Here we are in the UK debating whether ten year olds have the level of development that gives them criminal responsibility. Some want it raised to twelve, and some in Europe say fourteen or even fifteen. Go back to 1975 and we have Cardinal Sean Brady before he was a bishop asking a boy of ten and a boy of fourteen to sign papers to be silent about the child abuser cleric Brendan Smyth, who then went on to abuse others. This cardinal will not resign. Then we have BBC reporter Olenka Frenkiel's investigation into former priest Bill Carney who was named as one of the worst cases in Dublin's Catholic diocese in the Murphy Report into clerical abuse there. Despite all the loud talk, the Irish authorities are still doing nothing about him.
There are increasing numbers of reports emerging from all around Europe about Catholic priests and abuse, and this Church looks rotten to the core as it will not get to grips with its situation. The BBC report about Sean Brady includes emerging stories of abuse even linked to a choir once led by Pope Benedict's clerical brother, Georg Ratzinger. For known decades it has preached morality and has been quite other in its many dirty corners.
It's good that Ireland and Spain and Poland are breaking free now of this monolith Church, but obviously not yet free enough regarding the State. It is the people breaking free who are exposing the shoddy actions of those who covered up the wrong doers, and who moved them on to carry on. In more supernaturalist parts of the world, one can only wonder at what abuse is still going on and being covered up within the religious bureaucracy that first of all looks after its own.
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