This weeks’ latest Vatican guidelines on child sexual abuse continue efforts over recent years to appear as if things have changed, while actually doing everything possible to avoid being forced to take effective action.
The Vatican love to pretend they are doing the right thing in dealing with this issue, but efforts such as this latest PR stunt demonstrate they really have no intention of ending the appalling policy of putting the universal good of the church and the reputations of powerful church figures above all other considerations, including child safety.
How many tries will it take before they get it right?
Despite any PR beat up by compliant media, there is absolutely nothing new in the latest distraction from the Church’s horrific track record in this area, sorry, guidelines. There is plenty of wiggle room so the Vatican can continue to enable and cover up the widespread rape of children, a current example of which which was clearly and shockingly detailed in the most recent Philadelphia grand jury report.
There are still no universal, binding church policies mandating that:
- bishops report all child sex abuse suspicions to law enforcement
- bishops suspend all credibly accused child molesting clerics immediately while investigations are launched
- all files relating to child sex crimes be made available to law enforcement
- church employees who ignore or conceal abuse face harsh consequences
- the names of proven, admitted and credibly accused predator priests and other religious be posted online so new children are not exposed to danger
- all victims receive at the very least an appropriate level of counselling, medical attention, surgery and other services to try to repair the devastating mental and physical damage inflicted upon them
- victims be treated with respect, consideration and sensitivity, and their needs, and those of innocent children in danger of being targeted by sexual predators, are put before all other priorities.
There is no question of not knowing about the problem.
There is no lack of expert advice on how to properly deal with it.
Their attention has been clearly focussed on this issue by media coverage.
And still they are unable to put the interests of victims and child protection above Bishop reputation protection, Church wealth protection, middle class Catholics feeling good about themselves protection, and rapist priest protection.
Now either the guys making up this nonsense parading as guidelines are some of the dumbest people on the face of the earth, since they haven’t yet understood how to deal compassionately, humanely, morally, or even legally, with the child rape tsunami they created, or else they are some of the most evil.
I’m unsure what these guidelines were even pretending to achieve, but the only impression they leave on me is one of trying to appear as if the Vatican does not avoid facing legal responsibility for serious crimes, while reserving the right to do just that.
And every time the Vatican pulls a cynical stunt like this it just makes it easier for self absorbed catholics to turn their backs on victims with the smug assurance that “everything possible is being done”.
Every time the Vatican raises the hopes of victims and their supporters that the Church will finally stop punishing victims for the crimes of the church, and rewarding the criminals and those who protect them from the consequences of their crimes, then dash those hopes with more callous lies, they add to the already immense burden of suffering that victims must bear.
Law makers and politicians cannot continue to blindly trust the Vatican to act in the best interests of anyone but itself . Clearly it is incapable of doing so.
It is vital that the Vatican’s privileged ability to operate above the law and in secrecy be removed.
The catholic church, and all other religions, need to be subject to more stringent laws in the area of child protection than other organisations, not less. And those laws need to be enforced. Or religions will continue to sacrifice innocent children to protect their own reputation and wealth.