I'm sure many readers have read my articles about the clergy sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church - if not, you can click on that link, or they're listed in the sidebar. I'm more saddened than I have words to say to see that the problems seem to be continuing. The Irish government has just criticized the Church for its attitude and conduct.
Catholic Bishops flouted Irish law and were encouraged by the Vatican not to tell police about suspected paedophile priests, it has been claimed.
The astonishing accusations were made by Ireland's lawmakers in an unprecedented denunciation of the Holy See's influence in the predominantly Catholic country.
A motion accusing the Vatican of sabotaging the Irish bishops' 1996 decision to begin reporting suspected cases of child abuse to police was unanimously backed by the government and all opposition parties.
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny denounced what he called 'the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism - and the narcissism - that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day.'
He told lawmakers: 'This is not Rome. This is the Republic of Ireland 2011, a republic of laws.'
Kenny added that the church's leaders had repeatedly sought to defend their institutions at the expense of children and to 'parse and analyse' every revelation of church cover-up of crimes 'with the gimlet eye of a canon lawyer.'
. . .
Kenny also said the church's secretive canon laws had no place in Ireland and added that he expected the Vatican from now on to state explicitly it would expect all suspected cases of child abuse to be reported to the police immediately.
Tensions have flared this month between Ireland and the Vatican over the latter's refusal to cooperate with a decade of government-ordered investigations into the church's chronic concealment of child abuse by its employees.
The latest report, published last week, pointed an official finger of blame at the Vatican.
A confidential 1997 Vatican letter instructed Irish bishops to handle child-abuse cases strictly under terms of canon law.
It warned bishops that their 1996 child-protection policy, particularly its emphasis on the need to start reporting all suspected crimes to police, violated canon law.
Last week's report highlighted the Vatican letter's contents and concluded that they encouraged Irish bishops to maintain secrecy and ignore the new crime-reporting rules.
The judge-led investigation documented how one diocese in County Cork run by Bishop John Magee, a former private secretary to three popes, suppressed evidence of child rape and molestation as recently as 2009.
There's more at the link.
I truly hate to have to say this: but given the enormity of the crimes committed by individuals using the Catholic Church as a vehicle and a cloak for their perversion, it's absolutely beyond my understanding how the Vatican could try to use canon law as a way of covering up the scale of the scandal. It demonstrates a lack of appreciation of the true nature and extent of the problem, and a 'protect-the-Church-at-all-costs' attitude and approach, that defies belief.
As readers of my previous articles on the subject will already know, that's why I'm no longer a minister of the Catholic Church. I couldn't reconcile such attitudes with my conscience. Tragically, I've seen and heard nothing to make me reconsider that position - and it really is a tragedy. There's no other word for it. This is merely the latest episode in an ongoing exposition of how deeply the rot has spread. It has not yet been excised.