24 May 2011

Calgary Bishop rejects criticism of Vatican reforms, says child protection protocols will work in his diocese

Calgary Herald  -  Canada      May 19, 2011

Editorial: Bypass the bishops

The only acceptable reform the Vatican could have offered regarding cases of child abuse by pedophile priests was a mandate to call the police. Instead, the disappointing new “reforms” simply leave the matter of reporting abuse in the hands of bishops — where it doesn’t belong.

Doctors, social workers, teachers and ordinary citizens have a legal obligation to phone the police if they suspect a case of child abuse is occurring. The Roman Catholic Church should not consider itself exempt from this obligation.

When it comes to a crime as grave as child abuse, no organization should make self-policing its primary line of defence. To do so is to invite the danger of coverups, and after the thousands of cases of child sex abuse in which the pedophile priest perpetrators were protected by bishops and others in the church hierarchy, one would think the Vatican would hasten to distance itself from the potential for further secrecy in the matter.

Sadly, it seems as though this is a lesson that has gone unlearned.

The Vatican calls the so-called reforms “an important new step” in the fight against child abuse by priests. It is nothing of the kind. The Vatican is still standing on the same step it’s been on for years; it has not put a foot forward to real reform.

The solution is simple: Bypass the bishop and go straight to the police.

This article was found at:


Calgary Herald  -  Canada  May 22, 2011

Prevention is first defence against child abuse, says bishop

By Bishop Fred Henry, Calgary

Re: "Bypass the bishops," Editorial, May 20.

Your editorial has done all of us a disservice and fails to acknowledge initiatives taken to strengthen our parish communities.

First, the Roman Catholic Church does not consider itself exempt from the obligation to report a case of child abuse to the police in accordance with the Alberta Child Welfare Act.

Second, self-policing is not our primary line of defence, but a good case can be made that prevention is.

Third, we are also committed to transparency and have a Model Code of Pastoral Conduct and Sexual Misconduct Abuse Protocol posted on our diocesan website.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary is committed to complying with the obligations of canon, civil and criminal law as well as informing complainants, the families and the accused of their civil and legal rights.

The diocese will also always act in accordance with the laws of Canada and Alberta.

Section 3.3 of our Diocese Sexual Misconduct Protocol deals explicitly with allegations of abuse of children:

If the complaint involves allegations of abuse of children, the misconduct committee chair (who is not an employee of the diocese) shall:

(a) if the complaint involves a child currently in need of protection as defined under applicable child protection legislation, report the allegations to the appropriate authorities immediately in accordance with the applicable law;

(b) ensure that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary co-operates fully with any investigation by appropriate authorities;

(c) not conduct an internal investigation until any criminal or child protection investigation is completed;

(d) if it appears that other children or vulnerable persons may be currently at risk, take such action as is appropriate in the circumstances and in accordance with this policy and applicable law, or recommend such action to the bishop;

(e) if warranted, notify the misconduct advisory team and keep them informed of the investigation, recommendations and any resolution of the complaint; and

 f) inform the bishop of the complaint and the steps taken by the misconduct committee chair.

Furthermore, any clergyman or employee or volunteer of the diocese who suspects that a child may be in need of protection, as defined under applicable territorial or provincial laws, must report this suspicion to the appropriate authorities.

If the alleged abuser is a member of the diocese or an employee or volunteer of the diocese, then the misconduct committee chair must also be advised of the allegations.

Any clergyman, employee or volunteer of the diocese who is accused of abuse of a child must notify the misconduct committee chair immediately and should consult with independent legal counsel.

The bishop shall immediately remove anyone accused of child abuse from contact with children or other vulnerable persons and, if the accused is a clergyman or an employee of the diocese, place him or her on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of any investigation by police or child protection workers.

Bishop Fred Henry, Calgary

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Northern Ireland survivors of clergy crimes say Vatican investigation inadequate, call for government inquiry

Hundreds of admitted or credibly accused pedophile priests who escaped justice are unsupervised by church or police

Dublin Archbishop admits frustration over failed effort to promote major reforms in Catholic Church

Leaked confidential letter reveals Vatican's intention to prevent reporting of abuse to criminal authorities

Of course popes, cardinals and bishops covered up crimes against children, but can the Church be reformed while leaders are in denial?

Catholic diocese bankruptcies protect assets from abuse survivors but provide no relief for moral bankruptcy of church leaders

Milwaukee archbishop blames bankruptcy on individual pedophile priests, ignores systemic coverup by church leaders

Pope's 2010 Christmas message reveals broken moral compass, again fails to adequately address clergy abuse and cover-up

New rules on clergy sex abuse shows there is still no moral awakening in the Catholic church

If the Pope is infallibly moral why did he enable and cover-up the systematic rape of children across the globe?

Boston Globe reporters who exposed widespread sex crimes scandal which led to current Catholic crisis say far more yet to come

Current wave of global Catholic scandals just tip of iceberg says Quebec advocate who predicts many more to come

As Vatican cardinal defends pope and church, African bishop says sex crimes of priests there not yet exposed

Crisis of moral authority and credibility for Belgian Catholic church after decades of clergy abuse that destroyed lives

Investigation uncovers Catholic practice of "geographic cure", shuffling pedophile priests around the globe

Priest Accused Of Abuse Moved From Parish To Parish

Lawsuit against L.A. and Mexico City Cardinals claims they moved known pedophile priest between dioceses 

San Diego diocese documents released, more evidence of Catholic leaders moving pedophile priests from parish to parish

Bishops were warned of abusive priests as early as the mid-1950s

1963 letter by church expert on pedophile priests shows Pope Paul VI and Vatican officials ignored warnings to expel problem priests


  1. Vatican refuses to give UN panel full details of clerical sex abuse cases

    Holy See angers campaigners by not disclosing information requested by UN committee on the rights of the child

    by Lizzy Davies in Rome, The Guardian December 4, 2013

    The Vatican has refused to give a United Nations panel information it requested on clerical sex abuse, in a move that it said was part of its confidentiality policy but which was criticised as "a slap in the face" for victims.

    In a series of questions asked in the runup to a public hearing scheduled for January, the UN committee on the rights of the child had requested the Holy See provide details of abuse cases and specific information concerning their subsequent investigation and handling.

    But, in its response, the Holy See said that although it had answered the questions in a general way, it was not its practice to disclose information on specific cases unless requested to do so by another country as part of legal proceedings.

    In the 24-page document, the Holy See said it had been "deeply saddened by the scourge of sexual abuse" and regretted the involvement of some members of the Catholic clergy.

    It added that it had "amended norms" regarding the suitability of candidates for the priesthood, and had taken other steps including the revision of some canon law rules "to ensure that clerics and religious are properly disciplined".

    But it did not give all the details requested by the committee in a lengthy, multi-part question on the "sexual violence against children committed by members of the clergy, brothers and nuns in numerous countries around the world".

    The Holy See was asked to provide detailed information on all cases of child sexual abuse that had been committed by members of the clergy or brought to the attention of the Holy See over a certain period.

    As a whole, the document included responses on issues from child sexual abuse to gender stereotyping in Catholic schoolbooks and the abandonment of infants in church "baby boxes".

    In a cover note, the Holy See said that the committee had in many instances asked it to respond on "concrete situations that fall outside the direct control of the Holy See, since they concern matters for which Catholic persons and institutions present in other countries are responsible".

    The Holy See, which signed the convention on the rights of the child in 1990, argues that while it encourages the rights recognised on a global basis, it can only implement them on the territory of the Vatican city state.

    Campaigners reacted angrily to the response on sexual abuse, with Keith Porteous Wood of the UK's National Secular Society branding it "a brazen failure".

    "Many will be disappointed and surprised by this slap in the face to the tens if not hundreds of thousands of suffering victims and to a United Nations body," he said in a statement.

    "It is both shameless and unacceptable for [the Holy See] to undermine the UN's efforts, made in the interest of protecting past and future victims, by refusing to provide the information that the UN seeks."

    The US-based Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents the Survivors' Network of Those Abused by Priests, said the response marked one of the Holy See's "most explicitly disingenuous and misleading positions on the issue to date".

    "The response is vague and general, where the committee sought concrete data and facts," it added in a statement.

    In May, Pope Francis said the Congregation of the Faith – the Vatican department that includes the office of the sex crimes prosecutor – should continue to act decisively on abuse allegations, "promoting, above all, measures to protect minors, help for those who have suffered such violence in the past and the necessary procedures against those who are guilty".


  2. Suspended priest facing 8 sex-related charges against boys

    Yvon Arsenault, 71, of Aldouane, scheduled to enter pleas on Jan. 27

    CBC News December 05, 2013

    A suspended Roman Catholic priest is facing several sex-related charges involving boys dating back to the 1970s.

    Yvon Arsenault, 71, of Aldouane, was charged Thursday in Moncton provincial court with four counts of gross indecency, three counts of indecent assault and one count of sexual assault.

    Arsenault was not present in court. The matter has been adjourned until Jan. 27 when he is expected to elect how he wants to be tried and to enter pleas.

    Meanwhile, RCMP Staff Sgt. Jeff Johnston says the investigation is ongoing and police believe there may have been other incidents.

    "The accused lived in several communities throughout New Brunswick so we're asking anyone who has information in regards to these matters to contact the Codiac Regional RCMP," he said.

    The current charges relate to incidents that are alleged to have occurred during the 70s and early 80s in Shediac, Rosaireville and Collette.

    There are four alleged victims, boys who were under the age of 18 at the time.

    Arsenault was removed from his position in July of 2012 and retired the same month.

    The RCMP started its investigation in December 2012 as the result of a complaint.

    "All sexual abuse in any form is not acceptable and is condemned by the church," Moncton Archbishop Valéry Vienneau said in a statement.

    Vienneau has "asked for prayers for all parties, especially victims and their families" and pledged his "full co-operation with authorities."

    He declined any further comment now that the matter is before the courts.