Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Goa Chronicles, Savio Rodrigues, and Director of Bluebugs Communications Pvt. Ltd R. Joseph Kennedy, have petitioned PM Narendra Modi to take urgent action against the rampant paedophilia in the Church. They are both the founders of Team Hail Mary, a team that seeks to highlight the crimes of the clergy through a
movie of the same name.
In their petition, Rodrigues and Kennedy have also provided relevant statistics on Clergy crimes in India. The crimes were detailed on the basis of states, sex, age, and nature. The petition also makes it clear that it is merely a tip of the iceberg as many crimes go unreported and victims continue to suffer in silence due to the extensive power and resources of the Catholic Church.
The petitioners state, “Internationally, countries like USA, France, Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Jamaica have taken cognisance of the growing crimes of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations, and have acted on initiating prevention and persecution mechanisms so victims can have confidence in reporting crimes by the Christian clergy.”
The petition further says, “The cover-up of the crimes of sexual abuse by clergy has been similar in all cases globally even in India. The Catholic Church has reportedly spent millions of dollars in silencing victims of sexual abuse. In most cases, the victims were children and nuns. The power the Catholic Church unveils to cover-up such crimes is well-known and it has been reported over numerous cases by different media publications around the world.”
The petitioners say that we must commit to assisting the healing of those who have been sexually abused by the clergy. They say, “We can do that with prompt response and assistance to complaints, with a mechanism to provide protection for the victims who come forward with their cases and also to encourage the Christian community to work towards eradicating this menace.”
The Prime Minister has been urged to “set up a system that requires a direct report to government-run child protective agencies and law enforcement in all abuse cases; and not internal inquiries of the Catholic Church.” The petitioners also requested that the government “create a transparent and centralised system to encourage abuse reporting, screening of personnel, document investigative findings, and inform the community about the abuse-related decision.”
The petitioners, who are Christians themselves, say that the efforts to eradicate the menace of clerical sexual abuse “will be met with a lot of resistance from some in the Christian community that has time and again treated such severe crimes as an internal matter without referring cases to the Indian law authorities.”
“We earnestly implore that you join us in this fight to save our children and vulnerable adults from sexual predators in religious garb with the Christian faith. We sincerely hope and believe that you will act in favour of those children and vulnerable adults who are victims of such heinous crimes,” the petitioners concluded.