So the AP reports that the Pope delivered a speech heavy on misdirection and obfuscation. What else is there to do when you find yourself in a hole?
“I must say, we Christians, even in recent times, have often avoided the word ‘repent’, which seemed too tough. But now under attack from the world, which has been telling us about our sins … we realize that it’s necessary to repent, in other words, recognize what is wrong in our lives,” Benedict said.
“Open ourselves to forgiveness … and let ourselves be transformed. The pain of repentance, which is a purification and transformation, is a grace because it is renewal and the work of divine mercy,” he said.
On Monday, the Vatican posted on its Web site what it claimed had been a long-standing church policy telling bishops that they should report abuse crimes to police, where civil laws require it.
But critics have said the guidelines were merely a deceptive attempt by Rome to rewrite history, designed to shield the Vatican from blame by shifting responsibility of dealing with abusive priests onto bishops.
The Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, a canon lawyer who has been the main expert witness for victims in hundreds of lawsuits, called the guidelines a “failed attempt at damage control through revision of history.”
He noted that senior Vatican officials, including the current Vatican No. 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, were quoted in 2002 as saying the church shouldn’t require bishops to report abusive priests to police because it would violate the trust the two shared.
“In practice, the policy has been to avoid contact with civil authorities and to cover up the crimes and the criminals,” Doyle wrote in an article this week. “The newly created canonical tradition of referral to civil authorities is the result of one thing: public outrage, the exposure from the media and the pressure for accountability in civil courts.”
[A] French court gave Pican, then bishop of Bayeux-Lisieux in northwestern France, a suspended prison sentence for concealing knowledge about the Rev. Rene Bissey. Bissey was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 2000 for raping and sexually abusing 11 minors in the 1990s.
In the letter, Hoyos wrote: “I congratulate you for not having turned in a priest to the civil administration, and I am delighted to have a colleague in the episcopate who, in the eyes of history and all the other bishops of the world, will have preferred prison rather than to turn in its son-priest.”
Sounds pretty damning, if you ask me. But you shouldn’t, because I’m obviously just on an anti-Catholic crusade.
You really need to read that whole article. I can’t quote any more liberally than I already have.