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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Catholic church in disarray on child abuse allegations

This morning's Times reports that the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland will be pressed to quit if he refuses to resign over the growing child abuse scandal. According to the article the Vatican believes that nothing less than Cardinal Sean Brady’s resignation will diminish fury at the highest levels in Rome over his role in paedophile priest cover-ups.

Dr Brady’s exit, after the resignations of two other bishops, would set in train a Catholic reformation in the country. Other bishops are also expected to go after the influential Tablet journal called for the forced retirement of nearly all as the mood in Ireland reaches “zero tolerance”.

Dr Brady apologised last week for his role in a church tribunal on allegations made by a 14-year-old boy against Brendan Smyth, a priest whose case brought down the Irish Government in 1994. The victim was sworn to secrecy after the proceedings.

But the view in Rome is that this has not gone far enough and there has been no popular groundswell of support for Dr Brady in Ireland.

My view is that this sort of clear out is absolutely necessary but it cannot be the end of the matter. An official investigation by the Northern Ireland Assembly is likely and this will hopefully lead to widespread reform throughout the province. The Catholic Church cannot be exempt from that and I would hope that whoever ends up heading that institution cooperates fully with such an inquiry and does not indulge in the sort of cover-up that has been typical of the church's reponse in the past.

The Catholic Church cannot hope either that a widespread clear-out of its senior clergy in Northern Ireland brings to an end its own embarrassment over this issue. There are still unanswered questions as to the Pope's involvement in covering up child abuse allegations in the United States when he was a Cardinal.

The BBC reports that these allegations have surfaced in the US to the effect that Pope Benedict failed to take action before his election as pontiff over a serious case at a school for deaf children in the state of Wisconsin.

They say that: Hardly a day goes by without new cases of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests somewhere in the world being reported in the media.

A crisis has broken out for the Catholic Church which for decades swore bishops and Vatican officials who dealt with cases of priestly paedophilia to secrecy.

Fr Lombardi, the official Vatican spokesman who is also director of Vatican Radio and Vatican TV, has been working overtime on what has developed into a major damage-control mission organised by the secretariat of state - the small group of top Vatican officials who advise the Pope on policy matters.

In practically every country paedophilia is punished as a serious crime.

The Catholic Church teaches that it is also a particularly grave sin, in theory subject to extreme sanctions, but the evidence is that priests accused of molesting children were usually moved to another parish rather than being punished or removed from office.

The Vatican department headed by Joseph Ratzinger consistently seemed to listen to the priests rather than to their victims and tried to sweep all details under the carpet.

The rather lame excuse for lack of any action by the Vatican given by Fr Lombardi in the case of Fr Lawrence Murphy is that canon law, as Church law is called, "does not envision automatic penalties".

If the Pope himself cannot rise above this morass due to his own failure to act decisively in a previous role it may be that the only way for this to be resolved satisfactorily is for him to vacate the Holy See. After all, if that is what is required in Ireland why should Rome be any different?
this R.C. church is just full of cooruption. 'Cover up' must be one of the poignant words of the 21st century.
Lets not forget the current R.C. archbishop of Westminster did exactly the same thing before he became archbish, as a mere Bishop he moved a paedophile priest from one parish to another, for this Murphy o'connor was promoted to be Archbishop by the then pope.
One thing they do, move paedophile priests about musical chairs style with the attitude that Church authority is somehow superior to UK law.
What about the victim?

We talk about politicians fiddling expenses and so...they have always done it and got it away, same with R.C. priests, they have always molested children throughout the centuries..it's just the press have managed to present this to the public int he last 10-15 years.
If memory serves me right The Roman Church does not have the monopoly of child molestation? I recall the Church in Wales has had its share, and 2 at least went back to the active ministry!
The Vatican's response that it is all a media smear campaign is not only inadequate but also troubling.
It suggests that they have no serious defence.
Frank, part of it is a smear campaign when a news report chooses not to give the Vatican's side. At least CNN usually has John Allen a seasoned Vaticanologist to comment. Also you have to remember many of these cases are alleged. You still have due process I believe. Also no response to my other comment that this is just not a RC problem.
i am a victim of abuse at the hands of a catholic priest in South Wales in the early 70s.
i kept this a secret from everybody for thirty six years. when i finally approached the Office of the Child Protector at the England and Wales RCC. I was told in no uncertain terms that the priest in question is now dead and i must move on.
after many hours of discussion with my Wife and Children i have decided to take this further if only to find out how far this particular Priest got and if he was mooved rather quickly from my parish because of other incidents and again convieniently covered up.
The RCC has refused to answer these questions.??
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