Monday, 7 January 2008


Ah, the thorny subject of religion – but this time its not Muslims, Hindus and fundamentalists who have hit the headlines for their unethical behaviour. No, this time its plain old simple Roman Catholicism.

Pope Benedict XVI has instructed Roman Catholics to pray in perpetuity to rid itself of the scandal of sexual abuse by members of its clergy around the world. All dioceses, parishes, monasteries, convents and seminaries are to comply.

After decades of hiding, protecting and covering up for the paedophiles within its church, the Pope has chosen prayer as the road to redemption. Somehow, I don’t feel that the victims, condemned to a life of purgatory, will feel much relief. Perhaps a more apt approach would have been:

An “exorcism” of the churches past attitude to paedophiles masquerading as priests, involving the disclosure to authorities of the names, addresses and details of all those who have been accused of molestation but not charged or investigated.
The (confidential) disclosure of victim’s details to support groups so help can be offered where needed. Any financial bills accrued to be underwritten by the Catholic Church.

Only then can the Catholic Church be trusted once again to deal with moral and social concerns. No church is above the law, yet the Pope presides over an organisation which took the law into its own hands and condemned thousands of victims to blighted lives.

Shame on them.

$660m The amount paid out by the Los Angeles Roman Catholic archdiocese to 500 victims of sexual abuse

$2bn The amount estimated to have been paid out across the US

4,392 The number of priests alleged to have abused children in the US in the past 50 years

10,000 The number of Americans who say that they were abused

100 The number of allegations of abuse made in Ireland between1962 and 2002

21 The number of priests involved

6 of the 21 Irish priests involved died before any allegations were made against them

3,000 The number of allegations of abuse received by the Australian group Broke Rites by 2002

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