Just days before American bishops meet, survivors urging U.S. Ambassador to intervene with Pope Francis.
Also seeking public release of all Vatican and U.S. State Department correspondences on clergy abuse.
U.S victims and advocates requesting meeting with Gingrich.
A global group of prominent clergy abuse survivors and human rights activists today is urging the United States ambassador to the Vatican, Callista Gingrich, to publicly address the sexual abuse crisis and intervene with Pope Francis on behalf of all U.S. victims of abusive priests.
The group is also requesting all correspondences concerning the United States and the Vatican related to sexual abuse by clergy, including those by former Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S., Archbishop Carlo Vigano.
Vigano publicly accused Pope Francis of covering up for sexual abuse by former cardinal and Washington D.C. Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. Francis has not directly responded to the allegations.
The group is hoping to attain the information through the U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
The action comes from the American section of Ending Clergy Abuse (ECAglobal.org), a worldwide Global Justice Project. ECA has representatives from over 18 countries and 4 continents. The actions are being supported by the U.S. Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and BishopAccountability.org.
The Vatican, or the Holy See, is recognized as a sovereign state by the U.S.
“As the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report concluded, the cover up of child sex crimes involved the Vatican,” says Peter Isely, a clerical abuse survivor from Milwaukee and member of ECA. “But over hundreds of thousands of pages released from dioceses and religious orders show that the ultimate authority in abuse cases and the conduct of bishops has always been the Pope and the Vatican. Survivors are concerned what diplomatic efforts have been undertaken by the U.S. to address this.”
As Midwest Director of SNAP, Isely co-authored a 2004 white paper and request for a federal investigation of the U.S. bishops. SNAP has submitted the request several times to the DOJ, most recently in September.
The group is particularly concerned, according to its letter to Gingrich, that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) claims it does not have the authority to order bishops to comply with a recent directive from the Department of Justice (DOJ) not to destroy or alter any records or documents related to clergy abuse. The DOJ is investigating what they say are “possible violations of federal law.”
The U.S. bishops are meeting in Baltimore next week.
A recent investigation by the Boston Globe and the Philadelphia Inquirer concluded that over 130 U.S bishops have covered up clergy child sex crimes. At least 15 living bishops have been alleged to have committed sexual abuse. None have been prosecuted.
Earlier this year, Pope Francis acknowledged that the Chilean bishops, currently under investigation by that nation’s justice officials, had shredded criminal evidence of child sex abuse.
“The Pope specifically condemned the Chilean bishops for destroying criminal evidence from church files, which led to several high-profile resignations,” says Juan Carlos Claret Pool of ECA, a human rights attorney from Chile and founder of Laicos y Laicas de Osrono. “What we see around the world is the same pattern by the hierarchy to prevent, delay or avoid criminal and civil accountability. That is why the Pope needs to issue an immediate order not only to the U.S. bishops and religious order superiors but to every bishop around the globe.”
Evidence exists that documents have already been destroyed in the U.S., including criminal admissions gathered for church officials in church operated “treatment” facilities for clergy sex offenders.
Along with the request for a meeting, ECA also wants the U.S. ambassador to:
–obtain direct assurances from Pope Francis that the American bishops are in full compliance with the recent notification from the DOJ.
–ascertain if all evidence of criminal conduct by American sex offender clergy, ordered by the Vatican since 2001 to be sent by diplomatic pouch to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), has been turned over to U.S. justice officials.
–determine the nature and extent of the involvement of the Vatican’s assigned ambassadors and embassy staff in cases of criminal conduct by clergy, including cardinals and bishops who have concealed these crimes.
“Tens of thousands of children over several decades were sexually assaulted by clergy,” says Dr. Denise Buchanan, a survivor and ECA board member from Los Angeles, “and all of them are American citizens who should have been under the protection of U.S. law.”
Peter Isely, ECA U.S. Spokesperson, (01) 414.429.7259 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) is a worldwide organization of survivors and human rights activists who compel the Roman Catholic Church to end clergy abuse, especially child sexual abuse, in order to protect children and to seek justice for victims. ECA assembly members represent over 18 countries and 4 continents. https://www.ecaglobal.org – @ENDCLERGYABUSE –email@example.com