Power of Definition and Church Abuse:* Where are the victims?



To bishop Bernt Eidsvig Can.Reg., (Bernt.Eidsvig@katolsk.no), and  Klassekampen.
This will also be translated into English and sent to
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests  (http://www.snapnetwork.org/),
And both language versions will be published in  http://freudfri.blogspot.com/
October 20th, 2011
   
Open letter to The Catholic Church in Norway
and bishop Bernt Eidsvig
 We are sisters, both of us have been sexually violated within The Catholic Church, and we have informed the Professional Ethics Council of these violations. 
Yet we were not informed that The Catholic Academy was going to deliver “A review, summation and analysis of the abuse cases in The Catholic Church” ** until we read it in “Klassekampen” four days before the meeting was to be held. That was too short a notice for us, we did not wish to arrive to a meeting like that without time to prepare.
Now we have some questions:
Will the lectures that were held on October 18th be published on katolsk.no, http://www.katolsk.no/, and open to evaluation? And will it be possible to read a transcript of “Discussion, questions” there?
The Catholic Church knew about us, and asserts that almost no one in Norway has informed of sexual violations. So why were we not invited to take part in this “review, summation and analysis of the abuse cases in The Catholic Church”? *** There is only a bishop, a deacon and a journalist on the list of lecturers. We do not see a representative of the Church’s victims there. Who has the power of definition in this situation?
Was the intention that The Church’s abuse victims could speak during “Discussion, questions” after the lectures? We did not think it would be feasible to communicate logically under these conditions and on such short notice, without knowing anything about the contents of the lectures.
Why did not the Church’s Ethical Council respond to our questions and suggestions?
(The correspondence is translated here:
Our final email from the Ethics Council ends like this:
”Is there anything further that The Ethics Council can do about this case? Do you wish to receive an apology from the Church for what happened?”
Here is our answer: This choice of words places responsibility on the victim. A genuine apology is given spontaneously and shows clearly that one knows what one has to apologize for. We are not holding our breath.
Kari-Anne Pedersen
and Ingrid Johanne Vaalund
***
This open letter was sent to Bishop Eidsvig on the day it was written,
with the following email message:
Subject: Power of Definition and Church Abuse

We enclose our response to “A review, summation and analysis of the abuse cases in The Catholic Church”, appending a copy to the essay and debate editor of Klassekampen.

And we eagerly await The Church’s response. 

Yours,

Kari-Anne Pedersen and Ingrid Johanne Vaalund
The next day we received this reply from the bishop: 
Kari-Anne Pedersen and Ingrid Johanne Vaalund,

Thank you for sending this directly to me. I realize that we have weaknesses in our routines, even though I – probably not unexpectedly – have reservations about the conclusions. [the latter is a direct translation of “reserverer meg mot konklusjonene”]  During the last 18 months I have had [the Norwegian word, “ført”, while correct in this context, can also mean “led”] a series of conversations with people who have been subjected to abuse from Catholic priests, and I hope there will be an opportunity for a conversation with you. 


Friendly greetings
Bernt Eidsvig.
***
Our temporary conclusion is that we have decided to leave the bishop’s response on the back burner for a while and give ourselves time to think about this whole situation.
ETA Oct. 22nd:  I found the bishop’s lecture on katolsk.no and have written to correct some factual errors. 

FOOTNOTES:

*
We prefer the term ”church abuse” to ”priestly abuse” because integrity violations that are committed by an authority figure within an authoritarian,  international organization can have added power to harm.
**
Norwegian information about the meeting on the church’s web site.
I have only translated the pertinent information, which is bolded:
Katolsk Akademi 18. oktober om overgrepssakene i Kirken
A review, summation and analysis of the abuse cases in The Catholic Church
TIRSDAG 18. OKTOBER
Kl. 18.00 – 21.00
Introduction and review – what happens now? 
by bishop Bernt Eidsvig Can.Reg.
A theologically and deaconally(?) anchored assessment of the contents and handling of the case, by study deacon (?)Tormod Kleven, Høyskolen Diakonova
The role and actions of the press. A professional assessment
By editor Jon Magne Lund, Vårt Land (a Lutheran newspaper)
Discussion, questions
Sted: Mariagården, Akersveien 16, Oslo
Påmelding på grunn av enkel servering: akademi@katolsk.no

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