Joey Piscitelli, who says he was sexually abused by a priest, and is the Northern California Director of SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) talks about Pope Benedict XVI, as Melanie Sakoda, left, holds a sign during a news conference at a demonstration in front of the Archdiocese headquarters in San Francisco, Monday, March 29, 2010. The demonstration was held against the Catholic church about sexual abuse remarks made by Pope Benedict XVI. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Pope Benedict XVI (AP/Pier Paolo Cito)
The priest abuse scandal within the Roman Catholic church seems to be exploding, with allegations pouring in of abuse in Europe and the United States that was either ignored or swept under the rug at very high levels.
But there’s been little mention in tumult of the past few weeks of abuse on Indian reservations. (See previous posts, here and here.)
Now, Clara Vargas, a member of the Yakama Tribe aims to change that, by traveling to Rome, where she’ll testify Saturday before the Italian Parliament. As Leah Beth Ward of the Yakima Herald-Republic reports here:
Vargas, 50, a Colville tribal member who now lives in Tacoma, is traveling to Rome as part of a crusade by abuse victims to pressure the Vatican into taking more responsibility for the child sex abuse scandal that is closing in on the church and Pope Benedict XVI.
Putting pressure on elected officials is a way to force the Pope to take responsibility, said Vargas, who was a student at St. Mary’s Mission near Omak from second through eighth grade.
She and several Yakama tribal members are part of a lawsuit filed two years ago in U.S. District Court by the Tamaki Law Firm of Yakima against the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus, which operated St. Mary’s in Okanogan County.
“I’m going to tell them how the abuse and neglect affected me and how I reported it years ago and they never did anything,” Vargas tells Ward.
The Rev. Kevin Annett, a Canadian minister, came up with the idea of the trip. He’s taken up the cause of aboriginal people abused in boarding schools in Canada.
Ward’s story quotes the Web site, HiddenFromHistory.org: “Aboriginal elders from Canada will offer prayers for their friends and relatives who died or were killed in Catholic Indian residential schools, at the institution in Rome responsible for their death. And they will name Pope Benedict, Joseph Ratzinger, as the one ultimately responsible.”
The Vatican has been adamant in its denials that the Pope bears any personal responsibility in the abuse scandal.
Tags: Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, Colville, HiddenFromHistory.org, Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus, St. Mary's Mission, Tamaki Law Firm, Vatican, Yakama