Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Women are also victims of clergy sex abuse!

Letter sent to the CBCI President/Archbishop to declare the name of the alleged Bishop who fathered a child

Posted on April 5, 2012 
From: judith monteiro <judithm2508@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Mar 30, 2012 at 4:29 PM
Subject: URGENT action requested regd article – Women are also victims of clergy sex abuse!
To: Archbishop Bombay <diocesebombay@gmail.com>
Cc: Agnelo Gracias30th March, 2012Sub : http://ecclesiaofwomen.ning.com/forum/topics/women-are-also-victims-of?

Women are also victims of clergy sex abuse!
- Posted by Virginia Saldanha on June 29, 2010 at 4:28pm
URGENT action requested
Dear Your Eminence Oswald Cardinal Gracias,
Praise be to Jesus Christ now & ever more.
This email has reference to the abovementioned subject. This article
has been doing the rounds & is not just disturbing but is harmful to
Society – both to Women & the Religious
I request your Eminence to kindly ensure immediate action on the same.
If the article is true then it is a shame to the Church claims of
“Empowerment of Women” / “Justice in the Church”, etc & if the article
is spiced up, then it is a slur on the reputation of the Religious.
Hence, a demand should be made to the author of the article & her
informant to either authenticate the news with names & evidence or to
make a public apology for the article.
We, the laity think, pray & meditate a 1000 times before we make
statements against the religious because we respect the Cassock / the Habit & We, will not tolerate such degrading articles about the Priest/ Nuns / Bishops I personally come from a family with priests in every generation -
dad’s brother is a priest & 2 nuns (mom & dad sisters). We have Bishops,
clergy & nuns as family friends who we consider as family & I will
definitely not keep silent when such a strong accusation is made about
the RELIGIOUS without evidence given to support it. But, as a Woman,
it would be a shame as a Catholic Woman to be a silent spectator.
In the recent past I too have raised my voice against wrongs in the
Church providing names & evidence to substantiate my claims.
Unfortunately this article does not provide names leaving it suspect
as to the credibility of such an article. Anyone can make claims
either for publicity or in “ad lingo” to create a stir / to create
effect. Do we need such effects in the Church? Why cause doubts in the
minds of the people?
I quote the article:
There is no shortage of anecdotal evidence of the scale of the problem
which in some cases dates back many years. Astrid Lobo-Gajiwala, a
prominent leader in the women’s movement in the Church recently shared
this story with me:
“I had gone for a family camp organized by Church personnel about
10-12 years ago. I wandered into the kitchen to meet the helpers and
got into conversation with the cook. “When she came to know who I was
she told me her story. She was a former nun who was forced to leave
because she became pregnant. She was very, very bitter. “She said she
had been working for a bishop and he was the father of her child, a
boy, who was being looked after by a church run orphanage. The bishop
continued in his position as shepherd of the flock.”
The blogger Ms Virginia Saldanha & the story sharer Ms Astrid
Lobo-Gajiwala are 2 prominent citizens of Mumbai holding / have held
Archdiocesan post in Women Cells. Ms Virginia has been the Executive
Secretary of the CBCI’s Commission for Women as well as the Executive
Secretary of the Women’s Desk in the FABC of Asian Bishops Conferences
Office of Laity & Family. Ms Astrid too has been a Consulter for the
Indian bishops’ CBCI Commission for Women, and the FABC. As a
responsible Church representative it is surprising that Ms Virginia
should post a blog where, by not disclosing the name has succeeded in
casting suspicion on the identity of the bishop. Was this blog written
while holding Archdiocesan posts or after end of tenure?
I am given to understand that news is now floating that the Bishop
does not belong to Mumbai Archdiocese. Why such cat & mouse games or
Why is information fed in bits & pieces? Mumbai has bishops who have
either come here after serving in other states or have been
transferred to other states from here. Will the laity feel safe after
such news? Not long ago, I too received a vulgar email & a threatening
letter which were sourced by the Cyber Crime to 1 church office & 1
Archdiocesan office & neither I nor my colleagues will rest till the
culprit is booked. By catching the culprit, We wish to ensure that
this does not happen to other Women & that the 1 or 2 spoilt apples
may be caught, saving the name of the other good priests living in
these parishes & elsewhere.
Earlier this month, one Mr Sanal from Delhi verbally attacked the
Pope, the Clergy, the Cross & the Catholic faith on national
television (tv9). As a Catholic I immediately demanded his apology on
air & along with likeminded clergy & laity we demanded that he prove
his allegations true or tender a public apology esp. on the same
channel. He refused to do so & 2 FIRs have been lodged against him by
the laity. This is done so that no one abuses or takes advantage of
our religion, our Pope or our Clergy in future.
Likewise, allegations have been made against a bishop in the subject
matter of this email. Similarly, I demand that:
1. Ms Virginia either authenticate her statement OR tender a public
apology on her blog as well as by letter to the Archdiocese which
should be published in The Examiner.
2. Also Ms Astrid should publicly clarify whether she did share such
3. As the Archbishop of Mumbai from where this example originated, I
hope you will take a strong stand on this – i.e. demand proof of the
allegations / a public apology as the case may be. If the bishop is
guilty appropriate action needs to be initiated.
Whatever the end result the same should be put in public domain please
since the allegations originated from a public space itself. Please
understand that our sympathies lie with the ex-nun & Justice should be
given top priority, but if the news is suspect, the Clergy should not
be given a bad name in general or be eyed suspiciously in future.
I am sure you have realized that: the article has over the year’s
generated doubt in the minds of the laity & non-Catholic, esp. those
interested in Women’s issues. Such an article which leaves lot to the
imagination is very damaging, it could result in doubts towards past &
present bishops (since it is a decade old incident), clergy movements
will be eyed suspiciously & nuns could be prone to cheap stares &
sexual harassment. HENCE WE NEED AN ADMISSION (by way of a name) OR AN
Maundy Thursday is on 5th April – it is celebrated as the Feast of
Priests. I hope you will have succeeded in getting an explanation /
apology by then & that the same will be made public by the concerned
party & the Archdiocese
Awaiting your action. Thanking You
Yours in Christ
Judith Monteiro
Dadar (W), Mumbai
c.c : religious friends
archdiocesan womens desk

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