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.
We 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.
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.
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?
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.
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 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.”
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