17 March, 2010

Model for Canada to follow in addressing sex abuse issue

Speaking to the German parliament, Chancellor Angelo Merkel called for "truth and clarity" in an investigation into sexual abuse of children. Although the scandal sweeping Germany has focused on the Catholic Church, Merkel argued that a candid inquiry should not be limited to the Church but should extend to all of society's institutions.

This is an example for our Canadian Bishops to suggest to civil authorities. It would provide an opportunity and forum through which the truth of the sexual abuse scandals (both the initial offenses by offending clergy and the attached scandals of cover-up in various Chancery Offices) could be brought to light. Further by promoting such an approach, the Bishops would be seen as being proactive in an area which has been marked with far too many examples of episcopal protective reactions.

It is time for the Bishops to step up and confront this issue directly and cooperatively with civil authorities. Chancellor Merkel may have pointed the way the would accomplish this end.

4 comments:

  1. You're right Fr Tim, it is a sensible way to approach the issue, but I think Fr DeSouza drives an important point home today in the NP: "...But the Church should be held to a higher standard than public schools, or juvenile prisons, or the mother who turns a blind eye when her creepy boyfriend molests her daughter.God forbid the Church should be considered just another place where a sexually exploitative culture holds sway..."

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  2. Excllent post Tim. I agree that a transparent and wide ranging review is preferrable to the furtive and narrow proceedings that have taken place so far.

    The question is - will the hierarchy of the Church acutally cooperate with such a civil inquiry? Will they not be inclined to claim some type of religous privilege in order to exclude internal documents from public examination?

    Cheers...Martin

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  3. Martin: Given the nature of some Church documents, I have no doubt that that some of them might be kept private. However, that does not mean that the Church cannot or should not participate in such an civil inquiry.

    I trust that participating in such an investigation would be hard for some in the hierarchy to accept... but the situation has developed in such a negative way for the Church, I cannot think of any way that will permit the church to recover its moral standing in the land.

    Tim

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