Tag Archives: Kristine Ward

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

Why Have You Forsaken Them?


The question has to be asked.

It has to be asked of Pope Francis.

There is no better week to ask it than Holy Week.

No better words than those of the Lord’s.

Words wrung out in the ebbing away of life. Words labored and laden with anguish, pain, and abandonment.

It has to be the place where the Chilean victims and by extension all survivors of sexual abuse by priests and religious are today in the face of the brutal slap they have received from Pope Francis’ backing of the declaration of the Congregation for Bishops supporting Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid as the newly appointed and installed bishop of Osorno, Chile.

This is the Chilean bishop whose installation was interrupted by loud protestations within the cathedral. And how often has any Catholic seen that happen?

The Vatican’s press statement said this:

Prior to the recent appointment of His Excellency Msgr. Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid as bishop of Osorno, Chile, the Congregation for Bishops carefully examined the prelate’s candidature and did not find objective reasons to preclude the appointment.

For those who cannot bring themselves to think that Pope Francis does not back this appointment, please read on from the report in ZENIT:

Fr. (Ciro) Benedettini’s (Vice Director of the Holy See Press Office) statement echos those of Archbishop Fernando Chomali Garib of Concepcion, who in an interview with Chile’s El Sur newspaper on March 26th, stated that he spoke personally with Pope Francis regarding the appointment.  

“All the documentation that I cited came to him (Pope Francis), whether through the nunciature or the Chilean Embassy to the Holy See. He was very much up to date on Bishop Barros’ situation, and in fact, a few days prior he had spoken with him,” Archbishop Chomali said.

“With firmness and much conviction, he told me that he had analyzed all the past records and that there was no objective reason that Bishop Barros should not be installed as diocesan bishop.”

Here is the link to the ZENIT news story on this issue: http://www.zenit.org/en

The Congregation’s action is not surprising, sad but not surprising – and given the history of the public revelations of the sexual abuse crisis, it could have been anticipated: this band of brothers hangs together.

But for this Father, the Holy Father of this band of brothers to have heavy lidded eyes through which mercy cannot penetrate is a stinging whip or rebuke to survivors.

Is this truly the only person who could be the Bishop of Osorno, Chile?

The Chilean survivors have told the world that Bishop Barros was a witness to their abuse by Fr. Fernando Karadima.

Survivors carry enough burden in their lives. Abusers and their protectors are plentiful in number and there is no need to invent them or create a spectacle in a cathedral as a headline grabbing flashpoint overtaken soon enough by the next spectacle. Does anyone really think these protestors had nothing else to do that day?

Where is the concern of this bishop for the survivors that he would not lay down this position of bishop or not accept it in the first place?

Who are the poor?

What does a Jubilee Year of Mercy mean if not to overlook and overcome the self and seek the good of the other and seek it in an overflowing abundance of love?

In yet another ZENIT news story, we read that Pope Francis has been named by Fortune magazine as the fourth “greatest world leader.”

The ranking are given, Fortune says to “extraordinary men and women who are transforming business, government, philanthropy, and so much more. ”

Fortune said Pope Francis “has been shaking up the management of one of the world’s largest bureaucracies: the Roman Catholic Church.”

“It is not just that he has led by example—by now it’s well known that the pope, who has long championed the virtues of charity and modesty, has forgone the traditional suite in the Apostolic Palace, opting instead to reside in a one-bedroom apartment in the Vatican guesthouse.”

“Less known is how decisive he is in personnel choices,” the magazine continued, “replacing the boards of the Vatican Bank and its main regulatory body with highly respected business-people from around the globe.”

Despite perhaps some pushback, “this pontiff is not easily conned,” Fortune says. “This, after all, is a pope who lives his own lessons.”

The personnel choice here is a bad one.

The rubber is hitting the road and the smell is not sweet.

It is important to be clear here by making and letting this appointment of Bishop Barros stand Pope Francis is declaring that he is not going to take action against those who aided and abetted abusers. He is going to protect them.

We have Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City- St. Joseph as a glaring example of that.

Now, Bishop Barros.

The problem of sexual abuse needs no other hand for its correction than Pope Francis’.

This appointment gives the back of it to survivors.

With all the power needed and necessary residing in him, the question has to be asked: Why has Pope Francis, who so clearly hears the cry of the poor, the innocent, the vulnerable and the marginalized, forsaken the survivors – the very children who were striped naked, brutalized, raped and sodomized by the agents of the Church over whom he has absolute power?

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



For immediate release: Wednesday,   March 12, 2014   Two more   groups want Cardinal uninvited   Controversial prelate to preside at special   mass   Concerned Catholics feel that “sends   the wrong message   “It encourages future cover ups &   hurts victims,” they say   Two more organizations   are urging New York Archbishop Tim Dolan to stop his predecessor from   presiding this weekend at a special mass featuring children’s   choirs.   This Saturday, retired New York   Cardinal Edward Egan is to preside over a children’s choir mass featuring 200   youngsters at St. Ignatius Loyola parish in Manhattan. Long secret church   records show that Egan hid clergy sex crimes during his long tenure in the   Bridgeport diocese and he is accused of doing the same in the New York   archdiocese.   Because of that, leaders of the   National Survivor Advocate Coalition and the Bridgeport chapter of Voice of   the Faithful want Cardinal Timothy Dolan to oust Egan from the upcoming event.   Leaders of a victims group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused   by Priests, made the same request yesterday.   http://www.snapnetwork.org/ny_retired_cardinal_to_preside_at_special_mass_snap_responds   http://www.nhregister.com/general-news/20140311/abuse-survivors-group-wants-egan-mass-for-youths-canceled   This sends the wrong message and   hurts already suffering victims and betrayed Catholics,” said Jamie   Dance (jamie.dance@sbcglobal.net,   203-801-9532) who heads the Bridgeport chapter of Voice of the Faithful   (VOTF). “It encourages future cover ups by saying ‘no matter how much you   endanger children you can still be rewarded.”   “Retired Cardinals should have a lot   of time to think. We think Cardinal Egan should think about what he can do to   end the crisis not add to it,” said Kristine Ward (kristineward@hotmail.com, 937 272 0308),   who chairs the National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC). How about Cardinal Dolan invite   Archbishop Diamund Martin from Dublin to say this Mass? At least, he’s   tried to cast out the snakes of sexual abuse instead of whitewash it. It   would be a far better St. Patrick’s Day message for these young people   than honoring Egan would. ”   In 2009, the New York Times reported   that “In one case, then-Bishop Egan kept an accused abuser working for five   years after receiving a warning and did not suspend him until after a lawsuit   was filed. In another, the diocese did not report potential allegations of   statutory rape of a teenager impregnated by a priest.”   http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/14/opinion/his-eminence-in-denial.html?action=click&module=Search&region=searchResults%230&version=&url=http%3A%2F%2Fquery.nytimes.com%2Fsearch%2Fsitesearch%2F%3Faction%3Dclick%26region%3DMasthead%26pgtype%3DHomepage%26module%3DSearchSubmit%26contentCollection%3DHomepage%26t%3Dqry183%23%2F%2522cardinal%2Bedward%2Began%2522%2F&_r=0   In 2002, the Hartford Courant   reported that “Secret court documents reveal that New York Cardinal Edward   Egan, while serving as bishop of the Bridgeport Roman Catholic Diocese,   allowed several priests facing multiple accusations of sexual abuse to   continue working for years. Egan failed   to investigate aggressively some abuse allegations, did not refer complaints   to criminal authorities and, during closing testimony in 1999, suggested that   a dozen people who made complaints of rape, molestation and beatings against   the same priest may all have been lying, the documents show.”   http://www.snapnetwork.org/news/otherstates/NY_Egan_Under_Fire.htm   http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2009/11_12/2009_12_01_Altimari_CardinalEdward.htm   As recently as 2012, discussing the   abuse and cover up crisis, Egan said “I don’t think we did anything wrong,”   “I’m very proud of how this thing was handled,” “I believe the sex abuse thing   was incredibly good,” “There really wasn’t much . . .  hidden” and “I do   think it’s time to get off this subject.”   http://www.connecticutmag.com/Connecticut-Magazine/Web-Exclusive-Content/February-2012/Egan-Ten-Years-After/   The event will be at Church of St.   Ignatius Loyola, 980 Park Avenue at 84th Street (212-288-3588,www.stignatiusloyola.org).        Here is the exact wording and website   link from last Sunday’s parish bulletin:   Welcome Cardinal Egan! On Saturday,   March 15th, the St. Ignatius Loyola Children’s Choir will be hosting the Pueri   Cantores Children’s Choir Festival for 200+ choristers from the Tri-state   area. The day’s festivities will culminate in singing at the 5:30 PM Mass.   Edward Cardinal Egan will preside. The prelude, featuring participating   choirs, begins at 5:00 PM.   http://www.stignatiusloyola.org/pdf/bulletins/1314/03092014SIL.pdf    The St. Ignatius pastor is Father   George Witt (wittg@stignatiusloyola.org). The   associate pastors are Fr. William Bergen (bergenw@saintignatiusloyola.org),   Fr. Thomas Feely (feelyt@saintignatiusloyola.org)   and Fr. Ugo Nacciarone (nacciaroneu@saintignatiusloyola.org) (SNAP,   the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and   largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years   and have more than 15,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we   have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations,   including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is   SNAPnetwork.org) Contact:

David   Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell,


Promises Broken Again

In response: Catholic officials have again broken promise to be open


Duluth Catholic officials this month announced a priest “has recently been credibly accused” of molesting a girl and was “rather quickly” removed from ministry.

By: Kristine Ward, for the News Tribune

Duluth Catholic officials this month announced a priest “has recently been credibly accused” of molesting a girl and was “rather quickly” removed from ministry.

Sound too good to be true? It is.

Questioned by reporters, Duluth Bishop Paul Sirba admitted he received the abuse report more than a year ago. He admitted it took two months for him to oust the predator. And Duluth’s prosecutor says no one has told him anything about child sex abuse allegations against the priest, Fr. Cornelius Kelleher.

Bishop Sirba left out a few facts as well.

When the allegation came in, and when it was deemed credible, and when the priest was suspended, Sirba and his staff did not ring whistles and bells to alert parishioners or the public. They bought time. They controlled the timing of the announcement. Time gives predators ample opportunity to destroy evidence, intimidate victims, threaten whistleblowers, discredit witnesses, fabricate alibis, flee overseas and molest more kids.

Neither Sirba nor anyone on his staff reported the allegations to police or prosecutors.

He said nothing about where the credibly accused predator priest is now. He could be quietly living in an apartment complex among unsuspecting families or even with relatives with children who are also unaware of the accusations against him.

Sirba said nothing about why the allegation had been deemed “credible.” Despite diocesan claims to the contrary, are there other victims who have reported over the years?

Time and time again for more than a decade, Catholic officials have pledged to be “open and transparent” in clergy sex abuse cases. Time and time again, they have broken that promise.

Bishop Sirba is the latest. He learned of, investigated, and took action on child sex abuse, telling only a few trusted colleagues and making sure parents, parishioners, police and the public were kept in the dark. And 14 months after hearing about the alleged crimes, he announced them — but still didn’t contact independent law enforcement.

That’s secrecy, not openness. That’s recklessness, not prudence. That’s “business as usual,” not reform.

We with the National Survivor Advocates Coalition hope Bishop Sirba’s flock rebels against his irresponsible behavior and that Duluth police and prosecutors leap in and act aggressively to protect children and expose wrongdoers.

Kristine Ward of Dayton, Ohio, is chairwoman of the National Survivor Advocates Coalition.


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

Action Alert Regarding Bishop Finn, by Kristine Ward

NSAC protest, 9/17/2012, Kansas City

NSAC protest, 9/17/2012, Kansas City

The National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) has taken a strong stand that it is an imperative part of true healing in the Church regarding the sexual abuse crisis that criminally convicted Bishop Robert Finn who still heads the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in Missouri must resign or be removed.

We admire the work that Jeff Weis, the creator of the Bishop Finn petition (www.BishopFinnPetition.com), has done. The petition currently has 111,030 signers.

Today, we ask our readers to take action and support an email campaign that  Jeff has begun in connection with a provincial meeting of all of the Roman Catholic Bishops of the dioceses in Missouri this Sunday and Monday. Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of the Archdiocese of St. Louis will preside at this meeting.

The email asks Archbishop Carlson to speak with Bishop Finn during the meeting of the Roman Catholic Bishops of the dioceses in Missouri this Sunday and Monday to “counsel Bishop Finn to make the right and just decision in helping the people of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese to start the healing process by his resignation.”

Archbishop Carlson email address is: ABP@archstl.org

Jeff’s provided the following suggested text. He encourages the writer to send his or her “own thoughtful request as this journey is a very personal one for so many.” He adds, “I understand the need to present your own words but encourage you to help me present a united front with this very important issue.”

Here is the suggested text:

Dear Archbishop Carlson,

Your Excellency, I am contacting you today with the hope that you will listen to the pleas of those in Missouri who have grievous concerns with the moral aptitude of Bishop Robert Finn to continue to lead the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. This is in regard to Bishop Finn’s conviction last fall of a misdemeanor for failure to report suspicion of child abuse as mandated by the State of Missouri.

It is my hope that you and all of the Missouri Roman Catholic Bishops take the time over the weekend to address our concerns with Bishop Finn. With the election of Pope Francis I am looking forward to a new openness in the church and the renewal of faith to do the right thing for all, especially the children; the future of our church.  

NSAC believes this issue involves Catholics in and outside of Missouri.

We appreciate you as a NSAC News subscriber.

We ask for your action. The Church needs it. Children need it.

Please email now. Don’t think you’ll come back to it later today or tomorrow. Life has a funny way of coming up with all kinds of things to get you off your intended path.

It will only take a minute. Really.

It doesn’t take much. You don’t have to take a shower and get dressed, scrub a floor, shovel a driveway, go anywhere, make a speech, change clothes, find a telephone number or an email address (see above).

Please just do it.

Thank you.

— 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:



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.