Report

Editorial

Even when the survivors catch a break – and catch a big one they did in the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child Report – they still can’t catch a break.

First, the break they caught: for the first time, on a major international scale the world has heard what the victims have been saying for years. That’s historic. The David of Truth has slain the Goliath of the Code of Silence.

For that, the survivors deserve an immense amount of credit.

It’s only through the courage, the perseverance, and the suffering of the survivors that the people in the pews and the world at large have learned of the extent of this largest crisis in the Roman Catholic Church in 500 years.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child Report is described in news reports as “scathing,” and “blistering” against the Vatican regarding sexual abuse.

The Church is called out on a global stage for its “code of silence” and the upholding of the Church’s reputation and the protection of the perpetrators over concern for and action on behalf of children — the victims.

Here are links to news coverage of the UN Report:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/06/world/europe/un-panel-assails-vatican-over-sex-abuse-by-priests.html?_r=0

http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=20412

http://www.latimes.com/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-un-catholic-church-abusive-priests-20140205,0,3036334.story#axzz2sUZh0Hrm

Within the Los Angeles Times report is the UN Document.

The report did call for the “immediate removal of all known and suspected child abuses” from their positions and the referring of the matters to law enforcement for prosecution

The report did acknowledge the cover –up by the hierarchy

What it did not do is call for the removal, immediate or otherwise, of those who covered up from their positions of authority and esteem in the Church or the entry of law enforcement to investigate them.

We ask our readers to act and re-double efforts as citizens to be heard at every level of government in the United States, at the federal level in the US Departments of Justice and State, the Congress, State Legislatures and School Boards to move the fight forward to protect children and open wide the opportunities for access to justice to survivors.

This doesn’t stop at the borders. Perpetrators have been allowed to slip through the borders and be shielded from extradition when identified.

Citizen action is needed and necessary to spur independent investigations by law enforcement of perpetrators and those who aided and abetted them in the rape and sodomy of children and the victimization of children through pornography, along with the passage of laws to extend the statute of limitations for the prosecution of sexual abuse. We think Catholics can and should find the impetus for this in their faith.

This also doesn’t stop at the borders. American voices are needed in the international struggle for the protection of children and justice for the survivors.

We ask and urge our readers and all men and women of goodwill  to re-double their efforts in whatever they are doing to support survivors: making financial contributions, writing letters to the editor, contacting government officials, legislators, demonstrating, leafleting, listening and raising the issue of the horrors of the rape and sodomy of children in every arena, setting, interaction, network and media available to them.

Because, important as the UN Report is, the break the survivors didn’t catch is this: After all that courage in a struggle that the survivors have borne virtually alone the UN chose to link the hot button issues of the Roman Catholic Church to this report: abortion, homosexuality, same sex marriage and gender identification in the Church’s Canon law.

Geez!

What the UN Committee did was open the drawbridge on the moat it sought to create through the Protection of the Child Treaty and allow the Vatican to scream – and be heard – on the cries of bias, discrimination, and interference in its internal religious affairs.  These only balloon the Church’s deflect and dodge strategy regarding the crime of sexual abuse.

One has to wonder why the UN Committee chose to step into these low-lying religious- fruit arenas when it left out concern for children and what the Vatican could do through both its more-than bully pulpit and its nuncio structure. Nor did it mention its bishops conferences regarding the effect on children of hunger caused by uneven food supplies,  national immigration policies, child labor policies and educational systems that cost too much for all children to enroll or which discriminate against them by gender. Nor did they point out wars among all the other dangers that children face and need to be protected from throughout the world.

The UN Committee had to see the Church’s response coming when it included allowing abortion in its report that the greatest danger to a child is to be killed.

In the most measured Vatican response in the news reports, the Vatican’s new Secretary of State Pietro Paroling says the Vatican will provide a detailed response to the UN report. We hope so.

In responding, we hope the Church peels away hypocrisy, deflection, and puffery on the meager steps it has taken and finally gets down to business – the business of protecting the vulnerable, the children.

It doesn’t take a commission for the Church to do what is right regarding the sexual abuse of children and minors by priests and nuns and the cover-up of the abuse by the hierarchy and chancery and curia officials.

All Pope Francis and the Vatican structure need to combat sexual abuse are the Scriptures and the will to combat it.

The first component the Vatican has in abundance, in big books, little books, books in every language, beautifully decorated books, plain books, and digital books.

The second component is the sticking point.

Does Pope Francis have the will to remove hierarchs who have covered up the rape and sodomy of children, protected perpetrators, and allowed child pornographers to continue victimizing children?

Does he have the will to make it clear by action and not just words that without a shadow of a doubt that the rape and sodomy of children and minors – and the victimizing of children through pornography and sex trafficking by clerics, nuns, and hierarchs — and the protection thereof is cause for immediate dismissal from the ranks of the priesthood and religious orders?

To whom much is given, much is expected.

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

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One thought on “The UN Report

  1. Mike Ference

    The following letter was sent to Rita Flaherty of the Pittsburgh Diocese. She responded that it was passed on to the appropriate people.

    Hello Rita Flaherty,
    Can you review this information with the appropriate people at the diocese. I believe the attempted murder of my son could have been avoided if the Pittsburgh Diocese had properly reacted to the many warnings received about Father John Wellinger, a credibly accused sexual predator.

    I also want this letter passed on to Bishop David Zubik, can you advise how I can best do this.
    Please respond that you did receive this message. I can be reached at 412-233-5491

    Mike Ference

    An open letter to Bishop David Zubik, Pittsburgh Diocese

    Could the attempted murder of my son, Adam Ference been averted if diocesan hierarchy had properly supervised former Catholic priest Father John Wellinger.

    Please review my allegations, noting which ones are true or false. If you need additional information, I would gladly provide it.

    Question 1. Allegedly, in the first quarter of 1987 Fr. John Wellinger, a priest of the Pittsburgh diocese and pastor of Holy Spirit Parish in West Mifflin, PA, drugged a University of Pittsburgh student in an apartment that the victim shared with his older brother, also a Pitt student.

    According to the victim, he was knocked out for hours. When he awoke, he intuitively called 911. After rushing downstairs, against the wishes of Fr Wellinger,
    the teenage victim flag down meet the ambulance and the attending EMTs in the street.

    The allegation of the rest of the event goes as follows:

    The ambulance whisked away to Presbyterian University Hospital emergency room (now University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; UPMC). Fr. Wellinger allegedly followed the young victim to the hospital. Upon finding him in the emergency room, the victim requested that Wellinger find his nurse. When the nurse returned the victim would explain that Wellinger was the man who had drugged him.

    Wellinger was ushered out by the nurse. To the best of my knowledge police were not notified; not even a security guard from the hospital. The victim was not examined by a doctor. In other words, the entire event was covered-up.

    The parents of the victim came to the hospital and took their son home. Furthermore, I was told by then Clairton Public Safety Director William Scully, in January of 1990, that a hospital worker, possibly a social worker, warned the parents to not take on the Pittsburgh diocese, because they are too powerful and wealthy.

    I can provide the victim’s name and contact information to verify my story.

    Bishop David Zubik is this event TRUE or FALSE. If it’s true, the attempted murder of my son could have been averted.

    Question 2. Allegedly, a few days after the above event, the victim’s father searched out Wellinger at the parish house. At the time, Wellinger was holding a parish council meeting. So, there were plenty of witnesses present, including the victim’s mother. The victim’s father was angry, because Andreas Wellinger had allegedly drugged his son and possibly raped and sodomized him. The man was also angry over an outing that lasted all night long between Wellinger and his wife. According to an eyewitness Wellinger was ushered out a back door and the West Mifflin Police were called.
    Concerned for the safety of Fr. Wellinger, parish council members ushered the priest out the back door and called the West Mifflin Police. Parish councils were logically concerned, because the victim’s father may have been intoxicated and carrying a weapon.

    Is there evidence of any police report? Did the father would receive notification from attorneys for the Diocese of Pittsburgh to stay away from Father John Wellinger and to stay off Holy Spirit property in West Mifflin, PA.

    Bishop David Zubik is this event TRUE or FALSE. If it’s true, the attempted murder of my son could have been averted.

    Question 3. An allegation was brought to my attention within the past year or two, by a Catholic priest who stated to me via telephone that a person by the last name of Volmer went to Father Charles Bober in 1987 and warned Bober about Fr Wellinger’s deviant behavior. To the best of my knowledge, nothing was done.

    Bishop David Zubik is this event TRUE or FALSE. If it’s true, the attempted murder of my son could have been averted.

    Question 4. Sometime in 1988, the personal secretary of Father Wellinger allegedly went to the Pittsburgh diocese and spoke to Father Ronald Lengwin about Wellinger’s deviant behavior. She also reported that a teenage boy used the rectory as his home for the longest time and enjoyed making 900 calls to porn sites, while costing the parish hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

    Sadly, the women whom I interviewed would be labeled as a rumor-monger, and once again, Bishop Bevilacqua and would err on the side of dysfunctional sex freak, Fr John Wellinger, rather than erring on the side of caution.

    Bishop David Zubik is this event TRUE or FALSE. If it’s true, the attempted murder of my son could have been averted.

    Question 5. A suicide occurred in Father John Wellinger’s parish in 1989. According to then Clairton Public Safety Director William Scully, the suicide allegedly was linked to Wellinger. Scully said that he just didn’t have the needed proof. The boy was a 16 year old who took a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

    According to Scully, the boy had an interest in the occult and Satanism. Wellinger would hold a seminar on occult practice and Satanism months later.

    Bishop David Zubik is this event TRUE or FALSE. If it’s true, the attempted murder of my son could have been averted.

    Here’s her response:
    Mike,
    I did receive your email and will share it with the appropriate people here. If you want to send a letter to Bishop Zubik, you can send it to him at:

    Bishop David Zubik
    Diocese of Pittsburgh
    111 Blvd. of the Allies
    Pittsburgh, PA 15222

    Have a good afternoon!
    Rita Flaherty

    Reply

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