Mentom - Singapore 2012

© Mentom – May 2012

Still living in the past

Saturday 3 April 2010, by Mentom

All the versions of this article:

  • English

Easter again.

It is now almost one year that a fiercely debated, long-delayed investigation into Ireland’s Roman Catholic-run institutions has been published. It says priests and nuns of more than 250 church-run institutions terrorized thousands of boys and girls in workhouse-style schools for decades — and government inspectors failed to stop the chronic beatings, rapes and humiliation.

The report concluded that church officials always shielded their orders’ pedophiles from arrest to protect their own reputations and, according to documents uncovered in the Vatican, knew that many pedophiles were serial attackers.

The investigators said overwhelming, consistent testimony from still-traumatized men and women, now in their 50s to 80s, had demonstrated beyond a doubt that the entire system treated children more like prison inmates and slaves than people with legal rights and human potential.

"A climate of fear, created by pervasive, excessive and arbitrary punishment, permeated most of the institutions and all those run for boys. Children lived with the daily terror of not knowing where the next beating was coming from," the final report of Ireland’s Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse concluded.

The report, unveiled by High Court Justice Sean Ryan, found that molestation and rape were "endemic" in boys’ facilities, chiefly run by the Christian Brothers, and supervisors pursued policies that increased the danger. Girls supervised by orders of nuns, chiefly the Sisters of Mercy, suffered much less sexual abuse but frequent assaults and humiliation designed to make them feel worthless.

The Irish government already has funded a parallel compensation system that has paid 12,000 abuse victims an average of euro65,000 ($90,000). About 2,000 claims remain outstanding.

Victims receive the payouts only if they waive their rights to sue the state and the church. Hundreds have rejected that condition and taken their abusers and those church employers to court.


Another Easter story

In 2003, the Thelogian and Professor Gotthold Hasenhuettl; celebrated the "Last Supper Mass" according to Catholic traditions, in a Protestant church in Berlin. He also explicitely invited non-Catholics to share the communion. Immediately after this event, Hasenhuettl was suspended from his function as a priest, by the Bishop Reinhard Marx. Hasenhuettl appealed to the Vatican, and as a consequence, not only his suspension was confirmed, but he also lost the Church’ permission to teach.

Hasenhuettl’s teaching were personally critized by the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

Today, Hasenhüttl directly accuses the now-Pope Benedikt for the systematic silence of the Church regarding sexual abuse. He claims that Ratzinger, as head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, had in fact forbidden to every Bishop, in a paper written on 18 May 2001 , under threat of punishment, to bring known cases to the public.


What strikes me most in the story, is that distributing a communion to non-Catholics seems to be a more serious offense the abusing or raping children : Hasenhuettl was suspended and his appeal rejected, while priests molesting children in Ireland, Germany, United States and who knows where else were left unharmed for decades or were "given another chance".

The question arises, where this silence of the Church was not merely an administrative error but exactly intentional and directed. Maybe the "clean" image of the institution is more important then some abuses here and there; more important then the Truth. It seems to.

To everyone to make his own conclusion.

For this Easter, I just hope that the Pope’s usual finger-pointing at other’s mistakes might just be a little less confident as usual.


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