Straight Guy with the Catholic Eye: Ex-nun calls for U.S. Government to investigate Catholic Church
By Matt Abbott
I recently received the following e-mail from Pauline Salvucci of Voices of Outrage (www.voicesofoutrage.com):
"Because I do not believe that justice for survivors will come from within the church any more than I think the church will thoroughly clean its house, I propose that we begin to implement the RICO Campaign for Survivor Justice.
"The purpose of this campaign is to call for an investigation of the Roman Catholic Church by the United States Federal Government under the RICO laws for the church's systematic organizational cover up of the sexual abuse of minors and youth over the past 50 plus years.
"To facilitate this endeavor, individuals and groups at the state level would begin a letter writing campaign to their senators, legislators, FBI -- both federal and local -- calling for a RICO investigation of the Roman Catholic Church's handling of the sexual abuse cases in their respective dioceses. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Attorney General John Ashcroft should also be targeted in this campaign since some survivors were trafficked.
"In conjunction with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the Administration of Children and Families of the United States Department of Health and Human Services has initiated the Campaign to Rescue and Restore Victims of Human Trafficking. The Rescue and Restore campaign intends to increase the number of identified trafficking victims and help them receive the benefits and services needed to live safely in the United States.
"The U.S. State Department reports that '...approximately 800,000 to 900,000 victims annually are trafficked across international borders world wide, and between 18,000 and 20,000 of those victims are trafficked into the United States. This campaign focuses on outreach through health care providers, social service organizations and law enforcement to recognize clues, identify foreign victims trafficked to the US and to reach out and help victims.
"But what of American victims of Roman Catholic priests and bishops? Should these men and women remain alone in their fight for justice? Should America's Roman Catholic bishops who cast aspersions on the American legal system remain above the law? I think not.
"I wrote to Paul Baier of Survivor's First in Boston...and will write to Jim Post, president of Voice of the Faithful, asking if their organizations are interested in this project...I [also] sent an e-mail to Paul Kendrick of Bishops--Accountability.org asking for his feedback.
"If they are interested I would hope that they would organize their membership into parish groups which will take responsibility to organize a mail campaign in each VOTF chapter of each state that has affiliation with the Boston group. These relay-type letter campaigns would specifically ask for a RICO investigation of the Catholic Church.
"Okay, so you're all thinking I'm nuts and this is crazy, please let me finish. I know that if parishes actually do this, they will be setting themselves up to receive the wrath of their pastors and their bishop. If the laity sincerely wants to do something -- then let them be ready to stand for what the Gospel teaches -- love and justice. No mincing words, no waiting for the bishop to offer additional lip service. No more playing that game. People must get involved -- people who are in the church and those who, like me, are no longer practicing Catholics. Because I was a nun for 17 years and now speak so critically of the hierarchy, I think that some Catholics may not want to be associated with me. I am sorry they don't. There is no contradiction in my mind or in my heart about this. Justice is justice and accountability is non-denominational.
"Back to the issue [at hand]. The media should be contacted and the contents of the letter released. This will bring local and perhaps national attention to the endeavor. If there's anything the church hates, it's bad publicity. If the hierarchy ups the ante -- and they will -- so be it. More bad publicity for them.
"The RICO Campaign for Survivor Justice needs to be ongoing. This means that parts of the country can take turns getting out the letters. A constant relay of letters to targeted officials. Then follow-up letters. Phone calls. Then follow-up with the newspapers.
"Unless the laity actually takes strong steps to get the government involved, I am afraid people will keep spinning their wheels in the hope that their bishops will do 'something right -- this time.' The National Review Board has been duped. Catholics have been duped -- some willingly and others because they refuse to recognize the ugly face of the abuse of power in the church.
"Are Cardinal George's thoughts expressed to the pope on June 1, 2004 (http://www.zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=54605) simply his own? I think not. Predictably he blames the media and the public, calling America 'anti-Catholic' -- a country with an 'oppressive legal system.' He says the church has no freedom from the 'bureaucratic apparatus of the states.' I think Cardinal George has plenty of company among other cardinals and bishops. These men have no understanding of justice nor of democracy. It's time they learned.
"As part of The RICO Campaign for Survivor Justice, a copy of Cardinal George's letter should accompany the letters to every official targeted in the campaign. Politicians and government officials must be awakened and begin to understand that the Roman Catholic Church is governed by American bishops -- and American citizens -- who must be investigated for covering up sex crimes against children and youth.
"This road will be long and difficult, but it will be no longer than the road survivors have traveled their entire lives...."
Gosh, if the government should investigate the Church, it should also investigate the abortion giant Planned Parenthood, an organization that seems to have no problem with protecting sexual predators. See www.childpredators.com.
And while on the subject of abortion, for those who still believe the utterly preposterous myth that pro-lifers are somehow more violent than pro-aborts (these pro-"choice" advocates, of course, don't believe the killing of an unborn child constitutes an act of violence), check out www.abortionviolence.com.
Matt Abbott - Author, 000 000-0000
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