The plague of the predatory pedophile priests in the Roman Catholic Church worldwide has reached the Vatican. Litigation dealing with child molestation by priests already has bankrupted many American dioceses. The world press has recently reported scandals in Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Disclosure of more than 60 cases in Switzerland has prompted the Swiss Conference of Bishops to finally address the problem. In Germany, the pope’s brother has been connected to choirboy abuses. The current pope himself has been charged with keeping abuses confidential and sheltering abusive priests when he was a cardinal, permitting a “wall of silence” to avoid prosecutions (the Vatican denies his role in any cover-up of the abuses).

At a recent meeting at the Vatican of high church officials, the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, told the 24 Irish bishops that their country’s pedophilia scandals were “abominable sins,” as if they needed to be told that obvious conclusion. In November 2009, the Murphy report to Irish church officials concluded that obsessive concealment between 1975 and 2004 protected the Church but failed to safeguard its children. It was a “culture of cover-up.” Victims groups pleaded with the pope to redress these flagrant abrogations of “Christ’s teaching.” The pope apologized and told the bishops to be “courageous”, but he was not.

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