News / Europe

Childhood Sex Abuse Victims to March on Vatican

Pope Benedict XVI waves as he is driven through the crowd in St. Peter's Square during a pep rally for Catholic youths, at the Vatican, 30 Oct 2010
Pope Benedict XVI waves as he is driven through the crowd in St. Peter's Square during a pep rally for Catholic youths, at the Vatican, 30 Oct 2010

Multimedia

Audio
Sabina Castelfranco

Victims of childhood sexual abuse are gathering in Rome this weekend and will attempt to march on Saint Peter's Square in the Vatican to demand the Catholic Church do more to protect children and hold abusers accountable.

A few hundred people from a dozen countries are expected to take part in events organized in Rome to raise awareness and promote discussion of what they say is "the worldwide issue of childhood sexual abuse."

Bernie McDaid and Gary Bergeron, founders of Survivors Voice, say this is the first time that abuse survivors from around the world will come together for a day of healing and to demand greater accountability from the Vatican.

As children they were both abused by the same priest, Father Joseph Birmingham, in different cities in the Boston area. They were altar boys and say they were abused at school, in the church, in the basement of the rectory, in the car.

McDaid says that abuse can never be forgotten.

"It changed my whole life and the effects of that are shattering and they need to be dealt with by not only the individual, but by the world now and not be denied or covered-up," said McDaid.

On Sunday abuse survivors and supporters are gathering in Castel Sant'Angelo on the Tiber River. They plan to lead a candlelight march to the Vatican on what they have dubbed Reformation Day.

Gary Bergeron says the aim is also to help those who are suffering stand up and rid themselves of the guilt and shame associated with this problem.

"We're hopeful that the world can start to reform the way it addresses the issue of childhood sexual abuse," said Bergeron.  "It's a worldwide problem that needs to be addressed and it's time that we start speaking about it."

Italian police have denied abuse survivors authorization to enter Saint Peter's Square as a group. But they say they are planning to carry out their demonstration anyway. They say they do not fear detention.

McDaid was one of the first abuse victims to meet with Pope Benedict in Washington in 2008. Bergeron says they are also planning to launch a petition.

"We are asking the world to join us in petitioning the U.N. to include the systemic sexual abuse of children under article 7 of its childhood definitions of crimes against humanity," added Bergeron.

Organizers say they will declare the 12 months beginning Sunday, the Year of the Survivor. They want the Catholic Church to do more to protect children.

Pope Benedict has several times apologized for abuse committed by Catholic priests and met with victims during some of his foreign visits. The Vatican says tougher measures have been put in place to screen out seminarians that could become abusers.

You May Like

Hostage Crisis Could Divide Japan Over Plans to Boost Military

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday the government is working closely with the Jordanian government to secure the release of remaining Japanese hostage Kenji Goto More

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Country's youngest ever PM Alexis Tsipras, 40, sworn in Monday and says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts More

Multimedia National Geographic Photo Camps Empower Youth

Annual mentoring program's mission is to give young people a voice to tell their own stories through photography More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid