<![CDATA[<br /><br /><br />National Survivor Advocates Coalition<br /><br /> - Blog/Archives]]>Mon, 03 Apr 2017 00:14:46 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Press Release]]>Tue, 11 Nov 2014 01:54:26 GMThttp://nsacoalition.com/blogarchives/press-releaseNational Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC)Statement on the Conclusion of the Meeting of Pope Francis’ Commission on Sexual Abuse
For Immediate Release, Dayton, OH, May 3, 2014

We now have a commission that’s met.
That is the only thing that’s happened.

All of those who have protected priest and religious sister perpetrators remain safely in their positions of authority in the Church, except the dead ones. And for that, the Lord, not a Pope, took action.

The commission’s words are lovely: hope, future, accountability, education, best practices – and the ever popular: some where off in the future we are going to do something.

Where’s the beef?  Read 

This is more like pheasant under glass – ritzy, protected, and not nourishing for the masses.

We hope the commission enjoyed their three days in Rome, it’s a marvelous city but — no child is safer.

It is interesting to note, that while Cardinal O’Malley, says the commission will be proposing that bishops will be held accountable, notably absent (according to news reports) from the Vatican Congregations/commission/authorities with whom the commission had contact, was the Congregation for Bishops.

The status quo couldn’t be quo-er.

— Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition, NSAC, KristineWard@hotmail.com 937-272-0308]]>
<![CDATA[A large Omission but a Second Chance]]>Fri, 02 May 2014 15:40:41 GMThttp://nsacoalition.com/blogarchives/a-large-omission-but-a-second-chance Editorial

We note with great chagrin today our large omission of the work that SNAPAustralia has and is doing and our failure to speak about in the editorial It’s a Small World After All which ran in NSAC News Thursday 5/1/14.

SNAPAustralia precedes the Royal Commission by three years shining a light on the search for truth, and being a determined effort to let victims and their families know they are not alone.

With our apology, we say hats off to SNAPAustralia’s coordinator and webmaster, Steven Spaner.

On the SNAPAustralia.org site you will find great information about the Royal Commission, including Public Hearings webcasts, and the Announcements of Issue Papers and Submission, as well as a running news briefing on the many angles of the crisis in Australia and the testimonies of victims.   

Our omission does afford us the opportunity to repeat our call to all of our readers and all of those to whom they forwarded this message and yesterday’s edition of NSAC News –this being a gentle reminder to do it, if you haven’t.

It is a small world and it is no stretch of reality at all to consider that children in the United States were and can be in harm’s way by acts of Australian priests, brothers and religious sisters, as well as Australian children from United States priests, brothers and religious sisters who have been stationed in Australia.

Once again, let us make clear that we are not saying that every Australian priest, brother and religious sister who came to the United States or United States priests, brothers and religious sisters who were stationed in Australia abused children. But there is evidence that the molestation of children knows no borders.

There is now an openness in Australia to be in strong pursuit of the truth about the rape and sodomy of children.

We ask you again to consider that you may be the only person on earth able to initiate the contact that will give a survivor or a survivor’s family hope and some measure of peace and certainly a message that they are not alone and that justice may be possible.

A small effort may have an Everest of an effect in an individual life.

--- Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition, NSAC, KristineWard@hotmail.com

<![CDATA[It's a Small World After All]]>Thu, 01 May 2014 12:58:36 GMThttp://nsacoalition.com/blogarchives/its-a-small-world-after-all EDITORIAL


Australia may seem like a million miles away from you.

It really isn’t.

In, as the crow flies, miles, it’s:

  • 9,946 miles from New York City

  • 10,102 miles from Boston

  • 9,072 miles from Chicago

  • 9,072 miles from Los Angeles

  • 8,896 miles from Dallas

And in case you’re interested, it’s:

  • 5,568 miles from Beijing

  • 4,609 miles from the South Pole, Antarctica

  • 7,560 miles from Nairobi

  • 10,075 miles from Quebec City

  • 10,153 miles from Rome

  • 7,339 miles from Buenos Aires

Compared to a million that’s not so far.

In the modern world of air travel and communications, Australia is even closer than you think.  You probably know someone that’s been there on a vacation or who does business there or someone who has come to the United States from Australia on vacation or to work.

In January 2013 Australia set up a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Australia is serious, it appears from the diligence of its work, about finding survivors and learning from them.  It also appears to be serious about protecting its children.

Here is the Commission’s description of itself:

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is investigating how institutions like schools, churches, sports clubs and government organisations have responded to allegations and instances of child sexual abuse.

It is the job of the Royal Commission to uncover where systems have failed to protect children so it can make recommendations on how to improve laws, policies and practices.

The Royal Commission is about creating a safer future for children. It can look at any private, public or non-government organisation that is, or was in the past, involved with children. This includes where an organisation caring for a child is responsible for the abuse or for not responding appropriately, regardless of where or when the abuse occurred.

The Commission offers a variety of ways that survivors may tell their stories:

  • Private in person sessions with a Commissioner

  • In writing

  • In interviews

The details may be found on the commission’s website:


What NSAC wishes to encourage is the dissemination of information that the Royal Commission is sitting, is actively seeking survivors, and appears to be listening.  Day after day there are news stories about the testimony of survivors in Australia.

Think you don’t know anyone who may have been abused by a cleric or nun in Australia – or a religious authority figure who came to Australia from the United States and abused in the States?

Think again.  Really, we mean it. We are urgently calling upon you to think about it.

Religious order members, priests, brothers and nuns have been assigned throughout the world by their religious communities.

A Marianist brother who served in Dayton, Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Bernard Hartman is facing trial in Australia in April of 2015 on 18 charges of abuse.

In 2011 one of his accusers went public and the Marianist brother returned to Australia in 2013 to face charges. A court in Melbourne found sufficient evidence to set the trial date.

The Marianist Province of the United States first learned of the accusations against him in 1997, removed him from a high school teaching position in Pittsburgh and sent him to a treatment center. The Marianist Order says he was not returned to educational ministry and the Marianist Provincial said in a newspaper interview in March 2014 that Hartman  “ was assigned to internal ministry under a safety plan.”



Australian priests also came to the United States.

Broken Rites details the case of Paul David Ryan, an Australian priest who made seven trips to the United States where he was connected to parishes. Ryan was convicted by an Australian court and sentenced to prison. There are known victims of Paul David Ryan from the parish where he served in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He also lived for a time in a parish in Dayton, OH.


(Ryan was convicted before the seating of the Royal Commission)

Broken Rites has been researching the cover-up of sexual abuse in Australia by the Roman Catholic Church since 1993.

NSAC uses these two examples to emphasize that there can be victims of rape and sodomy by a priest, brother or religious sister who served in Australia or an Australian priest, brother or religious sister who came to the United States and lived in a parish you were part of or you know people who were or are parishioners.

NSAC is not saying that every priest, brother or religious sister who came to the United States from Australia or who went to Australia from the States abused.

But NSAC is asking you to think about this. To talk about it with people you know. To ask questions. To forward NSAC News. To work for justice. To seek to protect children.  To open conversations. To get other people to think.

Please disseminate the information about Australia’s Royal Commission.

You may be the only person on earth able to help ease a particular survivor’s pain and burden and give that survivor the opportunity to consider contacting the Royal Commission.

The royal commission can also be found on Facebook and also on Twitter @CARoyalComm #shareyourstory.

It’s a small world after all. 

--- Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) KristineWard@hotmail.com

<![CDATA[The UN Report]]>Thu, 13 Feb 2014 14:39:02 GMThttp://nsacoalition.com/blogarchives/the-un-reportEven when the survivors catch a break – and catch a big one they did in the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child Report – they still can’t catch a break.

First, the break they caught: for the first time, on a major international scale the world has heard what the victims have been saying for years. That’s historic. The David of Truth has slain the Goliath of the Code of Silence.

For that, the survivors deserve an immense amount of credit.

It’s only through the courage, the perseverance, and the suffering of the survivors that the people in the pews and the world at large have learned of the extent of this largest crisis in the Roman Catholic Church in 500 years.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child Report is described in news reports as “scathing,” and “blistering” against the Vatican regarding sexual abuse.

The Church is called out on a global stage for its “code of silence” and the upholding of the Church’s reputation and the protection of the perpetrators over concern for and action on behalf of children — the victims.

Here are links to news coverage of the UN Report:




Within the Los Angeles Times report is the UN Document.

The report did call for the “immediate removal of all known and suspected child abuses” from their positions and the referring of the matters to law enforcement for prosecution

The report did acknowledge the cover –up by the hierarchy

What it did not do is call for the removal, immediate or otherwise, of those who covered up from their positions of authority and esteem in the Church or the entry of law enforcement to investigate them.

We ask our readers to act and re-double efforts as citizens to be heard at every level of government in the United States, at the federal level in the US Departments of Justice and State, the Congress, State Legislatures and School Boards to move the fight forward to protect children and open wide the opportunities for access to justice to survivors.

This doesn’t stop at the borders. Perpetrators have been allowed to slip through the borders and be shielded from extradition when identified.

Citizen action is needed and necessary to spur independent investigations by law enforcement of perpetrators and those who aided and abetted them in the rape and sodomy of children and the victimization of children through pornography, along with the passage of laws to extend the statute of limitations for the prosecution of sexual abuse. We think Catholics can and should find the impetus for this in their faith.

This also doesn’t stop at the borders. American voices are needed in the international struggle for the protection of children and justice for the survivors.

We ask and urge our readers and all men and women of goodwill  to re-double their efforts in whatever they are doing to support survivors: making financial contributions, writing letters to the editor, contacting government officials, legislators, demonstrating, leafleting, listening and raising the issue of the horrors of the rape and sodomy of children in every arena, setting, interaction, network and media available to them.

Because, important as the UN Report is, the break the survivors didn’t catch is this: After all that courage in a struggle that the survivors have borne virtually alone the UN chose to link the hot button issues of the Roman Catholic Church to this report: abortion, homosexuality, same sex marriage and gender identification in the Church’s Canon law.


What the UN Committee did was open the drawbridge on the moat it sought to create through the Protection of the Child Treaty and allow the Vatican to scream – and be heard – on the cries of bias, discrimination, and interference in its internal religious affairs.  These only balloon the Church’s deflect and dodge strategy regarding the crime of sexual abuse.

One has to wonder why the UN Committee chose to step into these low-lying religious- fruit arenas when it left out concern for children and what the Vatican could do through both its more-than bully pulpit and its nuncio structure. Nor did it mention its bishops conferences regarding the effect on children of hunger caused by uneven food supplies,  national immigration policies, child labor policies and educational systems that cost too much for all children to enroll or which discriminate against them by gender. Nor did they point out wars among all the other dangers that children face and need to be protected from throughout the world.

The UN Committee had to see the Church’s response coming when it included allowing abortion in its report that the greatest danger to a child is to be killed.

In the most measured Vatican response in the news reports, the Vatican’s new Secretary of State Pietro Paroling says the Vatican will provide a detailed response to the UN report. We hope so.

In responding, we hope the Church peels away hypocrisy, deflection, and puffery on the meager steps it has taken and finally gets down to business – the business of protecting the vulnerable, the children.

It doesn’t take a commission for the Church to do what is right regarding the sexual abuse of children and minors by priests and nuns and the cover-up of the abuse by the hierarchy and chancery and curia officials.

All Pope Francis and the Vatican structure need to combat sexual abuse are the Scriptures and the will to combat it.

The first component the Vatican has in abundance, in big books, little books, books in every language, beautifully decorated books, plain books, and digital books.

The second component is the sticking point.

Does Pope Francis have the will to remove hierarchs who have covered up the rape and sodomy of children, protected perpetrators, and allowed child pornographers to continue victimizing children?

Does he have the will to make it clear by action and not just words that without a shadow of a doubt that the rape and sodomy of children and minors – and the victimizing of children through pornography and sex trafficking by clerics, nuns, and hierarchs — and the protection thereof is cause for immediate dismissal from the ranks of the priesthood and religious orders?

To whom much is given, much is expected.

— Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) KristineWard@hotmail.com

<![CDATA[Lowering the Bar in Minnesota]]>Thu, 13 Feb 2014 14:27:39 GMThttp://nsacoalition.com/blogarchives/lowering-the-bar-in-minnesotaFirst, the news out of Minneapolis hurts survivors.  We want them to know their pain is known and acknowledged.

The Archbishop of Minneapolis-St. Paul and Archdiocesan officials have been let off the hook and will not be charged with any responsibility for not stopping  a priest  now convicted and serving a prison sentence on sexual abuse charges.

The Archdiocese is “grateful”  to be “cleared.”

The Archdiocese’s records show that the Archdiocese had knowledge going back to 2008 regarding the sexual addiction and solicitation activities of this priest — and the Archdiocese gave him 28 hours of potential running and destruction of evidence time in a coming arrest alert regarding the charges for which he is now serving time.

Still, the police said they do not have the evidence to charge anyone in the Archdiocese of obstruction of justice or any complicity in the crimes.

Here are news stories with the details that there will not be charges along with the official statement of the Archdiocese:




The police are “troubled” about the Archdiocesan officials and their actions or inaction.

So are we, but we don’t have subpoena power, calling grand jury power or issuing search warrant power like the police and county attorney and courts do.

Is there no law in Minnesota  under which people who know that a person has and likely will continue to abuse children and minors can be held responsible for aiding this person — by the advance notice on an arrest? By promoting the person to pastor in 2009 and giving him a position of authority and respect
when the records show that trouble existed and was known in 2008?


Could Minnesota’s laws be this thin?

Child pornography charges will not be brought against anyone in the Archdiocese in the case of another priest  involving sexually explicit images found on the priest’s computer.

There is not enough evidence, the authorities said, to bring charges against anyone in Archdiocesan positions.

Is there any willingness to put muscle into the investigations of officials who were publicly accused by the police chief of dragging their collective feet in reporting abuse and providing information to the police? Aren’t there usually reasons for foot dragging that basically don’t include coming clean with the facts and responsibility?

Surely, this is not the standard of the people of the communities of Minnesota.

The statement of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis-St. Paul says this:

We have a shared interest with all civil authorities and our communities for the protection of
children, and we remain in complete solidarity with both Ramsey County Attorney John Choi and Saint Paul Police Department Chief Tom Smith in calling for all victims of any form of abuse to immediately come forward to civil authorities.

Victims of any form of abuse should come forward. Indeed, they should be encouraged to do that and supported when they do.  But, given the lack of charges against the Archdiocese, what are the odds any victim of sexual abuse would come forward now?

These public proclamations now calling for victims to come forward smack of the beguiling witch opening the door for Hansel and Gretal.

The message that is being sent is clear: cover-up, foot drag, and protect predators, obfuscate in any and all manners possible, when caught, spin apologetic, and continue to cover-up, foot drag and obfuscate, shell-game-it to get over the fine points in the law to skirt responsibility – never allow the standard to be used to judge you to be the same  depth of standard that you purport preach, teach, and uphold.

Notice the Archdiocese’s statement did not say that despite the absence of charges that it must and would declare itself and its officials complicit. That it must and would declare its overwhelming failure beginning with the resignation of the Archbishop because any institution that stood and defined itself as a force for truth and justice, valued and taught the protection of the innocent and the vulnerable, could do no less.

Are there any law enforcement officials in Minnesota willing to look at the laws again?

Are there any legislators in Minnesota willing to muscle up the laws if they really are this thin?

Or will the bar remain lowered so far that it is confused with the dirt it lies in?

— Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) KristineWard@hotmail.com

<![CDATA[The Chicago Document¬†Release]]>Wed, 22 Jan 2014 16:22:58 GMThttp://nsacoalition.com/blogarchives/the-chicago-documentrelease                                                                                COMMENTARY

First and foremost, we believe it is important to profoundly thank the survivors who had the mettle and the courage and determination to push for the document release that the Archdiocese of Chicago was court ordered to turn over.

Cardinal Francis George did not voluntarily give up one sheet of paper on the 30 priests whose files were released.

No letter writing campaign or website statement or any mushing of the facts changes that: this was a court ordered release.

The truth is in the documents.

That is why they are so vital.

That’s also why Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops fight so hard through highly paid and high-powered attorneys to keep them from going public.

What is in the documents – those released on the 30 priests in Chicago and in the few other document releases that have occurred — was known to the Cardinals, Archbishop, Bishops – any hierarch with access to his own diocese’s files – at any time of the day, week, month, or year that this crisis has existed.

And make no mistake about it — this crisis existed before newspaper stories were written about it and television and radio broadcasts aired about it, and columnists wrote about it,  or lawyers litigated it.

Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops and Popes knew about it. It’s as simple as that.

What is in the documents could have been the underpinning of real reform in June 2002 or months or years or decades before that — or any day since.

There was never any day of the week, or any month of any year that it was okay for a priest to rape or sodomize a child.

There was never any day of the week or any month of any year that it was okay for any Cardinal or Archbishop or Bishop or any priest personnel director to find ways to protect priests who raped and sodomized children and who groomed them to lure them into situations where they could rape and sodomize children.

The representatives of the Vatican said last week in Geneva before the UN Committee on the Protection of the Child that there were “no excuses” for the sexual abuse crisis.

Cardinal George in his letters and statements disagrees.

He has excuses: bad vetting by a dead Cardinal Archbishop, evolving understanding of sexual abuse and other social ills, including domestic violence, and date rape —  and old age –  it’s all old news.

We encourage NSAC News subscribers to read the documents – and to encourage their family and friends to read the documents.

The files can be found through the good efforts of the record keepers at Bishop Accountability on its website: www.bishopaccountability,org.   You will find them in a link at the top right in the “Chicago New” file.

The documents are categorized on Attorney Jeff Anderson’s firm’s website and can be access through this link http://www.andersonadvocates.com/Archdiocese-of-Chicago-Documents.aspx  This link also includes depositions by Cardinal George and Bishop Raymond Goerdert.

One of the categories on this site is titled” Cardinal George’s Knowledge of Abusive Priests”

A few points to keep in mind while reading the documents and discussing them:

  • There are no files in the release      regarding Daniel McCormack who was arrested and convicted on Cardinal      George’s watch. They are sealed by the court because of other cases
  • There are 35 other known priests      of the Archdiocese of Chicago who are credibly accused of abuse whose      files are not part of this release of documents.
In addition, we believe it should be noted that the Archdiocese of Chicago felt it should include this statement in its response to Attorney Jeff Anderson’s statement on the document release: The Archdiocese of Chicago is in full compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, adopted by the U.S. Bishops in Dallas in June 2002.

The Charter, written and adopted by Bishops – with Cardinal George as its principal author – does not include any provision or sanction or even a slap on the wrist for dealing with Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops who covered up the rape and sodomy of children by priests and who kept the perpetrators in positions of respect and positions of continued access to children.

— Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) KristineWard@hotmail.com

<![CDATA[Holy See "Gets It"]]>Wed, 22 Jan 2014 14:57:42 GMThttp://nsacoalition.com/blogarchives/holy-see-gets-itEDITORIAL

 “The Holy See gets it," Msgr. Charles Scicluna, declared before the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child at a meeting in Geneva, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Link to the full news story:

“Getting it” is not an accomplishment.

Getting rid of it is.

Not only is “getting it” not an accomplishment, it’s not an “ah hah” moment, it’s not even Christianity.

Getting the rape and sodomy of children is basic humanity.

Raping and sodomizing children is criminal.

Luring children into situations where you can rape and sodomized them is criminal.

This is not a complex theological argument.

Getting it is when Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, MO packs a moving van after being removed from his office.

Getting it is extraditing a Polish archbishop to Poland to answer Polish authorities’ questions about being a sexually abusive priest/archbishop --- one who is being investigated in the Dominican Republic and Poland. Getting it is not saying you will deal with the matter with your own courts.

Getting it is releasing the documents. They are the place where the truth lives.

Removing Finn, extraditing Weslowski, releasing the truth doesn’t take commissions, papal or otherwise.

They take a Pope.

The Vatican has had one for over 2,000 years. In some years, it’s had more than one.

You can “get” this intellectually or emotionally – your choice – but out of basic humanity the journey is not a long one, the road is not laden with obstacles, the distance from Point A to Point B is short.

Getting this is simple.

Adults under no circumstances should rape or sodomized children. Period.

People who are in authority over those who rape and sodomize children shouldn’t harbor the people who do it, provide the needs of life for them, shuttle them into safe places, or hide them.  If they do, they are complicit in the rape and sodomy of children.

This is doubly, if not triply true if you are a religious institution which claims 1.2 billion members and you have a sign out that says you know the way to the moral life and you are exporting it.

It is inherently true if this religious institution also has a sign out that proclaims the priests of its largest rite as well as the professed men and women religious in the outfit don’t have sex, period – not with anybody, least of all by raping and sodomizing children.

If Catholics and the world at large accept the “we get it” explanation along with the rest of the Vatican representatives’ testimony before the UN Committee as to what is good and right and proper and what needs to be done for justice to be had in this crisis -- it’s outrageous.

What the Vatican ”gets” is that the world is catching on to it and it had no other viable defensive option than to appear before the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva.

The world is catching on, make no mistake about this, because of the courage and the dedicated hard work of the survivors.

Here we applaud the heavy lifting that is done by SNAP.

And when you are causing the world to “grill” in unprecedented fashion one of its most powerful institutions, that’s some lifting.

The Vatican representatives ducked and dodged and deflected in the testimony before the UN.

We make available for you at the end of this editorial the text of Archbishop Silvano Tomasi,’s address as the Vatican Information Service presented it.

We call your attention to the Vatican’s characterization that Tomasi, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, was at Geneva as part of a periodic reporting event, -- not as a player in an historic, unfiltered sit-down-and-answer-questions about your record on the sexual abuse of children for all the world to see and hear.

Routine event as the Vatican Information Service tried to characterize it in its official record? Nothing could be further from the truth. Seems in cover-up, as in war, truth is also the first casualty.

The catalyst for this particular committee “grilling” as news reports told the world, was the failure of the Vatican to provide required annual reports as a signer on the UN Treaty of the Child. The failure existed for 11 years. Some periodic reporting.

We will give the Vatican this: along with Tomasi whom they could have sent alone, -- they did send Monsignor Scicluna and to his credit Scicluna went. Scicluna knows where the bodies are buried and it was a high level risk to send him. He worked for Joseph Ratzinger in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He knows what’s in those records at the Congregation.

One has to wonder as Scicluna sat there being grilled by civil authorities if he thought that his former boss in the Congregation of Faith, should have been sitting there taking the heat or at least feeling it radiate at the other end of a video conferencing camera within his Vatican castle.

Catholics, we do hope, will not be hoodwinked by this performance and add insult to injury to survivors by being sucked into another re-run of “it’s history.”

Pope Benedict XVI had every opportunity on any day of the week, any moment of the day or night, during nearly the entire papacy of Pope John Paul II  and the entirety of his own papacy to clean house of sexual abusers, to move the backlog of laicization cases still gathering dust in the Congregation, to remove abusive and cover-up bishops, to release Vatican documents, to order bishops and cardinals and congregations to release documents, to order bishops, cardinals and congregations to release names, -- to come clean.

He didn’t do it.

That’s a choice, a clear choice, not a failure or a deficiency in “getting it.”

The sitting pope had scandal on his mind, too, as his representatives were on the hot seat in Geneva.

Said Pope Francis, it is reported, in his homily:

"But are we ashamed? So many scandals that I do not want to mention individually, but all of us know...We know where they are! Scandals, some who charged a lot of money.... The shame of the Church! But are we all ashamed of those scandals, of those failings of priests, bishops, laity? (emphasis added). Where was the Word of God in those scandals; where was the Word of God in those men and in those women? They did not have a relationship with God! They had a position in the Church, a position of power, even of comfort. But the Word of God, no! 'But, I wear a medal,' ‘I carry the Cross ' ... Yes, just as those who bore the Ark! Without the living relationship with God and the Word of God! I am reminded of the words of Jesus about those from whom scandals come ... And here the scandal hit: bringing decay (it: decadenza) to the people of God, including (it: fino alla) the weakness and corruption of the priests."

We added the emphasis to the  phrase “ priests, bishops and laity” because we believe there should be howls of protest from the laity – who never see the light of day in parallel references with priests and bishops when it comes to anything else in the Church but they are lumped into the shame of scandals in equal proportion.

This is insulting.

Yes, there are lay people who have been on parish or school staffs that have abused --they have been prosecuted in vastly higher numbers than priests and bishops who have abused and covered up abuse , no comparison --- and after being accused they have not been given hiding places and financial underpinning by the Church -- nor had their bail paid by the Church. There are lay chancery officials who have covered up but their known number does not rise to anywhere near equal portion to the known number of priests and bishops who have abused and covered up and who had and have the power to end this crisis but fail to end this crisis. Same holds true on the financial scandal front.

This largest crisis in the Church in the last 500 hundred years has not been caused by  lay people. Good grief.

Getting it is not an accomplishment.

Getting rid of it is.

When’s that going to happen?

Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) KristineWard@hotmail.com

TEXT of the Vatican Information Service report:  

Vatican City, 16 January 2014 (VIS) – Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, C.S., Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva, spoke this morning before the Committee on the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC). He presented the Holy See's periodic report on this issue.


Vatican City, 16 January 2014 (VIS) – Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, C.S., Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva, spoke this morning before the Committee on the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC). He presented the Holy See's periodic report on this issue.

“The protection of children remains a major concern for contemporary society and for the Holy See,” the prelate said. “... Abusers are found among members of the world’s most respected professions, most regrettably, including members of the clergy and other church personnel. …”

“Confronted with this reality, the Holy See has carefully delineated policies and procedures designed to help eliminate such abuse and to collaborate with respective State authorities to fight against this crime. The Holy See is also committed to listen carefully to victims of abuse and to address the impact such situations have on survivors of abuse and on their families. The vast majority of church personnel and institutions on the local level have provided, and continue to provide, a wide variety of services to children by educating them, and by supporting their families, and by responding to their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Egregious crimes of abuse committed against children have rightly been adjudicated and punished by the competent civil authorities in the respective countries.”

“Therefore, the response of the Holy See to the sad phenomenon of the sexual abuse of minors has been articulated in different ambits. On the level of the Holy See, as the Sovereign of Vatican City State, the response to sexual abuse has been in accord with its direct responsibility over the territory of Vatican City State. In this regard, special legislation has been enacted to implement international legal obligations, and covers the State, and its tiny population.”

“On the international level, the Holy See has taken concrete action by the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990. In 2000, the Holy See acceded to the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution, and Child Pornography, as well as the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict. The Holy See then promotes and encourages these international instruments.”

“At the same time, the Holy See as the central organ of the Catholic Church has formulated guidelines to facilitate the work of the local Churches to develop effective measures within their jurisdiction and in conformity with canonical legislation.”

“Local Churches, taking into account the domestic law in their respective countries, have developed guidelines and monitored their implementation with the aim of preventing any additional abuse and dealing promptly with it, in accordance with national law whenever it occurs. … The result of the combined action taken by local Churches and by the Holy See presents a framework that, when properly applied, will help eliminate the occurrence of child sexual abuse by clergy and other church personnel.”

The Permanent Observer explained that “the Holy See’s 'Periodic Report on the CRC' is divided into four Parts: Part I deals with general considerations, including the nature of the Holy See as a subject of international law. Part II responds to the concluding observations of the Committee to the Holy See’s Initial Report, and, in particular, questions concerning reservations; the Committee’s four principles and the duties and rights of parents, the education of girls, education about health, and education on the CRC. The Holy See also discusses the principles it promotes concerning the rights and duties of the child within the context of the family. Part III presents the international contributions of the Holy See in advancing and promoting basic principles recognized in the CRC on a full range of issues pertaining to children (e.g., the family, adoption, children with disabilities; health and welfare; leisure and culture; and special measures to protect children, including questions pertaining to sexual abuse, drug addiction, children living on the streets and minority groups). Finally, Part IV addresses the implementation of the Convention in Vatican City State.”

“In the end, there is no excuse,” the prelate repeated, “for any form of violence or exploitation of children. Such crimes can never be justified, whether committed in the home, in schools, in community and sports programs, or in religious organizations and structures. This is the long-standing policy of the Holy See. … For this reason, the Holy See, and local Church structures in all parts of the world, are committed to holding inviolable the dignity and entire person of every child—body, mind, and spirit.”

“Pope Benedict XVI,” the prelate concluded, “speaking to the Bishops of Ireland in 2006 had these important words to say: 'In the exercise of your pastoral ministry, you have had to respond in recent years to many heart-rending cases of sexual abuse of minors. These are all the more tragic when the abuser is a cleric.' … Likewise, Pope Francis clearly … undertook new action and has announced the creation of a Commission for the Protection of Minors, with the aim of proposing new initiatives for the development of safe environment programs for children and improving efforts for the pastoral care for victims of abuse around the world.”

<![CDATA[Archbishop Steps Down]]>Wed, 18 Dec 2013 13:43:46 GMThttp://nsacoalition.com/blogarchives/archbishop-steps-downArchbishop John Nienstedt

The early reports out of Minneapolis-St. Paul regarding the accusation against Archbishop John Nienstedt and his stepping aside carry two items we call to our readers’ attention.

From the official statement of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis: 
The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis today announced that an allegation has been brought by a mandated reporter within the Church to the St. Paul Police of inappropriate touching of a minor male on the buttocks by Archbishop John Nienstedt. The single incident is alleged to have occurred in 2009 during a group photography session with the archbishop following a confirmation ceremony. Archbishop Nienstedt emphatically denies the allegation. Upon learning of the allegation last week, the archdiocese instructed the mandated reporter to make the matter known to the police. The archbishop and the archdiocese stand ready to cooperate fully with the St. Paul Police.

You read correctly --- the “Archdiocese instructed the mandated reporter to make the matter known to police.”

This will be praised in many circles. 

But it is clearly an indication that the understanding of what a mandatory reporter is is not understood. The mandatory reporter reported to the archdiocese and then to the police.

From the story in the Pioneer Press, here’s the link to the full story:
http://www.twincities.com/crime/ci_24740703/archbishop-nienstedt-accused-will-step-aside --- carries a window into how statements have gotten passed off as action throughout the unfolding of the sexual abuse crisis.

The headline reads: St. Paul police say archdiocese not cooperating: Archbishop accused of inappropriately touching boy.

The Archdiocese’s statement says the “The Archbishop and the Archdiocese stand ready to cooperate fully with the St. Paul police.” 

The link to the Pioneer Press story will also provide a link to the full text of the Archdiocese’s statement.

The matter is being investigated by the police and that’s where it should be.

Regardless of where and how the investigation of the accusation ends, the issues of mandatory reporters and the institution of the Church and what the Church in its official pronouncements means by cooperation are issues crying out for further investigation – and action.

_ Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC),
KristineWard@hotmail.com, 937-272-0308

<![CDATA[Time's Person of the Year]]>Thu, 12 Dec 2013 20:51:41 GMThttp://nsacoalition.com/blogarchives/time-names-pope-man-of-the-yearby Kristine Ward Picture
MEN and WOMEN of the YEAR
TIME magazine named Pope Francis its Person of the  Year for 2013.

We believe it’s important to write to TIME magazine.

It’s impossible not to see the groundswell of  good feeling for this pope – from believer and non-believer alike — and the  attraction to simplicity and the projecting of the human desire that the Pope  and the Church actually be as good as what Popes and Churchmen say in public  pronouncements.

What worries us is the effect on the survivors and their families.

If it worries you, we think you should write to Time magazine.

We thought  about saying we urge you to write to Time magazine but we don’t think the people
who subscribe to NSAC News need urging – you get it – children and minors
shouldn’t be raped and sodomized by priests and nuns under a tent of cover-up by
bishops, cardinals, popes, chancery and Curia officials – what you need is  reminding.

It’s a busy time of year. Consider this your reminder.

When the talk at holiday parties, around Christmas cookie swaps, at church, in the
concert ticket line, and the checkout line, and with the folks riding in a car
with you,  turns to how wonderful Pope Francis is and how all the Church’s
troubles have been forgotten, God’s in His heaven and all is right with world –
please consider this a reminder to say it is not.

When it’s inserted in the conversation that Francis has established a commission on sexual abuse and the
problem’s solved, please say it is not.

Please remind your family, friends, fellow party-goers that the Vatican commission exists to the world only in the  words spoken by Cardinal Sean O’Malley.

A Pope that cold calls whomever he wishes, friend and stranger, who makes dramatic statement through his actions regarding his living arrangements, his payment of bills, his apology to parishioners inconvenienced by the trappings of his office, has said nothing  publicly about his commission.

A Pope who cold calls whomever he wishes hasn’t placed a phone call to convicted  Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph, Missouri.

A Pope who raises his voice in warning  about the idolatry of money shouldn’t worry then about – or stand for Catholics  bad mouthing — settlements to survivors to whom only money is left now to be a  measure of justice. He should provide clear and rich directives to bishops to end their legal battles with survivors and cease and desist from paying lobbyists to thwart statute of limitation extensions or removal.

He should make sure dioceses eschew the going into bankruptcy court route to hide from
providing justice to survivors and all the while blaming survivors for their  escape routes.

Advocates should keep in mind that the day Cardinal O’Malley  spoke to the press about the establishment of the commission that doesn’t exist on a day that:
• the Archbishop of Minneapolis-St. Paul was under fire again – this time with the public exposure that the Archbishop had withheld  names from a list of accused priests – 7 of them – surfacing for the first time
last Thursday,

• the Vatican was receiving criticism for its response or lack thereof to the UN Treaty of the Child questions,

• the Australian Royal Commission inquiry was still roiling
• word had leaked out in the  news media that a Legion of Christ media superstar who had fathered a child was  marrying the mother of his child – after taking a year plus to think about it after his fathering of the child became public – and the mother of the child is the daughter of a former Vatican ambassador

• and the Legion of Christ announced that there was “no reason to doubt” a sexual abuse allegation involving its US instructor of novices from 1982 to 1994.

Interesting timing,  we think, for Cardinal O’Malley to have a chat with the media and drop the
commission item into the conversation. The end of the Council of Eight Cardinals meeting some would say was the reason O’Malley took to the media avenue. But after other Council of Eight Cardinal meetings there were no announcements say for the indications of a next meeting.

What needs to be kept in mind by advocates as well is that Pope Francis may have a bully pulpit
in the world at large but in his Church he has power – and that’s an understatement.

Bishop Finn remains a bishop with jurisdiction because Pope Francis wants it that way. If Pope Francis didn’t want it that way, Bishop Finn wouldn’t remain a sitting bishop, it’s as simple as that.

If Pope Francis  wanted the names of all priests and nuns who had abused children and
minors  released from the files of dioceses and religious orders throughout the world, all the names would be released.

If Pope Francis wanted the Vatican to come clean about how the Church has not lived up to protecting
children as a signer to the UN Treaty of the Child, it would have. Instead it  retreated to specifics – a place it rarely goes in the sexual abuse crisis – and spoke in the narrow realm of the 31 children that live in the Vatican City State  – not the hundreds of thousands of children that belong to the family of the
Roman Catholic Church and who were raped and sodomized because they did.

If Pope Francis wanted to end the crisis of sexual abuse in the Church, the crisis would end.

The turn of the phrase “pastoral response” in regard to the commission of which O’Malley spoke is quicksand that should be disquieting at the very least to any advocate’s ear. Pastoral is the place to which the Church
and its bishops and priests retreat as a vast, marshmellowy place of perceived
but not calculable goodness and light free from the specifics of law, medical care, psychological assistance and a genuine solving of the crisis.

We believe the men and women of the year are the survivors.

Not all survivors  are strong enough because of the effects of their abuse to speak up against the
onslaught of wishing and hoping that if the survivors would just go way, forgive
and forget, become healed everything would slip back into that wonderful  place where all was right with the world – and magically children would be protected.

Advocates need to speak up.

In an Internet world, it takes only will and commitment and very little time to make your voice heard, your opinion count, your reason for being an advocate to take concrete form.

Here is the  link to submit a letter to the editor of Time magazine:

Survivors are the men and women of the year.

Advocates, step up.

— Kristine Ward,
Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition, KristineWard@hotmail.com