Monday, November 12, 2012

A Call For Cardinal Pell To Man Up About Catholic Clergy Abuse

Cardinal Pell isn't the only Catholic bishop that needs to progress beyond the 4th grade excuses when it comes to clerical sexual abuse.

I kind of doubt Cardinal Pell is going to 'man up' anymore than Boston's Cardinal Law.  Red beanie nation doesn't answer to 'media out to get them'.  This is a great article anyway.

Archbishop George Pell needs to man up and deal with festering sickness in Catholic church

Tory Shepherd - Herald Sun - Melbourne -11/12/2012
PRIME Minister Julia Gillard announced last night a royal commission would aim to expunge the "vile and evil thing" that is child sexual abuse.

Meanwhile, Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney and the country's most powerful Catholic, is acting like a child just when he most needs to man up.

In the face of the latest horrific allegations of systemic child abuse and cover-ups in the Catholic Church he has cried, by turns, "It wasn't me", and "They did it, too". (Uhm, yes these do seem to be play ground excuses.)

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox, a senior investigative cop, has revealed new depths in the scandal that has haunted the church for decades.
"The church covers up, silences victims, hinders police investigations, alerts offenders, destroys evidence and moves priests to protect the good name of the church," he said. (For some reason alerting the perpetrators the police were on to them always bugged me more than any other cover up strategy. This was closely followed by destroying evidence and transferring offenders.)

Meanwhile, the Victorian inquiry keeps uncovering new and more graphic details of abuse. But Cardinal Pell is holding his hands up and deflecting.

It wasn't him, he said in the Sunday Telegraph. "It is ludicrous to suggest I was involved in some cover-up in the Hunter region.
"I am not bishop of the area and have only visited there a few times.
"I have never approached any politician or police official to speak of problems there, much less have I intervened to thwart justice." (This is the same cardinal who financially bailed out the Brothers of St John of God and then claimed he had no jurisdiction even though he leads the Primatial See of Australia and could have revoked their privileges in his Archdiocese. He may not be the bishop in the Hunter region, but he is that bishops ecclesiastical superior.)

They did it, too, he said in a sermon: "We have to answer up for what we've done but any suggestion that we are the only culprit or only community producing culprits is entirely misleading."
In both cases he's fighting straw men. People just want him to take responsibility for his institution. No one is saying he was involved in the Hunter cover-up, nor are they saying the Catholic Church is the only place where child abuse is happening.

What the evidence has shown is that there is a sickness festering in the Catholic Church, a sickness that has destroyed the lives of children and their families, and that the culture in the church has protected the diseased at the expense of the victims. (As that same culture has in so many other countries.)\
It is hard for the Australian public to hear the tale of a white-knuckled boy screaming in agony as he is raped, trying to focus on a St Christopher cross to take his mind off his pain, then to hear Cardinal Pell say: "It is hard to name any other Australian organisation that has done more to produce a safe environment for young people." (No other Australian organization has this many abuse claims lodged against it, and at this point, no other organization has been proven to have protected rings of pedophiles.)

It's clear the culture of the Catholic Church is threaded with evil. That doesn't mean everyone within it is evil. But it means anyone in a position of power has a responsibility to actively tear out that thread.

Stories keep emerging of priests moved from parish to parish. The abuse does not stop at diocesan borders, or state borders, or even country borders. A federal royal commission is the only way to untangle this mess, to work out why it has happened and to stop it happening again. (As Ireland found out, it doesn't happen at the behest of the Vatican from whom Pell takes his marching orders.)

Where did it go wrong? Is it the insularity, the very cloistered nature of the church where men are in charge of their own little fiefdoms? (Yes)

Does the church's history of protecting its own make it a haven and a magnet for the depraved, who can act without fear of retribution? (Yes)

What role does enforced celibacy play? (Less than misogyny and homophobia and the theological notions of ontological superiority which appeal to narcissists.

And this: What sort of person does not welcome a process that could find out the answers, to fix forever what is so terribly broken, to start the healing process? (One who doesn't want Catholics to know these answers and choose to stop providing them with a meal ticket.)

They're easy to spot. They're the ones, in the face of a royal commission, who are saying "It wasn't me", or "They did it, too".


So far Cardinal Pell has been acting very much like the boy in fifth grade who got caught protecting his fellow altar boys while they engaged in drinking altar wine.  Except of course, this is not about a prepubscent prank of naughty ten year olds trying out an adult behavior.  This is way beyond that, but it seems to me Cardinal Pell can't see it as much different, certainly not for the real time disaster this is for the Australian Church.

I don't know that too many of our hierarchy understand what the term 'man up' actually means, because most of them haven't really been expected to 'man up' about much of anything.  That's not how the clerical culture operates.  It operates on enforced infantilization which can be most clearly seen in the infatuation of upper Roman clergy with clerical bling, political grandstanding, use of ostracizing, plain old juvenile back stabbing, and a universal desire to cover up and lie about embarrassing events.  And then they wonder why they have no credibility.  Sigh.



  1. I think you hit it exactly when you mentioned the enforced infantilization in the Church. I don't believe this is done at a conscious level, but the entire from-the-top-down nature of Benny's church discourages taking any sort of adult responsibility for one's spiritual life or behavior. Even the hierarchy are themselves the spiritual children of their superiors, acting in the place of God. There is certainly a thread of evil in the Catholic Church, but I think the real cause is in this culture of perpetual childhood.
    No one can take responsibility because ultimately, there is no adult there.

  2. Abstinence make the church grow fondlers.

    Jim McCrea

  3. Growing up in the Roman church, I could not help but notice that those aspiring to the priesthood were the worst of the Mama's Boys. Their mothers were the biggest enablers of bad behavior. They always had an excuse, or insisted that "me boy" could not have done whatever he just did.