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Saturday, April 03, 2010

A failure of perspective

The website Outside Edges is absolutely right in suggesting that anything I should say or think about the Pope's previous lack of action to deal with child abusers in the Catholic Church will have no impact whatsoever on future church policy. However that does not prevent me noting that the Catholic Church continues to do itself no favours on this issue.

Indeed, it seems that the Vatican has little or no idea of the level of public outrage this affair has generated nor the extent to which they themselves are caught up in the controversy. A further sign of this crass indifference came yesterday when the Pope's personal preacher compared criticism of the Catholic hierarchy over cleric sex abuse with persecution of the Jews.
Apart from the sheer insensitivity of the comparison the Vatican would also do well to remember that there are strong views about their attitude to the holocaust during the Second World War that makes the statement even more inappropriate.

What is needed now is not more self-denial but a clear statement acknowledging in detail how decades of turning a blind eye allowed this child abuse to continue unpunished and the removal from office of those who participated in that cover-up.
Earlier, there was the less provocative but equally obtuse reference to a "smear campaign". The present pope apparently can claim some credit for reopening the investigation into Fr. Murphy, but the record of the Vatican as a body, in suppressing reports of abuse and failing to unfrock or even discipline offending priests, is appalling.
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