You’ve heard the story before: a Catholic priest molests, abuses or rapes children. The Vatican “investigates” the matter itself and, instead of censuring or dismissing the culprit or involving the authorities, quietly shuffles the priest to another area. The abuse occurs again. The procedure happens again. The cycle continues. Years or decades later, documents are unearthed, records are unsealed, whistles are blown, victims come forward and a scandal ensues. Empty babbling from the Vatican is heard about investigations and about how seriously they are taking everything. The story fades from the press. Until it happens again, somewhere else. Chances are you know someone who’s been affected by one of these stories, perhaps directly. Chances are you don’t know it.
It is, unfortunately, a story common to most, if not all, nations that have been blessed by the presence of this morally bankrupt church. Countless children in Latin America, Australia, the UK, the USA, Ireland and now, it is revealed, Germany, have suffered sexual violence, humiliation, shame, fear and rank injustice at the hands of those who claim moral authority not just over their Catholic subjects but the entirety of human existence. This story of rape, coverup and denial is depressingly familiar, as is the feeling of complete powerlessness much of the world feels when hearing the latest instalment of Vatican-sanctioned depravity.
I really don’t know what to say about this anymore.
The Vatican has had in place, since 1962, an internal policy requiring everyone from cardinals down to remain silent about any and every claim and report and instance of child rape in the name of the trinity, on pain of excommunication and, presumably, attendant denial of eternal salvation. This “omerta” policy betrays not only the trust of every child ever placed in Catholic “care”, but the very words of the Jewish carpenter which are the cornerstone of its teachings. Will this policy be reviewed? Repealed? Will a new policy exhorting priests at every level of the Papist heirarchy to report any and every allegation of abuse to the relevant police forces? Mandatory reporting policies are in place in every childcare centre, school and hospital in the modern world. Why not a church which, given its claim to moral superiority in every aspect, should find such mandatory reporting second nature? Why should the Vatican get a free pass to ignore what every other institution concerned with child education and welfare takes for granted and sees as a part of everyday operation? You can bet that if a school, hospital or other large organisation had such a sinister record regarding child welfare that its relevant authorities would be all over it like a rash, closing offices down, subpoenaing documents, arresting people & auditing its books. I really don’t know what it would take, in the light of this continuing circumvention of the law and shameful hypocrisy, for someone, anyone (Carabinieri? Interpol?) to investigate the Vatican at every level of its operation from the ground up. I don’t know what it would take for the UN to suspend the pretend statehood of the Vatican until its every grotty little nook is dusted and exposed to the light; every record unsealed; every allegation investigated, aired and pursued to its conclusion. What good is a body like the UN if a particular state is not beholden to the same rules and standards as every other member?
How could the self-described keepers of The Word of God not be able to see how keeping these allegations a secret is as good as being accessory to them? If you wish, view that question as semi-rhetorical, for it more or less answers itself with a little thought: because the Vatican’s rules and policies self-evidently exist to serve not God, not Jesus, not the blessed Virgin or its other many deities, definitely not to serve the one billion or so adherents; they exist, first and foremost, to protect the Vatican and its willing servants.
The fact that the word “Catholic” has become synonymous with rape, abuse, scandal & coverup should make everyone who calls themselves Catholic apopleptic with rage. Catholics: your name has been dragged through the shit, not by “strident, militant” atheists, not by rival denominations, not even by other religions, but by the very organisation you have willed your eternal soul to. What will it take for you, good Catholics of the world, to let these “fathers” of yours know that this is not how you treat children? That this is not how you even treat adults? When will you understand how corrupt and self-serving this church of yours is? A Christian’s allegiance, one would think, should be to Jesus and his message, not to a human political construction that exists to further itself ahead of the salvation of millions. If no other wrongs had ever been done by the Vatican in the entirety of human history this continuing, global scandal of child rape and enforced silence should have you leaving your pews in disgust and spitting on the golden finery of your alleged betters. European history is replete with examples of dissatisfied subjects rising from their fields and factories to overthrow and destroy the privileged, perfumed, primped princes that ruled, robbed and demeaned them – would that a similar thing would happen to the world’s last corrupt empire.
Catholicism is empty – not as practised by the everyday Catholic, but how it is practised by those who claim to hold its keys; it is a greedy, shameful blot on humanity’s past and present. I hope that someday Catholics will realise they don’t need the church to be Christians. I hope they desert this rotting empire in droves. I hope the Vatican will one day need to hold a bake sale to raise money for a new Pope-mobile, which in a best-case scenario will be something like a 1997 Toyota Corolla. Decent car, no doubt, but a far cry from a million-dollar bulletproof Mercedes.
This isn’t an atheist issue. It’s not even a religious issue. This is a human issue. This is not about pointing the finger at Christianity and claiming that it is invalidated because of the actions of a small number of its adherents. This is about the specific claims to moral superiority that the Vatican has been making since it declared itself emperor of Christendom centuries ago, and how since then those claims have consistently (almost constantly) been shown to be as vacuous and hollow as a bishop’s mitre.