Now this is more like it: Earlier today, the Vatican announced that it was officially okay for bishops and other clerics of the Catholic Church to report cases of sex abuse by priests to the police.
. . . Right?
I know some of you might be saying to yourself, “But this measure is far below bare minimum. Doesn’t the fact that the bishops require papal permission to turn child molesters over to the cops speak to how deeply flawed and out of touch the church is?”
And you’re right. You’re right. The update posted today to the Essential Norms For Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors By Priests or Deacons isn’t exactly a stirring call to reform:
11. The diocese/eparchy will comply with all applicable civil laws with respect to the reporting of allegations of sexual abuse of minors to civil authorities and will cooperate in their investigation. In every instance, the diocese/eparchy will advise and support a person’s right to make a report to public authorities.
But don’t forget that this is the same Catholic Church that took 400 years to apologize for persecuting Galileo, and formally held the Jewish people as a whole responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus until 1965. Judged by that standard, the church’s directive that its bishops obey the law in handling sex abuse cases is breathtakingly swift, at least relative to clergy sex abuse here in America. The laws of the United States have only existed a mere 230 years or so, afterall.
So, just to recap:
The Catholic Church and the rest of the world have known about scores of priests sexually assaulting thousands of children for at least the last several decades.
The church just announced that it’s going to start reporting cases of child molestation by its employees to the police.
But they still insist they couldn’t have handled all this any better, and nobody, especially the pope, did anything wrong by not firing known child molesters and turning them over to face justice.
That’s about it.