Monday, December 13, 2010

Irish Times on Vatican Response to Abuse Situation in Irish Church: Days of Genuflection Are Over

Commenting on the revelation of the wikileaks that many in the Vatican were "offended" when the Irish government asked for Vatican cooperation with the government's attempt to uncover as much information as possible about predator priests in Ireland, Irish Times writes today that "the days of genuflection are over."  The Vatican refused to cooperate with the Irish government, and the Times suggests that it did so because concern to protect the assets of the Catholic church trump concern for those abused by priests:

There is no mistaking the sense that the institutional Church and its bureaucracy are engaged in a long game: that the voices of victims who speak with such pain and eloquence of their awful experiences cannot be sustained indefinitely; and that an organisation that has been in existence for some two millennia can simply close ranks and wait. But if this is the case, to what end? What of the tenets of Christianity? What of protecting the weak? For these are the values that matter: not the pomp or the splendour, not the paraphernalia and the bishops’ palaces. Nor the men who live in them, however well-intentioned some of them may be.
I have felt for quite some now that the "long game" is precisely what the current pastoral leaders of the church have in mind: concede as little as possible when a new media storm breaks out; engage in impression management, changing nothing substantially but making big public gestures of intent to address the issues; and wait until it's all over and people have forgotten about the abuse situation, and then return to business as ususal.
But as the Times notes, for many of us, it's increasingly apparent that that business is not the business of the gospels.  And so the exodus will continue, and the Catholic church will increasingly be (in the developed parts of the world, at least) a shell of itself, dominated by a hard core of true believers for whom what matters above all is equating the words of the pope and catechism with the words of Christ.

When they're not synonymous.

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