Vatican has less moral grounds to stand on as abuses become public

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Karmin "Pulses"

ROME – The Vatican, through spokesman Farther Frederico Lombardi writing in the Vatican newspaper, l’Osservatore Romano, again condemned same-sex unions this past week. Lombardi based his denunciation on the morality theory that legalizing same-sex unions will inevitably lead to polygamy, polyandry and the end of civilization as we know it. 

Lombardi’s editorial reflects the adamant position of the upper clergy of the Roman Catholic Church. However, polls have repeatedly shown the majority of Catholics in the U.S. support same-sex marriage equality as well as the use of condoms for birth control. Many Catholics simply ignore the church power structure which has been discredited by its efforts to hide the vast child abuse scandals in past decades. The abuse cases have also bankrupted at least eighth Roman Catholic Arch Dioceses in the U.S. and Europe.

The scandals have reached to the highest levels of the church recently. Cardinal Law of Boston escaped possible prosecution by hopping a plane to Rome in the middle of the night, where he now occupies a sinecure in the Vatican, beyond the reach of local law enforcement authorities. It is interesting to note that he is not even confined to the Vatican itself, Under the terms of the Concordat that formalized relations between the Vatican city-state and the government of Italy, Princes of the church (cardinals) cannot be arrested anywhere in Italy.

Cardinal Bevilacqua of Philadelphia escaped prosecution due to diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease. One of his top aides, Msgr. William Lynn, meanwhile was convicted of a cover-up and sent to prison. In Ireland, an exhaustive official report by the Irish government, blasted the Vatican and the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church for a history of cover-ups of child abuse in many Catholic institutions there. The Prime minister of Ireland called the Vatican “dysfunctional and elitist” and broke off diplomatic relations, sending the papal nuncio in Ireland packing. 

In Belgium, in June of 2010, Police officers raided the St. Rambouts Cathedral  acting on allegations that a cache of files concerning a sex abuse cover up was hidden in the crypt. Police opened the tomb of Leo Jozef Suenens, Belgian prelate between 1961 and 1979 and the grave of Jozef-Ernest van Roey, who was his predecessor as head of the Catholic Chruch in Belgium from 1926 until his death in 1961.The tombs  were drilled and a camera was pushed into them apparently to see whether there were any hidden documents. The raids took place during a meeting of bishops in the presence of the Vatican’s ambassador to Belgium and the senior clerics were detained as armed police officers carried out their searches. Godfried Cardinal Danneels home was also raided in Belgium by police searching for evidence in the sexual abuse of children. Belgium police also raided the offices of the Archbishop of Brussels, Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard. This came on the heels of Bishop Roger Vangheluwe’s abrupt resignation after admitting to homosexual relations with a boy in April, 2010. 

So far, the church has paid out more than 2 billion dollars (estimated) to settle claims arising from child abuse by clergy. Even the Pope, has been accused of covering up child sex abuse while a German cardinal. Many wonder why, with such a disgraceful record of leadership failure and apparent criminality, any of the rank and file Catholics bother to attend church at all. Many, of course, do not. 

Church attendance and clerical ordinations have both fallen through the floor in Europe and North America. None the less, Roman Catholics have long been able to differentiate between the core of their faith and the very fallible men who administer it. Anti-clericalism has been strident and even violent in some very Catholic countries such as Spain (during the Spanish Civil War) and Mexico where, until recently, priests were forbidden by law to appear in public wearing traditional priestly costume.

In a recent conversation, an elderly Catholic missionary nun with a long history of service to the poor in South America and a supporter of marriage equality, stated simply “I don’t pay much attention to bishops – never did,” an attitude that sums up the feelings of a large part of the Catholic laity in general.

 

ROME – The Vatican, through spokesman Farther Frederico Lombardi writing in the Vatican newspaper, l’Osservatore Romano, again condemned same-sex unions this past week. Lombardi based his denunciation on the morality theory that legalizing same-sex unions will inevitably lead to polygamy, polyandry and the end of civilization as we know it.