CRUX on Child Abuse Accusations
For some time, CRUX has been a reliable cog in the Vatican’s propaganda machine. Now it has wandered off the reservation: State AGs double down on objections to Church’s handling of sex abuse.” This challenges a couple of memes the Church has been pushing recently.
The main point was that the two attorney generals whose reports created the recent furor - Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania and Lisa Madigan of Illinois – emphasized the Church’s heinous crimes and its woefully inadequate handling of those crimes. Madigan said the Church “failed to react properly, they haven’t put in place the policies, they haven’t put in place procedures, they haven’t admitted what has happened.”
Both Shapiro and Madigan commented on Pope Francis’ upcoming summit on child abuse:
“I hope whatever comes out of this meeting in February includes some sort of recognition that secular authorities must be part of the solution,” said Shapiro.
Madigan echoed those thoughts, adding “You can’t hold yourself out as the ultimate moral authority and be raping and molesting children.”
Steinfels Attacks Pennsylvania AG Report
Peter Steinfels, a veteran Catholic reporter, charged the Pennsylvania AG report was “grossly misleading, irresponsible, inaccurate, and unjust.” These charges appeared in Commonweal, a Catholic journal, and were trumpeted by other Catholic media – including CRUX. Steinfels’ major point was that most of the crimes reported were old. He believes that the Dallas charter in 2002 largely fixed the problem
Shapiro, who produced the report in question, said Steinfels’ charges were “demonstrably false.” CRUX deserves credit for reporting Shapiro's reply; other Catholic media did not. First, Shapiro noted that some bishops who covered up and abetted crimes are still in place; there is no evidence of “zero tolerance.” Second, he said “his office has received nearly 1,500 calls to its clergy abuse hotline,” many involving crimes occurring after the Dallas Charter.
As I’ve repeatedly noted, there is a long delay in reporting clerical abuse crimes; even in the 1980s when the scandal first broke out, the vast majority of the crimes were old. In Australia, the average delay was thirty years.
New Lists of Abusers
Many archdioceses have recently released lists of abusers. This is intended to show that the Church has become transparent and is no longer trying to conceal such data. AG Madigan pointed out that Pennylvania’s six dioceses had not released the names of more than 500 priests accused of abuse. Attorney Generals of several states have started their own clergy abuse hotlines, and are finding that Church lists substantially underreport abusers. There are a variety of reasons for this. Both the scope and the reasons for the underreporting are presently unknown.