The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

“We insistently beg forgiveness from God…”

posted by jmcgee

The big story of the day, out of the Vatican:

Pope Benedict begged forgiveness from God and victims of child sexual abuse by priests on Friday and vowed that the Catholic Church would do everything in its power to ensure that it never happens again.

Benedict made his comments, some of his clearest ever about the scandal that has swept the Church around the world, during a homily in St Peter’s Square to conclude the Roman Catholic Church’s “Year of the Priest” celebrations.

Wearing white and gold vestments as he spoke to some 15,000 priests, Benedict said the year that was to have celebrated the priesthood had been marred because “the sins of priests came to light, particularly the abuse of the little ones.”

“We too insistently beg forgiveness from God and from the persons involved, while promising to do everything possible to ensure that such abuse will never occur again,” he said.

Hundreds of cases of sexual and physical abuse of youths by priests in recent decades have come to light in Europe and the United States as investigations encourage long-silent victims to finally go public with their complaints.

A group for victims said the pope had not gone far enough.

“These are strong words but not strong actions,” said Peter Isely of the U.S.-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), whose leaders came to Rome for the event.

“The pope should have announced an absolute zero tolerance approach to priests that abuse around the world, ensuring that they will be immediately removed from priesthood. This is a much more important move than showing remorse,” he told Reuters.

There’s more at the link. I’ll try to add updates as the story continues to unfold, and reaction trickles in. 

One victims’ advocacy group is complaining about “apology fatigue”:
Pope Benedict XVI begged forgiveness Friday from victims of sexual abuse by priests, but advocates for the victims say they want action rather than more words from the Vatican.

“We’re all sort of getting apology fatigue at this point, I mean this is the fourth or fifth time he’s apologized,” Peter Isley, of the U.S.-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), told CTV News Channel from Rome.

“Which is fine but our concern is that it’s not concrete action. An apology is not an arrest.”

There’s more from SNAP at the link.

Comments read comments(17)
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posted June 11, 2010 at 11:04 am

Congratulations on scooping Rocco! ;-)

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posted June 11, 2010 at 12:18 pm

“Apology fatigue”
Amazing, simply amazing.
Obviously said without the slightest hint of awareness of irony.
(speaking of irony, my captcha is “to surreals”)

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posted June 11, 2010 at 1:06 pm

1. The story put out by the media (SNAP link) is incorrect. The priest in Munich was only allowed to get treatment — no interaction with a parish. It was only 9 months after the Pope left Munich was he allowed to go back into a parish — and that decision was made by the bishop at the time.
2. Again, the story on Wisconsin is also not accurate. I think that the best person who had info was the priest involved in the case who is now up in Alaska.
3. I don’t think SNAP will ever be satisfied with anything anyone does. I believe (a) they a priest is presumed guilty the moment anyone accuses them of any sort of thing and should immediately be thrown out (b) this is the SNAP leadership’s way of staying employed and (c) they have a agenda which also seeks to change the Church by getting rid of celibacy, pushing for women priests, etc. by aligning with Call to Action, VOTF and others.

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posted June 11, 2010 at 1:59 pm

DCC, I have a different, perhaps more charitable, view of SNAP. Sexual abuse is a profound violation of boundaries. When I read the demands of SNAP spokespeople, ricocheting around like pinballs with an obviously endless and ultimately unsatisfiable list of continuously shifting demands, what I see is psychological distress. Distress whose most obvious source is having been abused.
It is one thing to object to demands, to point out that this or that one is physically impossible (arresting and imprisoning accused priests who are dead), or completely unreasonable (punishing a bishop who did not have the magical superpowers to know that a priest was an abuser when no one reported anything), or profoundly unjust (stripping accused priests of any ability to defend themselves and punishing any and every one willing to entertain the possibility that any particular accused priest might in fact be innocent.) It is quite another to go on some sort of counter-offensive of speculating as to all sorts of agendas that they have. Calumny and detraction are still sins even when you commit them against members of SNAP in the course of objecting to the calumny and/or detraction that they are committing against others.

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posted June 11, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Sadly, there will always be perpetual victims, where there will never, under any circumstances, “be enough.”
Two interesting facts to note:
1. The major source of funding of SNAP comes from the trial lawyers, just sayin’!
2. Pope Benedict, as the Vicar of Christ, didn’t pick anyone of the SNAP folks to meet with when he came to America and met with victims. (If I’m wrong someone can correct me, but I’m seem to remember that as being a bit “odd” at the time.
I will continue to pray for healing for all, especially through the power of the cross.

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posted June 11, 2010 at 6:56 pm

Calumny? A google search of SNAP and VOTF or Call to Action will verify my statement.
Now, who is committing the sin Cathyf?

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posted June 11, 2010 at 8:19 pm

Apologies are fine…actions are better. There should be some major house cleaning…which I think has started in some cases.

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posted June 11, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Which is fine but our concern is that it’s not concrete action. An apology is not an arrest.
I don’t think the Pope has the authority to arrest anyone. Ya need to be talking to the police.

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posted June 12, 2010 at 12:51 am

The reason that it’s calumny is that you are accusing SNAP members of using their victimhood as as a tool to attain some pre-existing goal of ending priestly celibacy and getting women ordained. I, on the other hand, see SNAP as WRONG but still acting in good faith. I believe that allowing priests to marry and ordaining women would simply result in having some priest-predators who are married and/or women. But that is an opinion and a prediction and pretty much untestable. I can accept that the SNAP crowd has a different (as in wrong!) opinion than we do; I don’t need to claim that they really share our opinion and are just lying about it.

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posted June 12, 2010 at 1:54 am

It is impossible to communicate with “SNAP” unless there is a possibility of reconciliation.
Very few bishops or priests in service today had anything directly to do with sexual abuse of minors. A few more perhaps were involved indirectly but these are still a small minority.
I think the people of SNAP renew and support their wounds in a collective way and this gets in to way of any chance of healing. I think the lawyers are probably causing too much of this at this juncture, but I am not sure.

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posted June 12, 2010 at 9:04 am

Marvin writes :
” “Which is fine but our concern is that it’s not concrete action. An apology is not an arrest.”
I don’t think the Pope has the authority to arrest anyone. Ya need to be talking to the police.”
That is in general quit right Marvin the pope can only arrest someone at the Vatican and this has not happened in over 140 years.
But all these messages SNAP sends out are not directed to the Pope; they do not and will not communicate with the pope. This is all black PR and sound bytes they are advancing to the common public.
Kinda like your message back to them “Ya need to be talking to the police” is only directed back to SNAP in your head. They are not going to read your message. The real receivers of this are only a few on this blog.

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posted June 12, 2010 at 1:09 pm

GGX, I think that you probably underestimate the number of people out there who read the SNAP quote in the newspaper and then respond, in their heads, with something like “to get somebody arrested you’ve got to go to the police.” I’m very sure that very few in SNAP have the foggiest clue as to how many of us have “SNAP fatigue.”

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posted June 12, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Does anyone above think that the priests that are guilty should be arrested by the civil authorities…or should they just continue to get off? Kicking them out of the church, or telling them they can’t have communion anymore, doesn’t do anything for the victims. IMO they should be tried in a secular court…if found guilty by a jury, hauled off to jail.

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posted June 12, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Many have been arrested, tried, convicted and imprisoned. I believe one was even murdered in jail. Even that I guess is not enough for some.
All reports should be made to the police!

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Paula Gonzales Rohrbacher

posted June 12, 2010 at 11:21 pm

I am not a member of SNAP. I was, however, one of the clergy abuse survivors chosen by the USCCB to address the Bishops of the United States at their Dallas meeting. Tomorrow is the 8th anniversary of that day.
Since that day, I have worked to bring about healing and reconciliation for survivors and for the members of the Church who have been angered and scandalized by the actions of priests who molested children and the bishops who enabled them.
I don’t consider myself a professional victim. I have never taken legal action against the Church. I have remained a faithful Catholic despite the abuse.
All that being said, I am appalled by comments accusing victim/survivors of not being satisfied by apologies, and sentiments that we should get over it. My childhood and adolescence and much of my adult life was damaged by the abuse. I have had no legal recourse because of the statute of limitations for this crime. My abuser has not been removed from the priesthood because of jurisdictional loopholes. I too, suffer from “apology fatigue”. It is fine to say “I’m sorry”. I appreciate the sincerity of the Holy Father. I just wish I could experience justice in my own case, and I grieve for those who, because of the pain of their abuse, decided to take their own lives. I continue to pray for healing for myself and for all who have been abused, and for peace for our Church.

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posted June 13, 2010 at 9:19 am

The readings at Mass today are about forgiveness. Jesus taught us to pray “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”. Have the abused forgiven their abusers? If they have not, how can they ever pray the Lord’s Prayer and really mean it?
You cannot change what happened in the past but I think forgiveness is the most important step in healing.

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