The Calgary Herald
20 May 2011
The only acceptable reform the Vatican could have offered regarding cases of child abuse by pedophile priests was a mandate to call the police. Instead, the disappointing new “reforms” simply leave the matter of reporting abuse in the hands of bishops -where it doesn’t belong.
Doctors, social workers, teachers and ordinary citizens have a legal obligation to phone the police if they suspect a case of child abuse is occurring. The Roman Catholic Church should not consider itself exempt from this obligation.
When it comes to a crime as grave as child abuse, no organization should make self-policing its primary line of defence. To do so is to invite the danger of coverups, and after the thousands of cases of child sex abuse in which the pedophile priest perpetrators were protected by bishops and others in the church hierarchy, one would think the Vatican would hasten to distance itself from the potential for further secrecy in the matter.
Sadly, it seems as though this is a lesson that has gone unlearned.
The Vatican calls the socalled reforms “an important new step” in the fight against child abuse by priests. It is nothing of the kind. The Vatican is still standing on the same step it’s been on for years; it has not put a foot forward to real reform.
The solution is simple: Bypass the bishop and go straight to the police.