One of the commenters on a thread in Pharyngula said
By the way, the RCC [Roman Catholic Church] protected the priests who were raping children and spirited bishops like Cardinal Law who conspired to protect the priests out of the country so they could not be prosecuted.
Another responded with delivered this blast about the history of the Roman Catholic Church:
Actually, it’s worse even than that. The Vatican has had an official policy of concealment since 1962. As Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, none other than Pope Benedict XVI himself, then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, was responsible for its coordination and the Vatican policy of non-cooperation with law-enforcement. Since the State of the Vatican City is sovereign under international law, the Papal Nuncio is regarded as an ambassador and his official office/residence in a country is subject to the diplomatic doctrine of extraterritoriality. In several countries, the Roman Catholic Church has concealed documentary evidence of child rape by storing documents in the Papal Nuncio’s residence, out of reach of any search warrant.
I guess reputation is everything.
Another points out:
The Catholic Church protected pedophile priests from the consequences of their actions, shuffling them from parish to parish. When he was Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Ratzi the Nazi was instrumental in deceiving the laity by protecting child-molesting priests through his role as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This Guardian article details how Ratzinger asserted the Church’s right to keep sex abuse hearings secret and out of the hands of secular authorities.
The molestation of children by priests was enabled and protected by the entire church hierarchy, going all the way to the Pope himself.
To a Catholic, raping children is okay, but molesting a cracker, that warrants the death penalty!
Did any of the Catholics attaxcking PZ protest the culture of silence in the church that enabled the molestation? Did any of them leave the church? If not, then the clear implication is that the widespread rape of children by priests did not dissuade Catholics from their allegiance to the church that allowed the rapes to happen.
The Guardian article:
Pope Benedict XVI faced claims last night he had ‘obstructed justice’ after it emerged he issued an order ensuring the church’s investigations into child sex abuse claims be carried out in secret.
The order was made in a confidential letter, obtained by The Observer, which was sent to every Catholic bishop in May 2001.
It asserted the church’s right to hold its inquiries behind closed doors and keep the evidence confidential for up to 10 years after the victims reached adulthood. The letter was signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was elected as John Paul II’s successor last week.
Lawyers acting for abuse victims claim it was designed to prevent the allegations from becoming public knowledge or being investigated by the police. They accuse Ratzinger of committing a ‘clear obstruction of justice’.
The letter, ‘concerning very grave sins’, was sent from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office that once presided over the Inquisition and was overseen by Ratzinger.
It spells out to bishops the church’s position on a number of matters ranging from celebrating the eucharist with a non-Catholic to sexual abuse by a cleric ‘with a minor below the age of 18 years’. Ratzinger’s letter states that the church can claim jurisdiction in cases where abuse has been ‘perpetrated with a minor by a cleric’.
The letter states that the church’s jurisdiction ‘begins to run from the day when the minor has completed the 18th year of age’ and lasts for 10 years.
It orders that ‘preliminary investigations’ into any claims of abuse should be sent to Ratzinger’s office, which has the option of referring them back to private tribunals in which the ‘functions of judge, promoter of justice, notary and legal representative can validly be performed for these cases only by priests’.
‘Cases of this kind are subject to the pontifical secret,’ Ratzinger’s letter concludes. Breaching the pontifical secret at any time while the 10-year jurisdiction order is operating carries penalties, including the threat of excommunication.
The letter is referred to in documents relating to a lawsuit filed earlier this year against a church in Texas and Ratzinger on behalf of two alleged abuse victims. By sending the letter, lawyers acting for the alleged victims claim the cardinal conspired to obstruct justice.
Daniel Shea, the lawyer for the two alleged victims who discovered the letter, said: ‘It speaks for itself. You have to ask: why do you not start the clock ticking until the kid turns 18? It’s an obstruction of justice.’
Father John Beal, professor of canon law at the Catholic University of America, gave an oral deposition under oath on 8 April last year in which he admitted to Shea that the letter extended the church’s jurisdiction and control over sexual assault crimes.
The Ratzinger letter was co-signed by Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone who gave an interview two years ago in which he hinted at the church’s opposition to allowing outside agencies to investigate abuse claims.
‘In my opinion, the demand that a bishop be obligated to contact the police in order to denounce a priest who has admitted the offence of paedophilia is unfounded,’ Bertone said.
Shea criticised the order that abuse allegations should be investigated only in secret tribunals. ‘They are imposing procedures and secrecy on these cases. If law enforcement agencies find out about the case, they can deal with it. But you can’t investigate a case if you never find out about it. If you can manage to keep it secret for 18 years plus 10 the priest will get away with it,’ Shea added.
A spokeswoman in the Vatican press office declined to comment when told about the contents of the letter. ‘This is not a public document, so we would not talk about it,’ she said.