Pope Still Making Limited Apology to Conceal Church's Role

Watching the Watchers
July 18, 2008

I've complained before about the Pope's carefully tailored apology for the abuse of children by Catholic priests. It's good to know the Pope pays no attention to me--he just reiterated the same limited apology which puts all the wrong on the priests who directly committed the abuse, whitewashing the church bureaucracy that fostered it and allowed it to continue so much longer than it otherwise could have.

Speaking in Sydney, Australia, the Pope made the following apology:

I would like to pause to acknowledge the shame which we have all felt as a result of the sexual abuse of minors by some clergy and religious in this country.

I am deeply sorry for the pain and suffering the victims have endured. I assure them as their pastor that I too share in their suffering.

Those responsible for these evils must be brought to justice.

The last line is promising, until you realize once again that he's only talking about the clergy who directly perpetrated the abuse. Once again, no need to find, name, and punish those who made the abuse possible by concealing it and continuing to allow the abusers access to more children.

Are those higher ups in the Church not also "responsible?" Would it not be very strange for the leader of a religion that has such a broad view of "responsibility" to suddenly find no responsibility in the deliberate and continuing efforts to shield child abusers from punishment, and doing it in a way that undeniably led to the abuse of still more children?

The actions of the Bishops and Cardinals, including the actions of the Pope himself while he was a Cardinal, make them "responsible" in any reasonable definition of that word. If the Pope defines that word differently, I have to believe that he does so for the very same self-serving reasons that prompted the church hierarchy to conceal the abuse in the first place. Meaning that he/they haven't really learned a damn thing.


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