Saturday, December 12, 2009

Vatican response falls short
Vatican response falls short
COULD it be that we are about to see real action from the Vatican about clerical sexual abuse, rather than impassioned rhetoric?

There is to be a major reorganisation of the Catholic Church in Ireland, according to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, after he and Cardinal Brady had met Pope Benedict XVl yesterday to discuss the Murphy report into child abuse.

But is that a sufficient and appropriate response to the crimes that were committed and to the attempts by senior religious figures to cover them up?

Has the promised 'management training' for aspiring bishops got anything to do with redress for past crimes and prevention of future ones?

Remarkably, the cardinal and the archbishop have admitted that, when they spoke to the Pope, there was no discussion of the failings of bishops and auxiliary bishops identified in the Murphy report.

What then were they talking about?

Meanwhile, a Vatican statement that the Holy Father shares the outrage, betrayal and shame felt by the faithful in Ireland was greeted by survivors' groups here as being disingenuous and inadequate.

After all that has happened, their scepticism was understandable.

All too often Catholic churchmen would have us believe that the past is another country, a country in which what's done is done and what's lost is gone forever.

Dr Martin clearly believes that the proposed shake-up of the church's structure in Ireland is significant, but victims had hoped that the Pope would insist on the resignation of the bishops named in the Murphy report.

They want to know whether the Holy Father is as upset about the crimes of the clerical paedophiles as he is about the actions of those superiors who shielded them and moved them around so that they could work their evil in pastures new.

The Vatican is another country, and its head of state has promised to send to the people of Ireland -- or at least to the faithful therein -- a pastoral letter which will spell out initiatives in response to child abuse.

We were not told when this is going to happen, but the wheels of diplomacy grind almost as slowly as the cogs of the Catholic Church, so it is probably safe to assume that the letter is not yet in the post.

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