There are more saints assigned to watch over infants, little boys and girls, and adolescents than any other group, perhaps because they are the most vulnerable members of the human family. Apparently, all the saints together cannot stop priests and other religions from sexually abusing children. Why?
It is about secrets.
It is about covering up.
It’s about Cardinal Pell, a top-ranking cardinal in the Catholic Church, who has been dogged by claims that he covered up reports of sexual assault by members of the Australian clergy and abused young boys himself. Now returning to Australia to face justice.
It’s about Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis responding to a question about sex abuse of children “I’m not sure whether I knew it was a crime or not. I understand today it’s a crime.”
It’s about 547 children in the Ratisbonne choir in Germany who we now know were victims of abuse, including rapes, between 1945 and the early 1990s.
It’s about 4,440 presumed cases of sexual abuse reported to authorities at the Catholic Church in Australia. Seven percent of priests were presumed to have committed sexually abusive acts, but the probe was not followed by official action.
It’s about the orphanage in Newfoundland in the 1950s-60s where church officials were accused of failing to report cases of sexual abuse.
It’s about Ireland, Austria, Belgium, The Netherlands; it is about a culture that allowed children to suffer sexual abuse, covered it up when it did, and then transferred predator priests to new positions, with a new inventory of children, who then pay the consequences for the rest of their shorter, sicker lives.
About 2% of child sex abuse is perpetrated by predator priests; most child sex abuse is a family affair, incest. Yet the church is blocking legislation that allows victims, whether or not they were abused in the church, from identifying their predator when they can. Victims take an average of 21 years to disclose their abuse. Today in New York statutes of limitation on the crimes prevent victims from identifying their predators in court after 5 years.
Sex offenders abuse up to 100 children each. Legislation passed in California in 2002 led to 330 predators being identified, saving thousands of children from the horror of sex abuse. The church is blocking this legislation in New York.
The Church claims there will be a rush to justice by thousands of opportunists, clogging the courts, placing the Church in financial jeopardy, with bankruptcy leading to closed schools, and ending their charitable works in communities. Catholic League President Bill Donohue went as far as describing the legislation, the Child Victims Act, as ”a vindictive bill pushed by lawyers and activists out to rape the Catholic Church.”
But it hasn’t bankrupted the church in any other state. Yes, diocese goes bankrupt and reorganize their finances. Sometimes illegally, as with Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, who while Archbishop of Milwaukee sought permission to move $57 million in church funds to protect the assets from victims of clerical abuse.
Today 46,000 children a year are sexually abused in New York. Instead of spending millions lobbying to protect predators Cardinal Dolan should be asking himself what would Jesus do? I’m pretty sure he would choose to protect children.
Cardinal Dolan should walk the talk. Practice what he preaches.
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” Matthew 19:14
Andrew was a Captain in the British Army before practicing integrated marketing communications and marketing, mostly for global brands. A survivor of child sexual abuse, domestic violence, and suicide, Andrew dedicated the second half of his life to protecting children from trauma.