February 19, 2019
Vincent Doyle, a psychotherapist in Ireland, was 28 when he learned from his mother that the Roman Catholic priest he had always known as his godfather was in truth his biological father.
The discovery led him to create a global support group to help other children of priests, like him, suffering from the internalized shame that comes with being born from church scandal. When he pressed bishops to acknowledge these children, some church leaders told him that he was the product of the rarest of transgressions.
But one archbishop finally showed him what he was looking for: a document of Vatican guidelines for how to deal with priests who father children, proof that he was hardly alone.
“It’s the next scandal,” said Vincent Doyle, the son of a priest. “There are kids everywhere.”
“Oh my God. This is the answer,” Mr. Doyle recalled having said as he held the document. He asked if he could have a copy, but the archbishop said no — it was secret.
Now, the Vatican has confirmed, apparently for the first time, that its department overseeing the world’s priests has general guidelines for what to do when clerics break celibacy vows and father children.
“I can confirm that these guidelines exist,” the Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti wrote in response to a query from The New York Times. “It is an internal document.”
The issue is becoming harder to ignore.
“It’s the next scandal,” Mr. Doyle said. “There are kids everywhere.”
As the Vatican prepares for an unprecedented meeting with the world’s bishops this week on the devastating child sexual abuse crisis, many people who feel they have been wronged by the church’s culture of secrecy and aversion to scandal will descend on Rome to press their cause.
There will be the victims of clerical child abuse. There will be nuns sexually assaulted by priests. And there will be children of priests, including Mr. Doyle, who is scheduled to meet privately in Rome with several prominent prelates.
The Vatican has confirmed that it has general guidelines for clerics who father children, pressuring them to prioritize the welfare of the child and leave the priesthood.
For the church, stories like Mr. Doyle’s draw uncomfortable attention to the violation of celibacy by priests and, for some former clerics and liberals inside the church, raise the issue of whether it is time to make the requirement optional, as it is in other Christian churches.
The children are sometimes the result of affairs involving priests and laywomen or nuns — others of abuse or rape. There are some, exceedingly rare, high-profile cases, but the overwhelming majority remain out of the public eye.
The longstanding tradition of celibacy among Roman Catholic clergy was broadly codified in the 12th century, but not necessarily adhered to, even in the highest places. Rodrigo Borgia, while a priest, had four children with his mistress before he became Pope Alexander VI, an excess that helped spur Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation. Luther wrote mockingly that the pope had as much command over celibacy as “the natural movement of the bowels.”
There are no estimates of how many such children exist. But Mr. Doyle said that the website for his support group, Coping International, has 50,000 users in 175 countries.
He said he was first shown the Vatican guidelines in October 2017 by Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, the Vatican’s envoy to the United Nations in Geneva.
“You’re actually called ‘children of the ordained,’” Mr. Doyle recalled Archbishop Jurkovic having said. “I was shocked they had a term for it.”
Archbishop Jurkovic declined a request for an interview.
Mr. Gisotti, the Vatican spokesman, said that the internal 2017 document synthesized a decade’s worth of procedures, and that its “fundamental principle” was the “protection of the child.” He said the guideline “requests” that the father leave the priesthood to “assume his responsibilities as a parent by devoting himself exclusively to the child.”
But another Vatican official said that the “request” was a mere formality. Monsignor Andrea Ripa, the under secretary in the Congregation for the Clergy, which oversees more than 400,000 priests, said in a brief interview that “it is impossible to impose” the dismissal of the priest, and that it “can only be asked.”
He added: “If you don’t ask, you will be dismissed.”
The Irish bishops have their own guidelines, and made them public in 2017. Mr. Doyle, who once studied for the priesthood and has sought to cooperate with church leaders, played a role in developing them, said Martin Long, a spokesman for the Irish Bishops’ Conference.
The Irish church’s principles do not explicitly require clerics to leave the priesthood but state: “A priest as any new father, should face up to his responsibilities — personal, legal, moral and financial.”
Pope Francis’ remarks on the issue are limited. In his 2010 book, “On Heaven and Earth,” which he co-wrote when he was the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis argues that a priest who in a moment of passion violates a vow of celibacy could potentially stay in the ministry, but one who fathers a child could not.
“Natural law comes before his right as a priest,” he writes, adding that a priest’s first responsibility would be to his child, and that “he must leave his priestly ministry and take care of his child.”
Canon lawyers say that there is nothing in church law that forces priests to leave the priesthood for fathering children.
“There is zero, zero, zero,” on the matter, said Laura Sgro, a canon lawyer in Rome. “As it is not a canonical crime, there are no grounds for dismissal.”
Mr. Doyle, along with some other children of priests and some former priests themselves, say they do not believe that dismissal from the priesthood is always in the child’s best interests, and that sometimes it potentially deprives a family of a livelihood.
“I don’t believe unemployment is a response to paternity,” Mr. Doyle said.
Some children of priests, however, wish their fathers were forced out of the ministry.
Rev. Pietro Tosi was 54 when he raped Erik Zattoni’s mother, who was 14, Mr. Zattoni said. Her family tried to force the priest to recognize their son, but he refused. The family was evicted from their parish-owned home in a tiny town outside Ferrara, Italy, where they often bumped into each other.
“He never said anything,” said Mr. Zattoni, now 37.
In 2010, Mr. Zattoni sued Father Tosi, demanding to be recognized. A court-ordered DNA test demonstrated that he was in fact the priest’s son. The Vatican eventually instructed Father Tosi’s bishop to admonish him and remind him of his responsibilities as a father, but did not demand his removal from the priesthood.
After a national news program highlighted his case, hundreds of Italians filled a Ferrara piazza in 2013, to show support for Mr. Zattoni and press Francis to take up his case.
Father Tosi died in 2014, still a priest.
“The justice I got,” Mr. Zattoni said, “came through a court sentence based on DNA.”
The children of priests are increasingly turning to DNA tests to prove that their parents are either priests or nuns.
“It’s a breakthrough, and anybody can do it,” said Linda Lawless, 56, an amateur genealogist in Australia, and herself the daughter of a priest, who has helped members of Coping International.
Her mother kept her paternity secret, but Ms. Lawless remembered noticing as a child that her mother was “absolutely terrified” whenever priests visited the house.
Last year, she used a DNA test and the increasingly comprehensive databases and family trees of the genealogical website Ancestry.com to confirm that her biological father was a priest.
“That’s when the secret came out,” she said.
February 16, 2019
And what about those, including Pope Francis, who protected him for the past five decades while his crimes were widely known?
ROME — The Vatican on Saturday said it had stripped ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick of the rights of the priesthood, leveling a historic penalty against a onetime church power broker and former archbishop of Washington after the church found him guilty of sexual abuse.
The decision marks the first time that a cardinal has been defrocked for sexual abuse.
In a short statement, the Vatican said a canonical process had found McCarrick guilty of several charges, including “sins” with minors and adults, “with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power.”
The defrocking of McCarrick marks the conclusion of a closed-door Vatican trial and comes just days before Pope Francis plans to gather bishops from around the world for an unpredecented summit on abuse.
McCarrick, accused of sexually abusing three minors and harassing adult seminarians, is the most senior church official in modern times to lose his priestly rights. The sentence is considered by the Roman Catholic Church to be the most severe form of canonical punishment for a cleric — worse than excommunication, which according to religious dogma is temporary and lasts only as long as a person persists in sin.
McCarrick, 88, likely won’t face criminal prosecution, because the allegations that have been made public relate to crimes that would be beyond statutes of limitations in the U.S. jurisdictions where they are said to have occurred.
And so the Vatican decision all but finalizes the downfall of a figure who entered the priesthood six decades ago, climbed the ranks of the faith and became a public face for efforts to end clergy sexual abuse — before becoming a symbol of the church’s struggle to root out abuse in its highest ranks.
In its statement Saturday, the Vatican said that its Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had found McCarrick guilty of the charges on Jan. 11. Then, on Feb. 13, the Vatican “considered the recourse” McCarrick presented but confirmed the original decision — a determination McCarrick was informed of on Friday. Pope Francis has affirmed the ruling, meaning McCarrick has no further recourse.
The accusations against McCarrick, and the notion that they languished for years, have been a central component of a renewed and painful global crisis for the church. To critics of the Vatican and of Pope Francis, McCarrick’s case exemplified a persistent culture of secrecy and coverup and a reluctance to hold church leaders accountable.
Eighty per cent of Vatican priests are gay according to explosive new book which claims to uncover double lives of homophobic priests who use male prostitutes
- ‘In the Closet of the Vatican’ claims homophobic priests most likely to be gay
- 570-page expose to be released next week as Pope holds sex abuse summit
- Author Frederic Martel said book exposes double life of some senior clerics
- Found some had discreet relationships with men, while others used prostitutes
Eighty per cent of Vatican priests are gay and living in the closet, according to an explosive new book to be published next week.
The 570-page expose, titled In the Closet of the Vatican, claims that four in five clerics in the Roman Catholic Church are homosexuals – but aren’t necessarily sexually active.
French sociologist and journalist Frederic Martel, who spent four years conducting 1,500 interviews for the book, found that some priests maintained discreet long term relationships, while others lived double lives having casual sex with gay partners and using male prostitutes.
He found that a number of clerics spoke of an unspoken code of the ‘closet’, with one rule of thumb being that the more homophobic they were, the more likely they were gay.
The author, a former adviser to the French government, claims the late Alfonso López Trujillo – a Colombian cardinal who held senior roles in the Vatican – was an arch-defender of the church’s teaching on homosexuality and contraception while using male prostitutes, according to Catholic website the Tablet.
The book is a ‘startling account of corruption and hypocrisy at the heart of the Vatican’, according to British publisher Bloomsbury.
In its marketing material, Bloomsbury claims the book ‘reveals secrets’ about celibacy, misogyny and plots against Pope Francis.
But critics of the book said ‘it is not always easy to tell when Martel is trafficking in fact, rumour, eyewitness accounts or hearsay,’ according to the Tablet.
Aboard the papal plane (CNN)
For the first time, Pope Francis has acknowledged the sexual abuse of nuns by priests and bishops as a “problem” in the Catholic Church, saying that “we’ve been working on this for some time.”
The Pope’s comments, which came during a press conference aboard the papal plane on a return flight to Rome from the United Arab Emirates, come as the Catholic Church is dealing with sexual abuse scandals on several continents.
“There have been priests and also bishops who have done that,” the Pope said of sexually abusing nuns. “And I believe that it may still be being done. It’s not a thing that from the moment in which you realize it, it’s over. The thing goes forward like this. We’ve been working on this for a long time.”
Francis said the Vatican has “suspended some clerics, sent them away for this” and “dissolved” some orders of nuns “that were very tied up in this, a corruption.”
“Must something more be done? Yes. Do we have the will? Yes,” he said.
Francis mentioned the case of one order of nuns in particular, in France, in which his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI had tried to take action but was thwarted by Vatican insiders. At the time, Benedict was a cardinal and head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office.
“But when he became Pope, the first thing (he said was) bring me this from the archives and he began,” Pope Francis said.
“Pope Benedict had the courage to dissolve a women’s congregation that had a certain level because this slavery of women had entered, even sexual slavery, by clerics or by the founder,” the Pope said.
Last week, Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s official newspaper, ran an article on the sexual abuse of nuns by clergy, saying that “in this last year many new papers have raised the veil on this tragedy, and many religious from third world countries but also more advanced countries, have begun to speak and denounce (it).”
“If we continue to close our eyes in front of this scandal — made even more serious by the fact that abuse of women includes procreation and so imposed abortions and children not recognized by priests — the condition of oppression of women in the church will never change,” said the article, written by Lucetta Scaraffia.
For the first time, Pope Francis has acknowledged the sexual abuse of nuns by priests and bishops as a “problem” in the Catholic Church, saying that “we’ve been working on this for some time.”The Pope’s comments, which came during a press conference aboard the papal plane on a return flight to Rome from the United Arab Emirates, come as the Catholic Church is dealing with sexual abuse scandals on several continents.”There have been priests and also bishops who have done that,” the Pope said of sexually abusing nuns. “And I believe that it may still be being done. It’s not a thing that from the moment in which you realize it, it’s over. The thing goes forward like this. We’ve been working on this for a long time.”Francis said the Vatican has “suspended some clerics, sent them away for this” and “dissolved” some orders of nuns “that were very tied up in this, a corruption.”
probably an unintentional pun
“Must something more be done? Yes. Do we have the will? Yes,” he said.Francis mentioned the case of one order of nuns in particular, in France, in which his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI had tried to take action but was thwarted by Vatican insiders. At the time, Benedict was a cardinal and head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office.
“But when he became Pope, the first thing (he said was) bring me this from the archives and he began,” Pope Francis said.”Pope Benedict had the courage to dissolve a women’s congregation that had a certain level because this slavery of women had entered, even sexual slavery, by clerics or by the founder,” the Pope said.Last week, Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s official newspaper, ran an article on the sexual abuse of nuns by clergy, saying that “in this last year many new papers have raised the veil on this tragedy, and many religious from third world countries but also more advanced countries, have begun to speak and denounce (it).””If we continue to close our eyes in front of this scandal — made even more serious by the fact that abuse of women includes procreation and so imposed abortions and children not recognized by priests — the condition of oppression of women in the church will never change,” said the article, written by Lucetta Scaraffia.
January 30, 2019
Hermann Geissler, hitting on nuns as priests are apt to do
Ironic twist – Hermann Geissler worked in the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation, which handles discipline for sexual abuse cases.
A top Vatican official has quit his post in the Roman Catholic Church two months after a former nun publicly accused him of sexual harassment.
Hermann Geissler resigned as the chief of staff for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the pope’s office announced Tuesday in a news release. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith includes the Vatican’s discipline office, which also handles sexual abuse cases within the church.
Geissler maintained that the accusation against him was “untrue” but resigned to “limit the damage already done to the Congregation and to his Community,” according to the Vatican.
Geissler reportedly once admitted to the harassment after the nun reported it to the doctrinal congregation, according to the National Catholic Reporter.
Doris Wagner, a former nun originally from Germany, publicly revealed during a November event in Rome highlighting abuse against women that she was sexually harassed by a high-ranking priest in 2009. Wagner did not identify the priest during her speech, but she noted that he was a section head in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Wagner said she reported Geissler to a female superior who said, according to Wagner, “You know, I knew Father has a certain weakness for women, so we kind of have to put up with this.”
She also previously spoke of the alleged harassment to a German news outlet who identified Geissler as “Hermann G.” On Tuesday, Wagner confirmed to Reuters that her allegations were about Geissler.
During the November event, Wagner said a priest tried to kiss and touch her while they were in the confessional. According to Wagner, the priest had told her that he liked her and said he knew that she liked him.
“Even though we couldn’t marry, there would be other ways,” Wagner recalled Geissler as saying.
January 21, 2019
Gustavo Zanchetta, no action by the Vatican for four years on his known sexual crimes
ORAN, Argentina (AP) — The Vatican received information in 2015 and 2017 that an Argentine bishop close to Pope Francis had taken naked selfies, exhibited “obscene” behavior and had been accused of misconduct with seminarians, his former vicar general told The Associated Press, undermining Vatican claims that allegations of sexual abuse were only made a few months ago.
Francis accepted Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta’s resignation in August 2017, after priests in the remote northern Argentine diocese of Oran complained about his authoritarian rule and a former vicar, seminary rector and another prelate provided reports to the Vatican alleging abuses of power, inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment of adult seminarians, said the former vicar, the Rev. Juan Jose Manzano.
The scandal over Zanchetta, 54, is the latest to implicate Francis as he and the Catholic hierarchy as a whole face an unprecedented crisis of confidence over their mishandling of cases of clergy sexual abuse of minors and misconduct with adults. Francis has summoned church leaders to a summit next month to chart the course forward for the universal church, but his own actions in individual cases are increasingly in the spotlight.
The pope’s decision to allow Zanchetta to resign quietly, and then promote him to a new No. 2 position in one of the Vatican’s most sensitive offices, has raised questions again about whether Francis turned a blind eye to the misconduct of his allies or dismissed allegations against them as ideological attacks.
Manzano, Zanchetta’s onetime vicar general, or top deputy, said he was one of the diocesan officials who raised the alarm about his boss in 2015 and sent the digital selfies to the Vatican.
In an interview with AP in the pews of his St. Cayetano parish in Oran, Manzano said he was one of the three current and former diocesan officials who made a second complaint to the Vatican’s embassy in Buenos Aires in May or June of 2017 “when the situation was much more serious, not just because there had been a question about sexual abuses, but because the diocese was increasingly heading into the abyss.”
“In 2015, we just sent a ‘digital support’ with selfie photos of the previous bishop in obscene or out of place behavior that seemed inappropriate and dangerous,” he told AP in a follow-up email. “It was an alarm that we made to the Holy See via some friendly bishops. The nunciature didn’t intervene directly, but the Holy Father summoned Zanchetta and he justified himself saying that his cellphone had been hacked, and that there were people who were out to damage the image of the pope.”
Francis had named Zanchetta to Oran, a humble city some 1,650 kilometers (1,025 miles) northwest of Buenos Aires in Salta province, in 2013 in one of his first Argentine bishop appointments as pope. He knew Zanchetta well; Zanchetta had been the executive undersecretary of the Argentine bishops conference, which the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio headed for two successive terms, from 2005-2011.
And by all indications, they were close. Manzano said Bergoglio had been Zanchetta’s confessor and treated him as a “spiritual son.”
January 5, 2019
Walter Brandmüller, part of the problem
A German cardinal on Friday provoked anger and controversy when he claimed the Catholic church was not responsible for sexual abuse by its clerics, and instead sought to pin the blame on homosexuality.
“What has happened in the church is no different from what is happening in society as a whole,” Cardinal Walter Brandmüller said. “The real scandal is that the Catholic church hasn’t distinguished itself from the rest of society.”
A study commissioned by the German Bishops Conference and published last year found that more than 3,600 children were sexually abused by Catholic clergy in Germany between 1946 and 2014.
But Cardinal Brandmüller claimed that only a “vanishingly small number” of clergy had committed abuses.
A visit to fuckthepope.com would quickly disabuse him of that absurd belief.
He said the real problem was homosexuality and claimed it is “statistically proven” that there is a link between homosexuality and abuse.
Society “forgets or covers up the fact that 80 per cent of cases of sexual assault in the church involved male youths not children,” he told Germany’s DPA news agency in an interview a few days ahead of his 90th birthday. Utter and complete bullshit from the Donald Trump of the Catholic Church.
Cardinal Brandmüller’s outburst comes days after the Pope urged Catholic bishops in the US to confront the “sins and crimes” of sexual abuse by the clergy and “the efforts made to deny or conceal them”.
“Everything we do risks being tainted by self-referentiality, self-preservation and defensiveness, and thus doomed from the start,” Pope Francis wrote in a letter to American bishops ahead of a spiritual retreat to reflect on the issue.
“As we know, the mentality that would cover things up, far from helping to resolve conflicts, enabled them to fester and cause even greater harm to the network of relationships that today we are called to heal and restore.”
Cardinal Brandmüller has been one of Pope Francis’ most outspoken critics within the Catholic church, and is one of four cardinals who have repeatedly challenged the Pope’s teachings on love and family life.
The cardinal’s comments were swiftly condemned on social media and by leading German commentators.
“What a shameful way for the Catholic Church to relativise guilt and defame homosexuals. Disgraceful,” Ulf Poschardt, the editor of Welt newspaper, wrote on Twitter.
January 3, 2019
Catholic bishops from across the U.S. are gathering Wednesday for a weeklong retreat on the clergy sex abuse crisis at a seminary near Chicago. Organizers said the retreat, which was requested by Pope Francis, will focus on prayer and spiritual reflection and not policy-making.
The gathering comes as CBS News has also learned of several cases involving nuns accused of sexual misconduct. The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests – or SNAP – said it doesn’t keep count of sexual abuse allegations, but CBS News’ Nikki Battiste has spoken with several women who recently reported misconduct, ranging from forceful kissing to molestation, all carried out by nuns.
When Trish Cahill was 15 years old she said she confided in Sister Eileen Shaw at a convent in New Jersey. Cahill said she told Shaw things she’d never revealed to anyone about her now-deceased uncle – a priest – whom she claims sexually abused her, starting at age five.
“I would have done anything for her. I would have died for her,” Cahill said. “She gave me everything that was lacking that I didn’t even know I was lacking. I was so broken. She filled in all those pieces.”
She now describes that process as “grooming,” saying Shaw plied her with drugs and alcohol while teaching her how to have sex with a woman.
“I’m with my friends during the day. And I’m with this pedophile nun on the evenings and on the weekends, and in the summer,” Cahill said.
The Catholic Church has been plagued with high-profile abuse scandals but “pedophile nun” is a phrase many people have probably never heard before.
“That’s really a shame. Because there’s a lot of them out there … it’s the secret not yet told,” Cahill said.
Mary Dispenza is trying to change that.
“The demands of chastity and celibacy are unrealistic demands for many of us,” Dispenza said.
Dispenza, a former nun from another congregation, remembers what happened when a superior summoned her to her room.
“I knelt down right next to her and she kissed me all over softly, my face … and I want to say, ‘Oh but it wasn’t bad,’ but it was. And I’ve carried it with me until today,” Dispenza said.
Through her work with SNAP she said she would occasionally hear about abuse or cover-ups by nuns but since the publication of a grand jury report identified hundreds of pedophile priests in Pennsylvania, at least 18 people have contacted her to share stories of abuse by religious sisters.
Asked why we haven’t heard much about abuse by nuns until recently, Dispenza said, “A lot has to do with the culture of nuns which are, they are very, very private by nature.”
Cahill reported her abuse to the sisters of charity of St. Elizabeth in 1994. The congregation paid her a $70,000 out-of-court settlement.
“They had canon lawyers on retainer just for people like me. Shut her up, pacify her, tell her you love her and you’ll pray for her, and send her on her way,” Cahill said.
In a statement, the congregation told CBS News, “The case was investigated immediately when it was reported in 1994 and a settlement was reached that was mutually agreed on by all parties. We believe that the Sisters of Charity acted in a responsible manner.”
We reached out to Sister Eileen Shaw who Cahill said she continued to see for years as an adult. She hung up on Battiste.
The Sisters of Charity removed her from her role as a grade school principal but reports she remains a nun. They’re providing her with food and housing while restricting her from outside ministry. In the meantime, Cahill said the settlement she signed wasn’t enough to help her deal with a lifetime of trauma. But she hopes that her voice can help prevent this from happening again.
“That this is the beginning of many, many times more that I get to speak and I get to educate, and I get to, possibly, prevent this from happening to anyone ever again,” Cahill said.
Cahill said she believes other nuns had to have known what was going on with her. She’s struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder, along with alcohol and drug addiction that she said began with her abuse. The Sisters of Charity said they’re willing to meet with her to address her continuing concerns.
Catholic priests have been preying on nuns for sex and raping them for decades in churches across India, investigation finds
January 3, 2019
- Nuns told reporters about years of sexual pressure and rape by priests
- One woman, 44, said she was raped 13 times over two years by a bishop
- Attacks are seldom reported for fear of reprisals for breaking vow of chastity
- Many said abuse is widespread within the church, but full scale remains unclear
The stories spill out in the sitting rooms of Catholic convents, where portraits of Jesus keep watch and fans spin quietly overhead.
They spill out in church meeting halls bathed in fluorescent lights, and over cups of cheap instant coffee in convent kitchens. Always, the stories come haltingly, quietly. Sometimes, the nuns speak at little more than a whisper.
Across India, the nuns talk of priests who pushed into their bedrooms and of priests who pressured them to turn close friendships into sex.
They talk about being groped and kissed, of hands pressed against them by men they were raised to believe were representatives of Jesus Christ.
‘He was drunk,’ said one nun, beginning her story. ‘You don’t know how to say no,’ said another.
At its most grim, the nuns speak of repeated rapes, and of a Catholic hierarchy that did little to protect them.
The Vatican has long been aware of nuns sexually abused by priests and bishops in Asia, Europe, South America and Africa, but it has done very little to stop it, The Associated Press reported last year.
Now, the AP has investigated the situation in a single country – India – and uncovered a decades-long history of nuns enduring sexual abuse from within the church.
Nuns described in detail the sexual pressure they endured from priests, and nearly two dozen other people – former nuns, priests and others – said they had direct knowledge of such incidents.
Still, the scale of the problem in India remains unclear, cloaked by a powerful culture of silence. Many nuns believe abuse is commonplace, insisting most sisters can at least tell of fending off a priest’s sexual advances.
Some believe it is rare. Almost none, though, talk about it readily, and most speak only on the condition they are not identified.
But this summer, one Indian nun forced the issue into the open.
When repeated complaints to church officials brought no response, the 44-year-old nun filed a police complaint against the bishop who oversees her religious order, accusing him of raping her 13 times over two years.
Soon after, a group of her fellow nuns launched a two-week public protest in India’s Catholic heartland, demanding the bishop’s arrest.
It was an unprecedented action, dividing India’s Catholic community.
Inside the accuser’s convent in rural Kerala state, she and the nuns who support her are now pariahs, isolated from the other sisters, many of whom insist the bishop is innocent.
The protesting nuns get hate mail and avoid going out.
‘Some people are accusing us of working against the church, of being against the church. They say, ”You are worshipping Satan,” ‘ said one supporter, Sister Josephine Villoonnickal. ‘But we need to stand up for the truth.’
Villoonnickal has been a nun for 23 years, joining when she was a teenager. She scoffs at the idea that she wants to harm the church.
‘We want to die as sisters,’ she said.
Some nuns’ accounts date back decades – like that of the sister, barely out of her teens, who was teaching in a Catholic school in the early 1990s.
It was exhausting work, and she was looking forward to the chance to reflect on what had led her – happily – to convent life.
‘We have kind of a retreat before we renew our vows,’ she said, sitting in the painfully neat sitting room of her big-city convent, where doilies cover most every surface, chairs are lined up in rows and the blare of horns drifts in through open windows.
‘We take one week off and we go for prayers and silence.’
She had travelled to a New Delhi retreat center, a collection of concrete buildings where she gathered with other young nuns. A priest was there to lead the sisters in reflection.
December 29, 2018
A prominent cardinal resigned in disgrace. Grand jurors accused hundreds of Catholic clerics of secretly abusing children. A former Vatican ambassador urged the Pope himself to step down.
December 25, 2018
This coming from the head of perhaps the richest and most rapacious organization in the world; One swimming in gold, cash and art.
The pope gets our ‘hypocrite of the year’ award. Again.
Pope Francis assailed the “insatiable greed” of today’s consumerism at the Vatican and pilgrims crowded into the church at the traditional site of Jesus’s birth in Bethlehem on Tuesday as Christmas celebrations began worldwide.
Thousands attended mass on Monday night at the Vatican’s Saint Peter’s Basilica, where Pope Francis, the head of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics, offered his Christmas homily.
“An insatiable greed marks all human history, even today, when, paradoxically, a few dine luxuriantly while all too many go without the daily bread needed to survive,” the 82-year-old pope said as he drank 120 year old scotch from his solid gold chalice.
September 28, 2018
Because until very recently it was just fine for priests to fuck children. Right? So back off, critics,
The pope said the Catholic Church should not be judged by modern standards over sexual abuse scandals as he refused to answer awkward questions in a carefully choreographed press conference on board the papal plane yesterday.