Remember when the Vatican said they were going to crack down on child-raping priests (but would be fighting any police efforts to crack down on them unless legally forced to do so), and then the UN said they were failing at it, and then the Vatican responded by essentially saying they were only going to crack down on child rape in the Vatican, but not in any of their dioceses around the world? So the UN hauled the Vatican back in front of them and the Vatican responded by saying they forgot they promised to crack down on child abuse, but this time they’re really going to crack down on it (so there’s no need for the police or international community to be involved)?
Well, the Child Abuse Royal Commission in Australia just requested internal documents from the Vatican on priests accused of child rape in the country. You can guess what the Vatican said:
Claiming the internal documents were the property of the Holy See, the Vatican argued the commission’s request was “neither possible nor appropriate”.
Reasons included ongoing church investigations, and that internal working documents were the sovereign property of the Holy See.
No shit they’re your property, that’s why the Commission is asking you for them.
And forgive us if “We’re not going to help you investigate because we’re investigating” doesn’t exactly make anybody feel more comfortable. Catholic investigations of their own have proven inept, at best, in the past. “Hey guys, we investigated ourselves and, guess what, everything’s cool! No need for lawsuits here!”
If you’re not responsible, then why all the secrecy?
“The Catholic Church is no more legally responsible for priests who abuse children than a trucking company which employs a driver who molests women,” a defiant Cardinal Pell said.
Plus, the analogy doesn’t really work. If one of your truck drivers, while working and being paid, crashes into someone else (on purpose), then your company is certainly liable. Likewise if a priest in the employ of the Church uses that role to groom and rape a sexual victim, almost always on Church property, you bet your ass the Church is liable. Or even better yet, since children are in the Church’s care by choice, it would be like if a taxi driver chose to rape one of his passengers in the cab. There’s no question the company would be liable. That’s why the Catholic Church has paid hundreds of million dollars in lost lawsuits and settlements and stand to pay even more.
The victims and the head of the Royal Commission called him on it:
Victims’ families were outraged at his comments, branding it as “a ludicrous comparison.”
Even the chair of the child abuse royal commission thinks the situation is quite different when it comes to a priest getting access to a child.
Cardinal Pell accepts the church has a moral obligation to victims, but when it comes to its legal responsibility, the actions of its priests are not necessarily its fault.
“If the truck driver picks up some lady and then molests her, I don’t think it’s appropriate, because it is contrary to the policy, for the ownership, the leadership of that company to be held responsible,” Cardinal Pell told the commission via video link from Rome on Thursday.
I remember when Pope Fluffy met with a few of the victims of papal child abuse, begged forgiveness, and vowed the Vatican would do better. This is apparently how seriously the Pope has taken that vow. The Church says it acknowledges its responsibility to the victims, but its actions tell the story of an organization far more worried about protecting their pocketbook – which they see as being threatened by the people their priests have wronged.
Morality…it’s more than just a word.