I Wish the Pope Would Step Up

4897284965_424dafdf56The first time I spoke publicly about being repeatedly raped by a priest when I was between the ages of 14 and 15 was when we announced the settlement of my case—one week before I went to join advocates filing a complaint against the pope with the International Criminal Court at The Hague. I was 21 and had barely left my small town in Minnesota, let alone the country. If you watch footage from the press conference, I disappear for a while; that was when I stepped out to throw up.

People were whispering about Fr. Joseph Jeyapaul’s inappropriate contact with youths within a month or so after his arrival from India at our church, but no one did anything about it. At the time, I was shy and got teased a lot, and I felt like an outsider. He offered to lend me a book, and I was flattered by the attention. When I went to pick it up, was the first time he raped me. Sometimes he was violent, and sometimes he told me this was the teaching of God; this was how I was getting closer to Him.

I would take the church bulletin every Sunday and look at the telephone number for the diocese victim advocate printed at the bottom. When I finally worked up the courage to make the call and tell someone what was happening, the woman on the other end told me not to make prank calls and hung up on me. Truly. It took another year for me to tell anyone, and that person was a high school counselor who was mandated to report it to the authorities. Jeyapaul had returned to India by then.

The Church had moved him back to oversee dozens of schools in the diocese of Ootacamund (Tamil Nadu), endangering countless other children. He was arrested in India after Interpol issued an alert in March 2012, and prosecutors here are now seeking to have him extradited to face criminal charges. As far as I know, he is still detained in New Delhi fighting extradition, with his bail denied because he is considered a flight risk. It’s hard to get accurate information, though: At another point we heard he’d been defrocked, but that turned out to be false. At another point we heard the extradition was imminent, but then nothing happened and I haven’t heard anything since.

Meanwhile, I went to Europe in September 2011 with people from SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) and the Center for Constitutional Rights, which was filing the case with the International Criminal Court on our behalf. We charged then-Pope Benedict and other high-level Vatican officials with crimes against humanity for their roles, both supervisory and direct, in covering up and enabling widespread and systematic rape and other sexual assault in the Church. We asked the ICC to open an investigation. Among other evidence of wrong-doing by the church, we showed that it regularly moved priests known to be predators to new locations in order to avoid scandal—putting more children at risk, just as they did with my perpetrator.

That trip to Europe was the first time I felt like what I had to say was important. The day of the filing was momentous—walking those thousands of pages of evidence over to the court was huge. It’s very hard not to have things put into perspective when you’re carrying a 10-pound box of other people’s stories. We didn’t know what to expect, but we were taken seriously at the ICC. For now, they have declined to hear the case, but they remain open to reviewing further evidence. Accountability is a long haul.

Going back to Minnesota was difficult. My home town is such a small place, and everyone knows you. I’d go to the gas station and it was on the radio. There were, and still are, supportive people there, but you can’t help but hear the angry voices. People were threatened by what I had made public, and I started getting death threats in the mail. I couldn’t even drive around because people would recognize me and flip me off. My family and I were not on speaking terms, since they didn’t agree with or support what I was doing.

I picked up and left after two weeks, moving south to Winona. It was still a small town, but it gave me the anonymity and the distance I needed. Eventually I started taking classes, made new friends and could see a life beyond where I had been stuck. This led me to New York, where I feel so grateful that I’ve been able to focus on my painting and take some time to take care of myself. Over time, I’ve gone from the one making the calls for support to the one answering the calls. I never thought I’d be able to get to that point. Because I am one of the youngest SNAP members—it’s rare for someone to be able to talk about what happened to them until many years later—younger survivors are directed to me. So that’s been my role: talking to them, listening, making them know they aren’t the only ones.

The assaults and the spiritual betrayal I carried inside had such a negative impact on my life that I was making bad choices and worse decisions—I felt like the experience had taken away who I was supposed to be. The person I am now is someone who advocates for others. That’s why I went to Geneva this January: to be there, in the room, when the Vatican was called before the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child to answer hard questions about how the church hierarchy continues to enable and cover up sexual violence against children. It was historic. This is the first time an official body has called the Vatican to account for itself.

When the United Nations asked the Vatican to answer a series of questions in advance of the reporting sessions, they were a month late in their responses and refused to provide any of the requested data. Beyond that, they had the gall to claim the Vatican is only responsible for what occurs inside Vatican City and the safety of the 31 children who live there, as though they play no role in what the rest of the Church around the world does.

The UN published its conclusions recently, and they were more than I could have hoped for. They found the Vatican “has consistently placed the preservation of the reputation of the Church and the protection of the perpetrators above children’s best interests,” and that a “code of silence” has allowed both perpetrators and those who cover up sexual violence to escape the law. Among its many recommendations, the UN Committee called on the Vatican to “immediately remove all known and suspected child sexual abusers from assignment and refer the matter to the relevant law enforcement authorities for investigation and prosecution purposes.”

The UN pretty much supported everything that we’ve been saying: it’s huge to have an international body give us a voice. I’m hoping other states and countries will hear what the UN said and start holding the Church accountable and prosecuting these crimes.

I can’t say I was surprised when I read that the Vatican’s UN ambassador accused the committee of “allowing itself to be swayed by pro-gay ideologues” and “special-interest groups.” The Vatican tried to use the culture wars to deflect from the severity of the  committee’s findings. It’s frustrating that they’re playing the victim: they are not the victim.

I have to say that Pope Francis’s popularity makes this work harder than it was before. He seems like a kind person, but it’s been frustrating to sit by watching him become so beloved by the media. In fact, he hasn’t made any concrete changes to protect children and vulnerable adults in the Church, or held anyone in the hierarchy accountable for covering up these crimes. He could do so much with the stroke of a pen. I hope he will begin taking real action. He could start by defrocking my perpetrator and doing what he can to bring him back here to face justice.

photoMegan Peterson is an artist and co-chair of SNAP New York.

 

 

 

 

Our feature in the latest issue of Ms. calls out the Catholic Church hierarchy on covering up priest sexual abuse. How to get Ms. magazine in print, digital or both formats: http://bit.ly/1cuOTb1

Photo courtesy of Joline Melina under Creative Commons 2.0

Comments

  1. Tia Weinand says:

    Give the pope some time! He can’t come in and make sweeping changes to a bureaucracy that hasn seen change in hundreds of years. Last change comes with time and by makin small steps in the right direction. He has barely been pope a year.

    • “Give the pope some time!” HOW RIDICULOUS. So, give the Church MORE TIME to allow the systematic rape and abuse of women and children is what you’re saying. Why would Francis want to hurry up and make changes when he himself is a part of the sex-abuse cover-up (see the link below)? He could make sweeping changes TODAY by defrocking ANY perpetrator instead of continuing the Church’s system of moving around abusers from one parish to another. If your loved one had been victimized by a priest, would you be content with allowing more time for the Church and the Pope to stand idly by? I think not. So why should it be acceptable to any of the other survivors?

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/pope-francis-was-often-quiet-on-argentine-sex-abuse-cases-as-archbishop/2013/03/18/26e7eca4-8ff6-11e2-9cfd-36d6c9b5d7ad_story.html

    • Brian Harlow says:

      Megan, The pope needs more time to actually petition his superiors to back any and all changes as Canon law is foreign to him. He’s but one man trying to change an institution he’s relatively new to joining, right? Cut him some slack, OK? Have you forgotten he embraced that horribly disfigured man, rides in a cheap base model Opel auto, is revered by by magazines including Time, Out, Rolling Stone et al?
      Give the holy father another year, or even five, to act on any UN recommendation, OK?
      Give the Holy See all the time they need to obscure, deny, blame homosexuals and progressives too.
      In the end, the will be no Canon law, law of jurisdiction in which the offense occurred, Tort law, or even Murphy’s law. The only law will be the man elected last March to shepherd one billion Catholics facing his maker and answering this question: was your first priority to protect and heal the most innocent and hurt of my children?
      Pope Francis, I’m from NH -not Missouri- but don’t tell us survivors about changes; just show us.

    • Anne-Marie Naylor says:

      Tia, just think what damage might be done with every day that passes.

    • He has had all of his adult life! He is a PR man, that is why he is there. Do not be fooled by the smily face, he is not NEW , he hasn’t been parachuted in from another planet to “fix” things, he is part of the heirarchy and has been for years. He has done NOTHING apart from talk, that is exactly what you would expect from a PR stunt man!
      Sue Cox Survivors Voice Europe

    • Well, he’s been a priest long enough to realize how badly the church has performed in protection of children. It should be his number one priority.

    • Jon Richfield says:

      Yes, give him some time. Same as the rape victims have some time. Why should they be impatient? God has all eternity to make it up to them. And for them this was the teaching of God wasn’t it; this was how they were getting closer to Him, right? And when someone picks up a parking ticket or a rap for burglary, or robbery or arson or murder or just good ol’ secular rape, it is only good to let things go while all the authorities make up their minds whether this is worth following up; after all, you never know — it might cause loss of faith in the legal system in case some politician’s nearest and dearest or monetary or voting support got embarrassed, right? Why should ecclesiastical rape be different? And besides, what is different now? We never had any of this nonsense in the past couple of millennia did we? I tell you it is all loss of faith in the last couple of decades that creates this delusion of pastoral fallibility or any need for dealing with it on human time scales.

    • I don’t agree with the whole he hasn’t been pope for a year statement as an excuse. The problems of acknowledgement and responsibility have plagued the Vatican for decades. The pope, who has had positions of authority before dawning the hat, would have had to be living under a rock to not have heard of the atrocities and complaints surrounding the posting of clergy. A friend of mine in her Fifties had something happen to her in a church at the age of sixteen. A pope who can say that atheist and nonbelievers may still go to heaven in public, can surely acknowledge atrocities that have happened to children within the Catholic system. That they are working towards a solution to punish and strip priesthood of those that have committed these crimes. The most painful response to a sexual assault victim is utter silence. Their own and the lack of response of authorities involved.

    • Sure Tia….The House is on Fire, “let’s throw small cups of water on it?”

      When the Vatican needs to move fast, Let me tell you, they’re “Lightnening fast” in taking down any priest that would Advocate for Children raped by Priests. And just as fast in covering-up the Rape of children in their Avoidance of Scandal.

      I also thought the Church moved at a Snails pace, til I saw how quickly and visciously they went after Fr. Tom Doyle as he started to Blow the Whistle on the cases of Child Sex Abuse he was seeing in the church.
      – Tom is nolonger a priest and the church even tried to get the US Navy to deny him his pension. – Viscious

      I understand where you are coming from Tia, I was there. But, when you see and experience the other side of this coin, the side that sees very little light. You will understand the sense of Urgency.

      Very Sincerely,
      David NY

    • Jose Armstrong says:

      He can and should make this a top priority! Sexual abuse to children by Catholic priests should not be covered, condoned or accepted, period! Wait for what? Any child deserves our protection NOW!!!! Prevention, not remediation is the solution. Would Jesus wait one second in dealing with this situation and allow one more child to get hurt ? How can you represent God on earth, lead His church, His message and engage/participate in this type of morbid coverup? A day without the Pope’s definite intervention as the top authority of this group of sick individuals is a day too much. Shame on you, Pope Francis, and bigger shame on mankind for not taking direct action and going over religious shrouds, popes, nations and/or tyrants to enforce the laws that protect all children. As Jesus Himself said according to Matthew 19:14: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Who’s representing these victimized children in the Vatican today? Who?

    • Tia, you are so very, very wrong. Give the man time? How much time? Do not forget that his most prominent comment on the pedophile priests was “SOME have fallen short of their commitments”. The Holy See disclaims all ability to control any priests except those directly within the vatican compound (how convenient!), and the various diocese are given instructions for declaring bankruptcy rather than having to pay reparations. So, NOT impressed with this front man for a corrupt, ugly, woman-hating organization.

    • One year is more than enough time to bring perpetrators of abuse to justice and to make sure children are kept safe. It is a priority surely?

  2. Ann Deluty says:

    It should have been first on his list. Every day children are maryted.

  3. Judy Jones says:

    Megan is right. Pope Francis could take action immediately to get this sex abuse stopped and protect kids today. Victims have waited long enough.
    He could start by firing bishops and cardinals who cover up sex crimes, first to go would be Bishop Finn, Cardinal Law, Cardinal Mahony, etc. This action alone, would help deter others from continuing to protect the child predators and their own images rather than protecting innocent children.
    The UN report says Catholic church officials are to….
    —Immediately remove all known and suspected child sexual abusers from assignment and refer the matter to the relevant law enforcement authorities for investigation and prosecution purposes;
    —Ensure a transparent sharing of all archives which can be used to hold the abusers accountable as well as all those who concealed their crimes and knowingly placed offenders in contact with children
    —Promote the reform of statute of limitations in countries where they impede victims of child sexual abuse from seeking justice and redress; (In reality, time and time again, Catholic officials have worked hard (even hiring lobby groups) to fight against the SOL reform.)

    As we have seen, these requests are being ignored. The pope seems to have higher priorities on his list to do, like fixing the Vatican financial mess.
    When has money become more important than innocent children’s lives?

    The silence from the pope about this issue is deafening.. so it’s up to secular officials (especially legislators and law enforcement) to follow the UN’s lead and step in to safeguard children, because Catholic officials are either incapable or unwilling to do so. According to this UN report, “the Vatican still places children in many countries at high risk of sexual abuse, as dozens of child sexual offenders are reported to still be in contact with children.

    Silence is not an option anymore, it only hurts and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others.
    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511, snapjudy@gmail.com
    SNAP “Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests”

  4. Eve Hanlon says:

    “Other Countries?”. There’s a whole Royal Commission into child sex abuse in both religious and government run organisations within Australia. This has been occurring since January 11, 2013 and it didn’t just ‘happen’. It’s had Bishops and Priests from the Catholic Church but from other mobs too, been hauled over the coals in public and yes, Pope Francis has given permission and given out documents that in the past would have been refused.

    He’s making changes gradually. If he moves too fast, he’ll get popped. Have a look and see how many Popes have died due to suspected poisoning. There’s been evil in the Vatican for centuries. It wont leave without a fight.

  5. Becky Ianni says:

    Thank you Megan for sharing your story. The Pope has spoken about tolerance and helping the poor which is wonderful but as a victim of abuse by a priest I have to ask myself, how does anything he has said protect children. I would like to see him publicly punish Finn who was found guilty of endangering children or to require that all church officials open their records to police and prosecutors when any priest, deacon, bishop or cardinal is being investigated for abuse or covering up abuse, or allow the Polish Archbishop to be extradited to face charges of sexual abuse. Only if he takes any of these actions will I have hope that he is different than the others before him.
    BIanni
    SNAPVirginia@cox.net

  6. Great article! The pope has had enough time. He can make sweeping changes if he wants to and he should! Sexual violence against women, children and men should not be tolerated.

  7. Julie Gallagher says:

    “Give the pope some time!” That’s a stunning and deeply troubling response to Megan Peterson’s courageous actions and her wonderful article. Do you appreciate, Tia Wiendand, that the time you want to give the pope, means more time for priestly perpetrators to rape more children, to abuse the trust of those who put their faith in church leaders. I would suggest we revisit the poignant words that Dr. King penned while held in the Birmingham jail in response to white ministers who felt he was pushing too fast for an end to segregation, “…We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that ‘justice too long delayed is justice denied.’” Letter from the Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963.
    Megan, thank you for your courage and for helping bring to light the egregious abuses that the church leaders have perpetrated in the past, and that sadly, continue today. It is only through the bravery of speaking out that change can begin.

  8. Jeanne Befano says:

    I am so sorry that you have had to endure such heinous violence. The fact that it occurred at the hand of a member of the clergy makes the act even more of an atrocity. Blessings to you as you listen and advocate for other survivors of clergy sexual abuse. Know that the God of healing, compassion and hope remains with you every step of the way.

    Blessings,
    Pastor Jeanne (a former Roman Catholic of 50 years turned ordained Luyheran.)

  9. Janet Clark says:

    If I knew the organization I headed was responsible for protecting and hiding those who rape children, it wouldn’t take me a year to get on it. I am sick of people making excuses for him.
    Thank you, Megan, for being a strong voice for victims everywhere.

  10. Alison Slow Loris says:

    Tia, I so disagree. There’s nothing to be gradual about, no small steps that can be taken to make this better – either the cover-up goes on, the enabling goes on–or it stops. The pope could say, It stops here and now. He is in fact the only person in the entire Catholic Church who could do that, and be absolutely obeyed. No excuses. Anything less makes him complicit in the rape of every child his church victimizes.

  11. Katherine H. says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. The work you and other advocates are doing is so important.

  12. Elaine Phillips says:

    The Pope has only been the pope for a few months but this issue of priests abusing children has been going on forever. Yes, the current Pope has made some interesting comments during his time in office but I am not yet satisfied he is anything new until he does something significant about this particular issue. The last pope did nothing about it and neither did the “saintly” pope. The time to do something substantial about this problem is now! The priest who baptized me as a baby went on to be a convicted child molester. I am glad my family moved away from that town before I might have become one of his victims. On behalf of children who have had their childhoods ruined by the very people they ought to have been safest with I say, “Let’s do something now!”

  13. Kathy English says:

    He has been pope for a year. Look how fast he moved when the Bishop of Bling got bad press. That’s because in Germany, tithes are taken out of people’s paychecks, like taxes, and paid directly to the church. He couldn’t afford to lose more than they already have.

    The author sounds like a brave woman, she and the many other victims deserve justice, not lip service. They, and we, don’t need yet another committee to pretend to be addressing the problem while still protecting these perverted “holy men.”

  14. Sheila Harrison says:

    Megan,
    Thank You ! You have modeled amazing courage . Continue
    to trust in the process and share your voice .

  15. Oh I disagree. He CAN make changes, and he SHOULD make changes. This story breaks my heart. Why are monsters being sheltered in the church? How is this Christike? Why are police officers charged with getting criminals off the street quickly but the pope has all the time in the world? I’m sorry but this is a man who has more power and money at his disposal than anyone on Earth. He needs to step up.Megan I am so sorry that this happened to you and I applaud your courage and your tenacity.

  16. William Burgess Leavenworth says:

    The root of this evil is the rule of priestly celibacy. Nobody who hasn’t had sex has any business assuming authority about sexual relations, so there goes the Church’s authority over sex and reproduction. I suspect that if vigilantes lynched a few dozen pederast priests the Vatican would respond more quickly.

  17. Kelly Smith says:

    The Pope is the head of the Catholic Church, and the Church has had plenty of time to get it together. They don’t deserve more time. They deserve to be cleaned out entirely since they’re clearly unwilling to take the abuse they’ve inflicted seriously.

  18. I agree with Megan Peterson’s comments. But I would go further! Let him announce penitential acts by this church to atone and make reparation just as it tells individuals to do

  19. Barbara Res says:

    I am been waiting for someone with the courage to step up and say something. I think the pope has a lot of potential but he needs to start working on a larger scale. I think the media and the public has given him credit for things he may do, but has not done yet. So I am waiting and watching.

  20. You’re a hero, Megan. Thank you for writing this powerful and important piece, and for all your hard work to bring justice and accountability to a system where there has been none for so long. The Pope must do more and start doing it now.

  21. Jill Robinson says:

    Hmm, that’s strange. I posted a reply to Tia Weinand’s comment several hours ago, but there’s no sign of it. OK, we’ll try again….

    No change in hundreds of years? Er, not quite.

    In 1950, after thousands of hours of important discussion, the pope dogmatically defined the Assumption of Mary as doctrine.

    In 2011 the pope declared Purgatory to be a non-existent place, thereby consigning thousands of years of belief to the dustheap.

    What¹s a few hundred thousand raped children when compared to such vital questions as the above?

    It¹s not easy being a divinely anointed, celibate hair-splitter, you know. They have their priorities, and evidently the welfare of children comes way down on the list.

  22. A very compelling story. Thank you for your courage and tenacity in the face of unbelievable obstacles. I agree that Pope Francis has the option to bring action quickly if he only had the courage and willingness to address the problem with honesty and tenacity of purpose. Allowing priests and bishops to continue to cover up misdeeds and to use legal loopholes and stonewalling techniques to delay and block the avenues of justice is, in my mind, a serious sin against all of the innocent children of the world. If our church leadership were to address the raping and sexual violation of children with even half as much effort as we promote protection of life still in the womb… perhaps we could find a way forward. The UN committee was right on the mark when they called the Vatican to task for not placing the well being of children above their own reputation and for the long standing “code of silence”.

  23. Lori Wallace says:

    The Pope neither needs nor deserves ‘more time’. The children of sexual abuse recieve a lifetime sentences, a lifetime spent remembering and attempting to heal. The very least this Pope should do is immediately address this crime, and give those who are the victims of it the absolute right to be acknowledged. His silence is deafening.

  24. Wonderful piece, Megan! I’m so proud of you for not only finding your voice, but using it to help others.

    I agree with you 100% about Pope Francis. While I would be happy to be proved wrong, I think if he intended to take meaningful action on the issue of child sexual abuse, he would have done so by now. Instead, he has talked about setting up a committee to study the problem, but no committee has actually been set up. He refused to extradite from the Vatican a Polish priest wanted for child sexual abuse in Central America. And finally, he has allowed clergy who are part of the cover-up to go unpunished.

    If you have been the victim of sexual abuse, report to the civil authorities and learn your legal rights. There are people who will believe you and support you.

    Melanie Jula Sakoda

    SNAP is the oldest, largest and most active support group for survivors of sex abuse. Despite the word “priests” in our name, our membership includes people abused in all types of faith communities, as well as those abused in other situations.
    Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP)
    SNAP Orthodox Christian Director
    melanie.sakoda@gmail.com
    925-708-6175

  25. Art Jaszczyk says:

    I hope he initiates the acceptance of women into the prieshood and drops the requirement of unmarried priests.

  26. Robert D. McDonough, Jr. says:

    I understand your frustration with Pope Francis. Thank you for standing up for what is right. Don’t expect this from any of the Church hierarchy as they have twin systemic problems of clericalism and misogyny. No Pope is going to act to defeat these problems since their Power depends upon the continuation of these policies. To offer a quote, Power corrupts, and absolute Power corrupts absolutely. You will remain always in my prayers.

  27. Be strong, Megan. Time would come when you & others received the justice you deserved. I hope it comes soon.

  28. Lana Carson says:

    This pope has not shown any interest in making change on this, the most important issue with the Catholic church. He is, to paraphrase Chris Hedges on Obama, merely the snappy new look given to brand Vatican. All you have to do is read the article above to see how little the Church is interested in any kind of real change here. And what does that say about them? It’s pretty damn disturbing.

  29. Mickey Shannon says:

    Megan, you are a brave young woman. I pray that the truth will set you free. God bless you in ways beyond your imagination and may you come to know the true God who loves you.
    Blessings.
    Mickey Shannon

  30. Colette Haller says:

    I am also very disappointed in the slow response. With a snap of his fingers, the pope could have had a group of bishops appear in front of him with their paperwork, and demand they answer his questions. Demoting a few of them would have shown the victims that he truly cared, and send a chill down the spines of the other bishops. Are his hands tied? Is he afraid that if he cracks down on some bishops in the US or Germany, he will have to do the same things with people in his home land? What happened there, and did he know anything?

  31. Megan, Bravo and kudos to you for your courage, leadership and all the work you’re doing. I’m not a survivor myself, but have been a “supporter” of SNAP for more than 2 years now, and found about it from a friend–perhaps you have met a gentleman (and also a gentle man) named Dennis. I went to an excellent panel presentation co sponsored by SNAP and the CCR back in Nov. 2011, and met Mr. Warren and Ms. Spees. I wish you all the best– it’s great you have this blog and are getting the word out to Ms. readers, and are doing all that you’re doing. A lot of eyes obviously are watching the new pope and maintaining and increasing the public knowledge of all of the issues, like the simple transferral of perpetrators to other parishes!, will keep his feet to the fire. Again, all the best to you and please do contact me if I can help in any way.

  32. Brian Lauer says:

    Tia you are wrong. The Pope is God’s speaker on earth. He can require all Catholic clergy and laiety to comply with local laws to pass any reports regardless if they believe the reports true. In most western nations this is the law. The church is no longer above the law.

  33. Linda Kelly says:

    Give the pope some time?? Really? How about the crimes be prosecuted against the business i.e. Catholic Church? How many more years should victims have to wait for justice? He is just the latest CEO but the company is responsible for the abuse and cover ups! Disgraceful!!

  34. Julie Gallagher says:

    “Give the pope some time!” is a shocking and deeply troubling response by Tia Weinand to Megan Peterson’s courageous, inspiring, powerful article. Ms. Weinand, do you not understand that the time you want to give the pope means that more children will raped by priests, more priestly rapists will be moved from one parish or country to another, and more faithful followers of Catholicism will be betrayed by those they earnestly put their trust in? I would remind us of the poignant words Dr. King penned in response to white ministers who suggested the civil rights movement was moving too fast in its effort to bring about an end to racial injustices. “Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.” April 16, 1963, Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We should have to wait no longer for Pope Francis to take clear action against the crimes committed by priests around the world!
    Thank you Megan Peterson for the courage you have demonstrated in coming forward and speaking out about the horrific abuses that have long been covered up and abetted by the leadership of the Catholic Church! It is only through the actions of you and other brave people like you that this long history of criminal behavior comes to an end.

  35. If the new pope can find the time to apppoint 19 new cardinals, he can find the time to deal with his paedophile priests. But clearly his charm-offensive to the world is more important, and a greater ego-booster. Becoming popular and gaining world support are top of his agenda. Sorry to disappoint everyone, but this new pope is just as reactionary and un-caring as all his predecessors. He’s just better at fooling the world as to his real intentions – sweeping the s**t under the carpet and pretending it never happened – and putting the church into a better light so people donate more during mass, thus enriching the church even further. Very smoooooth, and a win-win strategy.

  36. Well Done Megan . . . .your Courage & Endurance all these years to face up to what happened to you & fight back is Supremely Commendable. What an immense contribution you bring to all those young people who are reaching out for help & This Time There is someone on the other end of the line who advocates for them. You became the person that you desperately needed back then which helps heal the wound of the past while attempting to prevent anymore in the future. I too, after reading your personal account hope & pray that the perpetrator who you name/expose in this article is called-to-account for his sins & that eventually you are able to feel The Sword of Justice strike to the heart of your Life Mission. All Good Blessings Be with you this day & in your work Megan.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    Graciously ~
    Gwen

  37. Susan Miller says:

    Thank you for being so brave and strong. Thank you for speaking up, even when so many people have turned against you. Thank you for not giving up. I’m glad you feel welcome in NYC. I live here too. I hope your healing is going well. You are really inspiring. Thank you for pointing out that Pope Francis may have uttered some nice words, but he needs to take many concrete actions immediately. I’m going to repost your article!

  38. Lynn Harrington says:

    Megan, it is disgusting and shocking that people were cruel toward you for getting the truth out. You were victimized all over again.
    In order for there to be positive changes, this nauseating institution would have to admit that they were wrong and they are not famous for admitting crimes and stupid policies.
    Blessings to you, I applaud your courage. The more people who tell the truth about abuse, the better.

  39. miguel hurtado says:

    Hi,

    Give him more time? The first warning sign about the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church was in 1986 by Father Thomas Doyle. I was 4 years old. In the early 90 victims begged then Pope John Paul II to meet him to explain him how soul destroying was to be raped/sodomised/abused by a priest so he could change the way the Church responded to these despicable crimes. He consistently refused to meet with them. I was abused at 16, 12 years after the first warning sing. In 2001 Dario Castrillón Hoyos, Prefect for the Concregation of the Clergy send a letter to bishop Pican in France, congratulating him for having protected a priest who had abused multiple children and sent a copy to all bishops in the world. In 2011 the Vatican at least in theory changed its policies and recommended that when the law MANDATED it, child abuse by priest should be reporter to civil authorities. So it only took the Church 25 years after the first warning sign to decide at least IN THEORY to take a basic, noncontroversial and common sense measure. (you don´t have to be a rocket scientist to know that you should report child rape to the police because when pedophiles are in jail they don´t harm kids). So perhaps there are people who consider that, taking into account it took the Church 500 years to say they were sorry for the trial of Galileo, the Vatican is responding at light speed in comparison. They have had more than enough time to clean this mess by now. Every day that passes without significant reform (opening vatican archives with the records of all sex crimes by priests, reporting all child rapist priests to authorities, firing bishops who have protected child rapists by obstructing justice, destroying evidence and intimidating witnesses) children are raped, sodomized and sexually exploited. Sorry we are not going to give the Vatican any more extra time, children´s lives are at stake.

  40. PEDOPHILE PRIEST/VLERGY ISSUE WILL NOT BE RESOLVED BY THE VATICAN..UNNLESS THE UN AGAIN STEPS IN AND STARTS ARRESTING CLERGY ALL ACCROS THE WORLD. DONT TRY TO SEND A LETTER TO THE POPE HE WILL NEVER READ IT..HE’S TO WELL INSULATED BY READERS, COMMUNICATION SPECIALIIST AN SPEACH WRITERS. iF HE WANTS TO RESOLVE THE SITUATION IMMED HE WOULD NOT GO THE TIME CONSUMING COMMISSION WAY AND STACK THE COMMISSIOM WITH INDIVIDUALS THAT ARE NOT INTERESTED IN RESOLUTION BECAUSE THEY ARE INVOLVED ALSO. iF HE REALLY BELIEVES ALL INVOLVED SHOULD BE FIRED.. THERE ARE ENOUGH LIST OUT THERE THAT COULD BE OBTAINED AND HE COULD BE VERY VISIABLE AND FIRE THE ALL ALL AT ONCE…nO THAT WONT HAPPEN EITHER HE WILL CONTINUE DOWN THE ROAD DRAGGING HIS FEET WIT A HOPE ALL OF THIS WILL GO AWAY….POLITICS IM AFREAID IN THIS MATTER IS THE RULE OF THE DAY….

  41. Well it turned out today that a list of Pedophile Priest in St Louis went as far back as the late 1940′s as turned over ,demanded by the Missouri Court System, by Arch Bishop Carlson. As in the past AB Carlson was involved in the movement of these Monsters all over the US from one Church to anouther and is involved in the crime crime also. As is othe Cardinals Mahoney (LAX), Dolan (NY),
    O’Malley (Bos), Burke (Vatican), Regalli (Phl), Arch Bishop Carlson (STL). AB Carlson continues defying the courts by not turning other list from the years 2004~2014. These persons, dont like to use the word clergy, should abide by the law and resign and turn thenselves in. They violated the Parishioners Trust for many years some in other dioceses to include present years. The Pope dont want to defrock them they should not make him do that they should RESIGN…

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