Annie Brown: Catholic Church apology is too little and far too late for most victims

By Annie Brown
Daily Record
August 19, 2015

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia responds to the McLellan Commission

[with video]

NOT until the Catholic Church shows contrition for all abuses, including the doctrine not allowing an abortion to a Paraguayan girl who has been impregnated by her stepfather, may it one day have its credibility restored, says ANNIE.

FOR the thousands of abuse victims, yesterday’s apology from the Catholic Church in Scotland was far too little, far too late.

Scotland’s most senior Catholic, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, offered a “profound apology” to victims of abuse within the church following the release of an independent review of how they handled past allegations.

It has taken much too long for the church in ­Scotland to show contrition and it would feel more sincere if they had not acted only hours after the McLellan report told them to.

Of 46 allegations made against the Catholic Church between 2006 and 2012, only 39 per cent resulted in prosecution, a lack of action that speaks louder than any repentance from a pulpit.

The McLellan report assessed the quality of support available to survivors but did not ­investigate or adjudicate on current or historical allegations.

While support for victims should be a priority, the majority of abuse victims will tell you that justice is the route to closure.

The report suggests that the Catholic Church must confront their dark past and take a significant step in “restoring public ­credibility”. In that respect, they have a mountain to climb.

Their reputation in former ­strongholds such as Scotland, Ireland and Italy is in tatters.

In Ireland, the priest my granny cleaned for would tell her which ­newspapers to read. She told him she lived in a free country but many followed his bidding.

But now the church can’t censor their parishioners so easily and their worldwide abuse of power is there for all to see.

In the developing world, the Catholic Church continue to thrive.

By 2025, 230million – one-sixth – of the world’s ­Catholics are expected to be African. In countries such as the Philippines and Paraguay, almost 90 per cent are Catholic.

I once sat in Kibera in Nairobi, the biggest slum in Africa, where HIV prevalence is 14 per cent, listening to nuns wrestle with the order from the church to preach the evil of condoms.

Faced with watching people die of a preventable disease in a slum where the life expectancy is 30, the nuns naturally felt a little bit of ­life-saving rubber was anything but sinful.

Last week, an 11 year-old girl in Paraguay who had been raped and impregnated by her stepfather was refused an ­abortion because it goes against the church’s teachings.

Amnesty International and the UN condemned this secondary abuse.

When the Pope shows contrition for all abuses, including risking this girl’s life in the name of doctrine, the credibility of the ­Catholic Church may one day be restored.


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