After months of limited action on a nearly global crisis over the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, Pope Benedict XVI and the Vatican press office affirmed today that the church plans to take steps towards bringing clerical abusers to justice.
At a Wednesday address in St. Peter’s Square Pope Benedict described a tearful meeting with eight abused men in Malta on his trip to the tiny Catholic island nation last weekend on what Catholics believe was 1,950th anniversary of the apostle Paul’s famed shipwreck there. The Malta trip was reportedly viewed with considerable trepidation after the abuse of dozens of children there came to light April 5.
“I shared with them their suffering, and emotionally prayed with them, assuring them of church action,” Benedict said today amid well wishers in Rome, according to the Associated Press.
It’s been a month already Ratzinger’s letter to Ireland, in which he made no suggestion of any course of action–and that was five months after the realease of the Murphy Report detailing the scope of corruption. And all this is, of course, seven years after the Boston Globe first began publishing on the conspiracies of Bernard Law, bringing the church’s perennial problem to public light for the first time. Only now, seven years–hell, 1900 years late–does the man on top say he intends to do something about the problem, but lays out no concrete, or even suggestive proposals for what will be done. Until he or one of his close subordinates says otherwise, I’m going to assume the whole of the plan is prayer. There’s not much more Ratzinger can do, unless he wants to indict himself. By putting any conspiritous bishop to any punishment, Ratzinger would be condemning himself to the same discipline for having failed to act decisively in any one of the six rape cases we know about– those of Peter Hullerman, Marcel Maciel, Lawrence Murphy, Michael Teta, Robert C. Trupia, and Stephen Kiesle.
Call me what you will, but I’m unmoved by his tears. Not everyone pathetic is worthy of empathy. Again, I return to Spinoza (Ethica Bk. IV, Prop. L, Note):
[H]e, who is easily…moved by another’s sorrow or tears, often does something which he afterwards regrets; partly because we can never be sure that an action caused by emotion is good, partly because we are easily deceived by false tears.