Catholicism

Top cardinal admits the Catholic Church destroyed files to hide sex abuse

February 25, 2019

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Reinhard Marx, part of the culture of clergy sex abuse cover-up

The Roman Catholic Church took pains to deliberately hide the extent of its global sex abuse crisis, going as far as destroying documents and failing to compile records that could be used to prosecute perpetrators, a top cardinal admitted this week.

At an unprecedented Vatican summit designed to tackle the church’s lingering child sex abuse scandal, German Cardinal Reinhard Marx shed light on the institution’s many failures to tamp down on the problem, telling the gathering of more than 190 bishops from around the globe that “the rights of victims were effectively trampled underfoot.” The National Catholic Reporter has more:

”Files that could have documented the terrible deeds and named those responsible were destroyed, or not even created,” said Marx, beginning a list of a number of practices that survivors have documented for years but church officials have long kept under secret.

”Instead of the perpetrators, the victims were regulated and silence imposed on them,” the cardinal continued. “The stipulated procedures and processes for the prosecution of offenses were deliberately not complied with, but instead canceled or overridden.”

The Catholic Church is in the midst of a reckoning over its wide-scale child abuse allegations that span the globe and date back decades. Thousands of child victims have come forward describing their abuse, while hundreds of priests have been reprimanded by the church as a direct result. But only recently has the shoe begun to drop for the highest-ranking officials, including those who are either accused themselves of sexually assaulting young children, or allowed the abuse to continue under their watch.

Just last week the Vatican defrocked Theodore McCarrick, an ex-cardinal and the former archbishop of Washington, who was accused of abusing at least three minors and harassing adult seminarians. It’s likely the first time that a cardinal has been expelled from the priesthood specifically because of sexual abuse, but comes too late for McCarrick’s victims to pursue criminal charges against their alleged abuser.

Pope Francis, who has had a mixed record on addressing the church’s pedophilia problem, convened the four-day summit in a landmark effort to curb the widespread and systemic failures that turned the issue into a global crisis. In his opening remarks on Thursday, Francis condemned the “scourge” of sexual abuse and said it was up to church leaders to “confront this evil afflicting the Church and humanity.”

But for years, it’s been others who’ve claimed the spotlight calling for accountability and reform — a trend that continued at the pope’s conference this weekend.

A Catholic nun took bishops to task: “This storm will not pass by. Our credibility is at stake.”

Activists and victims of clergy abuse are calling on the church to adopt a “zero tolerance” policy that would apply universal standards for abusive priests around the globe. So far, however, accountability measures have varied from region to region — if they happen at all. Even as more and more allegations of abuse come to light, factions within the church still deny its existence. Which is why one major theme to emerge out of this week’s summit focuses on transparency as a (small) first step to confront the crisis.

It’s a point driven home by Sister Veronica Openibo, a Nigerian-born nun and journalist, who in a standout moment in the conference, chastised church leaders to their face for their culture of silence and hypocrisy. As CNN religion reporter Daniel Burke noted of Openibo’s speech, “a nun just read the riot act to Catholic bishops over clergy sex abuse.”

Pope drops the ball on clergy sex abuse reform

February 25, 2019

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Go right ahead and fuck all the kids you want. I’ve got your back.

Francis could have, with the stroke of a pen, made the sexual assault of children by clergy against church law which would demand the expulsion of violators from the priesthood. But he chose instead to offer another round of platitudes and vague promises leaving victims of sex abuse feeling victimized once again.

(VATICAN CITY) — Pope Francis closed out his extraordinary summit on preventing clergy sex abuse by vowing Sunday to confront abusers with “the wrath of God” felt by the faithful, end the cover-ups by their superiors and prioritize the victims of this “brazen, aggressive and destructive evil.”

But his failure to offer a concrete action plan to hold bishops accountable when they failed to protect their flocks from predators disappointed survivors, who had expected more from the first-ever global Catholic summit of its kind.

Francis delivered his remarks at the end of Mass before 190 Catholic bishops and religious superiors who were summoned to Rome after more abuse scandals sparked a credibility crisis in the Catholic hierarchy and in Francis’ own leadership.

“Brothers and sisters, today we find ourselves before a manifestation of brazen, aggressive and destructive evil,” the pope said.

Catholic Church’s problems with clergy sex abuse are playing out in India amid summit

February 22, 2019

Indian women hold placards and chant slogans during a September protest march to demand the immediate arrest of Roman Catholic church Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who is accused of raping a nun.

New Delhi, India (CNN)As more than 200 leaders from the Roman Catholic Church meet in Rome for an unprecedented summit to address clergy sexual abuse, a crisis is being renewed in India.

In the southern Indian state of Kerala, accusations of sexual abuse involving the Catholic Church have demonstrated the challenges of holding some members of the clergy to account, and the clerical pressures victims face to remain silent.

Last Saturday, a senior Catholic priest was sentenced to 20 years in prison by an Indian court for raping a 16-year-old girl in Kerala. The incident came to light only after the victim gave birth in February, 2017.

Robin Vadakkumchery, 51, was found guilty of raping the underage girl. He was handed down three concurrent sentences of 20 years each for rape and sexual abuse.

The case has been mired in controversy. The girl’s father attempted to direct the focus away from the priest — by initially telling police that he was the father of his daughter’s baby.

According to Beena Kaliyath, state prosecutor for the case, the girl’s father told police he was the one who had raped her, in order to take pressure off the Church. DNA testing subsequently proved that Vadakkumchery, the priest, was the father.

Police were alerted to the case by state child protection authorities two weeks after the girl delivered a baby, according to the court judgment from the sentencing.

During the trial, the girl, her father and her mother also claimed that the baby was the result of a consensual relationship between the victim and the priest and the girl was an adult at the time. The court rejected the documents which were furnished to corroborate the claim — ruling that they had been falsified.

Under Indian law, any sexual encounter with a minor under 18 automatically becomes ground for a rape charge.

John Dayal, the former president of the All India Catholic Union told CNN that because all religious authorities, including the church, are held in such high regard, it “makes it harder for the victims to expose the culprit.”

Dayal, who is also a human rights and political activist said that it’s often difficult for women to go public in such cases because “people will not believe her because they hold priests in such high esteem.”

Christianity is a minority religion in India, practiced by around 2.3% of the population, according to the most recent census data taken in 2011, but Kerala is home to a sizable Christian community that dates back hundreds of years.

That community has recently been rocked by sexual abuse scandals.
In another case, a group of women who spoke out about the alleged sexual abuse of a fellow nun have claimed that they are under pressure to withdraw their support for her.

In September, Catholic Bishop Franco Mulakkal was arrested on suspicion of raping a nun 13 times between 2014 and 2016.
Mulakkal, who is now based in the northern state of Punjab, has denied all allegations made against him and is currently out on bail. The investigation is still ongoing and the police have not filed official charges against him.

The case has drawn widespread attention in India — where like the rest of the world — it remains rare for members of the church to accuse senior clergy of wrongdoing publicly.

Controversy has surrounded the case — the nuns who lent their support to the sexual abuse allegations claimed last month the church is attempting to transfer them to other parts of the country, in an apparent attempt to silence them.

Earlier this month, Pope Francis for the first time 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.”

“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.”

Pope Francis has said this week’s four-day summit, which began Thursday, will be a chance to hear abuse survivors speak about their experiences, to teach bishops about the church’s procedures to deal with abusive clergy and to seek forgiveness.

Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias and an Indian bishop will join clergy from across the world at the Rome summit.

But analysts question why it has taken this long to hold such a summit on sexual abuse in the church and questioned whether anything concrete can be achieved.

“My hope will be that people see this as a turning point,” Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, a member of the organizing committee, said Monday at a news conference.

“This is not the endgame. No one can say there will be no more abuse in the church or the world, but people will be held accountable.”

Polish priest arrested in Brazil for sexual violence against children

February 21, 2019

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Marcin Michael Strachanowski, torturer and raper of children

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — The authorities in Rio de Janeiro said Sunday that they had arrested a Polish priest and charged him with sexually abusing a 16-year-old former altar boy.

The judge who issued the arrest warrant said the priest, Father Marcin Michael Strachanowski, 44, had used his parish’s rectory as an “erotic dungeon” to carry out sex acts with boys.

The police in Rio de Janeiro State said that Father Strachanowski, who was arrested late Friday, was being held at a police station awaiting court proceedings. He is accused of handcuffing the 16-year-old to a bed “to satisfy his sexual whims,” according to state prosecutors.

It is the third case of sexual abuse involving a priest in Brazil, which has the world’s biggest Roman Catholic population, in the last two months.

In April, Msgr. Luiz Marques Barbosa, 83, and two other priests were taken into custody in northeastern Brazil and accused of abuse after a videotape surfaced of Father Barbosa having sex with a former altar boy. Also that month, in Franca, in southeastern Brazil, prosecutors charged the Rev. José Afonso with abusing altar boys ranging from 12 to 16 years old.

The Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro has relieved Father Strachanowski of his parish duties because of the criminal investigation, said Adionel Carlos da Cunha, a church spokesman. Mr. da Cunha said that church officials had been investigating Father Strachanowski for at least two years for suspected abuses of the teenager.

‘The pope ignored them’: Abuse of deaf children on 2 continents points to Vatican failings

February 20, 2019

For decades Francis has been part of the problem.

LUJAN DE CUYO, Argentina -When investigators swept in and raided the religious Antonio Provolo Institute for the Deaf, they uncovered one of the worst cases yet among the global abuse scandals plaguing the Catholic Church: a place of silent torment where prosecutors say pedophiles preyed on the most isolated and submissive children.

The scope of the alleged abuse was vast. Charges are pending against 13 suspects; a 14th person pleaded guilty to sexual abuse, including rape, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The case of the accused ringleader – an octogenarian Italian priest named Nicola Corradi – is set to go before a judge next month.

Corradi was spiritual director of the school and had a decades-long career spanning two continents. And so his arrest in late 2016 raised an immediate question: Did the Catholic Church have any sense that he could be a danger to children?

The answer, according to a Washington Post investigation that included a review of court and church documents, private letters, and dozens of interviews in Argentina and Italy, is that church officials up to and including Pope Francis were warned repeatedly and directly about a group of alleged predators that included Corradi.

Yet they took no apparent action against him.

“I want Pope Francis to come here, I want him to explain how this happened, how they knew this and did nothing,” a 24-year-old alumna of the Provolo Institute said, using sign language as her hands shook in rage. She and her 22-year-old brother, who requested anonymity to share their experiences as minors, are among at least 14 former students who say they were victims of abuse at the now-shuttered boarding school in the shadow of the Andes.

‘They were the perfect victims’
Vulnerable to the extreme, the deaf students tended to come from poor families that fervently believed in the sanctity of the church. Prosecutors say the children were fondled, raped, sometimes tied up and, in one instance, forced to wear a diaper to hide the bleeding. All the while, their limited ability to communicate complicated their ability to tell others what was happening to them. Students at the school were smacked if they used sign language. One of the few hand gestures used by the priests, victims say, was an index figure to lips – a demand for silence.

“They were the perfect victims,” said Gustavo Stroppiana, the chief prosecutor in the case.

And yet they may not have been the first. Corradi, now 83 and under house arrest, is also under investigation for sexual crimes at a sister school in Argentina where he worked from 1970 to 1994. And alumni of a related school in Italy, where Corradi served earlier, identified him as being among a number of priests who carried out systematic abuse over five decades. The schools were all founded and staffed by priests from the Company of Mary for the Education of the Deaf, a small Catholic congregation that answers to the Vatican.

The Italian victims’ efforts to sound the alarm to church authorities began in 2008 and included mailing a list of accused priests to Francis in 2014 and physically handing him the list in 2015.

It was not the church, however, but Argentine law enforcement that cut off Corradi’s access to children when it shut down the Provolo school in Lujan. Argentine prosecutors say the church has not fully cooperated with their investigation.

As Francis prepares to host a historic bishops’ summit this week to address clerical sexual abuse, the lapses in the case – affecting the pope’s home country of Argentina and the home country of the Roman Catholic Church – illustrate the still-present failures of the church to fix a system that has allowed priests to continue to abuse children long after they were first accused.

Corradi’s lawyer declined multiple interview requests for this article and did not respond to emails seeking to speak with the priest. Attempts to reach Corradi through his family were unsuccessful. The Vatican declined to comment on a detailed list of questions.

But Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of the abuse-tracking site BishopAccountability.org, said the Provolo case “is truly emblematic.”

“The church failed them abysmally. The pope ignored them, the police responded,” she said. “It’s a clear example of the tragedy that keeps playing out.”

The Vatican’s Secret Rules for Priests Who Have Children

February 19, 2019

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Not so secret anymore.

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.

Inside the horrifying, unspoken world of sexually abusive nuns

February 18, 2019

February 18, 2019

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It’s the line from scripture that stayed with Cait Finnegan for nearly half a century as she tried to suppress the painful memories of the sexual abuse she says she suffered at the hands of her Catholic clergy educator.

“God is Love,” Sister Mary Juanita Barto told Finnegan as she repeatedly raped her in classrooms at Mater Christi High School in Queens in the late 1960s.

The abuse began when Finnegan was 15 and continued throughout her high school years — on school buses to out-of-town sporting events, at religious retreats in upstate New York, at Finnegan’s childhood home in Woodside and at a Long Island convent.

“She was obsessed with me 24 hours a day,” Finnegan, now 67, told The Post. “The woman owned me.”

After graduating high school in 1969, Finnegan struggled to deal with the abuse and tell her story, but her efforts fell on deaf ears.

“Nobody wanted to hear about the Vestal Virgins back then,” she said.

But after Pope Francis recently made the bombshell admission that some nuns were abused by priests and even used as sex slaves, dozens of Catholics have come forward to report a tangential, and just as evil, phenomenon — sexual abuse by nuns.

“This is the next big thing for the church — the biggest untold secret,” Mary Dispenza, a director at Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a St. Louis-based advocacy group.

“In the past, victims were very much ashamed and afraid to tell their stories, but they are starting to come forward and we are expecting that this may be as big as the priest abuse scandal.”

The group has heard from 35 people in the last several days who claim they were physically and sexually abused by nuns, said Dispenza, a former nun who claims she was abused as a young girl by both a priest and a nun. Finnegan told The Post she approached SNAP for support a few years earlier.

Dispenza, 78, has fought for more than two decades for justice for victims of clergy abuse and plans to take her fight to the Vatican on Monday. She and her group are demanding the Pope help victims of nun abuse and fire anyone who has covered up crimes by Catholic clergy.

“We want them gone immediately,” she said.

She also wants the Vatican to require Catholic leaders to contact police right away if they are confronted with abuse, rather than alerting local bishops or other church hierarchy first.

And in states where the statute of limitations has been amended to allow victims of sexual abuse to file complaints, SNAP is urging them — some now in their 60s and 70s — to file claims against their alleged abusers.

“Finally, they will have a chance at justice,” she said.

Last week, New York opened up a window for old cases with the passage of the Child Victims Act. The measure, which had languished in Albany for more than a decade, allows a one-year window for alleged victims to file lawsuits against their attackers, no matter when the abuse occurred.

Before the new law, New York had one of the most restrictive statutes of limitations for childhood sexual abuse. Victims now have until age 55 in order to file civil suits and can press for criminal charges until age 28. The old statute capped lawsuits at age 23.

Dispenza, who spent 15 years in a habit before becoming an activist against the Catholic church, is bracing for an onslaught of cases against nuns, who typically run schools and orphanages, and spend exponentially more time with children than priests.

“They are with kids at school every day from nine to three,” she said.

They also far outnumber priests. There are 55,944 nuns in the US and 41,406 priests, according to statistics compiled by SNAP.

Eight years ago, when a handful of victims of nun abuse came forward to SNAP, Dispenza urged the Chicago-based Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an association of the leaders of congregations of Catholic nuns, to address the issue and reach out to victims of nun abuse. The group refused to put the issue on the agendas of their annual meetings, Dispenza told The Post.

A spokeswoman for LCWR refused to discuss how many victims of nun abuse had reached out to them, and referred to a statement on the group’s web site that reads in part, “We encourage persons with grievances involving allegations of sexual misconduct by a woman religious to approach the individual religious congregation involved. We believe that it is at this level that true healing can begin.”

In her 2014 memoir, “Split: A Child, a Priest and the Catholic Church,” Dispenza details the sexual abuse she endured at the hands of a Catholic priest in the gritty East Los Angeles neighborhood where she grew up. Despite the childhood rapes by the priest — who was trusted by her family — Dispenza decided to become a nun, only to be faced with similar abuse from a superior sister while she was a novitiate.

“She took my face in her two hands, and kissed me all over my face,” she recalled of the encounter in a convent she would not name. “And then I just remember leaving. I felt the same way I felt as a child. I felt lost, I felt abandoned, I felt confused, I felt alone.”

Finnegan said she also felt alone, and was unable to speak of the abuse she endured by Sister Mary Juanita who “vowed to chastity as she raped me.”

Finnegan, a widow whose husband was a former Catholic priest, now lives in Pennsylvania where she has run a group home for needy children and is the minister of the Celtic Christian Church.

Although her alleged abuser died in 2014, Finnegan said she still cannot bring herself to discuss the abuse openly, even after years of therapy and writing in her “Abuse by nuns” blog.

“Well, the little girl in me wept because that kid had longed for Juanita to be a spiritual mother to me … that’s how I loved her, as a mother,” she wrote. “I remember when I met her I thought she was so smart and holy, oh yeah, and funny. Wrong.”

She said she never told her father — “I was afraid of what he would do to the nun when he found out” — and only summoned up the courage to tell her mother of the trauma just before her death in 2002.

“Sexual abuse leaves scars that last for life,” she wrote on the blog. “Dealing with those wounds and scars, and surviving through daily life is a challenge for many of us. Silence sometimes is a kind of defense which allows victims to hide from the pain (for a while).”

Some of her therapy was paid for by the Sisters of Mercy, Sister Mary Juanita’s religious order that has its origins in 19th century Ireland and now ministers to the poor around the world. The Sisters of Mercy taught the girls at her high school; the boys were taught by the Christian Brothers. In 1981, the school became the co-ed St. John’s Prep.

Finnegan said she has suffered with PTSD and anxiety for most of her adult life and has turned to prayer and research on sexual abuse to try to forgive what was done to her. She will not describe in any detail how she was raped.

“More than 14 percent of nuns have been sexually abused themselves,” said Finnegan. “It’s this unattended rage they live with. It’s going to come out as physical abuse of children and sexual abuse. I believe it’s what turns so many of them into nasty bitches in the convent.”

When Finnegan finally summoned up the courage to confront Sister Mary Juanita in the early 1990s — more than 20 years after graduating high school in 1969 — she found herself tongue-tied.

“I froze and became that 15-year-old kid again,” she said. “I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t move.”

She was even too nervous to enter her office at a Long Island convent.

“Sorry, I have to go,” she told the nun who had terrified her. And then she left.

Priest suspended by Archdiocese of Indianapolis for sexual abuse of a minor

February 16, 2019


David J. Marcotte, child molester

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Archdiocese of Indianapolis has suspended a priest over the sexual abuse of a minor that allegedly happened in 2016.

The church said Tuesday that it learned of the allegation against Fr. David J. Marcotte last Wednesday and immediately reported it to authorities.

Fr. Marcotte is now prohibited from all public ministry while police and the church investigate the incident.

According to the Archdiocese, Fr. Marcotte was ordained on June 7, 2014 and has been assigned to the following:

2014 – Associate pastor, SS. Francis and Clare Parish, Greenwood, and Catholic chaplain, University of Indianapolis
2015 – Associate pastor, St. Malachy Parish, Brownsburg
2016 – Administrator, St. Martin of Tours Parish, Martinsville
2017 – Ahaplain, Roncalli High School, Indianapolis, Catholic chaplain, University of Indianapolis, and sacramental assistance, SS. Francis and Clare Parish, Greenwood.
“The Archdiocese of Indianapolis is committed to protecting children and vulnerable adults from sexual abuse and misconduct,” said the church in a statement.

If you’re a victim of sexual abuse or misconduct by a person ministering on behalf of the church, or if you know of anyone who has been a victim, you’re asked to contact civil authorities and the Archdiocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator Carla Hill at 317-236-1548 or 800-382-9836, ext. 1548 or email her at [email protected]

Confidential reports can also be made on-line at www.archdioceseofindianapolis.ethicspoint.com or by calling 888-393-6810.

Vatican Expels Ex-Cardinal Theordore McCarrick From Priesthood For Sex Abuse

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.

New Mexico Catholic ex-priest arrested for child rape

February 15, 2019

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ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico – A former Catholic priest on the Santa Fe Archdiocese’s list of clergy members credibly accused of sexually abusing children was arrested Friday on charges he kidnapped and raped a 6-year-old boy during the mid-1980s.

Marvin Archuleta, 80, was taken into custody in Albuquerque after the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office filed a criminal complaint against the former priest on child rape and kidnapping charges.

According to court documents, Archuleta raped a 6-year-old boy attending the Holy Cross Catholic Church in Santa Cruz, New Mexico, during the mid-1980s. Documents said Archuleta pulled the boy out of class and violently raped the boy.

No attorney was listed for Archuleta.

Celine Radigan, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, did not immediately return an email for comment.

The charges follow the state attorney general’s office serving a pair of search warrants in October on the Archdiocese of Santa Fe in October, seeking documents related to Archuleta and other priests accused of sexually abusing children.

The state’s statute of limitations wouldn’t have allowed for charges before 1980, David Carl, a spokesman for Attorney General Hector Balderas, said.

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe announced after the warrant it would file for bankruptcy protection, as the Catholic church in New Mexico has settled numerous claims of sexual abuse by clergy over the years and is close to depleting its reserves.

About 20 dioceses and other religious orders around the U.S. have filed for bankruptcy protection as a result of clergy sex abuse claims, according to lawyers representing the archdiocese.

Archbishop John Wester said he had been contemplating the action for years but that the archdiocese had reached a tipping point and he wanted to ensure there would be resources to provide compensation for victims.

A perfect metaphor for the state of the Catholic Church.

February 15, 2019

After years of attempting to sell St. Joseph’s, the Diocese of Scranton decided last year to demolish the church building and adjacent rectory.

St. Joseph's used to be a popular worship site for Slovak families when it was first built.

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.

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