Second French priest commits suicide in church after abuse claims

A priest in central France accused of sexually assaulting a minor committed suicide in his church, Catholic authorities said Monday, the second French priest to take his life over abuse claims in a month.

Pierre-Yves Fumery, 38, hanged himself in his presbytery in the town of Gien in the Loire valley. His body was found on Saturday.

The public prosecutor for the area, Loic Abrial, told AFP he had been questioned last week by police about allegations of sexual assault involving a child under the age of 15.

Fumery had not been formally charged but was under investigation because of reports from the community about his behaviour, prosecutors said.

>Orleans bishop Jacques Blaquart, whose diocese includes Gien, called it a “moment of suffering and a tragic ordeal”.

Blaquart said some members of Fumery’s parish had brought attention to the priest’s “inappropriate behaviour” towards children aged 13, 14 and 15, including a girl “that he took in his arms and drove home several times.”

Jean-Baptiste Sebe hanged himself in his church in the northern city of Rouen in September.

The bishop said the nature of the claims did not require the diocese to report the priest to the authorities and that he had told Fumery to “take a step back”, seek counselling and leave town for a little while.

The priest took his advice and returned to Gien after a short break but had not yet resumed his duties, Blaquart said.

He is the second priest in over a month to commit suicide in similar circumstances.

On September 19, Jean-Baptiste Sebe, also aged 38, hanged himself in his church in the northern city of Rouen after a woman accused him of sexually assaulting her adult daughter.

No formal complaint had been made at the time of his death.

The Catholic Church has been shaken by a string of paedophile scandals over the past 25 years.

The most senior French Catholic cleric to be caught up in scandal is Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who is to go on trial in January for allegedly covering up for a priest accused of abusing boy scouts in the Lyon area in the 1980s.

Complete Article HERE!

Religion can make gay youth more likely to commit suicide

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A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine last month found a link between religiosity and suicide among gay and questioning participants.

The study used data from the 2011 University of Texas at Austin’s Research Consortium, which surveyed 21,247 18- to 30-year-olds. 2.3% identified as gay or lesbian, 3.3% as bi, and 1.1% were questioning.

LGBQ youth reported that they had attempted suicide at least once in their lives at a higher rate than straight people. 5% of straight people said that they had attempted suicide, while the rates for LGBQ youth ranged from 14% to 20%.

While studies have already shown that queer youth are more likely to have attempted suicide, this study went a step further and asked participants to rate the importance of religion in their lives.

Gay and lesbian youth who said that religion was important to them were 38% more likely to report recent suicidal thoughts compared to gays and lesbians who said that religion wasn’t important to them.

The difference was more stark for questioning youth – they were three times more likely to report recent suicidal thoughts if they were religious.

Religiosity was not correlated with suicidal thoughts among bi youth, who reported high rates of suicidal thoughts no matter their religiosity.

For straight people, the correlation was the opposite: they were less likely to report suicidal thoughts if they were religious.

“Religion has typically been seen as something that would protect somebody from thoughts of suicide or trying to kill themselves, and in our study our evidence suggests that may not be the case for everyone, particularly for those we refer to as sexual minority people,” said John Blosnich of West Virginia University, one of the study’s authors.

“It can be very scary to be caught in a space where your religion tells you that you are a ‘sinner’ just for being who you are,” he said. “Sexual minority people may feel abandoned, they may experience deep sadness and anger, and they may worry what this means for their families ― especially if their families are very religious too.”

The study did not ask participants what their religion was, so there isn’t any data to show whether more supportive religions were less correlated with suicidal thoughts.

The authors conclude that faith-based suicide prevention services “should be willing and equipped to assist all people who seek their services, regardless of sexual orientation.”

The problem is that the “gay condemning” parts of a religion cannot be separated from the “suicide preventing” parts. Religious conservatives often say that they are appalled by suicide and want to help queer people, and they imagine that they can be supportive of LGBQ people while still condemning homosexuality.

That’s not how it works, but a lot of religious people aren’t willing to change their opinions, even when people’s lives literally depend on it.

Complete Article HERE!

Spike in suicides among Irish Catholic priests reported amid low morale over decline and abuse scandals

By James Macintyre

At least eight priests in Ireland have committed suicide in the past 10 years, according to recent reports given at meetings of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP).

The alarming figure comes as the Catholic News Agency (CNA) reports on a severe dip in morale and a mental health crisis among Irish clergy, caused by abuse allegations and declining numbers being ordained as well as other factors.

This has sparked calls for a confidential helpline to be set up for priests needing support.

At a recent ACP meeting, an attendee said: ‘Our morale is affected because we are on a sinking ship. When will the “counter-reformation” take place? We’re like an All-Ireland team without a goalie. We need a national confidential priests’ helpline. We’re slow to look for help.’

According to the CNA, concerns over a severe dip in the morale and well-being of priests in the country have been raised by the 1,000-member ACP in at least three different meetings in recent months.

Roy Donovan, a spokesperson for the ACP, said in May that as well as the priests who are speaking up, he believes many more elderly churchmen are suffering in silence, and have no outlet for help.

Ireland is facing a serious vocations crisis: In 2004, the country had more than 3,100 priests, but by 2014, the last year from which figures are available, the number had declined by more than 500 to 2,627. The number of active priests is likely closer to just 1,900, according to CNA.

The shortage has led to a phenomenon called ‘clustering’, where several parishes are combined into one because of lack of leadership, increasing priests’ workload and subsequent stress, and forcing many to work well beyond retirement years because of the lack of new vocations.

‘These men lived through a time when there were plenty of vocations and their churches were full at Mass, so there’s a loss of esteem. Also, in the past they would have had live-in housekeepers. Now most don’t and are on their own and so feeling a lot more isolated and lonely, as well as feeling nervous and more vulnerable,’ Brendan Hoban, one of the founders of ACP, said during a meeting in November 2016.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Church in Ireland has, like elsewhere around the world, been rocked by a sex abuse scandal that began in the 1990s and resulted in a massive decline in both vocations and in the faith of the laypeople.

The CNA reported minutes from the ACP meetings showing that priests reported being disheartened by the declining faith in the people they serve, ‘who have so little contact with the church from First Communions to funerals’.

The minutes added that priests’ confidence ‘has been eroded when we see so many people going through the motions of faith’.

More recently, the Church in Ireland has also been hit by negative headlines rsurrounding the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam. The priests noted that the sisters there ‘did a disservice by not clarifying exactly what happened. They need to do so immediately. It makes our job impossible, especially as we face a storm on abortion next year’.

The country is also facing an ongoing, heated debate about whether or not to legalise abortion.

The priests agreed that they need to be better about asking for help when they need it.

‘We need to unmask and say ‘I need help!’ There is a great sense of ‘being alone,’ making our own way in the diocese,’ the priests said. ‘There is a lack of dialogue among priests in the diocese. Yet, people are fantastic and generous in parishes, if given half-a-chance.’

Complete Article HERE!

‘Spotlight’ sex abuse priest hangs himself in jail

Brazil – A Brazilian priest mentioned in the Catholic clergy sex abuse film “Spotlight” was found dead in a prison cell after he was arrested again for suspected pedophilia, authorities said on Monday.

Father Bonifacio Buzzi, 57, hanged himself with a sheet in a jail in the state of Minas Gerais where he was taken after his arrest on Friday, the state government said in a statement.

Young christian priest in cassock arrested and handcuffed

A decade ago Buzzi was convicted of abusing a 10-year-old boy in Mariana, Minas Gerais and jailed from 2007 to 2015. He was arrested last week following criminal complaints that he had molested two boys aged 9 and 13.

Buzzi was cited among the pedophilia cases listed at the end of “Spotlight,” the Oscar-winning 2015 film based on the Boston Globe newspaper’s investigation of sexual abuses by Catholic priests and efforts by the Boston Archdiocese to cover them up.

Allegations against Buzzi first emerged in the 1990s in his home state of Santa Catarina. In 1995 he was convicted of molesting two boys in his parish near Mariana after their parents accused him of performing oral sex on their children.

Buzzi got a reduced sentence and the Catholic Church obtained a court order allowing him to serve it out at the home of the local archbishop.

Complete Article HERE!

How to Prevent Suicide in Clergy Abuse Victims

By Jennifer McGregor*

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Image via Pixabay by ibrahim62

In recent years, the Vatican released its records of sexual abuse punishment, revealing an alarming 3,400 cases since 2004. Of course, these are only the offenders who were caught. The actual number of abusers and victims remains unknown, often leading the victims to depression, addiction, and suicidal thoughts.
Children who suffer from any form of abuse have a much greater risk for addiction, and with such startling revelations brought to light in recent months, it’s a good idea for every family to be aware of helpful steps to take to minimize the negative consequences if abuse has occurred in any situation. If you suspect a child has been abused or know a child who has been victimized by a clergy member or any trusted adult, here are a few ways to help the child cope and reduce the risk of suicide.

Seek Therapy

Overcoming something as traumatic as sexual abuse, particularly by a trusted individual like clergy members, is not something easily done. Victims of abuse need counseling with a trained professional, preferably one with experience with this brand of abuse. It will take extensive knowledge of the human mind, trauma, and how it affects a person as they age to mitigate the negative effects of the abuse.
Common results of childhood trauma are mistrust of adults, increased risk of addiction and suicide, PTSD, and depression. A good treatment program has the potential to eliminate many of these consequences.

Monitor Addictive Substance Use

If you know a child or an adult who has been sexually abused by a clergy member – or abused in any circumstance by a trusted adult, recently or in the past, it is important to observe their use of substances like alcohol, nicotine, prescription drugs, or illicit drugs. The risk of a childhood abuse victim becoming an addict is much higher than their peers, meaning at the first sign of overuse, help is needed. What’s more, these risks exist even decades after abuse has occurred, with some victims turning to drugs or alcohol later in life.

Offer Healthy Outlets

The reason addiction and suicide are so common in childhood abuse victims is the need to escape from the trauma. Victims use substances or more drastic measures to forget about the abuse they suffered and rid themselves of the effects of that abuse. With this in mind, it is important to provide healthy outlets for beneficial forms of escapism and healing.

Some good options include yoga, meditation, and gardening. Yoga combines the benefits of exercise (endorphins, physical wellbeing) with the mental benefits of a meditative practice (silencing the mind). Meditation offers similar benefits with more focus on relaxation and serenity.
Gardening has been shown to be extremely beneficial in many ways. By tending to plants, people feel useful and excited when their plants flourish.

Preventing suicide in abuse victims can be a complex task. It should not be taken on by loved ones alone but rather should be undertaken with the assistance of a therapist. The love and support of family can mean the world but even the most supportive family cannot always undo the emotional damage that has been done. Let the counselor work on the mental side while you and your other loved ones focus on positive outlets and prevention of addiction.

*Jennifer McGregor

has wanted to be a doctor since she was little. Now, as a pre-med student, she’s well on her way to achieving that dream. She helped create PublicHealthLibrary.org with a friend as part of a class project. With it, she hopes to provide access to trustworthy health and medical resources. When Jennifer isn’t working on the site, you can usually find her hitting the books in the campus library or spending some downtime with her dog at the local park.