It’s been a whacked out couple of days. Yesterday saw the triumph over evil when Amazon did the right thing and removed Mr. Pedophile’s sick book from their cyber shelves. Long live an outraged consumer.
That said, I read the headlines in the newspaper the other day, and it made me think long and hard about responsibility – owning up to doing the wrong thing and taking the proper steps to make it right. What I read felt more like the Pope embroiled in a CYOA move (Cover Your Own Ass) than accepting his role in covering up sex abuse within the Church.
It bothered me a great deal because I’ve lived up close and personal with Kim Michele Richardson and her amazing story of triumph and forgiveness for the decade of abuse she suffered – beginning at infancy – at the hands of the clergy and nuns of her Kentucky orphanage. Kim’s personal coup of success and joy is her revenge.
I wanted to get Kim’s feelings on this article because no one knows this world better than this beautiful, articulate woman.
Apology, Action and Accountability.
by Kim Michele Richardson
Pope Benedict XVI worldwide meeting of cardinals to discuss the Vatican’s response to sexually abusive clergy. Anytime a serious global topic such as clergy child abuse can be brought out into the open it becomes a positive step.
Pope Benedict XVI needs to set the stage by first disclosing and revealing his own records with abuse and cover up cases before he was promoted to pope. And, Barbara Blaine, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, says it best here:
“Before any hopes get raised, let’s remember that it’s likely that every man in the room next week has ignored and concealed clergy sex crimes or is doing so right now. The prospects of substantial reform happening next week are therefore pretty slim.”
If justice is to be met and satisfied and the Roman Catholic Church is to begin the long-needed healing process for thousands and thousands of victims and survivors globally, the Church must also invite government officials, prosecutors and law enforcement officials into these meetings. Men that concealed these most heinous crimes and those involved in silencing the victims of abuse should not be allowed to solve and absolve alone. Because equally, as bad as the perpetrators — the nuns and priests who raped and robbed innocent children, and who’ve left them forever locked in tormented childhoods, are those who hid and allowed decades of predatory Catholic Clergy abuse.
Long overdue is our own government’s involvement on the national level. Throughout the years since the historical Boston and Kentucky Catholic clergy abuse cases, news media have reported on many more abuse cases throughout the US. Now is the time for the US government to form a commission that would investigate and study the entire scope of the tragic American clergy abuse cases, more importantly the most horrendous of clergy abuses crimes which were perpetrated against those without family or protection – United States orphans. This much-needed study would reveal the magnitude of the problems and the countless numbers who have been victimized along with exposing the many predator clergy. Further insuring the safety of vulnerable children. We as a society know that the strongest weapon against child abuse is to arm ourselves with information and education.
Our country has just gone through an election process. And numerous times we’ve heard US citizens say they wanted a more open and transparent government. Just as Americans want and deserve a more open and transparent government, victims of clergy abuse around the world want and deserve the Church’s hierarchy to finally become more open and transparent concerning the identities of predator priests and nuns. These should include those criminally convicted in courts, had lawsuits brought against them, or were just moved from one jurisdiction to another because of sexual abuse allegations.
And just as each state in the US has created their own convicted sex offender registries which list those convicted in their respective state, the Church’s hierarchy should also create a list of all convicted or suspected predator priests/nuns for each country in the world.
The Roman Catholic Church needs to let the world know the mistakes they’ve made. And to be able to show they are trying to right a wrong, they then need to re-affirm the steps they have taken and policies they’ve put in place.
Survivors of clergy abuse live with devastating and debilitating emotional scars throughout their lives, it is only fair that the Church also live with emotional scars by providing a list of every suspected predator clergy in the world both current and past. And while the central theme of my book, The Unbreakable Child is forgiveness, forgiveness is not justice, nor excuse or exoneration; it is a process toward moving forward and to heal – just as every child who has ever suffered in silence and self blame deserves and should be allowed to heal and be protected against further clergy abuse. This begins with the Church disclosing and revealing.
I am a survivor of clergy abuse. Abandoned to a Catholic orphanage as an infant, for nearly a decade I, along with countless were exposed to unspeakable abuses by Catholic nuns and a Catholic priest. For decades the Roman Catholic Church abandoned true Christian values and subjected myself and others to unspeakable horrors.
I’ve worked with and have spoken to countless clergy abuse survivors, and with each one I hear the same sentiment: What is needed from the Roman Catholic Church is apology, action and accountability. Certainly not excuses. … Like the letter sent to me from the US Embassy to the Holy See, which is documented in The Unbreakable Child’s new edition.
Kim Michele Richardson is the author of The Unbreakable Child, the first book of its kind in the US mainstream publishing world which confronts the brutal abuse inflicted on countless US orphans by a Roman Catholic priest and nun, and which also mirrors and bookends the endemic Irish tragedies. The Unbreakable Child documents the first US court awarded justice where Kim and former orphans won a settlement from a Roman Catholic order of nuns, arising from decades of institutionalized abuse in a US Roman Catholic orphanage. The Unbreakable Child is on the cutting edge for speaking out on what is now a Humanity Crisis with the Catholic clergy, and a very important part of history – so that history does not repeat itself.
To see Kim’s request for Apology and Accountability, please visit her Huffington Post article