The Vatican’s Pathetic Excuses

On Thursday in Geneva, a United Nations panel held a remarkable hearing about the global problem of child rape by priests and questioned representatives from the Vatican about it. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that the Vatican offered an astonishingly hypocritical response to those questions:

The Vatican insisted it had little jurisdiction to sanction pedophile priests.

“Priests are not functionaries of the Vatican,” Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s U.N. ambassador in Geneva, told the committee. “Priests are citizens of their own states, and they fall under the jurisdiction of their own country.”

Victims groups called the defense hollow, given how Vatican officials instructed bishops for decades to not turn abusive priests in to police, but to keep the cases in-house and confidential.

“When they say that these crimes should be prosecuted by states, it seems so disingenuous because we know that the church officials at the state level obstruct those efforts to bring justice,” said Barbara Blaine, president of the main U.S. victims group, SNAP.

Seriously, this takes some serious chutzpah. The Catholic Church, at the command of the last pope when he was a cardinal, for decades refused to cooperate with local law enforcement around the country. They hid those crimes from local police and now they say “hey, this is a matter for the local police, it’s not our fault.” It’s really hard to imagine a more dishonest or repulsive response.

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  • matty1

    Psst Frankie, while your reforming stuff this is something that really needs sorting out.

  • dingojack

    “chutzipah” relies on people actually believing it. ‘Sadly’ for the Vatican that’s becoming more and more a mere fantasy.


  • Pierce R. Butler

    It’s really hard to imagine a more dishonest or repulsive response.

    We don’t have to. Several bishops have already done that bit of heavy lifting, by blaming those seductive and scheming little brats that lured innocent priests out of their holy celibacy!

  • rabbitscribe

    Remember, “But all these offenders came of age during or after the 1960’s! The Sexual Revolution so warped their minds they couldn’t help themselves! If anything, the priests are the victims here, and feminists and progressives are to be blamed for the child rapes!”

  • karmacat

    So according to the Vatican they are so pathetically powerless that they can’t do anything about their employees. Logically, if you can’t get to the priests you go after the “middle management” of the bishops, etc. So, my question to them is if you are so powerless, then why don’t you let others take over the Vatican. These Vatican men are disgusting

  • kevinalexander

    It’s strange that, where others pray to Jesus and he tells them to ‘administer to the suffering of the world’ the Vatican hears ‘administer suffering- to -the world’.

  • grumpyoldfart

    It’s really hard to imagine a more dishonest or repulsive response.

    But hundreds of millions of Catholics around the world have probably already accepted that dishonest and repulsive response and are now feeling a bit miffed that some people still want to talk about the subject.

  • Trebuchet

    The Vatican supposedly fired several hundred molesting priests last year. That must have been based on some sort of evidence. How much of that evidence do you suppose they turned over to the cops? If you say “none”, you’ve probably got it right.

  • Synfandel

    “Pope Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests in just two years, for molesting children, according to a document obtained by the Associated Press.”

    And of these 400, how many are now up on criminal charges or serving time in prison? Yeah, I thought so.

  • The claim I heard was that they couldn’t report all allegations in all countries. In some countries (Islamic regimes, for example) they were worries that allegations would not be investigated fairly, and false results would be used to damage the Church. I suppose there’s a grain of truth there.

    Of course, that holds no water whatsoever in, say, Europe or the Americas. I never saw why they couldn’t issue an edict to cooperate with law enforcement when it wouldn’t threaten parishioners or the Church.

  • eric

    “Priests are citizens of their own states, and they fall under the jurisdiction of their own country.”

    Great to hear it! So your priest-run hospitals will now be providing state-legal abortions, yes?

  • Michael Heath

    Rather than quitting, I’ve long concluded it’s more laudable for individuals within sanctioned institutions, that are demonstrably immoral if not evil, to openly and energetically strive for reform of such institutions. That’s if those institutions aren’t going to die off quickly, e.g., the Roman Catholic Church, Islam, the GOP, the Mormon church, and theologically conservative Christian denominations.

    However this conclusion of mine is becoming increasingly tentative given the new pope reaffirming the Catholic church’s bigotry towards women along with gay people and their families. It’s a great case study to test the validity of this position.

    If this pope’s able to move a significant portion of the church back to championing social justice issues as he strives to do now, perhaps his performance will validate my position. Especially if it is a key ingredient at increasing median discretionary income and economic growth rates (by reducing income inequality). However even if this pope is successful, the RCC has long known its future lies in increasing members amongst the ignorant poor in undeveloped or developing nations. The more the church’s base is the poor, the easier it is to develop authoritarians amongst their congregants that will more effectively submit to the hierarchy of the church’s current power structure. A hierarchy that is demonstrably evil and effectively run as a criminal enterprise.

    So while Andrew Sullivan* and other Catholics are getting woodies for Francis, I’m increasingly of the mindset that Francis’ cause is one of convenience rather than fundamental reform. It just happens to go contra what the U.S. Republican party now advocates when it comes to welfare and immigration policies. But in the long run if he’s successful, the church might continue to flourish while continuing its current discriminatory policies.

    A far more heroic narrative would have a pope working for reform in a way that will eradicate the evil of the Catholic institution and make is a place for good. And if at some point that pope failed, he publically quit being a Catholic. While I highly doubt Francis will do this, I think the church has elected the type that would. Enough of these types and one might given the increasingly difficult the church has defending its bigotry in the West.

    *I remain a devout fan of Andrew Sullivan. None of us are perfect where sometimes Mr. Sullivan gets on a bandwagon a little too zealously. In his defense he usually figures this out when his position becomes indefensible.

  • demonhauntedworld

    This seems somewhat at odds with their earlier position refusing to extradite priests to be tried for their crimes.

  • anubisprime

    karmacat @ 5

    So according to the Vatican they are so pathetically powerless that they can’t do anything about their employees.

    That is the essence of their defence yes….the clue to the perversion spaghetti is encapsulated in this one line…

    “Priests are not functionaries of the Vatican”

    The Vatican in undergoing extensive damage control, the counting house is seeing more cash flow out then in, this is not a usual problem for the gluttons, that outflow threatens to bankrupt them in real time.

    So what to do?

    The outflow must be capped, that is accomplished by NOT being responsible for their own employees

    Then no need to pay damages or reparation to victims as any employer would for a mistake, or criminal activity conducted by their own employees in the course of their employment.

    This line was first expressed, well first time I heard it anyway, after the Boston payouts, but it was muted though and seemed more a ‘feeler’ to see how it was received…Short shrift seems to be the answer to that.

    More confidence was given to the claim that the 1960’s were a hedonistic and evil time in society and paedo fiddling was not a crime such as it is perceived these days, then they went with the Priest intake had liberal communist inspired atheistic infiltrators desperate to bring the church down.

    Then it was a theme of just blaming sexually predatory kids that took advantage of poor harassed priests…it could happen to anyone apparently, then they changed that to try and infer that percentage wise the RCC score was equivalent to the secular world…then it was switched to other denominations then back to the secular world living in hippy land again…that has died out when the statistics were compiled and they showed a slightly different statistical breakdown.

    When that fell flat on its pudgy whisky soaked face they returned to the priests are not employees shtick, and was suddenly revamped on steroids to deal with the after affects of the Irish scandal which burst all over them.

    It is to be noted that the fine levied and brokered by the Irish government has so far only been paid by tax payers…the RCC portion so far as I am aware has never surfaced anywhere…still!

    I heard a rumour that they were interested in renegotiation of their Irish payout…but heard nothing since.

    So if priests are not employees that fine need not be coughed up at all.

    Apparently the Irish reparation was a major dent in the cash stash…so one can only assume that if they can dodge or at least minimise it then all is hunky dory in Vatican city!

    And time is imperative because a fuller investigation / inquiry in under way at the moment on the Irish debacle…no idea when it is finished but odds are that the grisly disgusting kiddy fiddlers-R-Uz club will be damaged even further then the last time, possibly they fear another more draconian slap across their wallet.

    Finally a modicum of SORRY to all victims has not been issued anywhere, not that they are of course just devastated they got busted for it in the first place.

    I do not think Bishops or Cardinals, even a hang dawg’ expression on a pope, muttering incoherent trash about their sex crimes has really hit the spot anywhere especially where the victims are concerned.

  • anubisprime –

    that has died out when the statistics were compiled and they showed a slightly different statistical breakdown.

    Where can I get al look at those stats? Sounds interesting…

  • Any fines that the Vatican or any of it’s Holy-held subsidiaries are gonna be paying are coming right out of the money that they’ve extorted over the years. Mexico and Central America, The Philipines, certain parts of Africa and some other places are well larded with cathedrals that have BILLIONS of dollars worth of precious metals and art by first rank painters, sculptors and architects paid for with the blood and sweat of indigenous peoples that were worked to death in HIS name.

  • anubisprime

    Ray Ingles @ 15

    Page 154 of the John Jay institutes report, gives some relevant stats…at least when they in turn could find them.

    A lot was seemingly extrapolation as they admit themselves.

    As far as I know it is the only such report that directly compares the two stats, although there might few others out there by now.

    It seems the stats were not radically different enough for the RCC to boast they had proportionally lower numbers in comparison…I think they saw that as a blind alley in itself therefore that comparison is not a main thrust of their present defence for what it is!

    This is the report

    Also the report when it was published received quite a bit of criticism in content and methodology let alone the conclusions suggested.

    But that has little to do with this particular section I think.

  • anubisprime
  • “Priests are citizens of their own states, and they fall under the jurisdiction of their own country.”

    Which is why the RCC has moved a number of them out of the countries where they committed their crimes into places without extradition treaties. Like the Vatican itself.