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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The neverending story

As new allegations of widespread sex abuse and cover-up emerge in Ireland, the pope tells US bishops visiting the Vatican that the church should be held up as an example of how to deal with sex abuse. Unbelievable.

From an editorial on this in The Philly Post ....

[...] The pope is right that all of society’s institutions—not just the Catholic Church—must be held to “exacting” standards in their response to sex abuse of children. He correctly called pedophilia a “scourge.” But then the pope had the gall to hold up the church as an example for how to confront the problem.

“It is my hope that the Church’s conscientious efforts to confront this reality will help the broader community to recognize the causes, true extent and devastating consequences of sexual abuse, and to respond effectively to this scourge which affects every level of society,” he said.

If other institutions follow the church’s lead regarding the handling of sex abuse by priests, well, then heaven help us all. David Clohessy, head of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said: “No public figure talks more about child safety but does little to actually make children safer than Pope Benedict.”

Of course, one can’t help but feel the pope’s recent comments were timed to coincide with the sex-abuse scandal at Penn State. In a sense he was saying: “See, the church isn’t the only institution with a pedophile problem.” At Penn State, former defensive football coordinator Jerry Sandusky has been charged with sexually abusing eight boys over a number of years. Some have said the two scandals are similar because of the cover-up that reached the top echelon of two esteemed institutions.

But that is also where the similarities end. Unlike the Catholic Church, Penn State has taken swift and decisive action, with more likely to come. Days after Sandusky’s indictment, university president Graham Spanier was forced out and legendary coach Joe Paterno was fired. Granted the university, like the church, initially did its best to cover up the abuse. But unlike the church, once the allegations came to light there were no excuses or denials or efforts to blame the media by the university trustees. Instead there has been real accountability ...


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