Pope’s Irish letter deepens bitterness

22/3/10; (3 Items)

The Pope’s unprecedented letter to Ireland apologising for child abuse in the Catholic Church has failed to pacify victims, who accused the Vatican of promoting a culture of cover-up. Benedict XVI’s message – the product of weeks of consultation with Irish bishops, who read it aloud at masses last night – rebuked Irish church leaders for “grave errors of judgment” in failing to observe the church’s secretive canon laws. Rights campaigners said more victims in other nations would come forward with new fronts of criticism, because the Pope’s promotion of canon laws was at the heart of an unsolved problem. “We know this policy of secrecy was worldwide. The more that victims speak out, the more the scandals will spread,” said Marie Collins, who at the age of 13 in 1960 was repeatedly raped by a Dublin priest.

See: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/popes-irish-letter-deepens-bitterness/story-e6frg6so-1225843461302; In the name of the Holy Father; John Follain & Bojan Panevski; 22/3/10; See: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/in-the-name-of-the-holy-father/story-e6frg6z6-1225843473579; Irish sex abuse victims reject Pope’s apology; 22/3/10; http://www.theage.com.au/world/irish-sex-abuse-victims-reject-popes-apology-20100321-qo0v.html

Church has lost moral authority
Madeline Bunting; 22/3/10
There is only one conceivable reaction to the fast-spreading crisis in the Catholic Church: horror. After decades of obfuscation, the church has to be called to account for what has happened. Since abuse allegations first emerged in the early ’90s in Britain and Ireland — and later that decade in Australia — the denials, both those of officials and those which ordinary Catholics told themselves, have shifted several times. Initially, the church authorities declared it was just a few bad apples, but last year the Ryan report exposed decades of systematic abuse of thousands of children in Ireland. Another line of defence was that it was a particular Anglophone problem with roots in Ireland’s excessively deferential Catholic culture, which had then been exported to the US and Australia. Now this explanation is falling apart as abuse allegations emerge across Europe in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Italy. Last year, scandal erupted when stories in Spain and Mexico alleged that Marcial Maciel, the Mexican founder of a religious order, the Legion of Christ, and much favoured by Pope John Paul II, was found to have fathered several children. After allegations of child abuse, the entire order — with institutions in several Latin American countries — is under investigation by the Vatican.
See: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/church-has-lost-moral-authority-20100321-qo2m.html;

Pope should call police
22/3/10; http://blogs.theaustralian.news.com.au/letters/index.php/ theaustralian/comments/pope_should_call_police/
– The first step the Pope needs to take to make progress in this whole awful mess (“Church still in state of denial over pedophile scandals”, 20-21/3) is to instruct Catholic clergy that all complaints are to be handled by the police, no matter in which country they occur. Churches have no right to be a law unto themselves and have shown themselves too often to be unworthy of trust. Will the Pope have the courage to take this step? I doubt it. Robert James, Chapel Hill, Qld
– I’m so sorry that Michael Searle (Letters, 19/3) is growing weary of attacks on the Catholic Church as a result of pedophile priests. Perhaps as weary as I am of his church’s disgraceful and unforgivable history of denial, cover up, obfuscation and concealment. No, Michael, the victims here are those who have been abused throughout the years, not those who have been sheltered by the church. Your misguided focus on the non-offending majority ignores the wider issue of the church itself tacitly supporting and protecting the offending minority. To this end the church is deserving of our utmost contempt. Trent Cox, Dulwich, SA