Big clerical sexual abuse scandal in Spain


This video is called Spain’s Stolen Babies – and the Catholic Church.

From AFP news agency, on Expatica.com:

Spanish court probes allegations group of priests abused man

17th November 2014

A Spanish court has launched a sexual abuse investigation after a man sent a complaint to the Vatican alleging a group of priests molested him as a boy, officials said Monday.

The alleged abuse happened in the southern Spanish city of Granada and prompted authorities to open a probe targeting 12 people, though it was not clear if all those under investigation are clergymen, a judicial source told AFP.

Pope Francis “forced the opening of an enquiry into abuse in this diocese”, according to religious news site ReligionDigital.com.

According to judicial sources, Criminal Court number four in Granada opened the investigation in the beginning of November.

The Archdiocese of Granada said it had suspended an undisclosed number of priests while it waits for the results of the court probe and has sent the conclusions of its own internal inquiry to the Vatican.

“As soon as it was reliably informed of the accusation made to the Holy See by a youth from Granada, of having suffered sexual abuse by a group of priests from the diocese, this Archdiocese has scrupulously followed the procedure for these cases,” it said in a statement.

Pope Francis has moved to crack down on priests who sexually abuse children, but critics say the Vatican is moving too slowly to decide the ultimate fate of these priests.

The Church is sensitive to charges, levied by both the United Nations and thousands of abuse victims, that, for years, it instinctively protected serial sex offenders within the clergy.

Church tribunals have resulted in the defrocking of nearly 850 priest for sex abuse in the last decade, during which time hundreds of millions have been paid to settle compensation claims by victims of abuse.

See also here.

Homophobic Roman Catholic bishops’ backlash


This 2008 satiric video is called Headzup: Pope Benedict And The Crime Of Being Gay.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Vatican backtracks on gay tolerance comments after angry reaction from bishops

Vatican claims report is a ‘working document’ – not Church doctrine

Heather Saul

Wednesday 15 October 2014

The Vatican appears to have backtracked on their unprecedented positive comments on homosexuality after a furious reaction from conservative Catholics.

On Monday, Hungarian Cardinal Peter Erdo read out an interim report at the Synod’s General Congregation that declared homosexuals had “gifts and qualities to offer” and even raised the prospect of the Catholic Church recognising the positive aspects of same-sex relationships.

The church, it added, must welcome divorced people and recognise the “positive” aspects of civil marriages and even Catholics who live together without being married.

The document was described as an “earthquake” in the Church’s attitude towards gays and heralded as a “turning point” in policy by Vatican experts.

But on Tuesday, conservative bishops distanced themselves from the document’s remarkable opening toward gays and divorced Catholics, calling it an “unacceptable” deviation from church teaching that does not reflect their views.

The leaders of the bishops’ meeting that produced it have now said it was simply a “working document” and was not intended to be an official statement of church teaching on family life.

Instead, they said it was a reflection of bishops’ views that will be debated and amended before a final version is released on Saturday.

The Holy See press office said bishops had “appreciated” the document but some offered additional reflections “to bring together various points of view.”

‘The bishops called for “prudence” over same-sex relationships so that “the impression of a positive evaluation of such a tendency on the part of the church is not created”.

“The same care was advised with regard to cohabitation,” the Vatican said.

Bishops also suggested the final document highlight faithful Catholic families to avoid “a near-exclusive focus on imperfect family situations”.

“The report, obviously composed under pressure, has easily given rise to some misinterpretation,” British Cardinal Vincent Nichols said Tuesday.

“It is not a doctrinal or decisive document. It is, as stated in its conclusion, ‘intended to raise questions and indicate perspectives that will have to be matured and made clearer on reflection.”‘

Several conservatives who participated in the synod also immediately distanced themselves from the report. The head of the Polish bishops‘ conference, Cardinal Stanislaw Gadecki, called it “unacceptable” and a deviation from church teaching.

American Cardinal Raymond Burke, the head of the Vatican’s Supreme Court, told Catholic World Report that the document contained positions “which many synod Fathers do not accept and, I would say, as faithful shepherds of the flock cannot accept.”

Archbishop’s secret child porn archive discovered


Archbishop Wesolowski

From the Corriere della Sera in Italy:

Child Porn Found [on] Former Nuncio’s Computer

Józef Wesołowski knew how to use technology to make illicit internet connections. Grave violation of duties

by Fiorenza Sarzanini

ROME – Monsignor Józef Wesołowski kept a secret archive on a computer at the Santo Domingo nunciature. The 66-year-old Polish former archbishop, arrested three days ago for paedophilia by Vatican gendarmes at the order of Pope Francis, had more than 100,000 files containing pornographic photos and videos. Some were downloaded from internet and others the victims themselves were forced to take. The prelate stored part of this chamber of horrors on his own laptop. Images show youngsters aged between 13 and 17 being humiliated for the camera, filmed naked and forced to have sexual relations with each other or with adults. Inquiries to discover others involved continue as investigators seek anyone who may have aided Wesołowski to procure minors or taken part in sex acts. The charge sheet explicitly mentions “offences committed in complicity with persons unknown” and case documents make it clear that Vatican investigators have already found evidence that will help them to identify the offenders. The case file pieces together the picture of an affair that looks anything but over and could still produce more spectacular revelations. Wesołowski is suspected of belonging to an international network that extends well beyond what has emerged so far.

Four volumes and deleted photos

The extent of the network emerges clearly from an expert IT report that reconstructs the activities of the Santo Domingo nuncio, who was recalled by the Holy See a year ago and then defrocked. In the report, experts underline “the particular ability of the defendant to use electronic instrumentation that can be procured for illicit connections. The defendant pursued these actions in a manner that was strongly compulsive”.

Józef Wesołowski had “more than 100,000 files of a sexual nature, to which must be added more than 45,000 deleted images”. Investigators were alerted by the discovery of an archive on a Vatican-owned computer “divided into four volumes and containing about 130 videos and more than 86,000 photographs”. The former archbishop had saved the rest on the laptop he used mainly when he was travelling. The material, which is classified by type, shows dozens of young girls engaged in sexual activities but the preference is for males.

Network of accomplices and email traffic

The report reconstructs all the relevant data traffic, including visits to gay sites and Wesołowski’s correspondence. Analysis of his network connections, email and other writings stored on the hard disk could reveal the identity of those with whom he exchanged images and provide leads to his accomplices. Investigators are confident that Francisco Javier Occi Reyes, the deacon arrested by Dominican police in June 2013 who subsequently blew the whistle on Wesołowski in a letter to the Vatican hierarchy, is only a pawn in a much bigger game. Now they have extended their inquiries to all the countries where Józef Wesołowski was based before he went to Santo Domingo. Above all, they want to investigate people with whom he was in frequent contact.

Testimony of three children

Wesołowski is believed to have solicited dozens of children but the case file names only three minors and their mothers as prosecution witnesses who have elected to denounce the horror and violence to which the prelate subjected them. They have confirmed what the Dominican police had partially reconstructed with the help of a local TV journalist who had conducted an investigation into Józef Wesołowski’s double life. One of the charges faced by the former priest is that he “acted, as a high-ranking member of the church hierarchy, in grave violation of his institutional duties in such a way as to cause damage to the public image of the state and the Holy See”. This is understood to be what convinced the Pope to approve the exceptional measure of house arrest.

Nuncio claims “I can explain”

When he was brought before prosecutors to be served with a detention order last Tuesday, Wesołowski said he wanted to make a statement: “I can clear my position and explain the mistake”. He was informed that he could do so with a lawyer, even though the evidence against him is overwhelming. It was this that led to action being taken against him so quickly. There was a serious risk that the nuncio would be arrested on Italian territory at the request of the Dominican authorities and then extradited. In that case, he would have had to be imprisoned until proceedings with the Holy See were completed. Prosecutors, acting in full collaboration with the Santo Domingo judicial authorities, preferred to avoid this situation. Józef Wesołowski will be questioned in the next few days and could face a fast-track trial, in compliance with international treaties on violence against minors.

English translation by Giles Watson

Article in Italian here

26 September 2014

Archbishop accused of child abuse under house arrest


This video says about itself:

27 June 2014

A tribunal in the Vatican has convicted the former papal envoy to the Dominican Republic of sex abuse and stripped him of the priesthood.

Jozef Wesolowski, who is originally from Poland, was recalled by the Church last year amid claims that he had abused boys in Santo Domingo.

Wesolowski is the highest-ranking Vatican official to have been investigated for sex abuse.

Pope Francis has urged the Church to root out and punish abuse by priests.

Wesolowski had served as envoy to the Dominican Republic for five years. He was ordained as a priest and bishop by his compatriot, Pope John Paul II.

He has two months to appeal against the sentence. As a citizen of the Vatican, he also faces criminal charges in the city state, which could lead to a prison sentence.

Authorities in the Dominican Republic have also opened an investigation into Wesolowski, but have not charged him.

From Reuters news agency:

Jozef Wesolowski, Former Dominican Republic Archbishop Accused Of Sex Abuses, Put Under House Arrest

09/23/2014 3:39 pm EDT

The Vatican said on Tuesday it had arrested a former archbishop who is accused of paying for sex with children while he was a papal ambassador in the Dominican Republic.

Jozef Wesolowski, a Pole, is under house arrest inside the city state, the Vatican said in a statement.

Wesolowski was defrocked by a Vatican tribunal earlier this year and is awaiting trial on criminal charges.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

Wars are madness, Pope Francis says


This video from Redipuglia in Italy on 6 July 2014 is about a concert ‘against all wars’. Music: Dies Irae by Giuseppe Verdi.

From Associated Press:

Pope urges world to shed apathy toward new threats

By COLLEEN BARRY and LUCA BRUNO

September 13, 2014

REDIPUGLIA, Italy — Pope Francis urged the world Saturday to shed its apathy in the face of what he characterizes as a third world war, intoning “war is madness” at the foot of a grandiose monument to soldiers killed in World War I.

Francis’ aim in recalling those who died in the Great War that broke out 100 years ago was to honor the victims of all wars, and it came at a time when his calls for peace have grown ever more urgent amid new threats in the Middle East and Ukraine.

Standing at an altar beneath the towering Redipuglia memorial entombing 100,000 Italian soldiers fallen in World War I, the pope said “even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction.”

The visit was also infused with intensely personal meaning. The pope’s grandfather fought in Italy’s 1915-17 offensive against the Austro-Hungarian empire waged in the nearby battlefields, surviving to impress upon the future pope the horror of war.

The pope in the past has recalled the “many painful stories from the lips of my grandfather.”

Before arriving at the monument, the pope prayed privately among the neat rows of gravestones for fallen soldiers from five nations buried in a tidy Austro-Hungarian cemetery just a couple of hundred of meters (yards) away.

In his homily during an open-air Mass at the Italian monument, the pope remembered the victims of every war – up to today.

“Today, too, the victims are many,” fallen to behind-the-scenes “interests, geopolitical strategies, lust for money and power,” the pope said.

He lamented that the human toll of “senseless massacres” and “mindless wars” has been met with apathy. Francis urged: “Humanity needs to weep, and this is the time to weep.”

The enduring impact of World War I, 100 years on, is evident in the visitors who continue to make pilgrimages to the monument, although in ever decreasing numbers, said Fogliano di Redipuglia Mayor Antonio Calligaris.

According to a Dutch NOS TV report

The pope inter alia condemned arms dealers and terrorists.

Women sue Catholic Church about sexual abuse


This video from Australia says about itself:

Church admits liability in school sex abuse

12 July 2010

The Catholic Church has admitted liability for the sexual abuse of girls at a primary school at Toowoomba in Queensland’s Darling Downs.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Injunction against church abuse

Added: Saturday 13 Sep 2014 09:10
Update: Saturday Sep 13 2014, 09:30

Six women who have been abused by clergy in their childhood days are taking the Roman Catholic Church to court. In the lawsuit, Thursday in Utrecht, they want to enforce that they and other victims of sexual abuse will still be able to file complaints, the newspaper Trouw reports.

The hotline for sexual abuse complaints has been closed since July 1 for cases which are legally time barred and whose possible perpetrators are no longer alive.

Especially men have used the chance to complain in recent years. The women going to court now want the time for filing complaints to be extended indefinitely.

Shame

According to the Foundation Women’s Platform about Ecclesiastical Child Abuse (VPKK) women “because of feelings of shame about abuse in their childhood (especially in the nineteen fifties and sixties), need more time to come out with their stories.”

The platform says that “we can still expect many cases. The number of women who will report eventually will be perhaps less than with men, but not many less.”