1 Dec 2010

Of course popes, cardinals and bishops covered up crimes against children, but can the Church be reformed while leaders are in denial?

Irish Central - April 10, 2010

Of course the Pope covered up Catholic child sex-abuse cases

by Patrick Roberts

Of course the Pope knew about child sex abuse and how rampant it was in the Church.

The ridiculous discussion going on about whether not he did reminds me of the arguments over whether Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams was in the IRA or not.

The question should always have been, if he wasn't in the the IRA then why wasn't he?

He grew up in West Belfast at the beginning of The Troubles in Northern Ireland, when every kid in the neighborhood joined.

Do you think for a moment he would have gained such a position of influence with the IRA in later years if he hadn't once been part of them?

It is the same with the Pope. He would never have become Pope if he wasn't prepared to keep some dark secrets. The Vatican loves it secrets and he has to keep his share of them.

Pope Benedict didn't get where he is today by not being totally aware of what was going on with child abuse cases in the Vatican.

In his previous life he was in charge of overseeing all the allegations or and acting or not acting on them. He preferred not to act unless absolutely necessary.

All big institutions, especially those that lack any sense of real democracy, do the same. The Russians are just admitting that Stalin killed thousands of Polish soldiers during the Second World War after decades of blaming the Germans. Each institution like that protects itself at all costs until it can protect no more.

Under all the trappings of power and pomp are deeply fallible human beings who pay attention to ensuring their mistakes are never uncovered. They have no special powers and are just as riven with problems as any ordinary group of people. We cannot expect them to be any different.

Covering up pedophilia or Polish mass graves It is like discovering that your septic tank doesn't work. You persist in ignoring it until the smell becomes too trenchant. Then you apologize and try to clean it up.

It is clear that both Cardinal Ratzinger and his predecessor, Pope John Paul, and Cardinal Brady in Ireland swept the entire matter under the carpet as much as possible until the media pressure forced them to go public and repent on it.

The wonder is so many people are expressing such surprise over what was a perfectly straightforward reality. The Church covered up child abuse, and in many cases, such as with Cardinal Bernard Law in Boston, promoted those who covered it up too even after they had been disgraced.

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National Post - Canada April 10, 2010

Reform Catholic Church policy, critics say

By Charles Lewis

The abuse scandal at the Mount Cashel Orphanage in Newfoundland had one positive impact on the Roman Catholic Church.

In 1992, Catholic bishops put together a report on abuse in Canada, with recommendations that largely said the Church must put an emphasis on victims rather than the institution.

“It was a model of how to deal with abuse,” said Canadian Catholic scholar Michael Higgins. “It could be an example to the world.”

Just this week, however, a letter was made public that showed a Canadian Catholic bishop in 1993 — just a year after the report — wrote to Rome to discuss how to keep a suspected pedophile priest named Bernard Prince tucked away in the Vatican rather than have him face scrutiny here. As has been the case in the most recent accusations of wrongdoing against the Vatican, the Church seemed more concerned about avoiding scandal than bringing perpetrators to justice.

Critics say the new revelations are a reminder that Church reforms in this country have been far too scattered. They say it is time for the Church to follow the example in the United States, which adopted a strict nationwide policy eight years ago.

“There is absolutely a need to form a national policy that is Church law,” said Rob Talach, the London, Ont.,-based lawyer handling a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against Bernard Prince, the now-defrocked priest and convicted pedophile, and the Diocese of Pembroke, Ont., which shuffled him off to the Vatican.

Mr. Talach says the recommendations of 1992, and subsequent advisories about Church policy in the ensuing years, simply do not have the teeth to effect change in an institution that has been resistant to it. Meanwhile, some bishops have taken strong measures locally, leading others to argue that an over-arching national policy is not necessary.

Suggestions that the Church has been slow to reform are nothing new.

In 2005, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops brought together a panel of church officials and lay people to determine what changes had taken place since the publication of the 1992 report. Victims of abuse were still critical of the management of sexual abuse by clergy and argued that the “actions and the measures [toward reform] are aimed more at preserving the financial and pastoral integrity of the institution, protecting priests, even known abusers, and the systematic challenging of victims, rather than their protection.”

In 2007, the conference of bishops issued a series of protocols for the dioceses to follow, which among other things advised bringing in police immediately to deal with abuse accusations, rather than handling them internally at first.

But even now, the CCCB said it does not monitor abuse in Canada, nor does it have the ability to enforce Church law because each bishop is autonomous. It also cannot say what different dioceses have done in confronting abuse.

Mr. Talach, who is representing 11 clients abused by Prince, says the creation of a strict Church-wide law in this country would be a strong step toward accountability, and he points to the United States as a role model.

Eight years ago, the U.S. adopted such policies to deal with abusers, including no transfers of suspected priests to other dioceses and removing priests permanently from their duties if found guilty.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops uses external monitors to assure the law is being followed. It also keeps statistics on the number of abuse victims, safe environment training, and ensuring strict background checks are done on priests and the laity.

And as for suggestions that the Canadian Chuwrch cannot limit the ability of local bishops to rule their diocese, Mr. Talach argues the Church is capable of speaking with one mind on issues such as gay marriage and abortion without any concerns for autonomy.

Not everyone agrees that this type of oversight is needed. Father Francis Morrisey, an expert on canon law in Ottawa, said a national policy is not needed because many dioceses have instituted strong rules on their own.

In the Archdiocese of Toronto, for example, any allegation by a minor of misconduct by a priest must be reported to the civil authorities within one hour. Every parish must also have a committee to screen volunteers, including running police checks on anyone coming in contact with a minor or another vulnerable person. Admission to the seminary involves extensive admission procedures including a battery of medical and psychological tests. Similar procedures are in place in Vancouver.

Fr. Morrisey said it would be more important for Rome to take the lead and make clear policies for the entire Church.

“They need to stop dealing with the symptoms and start getting to the underlying reasons for the abuse that has taken place and why cover-ups followed.”

He noted that the Vatican is still not clear on the abuse and reporting issue and this would be a good time to update canon law for the entire Church.

“They should hold a synod on the priesthood and look at everything from celibacy, to salaries and even living conditions. There is no canon law right now that even deals with pornography.”

Fr. Morrisey added that the Church in Canada, and probably elsewhere, was slow to move on the abuse issue for a variety of reasons, from a tendency toward secrecy to a belief that the consequences of sexual abuse were not given serious consideration.

Mr. Higgins, the Canadian Catholic scholar, agreed a synod is necessary. He would like it to focus on how elements of the clerical culture have led to the current mess.

“The problem has been that the institution has been concerned with protecting its reputation. But is that a Gospel value? The Gospel calls for just, love and compassion above all. We have to have full transparency and the Pope has to show aggressive leadership in making that happen. Otherwise, the damage to the institutional Church will be irreparable.”

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Vatican ignored warnings from Canadian bishops about promoting priest who was serial rapist of altar boys

Vatican officials, including future pope, refused to defrock "evil, remorseless sociopath" priest until 9 years after his first conviction for sex crimes

New cases of recent sex crimes against minors by Catholic bishops emerge in Texas, Canada and Norway

Is the Catholic church in state of denial over clergy abuse, or is it honest and transparent?

1 comment:

  1. NSS call for Northern Ireland child abuse investigation

    by: National Secular Society May 7, 2012

    The National Secular Society has called on the Northern Ireland Justice Minister to launch an investigation into child abuse in the Catholic Church.

    The NSS wrote to Justice Minister David Ford following a serious allegation made in the BBC’s This World programme that a church inquiry in 1975 involving Brady, then a priest, was given the names and addresses of children abused by a serial paedophile priest. The programme claimed that this information was then not passed on to the families or the police, allowing the abuse to continue for at least another decade.

    As a number of Catholic dioceses straddle the border, this is an issue that involves Northern Ireland too. In 2011 the NSS wrote to the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland urging him to consider and all Ireland investigation. That request as ignored but the National Secular Society says it now hopes the Justice Minister will take the necessary steps to ensure that individuals within the Catholic Church are not permitted to evade the law which others are expected to follow.

    In a letter to the Justice Minister, the National Secular Society said:

    The Criminal Law Act (NI) 1967 makes clear that it is the duty of anyone aware of a criminal offence having been committed to inform the police. We therefore call on you to investigate whether Cardinal Brady – or anyone else in the church – broke the law by withholding the knowledge of crime from the police in Northern Ireland.

    However, Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton yesterday said there would be no knee-jerk decision on whether to launch a police investigation.

    Mr Hamilton did however confirm that the offence of withholding information from the police was on the statute in Northern Ireland in 1975 but said it had not yet been established whether the BBC documentary provided prima facie evidence the law had been broken.

    He said officers would “do the right thing” based on where the evidence led them.

    Keith Porteous Wood, Executive Director of the National Secular Society commented: “Brady not feeling any need to resign, or the Church any need to sack or even suspend him, are the actions that speak louder than words. Such a response confirms that the Curia right up to the Pope himself continue to consider the Church to be beyond the law for its officials’ criminal actions, however heinous or widespread.

    “The time has come for Governments and international organisations, including the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the International Criminal Court, to apply pressure onto the Vatican to release all the incriminating evidence it holds to justice agencies in the relevant countries.

    “We include in this the UK Government, who should have raised this on behalf of the thousands of abuse survivors when Baroness Warsi visited the Vatican earlier this year. Victims of abuse are being are being abused again by the Church in denying them justice.”