Monday, June 28, 2010

Abuse: Pope vs Belgium - Problems with self-policing


Time

A little more than a fortnight ago, Pope Benedict XVI asked for "forgiveness from God" regarding the sex-abuse scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church. His words aimed to turn the tide of public opinion back in favor of the church during what is turning out to be the Vatican's annus horribilis — a year punctuated by revelations of horrific abuse by pedophile priests in Ireland, the U.S., Austria and Germany that took place during the papacy of John Paul II and earlier.

But when a Belgian bishops' meeting was raided last week by police investigating renewed claims of child sexual abuse, the Vatican responded with outrage that seemed at odds with the apparent contrition in mid-June. The Pope himself described the searches as "surprising and deplorable" in a letter to the head of the Belgian Church, Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard, on June 27. Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone went further, saying the Belgian police's detention of bishops for nine hours without access to their cell phones was "serious and unbelievable" and akin to the practices of communist regimes. And after the police drilled into the tombs of two Cardinals, Léonard likened the actions to a schlock crime thriller. "It's worthy of The Da Vinci Code," Léonard said. (See church sex-abuse scandals around the world.) [...]

1 comment :

  1. ConstitutionalistJune 30, 2010 at 9:33 AM

    Sounds like sensationalist trash covering a typical power-play between institutions.

    The Pope's comment is of course entirely merited, and despite the "logic" of the article, his stance on the issue has nothing to do with it: These sorts of sweeping searches are deplorable & the stuff of totalitarian regimes. Somehow because the crime of which you are _suspected_ is itself so grave (even though it's entirely sofeiq you've done it) endows your "investigator" with unlimited power summarily to confiscate indefinitely whatever things he deems even possibly relevant & detain you without proper due process? Even with proper "due process" it's frightening. Suspects have rights; that's what trials are for!

    Only instead of suspected "Enemy of the State" here it's suspected "Child Molester". Doesn't mean anything; it's just the State coopting it's legal role to knock the clergy down to size with all the usual metaphors (cleansing, extricating cancers, crusading for victims rights, etc.)

    Yes, the Irish priests molested children & did untold damage committing some of the worst betrayals & sins imaginable. Therefore, all Belgian priests files belong to the Belgian government & get locked in detention chambers. The Commissioners must have smiled as he signed off on that one....

    Remember that Orwell's state in _1984_ ("Oceania") was secular. Stuff like this gives me goosebumps. Big Brother is rising, and he's looking to oust his competition: religious institutions.

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