Thursday, August 16, 2018

Valuable Commentary on Pennsylvania Report: "Spokesperson for the Vatican Reached Wednesday Morning Said It 'Has No Comment'"

Valuable commentary I've read in the past two days about the Pennsylvania grand jury report:

The overarching theme of the report was the "systematic coverup by senior church officials in Pennsylvania and at the Vatican," as evidenced by the church's own records, according to Pennsylvania state Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

"We, the members of this grand jury, need you to hear this," the report began. But there was no sign Wednesday that Pope Francis was listening. He offered no prayer for the victims of his own churchmen who have been suffocated under a veil of complicity & shame for decades…. 
The coverup of this sort of rampant sexual cruelty involving children is by now sadly familiar, as is the strategy of Rome refusing to acknowledge such accusations until far too late. The response to this report, like so many others before it, is also sadly familiar. A spokesperson for the Vatican reached Wednesday morning said it 'has no comment at the moment' before tersely hanging up.

This is a make-or-break moment for Papa Francesco. His papacy rides on it. Jesus once said of people who commit crimes against children that it would be better for them if millstones were tied around their necks and they were thrown into the sea. Works for me, Boss.

What is clear from this report — as well as the previous grand jury reports from Philadelphia in 2005 and 2011 and Altoona-Johnston in 2016 — is that the Catholic church cannot be and never should have been trusted nor expected to root out pedophiles in the midst, let alone punish them appropriately. Mercy was not extended to victims, but to perpetrators. 
Rules, it seems, were for the Catholics who continued to sit in the pews, not the ones who stood at the altars. The former were supposed to refrain from premarital sex, same-sex relationships, abortions and masturbation. The sexual prohibitions of the church did not extend to the clergy raping children, and priests in Pennsylvania even got a pass for paying for abortions for young girls they raped and got pregnant.

[Jason] Berry said the report - coupled with the McCarrick scandal and others - shows the church needs a major overhaul in how it polices itself. He said the church needs a "separation of powers, an independent oversight." 
"Canon law is not equipped for this kind of thing. It's an enormous criminal sexual underground. It's been surfacing like jagged parts of an iceberg for 30 years," Berry said.

(Thanks to Ruth Krall for sharing the link to the YouTube video at the head of the posting.)

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