Just a Little Common Sense

For a life based on reason, ethics, literature and art.

Posts Tagged ‘Abuse

More Abuse in Mother Teresa’s Homes

with 4 comments

A few weeks ago I shared Sally Warner’s story with you. She had been a volunteer with the Missionaries of Charity (MoC) in India for thirteen years, and now finally found the courage to speak up about the countless cases of abuse and gross medical negligence she witnessed there. If you haven’t read it yet, you can find it here.
I also urge you to visit Sally Warner’s own blog, where you will find more detailed stories about the abuse she witnessed, harrowing pictures of the same, and accounts of her trying (and failing) to move the nuns in charge of the various homes to change their policy.
Two days ago, I received a new comment on that post, also from a former volunteer. Read for yourselves:
Note: I’ve taken the liberty to edit out the typos from both her comment and my response.

I too volunteered at Mother Theresa’s Orphanage in Pondicherry – St. Terese Street. What I found there was appalling. Babies who were brain damaged were force-fed by filling their mouths with some kind of food and holding of their noses so that they either had to choke or swallow. Some of these babies were blind and deaf and only a few weeks old. When I complained bitterly to the sister in charge, she said that she knew these things were going on. They were also fed very hot food and very hot milk. They were left in soiled clothing the entire day and feces and urine ran from the mattresses and mats on which they lie , all day long. I actually rescued one child from their grip. seven children died whilst I was there, for 6 weeks.

The sister in charge was a materialistic torturer and cared nothing for the children under her care. The other sisters did nothing to stop what was going on.

I am still in India ten years later. But NOT with the MOC.

I’ve just written her a mail, asking for an interview. The MoC remain one of the richest “charities” of the world, and Mother Teresa’s name continues to be a synonym for good even among secular people. I think it’s important that stories like these get told. Not only does this ongoing abuse need to stop, but people also need to be educated about what is really going on in this “charity”, and where they can direct their donations to make a better impact.

Here’s my mail to her:

From: Philipp Schaub
To: xxxxx@xx.com
Date: Wed, Feb 2, 2011 at 5:05 PM

Subject: Your Comment Regarding Mother Teresa

Dear Roslind,

I am Phil, the author of Just A Little Common Sense. Two days ago you commented on my post about Hemley Gonzalez’ interview with Sally Warner, telling your own story of abuse you witnessed in one of the homes of th MoC.
First of all, I’d like to thank you, not only for taking the time to stop and comment on my blog, but also for speaking up about the things you’ve seen.
I think it is important that stories like yours get told. The MoC remain one of the largest “charitable” organizations around the world, and continue to receive millions of dollars in donations every year. Those donations come mainly people motivated by genuine goodwill and unaware of the practices of the MoC, not from conscious supporters of their ways. I think it is mandatory to educate the public about their horrible and inhumane practices, not only to stop the abuse going on in the MoC-homes, but also to redirect those millions of dollars to better causes and more responsible charities.

People tend to respond a lot more to personal stories than a dry set of facts. Rather than just writing another post saying “A commenter told me there’s a home in Pondicherry where she saw babies mistreated”, I’d like to tell your story in more detail.

Would you agree to answer a few questions about your time at the MoC?

I would be very happy to share your story. My blog doesn’t have many readers on its own, but I have a few contacts to larger blogs and a few news-outlets in the secular scene that would also have great interest in publishing a story like yours.
Whether we would include identifying information about you or do this anonymously is entirely up to you (If you agree to be interviewed at all, that is).
It may only have been six weeks, and ten years ago, but I still think it is a story that matters, and one that needs to be told. It needs to be told for people to realize that the events Hemley Gonzalez (www.stopthemissionariesofcharity.com) and Sally Warner (sallywarner.blogspot.com) described are NOT isolated cases, but ongoing and regular practice in the homes of the MoC.

I am looking forward to hear from you.
Kind regards,

Phlipp Schaub
Just A Little Common Sense

PS: I will write a post for my blog publishing your original comment and this mail to you as my reaction. Please rest assured that I will NOT publish any response you might write to this without your explicit permission to do so. I will regard any subsequent mail exchange as confidential. Nor will I publish your mail-address or any other identifying information.

I’m excitedly awaiting her reply.

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Written by Phil

February 2, 2011 at 17:54

Missionaries of Inhumanity

with 20 comments

Warning: Due to the distressing nature of the images, I’ve posted all of them at the very end of this post. May not be suitable to be viewed at work. Viewer discretion is advised.

Hemley Gonzalez, currently back in India, has found another volunteer for the Missionaries of Charity who is now, after 13 years of working for Mother Teresa’s famous organisation, willing to speak up about the countless cases of abuse, medical negligence, and financial fraud she witnessed. And she has many stories to tell. Here is the full-length interview, courtesy of Hemley Gonzalez.

Sally Warner, a registered nurse with a degree in sociology and a graduate diploma in social work from Western Australia, began working as a volunteer with The Missionaries of Charity in 1997. She quickly realized there was something horribly wrong going on in all of the children homes she had visited and volunteered in and soon after became a dissenting voice and critic of the organization, publishing her first book titled “Mother Teresa” in 2003 about these experiences and now currently working on her second publication “Mother Teresa: Sainthood Delayed” to be released in 2011. Sally had heard about my work and the facebook campaign: STOP The Missionaries of Charity / www.stopthemissionaries.com and after finding out I too was in Kolkata, a meeting was scheduled. The following is the transcribed audio of my hour-long interview with her on this most disheartening subject. More about Sally’s work: www.sallywarner.blogspot.com

Hemley Gonzalez [HG]: When did you come to Kolkata to work with the Missionaries of Charity?

Sally Warner [SW]: I’ve spent the last thirteen years volunteering and visiting several houses operated by the Missionaries of Charity, and eventually made my way to Kolkata in late 1999 and began volunteering in some of the houses in early 2000. Here I have visited and volunteered in: Green Park, Shanti Dan, Premdan, Daya Dan and Kalighat which I found quite awful, I lasted only a few day there as I thought it was very dangerous for volunteers with all the highly contagious cases of Tuberculosis, but I had to see it for myself and couldn’t believe it. Speaking of Kalighat, it is now closed for renovations which I’m sure you and your “STOP The Missionaries of Charity” campaign had much to do with.

HG: How many houses would you say you’ve worked in over the last 13 years?

SW: The following is a timeline of the homes I’ve worked in as well as the many others I have visited. I have spent most of my time in the children homes, there were some I could not deal with, some of the ladies homes, and others where patients were just sitting around and doing nothing, often in cement floors and lying in their own excrements, people drugged wrongly by the nuns and of course there is or should I say for now “was” Kalighat, where anyone could just walk in and immediately see an average of 50 men and 50 women laying in cots and basically rotting away.
Read the rest of this entry »

Are You Sure  You’re Not Catholic?

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The question sounds silly only as long as you don’t know about the weird policy the church has regarding whom they consider to be a member. Essentially, once you’ve been baptized they regard you as a member for life – it doesn’t matter whether you actually believe in any of their doctrine, attend service, or belong to any community. Once a member, always a member, like it or not.
There are only two ways to end your membership in the Roman Catholic Church (and, by the way, most other churches too): Through either excommunication or formal defection.

Why is this important?
So if you have ever been baptized, by default you should assume that you are a member. Now before I tell you how to put an end to that sorry state, let’s discuss what reasons there are for withdrawing your membership. It’s quite simple: As most of us live in democracies, the churches’ claim to power is the number of people it represents, or claims to represent. Large membership numbers give them a kind of we-are-the-people-authority. Ending your membership is the most direct and effective way of diminishing the churches political power.
You don’t need to be an atheist to withdraw your membership, either. I think even believers should consider quitting the church; it seems quite obvious to me that if there was a god, this corporation organization of child-molesting, genocidal, chauvinist virgins is probably the one organization furthest away from representing his views. The structural problems and the political agenda that organization has by far outweigh any possible benefits that being a member could possibly have – Read the bible if you must, follow Jesus if you like, but please maintain enough of a link to reality to understand that the “Holy See” is pretty much the definition of evil, that condoms are a good thing, that stem-cell research saves lives without harming anyone, and that a woman’s interest in determining the course of her own life exceeds the imaginary right of a small, unfeeling, unconscious clot of cells to survive. You are perfectly free to believe in a higher being, and worship it by whatever name, but you should be awake enough to realize that the church is a political organization that represents views that, throughout history, have clearly shown to be extremely damaging to society.
So now that established the reasons to end your membership, how do you go about it? As I’ve said before, there are two ways: Excommunication and formal defection. Let’s take a look at both.

Excommunication
It’s the unlikely option. Excommunication means that you do something so horrible that the church herself will take action to end your membership, or as they put it, “deprive you of the privileges of being a member”.
You may think that in an organization as conservative as the catholic church it should be pretty easy to shock them enough to kick you out, and you’d be wrong. As recent history has shown, being excommunicated turns out to be rather hard. Apparently, things like genocide or the molestation and rape of over 200 deaf boys just don’t seem to be enough. Covering up all those crimes doesn’t do the trick, either. Well, you might always try to do one of those really revolting, unforgivable things, like getting divorced. That worked pretty well back in the 16th century, but recently the church seems to be loosening up on that one.

Formal Defection
Formal defection definitely is the more workable solution. Write a letter to your local bishop or parish priest. Here is a beautiful example of what that might look like:

Cardinal Francis George
c/o Archdiocese of Chicago
835 N. Rush St.
Chicago, IL 60611-2030

Declaration of Defection from the Roman Catholic Church

I, ——–, do hereby give formal notice of my defection from the Roman Catholic Church. I do not consider myself part of the church, and I have not attended or donated to any church since 2004. I do not believe in God, the divinity or resurrection of Jesus, the immaculate conception or assumption of Mary, or the Holy Ghost. I am an atheist and have been working to promote skepticism of religion since 2008.
I am especially repulsed by the church’s teachings regarding homosexuality. I reject the notion that homosexual desires or the expression of these desires are in any way sinful, disordered, or an “intrinsic moral evil.” On the contrary, the church’s continual mistreatment of gay people is the true moral evil at work here.

Make sure your defection gets noted in your baptismal register, though that should happen more or less automatically. Bureaucratic stuff like that is one area the church is actually good at. It might be of interest to you that defecting from the church does not actually undo your baptism. According to the laws of their weird twisted fantasy-land, the baptism is a mark that “is an ontological and permanent bond which is not lost by reason of any act or fact of defection”, meaning that although they recognize that you left the “earthly” organization of the RCC, they cannot change your underlying identity as a catholic, which results in your soul still being subject to all canon laws, whatever that means.
However, what the defection does  is stopping them to use you as a number in their statistic to justify their political power. And that makes it totally worth it.

PS: In some countries the process might be more complicated, namely when the state is involved in the administration of membership and church tax. I can’t tell you much about that, but I’m sure that in pretty much any country of this world there are secular organizations happy to provide you with all the information and help you might need. If you’re a German planning to leave the church, feel free to contact me. I’ll be glad to help out or put you in touch with organizations that will.

The Church is Losing Members at Record Pace

with 7 comments

(via hpd.de)

ITALY. The italian Union of Rational Atheists & Agnostics (UAAR) is reporting that the online form for church-membership termination has been downloaded from their website 5500 times in April alone, compared to an average of 3500 the previous month. This number should be seen as a minimum of actual membership-terminations, since the form can be multiplied and also be obtained elsewhere.

AUSTRIA. In the archdiocese Vienna 14.158 people left the catholic church between January 1st and May 20th 2010. The number exceeds the churches worst expectations.

GERMANY. In Munich, capital of Germany’s most conservative and catholic state, the numbers of people leaving the church have tripled in comparison to the year before. This is remarkable because the local law doesn’t make leaving the church an easy business; writing a letter won’t do. To leave the church, a munich resident has to show up at the office in person and pay a ‘processing fee’ of 30€ (roughly 50 USD). Despite this chicanery, 1909 people left the church in march, 1614 in april. The numbers of january and february are 616 and 684 respectively, which is reoughly the same as the year before.

It seems that the churches handling of the abuse scandal is taking its toll.

Written by Phil

May 22, 2010 at 21:20

Abuse in Catholic Organizations is a Deep-Rooted Structural Problem

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The abusive nun

"Never Again!"

The media generally limits itself to refer to the whole business as ‘abuse’, and while that’s technically correct, there is a need to clarify this very abstract term. So what, exactly are we talking about when we speak of ‘abuse’ in catholic organizations? It’s not just molestation, which is what most people think of in this context, if they do permit themselves to think about it at all.
What the victims had to go through is far from being limited to sexual abuse. There are people all over the world who are now finally finding the strength to unveil the horrors of their childhoods in christian care homes, and the stories emerging are simply shocking. They were kept in solitary confinement for days on end, drugged, raped, deprived of sleep and of food, used as forced labour, beaten, humiliated, and even forced to eat their own vomit.
Take a second to let that sink in, take a second to imagine. Once we’ve established an understanding of the situation, we can move on to discuss the causes. Read the rest of this entry »

Germany: Victims of Abuse Speak Up

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GERMANY. A group of former inhabitants of Christian foster homes and schools are speaking up about the many cases of physical and mental abuse they had to endure. The group, whose official internet presentation can be found under jetzt-reden-wir.org (roughly: “now it’s our turn to talk”, website in german only) recieved support from a range of secular organizations, such as the Giordano Bruno Foundation, the IBKA and the Humanist Association of Germany. Düsseldorf resident and artist Jaques Tilly contributed a three-meter-figure of a viciously grinning nun, sporting a crucifix in one hand and a stick in the other, with a lettering on the chest that reads “Nie Wieder!” (Never Again!)

The Abusive Nun

The first demonstration took place on April 15th in Berlin, and recieved large attention from the media, even beyond the borders of Germany. The “Heimkinder” (Foster Kids) protested against the preliminary report of the government’s “Round Table on Foster Home Education”, presented in January 2010, that simply ignored the main issues: The systematic violation of human rights and the abuse of home-children as forced labour.
Among other things such as apologies and compensation, they demanded access to their files, which they are still denied today.

On May 13th, the group protested in Munich. Occasion was the Ecumenical Chruch Day, on which the different confessions of Christianity celebrated Ascension Day. Part of the Christian celebration in Munich was a procession through the city; The “Heimkinder” followed, carrying their banners, the nun, and informing on-lookers by speaking to them, handing out flyers (pdf, german only), and a megaphone.


Note: Pictures of the demonstrations will be added as soon as I recieve permission to use the files.

Written by Phil

May 15, 2010 at 08:20

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