5 Jun 2011

Catholic bishops to hold conference in Bangkok to address serious problem of pedophilia in Asia

Ecumenical News International - June 3, 2011

Pedophilia a serious problem in Asia, say Catholic bishops

Tokyo (ENInews)--The clergy office of the Federation of Roman Catholic Asian Bishops' Conferences has announced that it will hold a seminar on "The Impact of Pedophilia-Crisis on the Church in Asia." "[I]t is an urgent task before us, especially the leaders of the Church, to come together to devise some mechanisms to prevent future occurrences of child abuse by Church men/women," said the office that is organising the seminar for Asian bishops and clergy from 14 to 19 November 2011 at Assumption University in Bangkok.

This article was found at:




From Nov. 14th (arrival) to Nov.19th (departure), 2011, at the Assumption  University, Bangkok, Thailand

No. of Seats: 100 Admission: First come first served

Dear Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops and Formators,

At the last meeting of FABC-Office of Clergy held at the Camillian Pastoral Care Center, Bangkok, in January, 2011, it was decided that the FABC-OC will organize a seminar for Bishops and Formators of Asia on the theme: “The Impact of Pedophilia-Crisis on the Church in Asia.” The reasons for this seminar are
many, and the most important of all is that Bishops all over Asia (including Nuncios of various Asian countries) receive letters from different quarters of the Church that Pedophilia has already become a considerably serious problem in Asia. 
Though the issue of Child Abuse-crisis has not yet come into the open in the societies of Asian countries, as it has happened in the West or in other continents of the world, yet it appears it will not be too late before it might come to the similar situation in Asia.

It is therefore the bounden duty of the Church in Asia to take drastic and immediate measures to contain this issue of Child Abuse within the Church circles, and to deal with it squarely, without delay, before it will go out of hand like it has done in the other countries of the world. Another reason why this seminar is important and urgent because many a priest, religious sister, including Bishops/Formators are not aware of what in reality is Pedophilia, and what it does to the child-victim. This is why the FABC-OC took note of the issue seriously, and has planned to organize a seminar on this theme first at Asia level, and then, may be at regional levels, e.g. South Asia level or countrywise, as the need arises.

Let us not be complacent that the continent of Asia is an exception to the issue of sexual abuse. One is overwhelmed by the pathetic sharing of painful emotions by some lay victims, seminarians, priests and women religious during counseling sessions for the past two decades. Thus it is an urgent task before us, especially the leaders of the Church, to come together to devise some mechanisms to prevent future occurrences of child abuse by Church men/women. Let us not be complacent that pedophilia is a problem of the West or the other continents of the world, it is equally prevalent in many countries of Asia.

TOPICS—to be deliberated during the Seminar:

1. Pedophilia: Definitions, Symptoms, Causal Factors and Diagnosis: Resource Person: Fr. Lawrence Pinto, FABC-OC Executive Secretary, India.

2. The Impact of Pedophilia-Crisis on the Universal Church: Resource Person: Rt. Rev. Msgr. Charles J, Scicluna, Promoter of Justice, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Rome, Italy (points to be emphasized in this paper are: neglect by bishops, people’s anger against priests, etc.)

3. The Role of the Church-Leaders in Handling the Challenge of the Sexual Abuse and in particular, the Issue of Pedophilia: Resource Person: Rt. Rev. Abbot Michael Kelly, O.S.B., Rome, Italy.

4. Legal Implications of Allegations of Pedophilia and the Rights of the Alleged Victimizer. Resource Person: Mr. Shammil Perera, Attorney-at-Law Sri Lanka.

5. Therapeutic Measures for the Alleged Pedophiles and the Need of Programmes of Awareness for Priests, Seminarians and Religious in all Dioceses of Asia. Resource Person: Rev. Fr. Jaime Noel Deslate, Tagaytay, Philippines 

6. The obligations of the Church Leaders to Protect Children from Sexual Abusers and the Need to Assist the Victims of Pedophilia at all levels. Resource Person: Oswald Cardinal Gracias, Bombay, India.

7. Fifteen participants (15), including some resource Persons will be selected to spend a day together—the last day of the seminar(19th)—to formulate specific guidelines to deal with the crisis of Pedophilia in Asia.(Members will be selected from the among participants and the resource persons)


1. To make bishops and formators aware of the gravity of pedophilia on the church in Asia.

2. To explore the possibilities of remedial measures for pedophilia-affected persons and organize programmes to train skilled personnel to handle possible pedophilia-crisis in the future.

3. To prepare guidelines for church leaders, formators and those in charge of children’s organizations for the protection of children in particular.

Fr. Lawrence Pinto, MSIJ Executive Secretary
FABC-Office of Clergy
Mangalore, India

 Bishop Vianney Fernando
 FABC-Office of Clergy
 Kandy, Sri Lanka

This document was found at:


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  1. Asian bishops hold closed-door meeting on pedophilia

    Ecumenical News International
    News Highlights
    22 November 2011

    Bangkok (ENInews)--Asian Catholic bishops held a conference from 14 to 19 November in Bangkok on the "considerably serious problem" of child sexual abuse, but the meeting was closed to journalists and no communique had been issued as of 22 November. The Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences told news media that the conference, entitled "The Impact of Pedophilia -- Crisis in the Church in Asia," was closed and advised reporters not to attempt to visit the venue at Assumption University, according to UCAnews, the Union of Catholic Asian News service. An open letter posted in January on the federation's website invited cardinals, archbishops and bishops to the gathering to discuss "letters from different quarters of the Church that pedophilia has already become a considerably serious problem in Asia."


  2. Vatican Prosecutor Warns on Asia Child Abuse Problem

    by Dario Thuburn, Jakarta Globe February 05, 2012

    Vatican City. The Vatican’s top anti-abuse prosecutor has warned that the Catholic Church in Asia is falling behind in the fight against pedophilia due to cultural differences over what constitutes child abuse.

    “The problem is very accentuated in Asia,” Archbishop Charles Scicluna told reporters ahead of a major international conference this week in the Vatican’s Gregorian University on the crisis of pedophilia in the Church.

    Scicluna, who addressed an unprecedented closed-door meeting on the issue with Asian Church leaders in Bangkok in November last year, added: “There is an awareness that there is abuse and something needs to be done.”

    The Vatican has asked national bishops’ conferences from around the world to submit by May their guidelines on how to deal with abusive priests and cooperate with local law enforcement in an effort to root out abuse.

    “There are some who will miss the deadline but they’ll get there in the end,” said Scicluna, who as “promoter of justice” for the Vatican is charged with looking into the thousands of cases of abuse by clergy.

    “In some cultures, it’s hard for victims to come forward. We are debating how to change a culture that favors silence over denunciation,” he said.

    Thousands of clergy abuse scandals in Europe and the United States have rocked the Catholic Church in recent years, revealing a culture of cover-up dating back decades that Church leaders say they now want to eradicate.

    Far fewer cases of child abuse have come to light in other parts of the world such as Asia, Africa and Latin America, where public scandals involving financial corruption or affairs by priests with women have been more common.

    One exception has been the Philippines, where the Church has apologized for abuses committed by priests over a period of 20 years and clergymen have been defrocked, although few if any have been brought to justice.

    The newly-appointed Archbishop Chito Tagle of Manila, a rising star in the Catholic hierarchy, is expected to address the Vatican conference on Thursday about the particular challenges of dealing with the issue in Asia.

    A pre-conference press statement said his speech would show “that sexual abuse inside and outside the Church is a global reality, not focused simply in the United States and Europe.

    “Careful consideration needs to be given to the cultural values that can foster greater transparency and cooperation as a universal church that protects the most vulnerable,” it said.

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  3. continued from previous comment:

    The meeting of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences in November, entitled “The Impact of Pedophilia: Crisis in the Church in Asia,” warned that abuse “has already become a considerably serious problem in Asia.”

    “Let us not be complacent that pedophilia is a problem of the West or the other continents of the world. It is equally prevalent in many countries in Asia,” organizers said, calling for “drastic and immediate measures.”

    The FABC warned the problem was particularly urgent because many men and women of the clergy “are not aware of what in reality is pedophilia.”

    Father Hans Zollner, one of the organizers of the Vatican conference, said an important challenge for the Church was how to apply on a global level its experience in dealing with child abuse cases in Western countries.

    “The question is how we can pass on what we have learned... and how this can be brought to other continents that don’t have a minimum attention to child protection. Not a minimum,” said the German Jesuit.

    “Talk about Africa, talk about India, talk about other Asian countries, talk about some Latin American countries,” he added.

    Zollner, a psychotherapist, is leading a new Catholic Center for Child Protection which is being launched at the conference and will have partners in Argentina, Ecuador, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Italy and Kenya.

    “What in the North American context may seem already a transgression of limits, in the Philippines is absolutely normal: touching, embracing, kissing,” he said.

    “Our problem is that within the Church we are always very used to a European-Western view and so in other parts of the world they don’t understand what ‘these Westerners’ are talking about.

    And so we lose the chance of transmitting the message.”

    Agence France-Presse


  4. Vatican summit sees abuse victim speak out


    VATICAN CITY - Shunned by the Catholic Church for decades after being violated by a priest when she was just 13 years old, Irish victim Marie Collins described her traumatic experience at a Vatican summit.

    "I had just turned 13 and was at my most vulnerable, a sick child in hospital, when a priest sexually assaulted me," Collins said on Tuesday.

    She had just been confirmed a Catholic when the young priest - a couple of years out of the seminary but "already a skilled child molester" - began visiting her in the evenings while she lay in a hospital bed in Dublin.

    "When he began to sexually interfere with me, pretending at first, he was being playful, I was shocked and resisted, telling him to stop. He did not stop," she said in front of the conference of bishops and cardinals.

    "While assaulting me he would respond to my resistance by telling me 'he was a priest, he could do no wrong,'" she said.

    "He took photographs of the most private parts of my body and told me I was stupid if I thought it was wrong. He had power over me. I did not know how to tell anyone. I just prayed he would not do it again, but he did.

    "Those fingers that would abuse my body the night before were the next morning holding and offering me the sacred host. The hands that held the camera to photograph my exposed body, in the light of day were holding a prayer book when he came to hear my confession.

    "I had been taught that priests were above normal men. I did not turn against my religion, I turned against myself," she said.

    "When I left the hospital I was not the same child who had entered."

    Now an anti-abuse campaigner, the 64-year-old Collins told Catholic leaders that it was not enough for the Church to apologize for the abuse itself, they also had to recognize the harm done to victims in years of denial and cover-up.

    Her own experience revealed a deeply-entrenched belief in the hierarchy of the Church that sex abuse was best hushed up by relocating problematic priests.

    After years of treatment for mental illness brought on by feelings of guilt, Collins finally told a doctor about the abuse when she was 47.

    He persuaded her to go to the Church about the priest, but when Collins met with her parish priest, she says he refused to listen and blamed her.

    "He said he saw no need to report the chaplain. He told me what happened was probably my fault. This response shattered me. I could not face talking of it again so I stopped seeing my doctor," she said.

    A decade later while reading news about a serial paedophile priest she realised that other children might have been damaged by the same priest who hurt her and Collins wrote to her archbishop and a canon lawyer.

    But she was shocked by their reaction.

    "The priest who sexually assaulted me was protected by his superiors from prosecution. I was treated as someone with an agenda against the Church, the police investigation was obstructed. I was distraught," she said.

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  5. continued from previous comment:

    Like many others who have spoken out about their abuse at the hands of priests, Collins said her anguish was greatly exasperated by the failure of Church leaders to stop those accused of assault from working with children.

    "The archbishop considered my abuse historical so felt in would be unfair to tarnish the priest's 'good name' now," she said.

    "I have heard this argument from others in leadership in the Catholic Church and always there is blindness to the current risk to children from these men. Why?" she asked.

    The priest was eventually brought to justice and jailed and Collins has since become a leading voice in Ireland pushing for justice for victims.

    She said she struggled with the decision to attend the Vatican's symposium after years of conflict with the Church.

    "The final death of any respect that might have survived in me towards my religious leaders came after my abuser's conviction," she said.

    "I learned that the diocese had discovered, just months after my abuse, that this priest was abusing children in the hospital, but did nothing about it except move him to a new parish," she added.

    "How do I regain my respect for the leadership of my Church?"


  6. Vatican body has dealt with 4,000 child sex abuse cases in past decade

    The Irish Times February 8, 2012

    PADDY AGNEW in Rome

    THE HOLY See’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has had to deal with more than 4,000 cases of sexual abuse of minors in the past decade, according to its prefect, US Cardinal William Levada.

    He was speaking at a symposium in Rome, “Towards Healing and Renewal”, which opened yesterday and was addressed by Irish clerical abuse survivor Marie Collins.

    Cardinal Levada told the symposium, being held over three days in the Pontifical Gregorian University, that the number of cases of sexual abuse of minors reported to the CDF in the past decade had revealed, on the one hand, the inadequacy of “an exclusively canonical response to this tragedy and, on the other, the necessity of a truly multifaceted response ...”

    Bishops from more than 100 countries as well as 32 heads of religious orders have gathered for the event, which is intended to help churchmen understand the need for and then develop that “truly multifaceted response”.

    In Rome, where until recently it was not uncommon to hear senior Vatican figures dismiss the clerical sex abuse crisis as “an Anglo-Saxon problem”, this may well be a ground-breaking event.

    Cardinal Levada indicated something of the spirit of the week when addressing the victims of clerical sex abuse, saying: “For many if not most victims a first need is to be heard, to know that the church listens to their story of abuse, that the church understands the gravity of what they have suffered, that she wants to accompany them on the often long path of healing ...”.

    While acknowledging the complexity of the issue, Cardinal Levada did however defend the church’s response, pointing out that John Paul II’s 2001 Motu Proprio “ Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela ” instigated a “co-ordinated response” by instructing all abuse cases be reported to the CDF.

    Cardinal Levada praised Pope Benedict not only for his role as prefect of the CDF in 2001 in framing that Motu Proprio but also for supporting the approval of “Essential Norms” on child protection in the US church, adding: “But the Pope has had to suffer attacks by the media over these past years in various parts of the world, when he should rather have received the gratitude of us all, in the church and outside it ...”

    In an address entitled, “Listening, Understanding and Acting To Heal and Empower Victims”, Ms Collins outlined the pain and trauma of having been abused by a priest as a 13-year-old but also of having been blamed when she finally found the courage to tell her story, more than 30 years later.

    “I was treated as someone with an agenda against the church, the police investigation was obstructed and the laity misled. I was distraught,” she said.

    The best of her life began 15 years ago, she said, when her abuser was finally brought to justice. Since then, she has worked with the church to help improve itss child protection policies while working for justice for survivors.


  7. Polish judge says officials are under pressure in church abuse cases

    Ecumenical News International February 8, 2012

    Warsaw, Poland (ENInews)--A senior Polish judge has said police and justice officials are often "pressured" not to take action against Roman Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse. "No one collects data here on how many clergy are sentenced for offenses or called as witnesses," said Judge Slawomir Przykucki, spokesman for the Regional Court in the northwestern city of Koszalin, in early February. "But they certainly appear in court regularly, and this often divides public opinion and creates tension." The official was speaking during the trial of Fr. Zbigniew Ryckiewicz, a former parish rector from nearby Kolobrzeg, on charges of sexually abusing altar boys from 1998 to 2001. The trial took place at the same time as a Vatican symposium opened in Rome on stopping clerical abuse.


  8. 8,000 instances of abuse alleged in Archdiocese bankruptcy hearing

    By Annysa Johnson, Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel February 9, 2012

    Sealed documents filed in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee bankruptcy identify at least 8,000 instances of child sexual abuse and 100 alleged offenders - 75 of them priests - who have not previously been named by the archdiocese, a victims' attorney said Thursday.

    Archdiocese spokeswoman Julie Wolf said she did not have enough information to respond to the assertion, made by attorney Jeffrey Anderson during a pivotal hearing before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley. Anderson represents about 350 of the 570 victim-survivors who have filed claims in the case.

    But Peter Isely of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests speculated that some are likely members of religious orders, such as Capuchins or Franciscans. Order officials do not typically make public the names of their accused members, and the archdiocese claims it is not responsible for them, though they have historically helped to staff its parishes and schools.

    "This is a public safety crisis, a child safety crisis that needs to be investigated," Isely said at a news conference on the federal courthouse steps, surrounded by fellow survivors and reporters.

    "We need to know who they are and where they are. How can there be 8,000 crimes committed by over 100 offenders and there be no accountability?" he said.

    Kelley let stand, at least for now, two survivors' claims that the church had sought to bar, arguing they were beyond the statute of limitations.

    In the split decision, Kelley also granted the church's motion for summary judgment, effectively dismissing a third claim in which a victim had signed a prior settlement agreement with the church.

    In an emotional preamble to her ruling, before a packed courtroom, Kelley expressed a reverence for the Catholic Church and compassion for the victims, saying she was "brought to tears more than once" reading the accounts of the men and women who allege they were sexually abused as children by priests, deacons, nuns, teachers and others over the past 60 years.

    "But I cannot let compassion be the basis for my decision. It must be governed by law," Kelley said.

    Archdiocese attorney Frank LoCoco acknowledged the gravity of the allegations at the outset of the hearing.

    "This will be the most difficult professional decision you will ever make," LoCoco told Kelley.

    Kelley made it clear that her rulings applied to the three individual cases at hand, not broad classes of claims they may represent. Allowing the two claims to stand doesn't guarantee they will be paid in the bankruptcy, only that the legal debate over when the statute of limitations begins ticking must be decided at trial.

    The archdiocese had sought the dismissal of three claims involving two priests and a parish choir director who were accused of molesting boys in the 1970s and '80s. Church lawyers argued that the cases were beyond the statute of limitations and involved a victim who signed a previous settlement agreement and a perpetrator - the choir director - who was not a direct employee.

    Victims' attorneys had characterized the church's objections as a test case that, if successful, would have eliminated 95% of the claims in the bankruptcy.

    Kelly disallowed the claim involving the prior settlement because the victim didn't meet all of the criteria for voiding a signed agreement.

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  9. continued from previous comment:

    Much of the debate Thursday centered on how to apply the state's six-year statute of limitations on fraud allegations. LoCoco argued that the clock began ticking at the latest in 2004, when the archdiocese posted its online list of 44 priests with substantiated allegations of abuse.

    Anderson said the victims didn't know they were defrauded until 2006 and 2009, when they learned, in some cases through documents released as part of a California settlement, that the archdiocese had lied to them about their abusers' histories.

    "When a few did go forward and asked questions, what were they told? Lies," Anderson said.

    Anderson raised the issue of the 100 additional accused offenders, culled from his own clients' claims, as part of his defense of the claims.

    The archdiocese has said that it turns over all new claims of allegations involving living priests to the appropriate district attorney's office, though it is not clear whether that includes religious order priests and others it doesn't consider its employees.

    The victims were not identified in court or in the documents filed on the issues raised Thursday. The claims of all but about 30 victim-survivors are filed under seal as part of a court order intended to protect the identities of any victim seeking anonymity.

    The three cases at issue Thursday involved:

    The now-defrocked Father Franklyn Becker, who had served as pastor at Holy Family Parish in Whitefish Bay. The victim alleges Becker abused him between 1972 and '74, when the victim was 13 to 16 years old.

    Father David Hanser, also since laicized, who is accused of molesting a 7-year-old boy in 1977-'78 when he was associate pastor at St. John Vianney Parish in Brookfield.

    Robert Schaefer, then-choir director at St. Catherine Parish in Milwaukee. Schaefer is accused of repeatedly molesting a boy from 1976 to 1982, beginning when the boy was about 10 years old.

    Becker and Hanser have well-established histories as serial sex offenders; both were laicized by the archdiocese and appear on its list of offender priests. At least one other man has accused Schaefer of abusing him as a teenager. Schaefer is not listed on the archdiocese's website.


  10. Sri Lankan Haven: (Or: A Bird In The Hand Is Worth Two In The Tea Bush)

    by Lewis Blayse, Commentary on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Australia) June 23, 2013 http://lewisblayse.net/2013/06/23/sri-lankan-haven-or-a-bird-in-the-hand-is-worth-two-in-the-tea-bush/

    St. John of God Brother, Kevin McGrath is to be extradited from New Zealand to Australia to face 252 charges of child sexual abuse in the Newcastle- Maitland area. His case, strangely, has not come up at the New South Wales government enquiry.

    This is particularly so, because of the errors by the NSW police in the extradition process.

    McGrath had been a teacher and dormitory master at the St. John of God boarding school for boys with learning and behavioural difficulties, “Marylands” in New Zealand. He also worked with the Hebron Trust, which was a learning centre for street kids.

    In 1993, he was sentenced to three years prison for offences against these boys. If they had already been having difficulties, they would have had severe ones after McGrath had finished with them.

    In 2006, he was convicted on a further 22 charges in New Zealand, and released on bail in 2008. By this time, one would assume that authorities would be fairly well convinced that he would be found guilty of the 252 charges raised from his time at the notorious KendalGrangeCollege in Morisset, in the Newcastle-Maitland diocese.

    Delays of the order of five months in the extradition process by NSW police and the Australian Federal Police had consequences. McGrath hopped on a flight to Sri Lanka, without interference from New Zealand authorities, thus subverting the extradition process.

    Sri Lanka is a notorious paedophile hang-out. Local criminals are thought to traffic at least 10,000 children, mainly through so-called “orphanages” (see previous posting). McGrath set himself up somewhere in Sri Lanka on a tea plantation. It is believed that the Australian Federal Police in Sri Lanka had been monitoring his movements there.

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  11. The local authorities appear to have had their hands tied. Sri Lankan police spokesman, Prishantha Jayakody, said, at the time, that he had no information on McGrath, and that he had been waiting for formal notifications from Australia. This information would have had to come through Interpol before action could have been taken. Meanwhile, the local immigration authorities were unaware that one of Australia’s worst paedophiles had entered the country.

    Sri Lanka's National Child Protection Agency had been tipped off that McGrath was living in the country and had asked the criminal investigation department for McGrath's passport number as well as requesting his details from the Australian High Commission. However, the agency needed to await formal notification before it could seek to arrest McGrath. This did not come.

    McGrath appeared to be safe, because Sri Lanka and Australia do not have a formal extradition treaty. However, there is provision under the “London Scheme” whereby offenders can be transferred between Commonwealth countries. This was not used by Australian authorities, but may have influenced McGrath’s legal advisors.

    Clearly, the Royal Commission must review Australia’s extradition processes and agreements if we are to cease exporting our paedophiles to unsuspecting countries like Sri Lanka, Samoa, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam.

    Whatever the reason, McGrath flew back to New Zealand voluntarily and was promptly arrested to face the Australian extradition proceedings. During the proceedings, the judge at one stage threatened to clear the court because the gallery was so upset. So, nearly a year after charges were filed against him in the Newcastle court, McGrath may soon be returning to Australia to face the charges. Finally.

    Read more here:


    TOMORROW: The Ridsdale saga