"I confess to you that that causes me pain and shame."
April 16, 2018 12:26 PM   Subscribe

Pope Francis publicly apologized to victims of sexual abuse by clergy in Chile, months after defending the bishop accused of covering up the scandal. [CW: discussion of sexual abuse]

In January, during a tour of South America, Francis defended Bishop Juan Barros, whom he appointed in 2015, for covering up the crimes of the Rev. Fernando Karadima, who was eventually convicted of pedophilia and abuse of his position in 2011. At the time, the Pope said, "The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, that's the day when I'll talk." Francis later sent Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Rev. Jordi Bertomeu to interview Karadima's victims; they returned their findings last month. The Pope will apologize personally to three of Karadima's victims.

The text of the Pope's letter.
posted by Halloween Jack (31 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
How did the (ridiculously conservative) Catholic Church pick such a fantastic leader in Francis? I hope he has a long and happy tenure as Pope, and I hope he sets a new standard for the Church.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:34 PM on April 16 [11 favorites]


Probably because, despite his fuzzy-wuzzy words, he doesn't do much to fix the problems. An apology and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee.
posted by haileris23 at 12:44 PM on April 16 [28 favorites]


Probably because, despite his fuzzy-wuzzy words, he doesn't do much to fix the problems. An apology and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee.

Yep. That letter has some pretty sophisticated blame shifting techniques in it, too. Complaining about how the Church is portrayed in the media in a letter that's supposed to be about asking forgiveness from victims of sexual abuse is not a good look.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:59 PM on April 16 [18 favorites]


In January, during a tour of South America, Francis defended Bishop Juan Barros, whom he appointed in 2015, for covering up the crimes of the Rev. Fernando Karadima, who was eventually convicted of pedophilia and abuse of his position in 2011

Also, and please correct me if I have my facts wrong, but this rapist was not convicted of anything. The charges brought by 4 of his victims were dismissed.
posted by lazaruslong at 1:02 PM on April 16


The court declared that the charges were dismissed because of the time that had passed, not because they weren't substantiated. Karadima was convicted by a church court and sentenced to a lifetime of prayer and contemplation etc ad nauseam.

How did the (ridiculously conservative) Catholic Church pick such a fantastic leader in Francis? I hope he has a long and happy tenure as Pope, and I hope he sets a new standard for the Church.


This fantastic leader insulted the people of Osorno who were unhappy about their pro-child-rape bishop by publicly calling them 'tontos' (stupids or fools) and 'zurdos' (lefties).

Yay.
posted by signal at 1:21 PM on April 16 [15 favorites]


He also refused to apologise for residential schools in Canada.
posted by jeather at 1:44 PM on April 16 [22 favorites]


Too little, too late. Of course, nothing would be enough at this point.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 2:11 PM on April 16 [4 favorites]


Karadima was convicted by a church court and sentenced to a lifetime of prayer and contemplation etc ad nauseam.

How is that a sentence? He’s a fucking priest! He’s supposed to be doing that anyway! That’s like sentencing me to drink too much coffee and go to work.

Fuck the church.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:14 PM on April 16 [18 favorites]


Yeah, exactly. That was my beef with the FPP’s description. Saying this guy was convicted of anything is kinda bullshit.
posted by lazaruslong at 2:16 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


How did the (ridiculously conservative) Catholic Church pick such a fantastic leader in Francis? I hope he has a long and happy tenure as Pope, and I hope he sets a new standard for the Church.

As others have noted, he sadly isn't setting any new standards and his actions aren't backing his words. He's had 5 years now. If he was actually committed to addressing the wrongs of the Church, he could have thrown open the Church's relevant records, immediately pulled out all clergy accused of abuse, and cooperated fully and proactively with all authorities investigating such abuse. Instead it's the exact same behavior shown by his predecessors: deny and deride everything, circle the wagons, shuffle people around if the heat gets too high in an area, and maybe grudgingly make a public remark if you're really caught in a bind.
posted by Sangermaine at 2:55 PM on April 16 [9 favorites]


Yeah, wake me up when he starts instituting some Real Catholic Punishment.
posted by rhizome at 3:18 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


Came here for the Pope-dragging. Was not disappointed.
posted by greermahoney at 4:59 PM on April 16 [5 favorites]


Came here for the Pope-dragging. Was not disappointed.

The Truth and Reconciliation Committee, in its final report in 2015, which details a systematic program of cultural genocide in Canada, had the following among its calls to action:

Church Apologies and Reconciliation

58. We call upon the Pope to issue an apology to Survivors,their families, and communities for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children in Catholic-run residential schools. We call for that apology to be similar to the 2010 apology issued to Irish victims of abuse and to occur within one year of the issuing of this Report and to be delivered by the Pope in Canada.

59. We call upon church parties to the Settlement Agreement to develop ongoing education strategies to ensure that their respective congregations learn about their church’s role in colonization, the history and legacy of residential schools, and why apologies to former residential school students, their families, and communities were necessary.

60. We call upon leaders of the church parties to the Settlement Agreement and all other faiths,in collaboration with Indigenous spiritual leaders, Survivors, schools of theology, seminaries, and other religious training centres, to develop and teach curriculum for all student clergy, and all clergy and staff who work in Aboriginal communities, on the need to respect Indigenous spirituality in its own right, the history and legacy of residential schools and the roles of the church parties in that system, the history and legacy of religious conflict in Aboriginal families and communities, and the responsibility that churches have to mitigate such conflicts and prevent spiritual violence.

61. We call upon church parties to the SettlementAgreement, in collaboration with Survivors and representatives of Aboriginal organizations, to establish permanent funding to Aboriginal people for:

i. Community-controlled healing and reconciliation projects.

ii. Community-controlled culture-and language revitalization projects.

iii. Community-controlled education and relationship building projects.

iv. Regional dialogues for Indigenous spiritual leaders and youth to discuss Indigenous spirituality, self determination,and reconciliation.


A simple fucking apology. And he can't even.

Jesus wept.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:31 PM on April 16 [12 favorites]


Australia recently held a Royal Commission into allegations of sexual abuse (including historic ones) committed under cover of religious bodies. A large number of those allegations had been made against Catholic organisations, including those for which Cardinal (then Archbishop) George Pell was responsible.

Pell has been charged, although not yet tried, over allegations that he personally committed child abuse. Regardless of that, though, it has long been alleged that he knew of persistent rumours of child abuse in his diocese but did not address them. Moreover, the church defended itself extremely vigorously against complainants who alleged that the church was responsible for abuse by its clergy. The Royal Commission seemed to find that the defense, costing around A$1.5 million IIRC was excessive.

George Pell is presently Cardinal-priest of Santa Maria Domenica Mazzarello, in Rome, and the inaugural head of the Vatican's Secretariat for the Economy, a position created for him by Pope Francis. I don't know how the Catholic hierarchy works, but I understand that Pell is near the very top. I think that the Pope might reflect upon the feelings of people abused over the decades by people and organisations under Pell's authority, and perhaps consider whether he ought to be in such an exalted position.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:06 PM on April 16 [6 favorites]


I have been a big fan of this Pope, but this apology only came after it became apparent the January visit to Chile was being widely viewed as a PR failure due to the massive protests around the Barros issue. So it was made after the Pope realized how overwhelmlingly public opinion was against Barros et. al., in a country of 18 million.

He says lots nice things, and we progressive Catholics have been thirsty for them, but it's increasingly hard to shake off the feeling that these gestures are mere PR and nothing of substance is intended by them.
posted by ipsative at 7:53 PM on April 16 [5 favorites]


So yeah, after this, if Canadian First Nations want an apology, we need to make it pretty clear next time he's in the neighborhood. I'll march with you guys in Vancouver with a clever picket sign.
posted by ipsative at 7:55 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


What penance is he going to do?
posted by Segundus at 10:34 PM on April 16


> An apology and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee.

That's optimistic: coffee is 2 dollars now.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 10:36 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]


I'm sorry to hear Francis isn't living up to expectations. I did have high hopes for him. Maybe he'll be like Obama and shake things up during his 2nd term?

Errr I mean in his later years? Maybe he's working up to it and ridding his inner circle of evil doers?

Probably not. Sigh.
posted by sio42 at 4:34 AM on April 17


His thoughts were red thoughts: "How is that a sentence? He’s a fucking priest! He’s supposed to be doing that anyway! That’s like sentencing me to drink too much coffee and go to work.

Fuck the church."

rhizome: "Yeah, wake me up when he starts instituting some Real Catholic Punishment.
Maybe you're thinking that there is some medieval shit that the Church could be doing, that was never actually so much a thing in the way that Protestant (and now also post-Protestant Anglophone) popular imagination has it? However, given how Chile's criminal legal shat the bed with this, his fate is just about the most severe Catholic thing the Church can do to him. Yes all priests are supposed to pray and contemplate, but very few choose the life of doing nothing but that in a cell that he has now had imposed on him. There are a lot of things about this case worth being incensed at the church over, from the original cover up, to way the institution as a whole interfered with the criminal/civil investigation, to the way all of the institutionalized wrongdoing around Karadima is still being passively accepted and thus encouraged with continuing Papal support, but where Karadima is and will be for the rest of his life is about as close to where he should be as could be hoped for. At least as is being advertised, he won't ever get out or be unsupervised ever again, will have only his most basic needs met, and will be left to stew alone in what he has done for as long as he lives. If there could be such as thing as justice in his fate, isn't that what it should look like?

Actually cleaning house and clearing away the institutional support that Karadima and so many others enjoyed for so long in the global way that is actually needed for Francis to even approach something approximating moral authority on the issue would involve invoking an extent of Papal authority that Francis has been notably unwilling to exercise. Underneath the cosmetic changes that everyone has been noticing, though they are indeed important in their own way, Francis' tenure has if anything been most notable in the way he has been radically decentralizing Church authority.
posted by Blasdelb at 4:36 AM on April 17 [2 favorites]


Blasdelb: “Maybe you're thinking that there is some medieval shit that the Church could be doing, that was never actually so much a thing in the way that Protestant (and now also post-Protestant Anglophone) popular imagination has it? However, given how Chile's criminal legal shat the bed with this, his fate is just about the most severe Catholic thing the Church can do to him. Yes all priests are supposed to pray and contemplate, but very few choose the life of doing nothing but that in a cell that he has now had imposed on him. There are a lot of things about this case worth being incensed at the church over, from the original cover up, to way the institution as a whole interfered with the criminal/civil investigation, to the way all of the institutionalized wrongdoing around Karadima is still being passively accepted and thus encouraged with continuing Papal support, but where Karadima is and will be for the rest of his life is about as close to where he should be as could be hoped for. At least as is being advertised, he won't ever get out or be unsupervised ever again, will have only his most basic needs met, and will be left to stew alone in what he has done for as long as he lives. If there could be such as thing as justice in his fate, isn't that what it should look like?

Actually cleaning house and clearing away the institutional support that Karadima and so many others enjoyed for so long in the global way that is actually needed for Francis to even approach something approximating moral authority on the issue would involve invoking an extent of Papal authority that Francis has been notably unwilling to exercise. Underneath the cosmetic changes that everyone has been noticing, though they are indeed important in their own way, Francis' tenure has if anything been most notable in the way he has been radically decentralizing Church authority.”

I started to reply to this only to realize my hands were shaking with rage and that I needed to take a walk. So I did that. I’m going to try and be calm in explaining how your comment is astonishingly insulting and offensive.

However, given how Chile's criminal legal shat the bed with this…

There are conflicting reports on how this exactly went down – some say that the Judge felt too much time had passed, some that there was insufficient evidence. Still more suggest that powerful people were putting pressure on the system to dismiss the case:
One of the plaintiffs, Dr. James Hamilton, who said he had been abused by the priest for 20 years, starting when he was 17, criticized the proceedings against Father Karadima as “extraordinarily irregular.”

“We would have liked to appeal, but with defense attorneys like his, who have the Appeals and Supreme Court eating out of their hands, and a number of powerful people who continue to protect Karadima, we knew it would be an uphill battle that we were likely to lose,” he said.

[lawyer for the victims] Mr. Hermosilla said the state prosecutor had gathered testimony from dozens of witnesses that “established a pattern of decades of abusive behavior.”

But he said that the judge, Leonardo Valdivieso, never gave the parties access to the investigation report until the day he closed the case and withheld testimony and other evidence that could have advanced it.

Judge Valdivieso dismissed the case without having Father Karadima face his accusers, as they had requested. Defense lawyers presented the court with a number of medical certificates asserting that the priest could have a heart attack if forced to do so, Mr. Hermosilla said.

That last sentence speaks volumes. The defense successfully argued that this rapist didn’t even have to show up and look his accusers in the face. Amazing.

Anyways, the point is that it’s really hard to prosecute and convict a rapist that has an immensely powerful system like the Church invested in seeing these people walk. Karadima has been raping children since the 80s, and has been protected by his colleagues all the way. Shifting the blame for not bringing this rapist to justice from the Church who protected him and allowed him to rape children for 30 years to a vague “Chile’s criminal legal…” is disingenuous.

Oh, and by the way – the Judge’s “reasons” for dismissing the case? Exactly the same “reasons” that Cardinal Errazuriz in 2006 “…stopped the investigation for more than three years, to wait for new evidence and because he thought the allegations were beyond the statute of limitations” despite the Church’s own investigator informing the cardinal of his belief that “the accusers to be credible and suggesting certain courses of action”. So yeah, time’s gonna pass and it’s gonna get harder to marshall evidence (even though by all accounts the victims’ lawyer had lined up dozens of witnesses) if the Church keeps throwing up roadblocks to protect themselves.

…his fate is just about the most severe Catholic thing the Church can do to him. Yes all priests are supposed to pray and contemplate, but very few choose the life of doing nothing but that in a cell that he has now had imposed on him.

…where Karadima is and will be for the rest of his life is about as close to where he should be as could be hoped for. At least as is being advertised, he won't ever get out or be unsupervised ever again, will have only his most basic needs met, and will be left to stew alone in what he has done for as long as he lives. If there could be such as thing as justice in his fate, isn't that what it should look like?


First, where are you getting your information that allows you to paint this picture of his “punishment”? Because here’s what I’m seeing:
The Vatican ruling announced Friday said that Father Karadima was subject to “lifelong prohibition from the public exercise of any ministerial act, particularly confession and the spiritual guidance of any category of persons.”

In consideration of his age, the Vatican deemed it appropriate “to impose on the accused his retirement to a life of prayer and penitence, also in reparation to the victims of his abuses,” said the ruling, read by Archbishop Ezzati.

Juan Pablo Bulnes, Father Karadima’s lawyer, said the priest maintained his innocence and would appeal the Vatican’s decision. He said the priest, respecting the ruling, had already retired to a religious convent in Santiago, away from anyone in his El Bosque parish.

Last month, the Vatican quietly issued its ruling and informed the Chilean church on Jan. 16. Archbishop Ezzati said he notified Father Karadima the next day and immediately identified a new residence for him.

There’s nothing in these to suggest that this rapist has had a cell imposed on him. He’s just been forced into retirement, and ordered to not have contact with his last pool of potential victims. There's of course no mention of any specific mechanism by which he will be held accountable for "making reparations" to his victims. He’s straight chilling in a new residence in Santiago, and oh by the way, isn’t even adhering to this mockery of justice:
Although he was also ordered by the Vatican to never again celebrate a public Mass, he was photographed disobeying the order last year. Chile’s top Church leaders later confirmed his act of insubordination and sent the case to the Vatican for investigation.

So to your specific question of:

If there could be such as thing as justice in his fate, isn't that what it should look like?

Lemme tell ya, speaking as a survivor myself, this isn’t anywhere close to what it should look like. It should look like this rapist rotting in a Chilean cell since 1984. Since we can’t get a criminal conviction, it should at the very least include kicking him the fuck out of the Church. The Church is quite happy to excommunicate people for stuff like this:
Fr. Roberto Francisco Daniel, known by local community as "Father Beto", by Bishop Caetano Ferrari, from Bauru, Brazil. Daniel was excommunicated because he refused a direct order from his bishop to apologize for or retract his statement that love was possible between people of the same sex.

So I guess if you think that gay folks can love each other you get kicked out of the Church, but if you rape children for decades you get a new house in a new zipcode. No, this isn’t justice. It’s not even close to justice.

Actually cleaning house and clearing away the institutional support that Karadima and so many others enjoyed for so long in the global way that is actually needed for Francis to even approach something approximating moral authority on the issue would involve invoking an extent of Papal authority that Francis has been notably unwilling to exercise.

This is bullshit. Complete and utter bullshit.

The idea that the Pope is not powerful enough / unwilling to use his power to clean house of rapists and their protectors is laughable. He’s one of the most powerful people on the planet, the Church loves to boast of their billion souls. He could do this if he wanted to. The whole point of this is that the Church and this Pope specifically are only saying anything now because of negative media attention and protests. And this is after the Pope denying that there were any victims, stating his confidence with rapist enabler Barros multiple times, blaming “leftists” somehow for the whole thing, etc etc etc. This isn’t some power-shy virtuous new-fangled Pope. It’s the same bullshit with only slightly better PR.

The idea (in the article you linked) that he just wants to decentralize Papal authority and not exercise that power himself, and that’s what has tied his hands, even if you accept that ridiculous premise, is also bullshit. Just look at how he handled the appointment of Karadima’s protégé and the person who covered for him for decades:
The appointment of Barros was also over and against the objections of the bishops of Chile, who wrote to Pope Francis about the matter. The Holy Father responded to the Chilean bishops with his own letter, in which he explained that he had in fact asked Barros to resign the post in which he found himself at the time (when Barros was appointed to Osorno he was bishop of the Chilean forces). The Pope also asked Barros to take a year’s sabbatical, before being considered for any other post. The AP story detailing the exchanges reports that the Apostolic Nuncio to Chile, Archbishop Ivo Scapolo, who acted as go-between, also told Barros that two other bishops who came up under Karadima were being given similar requests, and reportedly also told Barros to keep the news to himself. Barros, however, decided to give the names of the two other bishops in a letter he wrote announcing his renunciation of the military see. At that point, instead of sending Barros into retirement as damaged goods, or rejecting him as insubordinate, Pope Francis decided to make Barros the head of the Church in Osorno.
Anyways. I’m done. There's only so much bandwidth I have to address arguments in defense of the Pope's handling of a rapist. At the end of the day, Tim Minchin is 100% spot on:

If he covered for a single motherfucker who's a kiddie fucker
Fuck the motherfucker, he's as evil as the rapist

posted by lazaruslong at 7:11 AM on April 17 [15 favorites]


As a Chilean, I fully support lazaruslong's characterization of how fucked up this is.

This is very much a right-left political thing. If you make the mistake of going to the comments section of newspapers talking about the pope, karadima &c., you still see people calling those opposed to child rape 'zurdos' (lefties, as I said before).

You have to keep in mind that this is not just the power of the Church covering this up, powerful politicians, corporate leaders, etc. were part of the El Bosque 'community', and this is a rallying point for a lot of the upper class, super catholic right wing in this country, many of whom went to mass there, participated in his 'meetings' and generally networked their way into power, and many current political leaders publicly defended Karadima until such time as it became absolutely morally (hah) impossible to continue to support him, at which point they sort of mumbled something about due process and quietly slunk away.

I drove by Karadima's ex church building the other day, which is right next to a park my son likes to play in, and threw up a little in my mouth at the thought that the Catholic Church still keeps it open, still celebrates mass there, and the good people of the catholic right wing still go there to feel good about how christian they are.

It should be torn down, or at least deconsecrated and turned into something with lasting social benefits, like a mall or short term storage units.
posted by signal at 7:26 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


"The idea that the Pope is not powerful enough / unwilling to use his power to clean house of rapists and their protectors is laughable. He’s one of the most powerful people on the planet, the Church loves to boast of their billion souls. He could do this if he wanted to. The whole point of this is that the Church and this Pope specifically are only saying anything now because of negative media attention and protests. And this is after the Pope denying that there were any victims, stating his confidence with rapist enabler Barros multiple times, blaming “leftists” somehow for the whole thing, etc etc etc. This isn’t some power-shy virtuous new-fangled Pope. It’s the same bullshit with only slightly better PR."
I have no intention of defending this Pope, to try to explain why this Pope is failing in the fundamental moral responsibilities of his position is not to excuse his failures.

Francis is clearly unwilling to take meaningful measures to credibly clean up the Church, if only for the conspicuous and unambiguous fact that his has done nothing substantial to do so, even easy things that clearly would be within his power without opening up the church to schism. Many of the most notorious bishops and cardinals who got publicly caught covering up and enabling abuse have not only not been rebuked in any way but are being promoted in Francis' administration, its not just Barros, to say nothing of the less publicly dirty powers that be. If there is ever going to be the kind of top-down exercise of Papal authority that is the only thing that will ever begin shift the Church towards justice and away from the hundreds of bishops that an appropriately empowered committee could certainly accuse of direct involvement in covering up child abuse - it will never ever come from this Pope. Everything about this Pope is wrong for anything like what is needed to ever happen, his cowardice and moral spinelessness has simply replaced the academic indifference of the last Pope, which replaced the zealous blindness of the previous one.
"First, where are you getting your information that allows you to paint this picture of his “punishment”?"
This is what "a life of prayer and penitence" means in a Catholic context, spending as much of the rest of your life in silence in at least something approximating a monk's cell as possible, generally in the context of a larger religious community where either some or all of the other members are doing the same thing. It is a very low-medieval concept that is only still a thing for very few, and who knows if they're telling the truth now, but this is at least the jargon meaning of what the Vatican is saying it wants for him.
"So I guess if you think that gay folks can love each other you get kicked out of the Church, but if you rape children for decades you get a new house in a new zipcode. No, this isn’t justice. It’s not even close to justice."
Despite popular perception, excommunication doesn't mean 'the most bad punishment', and isn't even really meant to serve as a punishment, it is little more than a recognition that someone isn't Catholic anymore. It is a statement that what the excommunicant believes is not Catholic in some fundamental way and even then the relationship of the church to excommunicants is also not supposed to end exactly, just change. Doing terrible things, no matter how terrible, doesn't keep you from being Catholic, in a weird sense if anything it makes you more Catholic - the general consensus is that the Catholic Church is not meant to be a museum of saints in the American Puritan understanding of the role of the church but instead a hospital for sinners. The whole idea of it doesn't fit this at all.

If the church really had simply washed their hands of him and all of the fantastic amounts of responsibility it had for everything he was by abusing the excommunication process, and simply kicked him out on the street for Chilean fascists to scoop up, pamper, and protect like you seem to be suggesting, that would have been so much more fantastically fucked up.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:57 AM on April 18


Blasdelb, I think maybe you are not making a case that is grounded in reality. For someone who claims to have no intention of defending this Pope, you sure seem to be quick argue lots of points the logical outlay of which is at least an implicit defense of this Pope. You're welcome to your opinions, of course, but know that I and others feel very differently.

The fact that you can take my comment to conclude that I am suggesting that Chilean fascists scoop up, pamper, and protect a child rapist is just....wow. This is one of the reasons I have to pick and choose when I want to dip into discussions of complicated cases of sexual assault within specific communities. People for whom the community in question is very important but the assault itself appears to be an academic exercise inevitably say some extremely fucked up shit like that and I have to just walk away. So I'm gonna do that now.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:42 AM on April 18


So, today here in Canada:

Senior leaders of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops addressed the media in Ottawa in front of an NDP motion to be tabled in the House of Commons calling on Pope Francis to apologize for residential schools. The motion failed after one MP voted no. It’s not clear who voted against it, but in a scrum prior to Question Period, Conservative Indigenous Affairs Critic said it has no place in parliament.

“We like to keep a separation between church and state in terms of Parliament directing specific actions,” she said. “And I think we also believe that that’s an important distinction to keep, which the other parties don’t believe.”

The bishops said the Pope may apologize in person if he came to Canada and met with Indigenous peoples.

But according to Richard Gagnon, Archbishop of Winnipeg and vice-president of the CCCB, the church has already done so, said.

“The pope never said he wouldn’t apologize,” Gagnon said. “What the Holy Father did say was he would not personally respond to (TRC) call to Action 58.”

Does that mean Yes or No the Pope will apologize?

“Our concern is that it’s important to clear up any misconceptions that are out there and correct any inaccuracies,” Gagnon added.

The answer confused reporters who continued to yell questions as the black-robed religious figures left the room.

[...]

It took survivor Evelyn Korkmaz, who shared the stage with the politicians, to clarify the subject.

“The church has acknowledged wrongdoing,” she said. “So all we’re asking for is a verbal apology.”

Korkmaz attended notorious St. Anne’s residential school in Angus’s riding, whose survivors are battling Ottawa for the same compensation offered other survivors.


St. Anne's? You know what the Catholic orders who ran that school had there? An electric chair that they used on children.

The Catholic Church, in conjunction with the federal government of Canada deployed an electric chair against children.

Let that sink in.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:17 PM on April 18 [3 favorites]


The Catholic Church, in conjunction with the federal government of Canada deployed an electric chair against children.

Wait, but I heard stuff like that was just a Protestant hallucination.
posted by rhizome at 7:41 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]


I dunno. It's all weird...So an organization that's command-and-control on everything else (NO WOMAN PRIESTS EVER AND IF YOU MARRY GAYS YOU'RE DONE) can't do something as simple as, say, "Yeah, head dude will show up and say 'We're sorry'"...well, whatever. But what they did do through their own intransigence and deal-making was put Canadian public funds in play for something they weren't willing to pay out that had a knock-on (i.e., lessening) effect for what Protestant churches had to pay out. It's really messed up.

Other churches escape residential-school settlement obligations in wake of Catholic deal

The failure of the Catholic Church's fundraising efforts for aboriginal healing and reconciliation means that other churches involved in the notorious residential schools have been let off the hook for more than $3-million in contributions.

The Catholic fundraising program collected just $3.7-million toward its $25-million goal. This reduced the totals required from the Anglican, United and Presbyterian churches, because each had signed a deal with the federal government that linked their contributions to aboriginal healing to those of the Catholics.

Catholic organizations ran most of the residential schools, and had the largest financial obligations of any church under Canada's 2007 settlement that ended thousands of individual and class-action lawsuits. The federal government spent an estimated $5-billion directly compensating 79,000 survivors.

The Anglican Church was allowed to keep $2.7-million it had raised for healing, and return it to local church communities. A church spokesman said many of those communities set up healing programs with their share of the money. The United Church was allowed to reduce its maximum obligation by $450,000, a church spokesman said. The Presbyterian Church had already put its maximum obligation of $1.3-million toward healing programs and therefore was contractually not in a position to receive anything back. The church says it effectively waived its right to get money back by spending it up front.


This is a situation that actually exists.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:59 PM on April 18


Not sure if anyone is interested, but breaking news (EMOL, a Spanish-speaking site) is that Cardinal Ezzati has suggested Barros resign as Bishop of Osorno. Following that, Barros seems to be suffering from health problems of some kind, presumably as a result of the stress.

I don't want to make light of his health issues (or somehow compare it with the victims' suffering, because it would be mean and pointless), but I do hope that this crisis helps him understand the pain that has been inflicted on all those affected by this situation. The way Catholics use self-deprivation to understand the passion of Christ. I say this with no irony. It's kind of the point behind the entire exercise.
posted by ipsative at 6:11 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]




Maybe you're thinking that there is some medieval shit that the Church could be doing, that was never actually so much a thing in the way that Protestant (and now also post-Protestant Anglophone) popular imagination has it?

Yes, yes, I recognise that they're not going to throw rapist priests into an iron maiden, however satisfying that would be.

What I want is for the church to report these people to the police, fully cooperate with investigations, not spend huge wads of money donated by their faithful to defend this man whom they knew beyond a shadow of a doubt to be guilty, and actually advocate for the courts to deliver some form of justice. I don't mind whether they excommunicate them before or after they go to jail, although for procedural fairness they should probably wait for the conviction.

I want them to do everything in their power to make sure that they protect their congregation, and that they don't enable and protect rapists.

They did the opposite of all these things. Again. As they have done for decades. During Francis' tenure and well before.

So, in conclusion, fuck the church.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:54 AM on April 23 [2 favorites]


Followup: Australian-born Cardinal George Pell has been committed to stand trial over at least one historical sexual assault charge.

In a way this is a side issue, because the bulk of the criticism Pell received was over his treatment of sexual assault allegations against other Catholic clergy and institutions. None the less, it is obviously very important that it be tried, and (regardless of the outcome) it may throw light on his behaviour and the behaviour of the Church under his authority.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:56 PM on April 30 [2 favorites]


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