Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Vatican Complains About Interference

BBC News - Vatican 'must immediately remove' child abusers - UN

Far from being open and putting the paedophile abuse scandals behind the Catholic Church, like Pope Frankie promised, the Vatican is still putting the interests of the predatory priests and the Catholic Church above the needs of the victims and the need to protect future generations from their predation.

And so the scandal which has seen church membership haemorrhage and the reputation of priests plummet from one of the most trusted members of society to being someone most people would avoid leaving their children alone with, continues to fester.

A stinging report published today by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) accuses the Vatican of still following policies which allow Catholic priests to continue abusing thousands of children whilst condemning homosexuality, contraception and abortion. The report called upon the Vatican to open its files on clergy who had "concealed their crimes".

But why stop at the clergy? How many seminarians have been expelled from seminary for these and similar crimes but have escaped prosecution because the local Church authorities took no action to avoid yet another scandal? How many of these are still in the community, free to predate and abuse? Regular readers of this blog will have seen for themselves the sort of people who were accepted for training for the Catholic priesthood. How many more of them were hoping to gain trusted access to children and vulnerable adults?

If the Pope truly wants to clean up the church and show the world it has learned the error of its ways, adopted civilised standards and reformed itself, it needs to stop protecting these abusers and make the evidence of their crimes available to the authorities in the countries in which the abuse took place.

[The UN report] reaffirms everything we've been saying. It shows that the Vatican has put the reputation of Church officials above protection of children. Church officials knew about it and they refused to stop it. Nothing has changed. Despite all the rhetoric from Pope Francis and Vatican officials, they refuse to take action that will make this stop.

Barbara Blaine.
President of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) (a US victims support group).
There is every sign though that, far from doing so, the Vatican has resorted to the practices which facilitated abuse for most of the 20th-century and probably before that. For example, a Polish Archbishop, the Vatican's diplomat to Santo Domingo, was recently the subject of serious police allegations of child sexual abuse. He was promptly recalled to Rome where he he remains, the Vatican refusing requests for his extradition on the grounds that he is the subject of an internal Vatican police investigation.

The Vatican has always given priority to Canon Law over secular law when dealing with ecclesiastical crime, seeing it, and those under its holy orders, as above the law in the countries in which they live and work and subject only to the Vatican's laws. It is this arrogance and assumption of superiority over the 'mere' secular authorities which encouraged and facilitated the abuses in the first place. Priests (and nuns) were contemptuous of the local laws and were confident that the church would protect them, often because the senior church authorities themselves had been guilty of similar crimes.

The UN report singled out the Magdalen Laundries scandal in Ireland in which for a period of almost 75 years, girls and women were forced to work as slave labour whilst being subjected to degradation, violence and routine sexual abuse in workhouses run by Catholic nuns and priests. Despite a Government inquiry into these and similar abuses in Ireland, and the croccodile tears of cardinals, the victims are still waiting for justice and the church is still witholding information. Meanwhile the once mighty Catholic Church in Ireland is now held up to derision and the supply of new priests has almost ceased altogether.

The Vatican's reaction to the UN report has been almost contemptuous: "The Holy See takes note of the concluding observations... which will be submitted to a thorough study and examination... according to international law and practice." (My emphasis). In other words, they will put it in a drawer and forget about it, claiming diplomatic immunity to put their clerics out of the reach of secular laws. Without the slightest hint of irony, they have accused the UN CRC of interfering with them. One wonders whether they will demand an enquiry.

It's now beginning to look like the Vatican is incapable of reform and Pope Frankie has become a captive of the Praetorian Guard of cardinals who surround him and who operate the levers of clerical power.

'via Blog this'





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