Monday, May 16, 2011

Vatican tells bishops to report abuse to police, pretty please

| »
Cartoon by David Reddick: Catholic Church swinging blindly at evil Child-Molesting Priests piñata: “Don’t worry, we’re finally taking action to stop this problem.”
[full size (400×299)]

The Vatican has taken its latest step in dealing with the whole “deliberately shielding child-abusing priests for decades” quagmire:

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- The Vatican told bishops around the world Monday that it was important to cooperate with police in reporting priests who rape and molest children and said that the prelates should develop guidelines for preventing sex abuse by next May.

But the letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made no provision to ensure the bishops actually follow the guidelines. Victims groups immediately denounced the recommendations as "dangerously flawed" because they stress the exclusive authority of bishops to determine the credibility of abuse allegations.

The letter marked the latest effort by the Vatican to show it is serious about rooting out pedophiles from the priesthood, a year after the sex abuse scandal exploded on a global scale with thousands of new victims coming forward in Europe and beyond.

It was significant in that it marked a universal directive to all the world's bishops to establish "clear and coordinated procedures" with superiors of religious orders to deal with pedophiles and care for their victims, while highlighting that it was "important" for bishops to cooperate with police in investigating abuse allegations and that bishops should follow civil reporting laws where they exist.

But the measure failed to impress advocates for victims who have long blamed bishops bent on protecting the church and its priests for fueling the scandal. Without fear of punishment themselves, bishops frequently moved pedophile priests from parish to parish rather than reporting them to police or punishing them under church law.

"There's nothing that will make a child safer today or tomorrow or next month or next year," said Barbara Dorris, outreach director for the main U.S. victims group Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests.

Pseudo-half-assed-kinda-sorta-Progress! Which is the best we can expect from the Catholic Church at this point.

How astonishing that millions upon millions still turn towards such an institution for moral guidance.