Sunday, July 25, 2010

Justice for paedophiles' victims

Sunday, 25th July 2010

Justice for paedophiles' victims
Charles Cirillo, ─Žamrun timesofmalta

It should be pointed out to Joe Zammit (The Sunday Times, July 4) that the alleged victims of sexual abuse by priests have always formed part of the Archbishop's flock, even before 2003, when they first made their claims.

The fact that they were brought up by the same priests who allegedly abused them is indeed terrifying. According to press reports, it is only lately that the Curia's Response Team has started to seriously investigate the alleged abuse.

Many of the alleged victims suffered shame and depression and were constantly thinking that justice would never be done. In some cases, when one has a problem with the local Church authorities, one often feels like banging one's head against a wall. I have experienced this for almost five years now.

The Church, besides its holy mission, is also an institution made up of human beings. It has reached a stage where it cannot face all the worldwide paedophile accusations levelled against the clergy and so, as in our case, has finally decided to take the bull by the horns.

That is why the Vatican has sent over a senior official, Mgr Charles Scicluna, over here. Incredibly, in one week he did more work than the Curia's Response Team did in seven years.

It is indeed a pity that Pope Benedict XVI is bearing the brunt of what happened, even before he was elected. As the Holy Father himself observed, the Catholic Church is fighting the enemy within, which is not so easy to do.

Of course, proceedings in our criminal courts are still underway, but seemingly at a snail's pace, until at least a few weeks ago. For me, this was all in favour of the alleged abusers, thus making the alleged victims feel that justice is still a long way off and thus give up hope.

In fact, it was also reported that the alleged victims have had a meeting with President George Abela in his capacity as chairman of the Commission for the Administration of Justice.

I am four-square with the alleged victims because, from personal experience, I know they are facing great odds. If I were in their position I would try to elicit more public support. After all, justice delayed is justice denied.

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