Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Vatican Still Avoiding Responsibility For Abusive Priests

Top Vatican figure in row over child abuse comments.

A senior Vatican Official astounded the Australian victims of peodophile priests by telling the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that the Catholic Church had no more legal responsibility for the actions of its priests than a truck firm has for the actions of its truck drivers.

Cardinal Pell, a former archbishop of both Melbourne and Sydney, was personally appointed to a top job in the Vatican, as head of the finance ministry, by Pope Francis himself. Talking over a video link he told the Royal Commission:

If the truck driver picks up some lady and then molests her, I don't think it’s appropriate, because it is contrary to the policy, for the ownership, the leadership of that company to be held responsible. If every precaution has been taken, no warning has been given, it is, I think, not appropriate for legal culpability to be foisted on the authority figure.

We will not take one step backward with regards to how we will deal with this problem, and the sanctions that must be imposed. We have to be even stronger.

Pope Francis, 11 April 2014
This is either astonishingly disingenuous or an astonishingly naive view of the relationship of a priest to a parishioner or to vulnerable children in their care or under their influence. It's hard to believe that Cardinal Pell didn't realise that people, maybe naively, trust priests and expect them to behave with impeccable propriety, not to rape them and take advantage of their trust and vulnerability.

This attempt to wash the Vatican's hands of the affair is in stark contrast to the weedling apologies, expressions of sorrow and promises of reform loudly talked about by Pope Francis.

He shows that he really has absolutely no conception of what is appropriate or inappropriate behavior and what are appropriate or inappropriate things to say to survivors. It was a highly offensive comparison and showed that, at the end of the day, all he was concerned with was protecting himself and making excuses for behavior that is inexcusable.

Nicky Davis, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
But it is entirely consistent with actual actions, such as the advice to the Italian College of Cardinals that they should hide behind a clause in the Lateran Treaty and not inform the Italian Authorities about instances of abuse they learn of in the course of their duties. It is also consistent with the Vatican's refusal of a request by the head of the Australian Royal Commission, Justice Peter McClellan, to supply them with documents relating to communications between the Australian Church and the Vatican concerning their response to allegations of abuse.

And this is the church which claims to be the guardian or our morals and to be the bridge between the divine giver of moral law and us mere mortals. In reality, of course, it is the provider of excuses and opportunities to control freaks, frauds and criminal sociopaths, operating more like a secret society, complete with a code of omerta, totally focussed on hoovering up wealth from the poor and maintaining the power and privileges of the clergy.

It exists for no other discernible purpose.

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3 comments :

  1. If the trucking company had hundreds of employees who had molested people, and if it also had a systematic policy for decades of shielding those employees from the law and even moving them to other countries to protect them from getting caught, then I think "the leadership of that company" would indeed have a pretty good chance of ending up behind bars.

    Guardian of our morals, bah, Yet another proof that Jesus doesn't exist is that he hasn't yet blasted this cabal like a bunch of diseased fig trees for disgracing his name by association.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Rosa, you wrote: And this is the church which claims to be the guardian or our morals and to be the bridge between the divine giver of moral law and us mere mortals. In reality, of course, it is the provider of excuses and opportunities to control freaks, frauds and criminal sociopaths, operating more like a secret society, complete with a code of omerta, totally focussed on hoovering up wealth from the poor and maintaining the power and privileges of the clergy.

    I agree. Here you can read about the former Archbishop and nuncio Jozef Wesolowski: http://religiondispatches.org/wesolowski-sexual-abuse-case-a-new-approach-or-same-old-same-old/ . Some quotes:

    Apparently this fellow regularly had a few drinks by the waterfront in the afternoon and then invited a shoeshine boy or other young man in need of money to accompany him to a secluded spot for sex. [...]

    It’s hard to imagine anyone defending the man’s behavior if even a fraction of what’s being reported is true. One victim was a boy with epilepsy, for example; Ms. Goodstein cites, on good authority, that “the nuncio gave him medication for his condition in exchange for sexual acts.” Is there no moral cellar here?

    This case unfortunately offers many insights into how the Roman world works. Vatican officials protest too much when they speak of a new approach, showing how seriously they take clergy sexual abuse. The Archbishop was “whisked away by the Vatican” so as to avoid trial in the venue where he’s alleged to have committed the crimes. That act reflected the same old same old approach to clergy sexual abuse under Pope Francis as under his predecessors until, as I read it, public pressure was simply too great. [...]

    [His clergy fellows] have already hedged their bets by saying that it is not clear that the new 2013 Vatican guidelines can be applied retroactively in this case. Problems of double jeopardy remain of course. In short, while the Vatican’s rhetoric is promising, the timing and expected next steps make clear that not much has changed at all. So far, the so-called punishment is an insult to Catholics everywhere. [End of quotes]

    Or in short: It's deplorable and sad in every aspect.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Vatican is walking a rope strung taut between admitting responsibility for the crimes on the one hand and not admitting that its fundamental worldview makes such crimes fairly inevitable. The former requires only a superficial fix, while the latter would necessitate a complete overturning of the religion itself.

    ReplyDelete

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