Alex Blaze

The UK grovels to the Pope for forgiveness

Filed By Alex Blaze | April 26, 2010 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: britain, Catholic church, law, power, religion, sex abuse, uk

Yesterday I posted about the recent slew of child molestation revelations in the Catholic Church. I was specifically focused on the lack of intelligent discussion around why someone would want to molest a child, but the question lots of people wanted to address in the comments was "Why did the Church allow it to flourish?"

GrrrlRomeo made a great point:

Abuse obviously happens outside the Church as well. What's scary about it happening within the Church is that it has the ability to act outside and above the law. Except for a handful of states, we pretty much let them because we assume they're more moral.

We give religion exceptions in anti-discrimination laws, child abuse reporting laws, taxes and more, and I see no rational reason for it.

Indeed, we regularly treat churches in the US as though they're above the law. We also treat people with power as though they're above the law as well. Just look at the lack of prosecutions for any of the previous administration's illegal actions, or to cases of police brutality where only an internal investigation that surprisingly lets the officers in question off the hook was conducted, or any number of cases of celebrities caught breaking the law that precipitate "What are we going to do without this person's art/athletic ability/talent?"

The lawlessness of the Catholic Church is at the intersection of these factors, religion and power, as even law enforcement officials ignored signs of abuse because they were weary of investigating the church. And just today, Britain's Foreign Office apologized to the Pope for insulting him:

The Foreign Office has apologised for a leaked document that suggested that Pope Benedict XVI be invited to bless a gay marriage, open up a hospital abortion ward and be presented with his own "Benedict" brand of condoms while on his controversial tour of the UK this September.

The document was described as "foolish" by the Foreign Office and was a "brainstorm" exercise rather than official Government policy.

The Rt Rev Malcolm McMahon told the BBC: "I think it's a lot worse that we invite someone into our country - a person like the Pope - and then he's treated in this way.

"I think it's appalling manners more than anything else."

You what else is appalling? Putting known child molesters in jobs where they will work closely with children and refusing to dismiss them, much less contact secular authorities. Heaven forbid the Pope be the subject of a light-hearted joke that doesn't really even insult him! I mean, that's worse than rape!

The Vatican is taking every opportunity to milk this event before the Pope's visit by wagging their finger at the UK:

Cardinal Renato Martino, former head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said: 'The British Government has invited the Pope as its guest and he should be treated with respect.

'To make a mockery of his beliefs and the beliefs of millions of Catholics, not just in Britain but across the world, is very offensive indeed.'

Another senior Vatican source said: 'This could have very severe repercussions and is embarrassing for the British Government. One has to question whether the action taken is enough.'

You know what's embarrassing for the government of the Vatican (since they're claiming their a real nation now): convincing people to put their children in their care and then covering up child molestation and rape for decades in other countries. But, no, they shouldn't be treated that disrespectfully.

But the most galling statement (from just that quote, the Vatican has been putting out galling statements right and left these past few weeks): "One has to question whether the action taken is enough." You know what? We know action taken by the Vatican wasn't enough.

One would think they'd be in no position to talk, but they know they're above the law. If anyone ends up getting arrested for the cover-up, it'll be someone low on the hierarchy that they'll blame. But I doubt even that much will happen.

The US particularly, but all the countries affected generally, has a multi-tiered justice system. Some people do whatever they want and they won't even think of doing time. The rest of us are subjected to the most punitive criminal justice system in the world.

I don't know whether it's more annoying when people on the lower tier try to justify the system or when people on the upper tier scold everyone else for being immoral. But they seem to be part and parcel with the idea of unequal justice.

Anyway, here's more from that memo.

In the document, staff who were asked to propose ideas for the 'ideal' visit suggested Benedict XVI could launch a new range of 'Benedict' condoms or back a Miss Developing World beauty contest.

Sources in Rome said the document also proposed that the Pope might sing a duet with the Queen to raise money for charity. The pair are due to meet during the Pontiff's visit in September.

The memo, which has dismayed Church leaders in Britain, is also understood to suggest that the leader of the world's one billion Roman Catholics could apologise for the Spanish Armada, reverse his ban on women priests and visit an old people's home.

A graphic attached to the document listed 'positive' people who could be associated with the trip, including former Prime Minister Tony Blair and the singer Susan Boyle, and 'negative' ones, such as England footballer Wayne Rooney. All three are Catholics - with Boyle a former singer in her parish choir and Blair converting to the faith two years ago.

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I will not defend the Catholic Church on any of this. However, whoever the guy was who wrote the memo is certainly unprofessional. Afterall, a diplomat is supposed to be "diplomatic". This is more of a fraternity drunken late night prank, than something that should be coming out of the foreign office.

The Roman Catholic Church threatens reprecussions while it conceals infgormation on paedophiles that it hid, while it protects Cardinal Law, and hides a few genocide indictees and stonewalls international courts?

Where is that tiny violin?

SarasNavel | April 27, 2010 4:36 AM

I find it fascinating that the Church has faltered so spectacularly in it's handling of it's own found to be child molesters. I find it even more fascinating that about a decade or so ago Paul McHugh became the psychiatric advisor to the Vatican and was named by the Bishops to the clergy sex crimes review board as Chief Behavioral Scientist. The same Paul McHugh that decades earlier advocated that the Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic conceal from law enforcement multiple incidents of child molestation:

"McHugh, after all, is the man whose report to the court in one case stated that a defendant's harassing phone calls were not obscene -- including the call that detailed a fantasy of a 4-year-old sex slave locked in a dog cage and fed human waste. At least eight men have been convicted of sexually abusing Maryland children while under treatment at the "sex disorders" clinic McHugh runs at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine -- abuse the doctors did not report, citing client confidentiality. When Maryland law was changed to require that doctors report child molestation, the clinic fought it and advised patients on how to get around the law."

"Paul McHugh often collaborated with Sexual Disorders Clinic founder John Money. In an interview with the The Journal of Paedeophilia, John Money offered his professional counsel that adult sex with children is normal and often beneficial."

This is not a new revelation; there was a flurry of articles on the topic by worried Catholics back in 2002, most are still online. Not to drift off topic even further but in the course of casually researching this it almost appears that the same group that successfully shut down the gender clinic as being "harmful" reformed John Hopkins into a sort of hotbed of pro-pedophillic views. And then moved on to advise the Church on handling it's little problem.

I say beat this devilish cult down completely (financially) while it's has done nothing but spew venom for's time thinking men and women abandon it and imprison the perpetrators.

As a Brit I'm embarrassed by the apology. Apologising is taking the whole memo thing too seriously.

I hope that the Pope gets the hostility he deserves from as many of my countrymen as possible whilst he's here in September.

Are Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens still planning on trying to have the Bishop of Rome arrested when he arrives?

Hitchens: "This man is not above or outside the law. The institutionalized concealment of child rape is a crime under any law and demands not private ceremonies of repentance or church-funded payoffs, but justice and punishment."

you have to be kidding me,this child molester cult
should be taxed and jailed every one of them, starting with the pope.I would have a jail cell waiting for him.