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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Catholic Church: Time For Women To Take Over!

(c) 2008 K Smokey Cormier

Yes, it's time:
  • For decades church leaders kept horrific tales of abuse out of the public eye through an elaborate culture of secrecy, deception, and intimidation. Victims who came forward with abuse claims were ignored or paid off, while accused priests were quietly transferred from parish to parish or sent for brief periods of psychological counseling.
  • Catholic Church Inundated with Sexual Abuse Allegations
  • As the Vatican announced Friday that Pope Benedict XVI has signed a pastoral letter about Ireland's abusive priests, it became increasingly clear that the church abuse crisis has entered a new international phase, with allegations spreading across a half dozen countries -- including the pope's native Germany.The Norwegian Catholic Church said Friday it was aware of four more potential sexual abuse cases by priests against minors, two days after it revealed that a bishop who resigned last year did so after abusing an altar boy.
  • Alleged misconduct by Catholic priests continues to surface and the church is struggling to contain the damage. VOA's Mariana Schroeder looks at how these allegations are haunting the church in Germany, the pope's homeland.
  • "Now we have obvious confirmation that this is a global crisis," said John Allen, CNN's Vatican analyst and senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter. "Anywhere there is a substantial Catholic population there is the potential for this type of scandal."
  • Sexual abuse of children by priests has been brought to light in a number of countries, but the recent apologies from the Vatican are “too little too late”. At least, that is the opinion of Yvo van Kuijck, former chairman of the independent Assessment and Advisory Committee (Beoordelings- en Adviescommissie, BAC) which cooperates with Hulp & Recht, the Netherlands’ hotline for reporting sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Since it was set up in 1995, the hotline has received almost 300 reports of sexual abuse. “It has taken too long for the Church to apologise and take action. (…) The Dutch bishops adopted the same ‘wait and see’ approach. I didn’t get the impression that dealing with sexual abuse was a priority for them." Two years ago, dissatisfied with the attitude taken by the Dutch bishops, Yvo van Kuijck, now vice-president of the District Court in Arnhem, resigned along with the entire Assessment and Advisory Committee. Priests guilty of abuse in one parish were simply transferred to another parish where they were free to find new victims. "Not only is that unprofessional, it’s inconceivable."
  • Trailblazing work done by Canadian investigators into Church sex abuse goes all but unnoticed by Catholic Church worldwide.
  • A priest who admitted indecently assaulting deaf boys at a school in Yorkshire has been allowed to remain as a cleric, it can be revealed, as the scandal over abuse cover-ups in the Catholic Church moves to Britain.
  • As clergy sex abuse scandals in Europe made headlines worldwide, bishops in Latin America expressed support for Pope Benedict XVI. But observers say it is just a matter of time before the upheaval that has struck the United States and Europe hits Latin America. A few cases of sexual abuse of minors by clergy already have surfaced. The most notorious is that of Father Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ in Mexico, who died in 2008. Other cases have emerged in Argentina, Brazil and Chile, but there have been no widespread accusations.
  • New Zealand's Catholic church is investigating five historical cases of alleged sexual abuse, and victims' counsellors say the situation here is no better than scandal-plagued dioceses overseas. It has been eight years since New Zealand's Catholic church apologised to its parishioners about how it had historically handled sexual abuse cases, after admitting to 38 cases of sexual abuse by priests and other men in its ranks.
  • About 4 percent of Catholic priests have been accused of sexually abusing minors over the past half-century, according to a draft of the first comprehensive study of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church in the United States. The percentage is higher than many people, including church officials, had anticipated.
  • Predator Priests: Boston's worst abusers preyed on dozens of children.
and recently, from my beloved city of Oakland:
  • Lewis Van Blois, an Oakland attorney who represented six child abuse victims of Bay Area priests, said Saturday that the letter [a letter surfaced that then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger sent to the Oakland Diocese in 1985, saying he needed more time to consider a request from then-Oakland Bishop John Cummins to defrock Stephen Kiesle, who had already pleaded no contest to lewd conduct charges for tying up and molesting two boys at a parish in Union City, where he was a teacher and priest.] wasn't surprising. "We knew that the church hierarchy, from the bishops up to the cardinals all the way to the Vatican, were part of a pattern of cover-up to protect the priest and the church at the expense of the victims," he said. "Not much was being done to get rid of these abusing priests."
[from various news sources online]

Of course, I also believe that absolute power corrupts absolutely ... so something else would also have to change in the governing of the Catholic Church ... like, maybe the practice of true DEMOCRACY.

------- Update -----
  • See Maureen Dowd's recent post at the NYTime's site here. (Although I do NOT like her snarky comment about men in dresses.)
  • Also, women religious in the Catholic Church are doing some resistance of their own. Many are not complying with a new Vatican study that they feel is intrusive, see here.

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