Q:Should Pope Benedict XVI be held responsible for the escalating scandals over clerical sexual abuse in Europe? Should he be investigated for cases of abuse that occurred under his watch as archbishop of Munich or as the Vatican’s chief doctrinal enforcer? Should the pope resign?
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! [Matthew 18:6-7]
This is the definition of accessory after the fact:
Whoever, knowing that an offense has been committed, receives, relieves, comforts or assists the offender in order to hinder or prevent his apprehension, trial or punishment, is an accessory after the fact; one who knowing a felony to have been committed by another, receives, relieves, comforts, or assists the felon in order to hinder the felon’s apprehension, trial, or punishment. U.S.C. 18.
The Vatican and its global hierarchy are guilty of this crime many times over. If the law was indeed applied to the Catholic Church as it is to everyone else, hundreds of members of the Catholic bureaucracy should be in jail for aiding and abetting pedophiles, repeatedly.
There are clearly two crimes here; a multiplicity of serial child molestations and a multiplicity of serial cover-ups. I also suspect that there is widespread perjury taking place as members of the hierarchy strive to protect both priests who are serial molesters and the senior clergy who either looked the other way or sought to hide it regardless of the number and extent of victims.
The current Pope is clearly guilty of several crimes of omission for sure. He should have instituted a global inquiry and retired, or handed over to the police all the offenders that the inquiry would expose. He should also have investigated all the clergy involved in the cover-up. That would have been the moral thing to do.
But like most other senior clergy, he too chose to protect the interests of the Church rather than address the injustices done to the victims of the Church.
Additionally the Pope is now implicated in the case of a serial child molester who was under his command when he was the Archbishop of Munich. Did the Pope know and knowingly protect the criminal? Is the Pope going to use incompetence as a defense? Is he going to say, sorry I didn’t know what was going on for decades on my watch?
In the U.S., the President may not be infallible, or a symbol of morality, but she knows where the buck stops. Does the Pope know where the buck stops in the Catholic Church? In the US, if an individual is found guilty of child abuse, he or she can get a prison sentence for up to twenty years and a fine up to ten thousand dollars (it varies across States and circumstances). The individual is also put on a sex offender’s list and continues to suffer the consequences of his crimes even after he or she has served the time (I am not sure this is entirely fair, but the danger to children from offenders does not end with prison terms). But the Catholic Church seems to believe in forgiving serial abusers and their accomplices!
I am amazed at the enormous tolerance for this abomination in the Catholic Church. When will the Catholics worldwide say enough is enough and impeach the Pope and all those – doctrines and priests – who facilitated and covered-up for the serial child molesters.
On a separate note, what does this systematic, global and entrenched sickness say not only about the biggest constituent of global Christianity but also about the Western Civilization in general and Europe in particular.
How come there are no calls to ban the steeples of Catholic Churches?