Sunday, March 28, 2010

"Sorry" Doesn't Quite Cut It

The pope says he "truly sorry" for the crimes of pedophilia and child abuse for the abuse, physical, mental, and sexual, visited upon the children of Ireland for decades by Catholic priests, brothers, and nuns. Well, that's not quite good enough, Pontiff. Because, just as has been the case with every diocese in the world, your apology was not coupled with a declaration that the bishops in charge of these dioceses who allowed this abuse to continue by continually transferring the child predators will be punished.  Much less any acceptance of responsibility by the Vatican itself from whence all the inclinations and practices of cover-up originate. (They ain't buying it in Erie either.)

Lemme put it to you this way, Vicar of Christ on Earth: up till now after years of revelations about sexual abuse of children by priests (and some bishops, too, while they were priests), about their being shuffled from unsuspecting parish and unsuspecting victims to yet another unsuspecting parish and victims, not a single bishop anywhere, i.e., the guys who were not unsuspecting, the guys who knew about these pedophile scumbags, not a single one of them has taken responsibility for his crimes, much less been disciplined.* Oh, I take that back. One guy in the U.S. did lose his job: Bernard Cardinal Law of Boston, who got kicked upstairs to a better job at the Vatican. And he was certainly not fired by the Church--in fact, he was downright defiant in the face of incontrovertible evidence that he virtually suborned pedophilia in the archdiocese by his neglect of the problem--he was forced to resign by the sheer volume of public outcry.

And, Your Holiness, "I'm sorry" is certainly not enough when there's a question about just how clean your own hands are in this whole sordid mess. Oh, yeah. Just what exactly did you know about sexual abuse by clergy in your own diocese of Munich when you were still just Cardinal Ratzinger and a bishop? There have been questions. And worse, you also helped cover stuff up. See this article.

And how do you think Rome is responding? Are you serious? We're not getting any kind of pastoral response from Rome. What we're getting is outrage that the pope should be attacked and implications that there's a giant conspiracy against the pope. Rome ain't giving an inch. Well, really. What else could we expect from this institution which has done nothing but stonewall and lie since these horrendous crimes became known several years ago? Why should we be surprised when the Church behaves like any other human institution when it gets caught in the midst of criminal activity? That is, circle the wagons, obfuscate, and sacrifice the lower ranks of the organization while protecting the ones ultimately responsible?

Just for the record, there has been a huge flood of allegations of abuse of minors from all over Europe. Ireland and Germany are not the only places where accusations against priests have surfaced. They have also arisen in Switzerland, The Netherlands, Austria, Italy.  This site summarizes.

Update I: Matt Taibbi has a typically bitter and sarcastic take on the whole problem and in particular his reaction to the pastoral letter of  Archbishop Tim Donlan's of New York on the subject of child molestation by the clergy. Taibbi describes it as an "incredibly pompous and self-pitying rant [and] some of the most depraved horseshit I’ve ever seen on the internet, which is saying a lot."

Update II: Maureen Dowd is not as profane as Taibbi, but she's right on in her column about these crimes.

Update III: Something much closer to a smoking gun involving Ratzinger has emerged from a case involving a pedophile priest in the Oakland diocese. Office he headed up in the Vatican dallied for years about defrocking the scumbag priest. And there's a letter with the future pope's signature on it that suggests that "for the good of the Church" the guy not be thrown out.

*The episcopate in the U.S. has essentially swept the problem of tainted bishops under the rug.  In this it follows the Vatican lead. The latest allegations about a priest who apparently molested over 200 deaf children in the 1960s and 70s, have roiled the waters again.
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