No bishop, cardinal, or pope, ever went to jail for his part in this massive cover-up of weighty crimes.
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2010 March 30 (2)
A stiff collar worn the wrong way around by a priest is as good as a free ticket to stay out of jail. Read more:
Today, on the 30th of March 2010, I read something about the abuse scandal and I bring something from it here:
The priests who abused and raped the children were individuals, but the decision to cover up their crimes was a greater crime, for it was made by men whose main concern was protecting the reputation of the large organisation they served, the Catholic Church.
A lot of child sexual abuse has been going on in the Catholic Church, and offences of this sort have been coming to the attention of the abusers' superiors on a quite frequent basis for decades. But what did they do about it? They hushed it up. They tried to swear the child victims and their parents to silence, exploiting their loyalty to the Catholic Church. They moved the paedophile priests to other schools or institutions where they generally still came into contact with children, perhaps after some superficial therapy, perhaps not. And they did not report them to the police.
Some of the worst offending priests did go to jail in the end, but that was usually because those cases got beyond the Church's ability to control. And no bishop, cardinal, or pope, ever went to jail for his part in this massive cover-up of weighty crimes.
This is the really shocking fact about this scandal: not the evil actions of some priests, not even the fact that the Church was more concerned to protect those men than their victims, but the sheer contempt for secular law that permeates the entire Catholic hierarchy.
Even Pope Benedict XVI doesn't get it - in fact, he especially doesn't get it. In 2001 he was still known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and serving as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and at that time he sent a letter to Catholic bishops around the world instructing them to report all abuse cases to his office at the Vatican for confidential handling.
This was taken by most bishops as meaning that they should not report abuse cases to the police.
Vatican sources now claim that it is not what Ratzinger really meant by his letter, but they say that now, they did not say it then.
His more recent statements and writings as pope certainly suggest that he still does not understand that bishops and cardinals must obey the laws of the country they live in.
As a head of state, Pope Benedict XVI is now above the law, so he need not fear that a policeman knocks at his door. But there are still many priests who committed terrible crimes but have been protected by the Church. There are many bishops who should face trial for covering up those crimes, but it will not happen. A stiff collar worn the wrong way around by a priest is as good as a free ticket to stay out of jail.
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