The Pope's failings

Blog: Mike Finnegan | 1:25 PM          

This weekend CNN will air a documentary about the Pope’s involvement in clergy sexual abuse. What the Pope Knew debuts Saturday at 8 pm EST and runs again Saturday at 11 pm EST and Sunday at 8 pm and 11pm EST.

Until now most of the coverage about the Pope and his role in clergy sexual abuse has focused on individual cases. CNN’s documentary takes a much broader look at the Pope’s decisions when he was an Archbishop in Germany and when he was in charge of the Vatican’s department that was supposed to deal with clergy sexual abuse. More information about the documentary is available at CNN's belief Blog.

The Pope’s decisions and inaction in Germany and in Rome left many children at risk. Unfortunately even now as more and more about his role in clergy sexual abuse surfaces, the Pope has not taken any personal responsibility for his decisions. Rather he has issued vague apologies, most recently while he was in London. This is not enough for children in the Catholic Church and not enough to be a leader in child protection.

Surely, a person of his stature could open his heart and be an example of accountability and responsibility for his grave failings. If the Pope would take action to remove all of the priests and bishops who either molested children, or covered up for those who did, he would be celebrated for his courage and righteousness. To me, it seems an empty gesture for the leader of the Catholic Church to apologize for its transgressions, yet fail to fully expose the size and scope of the problem. Indeed, the Pope, like many in other walks of life, chooses to stonewall and obfuscate while the rest of the world watches in dismay.

On the other hand, in a true example of courage, the CNN documentary features a survivor who for decades tried to get answers and help from the Vatican. Terry Kohut was sexually abused at St. John’s School for the deaf as a child by Father Murphy and begged the Vatican to do something about Murphy. His pleas went unanswered, but he has not given up and is interviewed for the first time in the documentary.

Comments (2)

Lakestella | 2/11/2013 | 9:21 AM

This Pope just announced his resignation. While we will likely never know the real reasons behind his resignation, I am hoping that Jeff Anderson's pit bull approach to holding Catholic Church officials accountable, including this Pope, had something to do with it. Jeff's quest is truly a David vs Goliath story, but hopefully his efforts at least had some influence on this. Jeff, I hope you continue your quest including your quest against this individual. Cheering for you! I am an ex-Catholic who is happily a member of another Christian Church and I will NEVER step another toe in a Catholic Church again.

Katie Murphy | 1/2/2012 | 2:21 AM

He's also the Pope who in 2009 UNexcommunicated a holocaust denier, A Bishop Williamson. Argentina discovered Williamson living there and threw him out of the country. All this comes, IMHO, from so called Papal Infability - the total arrogance of believing you are equivalent to God. And if you google "(country name) - catholic church molestation, you will find it has happened all over the world. The church has also stolen babies by the tens of thousands in Spain in the past The church has finally admitted that in ireland, Africa etc priests raped or had consensual sex with nuns, got them pregnant then the church forced them to have abortions. The list goes on and on. BTW Hitler was a catholic, and has not yet been explicitly EXcommunciated. The church also talks about relgious freedom. In Germany in 1933 it signed a treaty with the German Government, to get state support for schools etc etc. In return it did not use its moral power to oppose the nazi regime. I

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