March 12, 2013
With the surprise announcement of Pope Benedict’s resignation and the present selection of a new pope, it is equally surprising that the mainstream media has not included a discussion of the widespread allegations of sexual child abuse by Catholic clergy or the coverup by church officials.
A study conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice found that 10,669 allegations of child sexual abuse were reported to church officials in the U.S. alone between 1950 and 2002.
Similar crimes have occurred in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Italy, and elsewhere. And according to a complaint filed by The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) on behalf of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) before the International Criminal Court, between 1981 and 2005, there are more than 100,000 sexual abuse victims.
The CCR complaint alleges that Vatican officials, including then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, ignored information that subordinates were committing these crimes and engaged in a widespread coverup of such abuse. The complaint alleges that since 1981, when then Cardinal Ratzinger headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he had primary responsibility for dealing with the clergy sex crimes. His refusal to decisively address the epidemic – and discipline Church officials who protected predator priests – was exacerbated when he became Pope.
There is some speculation that his resignation was to avoid criminal prosecution.
The reputation of the Catholic Church is in tatteres. Surely, the cardinals must choose a reformer, someone like Cardinal Angelo Scola to clean up the mess left behind by Pope Benedict. The status quo just won’t do. The future of the Catholic Church is at stake.