Pope’s US Visit. Is US to blame for abuse crisis?
Posted by Barry Pittard on April 30, 2008
The headlines are going up: Pope blames US for abuse crisis.
Of course, we shall need to see whether his statements exactly reflect the headlines. (See BBC News reference below, Pope attacks US sex abuse record)
If they are accurate, it may appear as a type of papal and Roman Catholic hierarchy self-absolution? Surely, the responsibility needs to be taken as a whole by the ‘Captain’. There can be no blame shifting, as decent Roman Catholics themselves have attested, when they were ready to buck an incredibly powerful heirarchy in a courageous coming out against sexual abuse within their church.
A Suggestive Historical Counter-factual
Let us alter the scenario. Suppose this: that, decades ago, a Pope had said: We are getting shocking reports of sexual abuse. We shall move against this iniquity with the utmost urgency and thoroughness and compassionate professionalism – compassionate, above all, for the survivors of this great and abominable abuse. It is not to be tolerated. It would be too facile to blame the problem on any wealthy country, because the same abuses are to be found in countries rich and poor, and at every socio-cultural level.
BBC NEWS. Pope attacks US sex abuse record
April 18, 2008
‘Pope Benedict XVI has criticized US bishops for their handling of child sex scandals, saying their response to the crisis had sometimes been very poor.
He laid part of the blame for the crisis, of which he feels “deeply ashamed”, on a breakdown in US values’.
The Australian. Pope spreads pedophilia blame
April 18, 2008
‘WASHINGTON: Feted at the White House on his 81st birthday, the Pope told the US’s bishops that the scourge of clergy sex abuse had sometimes been “very badly handled” – and laid part of the blame for the scandal on the breakdown of values in American society … The US church has been racked by falling attendance at mass and financial and other difficulties in recent years, most notably the sexual-abuse scandal that has resulted in the removal of many clergy from the ministry …. Describing clerics who sexually abused children as “gravely immoral”, the Pope warned that the scourge of pedophilia “is found not only in your dioceses but in every sector of society” … Last year, 689 fresh allegations of abuse were lodged, and the church paid out $US615 million to settle child sex abuse cases involving members of the clergy ‘.
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