Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I don't know if anyone saw this yet. I've really stopped reporting on every little thing that comes out of the abuse crisis because, well, it looked like the clergy's strategy ended up working: hit us with so much bad news that we just get accustomed to it and stop being as outraged as we should.

However, I thought these comments were interesting:

Hiding behind a culture of "omerta" -- the Italian word for the Mafia's code of silence -- would be deadly for the Catholic Church, the Vatican's top official for dealing with sexual abuse of minors by clergy said Wednesday.

Monsignor Charles Scicluna made the unusually forthright comment in his speech to a landmark symposium in Rome on the sexual abuse crisis that has rocked the Church in the past decade.

"The teaching ... that truth is at the basis of justice explains why a deadly culture of silence, or 'omerta,' is in itself wrong and unjust," Scicluna said in his address to the four-day symposium which brings together some 200 people including bishops, leaders of religious orders, victims of abuse, and psychologists.

Rarely, if ever, has a
Vatican official used the word "omerta" - a serious accusation in Italian -- to compare the reluctance of some in the Church to come clean on the abuse scandal with the Mafia's code of silence.

"Other enemies of the truth are the deliberate denial of known facts and the misplaced concern that the good name of the institution should somehow enjoy absolute priority to the detriment of disclosure," Scicluna said.

Victims groups have for years accused some bishops in the Church of preferring silence and cover-up to coming clean on the scandal, which has sullied the image of the Church around the world, particularly in the United States.

"No strategy for the prevention of child abuse will ever work without commitment and accountability," Scicluna told the symposium at the Jesuit Pontifical Gregorian University, called "Towards Healing and Renewal."

Scicluna, a Maltese whose formal title is "justice promoter" in the Vatican's doctrinal department, is the Vatican's point man for dealing with cases of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy.

The symposium's participants are discussing how the Church can become more aware of the problem, make a commitment to listen to victims and prevent future cases of abuse.

Groups representing abuse victims say the Church must do much more to own up to the past, when known pedophile priests were shuttled from parish to parish instead of being defrocked or turned over to authorities.

It must also make greater efforts to prevent future cases, they say, accusing the Church and the Vatican of a cover-up.

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