Friday, 11 April 2014

Vatican Backs Code of Silence Over Child Abuse

Pope Francis "We will not take one step back..."
Italy's bishops pass Vatican-backed rule that child molestation does not have to be reported - Europe - World - The Independent

In stark contrast to what Pope Frankie claims to be doing to clean up the Catholic Church, the Vatican has been complicit in a policy adopted by Italian Bishops that states they are no longer required to report child-abusing priests and nuns to the police.

The 'speed' with which Vatican reforms are progressing can be gaged from the fact that only in the last few months has the Vatican seen fit to strengthen its laws on abuse of minors to include sexual abuse of children. Astonishingly, this was not even considered an abuse of minors when the law was first drawn up.

[I] personally ask for forgiveness for the damage [some priests] have done for having sexually abused children. We will not take one step backward with regards to how we will deal with this problem, and the sanctions that must be imposed.

Pope Francis
(Statement made on day of Italian Bishops' Conference statement)
This legalistic excuse comes from a treaty between the Vatican and the Italian state in 1985 which stipulates that priests are not obliged to inform the police of crimes learned of through their ministry. The Italian Bishops' Conference, which published the guidelines last Friday, say they came from a suggestion by the Vatican's office that handles sex abuse allegations.

Last month Pope Francis had complained that, "No-one else has done more [to tackle child sexual abuse]. Yet the Church is the only one to have been attacked."

[the Vatican is systematically placing the] preservation of the reputation of the Church and the alleged offender over the protection of child victims.

In 2010, to great publicity and in response to the growing world-wide outrage at these sexual and psychological abuses as more and more victims found the courage to be open about what they had suffered at the hands of predatory paedophile priests and nuns, the Vatican had instructed bishops to report these offences to the authorities - but only where required to do so by the local law. The Vatican has never seen it as the moral duty of Bishops to protect the vulnerable from predatory clerics by adopting a zero tolerance policy and reporting all such cases even when not required to do so by local law.

Now we see the Vatican office supposedly responsible for dealing with the problem, recommending a policy of strict legalism regardless of the fact that this gives a degree of protection to offenders and removes a little protection from the vulnerable. Obviously this offices sees it as dealing with the problem to prevent it being exposed.

The 'problem' is seen as one of embarrassment and damage to the Catholic Church, not damage to the victims of these abuses. The solution is a Mafioso-style code of silence or a 'no snitching' rule.

As reported on the BBC website, the long litany of Catholic Church abuse scandals includes:

  • Germany - A priest, named only as Andreas L, admitted in 2012 to 280 counts of sexual abuse involving three boys over a decade.
  • United States - Revelations about abuses in the 1990s by two Boston priests, Paul Shanley and John Geoghan, caused public outrage.
  • Belgium - The bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, resigned in April 2010 after admitting that he had sexually abused a boy for years.
  • Italy - The Catholic Church in Italy admitted in 2010 that about 100 cases of paedophile priests had been reported over 10 years
  • Ireland - A report in 2009 [The Cloyne Report] found that sexual and psychological abuse was "endemic" in Catholic-run industrial schools and orphanages for most of the 20th century.

BBC News - Pope Francis asks forgiveness for child abuse by clergy

These are the same people who claim to be guardians of our morals and who demand the right to be consulted on all legislation inasmuch as it related to a woman's rights to her own body, the rights men have over them, what consenting adults may or may not do in the privacy of their own bedrooms and who may form a legal relationship with whom.

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