Thursday, April 08, 2010

More on the Catholic Church's Refusal to Acknowledge Where True Blame Lies

While a member's claims that criticisms of Pope Benedict XVI and the Church over were akin to anti-semitism are appalling, they shouldn't be surprising. After all: members of the church hierarchy have made even more outrageous claims with regards to sexual abuse within the church in the past few years, even stooping so low in 2007 as to blame...the victims.

No, seriously. I give you Bishop Bernardo Álvarez:

[Álvarez's] comments were that there are youngsters who want to be abused, and he compared that abuse to homosexuality, describing them both as prejudicial to society. He said that on occasions the abuse happened because the there are children who consent to it.
‘There are 13 year old adolescents who are under age and who are perfectly in agreement with, and what’s more wanting it, and if you are careless they will even provoke you’, he said.
The fact is, the Church leadership cannot and will not deal with this issue, doctrinally or otherwise. They will find ways to defend the hierarchy's actions and shift blame elsewhere, whether it be those criticizing the Church, or the victims themselves. That is not to indict all Catholics, or even all priests, bishops, or cardinals; indeed a very small number have been involved in this. While it seems this "small number" dominate the headlines and the policy of the Vatican, we can't lose sight of just how enormous the Catholic Church still is; to paint the entire institution as corrupt over a relative minority

At the same time, we should keep the pressure on the Church. Expecting a quick reaction is probably foolish - after all, this is the same institution that took 350 years to apologize to Galileo for condemning him, an institution whose apology for inaction during the Holocaust came 47 years after the end of the Second World War was remarkably quick for the Catholic Church. Indeed, the fact that these cases of sexual abuse in the Church have been going on for more than 3 decades indicates that it's not exactly the fastest moving institution. But that's exactly the reason why journalists and the population at large, and especially the Catholic population, must continue to pressure the Church over this issue. As appalling as the excuses and the blaming of the victims (and others) is, if we don't continue to push the issue, the Church will continue to simply brush the issue under the rug. And that's something that cannot be allowed to happen anymore.