Mostly, I stay away from commenting on issues involving religion. I am an ignorant atheist, scarcely qualified to venture into discussing matters of faith which are exceptionally well-considered by others, not least THM’s own stargazer.
But the free pass the Catholic Church has given to it’s members to sexually abuse children is not just about religion, it’s about power, and I’m going to wade in there. There are adult survivors of child sexual abuse perpetrated by Catholic Church staff in at least 65 countries. The numbers of people harmed will be in the many thousands – one survivor support group alone has 12,000 members.
Turns out it wasn’t enough for Pope Ratzinger to just move priests from parish to parish while they were sexually abusing children, rather than take action against them. Nor was it enough to take years to respond to allegations when he was chief enforcer for the church in the years before his papacy, allowing priests more opportunities to abuse.
No, now he is apparently seeking immunity from plans of a European state to issue a warrant for his arrest – sent to the Vatican on 4th February, just a week before Pope Ratzinger resigned.
Not content with staying in the Vatican forever in the hope justice will not reach him there, he’s also arranged a meeting on February 23 with the Italian head of state, President Napolitano to beg for Italy’s protection in allegations of child sexual abuse crimes.
Where will the Catholic Church, the Vatican and the Italian government decide to stand on the issue of child sexual abuse? With the thousands and thousands of survivors around the world, and international criminal law? Or with a man, sheltering other men, who carried out and/or enabled rapes of thousands of vulnerable children to carry on for decades?