Sunday, April 25, 2010

Fractal horror

Take a look at this. It's like a fractal of horror. The closer you look, the more you find.

It's an article about a catholic cardinal who defends his church's practice of covering up child abuse. It's hard to tell whether he really understands what he's saying or whether religion has so rotted his brain that he actually thinks he not a monster. He is:

BOGOTA -- A senior cardinal defended the Roman Catholic Church's practice of frequently not reporting sexual abusive priests to the police, saying Thursday it would have been like testifying against a family member at trial.

It's hard to imagine anyone having the slightest hesitation in testifying against a family member if they believed they had raped a child.

"The law in nations with a well-developed judiciary does not force anyone to testify against a child, a father, against other people close to the suspect," Castrillon told RCN radio. "Why would they ask that of the church? That's the injustice. It's not about defending a pedophile, it's about defending the dignity and the human rights of a person, even the worst of criminals."

First, the law might not force it, but again, why wouldn't someone do it anyway? Second, how does Castrillon make the leap from family to church? Why does the church deserve this special treatment? Why is it more like a family than any other organisation? Third, that is the injustice? Forcing someone to testify against someone who may have committed the most revolting of crimes is an injustice wheras allowing priests to continue enjoying their free pass to rape children is....what, exactly? Presumably Castrillon believes it is justified. Finally, the issue is not about whether anyone should be forced to testify, but the fact that the church and its members chose not to. It is not a matter of the priests' human rights, it's a matter of simple human decency and civic and humane responsibility.

While the church stands by "those who truly were victims (of sexual abuse)," he added, "John Paul II, that holy pope, was not wrong when he defended his priests so that they were not, due to economic reasons, treated like criminal pedophiles without due process."

Note the sneaky insertion of 'truly' in there, as if to indicate that the problem is not so widespread as it appears. Note also the 'stands by'. What does that mean, exactly? Notice that Castrillon is not saying that the church wants to help them or bring their abusers to justice or protect them or make sure it won't happen again. It seems to me that he's saying the victims are lucky they haven't been excommunicated as well.

But the main point here is the question of what reason Castrillon has to believe that the priests would not receive due process. Since when do organisations get to decide this and use it as justification for not reporting child abuse? And since when did some vague concern over a remote chance of lack of due process trump the protection of countless children? With every statement, Castrillon reenforces the inescapable conclusion that the catholic church really doesn't see the victims as a priority. It doesn't seem to think they matter at all and the uncovering of widespread and covered-up abuse is just an inconvenience, not a source of horror.

His comments came just days after the Vatican posted on its website guidelines telling bishops they should report abusive priests to police if civil laws require it. The Vatican has claimed that was long its policy, though it was never written before explicitly.

They just don't seem to get it, do they? Report abuse if civil laws require it? Not report it regardless of whether civil laws require it? And they are touting this as a good and appropriate policy? And why would any organisation need a policy on when to report child abuse? Under what circumstances would there ever be the slightest question about it? Can you imagine anyone belonging to any other organisation finding out about some alleged child abuse and going to look up the rules on what to do next? There might be procedures to follow (such as recording the evidence, informing certain people etc. but not about whether to report it.

The Vatican posted the guidelines as a response to mounting criticism that it mandated a culture of secrecy that instructed bishops to keep abuse quiet, letting it fester unchecked for decades.

Yep, that ought to do it. Not the most convincing thing you've ever read, is it?

A bishop in Brazil who oversaw three priests accused of sexual abuse acknowledged on Thursday the "shame and dishonor" brought upon the church.

And this is the attitude we get constantly from the catholic church. He didn't acknowledge the hurt that this had caused to the victims. It was the reputation of the church that seemed to be his major concern.

I'm guessing you're wondering why Castrillon hasn't blamed anyone who isn't them. Well, you'll be relieved to find that he did! His ravings continue:

The cardinal also accused unnamed insiders and enemies elsewhere of feeding the sex abuse scandals hurting the Catholic Church.

"Unfortunately there are ... useful idiots inside (the church) who lend themselves to this type of persecution," Castrillon told RCN, using a term for people duped into sympathizing with a foe of their interests. "But I'm not afraid to say that in some cases it's within the Masons, together with other enemies of the church."

The Masons! That's a new one, I think! We've had Jews, atheists, homosexuals, homosexual culture, the media and even Satan himself. It's anyone's guess who's next. The only thing we can be sure of is that they won't blame the catholic church.

Castrillon added, chillingly, that he would not give further details of these mysterious entities trying to destroy the church:

"since I'm not stupid, I don't tell everything I know. Only drunks, children and idiots tell, and I'm not a child, nor a drunk, nor stupid."

That's not quite true. People with integrity also tell what they know, when it could aid in the protection of a child. You might not be a drunk, a child or an idiot, cardinal (and the jury's out on the latter), but you are a beast. What is it you're scared of, Castrillon? Why would it be stupid to report what you know? And how many children will be raped because you won't report it?

I'll say it again, cardinal. You're a beast.

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