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Global Declaration of a Public Moral Danger to our Children and a Moral Menace to Society

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More by JohnB - Living the final years of the Catholic Cover up

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On January 16th 2014, Survivors Voice Europe will return to Geneva to attend the public review of the Holy See as part of the 65th Session of the Committee for the Rights of the Child.
Our evidence at the pre-sessional Working Group in June, resulted in the List of Issues raised by the UNCRC. The Holy See replied, refusing to comply with specific requests from the UNCRC and this is our response to their statement.
In order for insure they can not get away with taking this evasive and contradictory position, we highlight the discrepancies in their reply and make a number of recommendations to the UN CRC.

Dear Committee Members,
       We would like the members of the committee to know that since the pre-sessional meeting with you we have been inundated with letters and messages from desperate survivors of clergy abuse from all over the World who, on hearing of this initiative by the UN CRC, have seen a glimmer of hope in their struggle against their abusers in the church.
We cannot send all of those pleas to you, but we are documenting them all and will make them available on a web page and indeed to you if necessary.
What we do want you to understand is that after years of being dismissed, rejected, and further abused in their fight, many of these survivors of the worst betrayal of body and trust are depending on you to shine a spotlight on these crimes, safeguard future generations of children, and help them find some justice.

We trust you will not fail them.

Survivors Voice Europe represent hundreds of courageous survivors of child sexual abuse.
It has become clear throughout our research of the response of the Holy See (“HS”) to various allegations in many countries that, the Holy See's position has been diametrically opposed to accepted safeguarding practice.
The committee has already heard evidence from NGOs in relation to the HS’s breaches of various articles of the convention and we do not propose to repeat them here.
At no point has the Holy See been willing to be open and honest about the extent of the abuse they have discovered within their organisation. They have hidden the statistics from us, from lawyers around the world, from police and civil authorities and now from the UNCRC.

The tactic of the Holy See has been :-

1) To negate any connection, deny any responsibility or authority over the priests or religious worldwide, despite the fact that on  every priest’s ordination an oath of  unquestioned obedience to the Pope is sworn (the “Oath of Obedience”). This fact alone constitutes an undeniable connection between the Holy See and all religious worldwide.
2) To enforce secrecy via the 1962 Crimen document and subsequent reassertions by 3 separate Popes of the necessity for secrecy (2001, 2010, and 2013);!
3) To impose ludicrously feeble penalties on offending priests;
4) To fail to report pedophiles to the police and civil authorities;
5) To challenge law suits vigorously;
6) To protect priests against who allegations are made (and thereby expose future children to the risk of sexual abuse from priests who in the civil legal system would be imprisoned)
7) To refuse to disclose the details of the size of the problem or how the Holy See has tackled it since 1990.

 It is our conviction that the recent announcement by the Pope in December 2013 of an inquiry is a cynical attempt to persuade the UNCRC that it will now finally take action. 
We urge the committee not to be distracted by the Holy See's plea for "one last chance".
The Holy See has not demonstrated at any time since 1990 that it is serious about child safeguarding. We can supply detailed evidence to support these assertions if required.
Please make no mistake - as you read this summary somewhere in the world a child is being sexually abused by a catholic priest. The Holy See's failure to control their priests is causing children to be abused by priests today.

We recommend the committee to require the Holy See to take the following action :-
1) To issue a decree to bishops and all orders to ensure that the UNCRC takes precedence over canon law and that canon law is amended accordingly and to issue a
decree to reverse the incompatible elements of the 1962 crimen decree, the 2001 apostolic letter and the 2010 gravioribus decree.
2) To instruct the HS to publicly instruct all dioceses and orders 
a) to instigate child protection measures that require without exception that credible allegations of abuse are immediately reported to secular enforcement agencies, and to post notices in all establishments giving contact details of external child support agencies, and to undertake this process using independent staff.
b) to make the failure to report to secular enforcement authorities reasonable suspicion of abuse by other priests or religious a disciplinary offence which, without exception, leads to dismissal.
3) to forbid the HS from destroying any files or records relating to suspected abuse (including those relating to canonical trial)
4) To require the HS to produce an accurate list of priests and religious moved to different countries or dioceses as a result of concerns about abuse of minors since it's accession to the convention, showing names, dates, countries, and in each case the measures taken (if any) to ensure they were prohibited from having access to minors.
5) To require the HS to submit a report on all dioceses and orders declaring bankruptcy or creditor protection, quantifying the extent to which abuse victim compensation has been reduced by this and whether the HS will make up this shortfall and if not why not.
6) To require the HS to initiate a program for educating children about their rights under the Convention and optional protocols.
7) To require background checks and psychological assessments by independent specialists before admitting clergy to positions of contact with children and vulnerable adults.
We strongly recommend the UNCRC to appoint a permanent special investigation panel and team to investigate breaches of the UNCRC by the HS on this subject. This panel is to have power to require the production of evidence whether written or oral from any priest or religious controlled by the HS. The panel is to report it's findings to the committee every 6 months for the committee to assess appropriate action. This panel is also to make recommendations to the committee on how the HS should deal with compensating and assisting survivors of priest and religious abuse.
It may be worth adding that the committee may now understand and be willing to assist with the referral of Joseph Ratzinger (and others working in the Vatican's Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith) to the international criminal court in respect of complicity with
cover ups which have allowed priests and religious to continue abusing unchallenged by their own organisation.
Survivors Voice Europe
13th December 2013

Survivors Voice Europe (SVE) is an international organisation which has at it’s heart the fight for justice and empowerment of Survivors of catholic clergy abuse. SVE was founded in 2010 by Sue Cox (GB) and Ton Leerschool (NL) both Survivors of sexual abuse by catholic priests.
Survivors Voice Europe is an NGO (Non Governmental Organisation) to the UN CRC. In that capacity we were involved in the process of establishing the list of issues to be explained by the Holy See.

Contact information
Sue Cox
phone: 0781 380 8026

Ton Leerschool
phone (+31) 493 844 659

Sue Cox 
Survivors Voice Europe


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