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

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space 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.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid