In the online magazine special of LEFT of 30 August 2018, the journalist Federico Tulli begins by stating that “Among the most developed countries, Italy is the only one in which there has never been a governmental investigation on clerical pedophilia. Yet in Italy, the numbers reveal that it is much more widespread than elsewhere. An inertia that, in addition to the risks for children, has been worth a complaint to the UN for complicity with the Church.”
di Francesco Zanardi
Unfortunately, we share this affirmation to the point of having repeatedly asked ourselves in these years what sense it has to continue the work of denunciation by Rete L’ABUSO, which despite enormous efforts in Italy, it seems a struggle against windmills. Thinking then of the victims and the benefits that the Rete L’ABUSO project brings them, we are encouraged to find the strength and the courage to move forward. A reflection that does not derive from a moment of depression but from a series of factors that together create a deadly mixture that prevents not only the resolution of the problem, but also any type of preventive form in order to protect potential victims.
Let’s start from the problem. Pedophile priests, who unlike the pedophile lay people, have the advantage of being able to enjoy the protection of an organization, which with criminal methods protects them and thanks to the culture of silence allows them to repeat dozens of times the number of abuses. Another problem of a cultural nature is the vision of pedophilia, which for the church is a crime against morality and not a crime against the person. A concept which has been highlighted to the UN in the report of 2014, which as long as it remains, will not allow the church the awareness of the crime committed and consequently not even civil interventions towards the victims, who in a similar concept are part of the sin that sees God as the only victim.
THE COURT OF BERGOGLIO
Speaking of clerical pedophilia, it is right to start from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the Vatican organ that has the task of dealing with these cases) and its Prefect in office, Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer who is the former secretary of the CDF at the time when the Prefect was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. To be noted, Cardinal Ratzinger was also investigated in Texas in 2004 for cover-ups and saved from immunity. Ladaria is certainly not the person most suited to that charge who in fact boasts over the years a significant recidivism in the firing and protection of pedophile priests. One of the cases that made the most clamor is that of Don Giovanni Trotta who in 2012 was reduced to the lay laical and Ladaria who in a decree, ordered silence “to avoid scandal among the faithful”. So the ogre violated other children undisturbed. In the CDF, Ladaria treated dozens of other cases, all unresolved in at least, regarding justice for the victims.
After the new appointment that dates back to 3 July 2017, we immediately see Ladaria working to cover-up alleged abuses of the pope’s altar boys. Even here there is no solution indeed. The alleged molester, Don Gabriele Martinelli, was not only not even suspended, but in 2018 even collected reservations for the spiritual exercises of the Opera Don Folci, which was attended by the same Ladaria. A few days ago the news passed quietly in Italy, where Ladaria was sued in Lyon with Cardinal Philippe Barbarin and five others. A process that could be avoided because Ladaria is not in France and the Vatican has not yet given any answer on its participation in the trial that will be held next January.
But in the court of Bergoglio we find not only Ladaria, but also his colleagues like Cardinal George Pell, accused of cover-ups and abuses in Australia, Cardinal Domenico Calcagno, protector of the pedophile priest Nello Giraudo, who helped in the election of Bergoglio, Archbishop Mario Delpini and his colleague Pierantonio Tremolada, who tried to cover up the case of Don Mauro Galli and again, the bishop Diego Coletti and his colleague Angelo Comastri, collaborators of the alleged abuses on the pope’s altar boys. Also Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, reported for the cover-up by the alleged victim on the basis of the Motu Proprio of Bergoglio, who never intervened. The list is still long and here you can consult the Italian clergy that cover-up cases.
Bergoglio collects accusations from one pole to the other on the planet, even if the Italian newspapers do not speak of it, he did not intervene in the case of the Veronese priest Don Nicola Corradi and now “the pope of transparency closes in silence” finally debunking the myth purely mediatic of the much acclaimed zero tolerance, which has never been there.
Unlike other countries, the Italian press seems to be an accomplice in the cover-ups and in recent weeks has limited itself to bring back the uncensorable or the news that comes from the foreign press, but it does not say a single word on Italian cases, and there are many besides those we have mentioned above.
In Italy we will never see a “Spotlight Case” because the television news organizations do not mention the phenomenon in the slightest. The printed paper timidly reports some cases, often only at the local level, without ever producing journalistic investigations that document the real national scope of the phenomenon.
In the various countries of Australia, Chile, the United States, Ireland, Germany and so on, we note a strong stance of governments and institutions and consequently of public opinion in the face of the scandals. In Italy, on the other hand, we can tell the sad record of how the highest public offices have betrayed citizens over the years to favor the church and protect pedophile priests. We recall in fact a very sad President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, who in 2010, when the scandal arrived in Europe, instead of asking the Government for actions in favor of the citizens, supported by the highest institutional positions, consoled Joseph Ratzinger for what he said was an “unqualified attack on the church and the pope.” The then Minister of Grace and Justice Angelino Alfano, following an interview released by the then deputy prosecutor of Milan Pietro Forno, also accused the Italian church of implementing systematic cover-up of abuse. After the interview, Minister Alfano did not start as expected an investigation as happens in other countries, instead he sent inspectors to the Ombudsman’s office.
Today, in 2018, the situation has worsened. We see in fact fugitives to the legal requests of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of the Interior, the Minister of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. When informed of the serious problems in the matter of clerical pedophilia by a parliamentary deliberation requested by Rete L’ABUSO and filed by the deputy Matthew Mantero 27-11-2017, to date, this is still unanswered and censored by all national newspapers, except the weekly LEFT and some other small newspaper.
Also in a second case, the President of the Republic, the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, the Presidency of the 12th Social Affairs Commission, were reached by a warning presented by an Advocate of Rete L’ABUSO, Mario Caligiuri, and once again this was censured by the Italian press.
Rete L’ABUSO was inspired by The UN Committee on the Protection of the Child to proceed with reference to the 2014 recommendations. However, in the meeting of 5 June 2018 at the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights of Geneva, the President of the Rete L’ABUSO, Francesco Zanardi announced that he started more investigations into pedophilia in Italy, which is actually not allowed on Italian soil because the Holy See commits the same violations disputed. Also this news as in the previous ones, was silenced by the Italian press.
The criminal choices of the various governments that followed in Italy have produced an ideal environment for pedophiles and I am not referring only to the clergy. These include the farlocca introduction of the pedophile certificate (contest contained in the parliamentary question) that, to relieve the clergy from the exhibition itself, paradoxically indicates to the pedophiles the hunting ground, for example voluntary service, where people are always the most at risk.
Other omissions of the Italian Government are found in the application of the Lanzarote Convention which in Italy, rather than strengthening constitutional guarantees, in the canonical rite it allows the violation to the detriment of the victim and to the advantage of the priest.
There are other serious shortcomings of the Italian government, for example the creation of consultants for victims of sexual violence introduced by the European standards. These consultants that should have been managed by the national health, in reality have never been realized and the suspicion is that this happened precisely to avoid that in Italy. We could quantify the phenomenon and the consultors in fact could have provided very precise data, for example, how many victims there are of sexual violence, and determine which of those are caused by pedophilia and how many of those were abused by priests. Unfortunately, the only reliable and perceptive data in our country is what Rete L’ABUSO has provided and it speaks of almost 300 priests involved only in the last 15 years.
Always the European rules foresaw that in Italy what was created was a database not only useful for prevention, but also to file serial abusers. In 2006, following ratification, a fund was set up to create the database, but to date there is not as yet a database and especially in the violence against children, this lack means that there is not a minimum of protection and prevention.
The only body established in our country is the Observatory for the fight against pedophilia and child pornography, established on 25 July 2007, to date, repeatedly consulted, it has not been able to provide any useful data.
The observatory, left without appointments for a long period, was recomposed on September 12, 2016 by the then minister with proxy for equal opportunities Maria Elena Boschi who a few days later, unobservant to the D.M. which regulates it, with an additional decree, removes one of the councilors, Michele Palma, who is in charge of equal opportunities and replaces her inexplicably and without any pro, with a priest, Don Fortunato di Noto.
- The links referred to the Observatory and the respective documentation are no longer available on the Ministry website at the original links.
In a democratic state sovereignty belongs to the people, but how do the people practice it?
First of all, the people acquire the awareness of the problem through the press that does not by chance have the privileges to protect itself enshrined in the Italian Constitution, such as confidentiality on the source of the news.
For this reason we are very angry with the Italian press that by censoring the problems it is not only responsible for preventing citizens the awareness of a problem but the possibility that people could protect themselves and demand that the Government intervene. Without an alarm on a problem, that problem does not exist and if a problem does not exist it is not addressed.
Remaining in the theme of pedophile priests and the protection of minors, Italy is facing a serious problem. On the one hand the Holy See, which promises provisions that conceptually can never be in favor of the victims since the church does not consider pedophilia a crime against the person but a sin against morality. Another basic problem is the 1962 directive known as Crimen Sollicitationis, reaffirmed in 2002 by the then cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and the then secretary Tarcisio Bertone. It is a directive still in force, which in fact, beyond the proclamations of Bergoglio, is brought up on internal abuse cases.
And here we must make an important reflection that inevitably leads us to understand that the church does not want to intervene seriously on the phenomenon but tries to circumvent it giving the public the false impression of taking action, avoiding taking responsibility for victims and tribunals.
Have you ever asked yourself the question, who is in charge of managing the sexual abuse cases in the Catholic world?
Let me explain better, if a lawyer sexually abuses a minor, it is not that the lawyers’ order institutes a special court to try it, the jurisdiction is of the magistracy, of the justice of the country in which the crime was committed. So why in the case of priests should the competence be of the Holy See? The Holy See has, if it deems it appropriate, competence at most on the moral question, the fact that it persists in wanting to manage these cases internally is attributable to a single reason, that of not responding to the victims and the law, with the promise that “we will be more careful”.
Just think if Bergoglio instead of praying louder and louder not to hear the cries of the victims, he ordered his bishops, instead of handling cases internally, to denounce them to the judiciary. In a few months he would have solved the problem by guaranteeing the correct prevention for minors who attend parishes all over the world.
The criminal and complicit inertia of the government is the detonator of this explosive mixture to the detriment of the psychophysical health of their citizens. They have preferred to betray the state, a petticoat by priests.
By Francesco Zanardi
President of the Rete L’Abuso