Pope Convenes Cardinals On Response to Sex Abuse

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

20 Responses to Pope Convenes Cardinals On Response to Sex Abuse

  1. NinjaFingers says:

    In all honesty…I am not a Catholic or even a Christian, but the Catholics I’ve spoken to agree with me on the matter.

    It really is time for Vatican III. It’s time for the Catholic Church to get their freaking act together and at least try to crawl into the 20th century.

    An end to priestly celibacy would go a long way towards solving two of the churches problems.

    The fact that the rate of abuse being committed by Catholic clergy is so high might say something about a selection process that would tend to steer sexually normal men *away* from the priesthood (of course, those who aren’t abusing and many of those who have probably have girlfriends or boyfriends anyway…they always have).

    But there’s another matter. It’s hard to dismiss priests when you can’t replace them. As utterly wrong as covering things up are, it’s probably encouraged by the massive, chronic shortage of candidates for the priesthood the church currently suffers. This is also driving good, decent people away from the church…my mother jumped ship to the Episcopals because she was tired of being in a 500 member church with one priest. How the heck can one priest handle that large a congregation? By allowing priests to marry and have children, by not forcing them to make such a difficult choice, the Catholic church would get more and better candidates in their seminaries.

    And maybe they could discuss a few of the other issues on which they don’t seem to have gotten out of the late Medieval period…

  2. Ray says:

    It sickens me when an organization preaches about values and morals, condemning others for their sins, and yet covers up their own sins, all the way to the leadership! And one of the worse sins is abusing innocent children. There’s no excuse, absolutely not, for that. It is even more sickening when such an organization is faith-based, with millions, if not billions, of people looking up to them for guidance, and children raised to believe they must obey their clergies or they will suffer eternal damnation. That’s abuse x 1000. Words fail me to express my anger on this. I’d just say “they will all have to face Christ one day, if they truly believe in what they preach.”

  3. Y’know, Ninjie, I used to think as you did…end the celibacy bit – and I still believe that. I mean, really, how on earth can a priest do marriage or couple counseling when they’ve never been married? It’s like Publish American trying to tell me how to publish books.

    But it isn’t about celibacy. It’s about being a whacked out child molester. These are predators, first and foremost, and they go where they can have the biggest access to their prey AND where they can hide behind the protection of the Church. To think that the Church would advocate such a ruse is to make them the biggest fools and criminals of all.

  4. NinjaFingers says:

    I do agree that it’s not *entirely* about celibacy. But I think that the celibacy thing does not help…and does not help the Church in general either. Besides, in an Anglican church, the priest’s wife is a key part of his ministry. Some Catholic churches do have a nun or a female lay preacher to help, but…

    You NEED to have counselors of both sexes in a church, because there will always be parishioners who don’t want to discuss whatever their issue is with the opposite sex. I mean, I’m not going to talk about the time of the month to a man…

  5. SMPTURLISH says:

    There is a grass roots lay movement that has started in the United States and it is called the American Catholic Conuncil and there is a national meeting scheduled for next year.

    Visit the website at: http://www.americancatholiccouncil.org

    Sister Maureen Paul Turlish
    Victims Advocate
    New Castle, Delaware, USA

  6. ludmilla Bollow says:

    I’m Catholic, and proud of it. It really saddens me to see the Pope and the Church bashed in your blog. I don’t think it’s the place for it. If you want to put things in a book, and publicize it, fine, but it should not be a continuing mantra, and I hope it won’t be. Ludmilla

  7. CER1940 says:

    Ludmilla, you are entitled to your religious beliefs. I was raised a Catholic and received 15 years of religious training and in the end turned away primarily because the leadership of the RCC does not practice what they taught. Your criticism of Kim Michele Richardson’s blog is unjustified. Her blog is based on her life experiences. If you wish to not read it that is your right but you are not entitled to slam her blog.

  8. Ludmilla, I think we have a different definition of “bashing.” To me, bashing means that I’m taking potshots at an individual without benefit of proof or foundation.

    The truth, on the other hand, carries the burden of proof. No one has lived this burden of proof more than your fellow Behler author, Kim Richardson. I urge you to read her book – do the research – and you’ll see for yourself that the Pope isn’t an innocent bystander, but an active participant in hiding, aiding, and abetting abusive priests – going so far as to spirit them out of the country to avoid prosecution.

    This isn’t something that makes me happy. In these times, we need faith more than ever. But I think what the Pope has perpetuated is indefensible – regardless of the strength of my faith. However, I don’t believe that the Pope and the entire Vatican diminishes the Catholic faith, but I blame them because they are the leaders.

    As for being a continuing mantra, I don’t see where I’ve done anything of the sort. Kim’s book is an important story that needs to be told, and as her publisher, I feel it my responsibility to do everything I can to bring this to readers.

  9. glorybe1929 says:

    What the Catholic people need, is to no longer be a part of the problem but a part of the solution.

    They need to find out that God Almighty does truly exist out side of the Roman Caholic Church.

    They should leave it and try finding the Real person of Jesus Christ who, if they love HIM and have given HIM their heart HE Dwells with in them.No church needed for the time being. HE WILL GUIDE YOU!

  10. ludmilla Bollow says:

    I wasn’t diminishing Kim Michele Richardson’s blog– that is her right. I was saddened by the beginning Price blog stating that the Pope’s CYOA is interpreted as “Cover Your Own Ass”– There was no need for that. For many of us he is still our religious leader. But it seems there is a Catholic vendetta that is not allowed against any other protected group or ism. I enjoy Lynn’s blog and she’s a dear person. How can I choose not to read something if I don’t know beforehand what it might be that I shouldn’t read??… My mother was raised in a New York orphanage by nuns and received wonderful care, but was then put on the Orphan Train that went cross country for adoption to any seeking people, because the Welfare Dept. thought it better to be with family. Well the family that adopted her were mean and brutal, but she later forgave them.

  11. Ludmilla, the Pope has repeatedly gone to great lengths to hide his role in these heinous acts, so yes, there is a definite CYOA-ness about him that I, as a mother of three kids, don’t appreciate. This is what becomes very evident in Kim’s book. And if nothing else, our books are all about getting people to discuss issues, no matter how controversial.

    He has steadfastly refused to accept one shred of responsibility in moving priests around, and he has yet to offer a public apology for all the damage that’s been done to the faithful who believed in him. This isn’t about the religion, but about the mortal men who run the Church. He has betrayed his people.

  12. kim says:

    Hi, ludmilla, and thank you for stopping by and contributing to the discussion. This post is about bringing awareness and education and hopefully moving toward healing for the many many survivors of clergy abuse.

    Christian Catholics know the difference between right and wrong and many are the first to stand up to protect vulnerable children against predator clergy.

    Because regardless of religious beliefs, the safety of our children and the emotional healing needed for thousands of survivors who suffered from the hands of Catholic clergy, come first.

  13. Pelotard says:

    It is, indeed, a sad fact that the current Pope has been personally involved in covering these things up, as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. And since he made this cover-up the official state policy of the Vatican, there are legal grounds to arrest him for crimes against humanity.

    There are Catholics who agree with this view – I happen to be married to one. She’s refusing to send the kids to Sunday school; she says she’ll change her mind if the Vatican comes clean.

    This hasn’t affected her faith. Only her views on the people who claim to have the right to instruct her on morality.

  14. kim says:

    Thank you, Pelotard, for your words.

    I’m married to a policeman, and know all-too-well that clergy pedophilia is certainly not a God issue it’s a HUMAN issue.


  15. Yes, thank you, Pelo. As usual, you said it far better than I. I never saw this as a religious issue, but like Kim says – a human issue.

  16. Thomma Lyn says:

    Definitely a human issue. And yes to openness and transparency. When wrongs have been committed by people who are affiliated with an institution, whether religious or secular,, it is incumbent on the leaders of that institution to hold accountable those people who have perpetuated the wrongs. That’s what we are asking for: that the Pope and the Cardinals hold accountable those clergy who have committed heinous and unspeakable acts with innocent children. Sweeping such a thing under the Vatican rug is not only reprehensible but it contributes to continuing the cycle of abuse, which simply must be stopped.

    I commend Kim for her strength and her courage. She is one of my heroines.

  17. JennWalkup says:

    Kim, this was a truly wonderful post. I admire your strength and courage as seen in your posts and of course your book. Keep going, you inspire so many of us.

  18. Amos says:

    What did Joseph Ratzinger know about clerical pedophilia in the Roman Catholic Church in the 20th Century, and when did he know it?

  19. katmagendie says:

    Kim is one of the most loveliest of women – a beautiful heart and soul – and she has done a brave thing.

    I’m not Catholic, or even a “religious person” but I believe, too: it is a Human issue.

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