As the College of Cardinals assembles to select the next Pope to replace retired Nazi Pope Benedict XVI, the PR spin doctors for the Catholic Church strive to dupe the public and the Church laity into believing that things have changed in terms of the Church hierarchy's behavior towards predator priests. As news reports out of the United Kingdom reveal, the truth of the matter is that little if anything has changed. A story in The Guardian shows that it is still the same old pattern of cover ups and deception. Here are some story highlights:
The hierarchy of Scotland's Catholic church was on the defensive again last night over claims that bishops knew of as many as 20 allegations of child sex abuse by priests in the 1980s and 90s, along with a separate revelation that the Vatican is currently considering the case of a Scottish priest accused of child sex abuse.
The claims about the 20 cases, which were made by an academic previously involved in advising the church on sexual abuse and how to respond to it, also came as a report suggested that Cardinal Keith O'Brien was summoned to Rome to answer charges of sexual impropriety as early as October last year.
O'Brien was forced to resign last month by Pope Benedict XVI, barely 36 hours after the Observer disclosed that three serving priests and one former priest were accusing him of "inappropriate acts" against them nearly 30 years ago.
While he made a dramatic admission last weekend that he was guilty of sexual misconduct throughout his career in the church, new questions about the handling of his case have now been raised by a report by the Catholic weekly, the Tablet, which claimed that he was called to Rome last year after a priest lodged an allegation with the Congregation for Bishops.
A separate report by the BBC, which claimed that bishops knew of as many as 20 allegations of child sex abuse by priests, was based on correspondence between senior clerics and Alan Draper, an expert in social work and lecturer at Dundee University who compiled a report for the church on how to deal with abuse.
He remains scathing about the hierarchy's response to the report drawn up by him and a working party and last night called on the church to open up its files and records to an independent assessment.
"Certainly there's strong evidence to say some of the priests were out of control sexually, whether they be homosexual or heterosexual," he said. "The file should be made open to an independent group, preferably chaired by a judge."
The Church hierarchy remains a veritable cesspool. How anyone can honor and give deference to these horrible men is dumbfounding.