Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Here comes Summer

Mind it's a bit chilly in London today. Very chilly in fact.So chilly that I am flying to the sun tomorrow soon as I have cast my vote in the General Election.
I am going to Philadelphia to talk with an amazing bunch of people about setting up a world body for abuse survivors. How cool is that? I will let you know what happens, though as you have discovered long ago I am a very bad blogger. Best in fact if you keep an eye on the website for what is going on here.

Iv'e done loads of media interviews lately and when I wasn't able to get in front of a TV screen or Radio mic our Helen has deputised. And what a brilliant job she did too. (think she's after my job!).
Well I mention below something that the aforementioned Helen has just put on our website..........which is why I say "if you want to know what's going on at napac, that's where you need to look".

I hope all is well and I hope you have a good summer.

Pope Benedict.

As you know the Pope is visiting Britain in September. What’s this got to do with NAPAC? Answer. Over the years we have heard from lots of people who suffered child abuse at the hands of Catholic (and other) clergy.

I was brought up as a Roman Catholic and I remain a Christian. However, in common with many other Catholics and former Catholics I have some concerns about this visit and about the appalling record the Roman Catholic Church has in terms of addressing child abuse. Whatever the provisions now in place to make the Church a ‘safe’ place for children and vulnerable people, the past has seen some pretty appalling cover-ups. Worse still we know that not that long ago abusing priests were moved from one place to another following allegations of abuse. My heart goes out to the millions of good Catholics around the world who must be feeling terribly let down by their leaders but that is nothing compared to the pain I feel for the millions of people around the world who suffered abuse. They have to live with that everyday and for the rest of their lives.

I do not mind the Pope coming to my country but given all that has happened I hope he is prepared to meet with survivors of abuse. And I don’t mean a carefully stage-managed event where those people are not allowed to speak to him in private. He needs to hear some home truths. If he is genuine, indeed I would say if he is a Christian, then he will meet survivors and demonstrate by his subsequent actions that he takes this matter seriously.

There is a pressure group formed which opposes the visit and I do have some sympathy for their actions. Indeed, much of what they say is legitimate and sound. I know some of them personally and I want to work alongside them, not necessarily to prevent the Pope’s visit but to ensure that it is a productive visit and not just one big photo-opportunity or publicity stunt.

The opportunity to converse with the head of a Congregation numbering a billion is not one that we at NAPAC want to pass up. Not because we want to hob-nob with ‘The Pope’ but because we want to give him the opportunity to put into action the many words that have poured forth from the Vatican and some Catholic dioceses over past months.

To us words are important, but without action they become hollow and meaningless. The action we would like to see includes the Church divesting itself of some of it’s assets and turning them in to resources to help survivors. I am not talking about personal payouts necessarily though many survivors deserve as much but I would like to see the Catholic Church (and other religious institutions) turn their words into action. It is harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle! Watch this space!

I'm riding to work again having broken a rib when I fell over running in. Thought I'd share that with you too.
Take care