Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pope on a Rope: Catholic Sexual Abuse and Statute of Limitations

     Pope Benedict is a cleric on a wire, tightrope walking his way over a seemingly bottomless chasm of priest-perpetrated sexual abuse allegations and cover up by Catholic clerics in power. 

     It seems that daily news reports are tying both Pope Ben and deceased, soon-to-be-Saint John Paul II to more cases of the mishandling and enabling of perpetrators of child rape and sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. 

     The tightrope is swaying and fraying.  Is it only a matter of time before Pope Ben falls into the chasm?  Is there any sacred soap that can gracefully wash away the stain of scandal?

     Yesterday, The New York Times published an Op-ed by Lawrence Lessig, law professor and director of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard.  In the piece, Lessig calls the church and Pope Benedict on their empty pledges to do all they can "to investigate abuse accusations and find ways to safeguard children in the future," while they continue to lobby against laws that will loosen the statute of limitations in sexual abuse cases, allowing victims to seek justice against their perpetrators. 

     We've seen this blatant and financially motivated hypocrisy in Connecticut and Florida over the past few weeks.  Lessig discusses how the bishops of New Jersey and New York have been and are continuing to lobby against victims' legal rights.

     Lessig states:
     If the New York Catholic Conference stops this reform, it will achieve three things. First, it will protect its own wealth. Second, it will assure that potentially thousands of victims who have been abused by priests will have no opportunity for compensation. And third, it will help preserve a system of irresponsibility that makes it too easy to ignore child sexual abuse, because the costs of ignoring it are lower in New York than in most other states.

     If Pope Benedict and the church want redemption for the crimes of Catholic priests, there must continue to be confessions of those past sins. But just as important, the church must look at what it is doing today and end its campaign to block the weak and the vulnerable from receiving help to deal with the consequences of criminal sexual abuse.
Image Credits:
Pope on a Rope, Cheaper than Therapy
Pope on a Rope Medallians, Mahalo Answers
Pope on a Rope in a Box, Verbal Viagra
Pope on a Tightrope, Photobuck Mariter7


truthspew said...

The most astounding part of all this is that the stories continue to emerge. It's like peeling an onion except where at every level the core leads to the same people.