Three Perspectives on the Catholic Church & Pope Francis' Visit to the US
WHYY Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane | September 2, 2015
Guests: Sister Simone Campbell, John Salveson, and Julie Chovanes
Pope Francis' visit to the United States is being celebrated by many Catholics and non-Catholics throughout the region and many have been encouraged by his humility and his willingness to engage with a variety of people. For some, his trip and the spotlight on the church have proved to be painful because of past experiences. Today we'll hear three different takes on Pope Francis the Catholic Church, in light of his upcoming stopover in the states. Marty speaks with SISTER SIMONE CAMPBELL, the executive director of NETWORK, a national Catholic social justice lobby, and JOHN SALVESON, founder and president of the Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse. In 2012, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which represents 80,000 American nuns, was reprimanded in a Vatican report that the group has strayed from the church and had adopted "radical feminist" views. Her organization was also sanctioned in the report. Salveson was molested by a priest as a teenager and has campaigned for the World Meeting of Families, the event leading up to the pope's visit to the Philadelphia, to host sessions on sexual abuse within the church. We'll also be joined by local transgender Catholic JULIE CHOVANES to hear about her experiences with her faith and the church.
Will the Pope talk about sex?
Activists want to see reforms during upcoming visit of Pope Francis to the US
By Michelle Boorstein | Washington Post | Aug. 17, 2015
PHILADELPHIA — John Salveson didn't give up his obsession with the Catholic Church easily. There were polite letters in the early 1980s, asking that the priest who molested him when he was a teenager be removed. His bishop wrote back, but the priest remained, transferring parishes through the late '80s, according to a grand jury report. "Sincerely yours in Christ," the bishop closed his letters.
Later, Salveson led a group that advocated for church reform. But by the mid-2000s, he had grown discouraged and shifted his focus to pushing for stronger laws and enforcement.
John Salveson is calling for Pope Francis to wear a black ribbon during his visit to the United States in honor of survivors of sex abuse by clergy members.
Prompted by Pope Francis's trip to Philadelphia this fall, Salveson has renewed his activism toward the church, calling for the pontiff and other participants in a global Catholic meeting on family issues to discuss child sex abuse by clergy members and wear black ribbons to represent "the darkness that infects the souls of survivors," he said.
The official itinerary for Francis's U.S. trip includes no mention of the topic, although some experts think the pontiff will address it in an impromptu way, as Pope Benedict did during his last trip to the United States, in 2008.
The visit is reason for celebration among those who consider Francis the first pope to begin restoring the Catholic Church's moral authority after sex abuse scandals, which led many American Catholics to fall away from their faith. But it is painful for many others who think Francis and the church have not done enough to reach out to victims or punish those who oversaw abusers.
Advocates point out that the pope has held no bishop explicitly accountable — allowing a few to instead quietly resign. And church officials continue to spend millions fighting litigation.Read more...
By John Salveson, President FACSA
OpEd Page, philly.com, 7/19/2015
I've been struggling for months with how to personally deal with this fall's visit by Pope Francis for the World Meeting of Families.
I would like to share in the excitement — but I am deeply conflicted.
On one hand, I am a proud Philadelphian and active member of the region's business and civic community who thinks the visit is good for the region. It signals once again that our city is growing in prestige and recognition as a world-class community. I'm confident we will shine brightly in the eyes of the world come September.
On the other hand, I am frustrated and angry. I was sexually abused as a child by a Roman Catholic priest. For 35 years, I have worked to help bring justice to child sex-abuse victims. In doing so, I have encountered the most relentless, heartless resistance to reform from the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church. With every story I read about the World Meeting of Families, all I can think of is the breathtaking hypocrisy of it all.
I believe many of the Catholic faithful are either tired of hearing about the clergy sex-abuse crisis or simply believe it has been corrected. I empathize with them. No one is more tired of talking about it than I am. And no one wishes it was fixed more than I do. But the reality is that the sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic clergy — and the Church's ongoing protection of its predators — is a global, decades-long, human-rights catastrophe. Consider this statement issued last year by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child about the Roman Catholic Church:Read more...