Godly Representatives: Pedophiles
The Catholic Church was pushed under the media spotlight once again, with the recent decision by Pope Benedict XVI to step down from his position as the head of the Church. And as it was expected, criticism and speculations followed shortly thereafter.
While it isn’t the intention of this article to elaborate on all the speculations surrounding the Pope’s resignation, it is to shed some light on a tragic subject matter that has been connected to the Catholic Church for many years: The child sexual abuse crimes committed by catholic priests and members of Roman Catholic orders.
Over a decade ago, several molestation incidents were uncovered, followed by more and more each year. Many of these cases will never be prosecuted, since the statute of limitations has expired. The fact that these crimes are now out in the open is very little consolation to all the child victims that found the courage to come forward and speak up, or to those who chose to speak up for the victims whose lives have been destroyed by these crimes.
What matters to the victims and to society as a whole is that these criminals, disguised as priests, are punished for their crimes and that the Church is held accountable for its actions, such as cover-ups. While it seemed nearly impossible for the church to separate itself from many of the priests in question, efforts to cover up these crimes have back-fired. A letter that was leaked in 2010 by an Irish bishop, speaking out against mandatory reporting of suspected abusers to the authorities, establishes complicity all the way to Rome.
What makes this different from any other child sex abuse crime? Its size and international organization makes this an organized crime. The only way these crimes and cover-ups were uncovered was through the bravery of whistle-blowers within the organization, or through the unbelievable courage shown by the victims themselves who spoke up.
Uncovering these crimes and talking about them is one small step in the right direction, but it isn’t closure for the victims as a way that the prosecution and the conviction of these crimes would be. It is easy to feel discouraged because organized crime is one of the most difficult kinds of crime to prosecute. Who do you prosecute when everyone covers everyone else’s tracks?
What makes this subject matter so heartbreaking is that we are speaking about one of the biggest and most influential churches in the world. There are about 1.2 billion members of the Catholic Church. I spoke with few of the members of the Catholic Church about the issue. The most shocking moment for me was when some had not even heard of these heinous crimes and instead of reacting with outrage and disappointment, they chose to deny them, simply because they didn’t believe it to be possible.
It is clear that religion is a very effective brainwash machine when it comes to keeping its followers ignorant to the facts with explosive potential, because most people would react with outrage if they heard the same crimes being committed.
At the core of it all is hypocrisy, unmatched by similar institutions. The Catholic Church forces its Godly representatives to live an entirely unnatural life, only to be closer to God. Could it be forcing a human being, which priests certainly are, to celibacy is one of the causes for attracting so many pedophiles for the priesthood? Or maybe these unnatural circumstances force priests into a sick behavior that they otherwise wouldn’t have gotten into. Perhaps, this unnatural structure encourages perversion and cover ups.
We hear the same story every time. Bishops appoint priests that they know have abused children in the past to new communities and new parishes, and the abuse continues.
The amount of power and control that the Vatican has leaves a little doubt that if they wanted to actually stop this, they could have. Unfortunately, the Vatican does not seem to see the need for change. Change has to come because many people demand it now. It has to come from within the institution in order to have the necessary impact.
It is however very important to stress the fact that not all of priests are the same, not all priests are criminals and many if not most of them are honest and good human beings. But this cannot be an excuse for not demanding action from the church. Twenty good and honest priests do not make one pedophile priest right.
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