Vatican tells bishops to report abuse cases to police

Just posted this over at LP, but I’d like to have this discussion here as well.

The Guardian: Vatican issues detailed instructions to all bishops after criticism of Catholic church’s handling of paedophile priests

Yep. Not actually that hard to do, in the end. So why did it take so long?

Categories: ethics & philosophy, religion

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8 replies

  1. They’ll get no congratulations from me for this announcement. It should have been done ages ago, and that it’s being done now – after every other method* to defuse or silence criticism has failed – shows clearly that it’s another ass-covering, unmotivated by any compassion for the victims.
    And of course they couldn’t resist another attack on LGBT’s at the same time: ”‘Many psychologists and psychiatrists have shown that there is no link between celibacy and pedophilia but many others have shown, I have recently been told, that there is a relationship between homosexuality and paedophilia,’ he told a news conference in Santiago.” And likewise, were happy to disappear female victims to do it.
    * Including blaming the Jews.

  2. No oh wows from me either. I bet it’s an awkward attempt at repairing the Vatican’s reputation.

  3. I’m with SunlessNick on this. Especially considering that cardinal’s “It’s not science, but it’s a FACT! (TM)”-style gay-blaming.
    And I suppose that doing something that seems positive will always take a long time, if you take the scenic route (via every possible method of attempting to weasel your way out of accepting responsibility). But perhaps it took so long simply because the abuse wasn’t so publicly condemned (or known) before now, and so it wasn’t affecting the Church.
    They seem to allude to this in those guidelines, actually – “The CDF also brings to the Holy Father requests by accused priests who, cognizant of their crimes, ask to be dispensed from the obligation of the priesthood and want to return to the lay state. The Holy Father grants these requests for the good of the Church (“pro bono Ecclesiae”).”
    Not for the good of society in general. For the good of the Church.

  4. Although, even if the police do hear about it, then what? It’s not like they’re actually interested in investigating sex crimes.

    • They’re probably more interested in investigating non-familial child abuse than any other form of sex crime. Pointing fingers at the stranger danger is always seen as more palatable, isn’t it?

  5. I guess you’re right, but even then there’s the whole issue of getting everything to court, and the justice system does not fill me with confidence. If some priests do end up going to jail, it still resembles draining an ocean with a bucket.
    Plus, I foresee a whole new round of victim blaming: “well, what did you expect, being alone with a priest?”

  6. Also, in the Ireland cases, there is evidence that the police colluded with the Church in covering it up.

  7. The widespread child abuse and subsequent appalling cover-ups and blame shifting will necessarily bring focus on issues that are long overdue for change in the Catholic Church.
    Forced celibacy being an obvious one.
    I doubt that it is celibacy that makes a person commit sexual abuse or pedophilia, but rather that the rule of enforced celibacy attracts an inordinate number of people with sexual urges, for want of a better word, that are disturbing and/or unacceptable in the hope that it will prevent them from ‘acting out’ their sexual fantasies. Might it not be seen as a way out of dealing with and confronting these?
    Especially, when time and time again, the Church, and therefore her adherents, equates any sexuality that is not heterosexuality as of equal abomination. Hence the Pedophilia-homosexuality link.
    So, from the above premise, I wonder if the manner in which priests who were known to be involved in pedophilia were dealt with was coloured by the feeling: but for the grace of God, there go I. If worry for the reputation of the Church was indeed as big as it is made out to be, I would have thought that these priests would have been cut off from the Church, excommunicated and thrown to the wolves ruthlessly. That seems a more logical way to ‘protect the Church’.
    That’s why I think it has taken so long for the Church to involve outside authorities. Public and transparent dealing with sexual abuse cases would surely result in uncomfortable personal reflection on personal unresolved sexual issues.

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