Vatican warned Irish bishops not to report abuse

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UBLIN – A 1997 letter from the Vatican warned Ireland's Catholic bishops not to report all suspected child-abuse cases to police — a disclosure that victims' groups described as "the smoking gun" needed to show that the church enforced a worldwide culture of covering up crimes by pedophile priests.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110118/ap_on_re_eu/eu_ireland_catholic_abuse [Broken]

My question is, why aren't prosecutions pursued?
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
They established the famous rat-lines which funneled Nazis out of Germany... they can do anything people will allow them to do. Apparently, anything includes a free stab at their kids, so... yeah.
 
  • #3
Evo
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My question is, why aren't prosecutions pursued?
By police, or internally by the church?
 
  • #4
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The Catholic Church was involved in the 1994 genocides in Rwanda, where 800,000 people were massacred in ethnic related cleansing. Today, many of the priests are doing life for genocide, but there hasn't been an apology from the Vatican.
 
  • #5
Evo
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We need to be careful here, although it's news, we have to be careful not to offend Catholics.
 
  • #6
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We need to be careful here, although it's news, we have to be careful not to offend Catholics.
I think Vatican should be more careful not to offend Catholics :P
 
  • #7
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Why would this come as a surprise.?

A few questions though..

"It instead emphasizes the church's right to handle all child-abuse allegations and determine punishments in house rather than give that power to civil authorities"
- Who/ what authority is this based on.? Why can the church punish (or not punish) their own when other entities can't?

"Irish taxpayers, rather than the church, have paid most of the euro1.5 billion ($2 billion) to more than 14,000 abuse claimants dating back to the 1940s."
- Why is this?
 
  • #8
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The Catholic Church was involved in the 1994 genocides in Rwanda, where 800,000 people were massacred in ethnic related cleansing. Today, many of the priests are doing life for genocide, but there hasn't been an apology from the Vatican.
To be fair, was the Catholic Church involved specifically or a few local Catholic Priests and nuns? Was the Pope or any top level Vatican official indicted? Do you have a specific link?
 
  • #9
To be fair, was the Catholic Church involved specifically or a few local Catholic Priests and nuns? Was the Pope or any top level Vatican official indicted? Do you have a specific link?
When, as an organization, you show a pattern of giving refuge to your own regardless of the impact of their action (Hudal, Pious...), at some point it's about a systemic failure to condemn, control, and change. If that's intentional, it's pretty evil, if it's pathological (more likely) then it's just pathetic.

Oh, and asking for links when we're talking about the third paragraph on wikipedia addressing the issue is kind of... well... crap.

Wikipedia said:
1994 GenocideA Human Rights Watch report notes that the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church refrained from condemning the 1994 genocide. Four days after the genocide began, the Catholic church issued a statement asking its followers to support the new government that came to power following the death of the president in a plane crash. Similarly, Archbishop Augustin Nshamihigo and Bishop Jonathan Ruhumuliza of the Church of the Province of Rwanda acted as spokespersons for the government in a news conference, blaming the rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) for the assassination of Habyarimana and the genocide. Many clergy members continued to attend local security committee meetings, in their roles as prominent members of the community, despite those committees' organizing the mass killings of Tutsi. The Church allowed politicians and propagandists to claim divine inspiration for the genocide; interim president Théodore Sindikubwabo assured listeners in a speech that God would help them against the "enemy".

Many clergy did not protect civilians who sought their help, either from fear for personal safety or desire to see them killed.[citation needed] A smaller number incited the genocide. These include most prominently Seventh-day Adventist Church pastor Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, who was convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and Theophister Mukakibibi and Maria Kisito, Rwandan Roman Catholic nuns sentenced for helping to kill hundreds of Tutsi during the genocide. Also involved were Roman Catholic priests Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, Athanase Seromba, and Emmanuel Rukundo, all of whom have been convicted of genocide.

Some individual members of the religious community attempted to protect civilians, sometimes at great risk to themselves. For example, Mgr. Thaddée Ntihinyurwa of Cyangugu preached against the genocide from the pulpit and tried unsuccessfully to rescue three Tutsi religious brothers from an attack, while Sr. Felicitas Niyitegeka of the Auxiliaires de l’Apostolat in Gisenyi smuggled Tutsi across the border into Zaire, until she was executed by a militant militia in retaliation.[4] In her book Left to Tell: Discovering God in the Rwandan Holocaust (2006), Immaculee Ilibagiza, a Tutsi woman, describes hiding with seven other Tutsi women for 91 days in a bathroom in the house of Pastor Murinzi - for the majority of the genocide. At the St Paul Pastoral Centre in Kigali, about 2,000 people found refuge and most of them survived, due to the efforts of Fr Celestin Hakizimana. This priest 'intervened at every attempt by the militia to abduct or murder' the refugees in his centre. In the face of powerful opposition, he tried to hold off the killers with persuasion or bribes.[5]
An archbishop isn't just "a local priest", except in the most literal sense. Statements from the Vatican, both the head of a church AND a nation-state... are also not local. Granted, this isn't exactly authoritative, but surely it's a place for you to start.

Here's some more.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ratlines_(World_War_II [Broken])

History good...
 
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  • #10
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When, as an organization, you show a pattern of giving refuge to your own regardless of the impact of their action (Hudal, Pious...), at some point it's about a systemic failure to condemn, control, and change. If that's intentional, it's pretty evil, if it's pathological (more likely) then it's just pathetic.

Oh, and asking for links when we're talking about the third paragraph on wikipedia addressing the issue is kind of... well... crap.



An archbishop isn't just "a local priest", except in the most literal sense. Statements from the Vatican, both the head of a church AND a nation-state... are also not local. Granted, this isn't exactly authoritative, but surely it's a place for you to start.

Here's some more.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ratlines_(World_War_II [Broken])

History good...
The "crap" part of my request aside, did you notice the (check my bold) little tag?

"Many clergy did not protect civilians who sought their help, either from fear for personal safety or desire to see them killed.[citation needed] A smaller number incited the genocide. These include most prominently Seventh-day Adventist Church pastor Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, who was convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and Theophister Mukakibibi and Maria Kisito, Rwandan Roman Catholic nuns sentenced for helping to kill hundreds of Tutsi during the genocide. Also involved were Roman Catholic priests Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, Athanase Seromba, and Emmanuel Rukundo, all of whom have been convicted of genocide.

Some individual members of the religious community attempted to protect civilians, sometimes at great risk to themselves."


As for protecting their own - why wouldn't an international organization want to lead the investigation of it's members? I've long thought the problem ran deeper and longer than first indicated. Do I expect full disclosure by the Church - no, no I don't. Do I expect them to address the problem in a comprehensive manner - absolutely - and regardless of the time or resources required.
 
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  • #11
The "crap" part of my request aside, did you notice the (check my bold) little tag?

"Many clergy did not protect civilians who sought their help, either from fear for personal safety or desire to see them killed.[citation needed] A smaller number incited the genocide. These include most prominently Seventh-day Adventist Church pastor Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, who was convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and Theophister Mukakibibi and Maria Kisito, Rwandan Roman Catholic nuns sentenced for helping to kill hundreds of Tutsi during the genocide. Also involved were Roman Catholic priests Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, Athanase Seromba, and Emmanuel Rukundo, all of whom have been convicted of genocide.

Some individual members of the religious community attempted to protect civilians, sometimes at great risk to themselves."


As for protecting their own - why wouldn't an international organization want to lead the investigation of it's members? I've long thought the problem ran deeper and longer than first indicated. Do I expect full disclosure by the Church - no, no I don't. Do I expect them to address the problem in a comprehensive manner - absolutely - and regardless of the time or resources required.
Ahhh... so you anticipated his link? You should be more active in the "flukey or spookey" thread! So, your little bold aside, did you notice the rest of the article, and the many citations which DO show a failure to properly lead, and more than, "local priests" doing the rest.

I note also a certain lack of engagement around the rat-lines... I don't blame you; the way they were handled by the Vatican and other nations (US included) is pretty bad. To your last point:

You're saying that the Vatican should investigate itself? Yeah... in the Vatican, no arguments, otherwise until each priest has to apply for diplomatic immunity... very cute.
 
  • #12
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You're saying that the Vatican should investigate itself? Yeah... in the Vatican, no arguments, otherwise until each priest has to apply for diplomatic immunity... very cute.
If the Vatican wants credibility - it must be thorough - eternity is a long time.
 
  • #13
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Here's another example:

A Catholic priest was convicted Wednesday of taking part in Rwanda's 1994 genocide by ordering militiamen to set fire to a church and then bulldoze it while 2,000 people seeking safety were huddled inside.
WashingtonPost


Going back to the OP, the Catholic Church always gets away with everything because they sweep all their crimes under a rug, say crimes were committed without their knowledge, they protect themselves, and also they enjoy immunity from any criticism which is enforced by the masses of followers who get offended, and angry when someone challenges the church.
 
  • #14
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Going back to the OP, the Catholic Church always gets away with everything because they sweep all their crimes under a rug, say crimes were committed without their knowledge, they protect themselves, and also they enjoy immunity from any criticism which is enforced by the masses of followers who get offended, and angry when someone challenges the church.
Please support your claims or label as opinion.
 
  • #15
Hepth
Gold Member
448
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While its at a COMPLETELY different level: if you worked for a large corporation, and you went to the corporate attorneys and told them you've been stealing ATM machines and breaking them open for the cash, but you haven't been caught yet, what do you think he would advise you to do? Would he turn you in himself? (probably not) Would he advise you to turn yourself in? (Perhaps, but maybe not) Would he advise you not to tell anyone else, and to keep quiet about it? (Probably?)

So while I think it IS horrendous, it doesn't really surprise me. Why would any corporation or entity out unobserved illegal activity when it can attempt to end it themselves, thus suppressing any external criticism and/or prosecution. I thought this would be the standard rather than the exception. Its basically a gamble though on whether or not it'll all be exposed in the future, which will look REALLY bad.
 
  • #16
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While its at a COMPLETELY different level: if you worked for a large corporation, and you went to the corporate attorneys and told them you've been stealing ATM machines and breaking them open for the cash, but you haven't been caught yet, what do you think he would advise you to do? Would he turn you in himself? (probably not) Would he advise you to turn yourself in? (Perhaps, but maybe not) Would he advise you not to tell anyone else, and to keep quiet about it? (Probably?)

So while I think it IS horrendous, it doesn't really surprise me. Why would any corporation or entity out unobserved illegal activity when it can attempt to end it themselves, thus suppressing any external criticism and/or prosecution. I thought this would be the standard rather than the exception. Its basically a gamble though on whether or not it'll all be exposed in the future, which will look REALLY bad.
To build on that example, a company that found out (from a terminated employee) cashiers were routinely short-changing customers ($1 to $10 increments over thousands of transactions - every $20 bill) - do they make an announcement (a PR nightmare) or end the behavior?
 
  • #17
To build on that example, a company that found out (from a terminated employee) cashiers were routinely short-changing customers ($1 to $10 increments over thousands of transactions - every $20 bill) - do they make an announcement (a PR nightmare) or end the behavior?
Henry Kissinger said:
Any fact that needs to be disclosed should be put out now or as quickly as possible, because otherwise the bleeding will not end.
So... both; the announcement is simply the first step in ending the behavior and managing the fallout.
 
  • #18
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If the church felt they were right, I believe that they should have fought out all these cases instead of settling. While I'm not going to fall into the belief that the church is "evil", they do need to realize that their way of fixing/avoiding this issue has not been working.

They need to come down hard on priests who are convicted or settle out of court and get them away from people...

Prison comes to mind.

They should let the accusations go to court and let a jury decide. It seems that some lawyers are making a living just by settling pedophile cases with the church.
 
  • #19
If the church felt they were right, I believe that they should have fought out all these cases instead of settling. While I'm not going to fall into the belief that the church is "evil", they do need to realize that their way of fixing/avoiding this issue has not been working.

They need to come down hard on priests who are convicted or settle out of court and get them away from people...

Prison comes to mind.

They should let the accusations go to court and let a jury decide. It seems that some lawyers are making a living just by settling pedophile cases with the church.
re bold: I'm not picking on you, because it's a common thing I've noticed: those aren't two options. You settle civil suits, but a criminal suit never settles "out of court", you get a plea deal or go ahead and roll the bones. A lot of attention has been paid to a civil process, because the criminal process has been so successfully stymied and circumvented all over the world. There is also the simple fact that pedophiles already have 2 built in advantages:
1.) Early on, fear, coercion, etc...
2.) It often takes many MANY years for victims to come forward, which naturally makes the case harder to make in a criminal setting (no fix AFAIK), but also many don't want to be dragged through the press. Even 'local priests' can have a LOT of influence, and we're talking about some countries where victims have or had no enhanced legal protection in court from the criminals.

Most of those issues are built into abuse at its most basic level, so when a massive organization that claims absolute moral authority actively shelters all manner of truly vile criminal, it's probably cynical to ask your flock for forgiveness.
 
  • #20
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We need to be careful here, although it's news, we have to be careful not to offend Catholics.
Catholics should be more offended by the actions of their own church than anything any of us can possibly say. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough, but I haven't seen much of a backlash from Catholics about the Church's actions.
 
  • #21
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Catholics should be more offended by the actions of their own church than anything any of us can possibly say. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough, but I haven't seen much of a backlash from Catholics about the Church's actions.
It's not likely there will be a press conference - any "backlash" will take place behind closed doors. This is the same argument used by some to criticize another religion over terrorism. It's not realistic to expect the majority of members of a religion to openly criticize that religion over the actions of a minority group of crazy members.
 
  • #22
Al68
Going back to the OP, the Catholic Church always gets away with everything because they sweep all their crimes under a rug, say crimes were committed without their knowledge, they protect themselves, and also they enjoy immunity from any criticism which is enforced by the masses of followers who get offended, and angry when someone challenges the church.
You left out the simple, yet very relevant fact that the Vatican is a sovereign state. This was a case of a foreign state, not just a church, telling people in other states around the world to cover up horrendous crimes committed in those other states.

That's much more than just a private entity avoiding self-incrimination, especially since the Vatican was not even legally culpable for the crimes they were covering up. They covered up crimes just for the sake of their reputation, and ruined it by doing so.
 
  • #23
1,482
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It's not likely there will be a press conference - any "backlash" will take place behind closed doors. This is the same argument used by some to criticize another religion over terrorism. It's not realistic to expect the majority of members of a religion to openly criticize that religion over the actions of a minority group of crazy members.
The 'other' religion, which I presume is Islam, is a different ballgame. Islam doesn't have a central authority like the Vatican which is a well financed international network organized by a leadership hierarchy. And it is this leadership that failed to take proper action against the minority of its crazy members, presumably, the lowly priests who committed the crimes. And it is this leadership that makes future decisions for the Catholic Church.

I doubt that the vast magnitude of this problem spanning many countries around the world can be traced back to some sadistic fringe of rouge bishops or other members with a higher authority, but rather, the cover up has been a collective effort, shrouded in secrecy involving many of its powerful members on a need to know basis, as to keep the situation under control at the expense of yet uncommitted heinous crimes. And that has been successful, and can be traced back, at least not conclusively, to the pope.
 
  • #24
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The 'other' religion, which I presume is Islam, is a different ballgame. Islam doesn't have a central authority like the Vatican which is a well financed international network organized by a leadership hierarchy. And it is this leadership that failed to take proper action against the minority of its crazy members, presumably, the lowly priests who committed the crimes. And it is this leadership that makes future decisions for the Catholic Church.

I doubt that the vast magnitude of this problem spanning many countries around the world can be traced back to some sadistic fringe of rouge bishops or other members with a higher authority, but rather, the cover up has been a collective effort, shrouded in secrecy involving many of its powerful members on a need to know basis, as to keep the situation under control at the expense of yet uncommitted heinous crimes. And that has been successful, and can be traced back, at least not conclusively, to the pope.
my bold

You are correct with respect to the organization of the Catholic Church - it has a very well defined management and operations structure - coupled with centuries of global experience. Given the level of secrecy you've described - how do you know what they've done or not done? Also, what is a "yet uncommitted heinous crimes"?
 
  • #25
my bold

You are correct with respect to the organization of the Catholic Church - it has a very well defined management and operations structure - coupled with centuries of global experience. Given the level of secrecy you've described - how do you know what they've done or not done? Also, what is a "yet uncommitted heinous crimes"?
Phew, I thought maybe I wasn't getting some subtle point. Maybe it's language barrier issue, or maybe he's a fan of Minority Report?

"Tell me your future thoughts! Your thoughts are lying to me!!!" (National Terrorism Strike Force: San Diego: SUV, a sub-sketch of 'Childrens Hospital)

edit:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=<iframe title="YouTube video player" class="youtube-player" type="text/html" width="640" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/XKylO_zfGIs?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowFullScreen></iframe>

and...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=<iframe title="YouTube video player" class="youtube-player" type="text/html" width="640" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/0Mzswa-O0C8?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowFullScreen></iframe>
 

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