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Pedophilia, Fraud, Murder : the Worst Catholic Church Scandals



Pedophilia, Fraud, Murder : the Worst Catholic Church Scandals
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From sexually abusing children and stealing babies to helping Nazi war criminals and running residential schools, the Catholic Church has a long history of transgressions.
Here are some of the worst Catholic Church scandals from around the world in the 20th and 21st centuries :

Catholic Concentration Camps
During World War II, Croatian Catholic clergymen ran half the concentration camps in Yugoslavia. One of the largest camps in Europe was in Jasenovac, where between 77,000 and 99,000 Jews, Serbs, Roma, and other non-Catholics were killed. Other genocidal atrocities were carried out by the Ustasa, the ultraconservative Catholic government, yet the Vatican remained silent about the massacres.

The Vatican and Nazi war criminals
At the end of World War II, the Vatican and the Red Cross helped thousands of Nazi war criminals escape Europe and avoid prosecution. According to the Guardian, war criminals “were knowingly provided with false identities through the Vatican Refugee Commission. The Red Cross, in turn, relied heavily on these documents to sift through millions of refugees. The Vatican has refused to comment on the matter.

Magdalene laundries
From the 18th to the late 20th century in Ireland, the Catholic Church imprisoned approximately 30,000 women and girls whom it deemed impure. They were forced to do slave labour, such as laundry, seven days a week. While the Church turned a profit, the women were beaten, sexually abused, and malnourished. The horrific scandal came to light in 1993, when 155 bodies wer found in a mass grave in Dublin. The Catholic Church has never apologized.

Friendly with facism
In 1929, Mussolini ad the Catholic Church signed the Lateran Treaty, allowing the Church to become a sovereign state within Italy. The Church also received a large cash settlement and tax exemptions; Catholic priests were guaranteed salaries from the Italian government, and the pope was given full independence. In return, the Catholic Church supported the fascist dictatorship

The Duplessis orphans
In Quebec, Canada, in the 1930s and 40s, Premier Maurice Duplessis and the Catholic Church colluded to send orphaned children to mental hospitals instead of orphanages (both were run by the Catholic Church, but the mental hospitals received greater federal subsidies) by falsely diagnosing them with mental illnesses. Some orphanages were even reclassified as psychiatric institutions to earn more money for the Catholic Church.More than 20,000 children were intentionally misdiagnosed, and many of them were not even true orphans, but simply born out of wedlock. Life at the asylums included lobotomies, electroshock, straitjackets, sexual abuse, and corporal punishment.

Child migrants
An estimated 130,000 children were shipped from Britain over the course of more than a century to bring "pure white stock" to the colonies - a scheme organized in part by the Catholic Church. In 2001, Australia's Roman Catholic Church apologized for the brutal conditions faced by over 1,000 children when they were sent to Australian Catholic schools between the late 1930s and 1960s. According to the BBC, many were raped, whipped, stripped of their names, and forced to scramble for food thrown on the floor. Some children were also made to do hard labour.

Spain's stolen babies
For over five decades in Spain, up to 300,000 babies were stolen from families deemed politically dangerous and sold for adoption by the Catholic Church to more devout and financially secure parents. The Daily Mail reports that the children were trafficked by a secret network of doctors, nurses, priests, and nuns in a widespread practice that began during General Franco's dictatorship and continued until the early nineties.

Nazi gold at the Vatican
A U.S. document has shown evidence that, toward the end of WWII, the Nazi regime in Croatia, known as the Ustasa, smuggled roughly 350 million Swiss francs out of Yugoslavia and held them for safekeeping at the Vatican. The money was allegedly later sent to Spain and Argentina via the "Vatican's pipeline" to support Nazis fleeing prosecution.

Baptized Jewish children forbidden to return home
During WWII, Pope Pius XII permitted safe houses to be set up in the Vatican and in convents and monasteries across Europe. He also helmed a secret operation that issued false Catholic baptism certificates to Jews so that they could be brought to Italy. However, many Jewish children who had been sheltered by Catholics and baptized were forbidden from returning home by a formal Church directive.

Residential schools
Although the Anglican, United, and Presbyterian churches in collaboration with the Canadian government ran residential schools to aggressively assimilate Aboriginal youth in Canada in the 19th century, the Catholic Church oversaw three-quarters of these establishments. At the church-run schools, the students lived in substandard conditions and endured physical and emotional abuse. Many suffered sexual abuse. Pope Francis, however, has refused to apologize.

Rev. Martial Maciel Degollado
In Mexico, Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legion of Christ order, was disciplined by the Vatican in 2006 for having sexually abused numerous boys and young men over a period of three decades. Although the order insisted that Maciel's was an isolated case, there have been allegations of child abuse against multiple priests within the order.

Cardinal George Pell
Cardinal George Pell, a top advisor to Pope Francis, the top financial advisor to the Vatican, and the most senior member of Australia's Catholic Church was charged in Australia with historical sexual assault offences against children that span three decades. Pell's trial is set to begin soon.

Jozef Wesolowski
Polish Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, a former Vatican ambassador to the Dominican Republic, was defrocked in 2014 after being found guilty of child sexual abuse by a Vatican tribunal. He was also accused of possessing child pornography, with over 100,000 files containing pornographic images and videos on his laptop. Wesolowski died before standing trial.

The Dutch Roman Catholic Church
In 2011, the Dutch Roman Catholic Church was rocked by a child sex scandal spanning six decades and involving as many as 800 perpetrators. An independent Commission of Inquiry received 1,795 reports of church-related sexual abuse against children.

Irish Catholic Church covered up abuse
In 2009, a 720-page report (pictured) commissioned by the Irish government found that the Archdiocese of Dublin and other Catholic Church authorities covered up clerical child abuse in Ireland from 1975 to 2004. The report stated the following: "The Dublin Archdiocese's pre-occupations in dealing with cases of child sexual abuse, at least until the mid 1990s, were the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the Church, and the preservation of its assets". The report went on to note that "the welfare of children, which should have been the first priority, was not even a factor to be considered in the early stages."

4,450 priests accused of sexual abuse
In 2004, 4,450 priests were accused by children of sexual abuse between 1950 and 2002 in an America-wide survey of church records, compiled by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Wilton D. Gregory (pictured), called the reports "a very sobering and important milestone."

Boston clergy sexual abuse crisis
According to Richard Sipe, the former priest and psychologist portrayed in the movie Spotlight, " 6% of priests act out sexually with children". That added up to nearly 90 priests in Boston. The central figure in the crisis, priest John Geoghan, abused approximately 130 individuals, most of whom were schoolboys, from 1962 to 1995. Despite allegations, Geoghan was transferred and ordered to get treatment, but not dismissed. Cardinal Bernard Law, who "had routinely transferred accused clergy to other parishes without disciplining them", later "gave prosecutors the names of more than 80 active and former priests accused of abuse during the last four decades."

Chilean sex abuse scandal and cover-up
Pope Francis recently accepted the resignations of three Chilean bishops, including Bishop Juan Barros, following a massive sex abuse and cover-up scandal. The pope's announcement comes after all 34 of Chile's bishops offered to resign over the scandal. Barros himself has been accused of witnessing and ignoring abuse, but denies the allegations.A 2,300-page report  "exposed evidence that the Catholic hierarchy in Chile systematically covered up and downplayed cases of abuse, destroyed evidence of sexual crimes, discredited accusers, and showed "grave negligence" by not protecting children from pedophile priests."

Membership  fraud
In 2016, the Norwegian Catholic Church was fined one million kroner for exaggerating its membership numbers to receive extra government subsidies. The Diocese of Oslo was accused of using telephone directories to find "immigrants with names suggesting that they were from Catholic countries and adding them to the list of members of the church", from 2011 to 2014.

Forced adoptions
In the 1950s, an estimated 60,000 babies were taken from their unmarried Irish moms and sold to rich American families by Catholic nuns. The women were kept in Mother and Baby Homes in reportedly inhumane conditions, prevented from seeing their children for more than an hour a day, and never given information about where their children were taken. The movie Philomena tells the true story of Philomena Lee and her "quest to find the son taken from her by the Catholic Church."


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