Monday, August 20, 2018

No More Cover-Ups?

Grimly watched the #MeToo movement unfold, with a mixture of happiness, relief and horror. Has it taken this long for it to find a voice? The Catholic Church isn't above it either, and it shouldn't be. There is a long history of systemic abuse of parishioners and children that it can no longer ignore or sweep under the carpet.

Many many abuse cases are coming to light and they refused to be quashed. Pennsylvania is reprehensible and repugnantThe Washington Post's 'Why the Vatican continues to struggle with sex abuse scandals' written Chico Harlan, published on 12 August 2018, asks some hard questions that the Vatican will not have easy answers to. There're many documented reports and case studies through the decades. As much as the Vatican wants to keep a low profile with regard to investigations and verdicts, they can't. Everything's out in the open now. It is Pandora's Box. (More articles herehere, here and here.)

How widespread is the abuse? This is certainly not confined to the traditional Catholic cities in Europe and the US. In fact, it doesn't even have to be restricted to the Catholic Church. Where organized religion (or a political system) exists, abuse will happen. Do we not already understand that human nature is very different from attempting to conquering ungodly desires and behaving in accordance to what decent society expects? I'm not going to comment on anything else with regard to Singapore and the region. Here's an extract from the WaPo article, and I will just leave this here.

In an interview published last year with the Corriere della Sera, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, then the head of the doctrine office, said the Vatican already had the "tools and legal means" to handle cases. Vatican watcher Marco Politi said congregation members and others in the Vatican hierarchy were also concerned about opening a "Pandora's box." 
"This would mean hundreds of cases that would then bounce back to Rome with a huge media impact," said Politi, author "Pope Francis Among the Wolves," a papal biography. "It would signify the beginning of hunting season on culprits. 
In turn, Francise used another method to bolster accountability of the church hierarchy, issuing an apostolic letter that made it clear that bishops could be removed from office for negligently handling sexual abuse. But under the current system, any of the five different Vatican congregations can be involved in investigating bishops, depending on the accused person's role and affiliation within the church, and also on whether he has been accused of coverup or abuse. Coverup cases are handled by the same congregations that help to appoint bishops. 
"It's a potential conflict of interest," said Davide Cito, a canon lawyer at Rome's Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. "That's absolutely an issue."

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