It is about recent reports of corruption and terrible evils that have taken place within the confines of the leadership of the Catholic Church.
A few days ago a long-delayed investigation into Ireland’s Roman Catholic-run institutions was released. It chronicled how priests and nuns molested, abused and tortured thousands of boys and girls for decades. More importantly it documented how those in authority, government officials, and government inspectors failed to stop the beatings, rapes and abuse. The report concludes that church officials shielded their orders' pedophiles from arrest, amid a culture of self-serving secrecy. They turned a blind eye.
In the United Kingdom, we have medical "regulatory" bodies (such as the MHRA and the General Medical Council). We have individuals promoted to positions of professional leadership. These bodies and individuals are supposed to act as guardians of scientific and clinical integrity in medicine. They are supposed to protect the public against quackery, and to uphold the scientific ideals of our profession. Like the corrupt bodies within the Church, these institutions don't always fulfill their stated mission. Too often they act act as protectors of those who are guilty of scientific fraud, of abusing patients and of corruption. Particular individuals within those bodies act to conceal crimes and deception. Rules of conduct are meticulously created and revised, but disobeyed with impunity. The supposed mission of these organisations and the reputation of our profession is brought into disrepute through these actions.
These organisations hide their sins behind a barrrier of secrecy. Names and transparency are important however. The Christian Brothers successfully sued the commission in 2004 to keep the identities of all of its members unnamed in the report resulting in massive backfire and complete loss of any residual reputation. In medicine, bodies such as the General Medical Council demonstrate the same staggering incompetence when they try to get involved in tricky little exercises to protect their friends. Those, like the hilarious exercise to try to hide the scientific adventures of their friend Professor Richard Eastell and his "collaborations" with Procter and Gamble Pharmaceuticals tend to result in a similar outcome for the profession of medicine.
Read the full report of the Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse report here, or a summary (Associated Press).
The corruption was articulated even more strongly in Milwaukee this week. It is said that retired Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland states that he "did not comprehend" the potential harm to victims in Milwaukee, nor did he understand that what the priests had done constituted a crime (see here and here)
"We all considered sexual abuse of minors as a moral evil, but had no understanding of its criminal nature."Weakland stands accused of assisting in cover-up of the abuse. A 2003 report on the sexual abuse of minors by clergy in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee revealed that allegations of sexual assaults on minors had been made against 58 ordained men, who were under the direct supervision of the Archbishop of Milwaukee. By early 2009, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee had spent approximately $26.5 million in attorney fees and settlements to victims. Weakland retired in 2002 after it became known that he paid $450,000 to a man who had accused him of date rape.
I "accepted naively the common view that it was not necessary to worry about the effects on the youngsters: either they would not remember or they would ‘grow out of it’."
Why are these men and women not in prison?
- Cargo Cult Science : Large Groups of Humans
- Video Documentary : Deliver us from Evil
- The Freethinker: ‘We did not know that child abuse was a crime,’ says retired Catholic archbishop
- Report of the Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse in Ireland