In the Name of the Father III: Flood-Gates Open

Angel Vatican 04 weba“… members of the Catholic Church should ‘weep before the execrable acts of abuse which have left life-long scars”

Pope Francis


Record payments for damages against the Catholic Church continue to pour in. A recent bill of $3.3 million for a Santa Rosa woman (the highest of its kind) brought the total to more than $24 million in settlements and jury verdicts paid by the Catholic Church in the past year. This is from seven Northern California cases alone. Globally the figure is set to rise substantially. But for a vast religious corporation whose income in 2010 was $97 billion, they will no doubt be able to accommodate more settlements as they arise. [1]

It would be wrong to think that only the major city dioceses were prone to the kinds of corruption and paedophile rings we have become used to hearing about over the years. Similar cases are being picked up on the radar of Christian and law enforcement awareness. Many of these cases are falling out of the “norm” of paedophilia abuse or being made to fit the safer category of the lone paedophile. The instances of ritual abuse have also appeared in small towns and communities across America. It seems religion, incest and the occult have a small-town tradition in some parts.

The one time thriving Church of Hosanna, Ponchatoula, home of antique shops and the host of Louisiana’s annual strawberry festival, was the centre of a scandal that underlined the power of communal secrecy. In June 2005, the town was “stunned” by a “Child Sex Ring” in which the pastor, his wife, the sheriff’s deputy and nine other pillars of the community “were accused of engaging in cult-like sexual activity with children and animals inside the hall of worship. Eight face child rape charges that could bring the death penalty.”

The report from the Associated Press went on to say that:

… witnesses have described the use of robes, pentagrams on the church floor, sex with a dog and the sacrifice of cats. The alleged victims, suspected to number up to two dozen, include children ranging from infants to young teens — some of them the offspring of those accused. […]

Investigators believe the abuse began in 1999 and continued until the church closed in 2003. But it was not until a woman called from Ohio in April, saying she had fled to protect her child, that police claim they had even an inkling of what was happening. […]

Glynn Fendlason served as pastor of the church, then known as First Assembly of God…. The active membership dispensed thousands of meals to the poor and elderly. […] “We all knew something wasn’t right,” Fendlason said. “Not something like this, though.” [2]

Suppressed knowledge on the nature of programmed narcissism and psychopathy in society is serving these predators extremely well.  They play us all like the concertinas that we are with ignorance as the tuning fork. Statements from a former deputy Sheriff commenting on an accused sited in the above report illustrate the point: “He seemed real Christian;”…”He never cursed. When we went out to eat, he’d bow his head and say his prayers.” [3]

As part of a haven of child molesters within the Church, a particularly vicious priest was sent to a rehabilitation centre set up by the Catholic Church for the treatment of paedophilic priests. Two evaluations came to the conclusion that he was a serious risk to re-offend. However, the charming and affable Father Drove had managed to persuade the treatment centre that this had all been a terrible injustice. How could such a personable man have done such a thing? It was impossible wasn’t it?

After a brief course of ‘treatment’ the center declared the previous evaluations dead wrong about Father Drove’s interest in adolescent boys. […] Later [he] was charged with eighteen additional counts of sexual abuse and he was accused by four more victims.[…]  He  repeatedly befriended children – often from poor and troubled families – who were in counselling with him, and he lavished gifts, presents and affection on them. Then he would molest them in callous and sometimes brutal ways. For example, one boy was crying in a counselling session about his increasing drug problem and family difficulties. Father Drove got up, undid the boy’s pants and started performing fellatio on him. On another occasion he was performing fellatio on a boy when he suddenly left the room. Another priest came in and finished the job. On yet another occasion, he took a boy to a rectory for an overnight visit where two other men were allowed to anally rape the boy that night. ….Many of the children he molested were in counselling for emotional or drug and alcohol problems. [Emphasis mine] [4]

And it was only by the lack of knowledge concerning such people that the priest was able to repeat the pattern of trust with led to more boys being abused.

priest-boy© infrakshun

One psychopathic priest was convicted of raping and killing women he chained in his Philadelphia church-home basement and received a 2nd death sentence; a Catholic priest who headed the psychiatric unit at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, California, who sexually exploited a woman for 5 years starting when she was 13; another Reverend was convicted by a jury of sexually abusing a 5 year old girl and her 7 year old brother during visits in the rectory; a catechism instructor charged with coercing 10 boys to perform sex acts; an evangelist who received a 20 year prison sentence for running a child prostitution ring of 800 victims; a bible school teacher, who was sentenced to more than 2,000 years in prison for molesting, sodomizing and photographing them in sexual acts.  “He beat one victim, tape-recording it for sexual gratification: ‘Ten seconds of indiscretion is ruining my entire life,’ he complained, referring to oral sex with a boy, 10. He told the judge: ‘But I have an illness. You cannot make me a criminal.’ ”

At the time of writing, the scandals are still flooding in, this time from Brazil where the Vatican, reports that 10 per cent of the country’s clergy are sex offenders or one in 10 of Brazil’s priests are involved in some form of sexual misdemeanour. A Vatican commission sent to Brazil to investigate reports in September 2005 found a 70 per cent increase in the number of priests involved in cases of sexual misbehaviour and this during the heighted awareness that such abuse was receiving in the media. [5]

While the Church is still held in high esteem in the so-called “developing world,” this too is faltering after the discovery that abuse in the Brazilian Catholic Church could be even more of a problem than in the United States. That poverty is recognised as a vital link in the prevalence and continuation of child abuse this is not so revelatory. As is often true in cases of systematic abuse, the victims are from the lower end of the social scale with little or no recourse to the law. The ability to defend oneself as a last resort is frequently denied, or as the same report stated: “Brazil’s wealth gap made it easier for priests to exploit youngsters with impunity.”

Familiar tactics of cover-ups, intimidation of witnesses and clergy diocese transference has also taken place, though with a high ratio of heterosexual abuse of women and children. The commission also found that “… in the last three years at least 200 Brazilian priests had been referred to church psychological institutions following cases involving paedophilia. Ten clerics were in jail and a further 40 were on the run from the law.”

A recurring pattern found amongst clerical child molesters was the conscious planning of their actions down to the very last detail. Such meticulous planning is a hallmark of the essential psychopath. In one case a Father Tarcisco Tadeu Spricigo was jailed for 14 years and eight months for sexually abusing boys, one of them a five year old:

In his diary, obtained by police in Sao Paulo, the 48-year-old priest stressed the need ‘to have boys who can keep a secret and without sexual scruples’.

He recommended: ‘Always present oneself as the dominator. Be caring and not hurried. Never ask questions, but have certainties. Get secure and needy boys, who don’t have fathers and who are poor. Never get involved with rich kids.’

[Regina Soares Jurkwicz, author of Unveiling the Politics of Silence: Sexual Abuse of Women by Priests in Brazil] said: ‘The number of cases seems to be rising … [but] this is not a new problem. It has just been something that nobody dared talk about and, to a certain extent, that is still the way it is.’ [6]

And the “way it is” extends from Boston to Brazil, Dublin to Düsseldorf.

If we jump across the globe to the United Kingdom, the late Cardinal Basil Hume left a question mark as to his role in yet another possible cover-up. As one of the most respected and well-loved leaders of over 4 million Roman Catholics in England and Wales, this caused some controversy.

Ampleforth college, a top Catholic public school, has admitted that since 1966-1995 at least 30 to 40 boys, some as young as ten years old, were sexually abused by the monks who worked there, though former pupils believe the figure could be over 100 or more. It was established by police that by 1975 that Hume: “… was aware of the risk that at least one monk, Father Piers Grant-Ferris, posed to pupils. Yesterday Grant-Ferris, 72, pleaded guilty at Leeds crown court to abusing 15 boys at Ampleforth’s prep school over a nine-year period up to 1975. Some of these boys, boarders aged between eight and 10, were beaten for his sexual gratification. [7]

Cardinal Hume banished Grant-Ferris but did not inform social services or police. As the report points out, this would have led to a far greater risk of abuse within the school, which nevertheless continued for a 20 year period with more boys being abused, in some cases to the point of rape. Only by 2003 were the signs so evident that action was taken.

Are we meant to believe that Hume was unaware of the problem? According to the Church elect we are meant to justify the secrecy by claiming it all took place in an era of different sensibilities and social mores, or that it was through a collective misunderstanding of the 1962 directive of silence by the Vatican.

By 2010, the Vatican’s active attempts to protect child molesters within the Church was becoming a standard practice and obvious to everyone, not least the new victims who were unfortunate enough to fall into the path of these predators. An Associated Press investigation found that 30 cases of priests accused of paedophilia and pederasty had been transferred or moved abroad. Former Benedictine monk Richard Sipe and critic of the effective protection of priests was interviewed in the AP reports and stated: “The pattern is if a priest gets into trouble and it’s close to becoming a scandal or if the law might get involved, they send them to the missions abroad … Anything to avoid a scandal.” [8]

What has changed is the number of high-ranking clergy beginning to speak out about the deception. The archdiocese of Dublin, Ireland had refused to turn over records on priests who abused children perpetuating the grief of the victims and allowing priests to continue to abuse. All that changed when Diarmuid Martin was appointed Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin.

We only have to test the authenticity of the Catholic Church’s claim that they are doing everything to eradicate sexual abuse with the April 2014 report from UK’s The Independent:

Italy’s bishops have adopted a policy, with backing from the Vatican, that states they are not obliged to inform police officers if they suspect a child has been molested.,/span>

The Italian Bishops’ Conference said the guidelines published on Friday reflected suggestions from the Vatican’s office that handles sex abuse investigations.

Victims have denounced how bishops systematically covered up abuse by moving priests while keeping prosecutors in the dark.

Only in 2010 did the Vatican instruct bishops to report abuse to police — but only where required by law.

Italian guidelines cite a 1985 treaty between the Vatican and Italy stipulating that clergy aren’t obliged to tell magistrates about information obtained through their religious ministry. The guidelines remind bishops, however, they have a ”moral duty“ to contribute to the common good.

Clearly, the Catholic Church’s power and wealth is more important than it’s congregation. But it may even more sinister than that.

In 2012, Martin was featured in a CBS News 60 minutes TV special which revealed how the Archbishop had “… provided tens of thousands of pages of evidence against specific priests” and directly challenged the cover-up of his archdiocese and the behaviour of the Catholic Church, which according to Martin is at “breaking point” from the effects of the longstanding sexual scandals. In the programme, the Dublin Archbishop made it very clear what sexual abuse means when perpetrated by predators masquerading as priests: “Abuse isn’t [just] the actual sexual acts, which are horrendous, but sexual abuse of a child is … a total abuse of power. It’s actually saying to a child, ‘I control you.’ And that is saying to the child, ‘You’re worthless.’” [9] Back in the US in 2012, a landmark case was heard with the first Roman Catholic priest to be convicted for his part in covering up sexual abuse of children by priests. More is set to follow.  [10]

When those who set themselves up as spiritual leaders and choose to keep silent while boys are abused and refuse to speak out against crime within one’s own family, it could be said to be “against God.” What does it say about the basic building blocks of an age old religious doctrine of spiritual guidance that harbours such an endemic legacy of abuse and then proceeds to lie about it for decades?

What message does this give people desperately in need of spiritual succour?

One is forced to question the foundations of such a religion that would allow abuse and deception to exist. The only reason it has now been revealed was largely due to the victims finally having the courage to speak out which gave courage to others. It did not come from within the Church that was satisfied with its age-old secrecy to which generations of children have become sacrificed – deeply and irrevocably.

There are those within the Church who have the temerity to set themselves up as “God’s intermediaries” while consciously forcing all to remain silent about institutional crimes against those they were meant to protecting and assisting. By remaining silent, one becomes a willing accomplice to child abuse perpetuating its presence within.

Destroying children’s lives under the cover of religion is nothing more than a evil in action.

 


Notes

[1] “In 2010, the Catholic Church had an income of $97 billion.” From Alain de Botton’s TED talk on Atheism: http://www.ted.com/talks/alain_de_botton_atheism_2_0.html
[2] ‘Church sex case allegedly involving children, animals stuns Louisiana town’ By Alan Sayre, Associated Press, June 10, 2005.
[3] Ibid.
[4] op. cit. Salter (pp. 22-23),
[5] ‘Scandal of sexual abuse by priests shocks Brazil’s 125 million Catholics’ by Tom Phillips and John Hooper, The Guardian, November 26, 2005.
[6] Ibid.
[7] ‘Silence and secrecy at school where child sex abuse went on for decades’- Yesterday’s revelations cast a cloud over the late Cardinal Hume’s former role at a top Catholic college, by Ian Cobain, The Guardian, November 18, 2005.
[8] ‘Predator Priests Shuffled Around Globe’ CBS News / Associated Press, April 14, 2010. | http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/04/14/world/main6397279.shtml
[9] ‘The Archbishop of Dublin challenges the Church’ CBS News | 60 minutes, (transcript) March 4 2012. | http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57390125.html
[10] ‘Monsignor convicted of child endangerment in priest abuse coverup’ Los Angeles Times, June 22, 2012. | http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-priest-sex-abuse-trial.htm
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