Inhumanity in the Name of Jesus: Untethered Sex Abuse in the Catholic Church, and its Tolerance Under the Last Six Popes

So far, 2018 has been a tumultuous year for the Pope. First, his calumny accusations in Chile and now the pending trial of a high-ranking cardinal in Australia.

“The Catholic Church can not argue for its moral authority in matters of society’s mores and public affairs because it is an institution controlled by men who are intrinsically immoral.”

— G.R. Pafumi

SPRING VALLEY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES, May 8, 2018 / — VictimsSpeakDB Books and G.R. Pafumiare pleased to announce the publication of Inhumanity in the Name of Jesus, Volume II: Clergy Sex Abuse, The Indifference of the Last Six Popes. The more recent cover-up of clergy abuse in the Catholic Church began with Pope John XXIII in 1962 when he re-issued Crimen sollicitationis (Latin for the crime of solicitation). It established procedures which required that secrecy be deployed when priests used the confessional to make sexual advances to penitents. It reiterated the principles of an identically named instruction issued in 1922. It was adhered to by three popes in addition to John XXIII: Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II. The instruction was replaced by new norms promulgated in the motu proprio Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela in 2001. That instruction was updated in 2010 under Benedict XVI and is still in effect under Francis.

It appears that Pope John XXIII was the first pope since Pius XI (in 1922) to acknowledge and address the issue of clergy sex abuse. Instead of re-issuing Crimen sollicitationis, John XXIII could have made a greater effort to address the real problem of the actual abuse. Indeed, it was the early 1960s when clergy abuse, or at least reporting of clergy abuse, rapidly escalated. It peaked in the 1970s. So much pain could have been avoided. All of the popes since John XXIII have followed John’s lead and have done almost nothing to substantially address the problem. Without new legislation and better law enforcement in the developed countries, kids would likely still be abused in large numbers by Catholic clergy. Sadly, they still are being abused in Africa, the Philippines, and other less-developed countries where the Church wields significant influence.

The book’s timing could not have been more opportune. In this moment, Pope Francis is trying to explain away the pain he created during his January 2018 visit to Chile. There he accused sex abuse victims of calumny, i.e. slander. In this same moment, the number three man at the Vatican, Cardinal George Pell, Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy (i.e., head of the Vatican Bank), is set to begin two separate criminal trials. He has been charged with sexual abuse of minors dating from the 1970s to the 1990s when he was a priest in the Melbourne area and later Archbishop of Melbourne. Pell was appointed to his prestigious position as head of the Vatican Bank by Pope Francis in 2014. Despite these accusations, the Vatican has stated that Pell will not be forced to quit his role in the church hierarchy.

In Canada, the Members of Parliament voted overwhelmingly to invite the Pope to formally apologize in person to the Indigenous Peoples. They suffered for decades of abuse meted out in residential schools across Canada. The motion was passed by a margin of 269-10. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had personally asked the Pope to issue an apology during a visit to the Vatican in 2017. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a letter saying they had raised the matter with Pope Francis but said “he felt he could not personally respond.” Three other Christian denominations that ran residential schools have issued formal apologies. The United Church did so in 1998, the Presbyterian Church in 1994 and the Anglican Church in 1993. The Catholic Church ran two-thirds of the schools and has refused to apologize or pay the restitution it has been ordered to give as compensation to the victims. Catholics are challenging the Church elsewhere. With less than two months until the close of its annual fundraising appeal, Catholic Charities of Buffalo is stressing to potential donors that their dollars will not go toward settlements to abuse victims. The Diocese has been in the spotlight for several months regarding a growing number of priests acknowledged to have sexually abused children and teens in past decades.

Several states look to expand the statute of limitations for sex crimes against children despite vehement opposition from the Catholic Church. In New York State, a measure known as the Child Victims Act was endorsed by the Democrat-led Assembly. Prospects in the Republican-controlled state Senate are not so promising. Current law gives victims until age 23 to file civil cases or seek criminal charges. Under the act, victims could file civil suits until age 50 and seek criminal charges until age 28. The bill would also create a one-year window allowing victims to file civil lawsuits for alleged abuse now barred by the existing statute of limitations (SOL). Similar bills have failed to pass the New York legislature for over a decade. Measures to expand or eliminate the statute of limitations are also being considered in Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia. Even Chile has gotten into the act. The president of Chile recently introduced a bill to eliminate the statute of limitations on sexual offenses against minors. Guam and California have eliminated the SOL for sex crimes against children.

The only way to deal with the Church is through litigation and legislation. Pope Francis proved this point last January. While visiting the northern city of Iquique, Francis is asked by a Chilean journalist about Bishop Juan Barros. Barros was accused of protecting priests who abused children. Francis said, “The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, I’ll speak. There is not one shred of proof against him. It’s all calumny. Is that clear?” Whether it be defending a bishop who protected child molesters, or refusing to apologize to victims of abuse in Canada, Pope Francis has clearly established that protecting children is not his highest priority. This book chronicles clergy abuse over the last century. It was written to endorse legislation, and provide the statistical data, to provide better protection for children from predators.

Inhumanity in the Name of Jesus by G. R. Pafumi
Volume II: Clergy Sex Abuse, The Indifference of the Last Six Popes
Publication Date: May 2, 2018
Trade Paperback; $12.99; 356 pages; Kindle Edition; $9.99
ISBN-13: 978-1983642760, ISBN-10: 1983642762

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