Vatican shows systemic lack of accountability

Vatican shows systemic lack of accountability

OVER recent decades, tens of thousands of victims of abuse by Catholic clergy have suffered at the hands of the Catholic Church’s policies. These policies have perennially sacrificed the victim in favour of the institution and the perpetrating clergy. Pope Benedict has held senior doctrinal roles overseeing these policies for nearly three decades. Over that time it is the victims who have borne the cross of abuse and the betrayal by the Church through inaction.

The Australian has uncovered yet another shameful story, this time of the unrepentant Peter Chalk, the former Catholic priest safely ensconced in Japan as allegations of child sex abuse against him mount up, and of the alleged cover-up by the hierarchy of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (“After 20 years, an abuser is revealed”, 18-19/9).

Chalk’s statements, as reported, display a complete lack of remorse. He is quoted: “There certainly seems to be some kind of desire, especially in English-speaking countries, to make a big issue out of these things. What the exact motivation of people is I don’t know.” Might I suggest that the desire and motivation for victims is to find justice, support, help and redress?

And, no, children of 14 should not be “considered as adults”. Children are children and being abused is never a child’s fault or responsibility. There is no “maximum amount of fun in these so-called crude areas”. Such appalling ignorance and pernicious minimisation of the crimes of child sexual assault only serve to compound the harm caused to victims.

It is the systemic lack of accountability from the church which has enabled the rape and abuse of countless more innocent children and left countless victims struggling day-to-day to find a life worth living. Surely addressing the damage to the victims is the priority here?