Friday, October 2, 2009

Recividism (or, 'persiste et signe')

In April 2008 His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, 'Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman province, Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City, Servant of the Servants of God' visited the United States. His first attempt at apologizing for the 'clergy abuse of children' scandal was weak and hedged (see 'Well Said?!?') with excuses. It was rightly panned by many...

Not long after this a documentary on a particular pedophile Catholic priest documented that Benedict had known ('HH Tekel') re his activities for years....

On a visit to Australia the Pope's second, follow-up attempt at an apology was significantly better (see 'Better the second time around'), and it was universally felt that this possibly was the beginning of the healing process related to this blight on the Catholic church...

Fast forward to the present. In response to criticisms of its covering up of child abuse by a representative of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, the Holy See released a statement in its defense (sort of). "Sex abuse rife in other religions, says Vatican" reports the response.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's permanent observer to the UN, defended the Catholic Church's record. He read out a statement saying that the Catholic Church is "busy cleaning its own house." He suggested that the issue of clerical sex abuse of minors is as big (if not bigger) an issue in other denominations, and that allegations had also being leveled against Protestants, and against Jewish congregations. He emphasized the (artificial? ) distinction that most of the abusers were not pedophiles but were ephebophiles (i.e. homosexuals attracted to adolescent males), "Of all priests involved in the abuses, 80 to 90% belong to this sexual orientation minority which is sexually engaged with adolescent boys between the ages of 11 and 17. He ended, "As the Catholic church has been busy cleaning its own house, it would be good if other institutions and authorities, where the major part of abuses are reported, could do the same and inform the media about it."

Wow, as one might say today, epic fail!

1 comment:

  1. On 22 September, speaking in the plenary of the UN Human Rights Council, the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), representing more that 100 humanist, secular and free-thought organisations in over 40 countries, criticised the Holy See over its role in covering up the scale of child abuse by its priests and religious orders, and for failing to honour its obligations under international law. The statement was based on a longer written statement submitted to the Council in August and published by the UN on 8 September (http://www.iheu.org/un-publishes-iheu-statement-child-abuse-and- holy-see).

    The IHEU statement addressed specifically the role of the Holy See - which claims responsibility for the Catholic Church worldwide - in attempting to cover up the extent of child abuse perpetrated by its priests and religious orders. In exercising their right of reply to this criticism the representative of the Holy See ignored the main criticism contained in our statement.

    The reply made on behalf of the Papal Nuncio Archbishop Thomasi argued that the Catholic Church was not unique in having clergy who sexually abused children and young people, but it made no mention of the physical and mental abuse meted out for generations to children under the care of its religious orders. No doubt there are abusers in all walks of life, but our point was not the abuse itself but the cover up in which some of the highest officials of the Church were implicated.

    The Holy See is a sovereign state and its senior clergy, safely ensconced in the Vatican out of reach of civil law, are answerable to no earthly power other than themselves - and to the few international treaties to which they are party. One such is the International Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and, as shown in the IHEU report, the Holy See is in massive breach of its obligations under that convention.

    Commenting on the Holy See’s response, IHEU Main Representative in Geneva, Roy Brown, said: “By failing to address this issue while seeking to point the finger of blame elsewhere, the Holy See’ has scored a spectacular own goal. One senior UN official described their reply as ‘a disgrace’. We agree.”

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