Over the last few weeks I have run into quite a few news items which tentatively indicate that justice is being done. Specifically regarding the Catholic church. The issue of trust in a big picture societal way is what separates a free society based on equality from those societies based on privileged. When we can’t trust that the law will be applied equally. Nor that the very people we are told deserve our trust can’t be trusted. Then what? For too long the Catholic Church held itself as above the law and demanded the privilege of governing itself. And in most cases in spite of the law and the people abused by its decisions. And in spite of the law the secular government has maintained a position of non-prosecution towards the religious authorities. Until recently that is. Sinead was right so long ago.
In Kansas City We have a Bishop under indictment. Apparently the first in the U. S..
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A bishop in the Roman Catholic Church has been indicted for failure to report suspected child abuse, the first time in the 25-year history of the church’s sex abuse scandals that the leader of an American diocese has been held criminally liable for the behavior of a priest he supervised.
The indictment of the bishop, Robert W. Finn, and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph by a county grand jury was announced on Friday. Each was charged with one misdemeanor count involving a priest accused of taking pornographic photographs of girls as recently as this year. They pleaded not guilty.
The case caused an uproar among Catholics in Kansas City this year when Bishop Finn acknowledged that he knew of the photographs last December but did not turn them over to the police until May. During that time, the priest, the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, is said to have continued to attend church events with children, and took lewd photographs of another young girl.
Well that is all and well with one exception. And that is that the bishops promised to report abuse to the proper authorities when they learned of them.
A decade ago the American bishops pledged to report suspected abusers to law enforcement authorities — a policy also recommended last year by the Vatican. Bishop Finn himself had made such a promise three years ago as part of a $10 million legal settlement with abuse victims in Kansas City
We also have from a few short months ago the Irish “Cloyne Report” and Enda Kenny’s vigorous speech identifying what the church could expect from now on.
Rupture With Vatican Reveals a Changed Ireland.
DUBLIN — Even as it remains preoccupied with its struggling economy, Ireland is in the midst of a profound transformation, as rapid as it is revolutionary: it is recalibrating its relationship to the Roman Catholic Church, an institution that has permeated almost every aspect of life here for generations
This is still a country where abortion is against the law, where divorce became legal only in 1995, where the church runs more than 90 percent of the primary schools and where 87 percent of the population identifies itself as Catholic. But the awe, respect and fear the Vatican once commanded have given way to something new — rage, disgust and defiance — after a long series of horrific revelations about decades of abuse of children entrusted to the church’s care by a reverential populace.
Rage, disgust, and defiance. I like it! And further the article states about Enda Kenny the Prime Minister.
His remarks were a ringing declaration of the supremacy of state over church, in words of outrage and indignation that had never before been used publicly by an Irish leader.
“For the first time in Ireland, a report into child sexual abuse exposed an attempt by the Holy See to frustrate an inquiry into a sovereign, democratic republic as little as three years ago, not three decades ago,” Mr. Kenny said, referring to the Cloyne Report, which detailed abuse and cover-ups by church officials in southern Ireland through 2009.
Reiterating the report’s claim that the church had encouraged bishops to ignore child-protection guidelines the bishops themselves had adopted, the prime minister attacked “the dysfunction, the disconnection, the elitism” that he said “dominate the culture of the Vatican.”
But that isn’t all, not even the half of it. Apparently Mr Kenny angered the Vatican.
The effect of his speech was instant and electric.
“It was a seminal moment,” said Patsy McGarry, the religious affairs correspondent for The Irish Times. “No Irish prime minister has ever talked to the Catholic Church before in this fashion. The obsequiousness of the Irish state toward the Vatican is gone. The deference is gone.”
While both sides are talking in more emollient terms now, there is no question that Mr. Kenny’s declaration deeply angered the Vatican. It immediately withdrew its ambassador from Dublin, ostensibly to help fashion the Vatican’s formal response. (The ambassador has since been reassigned to the Czech Republic.)
And that isn’t all. check this out.
Why the pope must face justice at The Hague
When it comes to holding the Catholic Church accountable for sexual abuse of children by members of the clergy, all roads lead to Rome. That is what my organization, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (Snap), concluded after years of seeking justice in other venues and being turned away.
On 13 September, we traveled to the Hague to file an 84-page complaint and over 20,000 pages of supporting materials with the international criminal court, documenting our charge that the pope and Vatican officials have tolerated and enabled the systematic and widespread concealing of rape and child sex crimes throughout the world.
Holding childhood photographs that tell a wrenching story of innocence and faith betrayed, and joined by our attorneys from the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, we stood up and demanded the justice that has so long been denied. The New York Times called the filing “the most substantive effort yet to hold the pope and the Vatican accountable in an international court for sexual abuse by priests”.
No doubt, many people of faith are shocked that we would accuse a world church leader of crimes against humanity – a man considered by many to be infallible. But the man who is infallible must also be accountable.