Sunday, April 6, 2014

New York Times: Wondering where Pope Francis’ heart lies

Last week the NYT (Clyde Haberman) reported on “The Shame of the Church” accompanied by a video that spotlights clergymen who prey on children. We all know about the predatory priests but what about the bishops who cover their crimes – do they ever get punished? Just like the rest of the perpetrators of child rape and abuse, the bishops don’t start talking until they get caught. The Times example is Cardinal Edward M. Egan, the former Roman Catholic archbishop of New York – he wasn’t the worst one but his mind set is typical of the bishops involved in child abuse scandals.

Egan wasn’t too concerned about priestly abuses in his former Bridgeport, CT diocese and said: “If in hindsight we also discover that mistakes may have been made as regards prompt removal of priests and assistance to victims, I am deeply sorry,” he said in a letter to parishioners. So he was implying that maybe nothing happened and if anything did it was just “mistakes.” Ten years later, after Egan had retired he said, “I never should have said that, I did say if we did anything wrong, I’m sorry, but I don’t think we did anything wrong.”

This stubborn attitude of bishops and all church clergy makes it unlikely that the church will “clean house.” With the pressure on the Vatican escalating it said in January that it had defrocked 384 priests worldwide in 2011 and 2012. This may sound like a step in the right direction but a number of the cases were decades old – there are thousands of more rapist priests still running free.

The Times lists the facts: Thousands of clerics “sexually abused and emotionally scarred many more thousands of boys and girls.” The church hierarchy consists of enablers who ignored the crimes and moved abusers from one unsuspecting parish to the next. The clergy crime monitoring group, calculates that United States dioceses and their insurers have had to pay out more than $3 billion.

The Times is correct in saying that child rape and abuse and cover-up of these crimes are not Catholic monopolies: there are other Christian denominations guilty of crimes against children as are predatory rabbis and non-religious organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America and at Penn State. The difference is that the Catholic Church has been committing these crimes all over the world for 2000 years and has no intention to change – the pope still won’t report child rape by clergy to the police (see previous blog, March 31, 2014). With such a history is another committee to study the “problem” needed or is it just another method of stalling (see blog March 28, 2014).
This is a great video, with an interview of Barbara Blaine (President of SNAP) and Times reporter Laurie Goodman who was shocked at the criminal cover-ups.

Video Link