How can the Catholic Church make things right? 179

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The Catholic Church has an uphill journey ahead of it: to shake off the public impression that they do not act enough to prevent child abuse.

But the Vatican – as reported by The Age – has outright rejected this idea in a newly-issued statement.

The same statement praised Cardinal George Pell for his “dignified and coherent” testimony last week, in which he claimed to have no knowledge of the offences committed in Ballarat through the 70s and 80s.

The Vatican also noted the renewed public and press attention brought on by the movie Spotlight, which won a Best Picture Oscar for its dramatisation of a child abuse coverup.

Vatican spokesperson Father Federico Lombardi referred to both the Australian media interest and the Boston-based film as “sensationalist presentation of these two events”.

He said that thanks to this coverage, “it is thought that the Church has done nothing, or very little, to respond to these terrible problems, and that it is necessary to start anew”.

“Objective consideration shows that this is not the case”.

“The encounters held by Benedict XVI and Francis with groups of victims have accompanied this by now long road with the example of listening, the request for forgiveness, consolation and the direct involvement of the Popes”.

“From this perspective, the events in Rome of the last few days may be interpreted in a positive light.

“Cardinal Pell must be accorded the appropriate acknowledgement for his dignified and coherent personal testimony – 20 hours of dialogue with the Royal Commission – from which yet again there emerges an objective and lucid picture of the errors committed in many ecclesial  environments, this time in Australia, during the past decades.

“This is certainly useful with a view to a common ‘purification of memory’.

“Recognition is also due to many members of the group of victims who came from Australia for demonstrating their willingness to establish constructive dialogue with Cardinal Pell and with the representative of the Commission for the Protection of Minors, Father Hans Zollner  SJ, of the Pontifical Gregorian University, with whom they further developed prospects for effective commitment to the prevention of abuse.”

Father Lombardi also acknowledged the necessity to face child abuse as a broader social problem, citing Asia, where “tens of millions of minors are abused, certainly not in a Catholic context”.

“In summary, the Church, wounded and humiliated by the wound of abuse, intends to react not only to heal herself, but also to make her difficult experience in this field available to others, to enrich her educational and pastoral service to society as a whole, which generally still has a long path to take to realise the seriousness of these problems and to deal with them”.

Is this an appropriate response from the Church? If not: what can they truly do to make things right for the victims?

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  1. I don’t think it such that these Bishops didn’t know about the abuse, it was what the did about it is the problem.. It seems like they used .. confessional attitude.. to justify their actions in so much that they felt that when the priest did the confession , kind of thing, he was told to go and sin no more, and that would be the end of it..and it was not the end of it.. In some cases, they just moved them round until they got caught again and again..under the older church ways, many many kids were too scared to tell because they would receive harsher punishment from their parents who thought these guys could do no wrong, but wrong they did, over and over..

    4 REPLY
    • Bunch of rock spiders.
      Vatican needs to retire anyone known to them who was involved in being pedophile.
      Cast them out.

    • Then parents need a foot up the bum. I taught my children no matter what no matter how bad they could always come to me or their dad and they did. In the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s parenting left a lot to be desired. In the 50’s and 60’s I would never have told my parents anything.

    • The church was/is at fault not the parents. The church had the power and at that time priests were thought to be next to god. Thankfully only the very naive hold that belief now.

  2. How can they make something so horrendous right? The nightmares created for all the victims will never go away regardless of the amends made. We do need to compensate the victims but foremost we must learn from the past and make sure this never happens again.

  3. It is too late to help the victims they are broken inside money is of little use. It is the old boys network Men stick together. Women should take a bigger role in the church ceremonies. Girls were only allowed to be Altar servers approx 30 yrs ago.

  4. Going forward I would recommend screening, such as that for law enforcement. Psych evals, even polygraphs. Before someone jumps up and down regarding “all the bad cops,” please know that not all departments do proper evaluations and background checks.

  5. The church cannot ‘make things right’. The belief system that abrogates blame to some unseen super being in the sky, cannot accept responsibility for the actions of anyone. First, they need to update that belief system to accept the humans make the rules, do the deeds, and must therefore accept the responsibility for the action.

    3 REPLY
    • same as insurence companys who will not pay you if it is an act of god .get real its called nature not god . i wantto see whether god agreed to young children being abused.i have never read it in the bible that is a normal for gods priests to do this.. if they want sex do it to each other leave the kids alone .we have all been cond

    • coned if they are not afraid of all the brim and hell fire from sinning why should we . i think those who believe should talk to god direct not through the biggest sinners of all

    • That’s the prob…the belief in that particular idea of ‘god’ is what got them where they are…first you gotta change the belief…

  6. The victims need to be compensated and with lots of money from the Catholic Church. They need never to have to worry about their financial circumstances ever again. They also need access to counseling for them and their families whenever needed also paid for by the Catholic Church. This type of abuse cripples you for life, it never goes away. Some are strong enough to keep on coping with it and living, some are not..

    3 REPLY
  7. I went to a Catholic Primary and secondary school. At primary school I was beaten by the nuns who were frustrated spinsters who took out their bad tempers on innocent children. I still have numb patched on my legs where I got the strap. Everyone knew what was going on. Nobody did anything about it because they held the priests and nuns in such high esteem. The majority of my school friends no longer attend church because of the hurt inflicted during their childhood.

    2 REPLY
    • Shirley, I don’t know you but sure can relate to you school experiences with the nuns! After Primary school with them, I then endured 5 years of boarding school run by them. It was ghastly as they were cruel, bitter and spiteful. Even though this was back in the 50s, I can NEVER forget it… nor did I put my children through it.

    • I have heard about this treatment by the nuns hundreds of times, when we were children, and the children that lived next door to us told us on numerous occasions about being beaten by the nuns at their catholic school, I can still remember seeing the marks on the children, but nothing was done in those days either to stop it and the parents were too scared to talk up about the beltings so in the school, so they all got away with it, but it common knowledge that this did go on.

  8. Pope: make a ruling that allows the priests to take wives/ partners – once again.

    3 REPLY
    • I agree that priests should be allowed to marry, but these crimes are pedophilia. Whether or not the priests are married will make no difference to these criminals. Many perpetrators of sex crimes against children are married

    • I think that is such. Great idea we have many lovely young catholic priests and they are in there late twenties early thirties very modern men I think it is so wrong to have to be celibate to do Jesus s work they have hearts feelings Nd need like any other human being I certainly think if they could marry and have their family and still continue to spread Gods love would be a wonderful thing and put pay to a great deal of child abuse and I. Sorry but the ones who still abuse the children should not be priests anymore and pay the penalty just like any other crime doer

  9. The Catholic Church is a wealthy organization, it can afford not only to compensate the victims of child abuse right around the world but it can also afford to mend broken communities by donating things that those communities need.I feel it needs to show real change and bring itself into the 21st century. Many of the rules and customs are 2,000 years old. It also should allow priests to marry and let women play more of a role in the church. But I don’t think any of this will be done, this will be swept under the carpet as it has been in many other countries

    1 REPLY
    • To say the church is wealthy is a Mifff and has no basis to support same. It is only it’s members who provide
      Funds that enable itto carr y out the mission work around the world each year. Admittingly it has property many of which has debt attached. . But if this was sold how would it carry out the pastoral work through out the world”. I fear you have been misguided by media reports the facts are often misleading “

  10. This Church will say all the right words but will do nothing about real change. This religion is a very wealthy cult , it is run like a Politics in any country and the Pope is the figure head who has no real power. The Cardinals run the show, Australia is just the last in a long line of countries where children have been abused, and there may be much more abuse around the world yet to be exposed.

    3 REPLY
    • No it is true for these victims nothing can be done to right the wrongs that they all expirenced.
      However procedures can be Putin place by the church to see that there is no reoccurrence of
      These Dreadful Acts in the Future.
      This problem is a world wide concern with Slavery and abuse all around the World.

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