Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Pope did nothing to halt sex abuse!

Pope Francis doing ‘close to nothing’ to stop clerical sexual abuse, alleges writer Emiliano Fittipaldi


The last time Italian journalist Emiliano Fittipaldi wrote an expos√© about corruption at the heart of the Roman Catholic Church, it landed him in a Vatican court facing a possible jail sentence on charges that he had illegally obtained confidential church papers in the course of his reporting.



Now, six months after the 42-year-old reporter was cleared of all charges, Fittipaldi is taking on the church again. This time in a new book that accuses Pope Francis of doing “close to nothing” to stop clerical sexual abuse in Italy and around the world, despite the Argentinean pope’s frequent assertions that he has zero tolerance for the abuse of children or those who protect abusers.
In Lussuria (Lust), which will be released in Italian by publisher Feltrinelli on Thursday, Fittipaldi methodically pores over court documents and cites interviews with priests and judicial officials to paint a damning picture of the first three years of Francis’s papacy. Fittipaldi claims that 1,200 plausible complaints of molestation against boys and girls from around the world have been brought to the Vatican’s attention in that period. In some of the twenty cases of alleged sexual abuse by priests in Italy in 2016, Fittipaldi writes, priests have been convicted of abuse without the church taking any canonical action against them
Fittipaldi also devotes attention to the case of Australian cardinal George Pell, who was appointed by Francis to reform church finances and has remained in that senior position despite questions over whether Pell protected serial abusers in his archdiocese in Australia decades ago. Pell has denied the allegations against him but a counsel assisting a royal commission looking at child abuse in Australia has argued that there was evidence that Pell should have taken stronger action against one paedophile priest whose case has been examined.
Francis, who did not accept Pell’s resignation in June when the Australian cardinal reached retirement age, has declined to pass judgement on him. When he was asked by reporters about a separate abuse investigation into Pell by Victoria state police the pope said “justice has to take its course”. Last November, Francis did however decide not to renew Pell’s membership in a Vatican office that handles the church’s liturgical practice. He was one of several traditionalists whose membership was not renewed.
A spokesperson for Pell called Fittipaldi’s work a piece of “shoddy and dated piece of journalism” that stated false allegations and failed to mention the work Pell had done to confront clerical sex abuse against minors.
“The principle message of the book – the problem – is that the phenomenon of paedophilia is not being fought with sufficient force. Across the world, the church continues to protect the privacy of the paedophiles and also the cardinals [who protect them],” Fittipaldi said in an interview with the Guardian.
“Francis is not directly defending the paedophiles, but he did close to nothing to contrast the phenomenon of paedophilia,” he added.
It is not a new charge against the pope. While Francis is popular, especially for his strong views in support of poor and marginalised people, groups that advocate for survivors of sexual abuse have regularly criticised Francis for failing to take concrete steps to prevent and expose abuse, even though he has used strong words to condemn sexual violence by priests. A papal commission created by Francis early in his papacy has only met three or four times in its history, Fittipaldi said. Separately, a Vatican proposal to create a tribunal to investigate bishops who cover up for abusers, which was celebrated by advocacy groups when it was announced in 2015, has inexplicably been stalled.
The Vatican did not respond to a request for comment on the book or the assertion that Francis has not done enough to tackle abuse.
Fittipaldi alleges that under Francis’s watch, priests who practice omert√† – a term that refers to a code of silence, usually by the mafia – have been favoured by the church.
Among other incidents, Lussuria delves into the case of Mauro Inzoli, a priest who was nicknamed “Don Mercedes” for his rich taste. Inzoli was found guilty of molesting children in 2012 by the church body that examines such cases and was defrocked by Francis’s predecessor, Pope Benedict. But in 2014, under Francis, Inzoli’s punishment was softened and he was able to return to the clergy under limited conditions, and to enjoy a life of “humility and prayer”. In the meantime, civil authorities in Italy prosecuted him and last year he was convicted of abuse. At the time of his conviction, a judge criticised the Holy See for not turning over evidence in the case.
Catholic bishops not obliged to report clerical child abuse, Vatican says

“The Vatican refused to give judges documents because it is considered a pontifical secret,” Fittipaldi wrote.
Clerical sexual abuse has received close media scrutiny in the US since 2002, when the Boston Globe exposed hundreds of abuse cases and brought the issue to light. But in Italy, even after the success of the film Spotlight, which chronicled the Globe’s investigation and won the Academy Award for best film last year, the issue is still considered a taboo and has never been viewed as an endemic problem.
“In all the Catholic countries, in Italy, Spain, South America, the sexual crimes of the priests are hard to tell. There is a kind of auto-censoring, on the part of journalists and victims because of the shame and because the culture of the church is very strong,” Fittipaldi said.
In Lussuria, he describes dozens of cases that are covered marginally in daily newspapers in Italy, as individual tiles that, when put together and seen from a distance, create a mosaic.

Fittipaldi was working on Lussuria during his trial for illegally obtaining secret documents. Speaking to the Guardian, he recalled:“It was ironic to be there, during the trial. I was thinking that many priests and bishops and cardinal were involved in sexual abuse and the Vatican does nothing. They preferred going after journalists.”


  1. Pat, amend your title to "Pope DID nothing---"
    if you like.
    Hope you are recovering.

  2. Don't you think it functions like a cult?
    You can't leave.
    You can't criticise.
    Criticism is punished.
    Following the law of the land is punished.
    The chyrch's law is above the state's.
    There is no transparency.
    Money is not dealt with transparently.
    The UN determined that the church was guilty of crimes against humanity...

    It's a cult, pure and simple.

    1. 06:48, the Church is not a cult. You can leave and plenty do leave. You can criticise.

      The Church is not above the law and there are plenty of abuser priests who have served time in jail.

      There are the same problems in the Church that are in every other human organisation.

      To call the Church a "cult" is bigoted, hysterical nonsense. Fittipaldi, you can bet, has other layers to his agenda.

    2. The Church is a cult? Claptrap! Whatever the Church is, it is no more a cult than the Labour or Conservative Parties. Grow up, anonymous at 06:48. The Church has its strengths and weaknesses. It has its rules too. No one is forced to stay in the Church and there are many too who criticise from within.

    3. MourneManMichael7 February 2017 at 09:44

      To 09:00: perhaps you should have consulted a dctionary before commenting!
      To save you the bother, may I quote from a pocket Oxford dictionary:
      "Cult: Noun, A system of religious worship, especially as expressed in ritual; devotion, or homage to person or thing."

    4. The institution of the church has become more important than the message. It will defend itself no matter what the cost is to other people. It does not see itself as accountable to anyone but itself. This will change as more lay people become involved and refuse to get caught up in it's dysfunctional practises.

    5. Jane did you not know the church owns the Jesus Franchise... If the church is coke show them a Pepsi

    6. MMM, you are being selective and disingenuous in your giving the definition of the word 'cult'. There is a proper use of the word cult in relation to the Church ie - the "cult of Divine Worship'.

      There is another usage of the word 'cult', as you know rightly, that does NOT apply to the Church - eg Scientology, Waco, etc.

    7. https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/are-there-cults-in-the-catholic-church

    8. Original poster.

      Actually, if you're an orthodox Catholic, to leave the church is to cut yourself off from the only divinely-appointed source of grace in the world, and so actually you can't leave. You also can't criticise, because, well, look what happens to you.
      I'm delighted my comment has caused such an exchange.

    9. MournemanMichael7 February 2017 at 16:11

      Indeed Anon @ 11:15 I am aware of other usages of the term which have negative and critical implication.
      However, I merely quoted, in its entirety, how my dictionary defines the term in riposte to a categorical assertion that the church is NOT a cult, and that to call it such is bigoted historical nonsense.
      It's interesting the way arguments can develop, and sometimes become quite heated, when misunderstandings arise out of loose usage of terminology. Perhaps I took logic classes too literally in seminary. But I'm quite happy to leave you and the original poster to argue the semantics of the term with philologists more learned than I.

    10. I see the perverted way the church deals with what it doesn't like and cult is as good a description as any. It ensures that it manipulates and controls from clerics to lay people. And any cult can be left if you don't wait until the point you are brainwashed.

  3. Bishop Wm Crean
    Bishop Wm Murphy
    Bishop John Buckley
    Bishop Michael Smith
    Bishop Ray Brown
    Bishop John McAreavry
    Nuncio Brown
    Archbishop E Martin
    Archbishop D Martin
    Archbishop Brady
    Archbishop Clifford

    11 of the Irish higherarchy who in my personal experience are happy to stand back from abuse and allow it covered up as not being within their responsibility. Some are also more than delighted to punish a man for speaking up. Ireland is no different than what you publish today of the universal Church. I know you know that already but I add my comment as further back up. God bless you +Pat.

  4. In the Australian report on child abuse, they found 40% of the order of StJohn of God were pedofiles. The order dealt with handicapped children. A psychologist asked for the order to be closed down. The church did nothing.

    1. That is obscene even by the church's standards. I suppose the other 60% all claimed not to know anything was going on?

  5. That poster who said every organisation has the Church's problem. Could he or she find anything equally corrupt as regards children in say a cult such as Mormonism or Scientology? A religion that claims it is being saved by Jesus from sin and acts like Catholicism does is just quackery and depending on prayers and sacraments that do not work. A religion that claims to be God's authorised and inspired one needs to be held to a tougher standard than any other organisation.

    1. If it claims to be one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic, it is only reasonable to ask how it is holy. Apart from in occasional saints, that is.

    2. The problem is we are 1.2 bn people. If power is centralized and they get it wrong millions suffer.

    3. To poster @14.24
      It is indeed a reasonable thing to ask re/in what way is the Church holy?
      It is impossible to give you a satisfactory answer in a few words here as this is a huge topic, but I will point you in the right direction by saying that yes, the Church is holy but that does not(fortunately!) in any way depend on the sanctity of all her individual members, since we are all to some extent sinners struggling with temptation.
      No, the Church is holy because her Founder is the essence of holiness itself..
      The Church is holy because it is imbued with the Sanctifier,the Holy Spirit and from a practical point of view, the Church is holy because it contains within it the means(eg the Eucharist and other Sacraments) by which can try to reach holiness ourselves. As you rightly say, we have the wonderful example and inspiration given to us by so many sainted, the vast majority of them uncanonised of course and many of them walking among us. It can be an easy thing to forget amidst all the problems, negativity and sometimes downright evil. But thank you for your much-needed reminder!

    4. It is arguable that the Holy Spirit has upped sticks and left the One Holy (Roman) Catholic and Apostolic Church much as the Shekinah did not return to the Jerusalem temple after the Babylonian exile ... Certainly judging from the 'stink of satan' that Benedict XVI said had infiltrated the church it is hard to see anyone listening to what the Holy Spirit has to say when one looks at the lack of leadership coming from bishops the world over ... Who has abandoned whom?

    5. @15.20
      That is actually exactly the sort of thing I meant. When we talk about the RC Church we are talking about an organisation which has helped and hidden the rape and torture of countless children and probably adults for years.
      The answer you give is the textbook answer which helps that along.
      If we are talking of sins of a different level, I would be willing to accept that the church is full if sinners seeking the sources of grace and salvation.
      A worlwide practice which has led the UN to decide the church is guilty of torture leads the disinterested spectator to the obvious conclusion that the church is not holy in any meaningful way.
      The church needs to wake up and realise how its behaviour makes it seen by the world outside: as a corrupt cesspit peopled by psychopaths who aren't bothered, and people who make excuses for them.
      Incidentally I see that the canonisation of JP2 has led him to be referred to as the patron saint of paedophiles.
      Someone will throw a hissy fit at me for this, merely another apologist for the torture.

    6. To 18.43 Fair enough but just because the organisation of the Church misuses some of its resources and privileges and neglects some of its responsibilities, does not take away one iota from the truth of what the poster at 15. 20 tried to explain to you.

  6. Shower of gobshites. Show them our arses (metaphorically speaking of course) and walk away. As Christians we are challenged to leave ultimate judgement to God and pray for them. This does not mean that those who do wrong are not accountable.

    1. 14.02 I am not bitter as many comments on the blog will attest to. Emotions are what they are and are neither right or wrong. It is how one chooses to act in relation to a matter that makes the difference-Once more please avoid stereotypes

  7. Countless times in my life I have found that earnest sincere prayer most certainly does work and often in most wonderful unexpected ways. I continually pray for my own intentions and the needs of others who ask me to.

  8. Just because your Pope doesn't mean you have power. One man doesn’t make the army required to fight the evil in the church.

    It takes the likes of those who comment here to get out and create the army for a Pope to use instead of working against him

  9. Seems to me that Fittipaldi's basic premise is spot on. It is apparent that Benedict did more on clergy abuse than Francis, who seems to have revived the "bella figura" approach of JP2.

    I don't think, though, that Francis' treatment of Pell contributes to the case. When Pell became Archbishop of Melbourne in 1996, when he could actually exercise power, he took immediate action against many abuser priests, including Searson (mentioned in The Guardian article). When these priests appealed to Rome, and Rome ordered Pell to reinstate them, Pell refused. He ignored Rome, as well he should.

    The pursuit of Pell is focused on earlier years, when he was a parish priest and an auxiliary bishop. Back when his access to information was limited, and his power even more so. He is pursued now because he is a cardinal. And — tragically — the largely fruitless pursuit of Pell has enabled other figures, who were his senior in the 1980s and 90s, to get off scot free.

    On the matter of dealing with clergy abuse, among bishops Pell led the world. He could have done better — but that is always true of those who act first. The rest learn from their mistakes. The good ones I mean. Sadly, the majority REPEAT the same mistakes.

    Can't believe the state of things in Ireland. The mind boggles.

    – An Aussie priest, grateful for this blog,

    1. But hasn't Pell himself been suspected of child sexual abuse when he was a seminarian and a young priest?

    2. Thank you, Father for putting the record straight.

    3. You're right @Magna Carta. In 2001, not long after he became Archbishop of Sydney, Pell stood aside while the Church undertook an independent investigation, headed by a retired non-Catholic judge, into allegations he assaulted a boy while he was a seminarian assisting at a summer school.

      After several months, the investigation concluded that "both witnesses were credible" (Pell and his accuser), but there was no case. The accuser declined to go to police, Pell resumed his office, and nothing more was done.

      More recently, the Royal Commission has heard incredible claims from victims in Ballarat that Pell witnessed abuse as a young priest, and joked about it with other priests. These claims were proven false as in each instance, the facts show that Pell was not in the places this was alleged to occur — either assigned to a different parish, or studying in Rome and Oxford. It looks like Pell, being such a high profile Catholic for such a long time, has been inserted into unreliable memories recalled by the clearly traumatised.

      There is only one occasion when allegations have warranted police investigations, which have only just wound up. Victoria Police concluded their investigation and presented it to the Public Prosecutor two days ago. So we will know soon if the case is strong or weak. These allegations are very different: they relate to grooming and possibly rape of choir boys at the cathedral in the late nineties.

      On the face of it, it sounds unlikely. Pell himself abused boys, when he was Archbishop, the highest profile Catholic, and one of the most controversial public figures, in Australia? But the law has been followed, the facts have been examined, Pell has co-operated with police. Soon the Crown will make a decision on the case. Truth and the rule of law, not corruption and cronyism, will prevail.

      - Aussie priest

  10. I agree with Sean @10:21. The Church does indeed own the "Jesus franchise" in as much as the Church of Jesus Christ is one and the same as the Roman Catholic Church (or 'subsistit' in if you want to get all Lumen Gentium about the thing).

    1. 14.13 To clarify about the "Jesus Franchise" The Church is not a LTD Company and Jesus founded Christianity not known as such in his day. The Grace of God can not be controlled by any person or organisation or denomination.

    2. So you are saying that there is no such thing as the Church? Whether that be the one true Church as the Roman Church understands or, or a more generic concept of the mystical body of Christ as many Protestants understand it? What was the Christianity that Jesus founded - and how do you know it was different to how we understand it today? Sounds very antiquarian to be able from a distance of 2000 years to be able to determine what Jesus founded.

    3. 19.14 Jesus lived and died as a Jew. History molded the message through the ages with varying results. The mystical body of Christ and the power of the spirit is what keeps us afloat

  11. 12:20, yes you CAN leave because you are completely free to reject "the only divinely-appointed source of grace in the world" (the Church believes there other sources of Divine grace in the world by the way).

    You can criticise; but you cannot teach other than what the Church believes.

    Those individuals who face censure are those who are teaching something contrary to the Faith of the Church - that's not criticism - that's heresy.

    1. Seriously, why would someone claim to be Catholic and think that leaving is even an option? Two quotes from St Cyril of Jerusalem:
      "[The Church] is called Catholic, then, because it extends over the whole world, from end to end of the earth, and because it teaches universally and infallibly each and every doctrine which must come to the knowledge of men, concerning things visible and invisible, heavenly and earthly, and because it brings every race of men into subjection to godliness, governors and governed, learned and unlearned, and because it universally treats and heals every class of sins, those committed with the soul and those with the body, and it possesses within itself every conceivable form of virtue, in deeds and in words and in the spiritual gifts of every description" (Catechetical Lectures 18:23 [A.D. 350]).

      Cyril of Jerusalem - "And if you ever are visiting in cities, do not inquire simply where the house of the Lord is--for the others, sects of the impious, attempt to call their dens 'houses of the Lord'--nor ask merely where the Church is, but where is the Catholic Church. For this is the name peculiar to this holy Church, the Mother of us all, which is the Spouse of our Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God" (ibid., 18:26).
      If you actually believe the Catholic faith it is effectively impossible to leave.

    2. If you believe the Church is what God says it to be, then, of course, you would never leave it in a million years.

      If you do not believe in the Church, however, the door is wide open for you to walk out (just as it is wide open to welcome people back).

    3. Thank you so much. That needed to be said.

  12. I don't know why a writer would chase Cardinal Pell when there are really horrendous allegations about others especially bishop Juan Barros in Chile, appointed by Francis in the face of mass demonstrations because of his alleged part in a cover up and allegations of his presence when offences were actually committed. The Vatican's response - 'no reason not to appoint him has been established'. Francis has been 'all talk' on this subject but has actually reversed disciplinary action taken by his predecessor in some cases which is an insult both to the victims and to Benedict.

  13. I am a practicing rc Catholic
    I don't believe the rc church owns the Jesus franchise
    All created people are Jesus people, he belongs to everyone
    I respect all faiths, it's just because I was born into the RC church That I stay
    I have no respect for bishops and many priests
    I do respect many priests that I personally know to be good men.