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Editorial: The Guardian view on the Catholic church and child abuse: Pope Francis gets it wrong

Posted: 11 Feb 2018 12:46 PM PST

LONDON (ENGLAND) The Guardian February 11, 2018 His defence of an accused bishop appears to put him on the side of the hierarchy against the people in the pews It is five years since Pope Benedict XVI stunned the Roman Catholic world by announcing he would resign. His time in office had been blighted by the emergence of terrible stories of sex abuse and institutional cover-up. Even though most of these dated from the time of his predecessors, Benedict's efforts to make things right were clumsy and inadequate to the scale of the problem. His successor, Pope Francis, seemed as if he were going to change all that as part of the openness, energy and realism that has characterised his approach. But developments in recent weeks have cast Francis's sincerity and seriousness into question and threaten to overshadow many of the other accomplishments of his papacy. Earlier in his pontificate, Francis had to deal with the enforced departure of one of his closer collaborators, Cardinal George Pell, who left the Vatican to face charges of historic child abuse, which he vigorously denies, in his native Australia. Several members of the church's commission for the protection of minors, which the pope had set up, resigned in protest at the obstructionism of some parts of the Vatican bureaucracy; but these are the parts that are thought hostile to Francis, too, so he was not widely blamed for what happened. All that changed with the pope's visit to Chile. The church there had been convulsed by the discovery that children had been abused by an influential priest for years. It is claimed that many other priests knew or even witnessed what was going on. Among them was Juan Barros, whom Francis made a bishop in 2015 and installed in a southern diocese in the teeth of furious protests from both clergy and congregation. Bishop Barros, who denies the claims, was prominent among the bishops who received Francis on his visit: the two men were photographed embracing; and when Francis was asked on the flight back what he thought of the allegations against the bishop, he replied that they were merely slander, and that he had not seen any proof to back them up.

Pope Francis, a brewing crisis and 'feminine genius'

Posted: 11 Feb 2018 12:41 PM PST

VATICAN CITY La Croix International February 9, 2018 By Robert Mickens The biggest error Catholic leaders have made regarding the church's response to priests abusing children has been the exclusion of women leading the policy-making process The last couple of weeks have not been what anyone in his or her right mind would call the most brightly shining moment in the current pontificate. First, the cardinal in charge of the Roman Curia's office on the laity blocked Ireland's former president, Mary MacAleese, from speaking at an International Woman's Day event originally scheduled to take place inside the Vatican. In response, the organizers simply moved the venue to the nearby Jesuit headquarters. Then, a retired Chinese-born cardinal from Hong Kong blasted the Cardinal Secretary of State — and, by implication, Pope Francis — for being "a man of little faith" and selling out "suffering" Catholics on the Communist-ruled Chinese mainland by adopting a "naïve" strategy of appeasement in dealing with state authorities. Next, a maverick and irascible bishop who oversees two Vatican think-tanks (the pontifical academies for science and the social sciences) overstepped his institutional boundaries and waded into the controversy over the pope's China policy. He spouted the unbelievable and embarrassing claim that the Communist nation is the world leader in implementing Catholic social teaching. The bishop, an Argentine who would have the world believe he's best friends with Francis (he is not), based his assessment on his first and only visit to China six months ago. If it's ever proven that Chinese government officials spiked his egg rolls with brainwashing chemicals, perhaps all will be forgive. However, great damage has already been done. But that's not the worst of what has been a very bad period for Pope Francis. The most serious blow to him and his pontificate came from an Associated Press (AP) report that produced some hard and rather convincing evidence that the pope has not been completely forthcoming about what he really knows (and when he first found out) about allegations that Bishop Juan Barros of Chile tried to cover-up abuse of a convicted sex abusing priest. The AP article included an eight-page letter that one of the Chilean priest's victims sent to Francis in April 2015, which meticulously outlined Bishop Barros' alleged actions in unflattering detail. The letter was hand-delivered by Cardinal Sean O'Malley, a member of the pope's Council of Cardinals (C9) and chairman of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM). If true, this contradicts Francis' claim that he had never received evidence of such a cover-up from any of the victims. This is not good news. And dispatching the Vatican's former chief prosecutor of clergy sex abuse crimes to Chile to collect more evidence on the Barros case — as laudable and important that this 11th hour operation is — does not address, in any way, the real problems the AP report reveals. Only one of three of things can be true — either Francis never bothered to read the letter, or he read and dismissed it as unconvincing, or he just forgot that he ever read it. There is a fourth, even if less plausible, possibility. Perhaps O'Malley, in reality, never gave the pope the letter, even though one of the then-members of the PCPM (who gave it to O'Malley — there is a photo to prove it) and the victim (who wrote it) said the cardinal told them he had delivered it. None of these possible scenarios is encouraging. Because it means someone is not being completely transparent. Up to now, only one side has spoken publicly about the AP report — the former PCPM member (Marie Collins) and the Chilean abuse victim (Juan Carlos Cruz). Pope Francis and Cardinal O'Malley have so far kept their silence. In order to shed light on what really happened and reveal who is giving an accurate account of this story they need to speak up. If O'Malley were to all of a sudden declare that, no, he never gave Cruz's letter to the pope — whether because he forgot to do so and then lied about it, or because he is trying to protect Francis from the current embarrassment and brewing crisis this is turning into — he would have to step down as PCPM chairman. His credibility among the commission's members (still to be named in the coming weeks) would be greatly compromised. And what about the pope? If Francis received the letter and never read it, or simply forgot about reading it, this becomes yet another piece of evidence that dealing with the sex abuse crisis — particularly by holding negligent bishops accountable — is still not a major priority for the pope, despite whatever his apologists say to the contrary. However, it would be even more damaging for the pope if he were to admit that, yes, he read the letter, but did not believe that Cruz's accusations against Bishop Barros were credible. This would mean he was not entirely telling the truth during his visit last month to Chile and Peru when he told reporters he's never received "proof" — than he corrected that to "evidence" — to support the accusations against the bishop. This is quickly becoming one, big unholy mess. And it would be devastating to many Catholics and other people of good will if it were to severely cripple a pontificate that has launched a deeply-rooted and long-term project to reform and restore credibility to the Catholic Church and its witness to the Gospel. So what can be done at this point? First of all, the pope and his communications department (which is in disastrous disarray and is not serving him well) have to address the contents of the AP report and the fallout that has ensued. One would hope that Cardinal O'Malley could be of assistance in this first, necessary step. Secondly, assuming that the essentials in the report are correct (the letter exists and it was delivered to the pope), it is difficult to see how Francis can respond without confessing that he was negligent (by failing to read the letter for whatever reason) or was not completely transparent (i.e. by concealing from journalists that he read it but did not believe its contents). As I've written many times before, this pope has not been afraid to be vulnerable and show what some might consider weakness in order to engage others for what he perceives to be the greater good of the church and humanity. His meeting with the Orthodox Patriarch of All Russia, his efforts to constructively engage Donald Trump and other world leaders, and his policy on China are just a few examples. The pope needs to quickly make the sexual abuse crisis in the church — which, by the way, is nowhere near to being resolved — a bigger priority. Quite frankly, he has not done so up to now. He can start by coming clean with the members of his church and speaking truthfully to them about his own thinking — his doubts, concerns, apprehension, omissions and even missteps — on the way church authorities (he included) have addressed the abuse crisis to this point. He still enjoys rock solid credibility and trust among millions and millions of people who would see his candid confession and testimony as a truly human and positive step forward, rather than cry of surrender. But that trust and credibility will erode if he does not say something soon. And the upcoming penitential season of Lent offers the perfect opportunity for such a truly Christian and even dramatic gesture. One final thought: Pope Francis also needs to totally revamp the mandate and mission of Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and set up other mechanisms to deal with the sex abuse crisis. Most of the new PCPM members and his other advisors on this issue should be women. And he should demand that dioceses and national episcopal conferences give women, and especially mothers, the lead role on this issue, too. This would be an important way for him to make a prophetic and necessary corrective to the, up-to-now, inadequate response the Catholic Church has offered. Many men in the hierarchy hide and justify their misogyny, fear of women or desire to keep the church's decision-making structures in the hands of clerics — all men, of course — by repeating Saint John Paul II's paternalistic paean to something he called "the feminine genius." This phrase, which the late pope first wrote about in 1995 — and which Benedict XVI, Francis and countless churchmen have gone on repeating — embodies a catalogue of traits that are somehow especially peculiar to women by virtue of God's design of nature. People can debate whether all these characteristics are really exclusive to women. But one thing for certain is that only women can be mothers. And because of the intricate connection between mother and child through pregnancy, birthing and infancy, it can be argued that women — mothers — have unique protective and nurturing instincts that are developed differently from the same instincts in fathers. The biggest error Catholic leaders in every part of the world have made regarding the church's response to the phenomenon of priests abusing children and youngsters has been the exclusion of women from actually leading the policy-making process. Where women have been included, they have been mere consultants or experts, often just flowerpots to salve uneasy male consciences and to satisfy the demands of public opinion. Pope Francis can put this right and show that the church really does believe women have a special "feminine genius" — at least in the area of the relationship between mother and child — by putting women in charge of the church's response to sex abuse. So far, the "clerical genius" has not produced good fruits. A leading Catholic layman who has done a tremendous job in helping his country's bishops deal with the sex abuse crisis loves to repeat this line: "Until the pope has a lay man being the last one to give advice on these matters the clerical instincts will always be a problem!" That is exactly right. But the layman should be a woman.

El Osorno del obispo Juan Barros

Posted: 11 Feb 2018 12:18 PM PST

SANTIAGO (CHILE) La Tercera >>>The Osorno of Bishop Juan Barros February 11, 2018 By Pablo Barría Luego de la visita del Papa Francisco a Chile y la posterior designación del obispo de Malta para indagar el presunto encubrimiento por parte del religioso, La Tercera recorrió la ciudad y constató la visión de religiosos y feligreses ante un caso que divide a la comunidad. Las últimas semanas han sido intensas para el obispo de Osorno, Juan Barros. La visita del Papa Francisco a Chile, en enero pasado, hizo que su nombre volviera a la palestra pública, de la cual se mantuvo alejado luego de las manifestaciones en su contra tras ser designado como autoridad eclesiástica en la zona. "No hay una sola prueba contra el obispo Barros, todo es calumnia", dijo el Papa Francisco cuando estuvo de paso por Iquique. Sus declaraciones levantaron fuertes críticas e, incluso, lo obligaron a pedir disculpas y anunciar la visita del arzobispo de Malta, Charles Scicluna, para recoger los testimonios de quienes acusan a Barros de encubrir los abusos cometidos por el ex párroco Fernando Karadima. [Google Translation: The Osorno of Bishop Juan Barros After the visit of Pope Francis to Chile and the subsequent appointment of the Bishop of Malta to investigate the alleged cover up by the religious, La Tercera toured the city and verified the vision of religious and parishioners before a case that divides the community. The last weeks have been intense for the Bishop of Osorno, Juan Barros. The visit of Pope Francis to Chile, last January, brought his name back to the public arena, from which he stayed away after the demonstrations against him after being appointed as ecclesiastical authority in the area. "There is not a single test against Bishop Barros, everything is slander," said Pope Francis when he was passing through Iquique. His statements raised strong criticism and even forced him to apologize and announce the visit of the archbishop of Malta, Charles Scicluna, to collect the testimonies of those who accuse Barros of covering up the abuses committed by the former parish priest Fernando Karadima. After the announcement, the decision of the Vatican is taken with moderation in the Catholic Church of the Los Lagos Region. They are close to 7:00 pm on Thursday and a small group of faithful arrive at the Osorno Cathedral, where the parish priest Bernardo Werth will hold a ceremony. Before beginning, the religious pauses and clarifies his vision about the appointment of Bishop Scicluna: "If the Pope took that step it is to make it clear in the eyes of people all over the world, how is the real situation, for So under my gaze is positive, "he said, then go up to the altar and start the mass. Outside the Cathedral some young people skate, without paying attention to what happens around them. In the case of Bishop Barros, says Carlos Sandoval, "I have no idea. I know nothing". A few meters from them, María Elena Yáñez, a native of the O'Higgins Region, leaves the religious site with a poster of Pope Francisco in her hands. A member of the "Mujeres Iglesia" group, formed by 15 lay women, Yáñez is critical of what is happening with the Bishop of Osorno. Even, he said, his group tried to deliver a letter to the pontiff where they alerted what was happening in the church of Los Lagos. "In that letter we mentioned to His Holiness our concern for what is happening here in Osorno, but the letter did not reach his hands because it was not easy to reach him," he said. Different opinion expressed Nina, an elderly woman who frequently attends the masses of the Cathedral of Osorno. And it was in that same instance where Bishop Juan Barros claimed innocence. "He told us at Mass a few days ago, when he returned from Santiago, that he was innocent, he said it at Mass and why he is going to be lying to us. Well, if you lie to us, I also forgive you, because I'm not the one to not forgive, "said the woman. Inside a small kiosk of newspapers, magazines and various products is a lonely man, who prefers not to give his name. According to him, the "tension" that existed in the city when the designation of Barros was known has been appeased with the passage of time. "There were many protests here, all were peaceful, but now nothing is seen, everything is quiet, it seems that everything was fixed," he said. Groupings The group of Laity and Laity of Osorno is the entity that has tried to keep the case of Bishop Juan Barros in force. They have a critical vision on the management of the religious in charge of the bishopric of Osorno and assure that their presence has impacted the level of parishioners who attend the masses. "For December 8, for example, which is the closing mass of the Month of Mary, before 10,000 people gathered. And now, with luck, 1,000 people gathered last December. Who answers for those who did not attend these Masses? Now you do not see so much fervor, so much enthusiasm, "said Juan Carlos Claret, spokesman for the group. Claret said that there have even been episodes in which young parishioners have shown their rejection of Juan Barros. "Last Saturday there were confirmations at the Reina de los Mártires church. Bishop Barros went to the trials of these confirmations where he informed the young people that he would preside over the ceremony. Three of these young men told him they did not want him to confirm them and they subtracted from the ceremony. In the end, Barros did not arrive at the ceremony, "he explained. Jose Manuel Rozas, professor of philosophy and personal secretary of the priest Peter Kliegel, who has made public his rejection of Barros through letters, says that those who have made noise in the city correspond to "an isolated group of lay people who meet on Fridays, the rest of the pastoral agents of the diocese are doing their work in their respective parishes. " Rozas says that he, as a faithful person, will respect the decisions that are adopted once the visit of the archbishop of Malta is over. "If at the end of this process, the Church says that Bishop Barros has to leave the diocese, blessed be God, but if he says he must continue, blessed be God also," he concluded. They are close to 8:00 pm and the mass of the Cathedral of Osorno came to an end. Slowly the parishioners begin to leave the place to their homes. An image that depicts how Osorno de Juan Barros is, who lately has diminished his public appearances and waits in silence for the decision that his Maltese pair Charles Scicluna and the Vatican will take regarding his case. For now the city of Bishop Barros awaits quietly.]

Conferencia episcopal defiende silencio de obispo Barros tras acusaciones en su contra

Posted: 11 Feb 2018 12:00 PM PST

SANTIAGO (CHILE) >>>Episcopal Conference defends Bishop Barros silence after accusations against him February 10, 2018 By Nicole Briones and Eric Paredes [Note from BishopAccountability.org: Includes audio clips of statements.] Desde la nunciatura apostólica se confirmó que la visita del arzobispo de malta Charles Scicluna a Chile, será entre el 20 y 23 de febrero. Jaime Coiro, portavoz de la Conferencia Episcopal de Chile, afirmó el arribo del enviado del papa Francisco, el cual tendrá como propósito tomar el testimonio de las personas que han acusado al obispo de Osorno, Juan Barros, de encubrir los delitos sexuales de Fernando Karadima. A partir de esta investigación, Barros se ha referido poco y nada sobre esta situación. Posición que Coiro defiende, explicando que el obispo tiene todo el derecho de no dar declaraciones. Scicluna se reunirá con Barros en Santiago, y además con James Hamilton y Juan Andrés Murillo, quienes -junto a Juan Carlos Cruz- denuncian al obispo de Osorno haber ocultado los abusos cometidos por Karadima en la parroquia de El Bosque. [Google Translation: Episcopal Conference defends Bishop Barros silence after accusations against him From the apostolic nunciature it was confirmed that the visit of the archbishop of Malta Charles Scicluna to Chile, will be between February 20 and 23 . Jaime Coiro, spokesman for the Episcopal Conference of Chile, affirmed the arrival of the Pope's envoy, whose purpose will be to take the testimony of the people who have accused the bishop of Osorno, Juan Barros, of covering up the sexual crimes of Fernando Karadima. . From this investigation, Barros has referred little and nothing about this situation. Position that Coiro defends, explaining that the bishop has every right not to give statements . Scicluna will meet with Barros in Santiago, and also with James Hamilton and Juan Andrés Murillo, who - together with Juan Carlos Cruz - denounce the bishop of Osorno to have hidden the abuses committed by Karadima in the parish of El Bosque.]

Peter Kliegel: “La situación de la iglesia es desgarradora”

Posted: 11 Feb 2018 11:54 AM PST

BONN (GERMANY) Deutsche Welle >>>Peter Kliegel: "The situation of the church is heartbreaking" February 10, 2018 By Victoria Dannemann Un sacerdote alemán ha levantado la voz en la Iglesia católica chilena exigiendo la salida del obispo Juan Barros, acusado de encubrir abusos sexuales. Peter Kliegel busca reunificar a una institución dividida. El sacerdote Peter Kliegel no oculta su molestia y dolor por la crisis que vive la iglesia en Chile. El religioso alemán, nacido en Dillenburg, lleva casi 50 años trabajando en la diócesis de Osorno, en el sur de Chile, la misma en que el 2015 asumió el cuestionado obispo Juan Barros. Anteriormente obispo castrense, Barros se formó al alero de Fernado Karadima, un sacerdote que durante décadas gozó de gran poder en un parroquia de un barrio acomodado de Santiago. Allí se rodeó de jóvenes y formó a futuros sacerdotes y obispos. El escándalo estalló cuando antiguos seguidores denunciaron abusos de poder y sexuales de parte de Karadima. Asimismo, aseguran que varios sacerdotes y obispos fueron testigos o incurrieron en conductas impropias. Uno de ellos sería Barros, acusado de encubrir a su antiguo mentor. A pesar de la fuerte oposición que se ha levantado en Osorno, Barros no sólo se ha negado a dejar su cargo, sino que figuró junto al papa Francisco en su visita a Chile. Con franqueza y valentía, Kliegel ha manifestado su opinión al nuncio y a la Iglesia. En entrevista con DW, el sacerdote galardonado en Alemania con la Cruz al Mérito en 2017 habla del duro momento que vive la iglesia en Chile y de la necesidad de buscar la verdad. Deutsche Welle: Usted fue una de las primeras personas que manifestó la inconveniencia de que Juan Barros asumiera como obispo de Osorno. ¿Por qué asumió este rol activo? Peter Kiegel: Yo vine a Chile hace 52 años y soy parte de esta iglesia, interesado en que tenga un mensaje muy claro en cuanto al encargo que nos hizo nuestro Señor. La situación se originó cuando supimos que el obispo Barros iba a tomar la diócesis de Osorno y que venía desde el ambiente de Fernando Karadima, lo que para nosotros era inaceptable. Por eso empecé a levantar mi voz. [Google Translation: Peter Kliegel: "The situation of the church is heartbreaking" A German priest has raised his voice in the Chilean Catholic Church demanding the departure of Bishop Juan Barros, accused of covering up sexual abuse. Peter Kliegel seeks to reunite a divided institution. The priest Peter Kliegel does not hide his annoyance and pain because of the crisis that the church in Chile is going through. The German priest, born in Dillenburg, has been working for almost 50 years in the diocese of Osorno, in the south of Chile, the same one in which the questioned bishop Juan Barros assumed office in 2015. Formerly military bishop, Barros was formed at the eaves of Fernado Karadima, a priest who for decades enjoyed great power in a parish in a well-off neighborhood of Santiago. There he surrounded himself with young people and trained future priests and bishops. The scandal erupted when former followers denounced sexual and power abuses by Karadima. Also, they assure that several priests and bishops were witnesses or incurred improper conduct. One of them would be Barros, accused of covering up his former mentor. Despite the strong opposition that has arisen in Osorno, Barros not only refused to leave his post, but also appeared with Pope Francisco on his visit to Chile. Frankly and courageously, Kliegel has expressed his opinion to the nuncio and to the Church. In an interview with DW, the priest awarded in Germany with the Cross of Merit in 2017 speaks of the hard time the church is living in Chile and the need to seek the truth. Deutsche Welle: You were one of the first people to express the inconvenience that Juan Barros assumed as bishop of Osorno. Why did you assume this active role? Peter Kiegel: I came to Chile 52 years ago and I am part of this church, interested in having a very clear message regarding the order that our Lord made us. The situation originated when we learned that Bishop Barros was going to take the diocese of Osorno and that he came from the environment of Fernando Karadima, which for us was unacceptable. That's why I started raising my voice. What response has he had? A few days after it was learned that Juan Barros would be our bishop, I manifested myself before the nunciature, first asking, but since we never received an answer, our voice became a little more insistent. Has the nuncio never answered the requirements that you have asked him? Never, which is very discourteous. Why do you think that you or other priests and lay people have not been taken into account? I think it has to do with administrative power in the Church, which is not fair, because as baptized and part of the church we have the right to be heard, which is what we demand. What has the presence of Barros in Osorno meant? The situation has been heartbreaking. The union of the diocese was destroyed. We do not know more than what the victims say, but we suffer the collateral damage of this Karadima environment. The damage he did to the Chilean church is so great that it is not acceptable for someone not to react. And since Rome did not react and our bishop does not understand us, we keep raising our voices to listen to us. We have never been heard, only once in the Episcopal Conference when they told us they could not do anything. And now, for the first time, after so many cries, Rome reacts by sending us to the archbishop of Malta, Bishop (Charles) Scicluna. What do you expect from the management that he can do in Chile? We have a lot of hope. We are going to make contact so that they give us the opportunity to make known what we live. It is not about being an opponent, but about seeking peace, which can only be built from the truth. We need an intervener to listen to the bishop and to us, to clarify situations that we can not understand or accept. Why do you think that Bishop Barros, despite facing so much opposition, has not left office? This is what we do not understand. He says he has been named, which is a valid argument, but we can not be satisfied because our parishioners do not accept it either. In many parishes they do not accept that the bishop administers the sacrament of confirmation. When he makes a mass, many people get up and leave. It can not be that a shepherd who must take care of his sheep lives in that situation and puts us in this mess. Messages of Pope Francis' visit to Chile Franciso's pastoral message in Chile, where he advocated for the dignity of women held in prison, for understanding with the Mapuche people or immigrants, for solidarity and also expressed their pain and forgiveness for the abuses committed by members of the Church, went into the background before the scandal of Bishop Barros. Even more when he appeared with the pope at Masses. "He was present as taking refuge behind the pope, which was quite unworthy for us and it hurt us greatly, but the bishop has not been able to confront the victims of Karadima." When we invited one of them, the bishop was ripped off. In my last letter I wanted to demonstrate with examples of the same words of the Pope in Chile, that we live in an unacceptable situation, "says Liegel. Do you think that Francisco's visit deepened the crisis that the church is experiencing in Chile? Personally I do not think so. You have to read the messages that the Pope gave in Chile, which are very good. I think he made a mistake in his spontaneity, but the messages were very clear. First of all he spoke to us about dignity and that is why we get up, because we demand human and spiritual dignity. The Pope said in Chile that there was no evidence against Barros, although he later apologized for the pain caused to the victims. Is it possible that Barros knew nothing about abuses? Only witnesses know that. But the atmosphere of Karadima is so incredibly damaging, that for prudence Bishop Barros should not continue. That is a spiritual, pastoral and human error Did you expect Pope Francis to take a stand on this in his visit to Chile? Hope was there, but I thought it would not be possible, for many reasons. There are other dioceses that also have bishops who were born in the environment of Karadima and who have not spoken, but they know that everyone is sitting in the same boat. Have you had contact with Bishop Barros? A lot, and he knows that I am very frank with him. I have never acted behind his back. I meet him and I always tell him what we think in the community. I'm telling you face to face. How would you catalog Barros' management as a bishop? We hardly have a pastoral plan and that is what saddens us. We are like swimming in warm waters, which is not good for our work. Besides, he can not show himself in public, he's afraid, he hides. It is unpleasant when in a ceremony there are people who stand up with signs that say "resign." He is our head and this hurts us a lot, the best thing would be for him to step aside. Despite being German, you live this situation as your own ... Of course, Chile is now my homeland, it is my church. This is my faith and also he is administratively my bishop, that is why I fight for a good cause. Are you free to express your opinion? Of course, that we will always have and demand, because we are not a dictatorship. We live in the church, although with obedience, but we have a voice and a vote. What reception has your intervention in this case? A good number of bishops wrote me very happy with my words. With pain, but satisfied. I have also received responses from laity and priests from Chile and the world. Of course not everyone was satisfied with my words, but I think they were sober and clear. This is why the echo is important, not to expose me but to demand truth and above all truthfulness. We have to be heard. That is the first step to seek the peace we need. The Catholic Church in Chile is unfortunately very discredited because of all this, which is very sad, if one thinks that at the time of the dictatorship the Church was the most valued institution and today is the least appreciated.]

Suit alleges Las Cruces diocese aided priest charged with sexual battery

Posted: 11 Feb 2018 11:42 AM PST

LAS CRUCES (NM) Las Cruces Sun-News February 6, 2017 By Carlos Andres López A former Hobbs resident allegedly sexually abused by a former Las Cruces priest is suing the priest and the Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces over allegations that church officials facilitated the priest's abuses and helped him flee the state. The man's allegations were detailed in a lawsuit filed Monday in 3rd Judicial District Court in Las Cruces. In addition to the Las Cruces diocese, Father Ricardo Bauza, the former pastor of St. Genevieve Catholic Church in Las Cruces, was named as a defendant in the lawsuit, as well as St. Helena Catholic Church, where Bauza mostly recently served as a pastor. The allegations in the lawsuit are related to an alleged criminal incident involving Bauza that allegedly occurred in April 2016 in Hobbs. The lawsuit accuses of Bauza of sexual battery, alleging he sexually abused the plaintiff — listed as John Doe 81 — in the rectory of the Hobbs parish.

Lawsuit alleges Las Cruces Diocese knew of alleged sexual assault involving priest

Posted: 11 Feb 2018 11:39 AM PST

EL PASO (TX) KFOX14 February 7, 2018 By Samantha Lewis & Jamel Valencia Las Cruces NM - A priest who served at a parish in Las Cruces for nine years and the Las Cruces Diocese are facing a lawsuit. The lawsuit accuses the Rev. Ricardo Bauza of sexual battery, alleging he sexually abused a victim in the rectory at St. Helena Catholic Church in Hobbs, New Mexico, in 2016, according to court records. Before becoming a priest in Hobbs, Bauza was a priest at St. Genevieve Catholic Church in Las Cruces from 2005 to 2014. The lawsuit was filed in Las Cruces on Monday, according to court records. It alleges Bauza abused his power as a priest to sexually harass and sexually abuse the alleged victim and that the Las Cruces Catholic Dioceses and St. Helena facilitated the priest's abuses and helped him flee New Mexico

Oxfam among charities reeling as 120 workers accused of sexual abuse in last year alone

Posted: 11 Feb 2018 11:34 AM PST

LONDON (ENGLAND) The Sunday Times February 11, 2018 By James Gillespie, Caroline Wheeler, Iram Ramzan and Richard Kerbaj Minister threatens to withdraw aid funding More than 120 workers for Britain's leading charities were accused of sexual abuse in the past year alone, fuelling fears that paedophiles are targeting overseas aid organisations. As new figures emerged revealing the extent of the crisis, Priti Patel, the former international development secretary, warned "predatory paedophiles" had been allowed to exploit the aid sector. Last night her successor, Penny Mordaunt, threatened to withdraw funding from Oxfam and "any other organisation that has safeguarding issues". She condemned the "horrific behaviour" of some Oxfam staff and said it was "utterly despicable" that allegations of abuse persisted in the aid sector. Mordaunt expected charities to "co-operate fully with . . . authorities, and we will cease to fund any organisation that does not". Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show this morning, Mordaunt said Oxfam had demonstrated an "absolute absence in leadership". "I think it's shocking and it doesn't matter how good the safeguarding practices are in an organisation, if that organisation does not have moral leadership to do the right thing, and where in particular they have evidence of criminal activity to pass that information to the relevant authorities including prosecuting authorities, that's an absolute absence of leadership," she said. When pressed as to whether she felt the charity had failed in its moral leadership, Mordaunt said "yes, I do". Mordaunt plans to meet Oxfam tomorrow to discuss the scandal and afford the charity "the opportunity to tell me in person what they did after these events". Figures collated by charities cover sexual harassment in Britain and abroad. They raise troubling questions about regulation within the charity sector. Oxfam recorded 87 incidents last year, Save the Children 31 — 10 of which were referred to the police and civil authorities — and Christian Aid two. The British Red Cross admitted there had been a "small number of cases of harassment reported in the UK", believed to be up to five. All four receive money from the Department for International Development. Of the Oxfam cases, 53 were referred to the police or other statutory authorities. A total of 20 staff or volunteers were dismissed. The charity employs 5,000 staff and has a further 23,000 volunteers. Caroline Thomson, Oxfam's chairwoman of trustees in the UK, said it was working to "address the underlying cultural issues that allowed this behaviour to happen". "We also want to satisfy ourselves that we do now have a culture of openness and transparency and that we fully learn the lessons of events in 2011," she said. She said Oxfam staff had come forward with concerns about the recruitment and vetting of workers involved in the scandal. She added: "We will examine these in more detail to ensure we further strengthen the improved safeguarding, recruitment, vetting and staff management procedures that were put in place after 2011." Incidents involving charity workers that have come to light since The Times revealed Oxfam workers in Haiti in 2011 were dismissed after using local prostitutes for sex parties include: ● The Charities Commission criticised the Grail Trust, which raises funds for a disadvantaged children's charity in India, last March for failing to report an allegation of child abuse in India and for initially publicly rejecting the claim. ● Teacher Simon Harris, who was head of a charity in Kenya, abused children at a school there. He was jailed for more than 17 years at Birmingham crown court in 2015. Andrew MacLeod, a former aid worker for the Red Cross and the UN, told The Sunday Times there was a lack of response to "institutionalised paedophilia" among aid workers. He said he was shocked by what he saw in the Philippines. "Walk near the Greenbelt Mall [in Manila] and you would see businessmen, tourists and aid workers meeting local girls for the night. You would say: 'How old do you think these women are?' They'd look at you with a twinkle in their eye and say: 'She says she is 18.' "Many aid workers will have to ask themselves: 'What did I do to try and stop it?'" It is not clear from last year's figures how many allegations were made by other staff or whether the alleged victims were beneficiaries of the charities' work. Save the Children said all 31 cases of alleged abuse had taken place abroad and 16 people had been dismissed as a result. Christian Aid said: "In the past 12 months, Christian Aid has investigated two incidents of sexual misconduct, both of which occurred overseas. One investigation led to the dismissal of a staff member, while the other case resulted in disciplinary action [not dismissal]." It emerged last night that Oxfam did not give the Charity Commission full details about the use of prostitutes by some aid workers in Haiti seven years ago. Haiti's ambassador in London, Bocchit Edmond, criticised Oxfam for failing to inform the country's authorities about the scandal and said it should publicly apologise. The commission said: "We have written to the charity as a matter of urgency to request further information regarding the events in Haiti in 2011. This information will be considered as part of an ongoing case regarding the charity's approach to safeguarding." Mordaunt said the Department for International Development was not told about the events at the time. She said "They [Oxfam] initially said that they were investigating misconduct and when they concluded that report they did not tell us the nature of these events. "They did tell the Charity Commission that there was sexual inappropriate behaviour, bullying and harassment of employees but they did not report that to us." She added that Oxfam also reassured the department that no harm was done and there was no involvement of any beneficiaries. Andrew Marr said: "That was a lie, wasn't it?" Mordaunt replied: "Well, quite." She said she did not know what Oxfam's motivation was for handling the investigation as it did, and warned that its relationship with the government was at risk. "If the moral leadership at the top of the organisation is not there then we cannot have you as a partner," she said. Mordaunt said the charity had done "absolutely the wrong thing" by failing to tell the Charity Commission and prosecuting authorities the full details of the allegations. She added: "If they do not hand over all the information that they have from their investigation and subsequently to the relevant authorities including the Charity Commission and prosecuting authorities then I cannot work with them any more as an aid delivery partner." Former international development secretary Priti Patel told BBC Radio 5 Live's Pienaar's Politics she was aware of abuse involving aid workers in disaster zones and had done her own research on the issue She told the programme: "People knew in DfID, I raised this directly with my department at the time. "I had quotes from the United Nations reports on the number of people. "I think even the secretary-general last year said there were 120 cases involving something like over 300 people, and that was just the tip of the iceberg."

Olympic Swimmer Ariana Kukors Accuses Former Coach of Sexual Abuse

Posted: 11 Feb 2018 11:30 AM PST

NEW YORK (NY) New York Times February 8, 2018 By Jacey Fortin An American swimmer who competed in the 2012 Olympics has accused her former coach of sexually abusing her when she was a teenager. The swimmer, Ariana Kukors, 28, said in a statement on Wednesday that the coach, Sean Hutchison, began sexually abusing her when she was 16 and had been "grooming" her for three years before that. "I never thought I would share my story because, in so many ways, just surviving was enough," Ms. Kukors said in the statement. "I was able to leave a horrible monster and build a life I could have never imagined for myself. But in time, I've realized that stories like my own are too important to go unwritten." In a statement emailed by his lawyer, Mr. Hutchison, 46, said Thursday that the accusations were not true. He said that the two had had a "committed relationship" that began after she was of age and that they had lived together for more than a year after the 2012 Olympic Games.

My Story

Posted: 11 Feb 2018 11:14 AM PST

UNITED STATES ArianaJKukors.com February 9, 2018 By Ariana Kukors Any swimmer will tell you about the black line on the bottom of every pool . . . the line that we follow day after day. We develop a relationship with that line; it holds our hopes and our dreams, but it also holds our fears. If only that black line could talk, it would tell you of my nightmare. To those in the swimming community, if you've heard the rumors about me, you may have been wondering if and when I'd find the courage to speak my truth. This is the truth. I recently came across a quote by Thich Naht Hahn that said, "People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar." This quote is ironic, because I can still picture Hahn's books lying on his bedside table. I grew up in a family of 5 just outside of Seattle. I was the middle sister of 3 girls, the Kukors Sisters, as we were often referred to. When I was little we used to take our family boat out in the Puget Sound and many of my first memories are of water. The water has always felt natural to me. My older sister, Emily, joined a swim team when she was nine. I was five and eager to follow in her footsteps. That was when my swimming career began, and all three of us girls, my Mom's mermaids, fell in love with the sport. In 2008, the three of us competed at the US Olympic Swim Trials, a moment in time I will never forget. I trained with my sisters, dreamed with them, won and lost with them. Before each race, we would always tell each other the same message: "I'm sending you my strength". I poured everything into my training. I had talent at a young age and progressed quickly with the help of extraordinary age group coaches; coaches who supported, developed, and challenged me in all the right ways. When I was 13, just on the cusp of making the USA National Team, I was handed off to a new coach, Sean Hutchison.

Former Priest Charged with Sexual Abuse Pleads to Battery

Posted: 11 Feb 2018 10:52 AM PST

AURORA (IL) Associated Press via U.S. News and World Report February 10, 2018 A former Catholic priest in suburban Chicago who was charged with sexually abusing two girls is likely returning to his native Colombia soon after pleading guilty to misdemeanor battery. The Kane County State's Attorney's office says it agreed to the plea deal Friday after prosecutors analyzed evidence, communicated with the victims' families and received assurances that Alfredo Pedraza-Arias will be "removed from the United States." A jail official says Pedraza-Arias was released Saturday "to the custody of another agency" but wouldn't elaborate. His attorney says he expects Pedraza-Arias to leave the country soon.

C of E facing 3,300 sexual abuse claims, figures reveal

Posted: 11 Feb 2018 10:49 AM PST

LONDON (ENGLAND) The Guardian February 10, 2018 By Harriet Sherwood Bishop tells synod 'it will not be an easy couple of years' as IICSA prepares to take evidence Church of England spending on issues relating to sexual abuse has increased fivefold since 2014 and the most recent figures show it is facing more than 3,300 allegations. The disclosures come as the church prepares to face intense scrutiny by the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA), which starts hearing evidence next month. "This will not be an easy couple of years – we will hear deeply painful accounts of abuse, of poor response, of 'cover-up'. We will … feel a deep sense of shame," Peter Hancock, the bishop of Bath and Wells and the C of E's lead bishop on safeguarding, told the general synod in London. Professional safeguarding advisers have been appointed to every diocese to deal with disclosures of abuse, but Hancock said the pace of change needed to accelerate. "For too long the church has not responded well to those who allege abuse within our church communities. This is now changing and further change is needed."

Caldey Abbey: first male victim comes forward to describe sexual abuse

Posted: 11 Feb 2018 10:45 AM PST

LONDON (ENGLAND) The Guardian By Amanda Gearing and Steven Morris February 9, 2018 Man says he was abused by Cistercian monk during family holidays on Welsh island A man has come forward to describe how he was groomed and sexually abused as a child by a Benedictine monk on Caldey Island, intensifying calls for an inquiry into what happened at the abbey in south-west Wales. The victim, who has told police of the abuse he was subject to during summer holiday trips to Caldey Island, is the first man to allege he was sexually assaulted by Father Thaddeus Kotik. More than a dozen women have come forward to report offences committed by Kotik, a member of the Cistercian order of Benedictine monks who lived at Caldey Abbey on the Pembrokeshire island from 1947 until his death in 1992. The Guardian has learned that two other men who lived and worked on Caldey Island were subsequently convicted of child sex offences.

Plea deal for former Aurora priest in sexual abuse case

Posted: 11 Feb 2018 10:42 AM PST

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS (IL) Daily Herald February 10, 2018 By Marie Wilson A former Aurora priest pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery and was released from jail Saturday without prosecution on charges of sexual abuse. Now it's likely the former priest, 51-year-old Alfredo Pedraza-Arias, will leave the country, his attorney David Camic said Saturday -- whether on his own or possibly by deportation to his native Colombia. Pedraza-Arias was charged in February 2016 with aggravated criminal sexual abuse of two girls younger than 13, whom he was accused of abusing between January 2009 and November 2014, one at Sacred Heart Church in Aurora and another at her Aurora home. Camic said his client did not commit any sexual offense, which is why he pleaded guilty only to misdemeanor battery in a deal reached Friday with the Kane County state's attorney's office.

The costs of surviving childhood sexual abuse

Posted: 11 Feb 2018 10:20 AM PST

SAN FRANCISCO (CA) Salon February 11, 2018 By Marci Hamilton It is difficult not to be stunned into silence by the testimony of 156 female gymnasts against serial pedophile Dr. Larry Nassar. His "practice" was a factory assembly line of abuse — one girl after the other, day after day. He was prolific but not a rarity: child sex abuse in the United States is a mass epidemic that saturates our culture and even impacts the economy. And as the national #MeToo movement has shown, the time is now, to say, "enough is enough." Ignorance, discomfort and a legal system geared toward adults rather than children have kept these stories from the public. The numbers are staggering: research by the Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. That means that in every classroom, team and congregation it is likely that there are children who have been or are being victimized. Victims often do not disclose their abuse until they are in their 40s, according to the University of Georgia School of Law's Child Endangerment and Sexual Exploitation Clinic. While 38 states have eliminated the criminal statute of limitations (SOL) for at least some child sex crimes, most have not done so for all of them, leaving large loopholes that protect many perpetrators whose "lesser" abuse can still yield enormous harm. Many more states have not yet eliminated the civil SOL, which means institutions and their insurers have not been adequately incentivized to change their practices to deter child sex abuse effectively. Indeed, the worst states, like New York, Alabama and Michigan, permit institutions and predators to revel in SOLs that cut off claims once the victim reaches their early 20s.