Church Office Failed to Act on Abuse Scandal By LAURIE GOODSTEIN and DAVID M. HALBFINGER
July 1, 2010 In its long struggle to grapple with sexual abuse, the Vatican often cites as a major turning point the decision in 2001 to give the office led by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger the authority to cut through a morass of bureaucracy and handle abuse cases directly. The decision, in an apostolic letter from Pope John Paul II, earned Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, a reputation as the Vatican insider who most clearly recognized the threat the spreading sexual abuse scandals posed to the Roman Catholic Church. But church documents and interviews with canon lawyers and bishops cast that 2001 decision and the future pope’s track record in a new and less flattering light.
The Vatican took action only after bishops from English-speaking nations became so concerned about resistance from top church officials that the Vatican convened a secret meeting to hear their complaints — an extraordinary example of prelates from across the globe collectively pressing their superiors for reform, and one that had not previously been revealed. And the policy that resulted from that meeting, in contrast to the way it has been described by the Vatican, was not a sharp break with past practices.
It was mainly a belated reaffirmation of longstanding church procedures that at least one bishop attending the meeting argued had been ignored for too long, according to church documents and interviews. The office led by Cardinal Ratzinger, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had actually been given authority over sexual abuse cases nearly 80 years earlier, in 1922, documents show and canon lawyers confirm. But for the two decades he was in charge of that office, the future pope never asserted that authority, failing to act even as the cases undermined the church’s credibility in the United States, Australia, Ireland and elsewhere. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/02/world/europe/02pope.html
Archbishop apologises to sex abuse victims Jul 3, 2010 Melbourne’s Catholic Archbishop has apologised to church sex abuse victims for what he describes as an unacceptable evil. In a letter to parishioners, Archbishop Denis Hart said continuing reports of abuse, including the latest investigations in Europe, are causing great distress and shame for the Church. He offered a sincere and unreserved apology for what he describes as a grave evil.
The Sexual Revolution and Children – How the Left Took Things Too Far 07/02/2010
By Jan Fleischhauer and Wiebke Hollersen Germany’s left has its own tales of abuse. One of the goals of the German 1968 movement was the sexual liberation of children. For some, this meant overcoming all sexual inhibitions, creating a climate in which even pedophilia was considered progressive….One of the few leaders of the left who staunchly opposed the pedophile movement early on was social scientist Günter Amendt. “There is no equitable sexuality between children and adults,” Amendt said, expressing his outrage over the movement. Alice Schwarzer, the founder of the political women’s magazine Emma, also spoke out against the downplaying of sex with children and defined it as what it really was: outright abuse.