Scandal…Yet Again

Scales of Justice with emblem of Holy See, Author Ktr101 (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

Just when the dust appeared to have settled, the Catholic Church sex scandal has expanded to a new venue.  This time the setting is Australia.  The proportions are massive.

A Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has uncovered the widespread abuse of children by religious schools and other institutions [1].  Most of those suspected are Catholic priests and religious brothers.

Tens of thousands of children were impacted.  While the exact number of victims cannot be known, the abuse extended across generations.

The Commission’s official report reads, in part:

“It is not a case of a few rotten apples.  Society’s major institutions have seriously failed.  In many cases those failings have been exacerbated by a manifestly inadequate response to the abused person.  The problems have been so widespread, and the nature of the abuse so heinous, that it is difficult to comprehend.”

More than 4400 victims have come forward and more than 4000 institutions been implicated.  In numerous cases, the commission found those in leadership were aware of the abuse, but failed to take effective action.

Senior Counsel, Gail Furness, informed the Commission:

“Children were ignored or, worse, punished.  Allegations were not investigated.  Priests and religious [figures] were moved.  The parishes or communities to which they were moved knew nothing of their past.  Documents were not kept or they were destroyed [2].”

Accusations of cover-up have long been directed at Australia’s Cardinal George Pell, who earlier this year became the highest ranking Vatican official criminally charged with sexual offenses [3].  The charges against Pell relate to his mishandling of misconduct cases against clergy while head of the Archdioceses of Melbourne and Sydney.

The Australian Catholic Church has, thus far, paid $276 million to victims [4].

[1]  New York Times, World, Australia, “Australia ‘Failed’ Abused Children for Decades, Royal Commission Finds” by Jacqueline Williams, 12/14/17, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/14/world/australia/australia-sexual-abuse-children.html?partner=msft_msn.

[2]  Al Jazeera, “ ‘Shocking’ scale of Catholic Church sex crimes revealed”, 2/6/17,  http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/02/scale-catholic-church-sex-crimes-revealed-170206135244774.html.

[3]  New York Times, World, Australia, “Australian Cardinal and Aide to Pope Is Charged with Sexual Assault” by Jacqueline Williams, 6/28/17,  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/28/world/australia/cardinal-george-pell-charged-sexual-abuse.html.

[4]  The Guardian, “Australian Catholic church has paid $276m to abuse victims so far, inquiry shows” by Australian Associated Press, 2/15/17, https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/feb/16/australian-catholic-church-has-paid-276m-to-abuse-victims-so-far-inquiry-shows.

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18 Comments

Filed under Abuse of Power, Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Christianity, Community, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Law, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse

18 responses to “Scandal…Yet Again

  1. What an atrocity, a total tragedy.

  2. I am Catholic, yet fail to see why the priests are forbidden to date and marry. This rule/tradition was created by men, not God, Jesus or in the Bible.

    • I agree. So did the Royal Commission which recommended abolishment of the vow of celibacy. There seems to have been the rationalization among priests that sex with children was not “really” a violation of that vow. Pedophilia is not, however, confined to Catholic priests. Nor is it confined to those who are celibate…or even single. Pedophiles may be married. That does nothing to prevent their abuse of children, not infrequently their own. Clearly, part of the draw is the power differential between an adult and child.

  3. I would urge everyone who reads Anna’s post to also read the linked articles she has included. There you will get a better idea of the magnitude of these crimes against defenseless children.

    There can be no doubt that these crimes were known by church leadership at the highest levels, leadership that is now repentant only because they have been exposed for the servants of Satan that they are. The 1800+ priests and religious leaders guilty of this atrocity should be forever banned from being permitted to hold a position of trust. Most certainly they should never be permitted access to children.

    Quite honestly, they should all be thrown in a prison for sex offenders and child molesters and never let out. If that sounds harsh, tell that to the over 4400 children whose lives have been devastated at the hands of their abusers.

    • That does not sound harsh to me, Ron. Personally, I would favor castration.

      Imprisonment is the penalty that would be imposed on non-clergy. Why should clergy be exempt? If anything, clergy should be held to a higher moral standard. Clergy hold positions with a fiduciary obligation of care toward their congregation. In fact, the pedophile priests committed a double violation. Not only were these children raped and otherwise abused. Their faith in God was undermined by the very men who should have encouraged and nurtured it.

      What the Catholic Church hierarchy did was sacrifice these children for the sake of preserving a false facade of “holiness” on the part of an institution riddled with corruption. It was the utmost in crass hypocrisy. In legal terms, there was a conspiracy in furtherance of criminal activity. That should qualify for RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) charges, in my view.

      Of course, these men should have been removed from positions of trust and any dealings with children. Scripture is clear about this:

      A bishop then must be blameless…temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior…” (1 Tim. 3: 2)
      So I exhort the elders among you…shepherd the flock of God…exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain…not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5: 1-3).
      If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God…Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire…which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience…” (Colossians 3: 1, 5-6).
      ‘Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!’ declares the Lord” (Jer. 23: 1).

      The explanation often given for abandonment of these guidelines is that the sins of these men were “forgiven”. They, therefore, “deserved” to be restored to positions of trust. This reasoning is faulty in so many respects I barely know where to begin.

      1. These men were not truly repentant. They, therefore, did not qualify for forgiveness.
      2. These men did nothing to make or attempt to make their victims whole or even acknowledge the extent of the wrongs done. Another reason they did not qualify for forgiveness.
      3. The motives of church hierarchy were tainted, undermining any authority to extend forgiveness. At best, the reasoning was that the ends justify the means…that “it is expedient…one man should die for the people, and not…the whole nation…perish” (John 11: 50). That was the indictment against the Pharisees for the crucifixion of Christ.
      4. The criminal activity should have been reported. That sins are forgiven in a spiritual sense does not imply they have no earthly consequently. The failure to report was a separate illegality and a separate sin, for that matter.
      5. These violations were so heinous they disqualified these men from service permanently. That sin is forgiven does not mean trust is automatically restored. There is no entitlement to trust. That has to be earned, if at all. Here, it obviously was not.
      6. The cover-up created additional opportunities for abuse. Any reasonable individual could have foreseen that it would. Church hierarchy knew this, yet it ran the risk, or rather required that innocent children run it. Pedophile priests were transferred again and again, without warning to the parishes on which they were foisted.

      It boggles the mind. As you say, a conspiracy of Satanic proportions.

  4. God knows and sees all.. I saw a documentary of Vatican secrets.. they have paid a fortune for their acts.. and they keep the records locked away..
    I believe they do not rightly divide Scripture.. and should allow nuns and priests to marry and serve God.. but possibly it would not prevent their molesting..

  5. In this country, I see two nails in the lid of the coffin concerning society’s attitude toward Christianity: the televangelist scandals and the pedophile priest scandals. Sadly, this has generated outright hostility toward Christians, Ironically, this was clearly unchristian behavior.

  6. This is just horrific. Satan must be beside himself over this. The whole world thinks this is Christianity, but it is not. Robert said that up the thread a bit. I get the priest sexual abuse scandals waved at me almost every time I interact with an atheist. This will not help matters at all

  7. Thank you for great sharing dear Anna
    I’m back now
    Merry Christmas
    Kisses

  8. How wonderful! Have a very Merry Christmas! Hugs and Kisses, Anna ❤

  9. This is just so very, very horrific…and, what makes it worse is that so many of us are unaware of these atrocities…thank you for bringing it to our attention, Anna…all the prayers and action that can be brought to bear needs to be unleashed on this ongoing epidemic! Thank you for being a beacon on light, and at this special time, I wish you all the best of the sacred season….Merry Christmas, my friend ❤

    • I am deeply grateful for people like you who care about this difficult topic, Truly. It is so much easier to turn away, to put abuse out of mind. After all, the problem is enormous. Better to leave it for the professionals, people can tell themselves.

      Of course, the problem of abuse is the problem of evil, itself. How do we change human behavior? How do we prevent what is so heinous most of us have difficulty even grasping it?

      Jesus Christ — whose birthday inspired this manic Christmas season — came to earth for the very reason that human nature is flawed; that sin will not simply fade away by itself; that we have not evolved past it and never will. We cannot manage to save ourselves. Thankfully, He did that for us.

      Merry Christmas to you, my friend! May the New Year be healthy, peaceful, and happy. And may God give us strength for the fight. ❤

      • Your faith is the mountain-moving kind, and you are such a source of strength and hope. And, I agree….we are lost without God, and I am beyond grateful for His love and compassion. That will be my focus tomorrow as I spend a peaceful, quiet Christmas with my sweet dogs. Merry Christmas and best wishes in the new year to you, as well…I’m sending you love and light and a huge hug. 🙂

      • You are immensely kind, Truly. “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace” (Num. 6: 24-26).

        Love,

        Anna ❤
        xxooxx

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