ECA GLOBAL NEWS
DECEMBER 2019 WRAP UP
Much Appreciation for everyone who participated in ECA's activities in 2019.
As we end an epic year, and draw courage from all survivors, human rights activists and allies, let us reflect on the top 12 highlights for 2019 and be inspired and encouraged that our efforts made a difference and will matter even more as we continue to support each other and amplify ECA's efforts in 2020.
From the first Papal Sexual Abuse Summit in Rome to Cardinals being found guilty of covering up sexual abuse, from numerous independent inquiries into child sexual abuse throughout the world to the lifting of the statute of limitations in 22 American states, from a record amount of movies and documentaries and a deluge of sex abuse complaints into the Vatican offices, 2019 was by
far a most eventful year in exposing the global extent of the clergy sexual abuse crisis and cover up, and it presented a challenge to select just 12 of the highlights for this year. If you missed any of the news for 2019, ECA's newsletter archives will fill in the details. To contribute to the work of ECA, please consider and end
of year donation. DONATE HERE
1. ROME: Papal Sexual Abuse Summit
2. USA: Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick laicized by Pope Francis
3. FRANCE: French cardinal found guilty of covering up sexual abuse
4. AUSTRALIA: Cardinal George Pell, Former Vatican Official, Sentenced To 6 Years In Prison
5. INDIA: Franco Mulakkal is the first Indian Catholic bishop to be arrested for being accused of raping a nun
An Indian Roman Catholic bishop was charged with repeatedly raping a nun in her rural convent, a case that helped make the sexual abuse of nuns a public issue in the church.
Bishop Franco Mulakkal has been charged with rape, illegal confinement and intimidation, said Hari Sankar, a district police chief in the southern state of Kerala.
The nun, who has not been publicly identified, said she went to the police last year after complaining repeatedly to church authorities.
6. ROME: "Vos Estis Lux Mundi" issued by Pope Francis
May 7, 2019. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Mt 5:14). Our Lord Jesus
Christ calls every believer to be a shining example of virtue, integrity and holiness. All of us, in fact, are called to give concrete witness of faith in Christ in our lives and, in particular, in our relationship with others.
The crimes of sexual abuse offend Our Lord, cause physical, psychological and spiritual damage to the victims and harm the community of the faithful. In order that these phenomena, in all their forms, never happen again, a continuous and profound conversion of hearts is needed, attested by concrete and effective actions that involve everyone in the Church, so that personal sanctity and moral commitment can contribute to promoting the full credibility of the Gospel message and the effectiveness
of the Church’s mission. This becomes possible only with the grace of the Holy Spirit poured into our hearts, as we must always keep in mind the words of Jesus: “Apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). Even if so much has already been accomplished, we must continue to learn from the bitter lessons of the past, looking with hope towards the future.
June 13, 2019. The U.S. bishops approved a plan to implement the "motu proprio" "Vos Estis Lux Mundi" ("You are the light of the world") issued in May by Pope Francis to help the Catholic Church safeguard its members from abuse and hold its leaders accountable.
The "motu proprio" was one of the measures that came out the Vatican's February Vatican summit on clergy sexual abuse attended by the presidents of the world's bishops' conferences.
8. USA: Dioceses and religious orders so far have shared the names of more than 5,100 credibly accused clergy members
Hundreds of these priests chose careers that put them in new positions of trust and authority, including jobs in which they dealt with children and survivors of sexual abuse, the AP found.
12. VATICAN CITY: Pope lifts ''Pontifical Secret" and what that means for survivors.
VATICAN CITY: Vatican Tribunal overwhelmed by clergy abuse cases.
DECEMBER 19, 2019. VATICAN CITY. The Vatican office responsible for processing clergy sex abuse complaints has seen a record 1,000 cases reported from around the world this year, including from countries it had not heard from before — suggesting that the worst may be
yet to come in a crisis that has plagued the Roman Catholic Church.
SWITZERLAND: Inauguration of a plaque in memory of the victims of sexual abuse committed by priests in the diocese
DECEMBER 2019. On behalf of survivors of clergy sexual abuse, Jean-Marie Furbringer gave the speech at the Cathedral where the plaque was mounted.
“We do not tell a wolf that the prey he has in his mouth is not his.”
Like all the sayings that take animals as an example, this one of course talks about relationships between humans. It means that there are predators among us and that it would be impossible to reason with them.
Since we are in a cathedral, I will venture to say it in Latin:
“Homo homini lupus est” . "Man is a wolf to man".
The oldest reference we have from this sentence comes from Plautus in the comedy of donkeys. This sentence which also speaks of the predation between humans has marked many authors that I have crossed in my intellectual formation: Erasmus, Rabelais, Montaigne, Schopenhauer, Freud. However, I found it interesting that Hobbes, great thinker of the social contract, adds:
"... it is also true, and that a man is a god for another man, and that a man is also a wolf for another man," giving an opening to the positive aspects of human relationships.
The commentators of this Latin phrase "Homo homini lupus", refer quite often to the fear of the foreigner, the one we do not know. However, in the theme that concerns us today, we note that the aggressor is not a stranger to his victim. On the contrary, it enjoys a special status, at first glance.
My parents had taught me to be cautious about the proposals of people I did not know. Instructions such as not getting into the car of a stranger. But they had forgotten to tell me that I also had to be wary of people I knew, that I should also be wary of religious, teachers, sports masters. How to carry such a message without falling into paranoia? I do not have the answer, and maybe there is no absolute. That's why on this plate we talk about
In the continuing education I received with respect to preventing violence on campus, the trainers, fed on traumatic experiences of killings on American campuses, said, "If you see something, say something". It's essential, released from the prosecution's responsibility, saying what you see, out loud, and the community can intervene.
In Daniel's account of the abuses he suffered, there are two episodes, quite similar at the end, that shock me every time I think about it. Each time a brother, once in the family, once in the ecclesial setting, who knocks on the door and begs to stop harming this child. How is it possible to have understood that something so terrible is going on and not acting effectively? How is it possible for a bishop to know the abuses committed by one of the priests for whom he is responsible and not to
neutralize him? How is it possible for a provincial to leave loopholes for a criminal?
It is also of this that the whole Church must ask for forgiveness today.
This plaque is there to testify and say that predation is forbidden between human beings. Society, and I hope the Church with her, that is to say, you will never tolerate sexual abuse again. You will tell the wolf that the prey is not his.
This plaque is also a sign of peace and collaboration between an association for the defense of victims, the SAPEC Group, founded by Jacques Nuoffer and Mariejo Aeby, and a bishopric, i.e. a bishop, Mgr. Morerod, and a pastoral team around him:
Thank you to everyone for the listening, the intelligence, the understanding and the work. What we experienced made us strong and vulnerable. We are not just people who have been victims in their childhood. We are also precious witnesses. If the Church is willing to realize it, perhaps that all this suffering will not have been useless.
I will conclude by saying with Seneca: "Man is a sacred thing for man".
Thank you for your attention.
NEW ZEALAND: Royal Commission of Inquiry
This map illustrates an
evolving picture of the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church in New Zealand. We say evolving because there are still stories to tell, allegations to investigate and more information that will emerge.
MEXICO: The Legionaries of Christ confirmed six complaints of sexual abuse of minors by clergy
23 November 2019. Mexico. Report by: JACOBO GARCIA and GEORGINA ZEREGA
The Legionaries of Christ confirmed that the six complaints of sexual abuse of minors filed against a priest of the congregation were true. They also recognize that despite the fact that the priest was denounced by a father for sexually abusing his son in 1969, he continued to go to schools and religious centers in Mexico City and Cancun, and served as a confessor in Salamanca (Spain).
2019 saw a record number of movies and documentaries aired on the clergy sexual abuse crisis. Here are a few highlights.
CNN - THE CASE OF THE PREDATOR PRIEST
NOVEMBER 2019. FRANCE. François Ozon’s devastating drama follows survivors of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest in Lyon, France. The protagonists are based on the real-life men who came forward to accuse a priest, Bernard Preynat, of molesting them when they were
children in the 1970s, ’80s and early ’90s.
Félicitations Nadine, François, Alex et tous ceux qui ont travaillé pour exposer ce crime en France. Sortie générale à San Francisco le lun. Le 11 novembre. Basé sur les événements de la condamnation en 2019 du Cardinal Philippe Barbarin de Lyon pour avoir caché la conduite du Père Bernard Preynat, BY THE GRACE OF GOD illustre avec compassion les différents effets du traumatisme sur les survivants et leurs familles dans ce portrait urgent de la
résistance, du pouvoir de mobilisation, et des mystères de la foi.
NOVEMBER 2019. CANADA. In an investigation into clergy sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church in Canada, The Fifth Estate follows abuse survivors on their quest for accountability. They are demanding that
church officials reveal secret files — information on who the abusers are or were, who knew about it and what was done.
JULY 2019. GERMANY. Abuse in the Catholic Church | DW Documentary
Matthias Katsch tracks down his abusers in Chile and Berlin. Child abuse in the Catholic Church was long a taboo subject, kept under wraps by senior church dignitaries. But in the pursuit of justice, the Church’s inactivity eventually prompted Matthias Katsch, a German victim of clergy child abuse to take matters into his own hands to warn others of the potential abusers still at large.
MAY 2019. POLAND. The "Tell No One" film by brothers Tomasz and Marek Sekielski has been viewed nearly 18 million times.The two-hour documentary includes hidden camera footage of victims who are now adults confronting elderly priests about the abuse they suffered
Several of the priests admit to the abuse and apologise for it, sometimes hinting at monetary compensation.
The film also details how priests accused or even convicted of child sex abuse were transferred to other parishes and able to continue their duties and work with children.
APRIL 2019. Winner—DGC Special Jury Prize – Canadian Feature Documentary.
Widespread sexual abuse within the Catholic Church has traumatized thousands. Many have only recently come forward to speak publicly, while others have been silenced through settlements. One of the perpetrators, Father Hod Marshall, pled guilty to 17 assault charges; a colleague, Father David Katulski, called him a "very good pedophile." One of his victims, seeking closure for this traumatic part of his childhood, filed suit against the Basilian Fathers of
Toronto for its role in enabling Marshall's depravity. As the case moves through the courts—led by "the priest hunter," lawyer Rob Talach—the silence the Catholic Church fought so vigorously to maintain is broken.
EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE
JANUARY 2019. SPAIN. This three-part series discusses different cases of sexual abuse at the hands of priests or other people associated with the Catholic church in Spain, the lack of support for these victims from the church or church-related organizations, and how
the laws in Spain some of the worst in Europe when it comes to prosecuting cases when they’re reported decades after the fact.
NOVEMBER 2019: La Croix Africa conducted a survey to find out how Pope Francis' motu proprio, Vos estis lux mundi (You are the light of the world), has been received in Africa and how the African bishops' conferences have absorbed its message to tackle sexual abuse in the Church."Our local culture is sometimes a culture of shame. If there are subjects we are not sure about, we do not know how to talk
about them," Burkinabe Jesuit Father Paul Béré, a teacher at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, said in June.The 2019 Ratzinger Prize winner analyzed the resistance in Africa to the issue of sexual abuse in the Church. He also felt that the binding nature of Pope Francis' motu proprio, published in May, would be an opportunity for Africa to overcome the cultural barriers to managing sexual abuse.
Bishop Nestor-Désiré Nongo-Aziagbia, president of the Central African Bishops' Conference
It has been a successful year for us towards our struggle to eradicate all worst forms of sexual violence .we have had an unprecedented opportunity to improve understanding and change how people respond to sexual violence throughout our passed campaigns. If all of us embrace our role in building a
culture where acts of violence, harassment and assault are deal breakers, we can someday help end sexual violence once and for all.
This is a critical moment for sexual violence prevention. Times are clearly changing. More brave survivors are feeling emboldened to come forward and tell their stories. This is progress, but our work is not over.
Lets join hands together and support all victims of sexual violence as well as fight tooth and nail to end this vice.
If you experienced sexual violence or know of anyone who has, and you wish to talk to someone, reach The Totya Platform at our free and anonymous hotline: 0800 220 630
Sebastian Cuattromo, Argentina Survivor/Founder,
Adultxs por los derechos de la infancia
"As adult survivors of the crime of sexual abuse and as representatives of our collective association, we are happy to have met new colleagues who, like us, have the conviction to fight to end the sexual abuse of children in the world. It was a great pleasure...
Hopefully we can continue to work together for justice for survivors and for the protection of today's children."
Sebatián Cuattromo and Silvia Piceda
Founding members of the Civil Association “Adults for Children´s Rights”
Zero Tolerance + Zero Cover Up = Truth and Justice
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