Wednesday, July 20, 2011

More troubles for the Catholic Church

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.



Wraith said...

After 40 years of atheism, I have recently become a Christian.

However, I don't see myself ever becoming a Catholic, for precisely this reason. There's simply too much bad fruit generated by the Catholic Church.

I know a few Catholics whom I love and respect, but until and unless there's a major reformation, I can only see the Catholic Church itself as miserably and hopelessly corrupt. May God have mercy on their souls.

Peter, I can't begin to imagine how this must tear you up inside. Here's to you for standing by your concience.

Anonymous said...

It's more than plain old Catholicism.

It's Irish Catholicism.

The Irish State has always put the Catholic Church ahead of their government.

Schools, hospitals, the justice system (including the police) and other public service offices have been run by adhering to the Catholic canon laws and ignoring or cleverly by-passing Irish laws.

The majority of the people of the catholic faith in Ireland are "sheeple". They don't question or challenge Catholic doctrine.

The Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny shocked the Irish public in his recent statements. I believe he's trying to cover the past "sins" of his political party (Fine Gael).

Yes, the church is a corrupt self-serving organization, but the catalyst in the child abuse scandal are the Irish Catholics themselves for they have been like the "Three monkeys" for far too long: See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.

And their children bore the consequences.

Gregory said...


I'm a regular reader and for the most part I love your postings, but this one I do not agree with.

As Fr. Barron says in the video,
"Your taking the easy way out"

Fr. Barron comments on The Prophet Ezekiel and the Sex Abuse Crisis

Peter said...

Gregory, I'm aware of Fr. Barron's views, and those of others like him. I can only refer you to the two questions I had to ask myself about the situation, as discussed in Part 2 of my four-part series about the crisis. When I could not answer either question positively, I knew that, in conscience, I could not stay. Others are, of course, free to differ, based on how they would answer those questions.

Peter said...

@Gregory: I listened to the video by Fr. Barron at the link you posted in your comment. It's a good sermon in its way, but it also illustrates one of the problems I highlighted in my articles on the scandal.

Notice how many times Fr. Barron mentions 'the Church'. Then notice how many times he mentions the name of Jesus Christ. What leaps out at you?

That's right. He uses the term 'the Church' instead of 'Jesus Christ' much of the time. In other words, he's identifying the Church as the 'Body of Christ' with its Head, Jesus Christ Himself. I'm afraid that's simply not valid. If it were valid, you could legitimately say that Christ was just as responsible as the Church for the scandal - which is clearly a monstrous untruth. Since you can't say that, equally, you can't identify the Church with Christ in the way so many Catholics do. It's one of the major flaws in the way in which the Church and her ministers express themselves.

Our faith must be in Christ, not in His Church. We are saved by the Cross of Christ, not the cross on which His Church has crucified herself at the moment. It is Christ who will sit in judgment over us - not His Church. We need to ensure that the distinction between Christ and His Church is made clear. It's partly because that distinction became blurred that this evil arose in the first place; because misplaced loyalty sought to protect the Church, and regarded attacks on it as being attacks on Christ. They're not the same thing at all.

Anonymous said...

That is an interesting thought. I grew up with an independent non-denominational church. I cannot quite imagine thinking my church and Christ were at all equal. That makes little sense to me as any church is only as good at the pastor leading it. That seems like a serious case of arrogance to me.

The idea that child abuse would be tolerated by anyone is always just crazy to me.