Contributed by Vinnie Nauheimer
Have you ever felt like the boy who yelled, “The Emperor has no clothes?” Did you ever scream to yourself, “Damn, this is wrong!”? Have you ever seen something so clear and vividly that you wondered, “How come everyone doesn’t see this?” If the same thing happens time and time again, in city after city, in state after state, and in country after country, why do we fail to call it what it is? If the act is a criminal act, perpetrated by members of the same organization, and covered up by the management of said organization, why can’t we just call it organized international crime?
We label those dealing in cocaine, the South American Drug Cartels. We label terrorists with cells in multiple counties with names like Al Qaeda. There is the Golden Triangle that supplies heroin to Southeast Asia and then there is the Illicit Drug Trade that refers to the heroin coming out of Afghanistan. All encompassing multinational criminal enterprises have names like the Mafia, Triad, Cosa Nostra, Yakuza etc. Even stand up institutions like banks have been referred to as Money Launderers. So why haven’t we labeled and pursued the Catholic Church for their worldwide sexual abuse of children?
The crime of clerical sexual abuse committed by Catholic priests has been publicly documented in the following countries around the globe: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Croatia, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Poland, Slovenia, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, United States and Venezuela.1 This should put an end to the fallacious argument used by the last pope that clergy sexual abuse was strictly an American phenomenon. Sexual abuse reported in 28 countries can hardly be called an American problem.
The United States, because of its size does deserve a special note. Clergy abuse by Catholic priests has been documented in all of 50 of its states. Most of these states, because of land mass and population, could be a country within itself. Several states in the U.S. have more documented cases of sexual abuse by Catholic priests than most other countries. Does that mean it is a solely a problem in the United States as JPII stated? No, it just means that the size and population of the U.S. offered more opportunity.
Why, with its priests committing the same crime (the sexual abuse of children) on a global scale, hasn’t the Roman Catholic Church been named as an international sponsor of child abuse? Why when the hierarchy of the RCC has been compounding sex crimes by aiding and abetting these criminals, hasn’t the hierarchy of the RCC been named as an international criminal organization? The priests committing the rape, sodomization and molestation of children are all members of the religious organization known as the Roman Catholic Church. Before becoming priests these men must all go through a rigorous and lengthy indoctrination period. The guidelines established for their seminary formation come from the hierarchy and the leadership in Rome. The Catholic Church sustains its candidates for the priesthood while they go through their training. The RCC will not ordain them as priests unless they have completed their training. Only Rome may defrock a priest once they’ve been ordained. Therefore, the criminals who have raped, sodomized and molested children are duly trained and ordained priests of the Catholic Church, which is headquartered in the city/state known as the Vatican. These same criminals, who commit vile acts against children, are the responsibility of the RCC headquartered in the Vatican.
If they weren’t, why does the hierarchy of the RCC go out of their way to protect these criminals by silencing victims, shifting predator priests from parish to parish, state to state and country to country? The hierarchy is nothing more than the layers of management between priests and the pope called bishops and cardinals. If management is protecting criminals, what does that make the manager and what does that make the hierarchy?
A criminal organization!
Further proof of the international scope of these criminal activities comes to us in the form of a secret instruction sent to all bishops around the world in 1962. It also cites an 1887 document as seen below. The operative word here is secret. One of the hallmarks of any organized criminal element is their fanatical obsession with secrecy. Why do criminals obsess over secrecy; because it is the key to their ability to operate freely. Mobsters with high public profiles usually wind up with a bullet in their head. Dictators don’t disclose the location of killing fields, Bank heists are never advertised in the local paper. Drug dealers don’t hold press conferences to announce the arrival of drug shipments. Pedophiles don’t wear neon signs proclaiming their proclivity, and the RCC will do everything in their power to keep child sex abuse and the abuser a secret. The instruction Crimen Sollicitationis gives an unprecedented view into the Catholic Church’s obsession with secrecy. If nothing else, Crimen Sollicitationis shows how the Church has conspired to keep crimes against children a secret for well over a century as seen in this excerpt from the English translation,
11. Because, however, what is treated in these cases has to have a greater degree of care and observance so that those same matters be pursued in a most secretive way, and, after they have been defined and given over to execution, they are to be restrained by a perpetual silence (Instruction of the Holy Office, February 20, 1867, n. 14), each and everyone pertaining to the tribunal in any way or admitted to knowledge of the matters because of their office, is to observe the strictest secret, which is commonly regarded as a secret of the Holy Office, in all matters and with all persons, under the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae,2
The penalty for breaking secrets (talking) about a priest involved in the sexual abuse of a child is the worst punishment that could be meted out upon a believer of Catholic Doctrine. Their history is replete with examples of people who have chosen to die rather than forfeit their salvation.
This 1962 instruction, called Crimen Sollicitationis, was signed by the Pope John XXIII. According to Fr. Tom Doyle, noted Canon Lawyer and survivor advocate, it is very similar to an instruction issued in 1922. The 1962 instruction was reaffirmed in 2001 under the signature of the current pope who at the time was the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.3 Why one has to ask, is it necessary to say the same thing three times in less than a century? The logical conclusion is that it has been a long recognized problem
Even though the name Crimen Sollicitationis refers to the crime of soliciting in the confessional, the section marked Title V deals with the sexual abuse of children. Title V of Crimen Sollicitationis is subtitled: “The Worst Crime” as seen from this excerpt:4
73. To have the worst crime, for the penal effects, one must do the equivalent of the following: any obscene, external act, gravely sinful, perpetrated in any way by a cleric or attempted by him with youths of either sex or with brute animals (bestiality).
74. Against accused clerics for these crimes, if they are exempt religious, and unless there takes place at the same time the crime of solicitation, even the regular superior can proceed, according to the holy canons and their proper constitutions, either in an administrative or a judicial manner. However, they must communicate the judicial decision pronounced as well as the administrative decision in the more serious cases to the Supreme Congregation of the Holy Office.
The wording of Title V is extremely important as it confirms the Vatican’s own knowledge and acceptance of the fact that the sexual abuse of children, regardless of sex, is a crime. The Vatican did not use the words evil, sinful, offensive, lapse of judgment, moment of weakness or illness. They used the word “crime” which is the only word that can adequately describe the act of a priest preying on a child for his own sexual gratification. Therefore, by stating that “the sexual abuse of children is a crime,” the Vatican tacitly acknowledges before God and man that priests who commit the crime of having sex with children, are in fact criminals! They also demand that these criminal acts be reported to their international headquarters, the Vatican.
Criminals commit crimes. Sex with children is a crime under both canon and civil law. Therefore, there can be no doubt that priests who commit the crime of sexual abuse with children are criminals! Ipso facto, those who protect these criminals are themselves guilty of aiding and abetting criminals. The Vatican has known for centuries that the sexual abuse of children is a criminal offense. In that, they are in total agreement with the secular law of just about every country on earth.
Not only is the sexual abuse of children considered a crime by the Vatican, but to add emphasis to the matter, the Vatican chose to label it “The Worst Crime.” Of all the adjectives that are available to describe a crime, the Vatican chose to call the sexual abuse of children “The Worst.” What does that make the men who allow these sexual predators ply their trade unabated? What does this do to the commonly used hierarchal defense, “I didn’t know?” What does it say about the hundreds of bishops in 28 known countries around the world who failed to live up to the Vatican’s standards? What does it say about a Vatican that tolerated these failures?
Crimen Sollicitationis directs the bishops to prosecute crimes of child sexual abuse? Failing to do so makes them all scofflaws! They scoffed at every indecency perpetrated on the bodies of children around the world. Neither bishops nor the Vatican can claim ignorance of the law anymore! Whether it was an internal or external law, they failed to prosecute the rapists, sodomizers and molesters in their midst; by their own account, the criminal element.
Therefore, I accuse!
Due to the global ongoing sexual abuse and cover-up by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, it is safe to assume that the only part of Crimen Sollicitationis that was adhered to was the demand for secrecy. Up until 2002 almost every settlement involving sexual abuse by a priest came with an enforceable gag order on the victim. The victims were silenced while most offending priests were moved to new hunting grounds.
The logical question to ask is, “Cui Bono” who benefits? Who benefits from the silence? It could be argued that the priest and his accuser benefit from the silence. However, since there were no remedies for the care, compensation or treatment of the victim, it is hard to see how victims benefited from Crimen instruction. There has never been any proof whatsoever of rampant false charges being brought against innocent priests. Therefore innocent priests haven’t benefited. So who are the chief beneficiaries of the document Crimen Sollicitationis? The sexually abusive priest and the Roman Catholic Church are the only beneficiaries.
Therefore, I accuse!
Lest Crimen sidetrack us, the salient points are: 1. The document was sent from the International Headquarters. 2. The document was sent out globally. 3. The document was sent in secrecy. 4. The document demanded secrecy. 5. The penalty for violating secrecy is the harshest penalty the church can mete out: excommunication. 7. It labels the sexual abuse of children as “The Worst Crime” thereby admitting to the world the Vatican’s complete understanding of the vile nature of the act of sexually abusing children.
By their own hand they are condemned.
In the 28 countries we know about, the rape, sodomization, and molestation of children are publicly documented. Why then hasn’t Interpol gotten involved? Interpol states that the protection of children is one of their primary goals. This is the first paragraph taken from Interpol’s page on children:
Children are the most vulnerable individuals in our society; they are also the most precious commodity that the world has and have a right to be protected from all forms of abuse. INTERPOL as an organization is also committed to eradicating the sexual abuse of children and has passed several resolutions making crimes against children one of International policing top priorities.5
They tell us that, not preventing, but eradicating (wiping out) sexual abuse is one of their top priorities. How can the sexual abuse of children be a top priority when the chief global culprit, the Roman Catholic Church has not been formerly accused by either the UN or Interpol?
The evidence is abundant for any who would make even a cursory examination of the facts. The Dallas Morning News did an entire series on the international scope of both clergy sexual abuse and its cover-up. Central to the series was the theme of hierarchy moving predator priests internationally in order to save them from being tried for crimes committed or to provide new hunting grounds or both.6
The facts accuse!
The need to protect children around the world is a global priority of United Nations. The U.N. through its UNICEF organization has put together “The Convention on the Rights of the Child.” Here are articles nineteen and thirty-four from that convention, which address the sexual abuse of children.
Article 19. 1. States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.
Article 34. States Parties undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. For these purposes, States Parties shall in particular take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent:
(a) The inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual activity;
(b) The exploitative use of children in prostitution or other unlawful sexual practices;
(c) The exploitative use of children in pornographic performances and materials.7
I accuse the RCC of violating the Convention on the Rights of the Child!
The Holy See, which could be a member of the United Nations by virtue of the fact that the Vatican is a city-state, has elected not to become a member of the UN. Rather it has been granted the nomenclature of permanent observer. This means that they enjoy the full rights of every sovereign member except the right to vote. In this way they can lobby for whatever they desire and not have yo go on record as voting for or against an issue.
They chose to not to support The Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Holy See declared that "the application of the Convention should be compatible in practice with the particular nature of the Vatican City State and of the sources of its objective law," in a statement issued when they declined to be a signatory. To date, all members but two have ratified the Convention.8
The United Nations through Interpol, its international police agency, and UNICEF, their children’s agency recognize the need to police and prevent the sexual abuse of children throughout the world. They state this is a top priority. The Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has been widely accepted by governments around the world, seeks to end the sexual abuse of children. Why then have the UN, UNICEF, and Interpol chosen to totally ignore the most public, international series of sex crimes and cover-ups against children running from the twentieth into the twenty-first century?
Having established that the sexual abuse of children is accepted by the RCC as being a criminal act, it follows that aiding and abetting criminals is also a crime. The international criminal activity of aiding and abetting sexual predators by the RCC is well documented. The award winning newspaper The Dallas Morning News did an excellent series of articles dealing with the international flight of pedophile priests to escape prosecution entitled "Runaway Priests." The following are excerpts from some of their articles as listed on the website Bishop-accountability.org.
Dr. Navarro-Valls (chief spokesperson for the pope) previously declined to comment on The News' investigation, which found more than 200 accused priests, brothers and other Catholic workers hiding across international borders and living in unsuspecting communities, often with the church's support. About 30 of the men were wanted by law enforcement in another country.9
Where is Interpol? Where is the outcry from UNICEF?
Bishop Thomas V. Daily of the Diocese of Brooklyn, in an exchange of correspondence with a Venezuelan bishop in 1991 about allegations against Father Diaz, praised the priest's work in his diocese even as a 60-count indictment was pending against him in Queens on child sexual abuse charges. Later that year, after pleading guilty to three counts of sexual abuse in the case, Father Diaz was deported to Venezuela, where the pattern of victimizing young boys continued unabated.
And so it went throughout Father Diaz's ministry. Moving from country to country, from parish to parish, from victim to victim, he was often held unaccountable by church officials and was treated delicately by some law enforcement authorities, the interviews and documents show.10
How can the above be anything but an international criminal conspiracy?
His order, the Salesians of Don Bosco, has long moved priests accused of sexual abuse from country to country, away from law enforcement and victims. Indeed, it is how many others in the Catholic Church have dealt with the problem, a yearlong Dallas Morning News investigation has found.11
The crimes committed by the hierarchy of the RCC against the children of the world have been documented many times in many countries. In each country from Poland, to Ireland, to the United States around and down to Australia, the story is the same. Priests who commit criminal acts of sexual abuse against children are shuffled from country to country with no regard for either local or international law. These priests are shuffled by a complicit hierarchy who are guilty of aiding and abetting criminals. Once transferred, these priests are free to prey upon a fresh population of unsuspecting families who revere the priest as God’s representative on earth.
In 2002 Pope John Paul II stated before the world, “There is no room in the priesthood for those who sexually abuse children.”12 But nothing was done; priests were still being shuffled and names of priestly perpetrators are still a closely guarded secret. In April of 2008, while on the plane over to the United States, Benedict XVI said, “I am deeply ashamed”13 while referring to the Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal. On July 19, 2008, in Australia, he said,
“I ask all of you to support and assist your bishops, and to work together with them in combating this evil. Victims should receive compassion and care, and those responsible for these evils must be brought to justice.”14
“AND THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR THESE EVILS MUST BE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE!” Strong words from the pope! The pope is an honorable man; bishops and cardinals are all honorable men and they speak well. Yet nothing was said about revoking Crimen Sollicitationis. Did he forget that as Cardinal Ratzinger in 2001, he reaffirmed its validity? He can say one thing publicly, but as long as he still binds everyone with knowledge of clergy abuse to the absolute law of secrecy under the chapter 11, “a secret of the Holy Office,”15 the pope is only mouthing words. As long as Cardinals, Law, Mahony, George, Egan and Llevada remain in office, he is only mouthing words. As long as bishops, and the leaders of religious orders who shuffled pedophiles from country to country remain in the priesthood, the pope is only mouthing words. The pope is the only one who can start bringing those responsible for these evils to justice!
It is time to put an end to the global scourge of clerical child abuse and put these criminal priests behind bars along with the members of the hierarchy who have purposefully aided them. (It seems that Pope Benedict agrees with me.) These crimes are a violation of God’s law, Church law, Civil law, and International law (all covered in this treatise). As proven in the United States, the only thing that will change the way the RCC harbors their criminals is a courtroom. Interpol must aid in the capture of these international child abusing fugitives and the U.N. must bring charges against the Vatican in the World Court. Only the credible threat of listing the Vatican as a criminal organization, making them stand trial for the abuse of tens of thousands of children and covering-up for thousands of priests will force the much needed changes while making the world a safer place for children. Interpol and the UN had every right to get involved in the clergy abuse scandal because it violates their conventions. Now both the UN and Interpol have an invitation to get involved straight from the pope’s mouth. Pope Benedict XVI has just asked for “aid and assistance” followed up by “those responsible for these evils must be brought to justice.” The Vicar of Christ on earth is asking for help in bringing to justice to those who committed and helped in crimes of sexual abuse against children. What greater invitation can be made?
Note: To any lawyers who may represent or have represented survivors of sexual abuse. Crimen Sollicitationis means “crime of solicitation” which refers to crimes of the confessional. Reading this text is extremely difficult because everything up until Title V is about soliciting in the confessional. Title V paragraph 72 states: “Those things that have been stated concerning the crime of solicitation up to this point are also valid, changing only those things necessary to be changed by their very nature, for the worst crime,” Take Crimen Sollicitationis (English version) and put it in a Word document. Then do a find/replace with find Solicitation and replace it with child abuse. You will be amazed at how it clarifies the document giving you a clearer understanding of what Crimen Sollicitationis says about the clergy abuse of children.
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholic_sex_abuse_cases_by_country, July 9, 2008 and http://www.scribd.com/doc/1021887/SEXUAL-ABUSE-IN-THE-CATHOLIC-CHURCH-2002, July 9, 2008
- http://www.priestsofdarkness.com/crimen.pdf, July 10, 2008
- The 1922 Instruction and the 1962 Instruction “Crimen Sollicitationis,” Promulgated by the Vatican: Thomas Doyle, O.P., J.C.D. June 30, 2008
- http://www.priestsofdarkness.com/crimen.pdf July 10, 2008
- http://www.interpol.int/Public/Children/Default.asp, July 11, 2008
- http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/longterm/stories/Runaway_priests_hiding_in_plain_sight.5ee1e9be.html, July 11, 2008
- http://www.interpol.int/Public/Children/Conventions/unConvCR.asp, July 12, 2008
- http://www.unicef.org/pon95/chil0008.html, July 12, 2008
- http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news/2004_09_12_Dunklin_InThe.htm, July 12, 2008
- http://www.bishop-accountability.org/resources/resource-files/timeline/2002-04-20-Murphy-Diaz.htm, July 13, 2008
- http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news/2004_06_20_Dunklin_ConvictedSexual.htm, July 13, 2008
- http://www.poynterextra.org/extra/abusetracker/2002_04_21_archive.htm, July 18, 2008
- http://aftermathnews.wordpress.com/2008/04/15/pope-says-he-is-deeply-ashamed-of-clergy-abuse-scandal/, July 18, 2008
- http://www.thewest.com.au/default.aspx?MenuID=2&ContentID=85771, July 19, 2008
- http://www.priestsofdarkness.com/crimen.pdf, July 10, 2008
While VCBC does not agree with all the characterizations Mr. Nauheimer makes of the Roman Catholic Church, this is posted here in response to the author's email request:
I would ask all of you to please read this document and if you find it worthy, please send it to everyone in your world. I believe the arguments are that powerful.
Of himself, the author writes:
Vinnie Nauheimer has written extensively on the subject of clerical abuse. He has written two books on the subject, one of poetry Silent Screams, and one comprised of selected letters sent over an eight year period on the subject of clergy abuse called Epistles on Clergy Abuse. His art, poetry and writing can be found on websites around the world. Though they don't issue a degree in Clergy Abuse, Mr. Nauheimer successfully survived advanced classes from the School of Intimidation and Slander sponsored by the NY Archdiocese. Both his and his family’s degree of pain were acknowledged by a Grand Jury probing the issue of clergy abuse. His goals are the same as those stated by Pope Benedict XVI in Australia on July 19, 2008: “Victims should receive compassion and care, and those responsible for these evils must be brought to justice.”
Vinnie's passion comes from discovering that his two sons were abused by a priest.
J'accuse ("I accuse") was an open letter published in 1898 in the newspaper L'Aurore by Émile Zola accusing the French government of anti-Semitism in the Alfred Dreyfus case.