Holding onto a shadow

Der Spiegel takes a hard look at the Vatican’s secretive ways with abusive employees.

According to the instructions from Rome, the bishops were to deal very firmly with each individual case — so firmly, in fact, that everything would remain within the confines of the Holy Church…On the surface, the Vatican’s objective is to protect the sacrament of the confession. In reality, however, it is trying to uphold the Catholic Church’s claim to being a superior moral authority. Nothing can be allowed to besmirch this authority: not the sexual abuse of children and adolescents, committed by thousands of Catholic priests worldwide…

And there you have it – the Catholic church’s total moral failure, in a nutshell. The failure is total because if the Church actually had any superior moral authority it would instantly realize – it would be aware without even having to pause to realize – that this attempt was an effort to square the circle – was an exercise in meaninglessness. An organization cannot perpetrate gross harms on vulnerable people and then try to uphold its claim to being a superior moral authority by failing to prevent further such gross harms. It’s like trying to have your cake after you’ve eaten it by clinging like grim death to the empty plate. It can’t be done – it’s too late.

But the Church failed to realize that, thus revealing itself to be morally bankrupt, and actively assisting its employees to go on harming people. Secrecy about crimes against people have exactly that effect, and the Church cannot be such a moral imbecile that it is not aware of that fact. The result is that all it upheld is a fa├žade of superior moral authority, behind which lurks suppurating moral rot of the most sinister kind. All it upheld is a glittering shell decorating a gang of child-abusers and their aiders and abettors.

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