Marion Witte

February 25, 2019

The Pope Called Me “A Friend of Satan”

Filed under: Catholic Church — Marion Witte @ 2:44 pm

The three day Papal Summit regarding “Sexual Abuse of Children” in the Catholic Church just ended on February 24th in Rome.  It did not get out off to a really great start – or a great ending.

First Pope Francis made a public statement the day before the summit, declaring that those who were criticizing the church were the “friends or relatives of Satan.”  This statement appeared in several international new sources. Then, on the eve of the summit, he did not appear for what was to be a meeting with adult survivors of abuse, who had travelled to Rome, to express their concerns to the Pope.

In the end, the summit turned out to be a big “nothing burger.” As one reporter stated, it was a lot of “thoughts and prayers” and little action.

Many organizations and individuals (including people like me) who have been critical of the church’s handling of this worldwide scandal were hopeful the church leadership would come up with a solid plan to deal with past abuses, and equally as important, put in place preventative measures to avoid future atrocities.

One interesting revelation made during the summit was from a Cardinal from Germany, who divulged that many of the records of abuse in that particular country were either destroyed or not committed to writing.  Experts suggest this may be a worldwide policy.

Advocacy groups have been pushing the Vatican to adopt a “No Tolerance” policy.  Sadly, this did not happen at the recent summit.  My recommendations for actions that need to be taken by the Vatican include the following:

  1. Allow outside law enforcement to get involved in any alleged sexual abuse crime by a member of the Catholic organization
  2. Not allow the Church to rely on the cover of Papal Canon Law and Pontifical Secrecy to be the first course of action (and oftentimes the only) under which a victim can report a crime
  3. Advise all parishioners that the above policies have been adopted and are supported by the Vatican
  4. Immediately remove a priest from a parish, and from being able to minister, if an allegation of any form of impropriety is made – and not just move him from parish to parish
  5. Require that the church release all the records of know sexual predators, and those members of the hierarchy who covered up their crimes, to outside law enforcement for possible prosecution.
  6. Change the rules regarding priests not being able to marry
  7. Allow female priests to be ordained

Without at least some of these suggestions being undertaken, it appears that that Church has once again dug in its heels and put its head in the sand. We will have to wait once more to see what future actions they do take, if any.

Although I was raised as a Catholic, I long ago gave up the idea of heaven or hell, a concept Pope Francis speaks of frequently.

Therefore, I can only ponder what will happen when he dies, and he takes a ride to the Pearly Gates in his Pope Mobile, wearing his long dress, his wizard hat and his alpha-sized cross necklace.  How will he respond when God asks him about the hundreds of thousands of children under his watch who were subjected to sexual abuse?  And so, I believe I need to send Papa Francis lots of “hopes and prayers.” Perhaps the judgment he receives will be more compassionate than the treatment of the children whose lives have been damaged.

And about that little matter of the Pope thinking I am a “friend of Satan” – I wear that like a badge of courage!

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February 2, 2019

Not One More Dime!

Filed under: Catholic Church — Marion Witte @ 12:15 am

Stephen Colbert – Please Read This Letter!

Concerned Catholics can get involved at “Not One Dime” – www.not1dime.com

Victims of abuse by priests or nuns can get support at the SNAP Network – www.snapnetwork.org

Fair Use Screenshot Courtesy of The Mindy Project

 

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January 30, 2019

The Nuns Are In On It Too?

Filed under: Catholic Church — Marion Witte @ 8:58 pm

I was watching the media drama surrounding the situation that happened in Washington, DC with the boys from the Covington, Kentucky private Catholic high school.  I was somewhat struck by the degree of attention it was getting from the news outlets.  I mean, what can possibly go wrong when you put some entitled boys, acting stupid, without proper supervision, supporting a pro-life agenda and wearing MAGA hats, in a politically charged environment?

I understand that teenage boys can be jerks, and that often there is an assumed privilege that goes along with attending a private Catholic school.  These are annoying factors, yet they pale when compared to the real problems within the Catholic organization. I hope the Covington story does not distract anyone from continuing to address the most critical issue facing this Church.

Pedophilia.

And in case you think it only involves priests, CBS News broke a story three weeks ago, reporting on what is being called “the secret not yet told” – the growing number of allegations of sexual abuse by nuns. The Catholic Church has been plagued with high-profile sexual abuse scandals, but “pedophile nun” is a phrase many people have probably never heard before.

The sexual and physical abuse by nuns is apparently far more widespread than most people are aware of, and nuns have been uniquely protected by the inability of most people to believe that such things are possible. For years, without much success, the victims of abusive nuns have asked that these women of the cloth expose the truth about childhood sex crimes and the coverup by the women in these religious societies.

I have a passionate belief in the need for a change in the behavior of the hierarchy and clergy of the Catholic Church, and I am unabashedly and unapologetically proud of my stance.

I often hear the comment that “there are a lot of problems about the way children are treated in other religious organizations.”  This is a deflection away from the real issue, in my mind, and a way to detract from the topic I am trying to address.  I realize this problem is not unique to the Catholic Church, and so I applaud the work of anyone tackling this issue in other religious organizations, such as Leah Remini, who is exposing such practices in the Church of Scientology.

For me, since the Catholic Church is the single biggest known organized abuser of children in the world, it is where I have been focusing my resources the last few years.  There are some amazing groups and members within the Church, and many who have left the Church, who have been shining a bright flashlight into the darkest corners of the organization, and I am in total accord with what they are doing. 

Luckily, the efforts of these individuals and organizations are starting to pay off, including:

  1. Various dioceses around the United States are under financial pressure and to date, 22 have declared bankruptcy, since they are unable to pay off the multi-million dollar settlements awarded to the survivors of sexual abuse.
  2. As of today, 16 states have opened up criminal investigations against the Catholic Church dioceses in their states.  This is unprecedented, and it is a direct result of the disclosure in 2018 of the magnitude of the abuse in the state of Pennsylvania.
  3. Investigations into Catholic pedophilia have begun in over 30 countries around the world.
  4. Church attendance is declining – estimates are that only 1 in 4 Catholics now attend service.

I understand the issues raised by those who make the argument “But the Church is a beacon and guiding light for so many.” On the other hand, what is also true is the fact that the entire Catholic organization has a systemic problem that must be eradicated.  And so, I believe that Church members can hold these two separate truths in their hearts, at the same time.  They can cling to the spiritual foundation that serves them, without providing the financial support that keeps this abhorrent behavior alive.

Critics engage in deflection by saying “Yes, but all priests and nuns aren’t abusers.” And to them I reply “You are right, they aren’t, but that is not the point.  It’s not them I am worried about – my concern is with those who are!”

Everyone needs to find their passion and purpose, and I am proud to be able to lend my very small voice and my resources to this cause.   

It may take a village to raise a child. But it takes just one priest or nun to destroy their future.

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January 22, 2019

Memes-Catholic Church Abuse

Filed under: Catholic Church — Marion Witte @ 12:22 am

This is an album of 13 memes I prepared for use by any social media sites that are working to keep the awareness of the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal alive in the news.

Hopefully they will appear around the internet.

Feel free to scroll through these photos using the arrow keys. You can share any that are of interest to you by going to my Marion Witte Connection Facebook Page.

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December 30, 2018

WTF – When Is Enough Enough!

Filed under: Catholic Church — Marion Witte @ 7:09 pm

I usually wait until my outrage over an issue has subsided before I post on my blog.  This is not one of those times.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General released a Grand Jury report related to continuing sexual abuse occurring in the Catholic Church.

The report states that “Church leaders protected more than 300 “predator priests” in six Roman Catholic dioceses across Pennsylvania for decades because they were more interested in safeguarding the Church and the abusers than tending to their victims. More than 1,000 young victims were identifiable from the church’s own records.  The main thing was not to help children, but to avoid scandal. Priests were raping little boys and girls and the men of God who were responsible for them did nothing: They hid it all.”

The report includes descriptions of priests engaged in rape and child pornography for decades, using “whips, violence and sadism,” and in one case joining together in a secret cabal of abusers. To add to the injury, the report contained accounts of bishops who had actively defended the accused priests.

Sadly, this is not really anything new – just more of the same.

Bishop Ronald Garner of the Harrisburg Diocese, who was cited in the report as having lobbied not to defrock offending priests, has issued this official statement on behalf of the Catholic Church:

“As part of our on-going need for repentance and healing, Bishop Gainer will celebrate a Mass for Forgiveness at 12 noon on Friday, August 17, in our Cathedral Church of Saint Patrick, 212 State Street, Harrisburg.”

To Bishop Gainer, I say, “enough with the fucking repentance and forgiveness – how about some change.”

As someone who was subjected to sexual abuse myself as a child, by a trusted person, the wounds from my past were reopened as I read this story. I have let many people know during my lifetime that my personal experiences left me with a “hole in my heart.”  I listened to some of the survivors telling their stories today, many of whom still cling to their faith, saying that they have been left “with a hole in their soul.” It was then that I could no longer hold back the tears, for I understand this at a deep level.

I left the Catholic Church at the age of 18, and am still in recovery from it. If I were still involved with that organization (or learned of any organization that operated a pedophile sex ring), I would be protesting and demanding change. Therefore, to the good Catholics who are sitting by silently, I ask “When you are going to wake up?”  If you stop going to Mass for six months, the Church would get your attention and perhaps do something to stop this legalized sexual abuse. Better yet, stop making your weekly donations.  Money is the power base of this organization, so such an action could bring the Church to its knees, and perhaps force it to take some real action to stop all of this, and not just issue statements about repentance and forgiveness.  Ugh.

Churches are much like families, in that the desire of the members to be part of a tribal situation often supersedes the willingness to speak up, tell secrets, and do the right thing.

For me it’s really very simple – you either give a fuck about kids, or you don’t!

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