Category Archives: Kristine Ward

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.

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Bishops’ Planned Statement on Pornography — Come again?

Editorial

We cannot let a planned United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) formal statement put into motion at the Bishops meeting underway this week in Baltimore to pass into the world of drafting, revision, and adoption without noting the gall of it.

The Bishops are going to draft a statement on pornography.

Here is a link to the USCCB’s press release on the planned statement.  Also find it at the end of this editorial.   http://www.usccb.org/news/2013/13-205.cfm

Bishop Richard J. Malone, chair-elect of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, the committee that will draft the document had this to say about it, “The number of men, women, and children who have been harmed by pornography use is not negligible, and we have an opportunity to offer healing and hope to those who have been wounded.”

The statement, the USCCB press release says, “will be pastoral in nature and will emphasize the effects of pornography on marriages and families, while attending to all those harmed by pornography use and addiction.”

Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City- St. Joseph Missouri remains a sitting bishop with jurisdiction after being convicted of failure to report, as a mandatory reporter in Missouri, a priest of the diocese, Shawn Ratigan, who is now serving a 50 year sentence in federal prison on a child pornography conviction.

We’d like to recommend to the Bishops that they start closer to home with a statement on pornography and begin with the USCCB’s or at the very least a committee of the USCCB’s examination, acknowledgement and action regarding their brother bishop.

Without addressing the Bishop Finn issue and the issue of pornography and priests, the Bishops have no place of credibility to come from to draft a “pastoral statement” on this issue and its consequences and effects.

It’s not just horses that make use of blinders.

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

November 12, 2013

U.S. bishops in Baltimore approve drafting of statement on pornography
Bishop Malone highlights negative effects on men, women, children
Statement to be pastoral in nature, focus on effects on marriages and families

BALTIMORE—The U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved the drafting of a formal statement on pornography to be issued from the entire body of bishops. Following a presentation by Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, New York, chair-elect of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, the bishops, who are gathered in Baltimore for their annual fall General Assembly, voted 226-5 to approve the drafting of the statement.

 “As pastors, we’re aware that many people are consuming or are exploited by pornography, and many also are struggling with pornography addiction,” Bishop Malone said in his report. “The number of men, women, and children who have been harmed by pornography use is not negligible, and we have an opportunity to offer healing and hope to those who have been wounded.”

The statement will be pastoral in nature and will emphasize the effects of pornography on marriages and families, while attending to all those harmed by pornography use and addiction. The Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth will lead the drafting process, and the statement will come before the body of bishops for approval. The tentative timeline is to have a finalized statement by the end of 2015.

The Embrace of the Disfigured

EDITORIAL

 There is no attempt in this space or by this writer to negate or lessen in any way the impact upon the world of Pope Francis’ embrace of a severely physically disfigured man on Wednesday at the General Audience nor to negate or lessen the immensely heavy burden that this physically disfigured man carries day in and day out.

If you are not aware of this event, here is a link to a news story:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/07/world/europe/pope-francis-embrace/index.html?hpt=hp_inthenews

What we have to say is simply this:

Holy Father, this is what the survivors of sexual abuse by priests and nuns look like on the inside.

Embrace their suffering.

Listen to them.

Hear them.

Know them.

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

 

The Beloved Suicides, by Kristine Ward

On this most solemn day of the three in the calendar that leads to Easter, this Good Friday, our thoughts sit with the victims of sexual abuse who committed suicide and their families.

It is right and just that these victims not be forgotten.

It should go without saying that they should be held in reverence in our collective memory but we believe that is a strong tendency to deny that suicide is part of the crisis.

These victims should not be swallowed up and placed in a frozen state of past tense by a Church seeking to move on in an era of good feeling sparked by the election of a new pope no matter how humble, how close to the people, how down to earth he may prove to be.

When, and if, actions come from Pope Francis that deal with the crisis of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church, those who committed suicide cannot be left behind.

They must be honored.

What happened to them must ring down through the centuries.

These are wrongful deaths. Not wrongful in the unloving way suicide is cast as the wrong act of the victim. Wrongful in the justice sense that these innocents were cast into death by the torture and tumult of their abuse and the wrong hung upon them because those in authority over their perpetrators did not act to save the innocents.

These are not the deaths of some far away and unknown strangers.

The victims who committed suicide are our first Communion partners, our altar boys, our classmates, our teammates, our choir mates, our neighbors, our brothers and sisters, our children and our grandchildren.

They are victims who may have been able to portray a fine façade for a short or a long time to the outside world before the demons of a childhood brutalized by rape and sodomy could no longer be overcome.

The lives they touched remain touched, remain aching, remain disrupted, remain unsettled – especially in a holiday season and most particularly one that is focused on resurrection.

No matter how widely or how closely spaced the chairs, for these families no matter the holiday there will always be an empty place at the table.

On the day when the whole Christian world holds close to its collective heart the death of an innocent young man cruelly executed for the sins and crimes of others, we ask our readers to sit by the tomb and keep watch, keeping observant vigil for those victims of sexual abuse by priests and nuns who died by suicide and with tender reflection hold dear their memories while continuing to seek justice for them and their grieving families.

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

Pope Francis and Protection: Your Help Needed, by Kristine Ward

March 20, 2013

The National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) appreciates Pope Francis emphasis on protection in the homily of his installation Mass.

But the word must become kinetic to solve and eradicate the crisis of sexual abuse in the Church by priests and nuns.

It must have the energy of action behind it to truly protect children and give the survivors the protection of justice.

Juxtaposed to the Pope’s installation homily are two news stories published yesterday that are disturbing.

Here are the links:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/pope-francis-was-often-quiet-on-argentine-sex-abuse-cases-as-archbishop/2013/03/18/26e7eca4-8ff6-11e2-9cfd-36d6c9b5d7ad_story.html

http://www.whbf.com/story/21723020/abuse-victims-want-pope-to-open-argentina-files

Given the gravity of this crisis to speak of protection and directly link the word to children in the inaugural Mass homily holds out hope and not to act on these words would border on cruelty not on tenderness.

That means removals and resignations not only of predator priests and nuns but Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, Curia and Chancery personnel who aided and abetted criminals and obstructed justice favoring the predator over the child.

Criminally convicted Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph must be replaced.

Documents in Argentina and throughout the universal Church must be released.

Catholics can and should find their way to all of the virtues of St. Francis. While it’s nice to have a Pope lead them there, it’s possible to get there without one.

That’s not the case when it comes to setting, demanding and acting on the standards of justice for survivors and protection for children involving the removal of predator priests and nuns, Bishops, Archbishops, Cardinals and Curial officials who have either abused or aided and abetted those who have.

For that you need a Pope.

Cardinals spoke frequently publicly before the conclave about how the Church realized the scourge of the sexual abuse crisis and a new pope must act regarding it.

If Pope Francis doesn’t act decisively regarding the crisis of sexual abuse by priests and nuns these public pronouncements by Cardinals will become a sham and a shill for getting over and through the time of massive media attention focused on the Church with the veneer of public relations but no real firm purpose of justice, amendment, or the protection of children.

We implore all of our readers but particularly those who live in dioceses headed by Cardinal electors to be in contact with those elector Cardinals regarding the hypocrisy of talking one game before an election and accepting words alone as accountability and responsibility after an election and the fading of television lights and newsprint.

We urge all of our readers to make your position known by contact with the Cardinal electors. Contact your Bishop and making your voice heard. Bishops’ contact information is available at www.usccb.org.

If you think contacting hierarchs is a waste of time, or even if you don’t, write a Letter to the Editor of your local paper and the largest circulation newspaper in your State.

Two popes before Francis offered words.

Words alone, pretty or plain, will be no substitute for action.

We wait now for action from this new pope.

But not with patience for the wait so far in this crisis for the Church to act decisively to cleanse itself and set up a new path has taken far too long.

Survivors and their families must not be set up and used in the crucible of media glare only to be cast off again in an era of good feeling.

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

The National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) is an all volunteer organization of in the pew Catholics and men and women of goodwill supporting survivors of sexual abuse and working to educate society about sexual abuse and to bring about effective legislative reforms. NSAC News is a daily free online news briefing on the scandal distributed online Monday through Friday. To subscribe email Steve Sheehan: sheehan1777@aol.com.

A Papacy’s First Steps: Where Will They Lead?, by Kristine Ward

Published on March 18, 2013

We hope Dublin’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin had some good St. Patrick Day’s inside tracking information stronger than wishful thinking and style changes to back up his Sunday declaration that Pope Francis will “clearly address” the issue of sexual abuse.

Cardinal Bernard Law’s presence at St. Mary Major Basilica during Pope Francis’s first public outing after the conclave is troubling to say the least.

It’s hard to imagine that Law’s baggage wasn’t known to the Argentinian who is now Pope. A Pope, it appears in these early days, for whom style may be a conveyance of substance.

Law’s presence in the Basilica and the new pontiff’s greeting of him was an insult of hippopotamus proportions particularly for one conscious of what appearance can convey.

This slap to survivors should have outweighed any perceived or real slight to an “emeritus” archpriest of the basilica.

Not to mention that Law should have had enough sense to step aside and stay away knowing the message that his presence would send.

The first days are muddled as well by South African Cardinal Wilfred Napier’s insistence that pedophilia is not a “criminal condition” but a psychological illness.

In doing this Napier is arguing strongly against punishment for pedophiles.

This path leads to the same old hiding spot, the refusal to see where the responsibility is — with the adult not the child.

Tomorrow, Pope Francis – who is just as much Pope today as he will be tomorrow – will be in St. Peter’s Square and “installed” or “inaugurated” or whatever beginning word you’d like to tag on the proceedings. Then, all that’s left is the hard work.

NSAC believes that the hard work includes the removal of Bishop Robert Finn as head of the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph along with the removal of any and all Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops who are complicit in the cover-up of predators, as well as the clear, distinct direction to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith that the backlog of hundreds upon hundreds of cases of credibly accused priests be cleared with all deliberative speed, and the new Secretary of State be a man of strong spine who does not believe that criminals should be protected no matter what country they live in, work in or were transferred to in order to escape their crimes.

After that Pope Francis should release all documents related to the crisis.

Then he should set about finding the survivors, all of them , with a sound, real dedication and a clarion call to Catholics to search for, seek out and find the survivors – because it is only through the courage of the survivors and the documents that the truth is and will be known.

Hand in hand with searching for the survivors must be the wide spread publication by all available means through dioceses and parishes of the knowledge of predator priests and nuns, including where they have been and where they are now.

It will be painful but to repair and rebuild the Church it must be done.

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

Election of Pope Francis I

Published on March 13, 2013

The National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) urgently calls on Pope Francis to act forcefully for justice for the survivors of sexual abuse by priests and nuns.

The Church walks in a moment of great hope.

The Church must walk through great pain to get to its fullness.

Words alone, whether they are pretty or plain, will not get the job done.

First, without hesitation, the new pope must remove criminally convicted Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

In the midst of celebration it must be remembered that to truly cleanse and heal the process will be painful and it needs to be extensive.

Removals and resignations of hierarchs complicit in covering up crimes must be done. That means Pope Francis must take action against Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops who have covered up crimes and aided criminal activity.

Clearing the backlog of hundreds upon hundreds of cases of priests credibly accused that are bottlenecked in the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith must be a priority. These men are on paid vacations and the vacations are paid for by the Catholic faithful.

The new pope is a Jesuit and the Jesuits order has been revealed to be one of the leading religious orders in terms of abuse cases. The new pope must see the damage to the Church and to the society at large from the crimes of the members of his order and those in his order who covered them up.

Words of judgment, condemnation and animosity toward victims and their families must end.

Nothing should be done to in any way that further harms the survivors.

A concentrated, real effort led by this new pope but done by the whole Church must be inaugurated to find and honor all the survivors of sexual abuse by priests and nuns.

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

The National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) is an all volunteer organization of in the pew Catholics and men and women of goodwill supporting survivors of sexual abuse and working to educate society about sexual abuse and to bring about effective legislative reforms. NSAC News is a daily free online news briefing on the scandal distributed online Monday through Friday. To subscribe email Steve Sheehan: sheehan1777@aol.com.

Before the Smoke, the Mirrors, by Kristine Ward

Published on March 12, 2013

Before we get to the smoking moment that heralds the one man standing on a balcony and the cascading cavalcade of comment about him begins, we think this small of space of time should be reserved for mirrors.

The mirrors that 115 men looked into this morning.

One hundred and fifteen faces of men ranging in age from 55 to 80 were reflected back to Cardinal electors as day broke across the Eternal City.

As they looked into their own eyes, we wonder if there was honesty in the moment.

If there had been, we think the circle of them concelebrating in St. Peter’s Basilica would be smaller than it was and the number of them chanting the Litany of the Saints and entering into the Sistine Chapel today would be less, considerably less than 115.

The larger circle would have formed without Cardinal Angelo Sodano and Cardinal Bernard Law.

The smaller group entering into the Sistine would be minus Cardinal Roger Mahony, Cardinal Sean Brady, Cardinal Justin Rigali, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, Cardinal George Pell, Cardinal Domeninco Calcagno.

These and others, for indeed there are others, should have self selected out of the high solemnity of the public acts of leaders of a Church that regards itself as a moral pillar of the planet.

If the electors had shown the courage to leave their chairs empty as witness of the wounds they had inflicted on the Church for which they are now choosing a leader half the battle of the rising from the ashes of scandal and crisis would be won.

Perhaps in the end of a true and honest evaluation of themselves reflected back to them by their mirrors, only one of them would have been worthy and he would simply have walked down the great aisle of the largest Church in Christendom and knelt humbly before his God.

And the Church would at this moment be on the road to resurrection.

Perhaps all of them would have been honest enough to have stayed in the quarters in which they confronted their own reflections having been overcome by the reality of the weight of scandal that bears down on the Church.

Then with honesty as a foundation for responsibility and accountability we would be at this hour moving to a profound moment for the world.

Alas, we are not.

Our thoughts turn to the survivors and their families for whom these days rip open afresh the deep, agonizing gouges of rape and sodomy suffered at the hands of men and women draped in the trappings of holiness and protected by the power that sits in the rarified secrecy of the Sistine Chapel.

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

One Eyed Men as Kings, by Kristine Ward

Published on March 6, 2013

In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king.

We sincerely hope this is not what’s happening in the view of the world’s Cardinals as they read interviews by the Cardinals from the United States and speak with them over coffee, meals and in reception lines during these days.

Because a vast amount of news print and broadcast minutes were brought to bear on the sexual abuse scandal in the United States, the country’s Cardinals should not be seen as experts on the protection of children or justice for the survivors. Neither should Ireland’s Primate Sean Brady nor Australia’s Cardinal George Pell.

For that, we sincerely hope the Cardinals and especially the man who emerges as Pope know that accountability will come only from hard Church examination from experts across a number of critical fields: legal, psychological, medical, sociological, educational, and financial.

Cardinals, it appears from the dribbling in approach that some of them have engineered to delay the setting of a date for the conclave, do know how to strategize.

The world will be watching to see if they willing to put that skill to use for the true benefit of the protection of children and justice for those raped and sodomized by priests and nuns to address the largest crisis in the Church in the past 500 years.

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

The National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) is an all volunteer organization of in the pew Catholics and men and women of goodwill supporting survivors of sexual abuse and working to educate society about sexual abuse and to bring about effective legislative reforms. NSAC News is a daily free online news briefing on the scandal distributed online Monday through Friday. To subscribe email Steve Sheehan: sheehan1777@aol.com.

What’s Missing? by Kristine Ward

Published on March 5, 2013

We find it interesting that Cardinal Francis George of Chicago seems to know how to discuss sexual abuse before a conclave but he quickly loses an interest for the topic after one.

Our readers may recall that before the 2005 conclave Cardinal George made sure the world knew that he had taken up the subject with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and had extracted a promise from the Cardinal-contender that he would do something about it if he emerged from the conclave a pope.

As the Cardinals gathered  Monday for their first official meeting before the conclave Cardinal George was at it again.

Here’s a link to the story:

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57572479/cardinals-discuss-abuse-at-first-meeting-in-rome/

We call our readers attention to this particular understatement by Cardinal George “They (the victims) have been abused by a Catholic priest and sometimes by a Catholic bishop and sometimes the abuse has not been addressed as it should have been by Catholic bishops,” George said. “That is a terrible wound on the body of the church.”

Both Cardinal George and Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York – in these pre-voting interviews — are quick to describe the rape and sodomy of children by priests and nuns as “sin.”

The rape and sodomy of children is criminal activity.

The cover-up by bishops, cardinals and popes is criminal activity.

What’s missing in these interviews is calling a spade a spade.

Also, pay careful attention to how the crisis is framed. It’s the sins of perpetrator priests and what they did.

Indeed what perpetrator priests did needs to be laid on the table in this pre-voting days right alongside what bishops and cardinals and popes did.

How will Cardinals do that while they sitting beside Cardinal Roger Mahony, Cardinal Sean Brady, Cardinal Justin Rigali, and Cardinal Godfried Daneels?

Only a real come to Jesus talk can get them to an honest to God examination of the crisis that results in removals, resignations, and convictions among their own ranks.

What are the odds they are going there?

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

www.nationalsurvivoradvocatescoalition.wordpress.com

The National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) is an all volunteer organziation of in the pew Catholics and men and women of goodwill supporting survivors of sexual abuse and working to educate society about sexual abuse and to bring about effective legislative reforms. NSAC News is a daily free online news briefing on the scandal distributed online Monday through Friday. To susbscribe email Steve Sheehan: sheehan1777@aol.com.