by: Sofia Valencia
B. Dorries, who was a victim of priestly abuse, and is now a member of the Chicago-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests told the BBC when she was a child: “If it is a disease that’s fine, but it’s also a crime and crimes are punished, criminals are held accountable for what they did and what they do (…) The bishops and the cardinals have gone to great lengths to cover these crimes to enable the predators to move on, to not be arrested, to keep the secrets within the church.”
The house of God, a sacred and holy place where you are supposed to be safe and secure, has turned into a chamber of pain and depravation. Thousands of children around the world had suffered and are still suffering in silence because how can you accuse someone you think of as holy? In addition, even if these victims speak up the crime remains unpunished.
The Roman Catholic Church appears to have a long history of pedophilia and cases of sexual harassment that have been reflected through the abundant scandals of the last decade. Many of the disgraces that have come up to light happened years or even decades ago. It is unavoidable to start wondering how all of this went by unnoticed for so many years. How is it possible that so many victims of sexual harassment never said anything? Was it out of fear? Perhaps shame? When you start asking yourself these questions, you come across a horrific answer. The Vatican, hushes up these types of scandals in order to prevent damaging the image of their institution. They keep their scandals to a minimum by pressuring the victims into silence through bribes, or threats of excommunication. These practices and techniques are supported by Church decrees such as Crimen Sollicitationis. Crimen Sollicitationis is a command released by the Vatican that outlines the procedures that should be followed in case a priest sexually harasses a parishioner. However, instead of punishing the abuser, the edict, which was enforced by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), focused in silencing the victim.
After all the harm done to these defenseless victims, you will expect a holy institution to take some action against offenders. However, the disappointment is huge when you realize the church didn’t do anything to punish these criminals. It was only when the scandals came to light, that the clerical authorities moved the pedophile priests to other parishes were most of them reoffended. For example: Lawrence Murphy, a priest who taught at St. John School for the deaf in Milwaukee, St. Francis is presumed to have molested more than 200 deaf boys before the mid 1970s. After several accusations, father Murphy was prohibited for giving mass in Milwaukee but was not further punished. When the accusations persisted, after a psychological assessment, a trial against Murphy started. Nonetheless, the case was later dropped because Archbishop Weakland considered a pastoral solution to be more appropriate because of Murphy’s poor health. In the end, all the crimes committed by father Murphy remained unpunished; he died a priest and was buried under the church’s ground.
How can we go to mass and listen to a priest preach when we know of all the depravation going on in the church? The Vatican’s hypocrisy, instead of promoting a good image for the church is completely ruining it. How can you trust and follow an institution that is protecting child offenders? How can you entrust your child to a possible rapist? These atrocities have turned churches into tombs and sepultures of all that is sacred, all that is holy, and all that can be related to God. A church that houses a child offender can be no longer the home of God; it turns into his grave. Now we should question the true meaning of the phrase: “Forgive me father for I have sinned”.
Cardinal: Paedophiles mentally ill. (2013, March 16). Daily Express World RSS. Retrieved April 3, 2014, from http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/384723/Cardinal-Paedophiles-mentally-ill
Ska-p. (n.a.). Crimen Solicitationis. Album: Lágrimas y Gozos