Clerical sexual abuse in Malta

This video says about itself:

(April 2, 2010) Cases of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Europe echo decade-old events in the U.S. – but the Vatican has responded very differently. As evidence is revealed that shows the Pope may have been a part of the scandal, should something have been learned from the American experience?

SOURCES: AL Jazeera English, Qatar; BBC, U.K.; TV5MONDE, France; RTL II and Deutsche Welle, Germany; NBC, U.S.

From DPA news agency:

Maltese abuse victims call for private meeting with Pope

Valletta, Malta – A group of Maltese men who claim they were the victims of child abuse at the hands of priests have called for a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to the Mediterranean island over the coming weekend.

They told a news conference on Monday they were seeking justice from the Church but were not after financial compensation.

“We are asking to meet the Pope behind closed doors for a few minutes to help us heal and to overcome this trauma,” said Lawrence Grech, on behalf of six former residents of the St Joseph orphanage where the abuse is said to have taken place in the 1980s.

The men are also seeking closed meetings with Maltese Archbishop Paul Cremona and Monsignor Charles Scicluna, a senior Maltese Vatican official. The Maltese archbishop immediately accepted the request.

The group has called on the Pope to condemn child abuse cases by members of the clergy in Malta during his much-anticipated visit.

In total, 10 Maltese men initiated court proceedings against priests seven years ago. The court proceedings are still underway. Among other claims, Grech said boys were abused and forced to dress in women’s clothing while they were residents at the orphanage.

The Maltese Church said in a statement on Monday that a team appointed to investigate the claims had established there was a “basis” in the allegations made against 13 priests so far, while 19 other child abuse allegations against priests were unfounded. Another 13 cases were pending.

Pope Benedict XVI will visit Malta on Saturday and Sunday. His first overseas trip of 2010 comes in the wake of serious child abuse claims in Ireland and the US that have rocked the Catholic Church.

Last Saturday, billboards promoting the German pontiff’s trip to Malta were defaced – an Adolf Hitler style moustache were added to his photograph along with the word ‘paedophile’.

See also here.

Pope pontificates on nature, avatars, queers and pagans (but definitely not pedophile priests): here.

Malta has poor record on gay rights: here.

7 thoughts on “Clerical sexual abuse in Malta

  1. Pope visits Malta mid-month, sex abuse cases await

    Associated Press

    2010-04-05 08:54 PM

    Pope Benedict XVI visits Malta in two weeks, and some victims of sex abuse by priests on the predominantly Roman Catholic island say they want him to use the trip to apologize for their suffering.

    The trip is the first foreign visit that Benedict will make since the clerical abuse scandal tore across Europe. Noting that he has met with victims and denounced clerical abuse on previous foreign trips, the Vatican on Monday didn’t rule out that he might break his recent silence on the matter in Malta.

    Lawrence Grech, a 37-year-old man who says he was abused as a child at a church-run orphanage, has written to the Vatican demanding an apology. He said the pope should use the two-day trip April 17-18 to address himself to victims as he did in his letter to Irish Catholics last month.

    “He should recognize that these things happened in Malta, reflect about the victims’ suffering and issue a formal apology,” Grech said.

    Grech is one of 10 people who have testified behind closed doors in a case against three priests facing charges of child abuse. The proceedings have been going on for seven years.

    Last week, as the European church, the Vatican and pope were under fire for accusations of covering up sex crimes by its priests, a response team in Malta announced that it had received 84 allegations of child abuse allegedly involving 25 Maltese priests since it was established by the Maltese Catholic Church 11 years ago.

    Vatican statistics list 855 priests on the island as of 2006.

    A spokesman for the Maltese church, speaking on customary condition of anonymity, said the response team’s work is carried out in secret. He did not say how many of the priests investigated were found guilty or if anyone had been dismissed from the priesthood or otherwise disciplined.

    Grech says he was sexually abused in the 1980s and early 1990s as a youngster at St. Joseph Home, an orphanage for boys.

    A Vatican spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was premature to know what the pope would say in Malta. But he noted that Benedict has issued apologies and met with victims while traveling in the U.S. and Australia.

    On Monday, Benedict again didn’t refer directly to the scandal in his public remarks. Speaking from the papal summer retreat in Italy where he is resting after busy Easter Week services, Benedict urged priests to be messengers of love that conquers evil and said Christ supports the church at times of difficulty.

    All Christians should be like angels, he said, messengers of Christ’s “victory over evil and death, the bearers of his divine love.” He added that this was especially true for priests.

    The Maltese church is traditionally powerful on the island of 400,000 people, 98 percent of whom are Roman Catholic. Divorce and abortion are banned.

    One prominent case in Malta involved a U.S. congressman, Rep. Mark Foley.

    The Florida Republican resigned from Congress in 2006 after he was confronted with sexually explicit computer messages he had sent to male teenage congressional pages. His attorneys have said that Foley is gay, suffers from alcohol addiction and was molested by a Catholic priest as a teenage altar boy.

    The Rev. Anthony Mercieca, who has retired to Malta, has admitted having inappropriate encounters with Foley, including massaging him in the nude and skinny-dipping together. He denies ever having sex with Foley.


    Associated Press writer Alessandra Rizzo contributed to this report from Castel Gandolfo, Italy.


  2. Salesian monks guilty of abuse to lose their jobs

    Friday 09 April 2010

    Salesian monks and priests who are guilty of sexually abusing minors will be told to leave their jobs within the congregation, the order’s head Herman Spronck told the NRC and Radio Netherlands on Friday.

    Three members of the order accused of abusing children in the 1960s and 1970s are still involved in youth work or in management functions, the NRC reported.

    One coordinates a meeting centre for teenagers in Apeldoorn, another is on the centre’s management board and the third works for the order on a national level.

    First time

    They have now been told they will have to leave and have accepted that, Sponck said. The NRC said this is the first time that the Catholic church has taken such steps against members of its congregation.

    An NRC and Radio Netherlands investigation into sexual abuse involving the three clerics at the Don Rua cloisters in ‘s Heerenberg, Gelderland has sparked off a national scandal

    So far, over 1,300 abuse reports have been made to the Catholic church body in charge of dealing with abuse cases. The church and government have both set up independent inquiries.



  3. (Reuters) – Pope Benedict, on a trip to Malta overshadowed by the global church sex-abuse crisis, heard the island’s leading bishop say on Sunday that the Catholic Church has to be humble enough to recognize its failures.

    Benedict, who turned 83 on Friday, celebrated a mass for tens of thousands of people in a dockside area built in the 17th century over underground silos used to store grain in cases of sieges.

    In his homily, the pope made no reference to the sexual abuse crisis, telling priests only to “fulfill the mission you have received.”

    In contrast, the Archbishop of Malta, Paul Cremona, spoke directly about the abuse crisis which is sapping the church’s credibility in Malta and beyond.

    In his address to the pope at the start of the mass, Cremona spoke of the need for “a church humble enough to recognize the failures and sins in its members.”

    Cremona, with the pope listening on the same platform, also spoke of the need for “a Church which does seek privileges.”

    It was the second time in as many days that someone addressing the pope mentioned the sexual-abuse crisis.

    At his arrival on Saturday, Maltese President George Abela said priests sometimes “unfortunately go astray” and it was “the church and even the state’s duty to work hand in hand” to prevent abuse and punish offenders “so that justice will not only be done but seen to be done.”

    Ten Maltese men who say they were abused by three priests in a Catholic orphanage years ago have asked to meet the pope, who has met abuse victims on trips to the United States and Australia.


    So far on this trip, his first of five international visits planned for this year, the pope has made no direct reference to the worldwide crisis.

    Speaking to reporters aboard the plane taking him to Malta on Saturday, he said Roman Catholicism has been “wounded by our sins” but did not use the word “abuse.”

    Hundreds of cases of sexual and physical abuse of youths in recent decades by priests have come to light in Europe and the United States as disclosures encourage long-silent victims to finally go public with their complaints.

    The pope himself has been accused of turning a blind eye in 1980, when he was archbishop of Munich in his native Germany, to the case of a priest who was sent there for therapy after sexually abusing children and soon transferred to parish work.

    The Vatican has said a subordinate was responsible for that decision.

    In his sermon at the open-air mass, the pope also called on the overwhelmingly Catholic nation, where abortion and divorce are illegal, not to succumb to the secular influences.

    “Not everything that today’s world proposes is worthy of acceptance by the people of Malta,” he said.

    As the pope was in Malta, the Vatican was swept up with another potentially explosive case.

    Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, a former Vatican official who congratulated a French bishop for hiding a sexually abusive priest in 2001, told a conference in Spain he acted with the approval of the late Pope John Paul.

    Last week the Vatican spokesman indirectly confirmed that a 2001 letter Castrillion Hoyos sent to the bishop posted on a French website was authentic and was proof the Vatican was right to tighten up its procedures on sex abuse cases that year.

    But the spokesman said on Saturday night he had no further comment on Castrillon Hoyos’s remarks in Spain.

    (Editing by Michael Roddy)


  4. The effects of the sexual abuse that occurred in these industrial schools has led to a vast number of sexual abuse claims for compensation, yet there are many still to come forward who experience ongoing nightmares about what happened during their childhood.


  5. Pingback: More Vatican sexual abuse scandals | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Pingback: Sexually abusive archbishop in Nigeria resigns | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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