CLERICAL CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE AND THE ROLE OF RELIGIOUS ORDERS OF MEN AND WOMEN IN THE MISSION COUNTRIES – By Brian Mark Hennessy

CLERICAL CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE AND THE ROLE OF

RELIGIOUS ORDERS OF MEN AND WOMEN IN THE MISSION COUNTRIES

By Carol Glatz writing for the Catholic News Service

In a continuing effort to protect children, the Catholic Church’s focus is now turning to religious orders of men and women. Much of the attention has, in the past, been on how dioceses and national bishops’ conferences have been responding to victims and protecting children. But, religious orders and congregations are sometimes left out of that picture, even though they, too, have a duty to make sure every person in their care is safe. Also, the majority of the more than 300,000 Catholic schools and orphanages around the world are run by religious brothers and sisters whose charisms are to promote human dignity and Gospel values.

Pope Francis last year authorized the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to investigate and judge claims of “abuse of office” by bishops who allegedly failed to protect minors and vulnerable adults from sex abuse. But that form of censure “wasn’t extended to the superior generals (of the Missionary Congregations), and it should be,” said Father John Fogarty, superior general of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit. Canon Law and the complementary Vatican norms regarding this field “refer only to clergy” — bishops, priests and deacons — said Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, president of the Center for Child Protection at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University.

While the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation asked the bishops’ conferences to develop guidelines and procedures on how they are adhered to by local bishops, he said religious brothers, religious seminarians before ordination or religious sisters are in a league of their own, and the canonical practice is different. Each religious order or congregation establishes its own policies, he said. And while some may have a set of guidelines for their whole congregation, in others, each province or region is in charge of setting up safeguarding guidelines, Father Zollner told Catholic News Service.

Father Fogarty said his “first priority” after being elected superior of the Spiritans in 2012 was to establish comprehensive guidelines and then ask each of the order’s provinces and regions to draw up procedures that would protect children and respect local laws and customs. “Not everyone is at the same point on the learning curve,” he said. But his experience working for the province in Ireland and as provincial superior in the United States “was very helpful for me for formulating policy,” said the Dublin-born missionary. He was surrounded by “lots of accumulated wisdom, lots of workshops, all the latest insights and reports,” he said. Since each local superior of his order is responsible for his territory, Father Fogarty said he uses his role “to work with the superiors” and get them all “on the same wavelength.” Not everyone in every part of the world is “at the same point” in recognizing the need to protect and care for children and survivors; “our job is to get them there, put pressure on them to produce adequate policies, procedures, hold workshops” and use every “means at our disposal” to spread awareness and resources. When new superiors meet in Rome each year, one session is dedicated to safeguarding norms, Father Fogarty said. When leaders don’t draw up procedures or get informed, he said, “we can urge them” to, “but we can’t do it in their place. We can’t replace (the local superior).”

The need to have adequate protection policies and procedures in place for religious orders is urgent since they are present in so many countries around the globe, said Mark Vincent Healy, an advocate in Ireland for services and care for survivors of child sexual abuse. For example, of the 48 Spiritan priests noted in Ireland’s National Board for Safeguarding Children’s audit in 2012 as accused of abuse in Ireland, half of them had also served in other countries, including the United States, Canada, Sierra Leone and Kenya, Healy has said. In Healy’s situation, the Spiritan priest who abused him at the school the order ran in Ireland was transferred to a Spiritan-run school in Sierra Leone, where he allegedly abused again before being convicted in Ireland and laicized. Healy’s case was handled in Ireland — the country where the abuse occurred — but, he said, victims of Irish missionaries in other countries, particularly Africa, lack clear or any channels at all for reporting and redress.

The church already responds to the psychological, emotional and spiritual fallout of victims of war in many of those countries, Healy said, so why not extend that same care and concern to victims of abuse by its own members. Healy said he was looking at ways the order and the church as a whole could provide services across jurisdictions, especially “in countries where there are no structures” to help survivors and communities. One proposal, which he also discussed with Father Fogarty, was the creation of a global network modeled after Doctors Without Borders. Instead of addressing physical harm, the network could specialize in delivering mental health care services to people suffering from trauma caused by war, civil conflicts and abuse in underdeveloped nations. By offering comprehensive mental health services, perhaps “you can alleviate the suffering and bring some function back to a dysfunctional society. Otherwise, violence will just repeat itself,” Healy said.

Father Zollner said that in some places in Asia and parts of Africa, the Catholic Church “is the organization that is doing more to safeguard minors than other groups.” In some areas, he said, “if you didn’t have the church, you would have nothing there” to look after and care for the most vulnerable. One example, he said, is Bishop Emanuel Barbara of Malindi, Kenya. The bishop, who’s a Capuchin priest from Malta, “set up the first help desk in the whole country” for victims of the sex-tourism industry there. “All the others, including those who legitimately have the power, just look away from the problem, there is much money involved,” Father Zollner said. With one in five children in Europe expected to be victims of some form of abuse, according to the Council of Europe, and global estimates reporting 40 million children are subjected to abuse each year, many child protection advocates want to see more action and cooperation among all sectors of society. “If the Catholic Church can address it, then the larger human family can, too,” Healy said. The church can’t keep being seen as sole perpetrator and healer “because that’s not working.”

 

Notes by Brian Mark Hennessy:

> The above article raises many issues known already to the Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse at the hands of Clerics of the Comboni Missionary Order at the Mirfield Seminary in Yorkshire, England. Specifically, information contained in that Order’s own historical archive refers to a conversation between a Provincial of the Order and the Superior General who said, “Dear Father. many of our Order think that if they had behaved less well they would have been granted their desire to go to the missions and so they feel betrayed (when prevented from going). Should we be responsible for creating the idea that only the maladjusted are sent to the Missions?”. Moreover, of those clerics whose abuse was reported at the time by seminarians on 29 known occasions, two of those clerics were sent to the missions – one to South Africa and one to Uganda and the third was incardinated into a diocesan parish in Italy. Another priest against whom allegations have been made has been located in Mozambique for many decades. No sign of consideration to other children with whom these clerics came into contact appears to have been considered at all. The re-allocations of those clerics appeared to be related more to removing those clerics from the United Kingdom legal jurisdiction as fast as practically possible.

> Father Zollner may be familiar to some readers. Mark Murry met Father Zollner on the occasion of Mark’s invitation to the Vatican to speak on the effects of abuse that he suffered at the hands of a priest of the Comboni Missionary Order when Mark was a thirteen-year-old seminarian at the Mirfield Seminary. Father Zollner later contributed to an article that appeared in this forum. The priest who has admitted that he abused Mark Murray remains within the Comboni Missionary Order at the Verona Mother House under the protection of the Order. It is believed that no reports have ever been made to the Vatican regarding this priests admissions of abuse under either Canon Law or the Motu Proprio, ‘Sacramentorum Sanctitatus’ which are mandatory reports to be made by Bishops concerning diocesan priests.  All attempts to extradite the cleric to the United Kingdom have, so far, failed. It is also of note that just before Mark Murray attended the Vatican Meeting, the Comboni Missionary Order appeared to attempt to scare off Mark Murray from entering Italy and addressing the Vatican meeting. They did this by the issue of a summons through the Verona Criminal Tribunal on what turned out to be totally unfounded charges. Mark, however, was not deterred and made his presentation to the world assembly of Representatives.

> It is of further interest that it is common that clerics whose abuse of children is fully documented, are not reported to civil authorities as a matter of routine practice by either Bishops or General Superiors. This situation pertains despite calls from such notable Vatican figures as Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, Member of the Pope’s personal Advisory Council, Member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Chair of the Pontifical Commission on the Protection of Minors – to the effect that all child sexual abuse should be reported to the Civil Police by Bishops and Religious Superiors in every instance as a basic “moral duty”.

> Recently Reports have appeared in the Vatican press to the effect that Pope Francis’ recent call, just a few weeks ago, for “no tolerance” to be shown to clerics who abuse children was little more than “whispers in the wind”. In the last week, the very same Pope has called for “mercy” to be shown to those same priests – who have demonstrated no such mercy whatsoever to innocents – many of whom were brutally and repeatedly abused and who subsequently have continued in adulthood to suffer the lifelong effects of that abuse. According to one commentator in the last week, Pope Francis’ “no tolerance” has so far applied to only 25% of priests determined to be guilty of child sexual abuse, but the remaining 75% have been granted “mercy” with no loss of clerical dignity nor privileges. If these figures are verifiable, then someone needs to point out to Pope Francis that his “no tolerance” call was outrageously misleading – and neither the 1.2 billion lay Catholics in this world who are “sick to the teeth” of the Vatican’s failure to manage the problem of the clerical sexual abuse of minors appropriately – let alone everybody else in the world watching with wry smiles on their faces and in total disbelief– will ever believe anything this Pope, or his princely Vatican entourage, ever say in the future.

> Finally – in the question of the Rules of Missionary Congregations, it has to be said that in matters of Child abuse, the Rules of the Comboni Missionary Order, despite my many misgivings, are “reasonably” sound “as written”. They were revised in 2005, by none other than a childhood friend of mine, David Glenday, to reflect the changing winds. Those Rules even allow for individual provinces of the Order to reflect local civil laws and the rules of the Conference of Diocesan Bishops that pertain to their geographical location. Great! However, the problem is, upon my very close inspection of those Rules, that, in practice, the Comboni Missionary Order in the United Kingdom and the Irish Republic, have ignored their own Rules totally. Yes – totally in every detail. In addition, they refused attempts by the Former Chair of the United Kingdom’s Catholic Safeguarding Organisation to encourage them back into line. It has to be said also, as a final comment on the lack of commitment by the Comboni Missionary Order to the issues of clerical child sexual abuse and the care of Victims, that even after the acceptance of the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster’s Diocesan Rules and Guidelines by the Religious Conference of England and Wales – to which august organization the Provincial Superior of the Comboni Missionary Order is the Secretary (at the last time I looked) – the Order’s “tolerance” of those Diocesan Rules is 0%. Someone needs to tell them that they have misunderstood Pope Francis’ call for “no tolerance”. In respect to the Rules, the “tolerance” level is expected to be 100%. Pope Francis’ call for “no tolerance” relates to the manner in which the Order is expected to deal with those paedophile priests, still in their midst, whom they have protected for decades. 

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THE COMFORT AND DISCOMFORT OF BEING ON THE SAME PAGE – by Brian Mark Hennessy

THE COMFORT AND DISCOMFORT OF BEING ON THE SAME PAGE – by Brian Mark Hennessy

“While Churches fail to deliver the messages of the Gospels by their example, rather than by their hollow words, the People of God will walk away from them. They will both seek and find their Redemption elsewhere, in direct good works and help for the poor, destitute, old, sick and those in need of comfort in the countless corners of this world which suffer from war, strife and natural disasters. In this day and age, Christians of all creeds are less and less prepared to have their contributions to the needy of the world “creamed off” to allow clerics to live a life of relative luxury, fight legal cases against the victims of clerical sexual abuse – and indulge in corruption – which is the only word that can aptly define both child abuse and the protection of paedophiles by the Heads of Religious Orders and Bishops of Dioceses. So the children of God are already walking away from Church doors and they will continue to walk. They know that men who live in palaces are not pricked by the suffering at their doors and that they live a life that is in denial of the humble life of the Gospels that they preach. The People of God will only start to listen again when Bishops vacate their palaces, when the profane and excessive material wealth of the Church is sold and all the proceeds are given to the poor and needy. They will listen only when clerics of all ranks get out into their communities which they serve – and live within those communities in modest housing, in the shanty towns and in the slums of this world – and endure the same hardships, toil and longsuffering of the world’s under-privileged and impoverished peoples. That is what it will take for the people of God to start to listen again – and re-trace their steps.”

I wrote those words a year ago. However, I did not expect any clerics to take heed of what I wrote. In the last few weeks, I found it comforting that someone else said something similar in criticism of priests and bishops. His words, as reported by the National Catholic Recorder, were, “The world is tired of enchanting liars, fashionable priests and bishops. The People of God have a ‘scent’ and they retreat when they recognize narcissists, manipulators, defenders of personal causes and standard bearers of worthless crusades. It’s a horrible thing for the Church when its pastors act like princes. Yet, we need Pastors, but may they be fathers and brothers, may they be gentle, patient and merciful; may they love poverty, interior poverty, as freedom for the Lord, and exterior poverty, as well as simplicity and a modest lifestyle; may they not have the mindset of princes”.

That “someone else” was Pope Francis – and he is persistent with these themes. Last week it was reported in the UK Catholic Herald that at his weekly audience he said that, “Clergy who use their position for personal gain rather than to help those in need do not follow the spirit of Jesus who took upon himself the sufferings of others. Jesus often would rebuke such leaders and warned his followers to ‘do what they say – but not what they do’. Jesus was not a prince. It is awful for the Church when pastors become princes, far from the people, far from the poorest people. That is not the spirit of Jesus who had tenderness toward the poor, the suffering and the oppressed and whose invitation was, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” Jesus is not a master who severely imposes burdens upon others that he does not carry himself. Jesus was a pastor who was among the people and among the poor with whom he worked every day.”

I write these words in the Philippines where, in the midst of a wealthy and upward economy, poverty is still the lot of the masses – and where a multitude of underfed, barefooted children of the poor are on the streets by day and also by night for they have no bed nor shelter. There they beg and hustle and offer their limp bodies for adult abuse for a few pesos in order to survive until the next day. “Do you like me?” they ask imploringly and pitifully as you pass them in the street. The same uneducated, abandoned children watch hopelessly and helplessly as their parents die young from the result of crime or from sickness – simply because they have no funds for the basic medicine to stave off the effects of common illnesses. There, on the street, they sleep on the pavements and sniff glue to obliterate the pangs of hunger and the distress and hopelessness of neglect. The underpasses are where rejected amputees with home-made crutches find shelter, where infants of pre-school-age lead the aged blind to beg. There, countless young boys, not even in their teens, are routinely rounded up and cast into prison without charge for months for the most menial of offences such as begging or stealing a crust to stave off their hunger. Incarcerated communally with adult men, they become the prey of those intent on brutal, sexual abuse that will cast long, dark, sinister shadows over the remainder of their lives.

Yet, cheek by jowl with some of the poorest neighborhoods in Metro Manila, the smiling Cardinal Luis Tagle of the Church in the Philippines heads the richest and most cash-laden Archdiocese in the world. So much so that he was not able to remember, or even provide a close estimate, of quite how much money he did have in the coffers of his Archdiocese when asked by Stephen Sackur of the BBC in a “HardTalk” programme. He suggested, lamely, that Sackur looked on the Internet. I tried to find out myself with a bit of research. The information was not up to date – and nor was it presented by the Catholic Church – but it was garnered from the Philippine Stock Exchange by a group of disenchanted, Catholic financial experts. What was discovered was the mere tip of the ice berg. The data demonstrated that (in 2011) the Archdiocese had – as just one of its many investments, 300 million shares in banking – and together with other dioceses, the Church was within the top 100 investors in some 40 major companies engaged in such pursuits as banking, mining and construction. We do not know, however, how much more is invested in private entities, in companies outside the Philippines, in bonds, in time deposit accounts, or in real estate properties, but it is not just millions – it is billions. If you look carefully, you will also discover that at least one individual princely Bishop had both “Church:” and “private” funds of money stashed away in stock market investments.

Whilst the Cardinal was sitting on all this capital investment prior to the visit of Pope Francis in January 2015, one wonders why the Archdiocese of Manila needed to set up a fund seeking contributions from their parishioners for the repairs (that were said to have cost 200 million Pesos) for the Cardinal’s Cathedral in Intramuros (historic Manila). Yet, that is what they did. The Church will defend itself from the criticism of being “cash rich”, of course, and it will do this, most probably, by saying that in order to dispense welfare to the poor and needy of the world, it needs to produce the funds by investments to achieve it. That is a theoretical financial “truth” that I could not deny. Yet they do not divulge any details of income and expenditure – and so whether or not they do expend any money on the countless poor for housing, food, healthcare and education is not known. I could find no institutions listed, apart from two orphanages in Manila, that might fall into the category of charitable donations. On the other hand, the number of fee-paying Catholic schools in the Philippines is well over 100 – and fee-paying Catholic hospitals and clinics are also plentiful – but, they are for the wealthy – even the middle classes would struggle to afford the fees of the most of them.

The very bottom line is, of course, that being sensible with money and investing it for good causes does not require the prelates of the Philippines themselves to live like princes, it does not require them to live in grand houses like millionaires and deal privately in the financial markets, nor does it necessitate them owning vast diocesan estates – and, most certainly, it does not sanction them to grow portly whilst a multitude around them, who like street dogs, are literally scavenging through the garbage to find a bone to chew upon. I have seen them doing just that outside the popular fried chicken outlets.

So, until the cash-rich Church in the Philippines provides the laity with accurate, up-to-date financial information on how their money is being used, their Bishops can be harshly criticized with justification. After all – it is not the Bishops’ money to spend on themselves and their entourages. It is the “Church’s” money held by them in trust. The vast majority of that “Church” are the laity. Harsh criticism is especially justified when there is no evidence that any of their fabulous wealth is being utilised to alleviate the dire state of poverty outside their very church doors. In my book, that is called neglect on a scale that is equivalent to the gravest abuse of their priestly mission. If that is not the case, then I misjudge them, so let them publish the independently audited facts of their income and expenditure – both on official Church business and their private household expenses. I guess in advance that it will not be difficult to spot the cavernous, immoral disparity between their lifestyle and that of the destitute street ragamuffins who are in a state of serious physical underdevelopment for their age – due to the absence of even the most minimal of regular nourishment and healthcare.

One should note also, that whilst the Philippine Catholic Church does not condone any excesses and failures of the State, neither do they risk preaching against it in the pulpit. The reason for that is simple to understand (if you are an economist) for any Church edifice that is used to highlight matters of the conduct of the State – could be deemed by the State to be a “political entity” used for a “political statement or purpose”. That could lead to the parish or diocese being taxed on its income. It is true that the Bishop’s Conferences have made critical representations to the State in documentation in both past and present – but very few laymen will be aware of such documents. The silence of clerics in the pulpits in important moral guidance for their flock, therefore, ensures the continued liquidity of Church property – at the expense of the moral education of the populace. It is little wonder, indeed disastrous, that the vast proportion of Filippino Catholics do not make informed and cognizant moral decisions in so many pressing issues that face them in their lives today – and which are currently being reported worldwide. Such a lack of moral leadership for the sole purpose of defending “Mammom” is a part of a widespread and sinister culture of clerical self-interest – for the sake of their own preservation as a vibrant, financial institution. The result of this failure, most regrettably, is the moral decline of a whole nation which does not understand the perils that lie upon the road they willingly travel today.

In my three years in the Philippines, said to be the most Catholic country in the world, I have never seen a priest on the streets outside the doors of where I live or in the thriving city hubs. You will see them Sundays, of course, saying Mass in the local shopping malls – and of course gathering in a collection. Apart from that, they hold court only in their churches where they dictate to the desperate how they must lead their moral lives. Pope Francis certainly understood this situation in advance of his visit in January 2015. He castigated Filipino priests for failing to work for the poor in the streets. More recently he said about clerics that “Jesus is not a Master who severely imposes burdens upon others that he does not carry himself. He was a Pastor who was among the poor and He worked every day with them.” Yet, the Philippines remains a hell for countless thousands of children who are born – and then abused, physically and sexually, and then discarded by callous adults. Some parents even discard their own children because they are only able to feed a limited number of mouths. Thus, when another is born into this world, the oldest child in the family, whatever age or sex – and even before they reach their teens, are cast out to fend for themselves. Such infants are products of a ridiculous Dogma decreed by a Church that has not yet been able to grasp that God gave us a brain as well as genitals – and so this brainless Church infamously continues to claim that the use of condoms is forbidden on pain of Divine retribution.  The result is more homeless, neglected, abused, sick and wretched kids. That is Church abuse in the form of sinister dogmatic power piled upon the inexcusable abuse of neglect.

When Pope Francis came to Manila, these homeless and hungry castaway children were rounded up and bussed away out of site. The Shepherd of the Catholic Church was not allowed even to see them, let alone to walk amongst them – the most vulnerable of his flock. Cardinal Tagle did not object to their absence from the scene. He wanted to show a vibrant, cheerful and healthy Church to his guest. Neglect of street kids by the mainstream of the Philippine Church is a grave injustice that leads to both physical and psychological abuse. Yes, neglect is a form of abuse when you have a stated sacred mission to the poor – and you ignore it – and when you have the wealth to do something truly significant about it – but you do not. The Church is not listening to this Pope. Did he not state that, “There is no place in the Church for those that abuse a child.”  Yes, the Pope was talking about sexual abuse – but any abuse of children is equally reprehensible.

Dwelling for a moment on the sexual abuse of children, it has to be said also that the clerics of the Philippine Church, like so many other Bishops and Religious Orders worldwide, continue to sordidly protect and foster criminal, paedophile clerics amongst them, whilst they malevolently neglect the crimes committed against Victims by those very same errant priests. Here in the Philippines even the parents of abused children are told that the sexual abuse of “their” children is a “Church” matter and it is not for the laity to meddle in Church affairs”! I am not over simplifying! I read that exactly as stated by the Manila Diocesan Canonist in a Catholic news Bulletin in 2014. What they are saying, in fact, is that only the Clerics “are” the “Church”. Poppycock! Pope Francis would describe such a response of the Philippine Church as “Clerical arrogance and narcissistic clericalism”– but then this is Manila – it’s a long way from Rome – and, to be even more ironic, we are only talking about child victims of sexual abuse and destitute street kids – those annoying dregs of humanity who keep thrusting themselves by the thousands in our faces – and so who cares?

I fully believe that by “gut instinct” Pope Francis is on the right page – indeed the same page as all victims in this world and especially the page of victimized children. That is comforting to a degree. Yet, the Pope does not have full control of the Vatican curia – and nor the clerics in dioceses and Religious Orders. He cannot achieve all that is required, realistically, but he must at least try to ensure that the Bishops who govern the Church and the Superiors General of the Orders of the Church – are men of the Gospels – and true men in their hearts, who, with his leadership, can shake the dead wood from out the Church’s many branches. Ruthless pruning now will produce a rejuvenated tree in the new Spring. It is an urgent need – for the Church, as a clerical institution, has currently forfeited the good will of the lay Church that Christ founded. Those laymen and women are as integral to the Church as are the clerics who arrogantly and falsely claim it to be their own personal heritage and realm.  The Pope must put these clerics back in their place as servants of the Church, not it’s Masters.

For the moment, Pope Francis must face the fact that the traditional trust between clerics and laypersons has dissolved almost totally. Being on the same page as the Pope is comforting, but it is tainted by nothing other than the grave “discomfort” of knowing that what Pope Frances says – is not what his clerics deliver. The Pope must act and set out boldly and clearly, in the short time that he has, a root and branch radical reform programme. The Catholic Church must start to deliver for the most vulnerable in the Church – who are children. Whether those children are victims of sexual abuse, physical hardships, parental and clerical neglect, poverty, incarceration in prisons where they do not belong – or beatings on the streets of Manila – they must be cherished and not discarded as flotsam and jetsam amongst the turbulent seas of cruel, avaricious, selfish humanity. Make no mistake – and Pope Francis knows this well – that the latter “selfish humanity” includes, to the disgrace of the Catholic Church, so many Catholic prelates, clerics and religious who, whatever habit they wear and whatever their role in the Church, are demonstrably idle, indolent and undeserving of their daily bread.

A Case of Sexual Double Standards and Clerical Impotence? —- by Brian Mark Hennessy

A Case of Sexual Double Standards and Clerical Impotence?
Abridged and paraphrased by Brian Mark Hennessy from an article in the National Catholic Reporter

Readers will probably recall the incident earlier this year when a priest, named Anatrella, stoked a furore when it was revealed that he had announced to a Vatican Conference for new bishops that they were not obligated to report a suspected sexual abuser to authorities even in countries where the law requires such reporting. The Vatican quickly responded saying that Msgr Anatrella’s remarks did not change Church policy on reporting. That was too vague for Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, head of Pope Francis’ new Commission for the Protection of Minors, who immediately issued a statement to the effect that “civil law agencies are charged with protecting our society and, therefore, all members of the Church have a moral and ethical responsibility to report all suspected abuse to the civil authorities”.

For years, seminaries and monasteries around France sent students and novices, if their superiors decided that they were struggling with homosexuality, to this very same Msgr. Tony Anatrella, a prominent French priest and therapist who has written disparagingly of gays – alleging that they are narcicistic, incapable of sexual chastity and cannot be ordained as priests. Now it transpires that Anatrella himself is facing mounting allegations that he himself had sex with male clients under his therapeutic care. So far, European media have relayed accusations from as many as four different men who say that Anatrella engaged in various sex acts with them during counseling sessions in his Paris office. “You’re not gay, you just think that you are,” Anatrella reportedly told Daniel Lamarca, who was a 23-year-old seminarian when he first went to Anatrella in 1987. Recently, another ex-seminarian, has told French News outlets that he was counseled by Anatrella for 14 years, from 1997 to 2011, and that after the first few years Anatrella began “special sessions” that included episodes of mutual masturbation. Anatrella has so far not responded to the allegations.

The reports about Anatrella have emerged, inconveniently, as the Church in France has been embroiled in a crisis over charges that Bishops have shielded priests even after they received reports that the clerics had molested children. Lamarca said that in 2001 he reported these episodes to the late Cardinal Archbishop Jean-Marie Lustiger. Yet, he said, nothing was done. Lamarca’s allegation was one of three accusations to surface again in 2006, but because they involved adults, despite taking place during professional therapy consultations, the accusations were not pursued by civil authorities. The newly appointed Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois has since sent an email to all his priests expressing his support for Anatrella. Accusations from additional ex-patients have not changed the cardinal’s opinion and he spoke of a “gay lobby” working against Anatrella – who remains as a consultant to the pontifical councils for the family and for health care ministry and as recently as February 2016, Msgr Anatrella was the main organizer of a major conference on priestly celibacy at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Despite all the mounting allegations, Anatrella, has not been the subject of any investigations at all – despite that being a specific mandatory requirement of Canon Law. It really does seem even now in 2016 that from top to bottom a shambolic Catholic Church continues to ride the stormy seas of sexual abuse without a compass, sail, rudder, manual, log-book or captain.

Comboni Missionaries – Questions About their Abuse Code of Conduct

By Brian Hennessy – which refers to the three previous articles which detail the Comboni Missionaries Code of Coduct for Accusations of Clerical Abuse.

Questions About the Comboni Missionaries Inquiry Procedure for Alleged Clerical Sexual Abuse

Had the Code of Conduct inquiry procedure related only to minor internal matters of, and misdemeanours within, the Institution, I would have few concerns about it.

However, the Code of Conduct is not just all about minor internal Institutional issues and so, yes, I do have some concerns:

• Concern is expressed within the Code of Conduct to keep all Inquiries “in house” if at all possible. However, as soon as an internal Inquiry determines that there is some evidence to suggest that a “crime” has been committed by any person within or without the Institution – and the victim has made a complaint or brought it to the attention of an individual of the Institution

– then there should be an “automatic” requirement of the Institution to inform local law agencies – and welfare agencies when they have knowledge that there is an allegation that a minor has been abused.

• In the above regard, I acknowledge that the Code does state that where a Civil Process is in progress, co-operation with that Civil Process should be given and no inquiry within the Institution should cause an interference with the Civil Process. However, the point being made here is that there should always be a primary Civil Process in the case of sexual abuse.

• Members of the Order, despite their good will, should not be used in any capacity to lead the “primary” Inquiry into a “crime” as they are not “generally speaking” legally competent to deal with the investigation of crimes. I can understand that if a nation state exists in which, for example, child abuse is not a crime on the statute book, then the issues should be dealt with in the most appropriate manner possible by the Institution. However, is there such a nation state today?
• There is a mention in the Code of Conduct regarding the appointment of a “carer” for minors. This is appropriate, but there is no mention of the necessity of having suitable persons trained to engage in such situations – and the use of an untrained person as a mediator is a doubtful scenario.
• There is no mention in the Code of Conduct of reporting allegations to a Child Protection Officer. I can understand that in some locations in which the Comboni Missionary Order operates there may not be one at hand. However, I make the assumption that most Dioceses now do have trained CPOs or are in the process of establishing them. One of the “best practice” roles of a CPO is to alert law and welfare authorities. The secondary “best practice” role of a CPO is to provide a confidential facility to check the credentials (in respect to child abuse) of individuals with whom a child may come into some form of formal contact (teacher, priest etc).

• The Code of Conduct limits the lodging of a complaint by an individual and acceptance of a complaint by the Institution to a period that ceases beyond the age of 28 of the alleged victim. This means that alleged victims older than that age have no recourse to justice.

It may be expedient, but given that the Code of Conduct acknowledges that the serious effects of sexual abuse can be life long, serious and profound – and that there is a well established understanding that the abuse can cause a mental suppression of the facts for long periods of time – then it is inequitable and discriminatory that historic cases may not be brought beyond the period of this limitation.

This limit would be unacceptable in civil jurisdictions of most advanced Nation States today – and it should not be acceptable to an Institution committed to the principles of Faith, Hope and Charity – Justice, Peace and Integrity!

• The Code of Conduct states that records, apart from a summary, of Inquiry Procedures should be destroyed ten years after the date on which they were first raised or immediately on the death of the guilty member of the Institution. This is grossly inadequate and the Institution should review this matter urgently.

The Nolan Report recommends the “best practice” retention of the records for 100 years from the date of birth of the guilty member in order that:

o Child Protection Officer checks can be made routinely on living convicted sex abusers, and

o Historic cases can be dealt with adequately.

• It was not absolutely clear to me in the Code of Conduct whether or not copies of all documentation concerned with crimes of abuse by clerics of the Institution were retained at the Roman Curia level of the Order in perpetuity and whether Provincial Superiors had recourse to or were routinely provided with any information regarding the clerics moved to their province. Such notification to a Provincial Superior should be a matter of routine.

• The Code of Conduct outlines on a number of occasions that abuse has lasting effects, as stated above. The Code discusses at great length what subsequent care may be given to members of the Institution who are found to be guilty of abuse, but limits all effective remedies to the Victim to a “one off” compensation agreement.

There is no discussion of any further care, dialogue or welfare input beyond this point. That is not “best practice” and is unacceptable.

• The Code of Conduct outlines that serious cases involving crimes of sexual abuse are to be referred to the Congregation of Faith and that this Vatican Institution will decide the punishment which the Institution will implement.

However, a prison term does not figure in the Congregation’s list of punishments for serious crimes of sexual abuse of minors. Instead, the Code outlines in detail how a one-off-payment or a stipend for the guilty person is to be determined – and also outlined in the Code is the process for the incardination to a diocesan parish – which is probably the very last place that a convicted sex abuser should be disposed.

This is one very profound reason why the issues surrounding crimes of abuse should not be administered primarily by clerics, but by the civil authorities.

• On that last point and by way of example, in the United Kingdom, a doctor was recently consigned to prison for 22 years for having committed sexual molestations of boys in his surgery on a number of occasions.

His crimes were substantially less serious and significantly less numerous than the many crimes committed by a Comboni Priest who was the Stillington and Mirfield Infirmarian for a goodly number of years! The latter’s crimes were concealed by the Comboni Institution.

He was not defrocked by the Vatican, but he was rewarded with incardination in a parish in his home province of Como and, no doubt, he received a stipend or at least a one-off payment too!

• The Code of Conduct implies that the relationship between a cleric and the Institution is not one that bears a similarity to the normal employer / employee relationship and that, therefore, the Institution accepts no liability for the crimes of a cleric within their Institution.

This notion may be acceptable in some civil law jurisdictions, but it does not apply universally. Within the United Kingdom that theory has been put to the test by diocesan bishops in the High Court of Justice and the Courts of Appeal on a number of occasions and has failed on every occasion.

The Institution should be aware that that is an argument that cannot be used in the United Kingdom – and possibly elsewhere also.

• In conclusion, the section of the Code of Conduct relating to abuse, or as the Comboni Missionaries prefer to call it – “The Brotherly Care of Persons in Certain Situations” – is at best a well intentioned and reasonable document for the primary investigation and the administration of minor breaches of regulation of the Institution. However:

o The Code takes scant account of “best practice” (as detailed for example in the Nolan Report and other notable documents discussing the issue) when dealing with allegations of child sexual abuse – which are crimes.

o Alarmingly, in its most important elements, it has to be said that the Code, despite its numerous recourses to Canon Law, is not fit for the purpose of a primary, judicial inquiry and the administration of issues related to a “crime”.

o The Inquiry and Canonical process should only be a secondary adjunct to a civil process – never the “in-house” preferred replacement to a civil process.

o In respect to the sentencing of clerics who are guilty of serious crimes – the provisions of the Code and the censures allowed to the Congregation of Faith bear no comparison whatsoever to the justifiable, civil penalties that could be imposed in a civil court following a civil judicial process.

The punishment must fit the crime – otherwise there is no credibility whatsoever in the process that has led to sentencing. It becomes a sham.

o This last mentioned failure is undoubtedly one of the more significant reasons for the unacceptability of the Code’s inquiry processes in their present format.

o Regrettably, “Part II – Sexual Abuse” of the Code is not a realistic, practical, working document for the age in which we live, nor for the seriousness of the criminal issues which it seeks to address and nor for the universality of the International Conventions which shine as beacons to illuminate the Rights of the Child.

Comboni Missionaries Investigation Process for Abuse

By Brian Hennessy, as regards the Comboni Missionaries Clerical Abuse process. It is the 3rd of 3 articles on the Comboni Missionaries Code of Conduct.

Administrative Procedures Required in the Consideration of Alleged Abuse

1. The Code states that at the investigation stage, there must always be clarity about the the presumption of innocence, and no promises should be made regarding financial compensation to those making allegations.

2. The Code states that the person in charge of the inquiry, in agreement with and in the presence of members of the family, is to hear the testimony of the alleged victim, so as to become acquainted with the real facts, and to verify, with the appropriate respect, the psychological and spiritual situation of the person alleged to have been wounded by the confrere’s behaviour.

3. The Code states that as regards the inquiry, the general guidelines (for inquiries) are to be followed bearing in
mind that, in the case of alleged abuse against a minor, it is especially advisable to seek the services of a team or, in any case, of appropriately qualified persons. Equally, any meeting with the alleged victim should take place in the presence of witnesses.

4. The Code states that the choice of the method to be followed in conducting the inquiry will take account of the plausibility, entity and gravity of the allegations as well as of the availability of persons who can be relied upon to carry out this task.

Whatever the case, the inquiry is to be conducted in a circumspect and efficient manner, respectful of all those involved, and of the cultural context, as well as of the legislation in force in the country in question and/or issued by the respective Episcopal Conference.

5. The Code states that the following statement may be determined by an act of the provincial superior.: “that to preclude scandals, to protect the freedom of witnesses and to safeguard the course of justice” measures may be taken in accordance with CIC 1722 to the effect that “the ordinary, at any stage of the process, can remove the accused from the sacred ministry or from any ecclesiastical office or function, can impose or prohibit residence in a given place or territory, or even prohibit public participation in the Most Holy Eucharist”.

6. The Code states that after the process has been completed the provincial superior is to:

• Provides for the sentence to be carried out and in particular communicates the result of the process and the decisions reached regarding:

(a) the manner of providing aid and moral support to the victim;

(b) the imposition of the penalties on the guilty party;

(c) measures for the full rehabilitation of an accused person found to be innocent and for the necessary retraction and reparation by the accuser;

• Communicates the results of the inquiry to the Christian (and civil) communities affected by the event (while avoiding possible scandal) and puts in place suitable measures to heal the wounds inflicted on them.

7. The Code states that for the good of all concerned, everything possible will always be done to resolve the matter in a pastoral manner limited to the internal inquiry and its conclusions (CIC 1718 §4).

When however the conclusions of the preliminary inquiry are not sufficient to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of all the concerned parties, or to ensure the reparation of the scandal caused and the amendment of the person found guilty (CIC 1341), it is required to proceed to the canonical penal process.

This decision is to be taken by an act of the provincial superior.

8. The Code states that The relevant provision will define one of the following:

• The decision to proceed by a decree without a trial (CIC 1720), bearing in mind the directives of CIC 1342.

• The decision to initiate a judicial penal process (CIC 1721 and following).

9. The Code states that in the case of a decree without a trial, the provincial superior will proceed as directed by CIC 1720. The person who has been responsible for the inquiry cannot act as an assessor in the case.

10. The Code states that when the provincial superior decides that a judicial penal process is necessary, he will communicate this decision to the person responsible for the inquiry so that he may take on the office of promoter of justice. The provincial superior has full powers to appoint another person to this office.

11. The Code states that the provincial directory, bearing in mind the Code of Canon Law, may determine the procedure de qua agitur. In certain cases (for example the abuse of minors), however, the legislation of some countries includes the duty to report the matter to the civil authorities, foreseeing that this could lead to a trial before a civil court.

12. The Code states that when an abuse is at one and the same time under investigation by other bodies and persons concerned to establish the truth of the facts, the Institute is committed to cooperating in the required and appropriate manner with the various parties involved (diocese, judicial and civil authorities), so that justice may be done, following the dispositions of the law in force (civil and canonical), especially those regarding the duty of bringing the case to the attention of the competent authorities.

Regarding this latter point, both excessive zeal and the temptation to conceal facts and reports are to be avoided.

13. The Code states that the provincial superior communicates to the general council his decision to initiate an administrative or penal process sending a written document which sets out the legal and factual elements of the situation under inquiry, the name of the accused confrere, and a brief report. Every penalty imposed is also to be communicated to the general council.

14. The Code states that the provincial superior and those in charge of the case will keep written and secret documentation pertaining to the different stages of the process, as well as of its conclusions and the measures adopted as a consequence.

The provincial council lays down who may have access to such documentation and until when.

15. The Code states that once the internal inquiry has reached its conclusion, the person in charge of the investigation will present the provincial superior with a full report regarding both the matters of fact and of law involved. The provincial superior will then reach a decision regarding the case (CIC 1718) that can take one of the following two forms:

• Consigning the notitia criminis to the archives;

• Initiating a penal process.

16. The Code states that proof of admonishment and rebuke must always be retained, at least by a document conserved in the secret archive of the provincial superior (CIC 1339).

17. The Code states that at the end of his mandate, the provincial superior presents his successor with adequate information about confreres in special difficulty.

He then sends all the relevant documentation to the general archives in Rome so that it may be conserved by the competent authority.

18. The Code states that,in respect to documentation, directives CIC 489 § 2 are to be followed by the Provincial Superior and higher formations: “Every year documents of criminal cases are to be destroyed in matters of morals in which the criminal has died or in which ten years have passed since the condemnatory sentence; but a brief summary of the case with the text of the definitive sentence is to be retained”.

19. The Code states that offences defined in the Motu Proprio Sacramentorumsanctitatis tutela as being reserved for referral to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith .

20. The Code states that the following offences are listed amongst those to be referred to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:

• CIC 1378: the absolution of an accomplice in a sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue;

• CIC 1387: soliciting a penitent to sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue in the act or on the occasion or under the pretext of confession;

• DG: any offense against the sixth commandment, committed by a cleric with a minor of less than 18 years of age.

21. The Code states that regarding the above offenses, the provincial superior, after having carried out the preliminary inquiry, transmits to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, by his own act and through the superior general, a full report drawn up by the person responsible for the investigation

22. The Code states that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith can decide to deal with the matter directly, or it can order the provincial superior to make provisions for the penal process according to the dispositions that the Congregation itself will consider opportune to give. Any appeal against the sentence lies within the competence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith itself.

23. The Code advises that the Institute expects and requires its members to live consistently with the values and purposes that they have freely chosen by means of a public commitment. As a consequence, when faced with proven cases of sexual abuse against minors, the Institute, taking account of the sentence passed by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, may adopt one or more (and hence also cumulatively) of the following provisions:

• to invite the religious to undergo a medical and psychological examination;

• to encourage him to accept the necessary help so as not to prejudice the welfare of other minors;

• to place him in a situation in which he has no direct contact with minors, even when he continues to deny his guilt;

• to prevent him in the future from working or having direct contact with minors, even when he has been helped by specialists.

24. The Code advises that in order to be able to entrust the religious in question with a ministry suitable to his situation, the superiors concerned must be informed of any precedents in the area of sexual abuse when the religious is assigned to their province and/or community. In his turn, the provincial superior must inform the bishop of the diocese in which the religious will exercise his pastoral ministry, if the religious has precedents in matters of sexual abuse against minors proven by one of the procedures described at no. 50 above.

25. The Code advises that regarding cases of sexual abuse, especially against minors, various episcopal conferences have developed their own praxis governed by detailed norms that in some countries are particularly severe and restrictive. In communion with the local Church, the Institute is committed to observing such norms and procedures.

They are thus to be included in the provincial directories.

26. The Code advises that civil law regarding cases of abuse varies greatly from country to country, but is becoming ever stricter and more severe, especially regarding sexual abuses committed against minors by persons of trust or in authority. The Institute is committed to informing its members regarding the civil and penal dispositions in force in the country where they work and requires them to obey these local laws.