Thursday, February 6, 2014

Patricia Miller: Vatican Itself Argued That Sexual Abuse of Children Is a Culture-War Issue

Patricia Miller at Religion Dispatches on the Vatican's perfervid response (echoed by centrist media commentators) to the U.N. report:

The Vatican wasted no time in painting the recommendations as a liberal attempt to leverage the sex abuse scandal to force changes in church doctrine, asserting that issues like homosexuality and abortion were "nonnegotiable." Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokesperson for the US Catholic bishops, said, "Those are culture war issues. Sex abuse isn’t a culture war issue—it’s a sin and a crime."
Even Vatican watcher John Allen, writing from his new perch at the Boston Globe, said the report could create a backlash in favor of the Vatican by"“blurring the cause of child protection with the culture wars over sexual mores." 
But the Vatican’s response to the abuse scandal was precisely to claim that sex abuse was a culture war issue. Its own report sought to blame the sexual revolution, chalking it up to sexual licentiousness run amok rather than criminal activity on the part of the abusers and those who shielded them. The real question is whether Cool Pope Francis can recognize that it’s the Vatican’s schizophrenic attitude about sex that needs reform as much as the curia or the Vatican Bank.

The talking point of Sister Mary Ann Walsh, USCCB spokesperson--"Those are culture war issues"--is, of course, the very same talking point John Allen employs in his Boston Globe article.

The photo of Patricia Miller is from her Religion Dispatches profile.

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