The Pope's Statement: Not Nearly Enough

The Pope addressed the American Cardinals today concerning their problems with priests molesting minors. Text here.

The Pope makes it clear that such conduct is unacceptable. (Better late than never.) But in my mind, he didn’t go nearly far enough with respect to the Church hierarchy’s coverup. Here’s what he said about that:

IOW, he’s still soft-pedaling the actions of the hierarchy.

He goes on to say to the cardinals:

That’s well and good, but - whether we’re talking about Swaggart or Bakker or Cardinal Law - when a religious leader has committed a major betrayal of the trust placed in him, he should await that conversion as a member of the flock, and not as its shepherd.

That point needs to be made here, now more than ever.

It’s an OK start, if it’s only a start. But if the Vatican’s response doesn’t go considerably beyond this statement, it’s just not good enough.

Unfortunately, media coverage of the cardinals’ meeting in Rome may be leading people to expect major reforms and massive changes in Church policy. Need I point out that there’s virtually NO chance of this happening?

This meeting will NOT lead to the ordination of women. It will NOT lead to the end of celibacy. Anyone waiting for the Vatican to make sweeping changes will be very disappointed.

At best, the Pope may issue a heartfelt apology, and a pledge to punish pedophilic clergy more severely. If we’re LUCKY, he may also find some desk job in Rome for Cardinal Law, and appoint a long-term “interim” Cardinal for Boston.

But, as I’ve said before, I get an uneasy feeling that the Church hierarchy doesn’t see the pedophilia scandal as the crime it is. I don’t think they view pedophilic priests as evil men who prey on kids. Rather, they view this whole affair as more evidence that America is a perverted, sex-obsessed society, and regard the offending priests as merely weak men who fell into temptation.

‘cause then, I’d be sayin’ to this

Um, cite?? One of the things that struck me about the whole cover up thing, was that they didn’t talk to outsiders. certainly, they couldn’t have talked to ‘clinical experts’ since all of them, by law would have had to report the abuse.

Wow, sexual molestation of children is “a crime” and “a sin”? Thanks for clearing that up, JP. :rolleyes:

Seriously, I was outraged at the Pope’s totally nonsubstantive comments today. The question, Carol, is what your church is going to do about its disgusting pattern of facilitating child sex abuse. The answer, apparently, is “Nothing.”

This seems to be addressing someone or something other than the OP.

I’m not asking about the celibate priesthood, or the all-male priesthood, or the (theoretically) non-gay priesthood. I’m talking about the Church’s longtime aiding and abetting of its pedophile priests, its coverup of their offenses, and how it is dealing (or failing to deal) with that coverup now.

As long as there are bishops and cardinals in office who are known to have participated in the coverup, this thing ain’t gonna go away.

I’m willing to take the Pope’s statement as evidence that he’s finally gotten clued in on the seriousness of the crimes themselves - or at least, the idea’s gotten through his head that he’d better regard those crimes as serious. Either way, it works out the same.

But if the sins of the cardinals that enabled the further sins of the priests aren’t taken seriously, then JPII is still running behind.

No really. JPII was essentially incoherent.

And while I agree with the gist of the OP, i.e. the actions of certain priests are being soft soaped by the head of the church, I also agree with astorian that nothing is gonna change. At least not in the short term.

Of course, I dunno if anything will be made better once JPII’s replacement is in office.

I’m still pissed that the pope hasn’t said squat to the families and individuals affected. I mean, he’s supposed to be in favor of Christian goodness and all.

Flick Lives!

Well… so far, the news is worse than I’d feared. Though the Pope’s initial statement did unequivocally call child molestation a crime and a sin, it avoided anything resembling an apology (which was absolutely essential), and most shockingly, it talked of forgiveness and redemption for pedophile priests.

NONE of that suggests that the Vatican sees the Church hierarchy as guilty of anything. And the talk of forgiveness and conversion leads me to suspect that the Pope and his closest advisors STILL don’t grasp the seriousness of what’s going on.
I remain fearful that, in the minds of the Pope and many top cardinals, the “crime” of the accused priests lies not in their abuse of children, but in their failure to remain celibate.

Forgiveness might be appropriate for a priest who broke his vow of celibacy and had sex with a willing, adult woman. But it’s disgusting to suggest that a pedophile might still be worthy of a second chance… and yet, the Pope SEEMS to be suggesting that some of them SHOULD get a second chance.

At this point, I’m no longer sure that even the minimal actions I outlined in my first post will be taken. And if the Pope doesn’t come through with a REAL apology and a REAL plan of tough action, the CHurch in America is in huge trouble.

Because this is NOT going to blow over.

astorian pope may have been saying ‘forgiveness’ in the religious sense.

but I agree that the lack of an apology to the victims = bad move;

The lack of acknowledgement (other than the ‘later events show it was the wrong tactic’ comment) that the church did anything wrong - it may be the ‘right’ thing to do from a legal standpoint (facing multiple huge lawsuits, it’s probably not a good idea to publically admit wrongdoing). I’m not sure what he could have said about the situation w/o giving a strong piece of evidence for the upcoming suits.

What’s the quote from Edmund Burke-“all that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men remain silent?”
(yes, Ms. Pinko-Liberal is quoting Burke!)

the problem clearly calls for more action than the pope see fit. i’m wondering if he truely understands the scope of the problem. i also wonder if he realizes that this is not just a problem in the usa.

what a non-catholic would like to see done:

any priest that is within the statue of limitations should be procecuted, just as your uncle eddie would be. should the priest be found not guilty he should be given the choice of a non-parish priestly role or sent to the nearest cloistered monestery.

any priest that is beyond the statue of limitations should be sent to the nearest cloistered monestery to live out his life in prayer and contemplation.

any hierarch/priest that was involved in hiding or covering up a known “problem” priest should be sent to the nearest cloistered monestery to live out his life in prayer and contemplation.

to be able to, in the pope’s words “turn away from sin and back to God, which reaches to the depths of a person’s soul and can work extraordinary change.” you send them to a place where they can pray and repent unceasingly. you do not move them on to other parishes, you do not let them lead catholic flocks.

think of how a nun would have been dealt with in the catholic church if she were to have been accused of molesting a child… quite a different tune there eh? treat the priest the same way.

Interesting. So anyone who has been accused of an act should be punished? Even when a prosecutor is unable to persuade twelve citizens that the person actually engaged in the behavior?

I’m all in favor of “do the crime; do the time,” but I also recall the period a few years back when day-care operators were being hauled into court on a daily basis–only to discover that many of them–including several who were convicted–had been guilty of nothing more than being the targets of hysteria.
(I do support the idea that if enough credible evidence is collected, the church should impose some sanctions even if criminal prosecution cannot be carried out–much as a police department may impose sanctions for violating procedures even when an officer has not been convicted of a crime. However, the idea that every priest against whom an accusation is brought is “obviously” guilty of “something” strikes me as both unfair and counter-productive.)

Looks like we could be in for another run of mob rule.

i agree that my suggestion above is not fair to a priest aquitted or wrongfully accused. i do not doubt that priests will be wrongfully accused. my thought in suggesting that he be reassigned to non parish work or monestery is that any parish he would be assigned to would not be able to fully trust him. that parish could create more turmoil and publicity. with the climate that the catholic church in the us is in now, treading carefully and without the “look” of cover-up would be prudent.

Apparently, one American Cardinal said they wanted to leave some “wiggle room.” :rolleyes:

Yep…remember the Cardinal Bernadin accusations a few years back? A similar episode will be the next chapter in this story, unfortunately.