(CNN) - The Vatican begged forgiveness of Irish victims from child sexual abuse by priests as it released a major report into the problem Tuesday, but victims responded with anger and disbelief at the report's finding that new safeguards are working.
"With a great sense of pain and shame, it must be acknowledged that within the Christian community, innocent young people were abused by clerics," a high-level Catholic Church committee found.
"Those who should have exercised vigilance often failed to do so effectively," it found.
"For these faults, forgiveness must once more be asked: from God and from the victims!" the commission of top church leaders said.
The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, echoed those words Tuesday.
"In expressing true sorrow and regret, we make our own the heartfelt plea for forgiveness from the victims, and from God, for these terrible crimes and sins," he said.
But Jon McCourt, an activist for survivors of abuse, said the report did not go nearly far enough.
Similarly, we discount the pledge to “reorganise Ireland’s ecclesiastical tribunals – an internal canon justice system – so that outstanding cases could be dealt with more quickly.” Timid, self-serving Catholic officials – who put their own reputations above the safety of their flock – prevent cases from being dealt with quickly. It’s not a problem of structure. It’s a problem of personnel. The church hierarchy remains filled with career-climbing bureaucrats instead of courageous and compassionate men who are willing to “buck the system” and thwart their advancement so that kids can be safer, predators can be jailed, and complicit colleagues can be ousted.
And that’s because virtually no church employee who ignores, minimizes, conceals or enables horrific child sex crimes is ever defrocked, demoted, disciplined or even denounced by his church colleagues or supervisors. Until that changes, nothing will really change.
POSTED BY BARBARA DORRIS ON MARCH 20, 2012 · FLAG
Whenever church officials are promoted, we always hope for the best. We hope that church officials will bring in an outsider who has not been involved in an institution that has been marred by cover-ups, or that a priest is promoted instead of a monsignor or fellow bishop. Today, when a Jesuit priest Fr. Thomas Smolich was tapped to head the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, church officials did exactly the opposite of what we hope for. They elevated a man with a horrific record on child sex abuse and who has been allegedly involved in many cover ups.
Smolich, who has worked as President of the Jesuit Conference of the United States since 2006, has a history rife with excusals of predator priests. In 2002, Smolich was working as the Provincial for the California province of the Jesuits. When Angel Crisostomo Mariano was sued in civil court for abusing a mentally disabled man, Smolich denied knowing much about Mariano at all, despite the fact that, at that point, Smolich had been roommates with Mariano for two years.
Beyond living with credibly accused predator priests, Smolich has housed other convicted and accused predators at the Sacred Heart Center in Los Gatos, CA where these predators have been able to mix with vulnerable adults, in some cases abusing them. Fr. James Chevedden was wheelchair-bound and living at Sacred Heart when he was abused by serial predator Br. Charles Leonard Connor (www.mercurynews.com...).
Tragically, Fr. Chevedden died by suicide or a staged suicide three years after reporting the abuse, and the Jesuits later settled with Chevedden’s surviving family in a wrongful death suit.
By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A Vatican-appointed investigation of the church in Ireland recognized serious shortcomings in the handling of accusations of the sexual abuse of minors, yet found that bishops, clergy and lay faithful are doing an "excellent" job in creating safe environments for children today.
The investigators found that Irish bishops need to update their child protection guidelines, establish "more consistent admission criteria" for seminarians, and formulate policies on how best to deal with clergy and religious accused of abuse.
In a summary of findings from the probe, formally known as an apostolic visitation, the investigators also warned of a "fairly widespread" tendency among priests, religious and laity to hold unspecified unorthodox views.
"This serious situation requires particular attention, directed principally toward improved theological formation," the visitors found, stressing that dissent from the church's teaching authority would only hinder its renewal.
The abuse victims' support group One in Four criticized the report, insisting that "the Vatican is still not accepting responsibility for its role in creating the culture of purposeful cover-ups of the sexual abuse of children."
Executive Director Maeve Lewis said that "while we welcome the findings of the visitation that the Irish church now has good child protection practices in place, we feel it is a lost opportunity to address the role played by the Vatican in perpetuating the policy of protecting abusive priests at the expense of children."
She said she also welcomed "the recommendation that the bishops and religious superiors should devote much time to listening to survivors and attending to their needs.
"We have had grotesque situations where senior churchmen meet with survivors, assure them of their remorse for what happened while at the same time are instructing their legal teams to file full defenses in relation to civil compensations suits. This only compounds the pain and hurt of survivors. It brings into question the authenticity of the church's repentance," Lewis said.
Vatican announces investigations into document leaks
By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI has established a commission to investigate a series of leaks of letters exchanged among Vatican officials and between the officials and the pope himself.
Archbishop Angelo Becciu, Vatican substitute secretary of state, said March 16 that the papal commission would try "to shed light on the whole affair," while a Vatican tribunal would look into taking legal action against those who gave the documents to reporters, and the Vatican Secretariat of State would carry out an administrative review of every Vatican office.
While some of the leaked letters are gossipy, others include allegations of serious financial misconduct.
Make no mistake. The Catholic Church is THE richest organization in the world.
Plenty have left, but others are devout and view leaving the church as turning their backs on God.
Originally posted by Afterthought
reply to post by wildtimes
They don't do this because the majority are too brainwashed. In order for a successful protest to happen, the entire congregation would have to revolt. Many times than not, people simply don't want to rock the boat. They are afraid of being blacklisted and looked at as trouble makers.
I wouldn't be surprised if some have tried to get things changed, but as word got around, a more powerful and popular member took them aside and gave them a good talking to about why their idea was bad. Frankly, most of the ones who want to rise up and change things are outnumbered by those who don't.
Catholics are people who love tradition. It's as though they are allergic to change. Not to mention the whole confessional thing. Catholics are taught that you can sin as long as you confess and do your punishment. I wouldn't doubt if there are plenty of criminals and deviants within the members who are happy just going with the flow. Why upset something if it works well for you?