It’s just come to light that Cardinal George Pell is going to appear in court in Australia on sexual assault charges. Good. It’s about damn time.
But what I’m not seeing in all of the coversage I’ve read so far is any mention of the church cooperating with the investigation. They are not, as far as I can tell, sending along any documents showing where Pell may have been at the relevant times, any notes from his personnel files, letters to his past, present, or future supervisors or colleagues.
Credit where credit is due: the Catholic church in Montreal has started a program whereby priests and church volunteers will be fingerprinted before being allowed to work with children and other vulnerable people, and will not be left alone with them. And this seems to be voluntary, as a result of public outcry stemming from earlier sex crimes, but not imposed by a court. So bravo. However, this is just a local program.
The church as a whole still has not come clean, and continues to impede criminal investigations. So don’t let anyone tell you that the scandal is over, because the coverup continues.
In the AP’s story about the Milwaukee diocese having to release its records of priestly sex abuse and shuffling priests around to protect Holy Mother Church, one part jumped out at me:
Listecki, who succeeded Dolan in Milwaukee, said Tuesday in his weekly email to priests, parish leaders and others that he hoped releasing the documents would allow the church to move forward. But he also warned that descriptions of abuse can be “ugly.”
“I worry about the reactions of abuse survivors when confronted again with this material and pray it doesn’t have a negative effect on them,” he wrote.
which I think translates to “the things we did to those people are so horrible, we don’t want to hurt them further by releasing the details of our horrible actions to the public.”
This deserves to be the the prime textbook example of a self-serving rationalization.
And here I thought confession was supposed to be good for the soul.