Pontiff Forms Commission on Sex Abuse


The Vatican has announced formation of a commission to protect young people from Catholic priests. To be fair; not all priests, just those with a fondness for “choir boys”. Spokesman, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston broke the news today; reportably a recommendation coming out of the Council of Cardinals meeting in Rome this week. Pope Francis, acting on the advice of his advisory council, gave the green light to “draft guidelines for prevention of abuse, developing training programs, advising on co-operation with law enforcement officials, and promoting care of victims of abuse”.

The as yet to be appointed commission members will be experts on sexual abuse and prevention. Up until now, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith have been handling discipline for naughty priests. Cardinal O’Malley didn’t know if the commission would have authority over Bishops who cover up allegations of abuse by priests. The announcement comes on the heels of the church refusing  a United Nations request to provide information on how it dealt with abusive clergy.

Call me cynical but something smells fishy. I’ve pondered Pope Francis long and hard – my conclusion being, he might be a man willing to make some changes. On the surface this announcement reads like a step in the right direction. Peel back a few layers and I’m still astounded. The very fact that a commission needs to be formed in order to “educate” and “counsel” clergy leaves me speechless.

I have a novel idea – how about a zero tolerance policy? If the church truly wanted to send a message, wouldn’t it make sense to say “oh hell no” –  fiddle with children and you’re history. When a teacher interferes with a student they lose their job and face prosecution. If a coach, doctor or anyone in position of trust diddled about they would be slapped so fast their head would spin. Why do we allow the church to form commissions in order to educate their paedophiles – let them find counselling in jail.

Paedophiles are an insidious bunch – for starters they believe their actions are sincere and harmless. They’re beyond “education and counselling” – I would laugh if it wasn’t so tragic. How can intelligent people sit back and watch as the church throws out another bone? The only way to put an end to this epidemic is to squelch it at the source; society has no obligation to let the church clean it’s own house. At some point we have to say “enough”, you had your chance and blew it big time – now the law will see to it that young lives aren’t shattered.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/pope-francis-forms-commission-to-advise-on-sex-abuse-1.2452054

Pope Francis is assembling a panel of experts to advise him on sex abuse in the clergy.

Pope Francis is assembling a panel of experts to advise him on sex abuse in the clergy. (Max Rossi/Reuters)

If I Was The CEO…..


If I was the CEO of a major corporation who knowingly covered up or ignored criminal behaviour by my employees, I would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Criminal interference, accessory, negligence, to name a few of the possible charges. In the eyes of the law; an excuse of “I’m not responsible” simply doesn’t cut it. At the point a decision is made to turn a blind eye, the line is crossed – it would become a criminal act. Ponder the reaction if it was revealed a major “big oil” CEO systematically covered up sexual abuse by company executives. Public outrage would fuel endless coverage; think of Jerry Sandusky, the Penn State football coach, now serving a 30 – 60 year sentence for sexual abuse.

Unfortunately, as the head of a sovereign nation –  the Pope can’t be sued. International law puts him above criminal charges.

By all appearances this courtesy extends to the rather unique situation of a former Catholic CEO still alive. The international criminal court in The Hague rejected attempts to prosecute former Pope Benedict XVI for systematic cover-ups of sexual abuse amounting to crimes against humanity. They stated the matter fell outside their jurisdiction .

Statistically I doubt we would find the percentage of Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse higher than that of any other profession  giving easy access to children. Sexual predators naturally gravitate towards positions of trust. In America 4% of Catholic priests stand accused of misconduct towards children – that would be nearly 5000 priests, and lets not forget – this translates into thousands more victims, as the abuse took place numerous times over decades. To date the Catholic church has paid out an estimated 3 billion dollars in America alone to settle abuse claims.

Minutes from a 2003 meeting of the financial council for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee sums up the position of the church far better than I could. The minutes of this 2003 meeting were discovered during a 2011 bankruptcy filing by the archdiocese. Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of Milwaukee at the time states the church offered $20,000 to problematic priests as encouragement to leave the priesthood. In addition, payments of up to $30,000 would be paid to victims for emotional distress as a means to quietly settle out of court. Court documents from the 2011 bankruptcy filing show $90,000 was paid out to 9 priests.

Historically the Catholic church has swept the problem under the rug; known sexual predators were transferred to another location, given “therapy”, or simply ignored. No number of hail Marys will ever give victims back their lives.

The Pope is CEO of what is arguably the largest and wealthiest corporation in the world – Just like any other CEO he should be held accountable for his organization. I don’t care who you are – sexual abuse is not OK.

http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/meeting-minutes-dolan%C3%ADs-milwaukee-archdiocese-paid-accused-priests-leave

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/14/world/europe/hague-court-declines-inquiry-into-church-abuse-cover-up.html?ref=romancatholicchurchsexabusecase

http://www.philvaz.com/apologetics/PriestAbuseScandal.htm