Tag Archive: Holy See


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The  Vatican  – View from Castel Sant’Angelo

By  :  Jorge Valenzuela A

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Vatican tries to draw line under clerical sex abuse scandals at UN hearing

The Vatican has been given another hostile interrogation by a United Nations committee over its record on clerical sex abuse.

One member after another of the committee against torture brushed aside the Holy See’s argument that its obligation to enforce the UN convention against torture stopped at the boundaries of the world’s smallest country, the Vatican City state. They demanded the pope’s representative give answers to a long list of questions about the treatment of sex abuse claims against clergy throughout the world.

The Holy See, which long predates the city state, is a sovereign entity without territory. It is as the Holy See that the Catholic leadership maintains diplomatic relations and signs treaties such as the convention against torture.

But Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s UN ambassador in Geneva, told the committee: “The Holy See intends to focus exclusively on Vatican City state.”

The American expert on the committee, Felice Gaer, made plain her disagreement. She said the Holy See had to “show us that, as a party to the convention, you have a system in place to prohibit torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment when it is acquiesced to by anyone under the effective control of the officials of the Holy See and the institutions that operate in the Vatican City state”.

 

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Vatican faces tough questions at UN torture committee

Vatican to answer questions on past, present and future handling of clerical sex abuse

 Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, (R), Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See  to the Office of the United Nations in Geneva, and Vincenzo Buonomo, (L), of the Secretariat of State of the Holy See   prior to the UN torture committee hearing on the Vatican, at the headquarters of the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights  in the Palais Wilson, in Geneva, Switzerland. Photograph:  Salvatore Di Nolfi/EPAArchbishop Silvano Tomasi, (R), Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the Office of the United Nations in Geneva, and Vincenzo Buonomo, (L), of the Secretariat of State of the Holy See prior to the UN torture committee hearing on the Vatican, at the headquarters of the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Palais Wilson, in Geneva, Switzerland. Photograph: Salvatore Di Nolfi/EPA

Tue, May 6, 2014, 01:00

As expected, a Holy See delegation faced tough questioning at the UN’s Committee Against Torture in Geneva yesterday. For the second time in three months, the Vatican was appearing before a UN body to answer questions about its ratification of a UN treaty, especially with regard to is past, present and future handling of clerical sex abuse.

In his opening address to the committee, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See’s permanent representative at the UN in Geneva, argued that while the Holy See lent “its moral support and collaboration . . . to the elimination of torture”, it had signed the torture convention in 2002 “on behalf of the Vatican city state”.

No jurisdiction
Archbishop Tomasi said he intended to “focus exclusively on the Vatican city state”, the 100 -acre statelet that surrounds the Basilica of St Peter’s.

In that sense, he claimed, the Holy See had “no jurisdiction over every member of the Catholic Church”. Rather, he said, persons who “live in a particular country are under the jurisdiction of the legitimate authorities of that country and are thus subject to the domestic law [of that country]”.

Inevitably, that assertion prompted a critical reaction from the UN committee, with US human rights activist Felice Gaer accusing Archbishop Tomasi of making an “alleged distinction” between the Holy See and the Vatican city state.

She questioned the Holy See’s apparent assumption that the torture convention applied only to the “four corners of Vatican City”, saying that as far as she could see, Vatican City was simply a “sub-division” of the Holy See.

 

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Alfred Lambremont Webre

Published on Jan 15, 2014

Kevin Annett: Former Argentine official to testify against Pope Bergoglio’s child trafficking under Junta in Argentina

http://exopolitics.blogs.com/breaking…

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Houston Chronicle

Vatican facing UN showdown on sex abuse record

By NICOLE WINFIELD and JOHN HEILPRIN, Associated Press | January 15, 2014 | Updated: January 15, 2014 3:21pm
Photo By Gregorio Borgia/AP
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FILE – In this Feb. 8, 2012 file photo Monsignor Charles Scicluna, the Holy See’s chief sex crimes prosecutor, meets journalists in Rome. The Holy See on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, will be grilled by a U.N. committee in Geneva on its implementation of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, which among other things calls for signatories to take all appropriate measures to protect children from harm and to put children’s interests above all else. The Vatican will be represented by its most authoritative official on the issue, Scicluna.

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican is gearing up for a bruising showdown over the global priest sex abuse scandal, forced for the first time to defend itself at length and in public against allegations it enabled the rape of thousands of children by protecting pedophile priests and its own reputation at the expense of victims.

The Holy See on Thursday will be grilled by a U.N. committee in Geneva on its implementation of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. Among other things, the treaty calls for signatories to take all appropriate measures to protect children from harm and to put children’s interests above all else.

The Holy See ratified the convention in 1990 and submitted a first implementation report in 1994. But it didn’t provide progress reports for nearly a decade, and only submitted one in 2012 after coming under criticism following the 2010 explosion of child sex abuse cases in Europe and beyond.

Victims groups and human rights organizations teamed up to press the U.N. committee to challenge the Holy See on its abuse record, providing written testimony from victims and evidence outlining the global scale of the problem. Their reports cite case studies in Mexico and Britain, grand jury investigations in the U.S., and government fact-finding inquiries from Canada to Ireland to Australia that detail how the Vatican’s policies, its culture of secrecy and fear of scandal contributed to the problem.

Their submissions reference Vatican documents that show its officials knew about a notorious Mexican molester decades before taking action. They cite correspondence from a Vatican cardinal praising a French bishop’s decision to protect his abusive priest, and another Vatican directive to Irish bishops to strike any mandatory reporting of abusers to police from their policies. The submissions even quote the former Vatican No. 2 as saying bishops shouldn’t be expected to turn their priests in.

“For too many years, survivors were the only ones speaking out about this and bearing the brunt of a lot of criticism,” said Pam Spees, an attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, which provided a key report to the committee. “And so this is a very important moment for many, many people who are here in Geneva and around the world who will be watching as the Holy See is called for the first time ever to actually answer questions.”

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The Final Battles of Pope Benedict XVI

By Fiona Ehlers, Alexander Smoltczyk and Peter Wensierski

 

DER SPIEGEL

Photo Gallery: Trouble in the Holy See

Photos
REUTERS

The mood at the Vatican is apocalyptic. Pope Benedict XVI seems tired, and both unable and unwilling to seize the reins amid fierce infighting and scandal. While Vatican insiders jockey for power and speculate on his successor, Joseph Ratzinger has withdrawn to focus on his still-ambiguous legacy.

Finally, there is clarity. The Holy See has cleared things up and made the document accessible to all: a handout on checking whether apparitions of the Virgin Mary are authentic.

 

Everything will be much easier from now on. The Roman Catholic Church has taken a step forward.This “breaking news” from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) reveals the kinds of issues the Vatican is concerned with — and the kind of world in which some there live. It’s a world in which the official Church investigation of Virgin Mary sightings is carefully regulated while cardinals in the Roman Curia, the Vatican’s administrative and judicial apparatus, wield power with absolutely no checks and the pope’s private correspondence turns up in the desk drawers of a butler.

It’s a completely different apparition of the Virgin Mary that has pulled the Vatican and the Catholic Church into a new crisis, whose end and impact can only be surmised: the appearance of a source in the heart of the Church, a conspiracy against the pope and a leak code-named “Maria.”

Since the end of May, the pope’s former butler, Paolo Gabriele, has been detained in a 35-square-meter (377-square-foot) cell at the Vatican, with a window but no TV. Using the code name “Maria,” he allegedly smuggled faxes and letters out of the pope’s private quarters. But it remains unclear who was directing him to do so.

Even with Gabriele’s arrest, the leak still hasn’t been plugged. More documents were released to the public last week, documents intended primarily to damage two close associates of Pope Benedict XVI: his private secretary, Georg Gänswein, and Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s top administrator. According to one document, “hundreds” of other secret documents would be published if Gänswein and Bertone weren’t “kicked out of the Vatican.” “This is blackmail,” says Vatican expert Marco Politi. “It’s like threatening total war.”

A House in Disarray

Fear is running rampant in the Curia, where the mood has rarely been this miserable. It’s as if someone had poked a stick into a beehive. Men wearing purple robes are rushing around, hectically monitoring correspondence. No one trusts anyone anymore, and some even hesitate to communicate by phone.

It all began in the accursed seventh year of the papacy of Benedict XVI, with striking parallels to the latter part of Pope John Paul II’s papacy. The same complaints about poor leadership and internal divisions are being aired outside the Vatican’s walls, while the pope himself seems exhausted and no longer able to exert his power.

Joseph Ratzinger turned 85 in April. This makes him the oldest pope in 109 years, and one of the few popes who have exercised what Benedict has called this “enormous” office at such an advanced age.

Of course, he is still enviably fit, both mentally and physically, especially compared to his predecessor in his later years. But speaking has become unmistakably more difficult for Benedict than at the beginning of his papacy, and it’s hard to miss that his movements have become stiff and cautious.

He recently told a visitor that his old piano hardly gets any use anymore. Playing it requires practice, he added, but he doesn’t have any time for that. He prefers to continue working on the last part of his series on Jesus, which he wants to finish before dying.

A Ship with No Captain

These days, it isn’t difficult to find clerics at the Vatican who are willing to talk, provided their identities remain anonymous.

The monsignor who finds his way to a restaurant near Piazza Santa Maria in Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood one evening worked closely with Ratzinger in the CDF for years. But even before the waiter arrives with water and wine, the monsignor delivers his verdict on Ratzinger’s papacy: “The pope doesn’t fully exercise his office!” In his view, instead of having things under control, they control him.

The pope isn’t interested in daily affairs at the Vatican, says the anonymous monsignor. Still, this is not exactly unprecedented, as his predecessor also neglected the Curia. While the Polish pope spent a lot of time traveling, his German successor is apparently happiest while poring over books and writing speeches. “He simply isn’t taking matters into his own hands,” the monsignor says. In essence, he adds, the pope faces a different power in Rome — and one he hasn’t take command of.

Although the Vatican is Catholic, it’s also two-thirds Italian. In the end, says the monsignor, the Vatican’s employees and administration don’t care who among their ranks leads the Church. Even for someone who has been living there for decades, the monsignor says, “the Vatican is a ball of wool that’s almost impossible to untangle — not even by a pope.”

When John Paul II died in April 2005, the Curia was in terrible shape. Events and personnel decisions had been postponed during his last few years, in which he was often ill. The new pope was expected to finally clear off the desks and give the Curia a fresh start.

But, for the most part, such reforms haven’t materialized. Priests still hold all key positions, including those on the Council for the Laity and the Council for the Family. The only woman in a senior position, Briton Lesley-Anne Knight, was driven out of office as secretary-general of the Catholic development agency Caritas Internationalis in 2011 for having openly opposed the Church’s male-dominated hierarchy.

Fractured and Ferocious

A “reform of the Curia” is probably a contradiction in terms. Its hierarchical, essentially medieval organizational model is incompatible with modern management. The Vatican is an anachronistic, albeit surprisingly tenacious system, in which pecking orders and an absurd penchant for secrecy and intrigue prevail. “The only important thing is proximity to the monarch,” says a member of a cardinal’s staff. Rome works like an absolutist court, one in which decisions are made by people whispering things into the others’ ears rather than by committees. “There are many vain people here, people in sharp competition with one another,” the staff member adds.

Who spoke with whom, and for how long? What did they talk about? Who attends early Mass with whom, and who invites whom to dinner? Who’s in and who’s out? Who belongs and who doesn’t, and who’s coming into favor and who’s falling out of it? “This mood fosters feelings of exclusion, discrimination, envy, revenge and resentment,” the monsignor says. And all things have now appeared in the so-called Vatileaks documents.

Papal secretary Gänswein, in particular, has made many enemies. As the pope’s gatekeeper, he has influence over who is granted or denied the pontiff’s favor as well as over which events and issues might command his attention. This power can trigger fear, jealousy and derision in the corridors of the Apostolic Palace, the pope’s official residence. For Gänswein, it seemed almost miraculous that he was able to spend an entire evening relaxing and conversing with German clerics at the Vatican’s embassy in Berlin last September. It was an experience he couldn’t have had in Rome.

 

The Vatican is disintegrating into dozens of competing interest groups. In the past, it was the Jesuits, the Benedictines, the Franciscans and other orders that competed for respect and sway within the Vatican court. But their influence has waned, and they have now been replaced primarily by the so-called “new clerical communities” that bring the large, cheering crowds to Masses celebrated by the pope: the Neocatechumenate, the Legionaries of Christ and the traditionalists of the Society of St. Pius X(SSPX) and the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter — not to mention the worldwide “santa mafia” of Opus Dei.They all have their open and clandestine agents in and around the Vatican, and they all own real estate and run universities, institutes and other educational facilities in Rome. Various cardinals and bishops champion their interests at the Vatican, often without an official or recognizable mandate. At the Vatican, everyone is against everyone, and everyone feels they have God on their side.

Perhaps Benedict XVI simply knows the Vatican too well to seriously attempt to reform it. “As pope, this veteran curial insider has turned out to have virtually zero interest in actually running the Roman Curia,” writes John L. Allen, a biographer of the pope.