On Thursday in Geneva, a United Nations panel held a remarkable hearing about the global problem of child rape by priests and questioned representatives from the Vatican about it. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that the Vatican offered an astonishingly hypocritical response to those questions:
The Vatican insisted it had little jurisdiction to sanction pedophile priests.
“Priests are not functionaries of the Vatican,” Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s U.N. ambassador in Geneva, told the committee. “Priests are citizens of their own states, and they fall under the jurisdiction of their own country.”
Victims groups called the defense hollow, given how Vatican officials instructed bishops for decades to not turn abusive priests in to police, but to keep the cases in-house and confidential.
“When they say that these crimes should be prosecuted by states, it seems so disingenuous because we know that the church officials at the state level obstruct those efforts to bring justice,” said Barbara Blaine, president of the main U.S. victims group, SNAP.
Seriously, this takes some serious chutzpah. The Catholic Church, at the command of the last pope when he was a cardinal, for decades refused to cooperate with local law enforcement around the country. They hid those crimes from local police and now they say “hey, this is a matter for the local police, it’s not our fault.” It’s really hard to imagine a more dishonest or repulsive response.