If the Pope were really progressive, he'd speak about child rape


Feb. 10 2014

The Catholic Church probably thought the stormiest waters were behind. With a charismatic, groovy Pope at the helm, the church has been sailing an unexpectedly friendly sea. As if, perhaps, everyone had forgotten that thing. You know, that thing: The tens of thousands of children broken by abuse suffered at the hands of clergy. The priests left unpunished. The official silence.

And then, suddenly, a bolt from the sky, which religious types might imbue with a certain significance. Or you could see it as a glimpse of justice arriving far too late. A blistering report issued last week by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child noted, “The Holy See has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted practices and policies which have led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators.”

The language in the report is surprisingly blunt and fierce, as it should be. Victims, who suffered a double torment – abuse of their bodies by people who were meant to look after their souls – deserve a public reckoning at the very least, and ideally justice in a court setting. For too long the church has pretended this is an internal issue, a matter of ethics and doctrine and not of criminal justice, to be swept under a medieval carpet and never spoken of again. The UN committee notes that it took 14 years for Vatican representatives to answer its request to come and offer testimony.

A “code of silence” imposed on clergy has meant that transgressors were rarely brought to court, the report alleges. Astonishingly, it seems some of those priests still have contact with children.

The church, even at the high levels, has often refused to co-operate with judicial authorities. The committee calls for the church to share its vast wealth of data about the abuse scandals with law officials, and for a long-delayed action: “Immediately remove all known and suspected child sexual abusers from assignment and refer the matter to the relevant law enforcement authorities.”

Read more here. 

Showing 1 comment

  • Lani Halter
    commented 2014-02-11 11:46:20 -0600
    Because of reading Ms. Renzetti’s article, I became aware that I now believe we (those people who want the rape of children and disabled adults by catholic priests and laity stopped) need some new words, and/or concepts in our arsenal of rhetoric, for our battle with the catholic pope and church.

    First, I noticed that I myself could possibly be referred to as a “lapsed catholic” by others, when in fact as of today, I noticed I no longer would ascribe that adjective to myself. In the past, I think I believed the description applied to catholics who mostly, no longer felt compelled to publicly and weekly and financially acknowledge their catholic faith. Maybe, they were just bored or no longer believed in the catholic religion, etc.

    Ms. Renzetti described groups of lapsed catholics that she thinks many of whom
    ponder this new pope, “smile sheepishly. (And think,) Maybe he’s the one who can put things right, they say.” I don’t.

    I look at him, read about him and experience the “heebie jeebies”, and wince whenever I see him so much as touch another disabled person or child, or see a child allowed to cling to and grab onto his leg during mass, as one little boy did. I shudder, and feel this way because I know, that he knows about all of the problems of catholic pedophiles and rapists, and has DONE NOTHING, to stop it. (Actions such as establishing “study groups”, notwithstanding.) He is evasive, himself.

    I don’t agree with many catholics, lapsed or not, that if the pope and church were truly repentant about rape of catholic children and disabled adults, they would be forgiven.

    This pope has not yet uttered the words of Christ written in the very bible that the c. church subscribes to, wherein Christ tells the peoples of the world, for all eternity, that these pedophiles; pedophiles who stalk their prey within the church while hiding their perversion by becoming part of the priesthood, catholic laity or catholic church hierarchy, should be drown.

    I believe most “modern day” christians think that there is no instance wherein a sentence of death, is actually suggested and upheld by Christ, and thus, any christian church. I think there now needs to be made a distinction between what is in fact, the “old thinking (of these last 100 years)” about forgiveness and “treatment” and punishment-sentencing of convicted priest and catholic laity, pedophiles.

    Having refreshed my memory with the New Testament writings of Christ’s words on the subject, in the books of Matthew, Mark and Luke. I personally, no longer believe that even if they were to present themselves as now being “repentant”, that any of these particular predators and criminals could consider themselves “forgiven”, by ANYONE. Not forgiven by their victims, nor by the catholic church or pope, not “forgiven” by the legal systems of countries of the world, nor in fact, by God, and the Holy Trinity, himself.

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