A Key Event from the Summit

NCR reports, “Cardinal admits to Vatican summit that Catholic Church destroyed abuse files.” Cardinal Marx of Germany told the summit, “Files that could have documented the terrible deeds and named those responsible were destroyed, or not even created.” But he offered few details.

He admitted, “Instead of the perpetrators, the victims were regulated and silence imposed on them. The stipulated procedures and processes for the prosecution of offences were deliberately not complied with, but instead cancelled or overridden.” Marx described “a number of practices that survivors have documented for years but church officials have long kept under secret.”

Cardinal Marx’s talk provided no information about who, where, or when. But the fact that survivors have been documenting them for years suggests that they are not just recent events, but have been going on for quite some time – as victims have documented.  But in a press conference after the summit, Cardinal Marx said “he was referring in his speech to the September 2018 German report on the destruction of files. “I have absolutely no information as to other cases.’”

At the summit which was designed to show that the Church was turning over a new leaf, we not only get another violation of transparency, I suspect we have another example of a cover-up. Apparently the powers that be were not willing to discuss the long history of the Church’s tampering with evidence, so they got Cardinal Marx to declare that he was only referring to a recent event.

In fact, we know that under Pope John Paul II there was a great deal tampering with the evidence. In all likelihood, Pope John Paul instructed the clergy to do so in order to protect the Church. The Church acknowledges that Pope John Paul had in place silence orders - the “pontifical secret” - to protect abusers. It is virtually certain that this was not the only form of cover-up he put in place.

Rather than come clean, today’s Vatican used the Abuse Summit to cover up the history of their misconduct. This is in keeping with their failure to propose, much less enact, any of the concrete measures Pope Francis promised at the opening of the summit.

 

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