Vatican’s #2 on Child Abuse

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, is Pope Francis’ right-hand man. He rarely is in the spotlight. But he just granted a TV interview on the child abuse crisis: “Pope’s top aide says Church must ‘do the impossible’ to fight abuse.”

Pope Francis must be bouncing off the wall after all the recent bad publicity. Perhaps he’s also received bad financial news. He persuaded Cardinal Parolin to help put out the fire. Pope Francis also held press conferences on the subject, blaming others while promising to finally end the problem. (President Trump emits a tweetstorm when he gets bad news. Pope Francis holds semi-impromptu press conferences. Both try to blame others for their problems.)

In any case, Cardinal Parolin did not get the job done. Most media benignly neglected to cover his attempt, but John Allen of CRUX picked up the story: “the pope’s top aide has said the Church must do ‘everything possible, and even the impossible, to eliminate this phenomenon.’”

According to the Cardinal – and I’m confident he shares the beliefs of Pope Francis and most Church leaders – dealing successfully with its child abuse problem is virtually impossible. How can anyone stop all these vile deviants from raping children? While there are two dimensions to this problem – the abuse and the cover-up, the cardinal only addressed the former.

Cardinal Parolin is apparently oblivious to the fact that no non-Catholic clergy has a similar problem. Some have a relatively high incidence of sex abuse, but this almost always involves adult women. None have a remotely comparable problem of abusing young boys. No other religion needs a miracle to prevent its clergy from abusing boys. Furthermore, no secular profession, however low its status, has a remotely comparable problem. Even after all tjese years, the Vatican fails to grasp this.

The second aspect of the problem, the cover-up, is arguably the greater atrocity. Not only did the Catholic hierarchy routinely cover-up these crimes, they often placed pederast priests in positions where they threatened new populations of young boys. This same pattern occurred in country after country. In no country did Catholic leaders have a policy of turning pederast priests over to the authorities. Bishops worldwide were almost certainly following instructions from the Vatican.

Cardinal Parolin praises the Church for its Progress

“We have to recognize that the Church has made enormous progress,” Parolin said in an interview with the Italian broadcast network TV2000. “It’s developed a progressive awareness of the problem, of the devastation these acts have produced in victims, and it’s tried to react.”

Keep in mind that the child abuse scandal in Louisiana happened over 35 years ago. Cardinal Parolin believes the Catholic Church deserves praise for developing “a progressive awareness of the problem” following a torrent of scandals over 35 years. Now that’s mercy! “It’s tried to act.” Yes, it created a special papal commission to study the problem.

It’s astonishing that the most senior authorities in the Church can harbor such beliefs. It’s even more astonishing that their flock puts up with it.


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