Here's some food for thought from Irwin Zalkin, the attorney who has filed nearly 20 child abuse lawsuits against the Watchtower

by AndersonsInfo 9 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • AndersonsInfo

    Yom Kippur Thoughts for Pope Francis


    By: Irwin Zalkin

    This was the week of Yom Kippur, the Jewish High Holiday known as the Day of Atonement. It is a day when Jews personally and collectively acknowledge our transgressions of the previous year and seek forgiveness.

    I was in synagogue observing the holiday and confessing my sins when our Rabbi, as part of her sermon, read a recent encyclical (letter) issued by Pope Francis where he called for the world to acknowledge the hardships of those who are suffering from an array of problems from the ravages of war to persecution to poverty. It was a moving challenge to all of us to acknowledge our obligation to reach out and help the suffering and the helpless.

    During his current visit to the United States, Pope Francis had an opportunity to reach out to those who have suffered, and continue to suffer, from the scourge of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. Instead, he lauded the “courage” of the Bishops of the United States for how they have responded to the fall out from the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. I was disappointed to see no acknowledgment or compassion for the victims of clergy abuse, but only this “pat on the back” for Bishops, many who have ignored this travesty for decades.

    As an attorney who has been representing survivors of child sexual abuse for over a decade, I was disappointed, but not surprised. Our firm has been involved in efforts to change laws in various states in the United States, including California, that would allow survivors access to civil justice against institutions that are responsible for the harm that was done to them as children by employees, agents and volunteers of those organizations including the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has been the leader in opposition to those efforts, spending millions of dollars on expensive lobbyists to defeat such legislation that would give victims access to justice.

    It is clear from this failure of the Pope to acknowledge victims of clergy abuse on his visit to the U.S. that the church’s continuing opposition to extending access to civil justice for sex abuse victims is a decision that comes from the top. If this Pope wanted to support the rights of victims then there would be no such resistance to legislative proposals the church is battling with millions of dollars in several states across the country.

    On behalf of survivors of Catholic clergy sex abuse, and of sexual abuse in many other institutions, I challenge Pope Francis to reflect on the suffering of clergy abuse victims and then to reconsider the Church position. They deserve his compassion and real justice for what they have suffered.

  • Sabin
    I totally agree, how bad is it that these so called religious leaders have so little compassion for victims. Do you think this is how they feel or what they have been told by lawyers to say? No-one wants to just say this is what I feel, this is the truth of the situation. It`s beginning to look to me like children have no place in religion at all, survival of the fittest, so that excludes the young & the old. How very sad.
  • Watchtower-Free
    Christian Freedom .................Facebook

  • wannaexit
    Excellent article and reflection.
  • Oubliette

    Irwin Zalkin: I was disappointed to see no acknowledgment or compassion for the victims of clergy abuse, ... I was disappointed, but not surprised.

    And you could easily substitute the Governing Body and other WT leaders for the Pope in Zalkins essay.

  • blondie

    Thanks Barbara. Yes, the phony or powerless apologies of individuals in the RC are not helpful to the victims of the institutional abuse that still exists in the RC. Even if the WTS apologized it would be same phony and powerless. I had first hand experience with dealing with abuse in the WTS all the way to NY. I don't doubt that the current pope may be sincere, but his new policies will not upend the years of abuse in that organization. I have seen elders disregard counsel from on high and hide things from the CO, DO, etc.

    Thanks Attorney Zalkin and your staff and you too Barbara and those who work with you.

  • Brokeback Watchtower
  • blondie
    Just to bring this to the top....It gives an accurate picture of the position of the Catholic Church still in regards to the abuse kisses
  • blondie

    Pope Francis: US bishops show 'courage' over Catholic church sex abuse crisis

    Pontiff comes up short of issuing apology to victims of decades of abuse, and urges bishops to embrace inclusiveness over ‘harsh and divisive language’Pope Francis has hailed US bishops for their handling of the sexual abuse crisis that has rocked the Catholic church for decades, saying they had shown “courage” throughout and regained the authority and the trust which was demanded of them.

    In rare remarks about the string of scandals that first emerged in the mid-1980s, Pope Francis stopped short of addressing the victims of clerical abuse, focusing instead on the pain that had been inflicted on the bishops who were left to weather the storm.

    Related: Pope Francis in DC: pontiff alludes to sex abuse and political divisions – live

    “I am also conscious of the courage with which you have faced difficult moments in the recent history of the church in this country without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice,” he said.

    He then commended the bishops for being ready to sell off church property and assets in order to pay for settlements with abuse victims. “Nor have you been afraid to divest whatever is unessential in order to regain the authority and trust which is demanded of ministers of Christ and rightly expected by the faithful,” he said.

    Between 2004 and 2013, US diocese paid $1.7bn in legal settlements, according to a report released last year by the US Conference on Catholic Bishops. In that same period, it also paid $379m in legal fees.

    “I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims – in the knowledge that in healing we too are healed – and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated,” he continued, prompting a round of applause from the assembled bishops.

    Pope Francis’s brief remarks prompted an angry response from activists at Snap (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests), the most vocal advocacy group for abuse victims.

    “We’re sad that Francis claims US bishops have shown ‘courage’ in the abuse crisis. Almost without exception, they have shown cowardice and callousness and continue to do so now,” said Barbara Dorris, the group’s victims outreach director.

    “They offer excuses, exploit legal technicalities and hide behind expensive lawyers and public relations professionals, hardly the marks of courage,” she said.

    “We’re also sad that Francis can’t bring himself to call this crisis what it is – not ‘difficult moments in recent history’, but the continuing cover-up of clergy child sex crimes by almost the entire church hierarchy.”

    Related: Have you met a pope? Share your photos, videos and stories

    While Francis has sought to take steps to increase the church’s accountability, some victims’ advocacy groups say there is much more the church needs to do.

    An estimate calculated by found that there have been at least 17,200 victims of clerical abuse in the US.

    The abuse scandals in the US, as in other countries around the world, did not only implicate pedophile priests but also the bishops and cardinals who protected them, and in many cases allowed them to prey on more young victims.

    Pope Francis’s remarks were made to hundreds of bishops that were assembled for the pope’s remarks in St Matthew’s cathedral in Washington DC, where he delivered his homily in Italian.

  • blondie
    wonderful post, Barbara. Can't tell if many are reading it. But keeping sharing.

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