Catholic Whistleblowers

Friday, May 24, 2013


This week a group of Catholic nuns and priests joined forces to form Catholic Whistleblowers; their goal is to hold the church accountable for the ongoing child sex abuse scandal. Most of the founding members have themselves blown the whistle about abuse in the church. Brooke visits one of them, Sister Sally Butler, to talk about the role of truth-telling, transparency and honor among the faithful.

Beacon - Late November


Sister Sally Butler

Comments [15]

Giuseppi Martino Buonaiuto from New Mexico

“Tortured” by Giuseppi Martino Buonaiuto
“Even the streets leading up to its outer barriers were roamed by gorilla-faced guards in black uniforms, armed with jointed truncheons.” George Orwell

Which brings us, of course, to the subject of torture since 1949.
Come with me to the Casbah, Babaloo.
We begin in the 1950s with the French in North Africa,
Rectal baguettes in Algeria,
Couilles frits, anyone?
Electrodes wired to Mustapha’s balls.
And "Bigeard's Shrimps,” as the bodies were called,
Dumped over the Mediterranean from aircraft,
All things considered a je ne sais quoi,
Though Camus and Sartre gave it a whack.

Then the 1960s: the CIA dabbling in mind-control and LSD.
Later, a Phoenix Program,
Very secretive, sympathies with the Cong required,
Various elders selected,
The village disinfected,
Ho, Ho, Ho and a bowl of Pho.

Apartheid anyone?
Thirty years of South African terror & torture.
Torment in the townships,
Shaka Zulu gold and diamonds,
De Beers in Swaziland swing.

1971: riots at Attica,
Prisoners abused and tortured,
Rockefeller’s overcrowded slammer,
An upstate New York katzenjammer,
Nelson’s finger on the trigger,
39 dead and counting,
But who’s counting?

The CIA, back in the news in 1973,
Torture chambers under Chilean soccer stadiums,
And the Khmer Rouge:
Those Wacky Cambodians with skull racks.
And let us not forget the British,
With centuries of colonial experience behind them,
Occupy six counties in Northern Ireland.
Finally codify the imperial process,
The Five Techniques:
Sounds like a Motown group,
Satin smooth colored boys,
But more method than music:
(1) Wall-standing,
(2) Hooding,
(3) Subjection to noise,
(4) Sleep deprivation,
(5) No food and drink.

And there’s a bunch of horrible shit,
We still don’t know about the Argentine Dirty War,
And other My Lai-like,
F-k-fest massacres in Vietnam.

How about torture since 1984?
Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo,
Come quickly,
To mind,
As do US-sponsored rendition facilities,
Spread throughout the NATO alliance.
And closer to home, it’s never a dull moment in the 5 Boroughs:
Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, The Bronx and Manhattan.
Take your pick from Giuliani’s Greatest Hits,
Rudy Kazootie’s campaign of law and order,
Not necessarily in that order.
More awful than lawful,
A bathroom plunger rammed up,
The Haitian voodoo rectum of Abner Louima,
While he be handcuffed at a Brooklyn station house.
Or, the NYPD partying like it was 1999.
When in fact, it was1999,
And a curious death it was for Amadou Diallo,
Would-be American citizen from The Republic of Guinea,
(No connection to Italy or Italians),
Abner & Amadou: a pair of cautionary tales,
Either/or reflecting standard procedure for the Po-Po,
Time and time again from coast to coast.
Either/or: poor Abner, no Haitian Papa Doc.

Do it to Julia.
Do it to Julia.

Dec. 13 2014 01:06 PM
McNamara from New York

Brava Sister Sally Butler: "The Church is mine, they (the perpetrators and enablers) should leave"

If women had been in positions of authority in the Catholic Church; the abuse would have been dealt with on day one.

Mar. 09 2014 04:49 PM

Would you be interested in covering a human interest story complete but not limited to a medical rape, torture of a Muslim woman, police cover-up, real estate moguls criminality in retrieving a rent stabilized apartment from said tenant-tenancy since 2004, compromised medical records, medical facilities to address my specific pain complaints, loss of career/income,blocking of calls/messages forcing isolation, deliberate sleep deprivation, daily torture, harassment, stalking and last but not least, rent and utilities secretly being paid since 2010-the time of my last housing court appearance to address harassment issues (many postponements and change of judges) to date I have not been evicted despite my ignoring all correspondences from management and human services agencies. I am now existing with considerable pain and losing my balance, daily.
I am a black Muslim woman who was an adjunct professor with a private Jewish college in New York City who loss my teaching position with out explanation after more than a decade of having a successful, professional relationship with the college- no exit interview, and still in position of my I.D. and office key.
I was encouraged by the Sally Butler story, you covered.
Please be a change agent!!!

Jun. 17 2013 07:39 PM
Viola Dace from San Diego CA

I am an abuse survivor. This is one of the most compelling portrayals of how sexual abuse poisons communities as it does the lives of individuals. Families, churches, neighborhoods, friendships are the trails of destruction left by sexual predators. Sally Butler's voice is clear. Excuses and silence are unacceptable. There should be no statute of limitations in favor of the torturers and rapists of children. They are worse than war criminals. I cannot thank you enough for this story.

Jun. 04 2013 12:58 PM
gloria sullivan from Parker ,Colo.

I do not agree with the statement that some people call, "OUR Catholic Church" Like it was somthing special. The "Christian Church" is made up many peopleof many races and creeds. People from all over the world, "Who believe in Jesus Christ as LORD" and no man or institution can take HIS place.. Even tho' they, the priests have tried for millenium(s) The RCC is NOT the name that Christ give to HIS Church. He actually didn't give it a name.......the Men in the Roman Catholic church, called it what they wanted to call it. There needs to be no other NAME than "THE CHURCH" ..."We are the church" the true believers of Christ's story of redemption ...WE Are The Church!" Not the RCC. IMHO

There are so many things that Christ did NOT INITIATE, such as; confession, the absolute necessity of going to mass or it's a mortal sin. Motal sins, HE never spoke of. HE never gave us the "guilt trip" the rcc gives all their puppets. HE ,JESUS, never spoke anything like that to HIS believers. HE didn't take our free will from us why do the hierarachy tell us what to do and how to do or go to hell? Why of course to scare us to death. Which we were. So we wouldn't leave them. They needed us or there would be no HIERARACHY! Confession(when there was no communication(no phones , etc.) had to be so they could KNOW what was going on in the community. Once tape recorders were invented they used those in the confessionals,for after hour recreation, to see what so and so was up to. Read book on (Padre Pio). They recorded him and found out he was a truly holy man who could "read souls" ... God can get to HIS people inspite of the rcc.

Jun. 02 2013 06:29 PM

I find it odd that the sponsorship of was highlighted before and after a story about whistleblowing. It seems odd connected to OTM at all since journalism brings information to light and buries it.

May. 30 2013 06:04 PM

Apologies for including html tags not used in the commenting system. I intended to quote the article and bold certain sections.

Again, I salute these priests and nuns. I don't share their beliefs, but I very much admire their courage, and I take inspiration from them.

May. 28 2013 09:11 PM

It's very nice to see people finally policing their own! I must say I was struck by this paragraph (emphases mine):

The group began organizing quietly nine months ago without the knowledge of their superiors or their peers, and plan to make their campaign public this week. Most in the steering group of 12 have blown the whistle on abusers in the past, and three are canon lawyers who once handled abuse cases on the church’s behalf. Four say they were sexually abused as children.

One person in three, just on this committee, were sexually abused as children. Now, they're taking a stand against their own religious organization -- one not known for tolerance in the face of such challenge. These are priests and nuns whose livelihoods and belief systems are inextricably tied with the Church that has enabled abuse. As an atheist, I don't agree with their belief in god; but, as an atheist, I find their courage inspiring.

These are brave people. I salute them.

May. 28 2013 09:06 PM
Valerie Capitanich from New Orleans, La.

Sister Sally Butler,
I was so moved by your story, your wisdom, and your commitment to obtain justice. Your determination serves as an inspiration for others and gives voice to vulnerable and exploited.
You and your group of whistle blowers are remarkable. I will follow your work and I believe that overtime, the outcomes you seek will be realized.

May. 28 2013 08:25 AM
Steve from New Your, NY

Great story...sister don't give up the fight!

May. 27 2013 08:10 PM
David Biersmith from Kansas City, MO.

Thank you so for speaking out. I have been fighting the silent battle here in the Diocese of Kansas City/ St. Joe with Bishop Robert Finn, a convicted fellow who keeps marching on as if nothing has happen. I sometimes loss strength but your actions has activated me.
You will have many detractors, but please Sister, keep focused.
David Biersmith
VOTF Kansas City

May. 27 2013 10:52 AM
vivere from Oxford, NC

Thank you to Sister Sally Butler for this important work. I especially liked what was said and related to it. "This is MY Church....THEY can leave!" I have struggled with my own love for the Church of my childhood and all the secrets that have been uncovered, and the many more that still lay hidden, perhaps forever. What we have not learned yet, is that when one of us suffers, it hurts all of us. Blessings on you, Sister.

May. 26 2013 04:45 PM
Dolores Buonaiuto from Tarrytown, NY

I am an 77 year old grandmother who has been Catholic all my life I sent all my three children to Catholic school was so impressed with your report Sister Butler that it kept me mesmerized and I pray that many parents will come to your organization and contribute to battle this horrible situation in our own religion. My daughter to look on the internet to help you out.
My prayers are with you and with the Catholic church.

May. 26 2013 11:16 AM

Right on, sister! THEY should leave. Let's give them a shove.

May. 26 2013 10:40 AM
Elena A.. Alvarez from Chevy Chase, MD

I just heard a report about your organization in National Public Radio.

I am 79 year old Hispanic Catholic who has lived in the Washington, DC, area since the sixties. I am very impressed with yor efforts on behalf of young people abused by clergy people. My prayes are with you in your valiant efforts to combat this scourge. God bless you!

May. 25 2013 06:49 AM

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