Vatican announces symposium “Toward Healing and Renewal”

Read the article by Kristina Chew on

We welcome, and everyone should join us, the initiative of the Vatican to hold a 3-day symposium on the prevention of clergy child abuse in February 2012 at the Jesuit University, Gregoriana in Rome. We welcome the initiative and at the same time we are amazed by the slyness of the catholic church hierarchy. Is there hope for the world or is it just another PR-event or worse still: will they be discussing for three days their strategy to fight these irritating abuse survivors more effectively and save their damaged face?

One should not be too paranoid, but either too naive when reading publications from the Vatican!

Why ‘slyness’?

In my almost 10-years of experience of dealing with the catholic church on childhood sexual abuse I have more than once been astonished about the smooth, almost elegant, dealing of the Vatican, bishops and heads of religious orders when being questioned about cases of childhood sexual abuse by catholic clergy. Standard procedure worldwide: duck and dive, ignore and contradict, lie, cheat, manipulate, etc. All dressed up with the arrogant, confident, smile of someone who knows that nobody can stick a thing on them. An equation to high ranking mafia bosses is inevitable…

But at the same time their stupidity is baffling!
Do they really think this thing is going to blow over? That it is just a matter of bluntly IGNORING the existence of thousands of childhood sexual abuse Survivors and the problem does not exist?!?
The reality of recent years should have taught them that it does not work like that anymore. These are no longer medieval times when one could rob, kill, rape or exploit without anybody knowing about it in the next village. In this age where international connections are easily made through websites, blogs and social networks, their wrong-doing is quickly passed through the networks, connections are made across borders and they have to do the explaining.

And they are not very good at it (and that is maybe why they are holding this symposium!)…their internal standard operating procedures do not allow disclosure, so all that remains is: to lie about it. Instructed from the Vatican and ‘hare-brained’ copied by any representative of the catholic church.
As we all know:”The truth has nothing to fear from investigation”. But the catholic church does!

To cover for the exposure , the Vatican employs some of the cleverest advocates, strategists, marketing- and PR-experts in the world.
And they have the money (taken from those who still believe the Vatican is representing Jesus Christ on this earth and who don’t realise that it is a business undertaking like any other – focused on generating profits and power) to pay for the defense programs these ‘big heads’ design. And this symposium may just be that: a plan devised to mock the public opinion and to sideline the army of abuse Survivors.

The symposium at the Gregorian, the renowned jesuit university, is pointing the finger at the future…
…and thus AWAY FROM THE PAST! In my more than 30 years in business I have learned to mistrust the person who is telling me that the sun is going to shine tomorrow when we were in the sh*t!… And that is why I read everything coming from the Vatican with my special “bull-shit-radar” switched on high sensitivity.

This symposium is just that – bullshit:
They will spend three days (!) discussing how to fight child abuse in their organisation.
How many corporations in the world hold 3-day conferences about this subject?
Sure, nowadays civilised corporations do have specific procedures in place which, when not adhered to, lead to immediate termination.
No, the Vatican holds a symposium about it and announces such initiative with world-wide press coverage more than 6 months ahead. Why? What could be the reason? Exactly….PR!

The catholic church needs a 3-day symposium to decide and instruct its employees that you are not allowed to break the law. They wouldn’t do that if they were not aware that they actually have and are…breaking the law that is!
Why else holding such symposium?

And making a positive PR-event out of that, in fact is, – I have to give them that – brilliant PR work!

I would almost admire them for it, if I wasn’t so disgusted…
Ton Leerschool
Survivors Voice Europe

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