So Ratzo has apologised, then. He’s said sorry that his foot soldiers were guilty of ruining people’s lives in Ireland.
Big of him.
He could have done the decent thing and resigned, or topped himself, as some of the victims of priests in several countries have done, according to the National Secular Society (NSS).
But the victims and their families will have to make do with an apology from an old fart in a frock. The trouble is, some of them – good Catholics that they are – will just tug their forelocks and accept it.
Got to hand it to the NSS, though. Its director, Keith Porteous Wood, pulled no punches in Geneva when he spoke this week to the United Nations Human Rights Council on behalf of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, which he represents.
“Billions of dollars – and euros – have already been paid out in respect of thousands of victims in the USA and Ireland,” he said. “News of further abuse has since appeared in Austria, the Netherlands and now Germany – and this is just the tip of the iceberg. How much more evidence of children’s suffering at the hands of the Church will the UN and the international community tolerate before fulfilling their responsibility to those children to hold the Vatican to account?
“The Vatican is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child but has contravened several of its articles, and is more than 10 years behind in its reporting. It has habitually compounded the abuse and facilitated multiple reoffending by moving offenders around and shielding them from prosecuting authorities by imposing the ‘pontifical secret’.
“Major investigations in the USA and Ireland have been deliberately and cynically obstructed by the Church at all levels without censure from above. This includes the Vatican’s representative in Ireland, suggesting that he acted under instruction from the highest level in the Church. All this has led to abusers being allowed to continue offending and to escape justice, while their victims despair – some even committing suicide.
“The Church cannot claim it is being victimised. It still places the protection of its reputation, and even more its assets, above the protection of those entrusted to its care. Over 90 per cent of the compensation payments paid by cash-strapped Ireland came from the tax payers, including the abused themselves.
“When we raised this issue at the UN in September 2009, the Church blamed everyone else, but did promise one paltry paragraph on clerical abuse in its report to the UN. Even that mandatory report – already 13 years overdue and promised last September – has still not been filed with the UN.
“Following an instruction from Cardinal Ratzinger when head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, all suspicions and accusations of child abuse were to be sent to the Vatican in secret.”
I’ve embedded a video of his speech below. The CRC you’ll hear mentioned there is Convention on the Rights of the Child.
You may also want to read my own article in the current Gay & Lesbian Humanist. Ratzo, I conclude, is in one important respect no different from Adolf Hitler.