Did Pope Benedict’s brother run a sadistic sex camp for choirboys? – Barbie Latza Nadeau

Monsignor Georg Ratzinger (left) is the elder brother of Josef Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)

Barbie Latza Nadeau“The bulk of the abuse … happened in the mid-1970s to boys being groomed for the world-famous Domspatzen boys choir of Regensburg’s St. Peter’s Cathedral when a certain Father Georg Ratzinger was the choir leader. Ratzinger … is the elder brother of Josef Ratzinger, better known as Pope Benedict XVI. He conducted the choir from 1964 to 1994. When asked if Ratzinger knew what was going on, Weber said, ‘After my research, I must assume so.'” –  Barbie Latza Nadeau

Ulrich WeberThe priests at the Regensburg, Bavaria, boarding school for boys liked to make the students take off their clothes and bend over for either a violent whipping or forcible anal sex. Sometimes the priests made them drink red wine. Sometimes the priests masturbated in front of the children.  Other times they made the children masturbate for them, perform oral sex or fondle each other. 

The complaint is not about just one or two isolated cases. At least 231 and more likely as many as 700 boys who attended the school between 1953 and 1992 were subjected to what has been described by the victims as “ritual abuse,” according to Ulrich Weber, a German lawyer commissioned by the choir who represents the alleged victims. “I have here 231 reports of physical abuse,” Weber told reporters at a press conference in Regensburg on Friday when he presented a report based on an eight-month investigation into the alleged abuse. “The abuse ranges from sexual assault and rape to food deprivation to the boys who were less cooperative.” 

The bulk of the abuse, which also included canings, forced gluttony and anal penetration with foreign objects, happened in the mid-1970s to boys being groomed for the world-famous Domspatzen boys choir of Regensburg’s St. Peter’s Cathedral when a certain Father Georg Ratzinger was the choir leader. Ratzinger, who will turn 92 next month, is the elder brother of Josef Ratzinger, better known as Pope Benedict XVIMonsignor Georg Ratzinger. He conducted the choir from 1964 to 1994. When asked if Ratzinger knew what was going on, Weber said, “After my research, I must assume so.” 

In 2010, when hints of the abuse first surfaced, the elder Ratzinger publicly apologized for “slapping students” but denied being aware of the violent abuse that was apparently rampant at the school, though he apparently hinted that he had heard rumors of abuse taking place on choir trips. “I always had a bad conscience and I was happy when in 1980 corporal punishment was banned by lawmakers,” the pope’s elder brother said, describing the physical abuse as “the normal reaction to failings or disobedience” for offenses like a bad choral performance or adolescent tomfoolery.

The recent revelations of the extent of the sexual abuse at the Regensburg Catholic school trump original estimates that only a handful of young boys were abused. In 2010, just two years before Benedict retired, the Holy See insisted that “the abuse was limited.” Investigators then put the number of credible complaints at around 70 cases, for which they offered a settlement sum of around $2,700.

That’s when Weber was commissioned by the Domspatzen choir administrators to start collecting complaints. So far he has 231 but he told reporters that he estimates that as many as one-third of the 2,100 students who attended the school over four decades were subject to varying forms of unimaginable abuse and maltreatment.

By those estimates, around 700 boys were abused, and because the statute of limitations has long run out and most of the abusive predatory priests are dead, justice will never be served.

The prestigious choir dates back to the year 975 and grew to become one of the most famous musical training schools for boys, producing a number of successful composers and directors including Franz Wittenbrink, who came forward when the allegations of abuse first surfaced. In 2010, he told investigators that priests at the Regensburg boarding school engaged in what he described as “an elaborate system of sadistic punishments combined with sexual lust.”

He said that he and several other boys were often “chosen” to be invited by the headmaster at the time to his personal apartment where they were plied with red wine and made to perform sex acts on the headmaster and on each other. “Everyone knew about it at the time,” he said in 2010.

Benedict XVIWhether the elder Ratzinger told his younger brother about the abuse remains dubious, especially given that the younger Ratzinger served as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the church’s former Inquisition office that now sees to the interpretation and enforcement of church doctrine, before being tapped as pontiff. If he had been informed, he would have been in a prime position to expose it. The recent revelations of the extent of abuse will seal Benedict’s record on the greatest scandal to rock the Catholic Church as weak, at best.

Pope Francis: Aren't unsolicited kisses a form of molestation?The Vatican under Pope Francis has been far more transparent and apologetic about the crimes and systematic coverup of abuse than Benedict ever was, but so far even Francis has remained silent on the recent reports from Regensburg.

To his credit, the current bishop of the Regensburg diocese, Rudolf Voderholzer, did make a public apology after Friday’s news conference, even publishing Weber’s detailed report of allegations on the diocese’s website. “It hurts me and my soul—behind every single case is a human being, a child’s soul severely tortured and often marked for life by these acts,” he wrote.  “I cannot undo it and can only ask the victims for forgiveness.”

But the sort of mercy it would take to forgive the type of unthinkable abuse most of the boys underwent is almost as unimaginable as the actual crimes and how they could have possibly stayed covered up for so long. – The Daily Beast, 9 January 2016

» Barbie Latza Nadeau is an American journalist and author based in Rome since 1996. Italy bureau chief for The Daily Beast, former Newsweek, author of Angel Face, and CNN contributor.

Georg Ratzinger

Regensburger Domspatzen Boarding School

St Peter's Cathedral, Regensburg

See also

One in fifty Catholic priests is a paedophile: Pope Francis – Hannah Roberts

Boy crucified on cardinal

Hannah Roberts“While Pope Francis has carried out sweeping reforms to the Vatican, he has been accused of not doing enough to tackle the child abuse crisis.” – Hannah Roberts

Pope Francis has revealed that around one in every 50 Catholic priests is a paedophile.

Condemning the issue as a “leprosy” which infects the Church, the Pontiff was yesterday reported as claiming that even bishops and cardinals are among the “2 per cent” carrying out child abuse.

He also said that many more in the Church are guilty of covering it up, adding: “This state of affairs is intolerable.”

Damning reports by the UN this year have accused the Vatican of “systematically” adopting policies that allowed priests to rape and molest thousands of children over decades, failing to report allegations to the authorities and transferring offenders to new dioceses where they could abuse again.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica yesterday, Francis denounced the corruption of children as “the most terrible and unclean thing imaginable” Francis + Justin Welbyand vowed to “confront it with the seriousness it demands.”

The Pope’s comments come as Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby warned that fresh child abuse would be uncovered in the Church of England.

Asked on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show [on 12 July 2014] whether more cases would emerge, he said: “I would love to say there weren’t but I expect there are.

“There are in almost every institution in this land.”

He added that the Church needed to apologise and explain how “utterly devastated” it was about its history child abuse.

He said: “It is becoming clearer and clearer that for many, many years things were not dealt with as they should have been dealt with. We must show justice to survivors of abuse.”

While Pope Francis has carried out sweeping reforms to the Vatican, he has been accused of not doing enough to tackle the child abuse crisis. 

In his interview, Francis was quoted as saying: ‘The Church is fighting for the eradication of the habit and for education that rehabilitates. 

“But this leprosy is also present in our house. Many of my colleagues who are working against it tell me that paedophilia inside the Church is at the level of 2 per cent.”

He said that the figures supplied by Church officials were supposed to reassure him, but added: “But I have to say that they do not reassure me by any means.

“On the contrary, I find them deeply concerning. Among the 2 per cent who are paedophiles are even bishops and cardinals.”

Swiss Guard saluting a CardinalLast night Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the newspaper’s report had “captured the spirit” of the conversation, but denied that Francis had said there are some cardinals who are paedophiles. 

In his interview, the Pope acknowledged that paedophilia was common and widespread in the Catholic Church, and reportedly called the requirement for celibacy among priests “a problem” for which he is “finding the solution”—although the Vatican also denied that he said this.

Last week Pope Francis issued his strongest words on paedophile priests so far as he held a historic three-hour meeting with six abuse victims, including two from Britain and two from Ireland.

In a mass before the meeting, he begged abuse survivors for forgiveness for the “sacrilegious” crimes committed by “the sons and daughters of the Church who have betrayed their mission.”

British abuse victim Peter Saunders, 57, who was molested for more than five years by two priests, a teacher and a member of his family from the age of eight, described the experience as “life-changing.”

The first cases of abuse at the hands of priests came to light in the US and Canada in the 1980s. In the 1990s, revelations began to emerge of widespread abuse in Ireland, before cases were exposed in more than a dozen countries in the last decade.

In 2009, two damning reports into allegations of paedophilia in Ireland revealed the extent of cover-ups spanned decades and involved thousands of victims.

Last week the Pope said the Catholic Church had been guilty of “complicity” in covering up what he called “despicable actions” and “grave sins.” 

He said members of the Catholic Church should “weep before the execrable acts of abuse which have left life-long scars.” – Mail Online, 13 July 2014

» Hannah Roberts is the Daily Mail’s correspondent in Rome.

Crucified boy

Hundreds of boys raped by Benedictine monks in famous US abbey – David Ferguson

Finian McDonald

David Ferguson“The documents show that the abbey moved priests from parish to parish when abuse allegations were levied against them, covering up the problem and keeping secrets within their own ranks. There are 14 more priests associated with the abbey whose records have yet to be produced.” – David Ferguson

Personnel records made public on Tuesday, Nov. 24th revealed that Catholic priests at St. John’s Benedictine Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota engaged in a sustained and coordinated campaign of child rape, which they took pains to keep secret from the public for decades.

According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, a court case brought by one of the priests’ former victims has resulted in a judge’s order for the monastery to release records on all priests and monks credibly accused of child abuse.

The documents released regarding five abusive priests on Tuesday mark the first time the monastery has opened its records to the public after being embroiled in abuse lawsuits for more than 20 years. The files include psychiatric assessments of the five men, records of abuse allegations and the abbey’s responses dating back from the 1960s to the last few years, including records of one priest who molested more than 200 victims, all boys, from the sons of parishioners to child prostitutes as young as 13 in Thailand.

Rev. Finian McDonald (pdf) confessed in a 2012 psychiatric session that he molested more than 200 boys, 18 of whom were children under his care in the dormitories of St. John’s Preparatory School, the private boys’ school run by the monks. McDonald admitted that he drank heavily and freely preyed on students during his years as a dormitory prefect.

The abbey released a written statement in an effort to minimize the damning reports.

“There are documents in each file which may be quoted and framed in a lurid context,” wrote Brother Aelred Senna. “But the huge majority of the documents in each of these files acknowledges the very real failures of some monks while showing each of the accused monks as a fallible, relatable person.”

Senna alleges that the abbey made no attempt to cover up abuse allegations when they were brought to church leaders’ attention.

Troy BramlageHowever, Victim Troy Bramlage’s attorney Jeff Anderson said in a press conference on Tuesday that the documents show a clear pattern of systematic abuse with no serious efforts made to protect the children in the monks’ care.

“So many offenders were allowed access to so many kids for so many years,” Anderson said. “This reflects to us … that there are dozens and hundreds of survivors that are yet to be known.”

Four other predator priests were profiled in the documents: Rev. Tom Gillespie, former priest Fran Hoefgen, the Rev. Bruce Wollmering and the Rev. Richard Eckroth. Fran HoefgenWollmering and Eckroth, said the Star-Tribune, are deceased.

Hoefgen was acquitted of sexually harassing a teen boy earlier this year, but the newly released records show that he exhibited a pattern of predatory behavior toward boys, beginning in the 1980s and continuing through the next two decades.

Rather than alert authorities and dismiss Hoefgen, however, the abbey presented him with $30,000 to help him “transition out of the priesthood.”

The documents show that the abbey moved priests from parish to parish when abuse allegations were levied against them, covering up the problem and keeping secrets within their own ranks [re Abbot John Klassen]. There are 14 more priests associated with the abbey whose records have yet to be produced.

Troy Bramlage, the St. Cloud abuse survivor whose lawsuit spurred the release of the documents told reporters that he hopes more victims will come forward as the priests’ records go public.

“People need to know they don’t have to suffer alone,” he said. – Raw Story, 25 November 2015

» David Ferguson is a senior editor at The Raw Story in Washington, DC.

Bishop

Native Americans aggrieved after Pope Francis makes Junipero Serra a saint – Tara Houska

Junipero Serra

Tara Houska“Today, mass graves filled with Native peoples dot the California missionary system. Tens of thousands died while the missions were in operation. Within 100 years of Serra’s arrival, the indigenous population had been decimated to 16,000. And the man at the helm was made a saint.” – Tara Houska 

Pope FrancisThe history of the Catholic Church with indigenous peoples is a long and brutal one. Forced eradication of culture, religion, and language resulted in the destruction of first nations throughout the world. The introduction of disease wiped out entire populations; spreading the word of God was often tied to violent methods of conversion.

Pope Francis made history this year when he sought forgiveness for the atrocities enacted by the Church on indigenous peoples. He has raised eyebrows as an advocate for the sick and weary, the less fortunate, and addressing climate change head-on. He has been the progressive sorely needed, a figurehead seeking forgiveness for past transgressions and carrying the Church into the modern era.

So it was with great sadness that many throughout Indian country watched last Wednesday’s canonization of Junípero Serra in Washington, D.C. Billed as a historic moment in which the pope elevated the first Hispanic priest to sainthood on U.S. soil; Serra’s controversial background was largely overlooked. A slew of last minute coverage was too little, too late.

A Spanish missionary that was considered fanatical even for his time, Serra set out in California to convert the 300,000 Native Americans that had lived there since immemorial time. He viewed Native Americans as children, infants that would only know a better life through the adoption of agriculture, Westernized societal castes, and of course, Catholicism.

Though conversion was optional, the pressure to do so was great. The landscape was transformed into farmland, while families were torn asunder by Church intervention. The answer was simple: convert or leave. And once converted, Church was no longer optional.

Attempts to escape were dealt with severely—shackles, confinement, and flogging were ubiquitous, to the point that other Franciscans working in the missions were horrified by the cruelty they witnessed and asked to be sent back to Spain.

Today, mass graves filled with Native peoples dot the California missionary system. Tens of thousands died while the missions were in operation. Within 100 years of Serra’s arrival, the indigenous population had been decimated to 16,000. And the man at the helm was made a saint.

Outrage made its rounds in the final week before Pope Francis arrived—I spoke with numerous reporters that had no knowledge of the issue, who were entirely unaware of the large-scale protests, petitions, and numerous letters from tribal nations condemning Serra.

Several hundred Native Americans in California held a day of mourning when Pope Francis elected to continue with the canonization. Within days of Serra’s elevation, his final resting place at the Carmel Mission was vandalized and his statue toppled. Splattered paint read “Saint of Genocide.”

Local tribal leaders have condemned the vandalism, but maintain their opposition to the selection made by the Church.

But really, was Serra’s sainthood so shocking?

This is America, remember. Andrew Jackson, that great killer of Indians who orchestrated the Indian Removal Act that would kill thousands on the Trail of Tears, resides on the twenty-dollar bill.

Women on 20s held a nationwide contest to present a petition to President Obama encouraging him to replace Jackson. Wilma Mankiller, the first female chief of Cherokee Nation, was one of four finalists. But once the contest concluded, the Department of Treasury inexplicably announced Jackson would stay and Alexander Hamilton would be the one to go. Hamilton was the first treasury secretary, while Jackson vehemently opposed centralized banking.

When Native American leaders, staffers, attorneys, and lobbyists walk out of Union Station to visit and work in the halls of Congress, they are greeted by a giant fountain commemorating Christopher Columbus, one of the few individuals America honors with a federal holiday. Columbus committed such heinous acts against the indigenous peoples he encountered in the so-called “new” world he was sent back to Spain to answer for his crimes.

Even now, national disregard for Native American religion and culture continues. Take, for instance, the San Carlos Apache people. Last December, Congress passed a rider giving sacred land for performing Apache coming-of-age ceremonies to a foreign mining operation. Their irreplaceable, immovable holy site will be destroyed for copper.

Lest we forget, all of this is set with the backdrop of the Washington football team, a racial slur that has been condemned and fought against for decades by Native Americans throughout the United States. Native Americans are people, not mascots or costumes, yet they are denied that respect.

It is long overdue for America and other world leaders to recognize that indigenous peoples have endured generations of theft, violence, and dehumanization that continue today. Representations matter. Who we choose to elevate as the best of society matters. Apologizing is progress, but actions mean far more than kind words. – HuffPost, 2 Octover 2015

» Tara Houska is Ojibwe from Couchiching First Nation. She is a tribal rights attorney in Washington, D.C. and a founding member of NotYourMascots.org,

Junipero Serra monument in Havana

See also

Sex abuse victims blast pope’s praise of US bishops – Barbara Blaine

Catholic bishop as victim!

Barbara Blaine“Only four US bishops (out of hundreds) have resigned because they hid and enabled horrific crimes, but only after … massive public, police, prosecutor and parishioner outrage. … And no one in the entire US Catholic hierarchy, despite 30 years of horrific scandal and at least 100,000 US victims, has been defrocked, demoted, disciplined or even publicly denounced by a Church colleague or supervisor, for covering up child sex crimes, no matter how clearly or often or egregiously he did so.” – Barbara Blaine

Pope FrancisIn a speech today to U.S. bishops, according to ABC News, Francis “does not specifically reference the paedophilia that has rocked the Roman Catholic Church.”

He does, however, speak of some alleged “great sacrifice” made by bishops because of the abuse and cover up crisis.

What sacrifice? What bishops takes fewer vacations, drives a smaller car, does his own laundry or has been passed over for promotion because he’s shielding predators and endangering kids? None.

Only four US bishops (out of hundreds) have resigned because they hid and enabled horrific crimes, but only after staying in power for years and only after massive public, police, prosecutor and parishioner outrage. (Law, Finn, Piche and Neinstedt)

Virtually none of the other US clerics, (out of thousands) have ever been punished in the slightest for protecting predators, destroying evidence, stonewalling police, deceiving prosecutors, shunning victims or helping child molesting clerics get new jobs or flee overseas.

And no one in the entire US Catholic hierarchy, despite 30 years of horrific scandal and at least 100,000 US victims, has been defrocked, demoted, disciplined or even publicly denounced by a Church colleague or supervisor, for covering up child sex crimes, no matter how clearly or often or egregiously he did so.

In carefully-crafted remarks, Francis claims Church officials are working “to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated.” He knows, however, this is disingenuous. Such crimes are happening right now, all across the world. He refuses to admit this, however, preferring to conveniently imply that somehow, because of tiny, belated and grudging steps forced on bishops in a few Western nations,

Finally, Francis says he has “no wish” to tell US bishops “what to do, because we all know what it is that the Lord asks of us.” He’s half right—bishops do indeed know precisely how to protect kids. But they refuse, like Francis himself does, to take the simple, proven steps to do this.

Still, we’re deeply disappointed that Francis refuses to tell bishops to do a single thing more than they’ve been forced to do by courageous victims, angry Catholics, determined law enforcement, and the Church’s own insurers, defense lawyers and public relations experts.

Here are just some of the tangible steps Francis could have told US bishops to take to protect the vulnerable, heal the wounded, expose the truth and end the cover ups:

His remarks today confirm what we’ve long said and suspected: this pope, like his predecessors, is doing and will do little if anything to bring real reform to this continuing crisis. Those who care about kids must focus on secular authorities, not Church figures (however popular they may be). – SNAP, 23 September 2015

» Barbara Blaine is the founder and president of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a national advocacy group for survivors of clerical sexual abuse.

Other Agendas

See also

 

Junipero Serra: Native Americans decry sainthood for Spanish missionary priest – Julian Brave NoiseCat

Junípero Serra

Julian Brave NoiseCat“Historians estimate that 60,000 indigenous Californians had died in the missions by the time the Mexican government sold them to private landowners in the 1830s. Over the Spanish mission era, the system contributed to the direct and indirect deaths of half of the California Indian population, which is estimated at 300,000 to 1 million people before contact with the Catholic missionaries. … They were decimated by disease, war and the conditions in the missions, where Native people were worked and starved to death. By 1910, after a century and a half of missions, gold rushes and reservations, there were only 15,850 California Indians left. ” –  Julian Brave NoiseCat

Junipero SerraOn Wednesday, Junípero Serra, the architect of the California mission system that converted 81,000 Native Americans to Christianity in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, will be canonized as a saint in Washington during Pope Francis’ first visit to the United States.

Serra, the “apostle of California,” is a familiar figure to residents of that state. Every year, thousands of fourth-graders in California’s public schools learn about Serra, who founded the first nine of what were ultimately 21 missions stretching from San Diego to San Francisco on behalf of Spain and the Catholic Church. The history unit culminates with the “mission project,” in which students play Serra by building a scale model of one of his missions.

I went to public school in Oakland, California, so I had to do the mission project in fourth grade, too. I was assigned the Mission Santa Clara de Asis, the eighth one in California, founded in 1777 to proselytize the local Ohlone Indians and blessed by Serra in 1779. But when I built my mission, I departed from the rubric slightly and constructed tall wooden crosses in the graveyard to overshadow my model church. I was only 10, but this was a political statement.

Protest against Serra's canonizationHistorians estimate that 60,000 indigenous Californians had died in the missions by the time the Mexican government sold them to private landowners in the 1830s. Over the Spanish mission era, the system contributed to the direct and indirect deaths of half of the California Indian population, which is estimated at 300,000 to 1 million people before contact with the Catholic missionaries. The California Indians subjugated in these missions spoke 64 to 80 distinct languages and were part of the most diverse and densely populated region of indigenous peoples in North America before colonization. They were decimated by disease, war and the conditions in the missions, where Native people were worked and starved to death. By 1910, after a century and a half of missions, gold rushes and reservations, there were only 15,850 California Indians left. 

Serra and the California missions represent the brutal history and bloody legacy of colonization to many Native people, including fourth-grade me.

“I believe that Junípero Serra actually created and brought genocide to the California Indian people,” Corrina Gould, co-founder of Indian People Organizing for Change and an Ohlone tribal member, told The Huffington Post. “In less than 100 years, our way of life, our language, our foods — everything — was destroyed.”

So I built oversized crosses for Gould’s Ohlone ancestors, who met slavery and the destruction of their bodies and their way of life in Bay Area missions such as Santa Clara de Asis.

Native American demonstrators protest the proposed sainthood of Junípero Serra outside Mission Dolores in San Francisco, California.In July, Pope Francis apologized for the Catholic Church’s role in the global history of colonization during his visit to Ecuador. The apology was notable, even for a papacy characterized by support for progressive politics and social justice.

In the wake of that apology, the pope’s decision to canonize Serra — and to fast-track that process by bypassing the usual requirement of two miracles attributed to the sainthood candidate — has left Gould and many other Native people disappointed. “I believe that the Catholic Church is making a horrendous mistake,” Gould said.

Indeed, the real miracle, she said, is that the descendants of “any of the California Indians that were pushed into those California missions, those slave encampments, are alive today.”

Against California Indians’ condemnation of Serra’s record and legacy, Vatican officials have argued that Serra was actually a champion of Native rights during his lifetime, defending indigenous peoples against worse treatment by the military and government of colonial Spain.

In the midst of a wave of anti-Mexican xenophobia on the American political right, the church is also hopeful that Serra’s canonization will promote greater acceptance of Hispanic Americans and recognition of Catholic contributions to U.S. history.

Francis in the US Sept 2015“[I]t will allow many millions of Hispanics who live in the United States to free themselves of a mentality that says they are barely tolerated and frequently discriminated-against foreigners on the margins of society,” Guzman Carriquiry, Vatican official from Uruguay, told the Catholic News Service at a press conference in April. Carriquiry said that Hispanic Americans should see themselves “in continuation with a line of Hispanics who for centuries have inhabited large areas of what is now the southwestern, central and eastern United States. They can rightly affirm, ‘We are Americans,’ without having to abandon their best cultural and religious traditions.”

But the Vatican’s effort to recognize Hispanic Americans seems to come at the expense of the truth about Native peoples, and Gould and many other California Indians aren’t buying it. They will be protesting Serra’s canonization with demonstrations at missions across the state on Wednesday.

Although they cannot stop him from being canonized, Gould said that the work of educating people about his barbarous legacy must continue. Modern injustice against Native Americans rests on ignorance of how the U.S. was built.

“The truth of this history needs to be told, especially in California,” Gould said. “They are still building those little missions in schools today, and in doing so they continue to perpetuate genocide against California Indians.” – HuffPost, 22 September 2015

» Julian Brave NoiseCat is an enrolled member of the Canim Lake Band Tsq’escen in British Columbia, where he was nominated to run for Chief in 2014. Julian is a graduate of Columbia University, and received a Clarendon Scholarship to study global and imperial history at the University of Oxford. He can be reached at julian.noisecat@huffingtonpost.com.

Junípero Serra protest on Twitter

Anti Serra Poster

Protest statement against Junipero Serro's canonization

See also

Church relocating priests accused of abusing children to South America – Will Carless

Will Carless“The [Catholic] priests [accused of sexually abusing children] told us they have been allowed to continue preaching unfettered, without facing internal investigations, despite Pope Francis’ pledges to clean up the Church. … Victim advocates say that relocating priests to poorer parishes overseas is the Church’s latest strategy for protecting its reputation.” – Will Carless

Jan Van DaelThe Catholic Church has allowed priests accused of sexually abusing children in the United States and Europe to relocate to poor parishes in South America, a yearlong GlobalPost investigation has found.

Reporters confronted five accused priests in as many countries: Paraguay, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil and Peru. One priest who relocated to a poor parish in Peru admitted on camera to molesting a 13-year-old boy while working in the Jackson, Mississippi diocese. Another is currently under investigation in Brazil after allegations arose that he abused disadvantaged children living in an orphanage he founded there.

All five were able to continue working as priests, despite criminal investigations or cash payouts to alleged victims. All enjoyed the privilege, respect and unfettered access to young people that comes with being clergy members.

In the US, Catholic leaders have come under intense pressure for concealing priests’ sex crimes, and for transferring perpetrators among parishes rather than turning them over to law enforcement. The scandal has cost the Church billions of dollars and led to a sharp decline in new clergy.

In response, in 2002 US bishops approved a “zero-tolerance” policy, under which priests who molest children are no longer allowed a second chance to serve in the clergy.

Victim advocates say that relocating priests to poorer parishes overseas is the Church’s latest strategy for protecting its reputation.

“As developed countries find it tougher to keep predator priests on the job, bishops are increasingly moving them to the developing world where there’s less vigorous law enforcement, less independent media and a greater power differential between priests and parishioners,” said David Clohessy, spokesman for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. “This is massive, and my suspicion is that it’s becoming more and more pronounced.”

The priests GlobalPost confronted on camera, far from the US and European churches where the sexual abuse allegations occurred, include:

  • Father Carlos Urrutigoity, accused of sharing beds with and fondling teenage boys in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The bishop of Scranton called him a “serious threat to young people,” but in Paraguay, reporters found him leading Mass in a major church. He had been promoted to second-in-command of the diocese of Ciudad del Este.
  • Father Francisco “Fredy” Montero, accused of abusing a 4-year-old girl in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He relocated to his native Ecuador, where he was placed in a succession of remote parishes—despite a dossier sent by the Archdiocese of Minneapolis to his new diocese, warning of Montero’s past.
  • Father Paul Madden, who admitted molesting a 13-year-old boy on a mission trip when he was stationed in Jackson, Mississippi. The diocese paid the victim’s family $50,000 and Madden moved to the diocese of Chimbote, Peru, where he still celebrates Mass each week.
  • Father Jan Van Dael, accused of molesting several young men in his native Belgium before moving to northeastern Brazil, where he started an orphanage for street kids. Van Dael is under investigation by Belgian and Brazilian authorities after accusations of abuse arose in Brazil, too.

Another priest we tracked down, Father Federico Fernandez Baeza, was indicted by a grand jury in 1987 on two second-degree felony charges of indecency with a child.

A family in San Antonio, Texas accused Fernandez in a civil lawsuit of ritually raping two brothers over a two-year period. Prosecutors dropped the criminal case after the diocese of San Antonio reportedly paid the family more than $1 million. Fernandez flew to Colombia, where he continued a high-profile career in the Church. We traced him to the city of Cartagena, where he’s a senior administrator and priest at a Catholic university.

After consulting with Fernandez’s office, university guards prohibited us from entering the campus, and Fernandez has not responded to requests for comment.

Christian priests and their prey!The priests told us they have been allowed to continue preaching unfettered, without facing internal investigations, despite Pope Francis’ pledges to clean up the Church.

Last year, the pope sent a letter to every bishop in the world, ordering them to follow a global “zero tolerance policy” on child abuse. This year he created a commission tasked specifically with protecting children from church sex abuse.

Following repeated phone calls and emails, both the Vatican’s press office and the head of the commission, Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, declined to provide comment for this story.

The cases GlobalPost found are exactly what the Church and Cardinal O’Malley’s commission need to be focusing on, said Peter Saunders, an advocate for abuse survivors and a lay member of the Church’s commission.

“Zero tolerance is meaningless unless it applies to the whole institution,” he said. “Arguably, some of the biggest problems are in the less well-off parts of the world, South America, Africa, the Far East. This is where we know many priests flee to in order to carry on their abuse, which is an absolute outrage.” – GlobalPost, 17 September 2015

Priest Relocation Map

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,307 other followers

%d bloggers like this: