The Holy Vader’s Letter to Ireland (or, Vatican example of passive aggressive prose)

The Holy Vader
Scary, isn't it?

From the Death Star (Vatican): Emperor, oops, POPE Benedict XVI  has issued a pastoral letter to the people of Ireland concerning the findings of two reports commissioned by the Government of Ireland.  The letter was meant to be a way of communicating with  the faithful in Ireland on the never-ending sex crisis in the church.  Pope Benedict, who bears a striking and oddly appropriate likeness to Emperor Palpatine (of Star Wars notoriety), is hoping that this letter will be a salve on the wounds in the church in Ireland.  

The pastoral letter did not really accomplish it’s mission. People in Ireland have not been receptive to the “his Holiness'” advances (pun intended). Instead of a letter that is contrite and makes a statement of the committment of the Holy See to take immediate and decisive action to weed out perpetrator priests and the bishops that hid their actions and victimized the survivors, the pope (or his subordinates) developed a rambling passive aggressive missive that, at the end of the day, does nothing to correct the wrongs committed by priests in Ireland or anywhere else. The way the letter was crafted is telling. The passive voice is used throughout, almost qualifying each statement. He carefully lays blame for the crisis firmly within the borders of Ireland, “I must also express my conviction that, in order to recover from this grievous wound, the Church in Ireland must first acknowledge before the Lord and before others the serious sins committed against defenceless children.” The Vatican is not complicit in any of this…

 “In recent decades, however, the Church in your country has had to confront new and serious challenges to the faith arising from the rapid transformation and secularization of Irish society. Fast-paced social change has occurred, often adversely affecting people’s traditional adherence to Catholic teaching and values.” It is not a church problem, it is the heathen secular society in Ireland that allowed this situation to manifest itself.

 “On several occasions since my election to the See of Peter, I have met with victims of sexual abuse, as indeed I am ready to do in the future. I have sat with them, I have listened to their stories, I have acknowledged their suffering, and I have prayed with them and for them.” Come sit with me for a while. Virginia is nice this time of year. I would love to bend your pontifical ear for a few hours. You may have indeed heard what you were told, but did you listen? You have acknowledged suffering, WOW! What is missing in the letter is the passage that says (and this is what I wish I saw, not what was written): “I have removed from ministry all credibly accused priests, deacons, nuns and laity in the church to protect children. Where there were substantiated instances of abuse, I removed the offending perpetrator from church service and turned over to the civil authorities all evidence held by the local Diocese or by the Holy See relevant to the case, regardless of the statutes of limitations. I have directed (ordered) bishops to go to the parishes to seek out other victims and inform the parishioners of the predator that was in their midst, even if it was 20, 30, 40 years or more ago. I have removed from positions of authority all representatives of the church who enabled the predators to continue to target children by either ignoring credible reports, hiding evidence, unduly influencing or coercing victims, moving predators from parish to parish or moving known dangers out of one diocese to another to stay one step ahead from law enforcement.”

 This from the man who headed up the Congregation for the Dorctine of the Faith during the papacy of his predecessor, John Paul II. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the arm of the Vatican that, among other things, investigates Sex Crimes committed by priests under its mandate to oversee matters of canon law. More importantly it is the propaganda arm of the Vatican. The spin on the sex crisis is mastered from the office once held by Cardinal Ratzinger, now the successor to the See of St. Peter.

 We will see this “expression of papal sympathy” again and again. Coming soon to Germany, perhaps? One must wonder about then Cardinal Ratzinger’s knowledge of predator priests in the Archdiocese of Munich. It will also manifest itself in the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Western Europe, Africa and South America. This is a global crisis that will not be dealt with effectively as long as the Papal strategy in dealing with the crisis is based on trying to get people in the pews for the Sunday Morning Magic show, money in hand for the offering plate. It will not be solved until the Pope takes immediate and decisive action to remove predators and all the bishops and high level officials that have had a hand in covering up the criminal activities of predators in priestly garb.

 This crisis will not end until civil authorities take criminal and civil action against predators and their protectors. As long as civil authority bows down to the church and allows them to “deal” with the predators internally, the environment of secrecy will prevail, the abuse will continue and church will go merrily down the path of denial, distraction and deception.

 Oh by the way, if the Pope or his advisors are reading this, I would still like to nominate St. Rita as the Patron Saint of Victims/Survivors of Church Sex Crimes. Thanks….

Vatican Rules predate Vatican II

I am posting a brilliant article from an Irish website called The Post.IE by Vincent Browne.   The article is another example of how clueless the hierarchy of the Catholic Church continues to be.  It also lays out that the efforts to keep the activities of pedophile priests under wraps has been a long-established Vatican policy.  For those who think that the pedophile scandal in the church is a by-product of Vatican II, here is further proof that the problem has a much longer institutional history.

The problems documented in Ireland are present in other Sees around the world.  This is not an isolated problem, it is a universal problem with the hierarchy of the Catholic Church

The article, which appeared on 20 December 2009,  is well worth the read:
Vatican guilty of unholy compassion for paedophiles
20 December 2009 By Vincent Browne

In 1922, the Vatican promulgated an instruction to do with what it called crimen solicitationis (the crime of solicitation within the confessional) and what it called the ‘‘worst crime’’ – the sexual abuse of children. The document was issued in Latin. No authoritative version was produced in English.

The document was circulated only to bishops and under terms of strict secrecy.

A new version of the guidelines was produced in 1962, but this, according to the Murphy Commission, was unknown within the Dublin diocese until some time in the 1990s.

Desmond Connell, the former archbishop, told the commission he had never seen the 1962 document, nor had he met anyone who had seen it.

John Dolan, the chancellor of the diocese and a monsignor, whose job is to ensure that the administrative records of the diocese are kept safe, said he didn’t know that ‘‘lurking in the very end, at the very back [of the decree crimen solicitationis], was a little paragraph on the ‘‘worst crime’’.

He was unaware of the 1962 document until an Australian bishop discovered towards the end of the 1990s that it was still valid. Until then, he did not know of any guidelines by the Vatican on the issue of clerical child sexual abuse.

The Murphy Commission commented on how ‘‘unusual’’ it was, ‘‘whereby a document setting out the procedure for dealing with clerical child sexual abuse was in existence but virtually no one knew about it or used it’’.

In 1996, victims of clerical abuse hounded the bishops into devising a ‘framework document’, setting out guidelines for dealing with allegations of abuse. John Dolan said: ‘‘They [the authors of the framework document] did not feel Rome was supporting them in dealing with this issue … they were meeting an onslaught of complaints, and Rome was pulling any particular solid ground that they had from under them’’.

The 1922 and 1962 Vatican instructions on dealing with allegations of clerical child sex abuse demanded absolute secrecy in the conduct of investigations. T he secrecy was so pervasive that, to some, it seemed to demand that the complaint also be kept secret from the state authorities.

Cannon 1341 states that the bishop is to ‘‘start a judicial administrative procedure, for the imposition or the declaration of penalties, only when he perceives that neither by fraternal correction nor reproof, nor by any methods of pastoral care, can the scandal be sufficiently repaired, justice restored, and the offender reformed’’.

The Murphy Commission notes: ‘‘This canon was interpreted to mean that bishops are required to attempt to reform the abusers in the first place.” In Dublin, efforts were made to reform abusing priests by sending them to therapeutic centres. But, according to the commission, ‘‘the archdiocese seems to have been reluctant to go beyond the reform process, even when it was abundantly clear that the reform process had failed’’.

But, more tellingly, the commission stated they ‘‘could find very little evidence, particularly in the early decades of the commission’s remit, of any attempt by church authorities to restore justice to the victims’’.

I t says the question of harm to the victims never seemed to have been considered by the archdiocese.

In considering whether a person is guilty of the ‘‘worst crime’’, canon law states a person must have ‘‘deliberately’’ violated the canon law. In considering the issue of guilt under canon law, the Canon Law Society of Britain and Ireland has commented: ‘‘Among the factors which may seriously diminish their imputability (guilt) in such cases (cases of clerical child sexual abuse) is paedophilia …

‘‘Those who have studied this matter in detail have concluded that proven paedophiles are often subjected to urges and impulses which are in effect beyond their control .. .because of the influence of paedophilia (the abuser) may not be liable, by reason of at least diminished immutability (guilt) to any canonical penalty or perhaps to only a mild penalty, to a formal warning or reproof or to a penal remedy.”

The commission says it ‘‘finds it a matter of grave concern that, under canon law, a serial child abuser might receive more favourable treatment from the archdiocese or from Rome, by reason of the fact that he was diagnosed as a paedophile’’.

What all this says is that the issue is not just a matter of negligence or complicity in clerical child sexual abuse on the part of individual bishops – it is the culture of the Catholic Church, a culture shaped by the church authorities in Rome and transmitted and refined in dioceses.

A culture that hides the Church’s own guidelines concerning what it itself rhetorically said was the ‘‘worst crime’’; that caused the Vatican authorities to pull the ground from priests who were trying to draft guidelines on abuse; that prioritises the abusers over the abused; that has been essentially indifferent to the harm caused to abuse victims; that regards paedophiles as objects of sympathy and compassion.

A few more episcopal resignations, with a presumption that these settle the matter, is just a continuance of the culture of denial of the Catholic Church’s institutional and cultural complicity in the criminality of clerical child sexual abuse.

The Holy Roman and Apostolic Church is the problem.