Church will not protect priests guilty of sexual abuse: Cardinal

Alanchery

In Sunday times, kochi, Mar 4, 2017

James Kottor(Note: This is what appeared in one single secular  English daily, Sunday Times of the Times of India. Similarly sex related weakness and failures of  so called “holy men” of all religions are made into a public celebration, precisely to force open the stupid, blind eyes of God-men to realize there is no such  thing as “God-men”  but only frail human weaklings  everywhere.

But our Catholic publications never publish such “Scandals”. What happens? People rush from Catholic to secular papers to get informed and entertained. Also forbidden fruit is the most attractive fruit. If they are published in Church publications, their members can at least be  properly instructed  and enlightened. You don’t need a Solomon to understand this. But church publications continue to  be “Caged parrots” singing the masters voice or acting like the cat which drinks the milk closing its eyes thinking no one sees it. Never learn from their repeated mistakes.

It was mainly the sordid Sex and financial scandals that morally compelled Pope Benedict, being a  very honest spiritual person, to resign and hand over steering  wheel of  Bark of Peter to Francis. Church men in India should learn to be honest and courageous to live out their convictions and universally accepted democratic norms. Otherwise they become objects  of ridicule in society.

One can only feel very sorry for Cardinal Alancherry who is neither able to control or discipline the unwieldy team under him nor able to quit the job. When he can neither swallow nor spit, what is the third option left for him? This is the question those who know and pity him personally and want to  be helpful to him ask these days. May that Solomon come up soon to his rescue.

But a public apology on his part to the parents of the minor girl, the victim, could be least he could and should do, imitating Frncis, his  predecessor, John Paul II, the man of “Mea Culpa”, Vajpai who hang his head in shame at the burning of Australian missionary, and Lal Bahadoor Sastri who quit for a railway accident he was very remotely only expected to control and avoid.  james kottoor, editor)

Kochi: In a sign that ecclesiastical authorities are finally ready to admit the magnitude of the problem, Cardinal George Mar Alencherry, head of the Syro Malabar church, said on Saturday that the church unequivocally condemns clergy members involved in sexual abuse and child molestation cases and will under no circumstance protect the accused.

Referring to the Kottiyoor incident, where a 16-yr-old girl gave birth to a child last month following a relationship with the local parish priest, Cardinal Alencherry said, "The incident cannot be tolerated. It is highly condemnable. The church will not protect such offenders".

Latest Comment: Fr Robin Vadakkancheril alias Mathew Vadakkancheril (48), the parish vicar at St Sebastian Church in Neendunoki near Kottiyoor, is currently in judicial remand on the charge of raping a minor girl.

Pointing out that the accused should be punished under the law of the land, Cardinal Alencherry said, "The church and the entire community of believers should be cautious in avoiding such incidents in the future". The cardinal was speaking after a prayer meeting for Father Tom Uzhunalil, who was abducted in Yemen by suspected Islamic State militants exactly a year ago.

What worsened matters is that the school controlled by the church where the survivor studied, and the hospital where she gave birth, again a church institution, tried to hush it up.

How many children were sexually abused in the Catholic Church?

We will never know, but even in recent times the numbers are well into the thousands.

For example, 4444 alleged victims of sexual abuse by members of the Catholic Church in Australia between 1980 and 2015 testified of their harrowing experiences to the Australian Royal Commission into the Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Australia is not a large country and is not predominantly Catholic, so if we ever know the global figure during the same period, it would indeed be frightening.

The victims identified 1,880 alleged perpetrators within the Catholic Church, including priests, religious brothers and sisters, and employees. Astonishingly, over 40 per cent of Brothers of St John of God were named, as well as more than 20 per cent of Marist Brothers, Salesians of the Don Bosco and Christian Brothers.

Most of the abuse appeared to have occurred during the 1970s and a prominent report released early in 2004 stated that as many as 10,667 children were sexually abused by more than 4,300 priests.

What abuses led to the criticism of the Roman Catholic  Church?

Before the reformation the abuses of the Catholic Church were:

  1. Simony
  2. Absenteeism
  3. Nepotism
  4. Pluralism
  5. Tithe
  6. Indulgences

Now the Church's controversy is about sexual abuses, the lack of women as priests and homosexuality in the clergy.

Vatican II is perhaps the most widely criticized issue by conservative Catholics, whereas mandatory celibacy and strict teachings on homosexuality and abortion are criticized by liberal Catholics, others are crusades, inquisition, selling of indulgences, sex abuse by piests.

Catholic church is a  self-preserving institution of  clandestine men's club that has shunned justice to womenfolk in general and allowed paeodphiles to get away with wrecking lives for decades, under such circumstances it requires of the catholic church an exceptionally dry sense of humour to lay claim to the moral high ground on sexual matters.

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  1. almayasabdam says:

    On checking with some of my friends and well-wishers regarding protecting children and women, including nuns who go to attend private confession with priests, I have got the following suggestions / feedback:

    1. Never go to any priest's room (old and young) alone. This is applicable to both children, adolescents, and women, including widows. 

    2. In fact, meeting of priests with children, adolescents and women inside their rooms should be totally banned. Such meetings should be held in the parlour or open sitting rooms. All churches have enough open space to hold such meetings. Remember the ground rule, never ever should there be one- on- one meetings, especially with persons of the opposite sex, even nuns. For priests are humans, even though they may be ordained. They are bound to falter. So do nuns, during one-on-one interaction with priests.

    3. The practice of closed door confession of nuns, inside a priest's room, should be done away with. Even at all this has to be done, it should be done in a hall or a large room where other nuns can be in waiting, with the priest in clear view of the confessor and others waiting for their turn.

    4. They should always be accompanied by one or two elderly nuns.

    5. Even counselling should not be done by a priest alone, in his closed room. Nuns can state their problems to a priest in writing, even type-written so that their handwriting and names cannot be identified, The priest can take note of the spiritual or other problems as CASE STUDIES and give solutions during weekly or monthly common sessions, citing case studies only.

    6. Long journeys of a single priest and a single nun should be permitted only in groups. The concept or excuse of cost cutting should be done away with, to avoid greater peril of slip up and possible conception of the nun. The priest will go away scot-free in search of honey from another flower. The nun will suffer the consequences. Many such nuns have committed suicide in Kerala only. Case studies and books by these nuns are in public domain.

    7. During family visits by priests, they should take with them church catechists or some parishioner or another priest. They should never visit a house alone. 

    These are some basic practices to be followed by both priests and nuns. As they say prevention is better than cure.

    Some friends including CCV Editor in Chief suggested that priests be allowed to marry so that they may not fall into temptation. This is a good suggestion. However, it does not guarantee that even then priests will not commit sexual offences, as one can see for married persons. However, it is a good suggestion.

    If ordained priests are allowed to marry, then what about nuns? Are they not human too?

    Who will bear the expenses of this larger family? Parishioners? Parish Finance Committee? Or a Corpus Fund created out of the hidden money of a diocese archdiocese? Before the Family Synod, these are questions worth pondering, so that they may be discussed at local, national,International and lastly at the Vatican level?

    How about an on-line survey where the respondents' contact address and phone numbers will be captured to ensure authenticity?

    Isaac Gomes

    PS:  Can Cardinal Alancherry or any other Bishop in the Kerala church come out clean on the quantum of money (Rupees Ten Lac plus), they are putting for bringing up the child of  Fr (?) Robin Vadakkancheril alias Mathew Vadakkancheril?  

    If proved guilty, (simple DNA Test), the defrocked priest goes to jail.   So he will not look after his child.  He should not be allowed to marry the minor girl when she attains the age of consent.  For he would use her again and leave her for greener pastures.  The child is Kerala Church's baby and it is the Kerala Church which should first accept the outcome and cought up the money for the proper, Catholic (!) upbringing of the child.  I only hope she is not a girl.  She might then be converted into a Devdashi of the Kerala Church!!  

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