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Pope Francis, Help the Children Sexually Abused by Priests: Open the Vatican Archives
by Bill Berkowitz
Thursday Feb 20th, 2014 8:21 AM
With so many difficult issues to deal with, Pope Francis has recently been handed a golden opportunity to deal with one of the most vexing of those issues: Child sexual abuse by Catholic priests, and its aiding and abetting and subsequent cover-up by Catholic Church officials.
Pope Francis, Help the Children Sexually Abused by Priests: Open the Vatican Archives

Now that the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has delivered its report condemning the Vatican for aiding, abetting & covering up the Church's sexual abuse scandal, WWPFD (What Will Pope Francis Do)?


Since Pope Francis (formerly Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina) took dominion over the Holy See, there has been much speculation about which direction he might move the Catholic Church; how he was going to modernize and make the Church more accessible to more people.

Liberals have lauded him for his comments about income inequality and his openness and apparent willingness to usher in a new way of going about the business of being Pope. Some conservatives, however, have scorned him for his economic pronouncements, while maintaining that he isn't focusing enough on such culture war issues as birth control, homosexuality, and abortion.

With so many difficult issues to deal with, he has recently been handed a golden opportunity to deal with one of the most vexing of those issues: Child sexual abuse by Catholic priests, and its aiding and abetting and subsequent cover-up by Catholic Church officials.

The most prudent move for Pope Francis to make in this regard is to accept the recommendations of the report by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and, at the same time, open up the Vatican archives.

UN report on sexual abuse urges action

"The committee is gravely concerned that the Holy See has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which has led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators," the report states.

The panel, according to The New York Times, "demanded that the Vatican open its archives to identify abusers and that it hold accountable those who had concealed abuse and it knowingly allowed abusers continued contact with children."

In a recent Real News Network interview Kirsten Sandberg, Chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, pointed out that the report covered the past 19 years, which was the last time that the Vatican reported to the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Sandberg was asked to respond to assertions by a Vatican representative that it "has carefully delineated policies and procedures designed to help eliminate such abuse."

Sandberg: "Well, they're defending themselves now, because they've started to take some measures. They have given guidelines to all bishops that they should cooperate with law enforcement authorities and things like that, which is very good. So that's really a positive beginning, I think. But we really need to see the results on the ground. And we haven't yet got all the data from the Holy See, so we don't yet know what they have been doing and how they have actually reacted. They have also covered up this for many years."

According to Sandberg, it is extremely "disturbing" that while we know of the tens of thousands of cases of children who were sexually abused in some parts of the world, there are other parts of the world where we don't know "whether it's still going on, for instance in Eastern Europe, and we don't know whether it's still going on also in the countries where it has been revealed, because a lot of this might still be happening but without anybody knowing."

Sandberg pointed out that, "there's been a lot of support worldwide from victims and from others." But, Sandberg notes it appears that "the Holy See, as far as I've understood, are quite reluctant to accept our recommendations," despite their being "open to this in the dialog we had with the Holy See."

Vatican upbraids UN Committee

"This committee has not rendered a good service to the United Nations," Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, head of the Vatican delegation to U.N. organizations in Geneva, told Vatican Radio.

A Newark Star-Ledger Editorial pointed out that while it wasn't surprised by any of the findings about "systemic rape and cover-ups," it was surprised by "the church's response": "outright criticism of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, which conducted the inquiry, coupled with the tired 'if you're not with us, you're against us' defense the church reserves for its strongest critics."

The Editorial maintained that "At its lowest point, the Vatican's response accused the committee – a panel of independent experts on global children's issues, not UN member states – of being co-opted by gay rights and gay marriage supporters."

The Star-Ledger also pointed out that the report provides the Vatican with "an opportunity for the Holy See and Pope Francis to finally get it right – and to craft a concrete, meaningful response that addresses the church's past crimes, punishes the guilty, compensates the victims and, finally, sets a path that provides for the safety of future generations of Catholic children."

As expected, conservative Catholic groups were outraged by the UN report. "It shows a certain ignorance of how the church works," said Ashley McGuire of The Catholic Association. "They don't just change canon law. The church's teachings, many of them are thousands of years old and are grounded in deep moral principle. To just fire a shot off the bow and not look at the actual reality of the last 10 years seems totally unfair and undermines the credibility of the report."

"It's disingenuous for Catholic officials to trot out the 'religious freedom' canard when confronted with uncontroverted evidence of massive wrongdoing," said Barbara Dorris, outreach director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "The vast bulk of the United Nations panel's findings have nothing to do with birth control, homosexuality, abortion or doctrine."

In December, Pope Francis named a panel to advise him on dealing with the sexual abuse scandal. It remains to be seen whether the Pope will recommend that the archives be opened to independent investigators, a move that could reveal what the Church knew and when it knew it.



Comments  (Hide Comments)

"The Vatican said it would study the report, and reiterated its commitment to defending and protecting children's rights."

Study what? Pope Francis already knows what to do. He could take decisive actions immediately to protect children today. But it is not looking like we can count on the pope to do the right thing.

--When is he going to fire bishops and cardinals who cover up sex crimes against kids?
--When is he going to order bishops to stop lobbying against removing the statute of limitations for child sex crimes, both civil and criminal?
--When is he going to defrock KC Bishop Finn, who is a convicted criminal still running that diocese?
--When is he going demand that every single diocese in the world turn over all of their secret archive documents to local law enforcement?

Until high ranking church officials are held accountable by outside law enforcement for their crimes against humanity, nothing will change and children are still not safe within this archaic secret institution.
Children are safest when child predators and those who enable and conceal their crimes are held responsible.

Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511, SNAPJudy [at] gmail.com,
SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
by mike ference
Thursday Feb 20th, 2014 5:06 PM
An open letter to Pope Francis concerning the former tenure of Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, and Bishop David Zubik current leader of the of the Pittsburgh Diocese.

Could the attempted murder of my son, Adam Ference been averted if diocesan hierarchy had properly supervised your former Catholic priest Father John Wellinger.

Please review my allegations, noting which ones are true or false. If you need additional information, I would gladly provide it.

Question 1. Allegedly, in the first quarter of 1987 Fr. John Wellinger, a priest of the Pittsburgh diocese and pastor of Holy Spirit Parish in West Mifflin, PA, drugged a University of Pittsburgh student in an apartment that the victim shared with his older brother, also a Pitt student.

According to the victim, he was knocked out for hours. When he awoke, he intuitively called 911.
After rushing downstairs, against the wishes of Fr Wellinger, the teenage victim flag down meet the ambulance and the attending EMTs in the street.

The allegation of the rest of the event goes as follows: The ambulance whisked away to Presbyterian University Hospital emergency room (now University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; UPMC). Fr.
Wellinger allegedly followed the young victim to the hospital. Upon finding him in the emergency room, the victim requested that Wellinger find his nurse. When the nurse returned the victim would explain that Wellinger was the man who had drugged him.

Wellinger was ushered out by the nurse. To the best of my knowledge police were not notified; not even a security guard from the hospital. The victim was not examined by a doctor. In other words, the entire event was covered-up.

The parents of the victim came to the hospital and took their son home. Furthermore, I was told by then Clairton Public Safety Director William Scully, in January of 1990, that a hospital worker, possibly a social worker, warned the parents to not take on the Pittsburgh diocese, because they are too powerful and wealthy.

I can provide the victim's name and contact information to verify my story.

Cardinal Wuerl or Bishop Zubik is this event TRUE or FALSE. If it's true, the attempted murder of my son could have been averted.

Question 2. Allegedly, a few days after the above event, the victim’s father searched out Wellinger at the parish house. At the time, Wellinger was holding a parish council meeting. So, there were plenty of.
witnesses present, including the victim’s mother. The victim’s father was angry, because Father John Wellinger had allegedly drugged his son and possibly raped and sodomized him. The man was also angry over an outing that lasted all night long between Wellinger and his wife. According to an eyewitness Wellinger was ushered out a back door and the West Mifflin.
Police were called.

Concerned for the safety of Fr. Wellinger, parish council members ushered the priest out the back door and called the West Mifflin Police. Parish councils were logically concerned, because the victim’s father may have been intoxicated and carrying a weapon.

Is there evidence of any police report? Did the fatherwould receive notification from attorneys for the Diocese of Pittsburghto stay away from Father John Wellinger and to stay off Holy Spirit property in West Mifflin, PA.

Cardinal Wuerl or Bishop Zubik is this event TRUE or FALSE. If it's true, the attempted murder of my son could have been averted.

Question 3. An allegation was brought to my attention within the past year or two, by a Catholic priest who stated to me via telephone that a person by the last name of Volmer went to Father Charles Bober in 1987 and warned Bober about Fr Wellinger’s deviant behavior. To the best of my knowledge, nothing was done.

Cardinal Wuerl or Bishop Zubik is this event TRUE or FALSE. If it's true, the attempted murder of my son could have been averted.

Question 4. Sometime in 1988, the personal secretary of Father Wellinger allegedly went to the Pittsburgh diocese and spoke to Father Ronald Lengwin about Wellinger’s deviant behavior. She also reported that a teenage boy used the rectory as his home for the longest time and enjoyed making 900 calls to porn sites, while costing the parish hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

Sadly, the women whom I interviewed would be labeled as a rumor-monger, and once again, Bishop.
Bevilacqua and would err on the side of dysfunctional sex freak, Fr John Wellinger, rather than erring on the side of caution.

Cardinal Wuerl or Bishop Zubik is this event TRUE or FALSE. If it's true, the attempted murder of my son could have been averted.

Question 5. A suicide occurred in Father John Wellinger’s parish in 1989. According to then Clairton Public Safety Director William Scully, the suicide allegedly was linked to Wellinger. Scully said that he just didn’t have the needed proof. The boy was a 16 year old who took a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

According to Scully, the boy had an interest in the occult and Satanism. Wellinger would hold a.
seminar on occult practice and Satanism months later. He met with a former Mt. Lebanon police officer by the name of John Mihelic, an expert in the occult and Satanism. Mihelic has since retired but is still a consultant.
Cardinal Wuerl or Bishop Zubik is this event TRUE or FALSE. If it's true, the attempted murder of my son could have been averted.

If you need contact information for any victims or the names mentioned in this letter please feel free to contact me at mike [at] ferencemarketing.com.

Mike Ference
For more information visit my blog at http://mikeference.blogspot.com/2013/12/red-flags.html.
by Louise Vella
Thursday Feb 20th, 2014 10:24 PM
On February 19, Mgr Charles Scicluna said on Maltese national television that during the ten years he worked at the Vatican, he investigated 3000 child abuse cases out of 400,000 priests worldwide. The Vatican must urgently open its secret archives for the truth to come out about this shocking scandal and for dangerous child molesters to be known and kept away from children.