Chewing the cud: ‘Chile-India Sex abuse’ – dr.james kottoor

Santiago: Pope Francis waves to followers on his way to the Apostolic Nunciature in Santiago, Chile, Monday, Jan. 15, 2018. AP/PTI(AP1_16_2018_000011B)
Santiago: Pope Francis waves to followers on his way to the Apostolic Nunciature in Santiago, Chile, Monday, Jan. 15, 2018. AP/PTI(AP1_16_2018_000011B)

James kottoorWhat can be done in India, as Pope hosts a Chile sex Survivors Meet in Rome? 

In 2011, Karadima was found guilty by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of sexually abusing several minors during the 1980s and 1990s, and sentenced to a life of prayer and solitude. 

This is all about ‘Chewing the cud’ – ‘Sex abuse in the Church’ (Chile in particular and India), challenging, resisting and refusing to be pulverized for digestion, if it is to be cast out like ‘Bull-shit’ from its fattened bowels. The belly of the church is blown up like balloon with everything unclean, dirty, stinking and worldly, which must be washed clean first, if it is to be nursed back to normal health. 

Francis, like a first time doctor, is now taking the first radical step after many a trial and error, of medication, namely administering Anemia, to wash clean the stomach of his patient, particularly the Church in Chile.    

To know how long and deep rooted was this rot in Chile, as in India, we should recall when it all started – in the 1980s and 1990s — that is,  38 years ago. It exploded like a volcano in  2011, when Fr. Karadima was found guilty by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of sexually abusing several minors. Subsequently he was sentenced to a life of prayer and solitude. Did that local key-hole surgery succeed to eradicate the disease even after  38 years? Not in the least!

Of course Pope Francis was no where in the  scene in 1980s, he became Pope only in 2013. But it was he who made Juan Barros, the blue eyed boy of Francis, to become bishop in 2015, to lead the Diocese of Osorno, amid a furious, noisy storm of protest from the faithful in Chile. Wasn’t the faithful there just doing the role of a whistle blower to alert the captain of the ship that something very wrong was happening? Wasn’t Francis himself doing just the opposite of what he was constantly advising the whole Catholic hierarchy of late, to keep their mouth shut and listen first to the voice of the laity who are in the thick of the battle?

Like doubting Thomas?

Yes he was! That is why he wrote in his letter of April 8, 2018 to his  Dear brothers in the(Chile’s) episcopate: among other things for publication in Chile: “I believe that like St. Thomas the Apostle we must not fear doubt but rather fear the pretension of wanting to see without trusting the testimony of those who heard from the lips of the Lord the most beautiful promise.” In effect he was telling, that it was not wrong to doubt and question the witnesses of those who saw the risen Lord. What is to be feared is “fear the pretension of wanting to see without trusting the testimony of those who heard”. In Francis’ case it was the threat from one of the  molested victim: “Should I have sent you a selfi of molestation for you to believe?” that must have shook him.

That must have floored him and made him to fall from the height of presumption to the bottom of stupidity. But what did he do? Like his master who fell, not once but thrice on his way to calvary, he got up instantly to pick up his cross, to correct himself and go ahead. This scribe also used to describe himself as “a doubting, believing, questioning and a devoutly  prayerful atheist!” — a bundle of contradictions, still insisting to touch and see to believe. Anything wrong? Right or wrong, the truth about this scrfibe is that. Is it  wrong to tell the truth? In any case his finding comfort in the doubting Thomas makes Chile and India near allied in sexual financial and other scandals.

Which Truth: Subjective or Objective?

But there are objective and subjective truths! (explained elsewhere)  Which of these truths, one can and  is bound to say and practice? It is the  subjective truth. In a dim light one may mistaken a rope on the way for a snake and you will not and should not trample on it. Or on a hunting trip you shoot in the dark thinking it to be a menacing boar and end up killing unknowingly your companion in hunting, though you did it to save the life your friend which you extinguished to become  a man-slaughter. You will punished in the court of man, but crowned in heavenly court.

This is what sanctifies the dictates of conscience as the ultimate rule one honest person has to follow That gives a fig leaf to cover your nakedness, a ground to condone or go soft on persons like Mar Alencherry and company. Its applications are too many to go into here. 

Chile’s clerical Sex Abuse

To get back to the main theme, sex abuse in Chile’s hierarchical church, the whole battalion of Bishops there, were fully in the know of it,  led by Bishop Juan Barros (read the ‘Jesuit Review report below and the letter of Francis), against whom the crowd shouting “crucify, crucify” unlike in the  case of Jesus but the Chile bishops were deliberately turning a Nelson’s eye to what was happening under their nose. 

To the credit of Barros however, it must be noted, he had even offered to resign due to unbearable public opposition and possibly due also to piercing prick of his own conscience, but Francis trusted more his “presumption” that he knew better than testimonies of “eye-witness” of sex abuse, which were not evidence enough for him but were crystal clear for this scribe and the world press which went wild shouting like the proverbial child in the crowd: “The King is naked!”

That  was the climax. It drove Francis to hang his head in shame and do breast beating, non-stop, to do reparation before the whole world for denying the ‘TRUTH’ more than thrice like Peter the first Pope who in reparation insisted and got crucified head down to declare his remorse and unworthiness. To the extent Francis humbled himself unlike any other pope in history, so much more he now  succeeds to make honestly and transparency (Frankly speaking) shoot up to the skies as an example for the bishops of the world to follow.

Happenings in India!

Just one more thought! Now just compare it with what is happening in the world of bishops in India, starting with the Kottayam Sister Abhaya muder case some 25 years ago to Ernakulam case of a priest siring a child and trying to escape to Canada; also  the on going mamoth land sale scam defrauding the believers and national exchequer; and the shouting of the crowd of priests and laity “resign, resign” until innocence is proved, and the refusal of our younger “beloved brothers” Alencherry, Adayanthrath and others seeking secular (heathen) courts to settle a Christian family dispute, instead of “frankly speaking, honest to God, honest to oneself and honest to others” which is the only way a Man from Nazareth would approve of.

All brothers, Sinners not Eminences

So we honestly hope and pray that our brothers in Christ — not Eminences and excellencies but sinners all — imitate  Francis, because Jesus himself commanded: you shall not call yourself, Rabbai, Father, Teacher or Master, “you are all brothers only”. Even in the last Synod of the family they whole heartedly described themselves as “Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Sinners”, nothing more. Recall Peter saying: “Depart from me, I am sinner!”

That is what we mean when we, the ccv-group call ourselves “THE CATTLE CLASS”, that is, company of the one born in a cattle shed and lived homeless identifying Himself with the last, least and lost, doing foot-washing ministry all the way from the Cattle shed to Calvary’s top.

Chewing the Cud

We have purposely head-lined this piece as “Chewing the Cud(Meaning: further chew partly digested food) since CCV has published many articles  earlier on sex abuse both in Chile and India. Many may not have read with concentration to digest them. Least of all none may have made a comparison between the two countries to draw useful and practical lessosns for us in India.

So this is the time for readers to make their own comparisons to draw practical lessons to see what they can do in India. One of the recently published article: ‘Pope Francis’, Letter to the Bishops of Chile, signed on April 8 can be read   in CCV April 13th 2018

We all have to dream dreams and make our dreams come true, fully knowing that the only constant in life is CHANGE, according to the beautiful and inspiring saying of Cardinal Newman: “It may be different in a higher world, but here below to live is to change and to be perfect is to have changed most often.” And on ‘Perfection’ like a nail on the coffin’s top Michael Angelo adds: “Trifles make perfection and perfection is no trifle!” james kottoor, editor, ccv.


Please read below the report in US Jesuit Reviw on Pope’s plan to host a survivors  meet soon in Rome.

Pope Francis will host Chilean sex abuse survivors at his residence this weekend – Gerard O’Connell in Jesuit Review America April 25, 2018.

Pope Francis will host three Chilean victims of clerical sex abuse at Casa Santa Marta, the Vatican guesthouse where he lives, this weekend and will meet them “individually” and “let each one of them speak for all the time necessary.”

The Vatican announced this news on Wednesday morning and named the victims who will be his guests: Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and Jose Andrés Murillo.All three were victims of the infamous Chilean priest predator, the Rev. Ferdinando Karadima, who was found guilty by the Vatican in 2011 of the abuse of minors in the 1970s and 1980s and was sentenced to a life of prayer and penance.

The Vatican statement, issued by Greg Burke, director of the Holy See’s Press Office, said, “The Pope will thank them for having accepted his invitation…[and] during these days of personal and fraternal encounter, he desires to ask their forgiveness, share their sorrow and their shame for what they suffered and, above all, listen to all their suggestions so as to avoid that such reprehensible facts be repeated.”

Francis invited the three victims to come to the Vatican after receiving a full report from Archbishop Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s former chief prosecutor of clergy sex abuse cases, whom he had sent to Chile to listen to the victims at the end of February.

The Maltese archbishop, accompanied by the Rev. Jordi Bertomeu, a Spanish priest working in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, heard testimony from 64 people, including these three and other victims of abuse, Chilean bishops and priests, and representatives of the Diocese of Osorno, led by Bishop Juan Barros, the man the three accuse of being present when Father Karadima abused them. Father Karadima, now 87, mentored four Chilean bishops, including Bishop Barros, who denies being present when the abuse took place.

Both before and during his visit to Chile in January, Pope Francis defended Bishop Barros and accused the victims of “calumny,” for making charges without proof. His staunch defense of Bishop Barros raised questions regarding his commitment to eradicating abuse and its cover-up in the church and suggested to some that he was more willing to listen to the bishops than to the victims.

On the plane back to Rome from Lima, Francis, who, it was later revealed, regularly meets with victims at the Vatican, appeared badly uninformed of the situation in Chile and of the plight of sex abuse victims. On his return to the Vatican, however, he understood the situation was not as he had long believed and so dispatched the Vatican’s top abuse investigator, Archbishop Scicluna, to Chile to listen to the victims.

Archbishop Sciluna and Father Bertomeu went first to New York to meet Mr. Cruz and then to Chile to meet other victims. They gave the pope a full briefing on their return from Santiago, together with a 2,300-page dossier. They told the pope, as Francis later revealed, that they “were overwhelmed with the sorrow of so many victims of grave abuses of conscience and power and, in particular, of sexual abuse committed by several consecrated persons against minors” who were denied an audience “and robbed of their innocence.”

After receiving the investigators’ report, Francis invited the three victims to meet him at the Vatican. At the same time, on April 11, he sent a letter to the Chilean bishops summoning them to Rome to discuss the measures that need to be taken “in the short, medium, and long term so as to re-establish ecclesial communion in Chile, with the aim of repairing so far as possible for the scandal, and re-establishing justice.” The bishops will come to Rome May 14 to 17.+

In that letter, Francis spoke of his “pain and shame” on receiving the report of the abuse scandal and, in an unprecedented gesture for a pope, openly admitted that he had personally committed “serious errors” in the way he dealt with victims and the scandal.“I fell into serious errors in the evaluation and perception of the situation, due especially to the lack of true and balanced information,” Francis wrote. “From here on, I ask pardon of all those that I have offended, and I hope to do so personally in the coming weeks, in the meetings that I will have with representatives of the persons interviewed.”

Juan Carlos Cruz, the best known of the victims, who now lives in the United States, arrived in Rome earlier this week and in interviews with the Chilean and international media spoke of some of the things he intends to tell and ask the pope when they meet.

He emphasized that he is truly grateful to Pope Francis for the opportunity to talk and said he wished to understand how the pope was so badly misinformed about the Chile situation, especially given that he, too, is Latin American. He wants Francis to hold accountable and remove from office the “toxic” bishops that were present at or covered up the abuse he and the others suffered. He will name these bishops, as well as Cardinals Francisco Errázuriz Ossa and Ricardo Ezzati Andrello—the former and present archbishops of Santiago, respectively—who defamed or maligned him or the other victims. He said he hoped the pope will also hold accountable those who misled or misinformed him, whether they be in Chile, Rome or elsewhere. 

He insisted that he did not want his meeting with the pope to be used as a “public relations exercise” and hoped it would be an in-depth encounter that would help prevent future cases of abuse anywhere else in the world.

The Vatican statement today concluded by saying that Pope Francis “asks prayers for the church in Chile at this painful moment” and “hopes that these encounters can be held in a serene, trusting climate, and be a fundamental step to remedy and avoid forever abuses of conscience, of power and, in particular, sexual [abuses] at the heart of the church.”

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