April 02, 2020
tami sin youtube  twitter facebook

    Pope Francis: God still loves us all, even the worst of us

    December 25, 2019

    Pope Francis has ushered in Christmas by saying God loves everyone - "even the worst of us".He was speaking to thousands of people during Christmas Eve Mass in St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican."You may have mistaken ideas, you may have made a complete mess of things... but the Lord continues to love you," the Argentine pontiff said.This will be interpreted by some as a reference to Church scandals, including sex abuse, our correspondent says.Pope Francis will return to St Peter's Basilica on Christmas Day to deliver the traditional papal message to the world.Last week, the Pope introduced sweeping changes to remove the rule of "pontifical secrecy" that has pervaded the issue of clerical child abuse.
    The Church previously shrouded sexual abuse cases in secrecy, in what it said was an effort to protect the privacy of victims and reputations of the accused.But new papal documents lifted restrictions on those who report abuse or say they have been victims.The Pope also changed the Vatican's definition of child pornography, increasing the age of the subject from 14 or under to 18 or under.
    The Church has been rocked by thousands of reports of sexual abuse by priests and accusations of cover-ups by senior clergy around the world. Pope Francis has faced serious pressure to provide leadership and generate workable solutions to the crisis, which has engulfed the Church in recent years.Among those taking part in the Mass were children chosen from countries including Venezuela, Iraq and Uganda.The BBC's Rome correspondent Mark Lowen says this is a clear gesture from the leader of 1.3 billion Catholics who often focuses on the plight of migrants and victims of war, as well as on extending the reach of the Church to its periphery.
    Catholic Church child sexual abuse scandal
    Pope Francis prays during a Eucharistic celebration in the Vatican, on the fourth and final day of his summit on sexual abuse in the Catholic ChurchFrom Australian country towns to schools in Ireland and cities across the US, the Catholic Church has faced an avalanche of child sexual abuse accusations in the last few decades.High-profile cases and harrowing testimony given to public inquiries have continued to keep the issue in the headlines.In the most recent of these, Cardinal George Pell was convicted of abusing two choir boys in Melbourne in 1996. He is Australia's highest-ranking Catholic, and was previously Vatican treasurer - meaning he was widely seen as the Church's third most powerful official.
    And Theodore McCarrick, a former cardinal in the US, was defrocked over abuse claims just 10 days earlier - making him the most senior Catholic figure to be dismissed from the priesthood in modern times.eanwhile alleged cover-ups continue to dog the Church, and victims groups say the Vatican has not done nearly enough to right its wrongs. In an effort to address the problem, Pope Francis recently held an unprecedented summit on paedophilia in the Church.
    Although some accusations date back to the 1950s, molestation by priests was first given significant media attention in the 1980s, in the US and Canada.In the 1990s the issue began to grow, with stories emerging in Argentina, Australia and elsewhere. In 1995, the Archbishop of Vienna, Austria, stepped down amid sexual abuse allegations, rocking the Church there. Also in that decade, revelations began of widespread historical abuse in Ireland. By the early 2000s, Church sexual abuse was a major global story.
    In the US, determined reporting by the Boston Globe newspaper (as captured in the 2015 film Spotlight) exposed widespread abuse and how paedophile priests were moved around by Church leaders instead of being held accountable. It prompted people to come forward across the US and around the world.A Church-commissioned report in 2004 said more than 4,000 US Roman Catholic priests had faced sexual abuse allegations in the last 50 years, in cases involving more than 10,000 children - mostly boys.
    A 2009 report found that sexual and psychological abuse was "endemic" in Catholic-run industrial schools and orphanages in Ireland for most of the 20th Century.A five-year Australian inquiry in 2017 found that "tens of thousands of children" were sexually abused in Australian institutions over decades, including churches, schools and sports clubs.
    What about recent cases?
    In February 2019, it was revealed that high-ranking Australian cardinal George Pell had been found guilty of abusing two choir boys in 1996 - he was convicted nine months earlier, but a court initially banned the press from reporting it
    Theodore McCarrick, a former Roman Catholic cardinal in the US, was defrocked over claims he sexually assaulted a teenager in New York in the early 1970sIn August 2018, a Pennsylvania grand jury named more than 300 clergy in a report which found more than 1,000 children had been abusedAustralian Archbishop Philip Wilson resigned in July 2018 after being convicted of concealing child sex abuse carried out by another priestIn June 2018, a former Vatican diplomat was sentenced to five years in prison for child pornography offencesIn Chile, 34 Roman Catholic bishops offered to resign in the wake of a child sex scandal and cover-up.
    How has the Church responded?Pope Francis called for "decisive action" when he was elected in 2013, but critics say he has not done enough to hold to account bishops who allegedly covered up abuse.In August 2018, he wrote to all Roman Catholics condemning clerical sex abuse, and demanding an end to cover ups.His predecessor, Pope Benedict, had been accused of failing to protect children and suppressing investigations - allegations he denied.Before him, under Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Bernard Law, the disgraced figure at the centre of the Boston scandal, was given a symbolic role in Rome close to the Vatican and allowed to maintain his rank, despite outrage from victims.Between 2000 and 2010 several huge payouts were made by US dioceses to settle with victims.
    Pope says priests kept nuns as sex slavesIn 2011, Pope Benedict told bishops, in new guidelines, that they had to promptly report any suspected cases to local police. Previously, all cases were supposed to be referred to Rome.Under Francis, a special panel has been set up to deal with the issue but it has faced setbacks, including high-level resignations. In 2017, Marie Collins, an Irish survivor of abuse, left the group, citing "stumbling blocks and hindrances".During the summit in February 2019, Pope Francis promised an end to cover-ups, saying that all abusers would be brought to justice.

    Vatican 'must immediately remove' child abusers - UN
    5 February 2014
    Share this with Facebook Share this with Messenger Share this with Twitter Share this with Email Share

    Media captionKirsten Sandberg from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) said a "code of silence" had been imposed on children
    The UN has said that the Vatican should "immediately remove" all clergy who are known or suspected child abusers.

    The UN watchdog for children's rights denounced the Holy See for adopting policies which allowed priests to sexually abuse thousands of children.

    In a report, it also criticised Vatican attitudes towards homosexuality, contraception and abortion.

    The Vatican responded by saying it would examine the report - but also accused its authors of interference.

    A group representing the victims of abuse by priests in the US welcomed the report.

    In its findings, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) said the Holy See should open its files on members of the clergy who had "concealed their crimes" so that they could be held accountable by the authorities.

    Analysis
    By David WilleyBBC News, Rome

    The Vatican quickly moved into damage control mode after publication of the UN report.

    While promising "thorough study" of the criticisms, the Holy See robustly rejects some of the points made by the UN.

    The Vatican has always given precedence to Church law, called Canon Law, over local criminal law in dealing with ecclesiastical crime. It does not easily tolerate interference by civil authorities in ecclesiastical matters.

    The recent case of a senior Vatican diplomat, a Polish archbishop, who was suddenly recalled to Rome from his post in Santo Domingo after serious police accusations of sexual abuse of minors there is a case in point.

    The Vatican has refused an extradition request by justice authorities in Poland and says an internal police investigation is under way inside Vatican City.

    It said it was gravely concerned that the Holy See had not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, and expressed its "deepest concern about child sexual abuse committed by members of the Catholic churches who operate under the authority of the Holy See, with clerics having been involved in the sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children worldwide".

    It also lambasted the "practice of offenders' mobility", referring to the transfer of child abusers from parish to parish within countries, and sometimes abroad.

    The committee said this practice placed "children in many countries at high risk of sexual abuse, as dozens of child sexual offenders are reported to be still in contact with children".

    The UN report called on a Vatican commission created by Pope Francis in December to investigate all cases of child sexual abuse "as well as the conduct of the Catholic hierarchy in dealing with them".

    Ireland's Magdalene laundries scandal was singled out by the report as an example of how the Vatican had failed to provide justice despite "slavery-like" conditions, including degrading treatment, violence and sexual abuse.

    The laundries were Catholic-run workhouses where some 10,000 women and girls were required to do unpaid manual labour between 1922 and 1996.

    The report's findings come after Vatican officials were questioned in public last month in Geneva about why they would not release data and what they were doing to prevent future abuse.

    The Vatican has denied any official cover-up. However, in December it refused a UN request for data on abuse on the grounds that it only released such information if requested to do so by another country as part of legal proceedings.

    Image copyrightAFP
    Image caption
    Many campaigners feel the Vatican should open its files on priests known to be child abusers
    In January, the Vatican confirmed that almost 400 priests had been defrocked in a two-year period by the former Pope Benedict XVI over claims of child abuse.

    The UN committee's recommendations are non-binding and there is no enforcement mechanism.

    'Non-negotiable'
    The BBC's David Willey in Rome says the Vatican has set up new guidelines to protect children from predatory priests.

    Catholic Church abuse scandals
    Germany - A priest, named only as Andreas L, admitted in 2012 to 280 counts of sexual abuse involving three boys over a decade
    United States - Revelations about abuses in the 1990s by two Boston priests, Paul Shanley and John Geoghan, caused public outrage
    Belgium - The bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, resigned in April 2010 after admitting that he had sexually abused a boy for years
    Italy - The Catholic Church in Italy admitted in 2010 that about 100 cases of paedophile priests had been reported over 10 years
    Ireland - A report in 2009 found that sexual and psychological abuse was "endemic" in Catholic-run industrial schools and orphanages for most of the 20th century
    Q&A: Child abuse scandal

    But, he adds, bishops in many parts of the world have tended to concentrate on protecting and defending the reputation of priests rather than listening to the complaints of victims of paedophile priests.

    Meanwhile several Catholic dioceses in the US have been forced into bankruptcy after paying out huge sums in compensation to victims of abuse by clergy.

    The Vatican said in a statement following the report's publication: "The Holy See takes note of the concluding observations...which will be submitted to a thorough study and examination... according to international law and practice."

    But it added that it "regrets to see in some points of the concluding observations an attempt to interfere with Catholic Church teaching on the dignity of human person and in the exercise of religious freedom" and "reiterates its commitment to defending and protecting the rights of the child... according to the moral and religious values offered by Catholic doctrine".

    Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, head of the Holy See's delegation to the United Nations in Geneva, told Vatican Radio the report had failed to take into account the fact that the Vatican had made "a series of changes for the protection of children", and its efforts at reform were "fact, evidence, which cannot be distorted".

    He added that the UN could not ask the Church to change its "non-negotiable" moral teachings.

    Victims groups welcomed the report as a wake-up call to secular law enforcement officials to investigate and prosecute Church officials who were still protecting "predator priests".

    Barbara Blaine, president of a group representing US victims of abuse by priests - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (Snap) - told the BBC that the UN report "reaffirms everything we've been saying. It shows that the Vatican has put the reputation of Church officials above protection of children".

    "Church officials knew about it and they refused to stop it. Nothing has changed. Despite all the rhetoric from Pope Francis and Vatican officials, they refuse to take action that will make this stop."

    dgi log front

    recu

    electionR2

    Desathiya