September 24, 2013
Former Pope Benedict Denies Sexual Abuse Cover-up
Attorney: Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Statement of Jeff Anderson
There is an expression that states, “When you blame others, you give up the power to change.” Former Pope Benedict’s statement issued today, denying the cover-up of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, is both alarming and disturbing and yet another crystal-clear reflection of the Vatican, its power structure and the clerical culture that is still present today.
Unfortunately, the Vatican’s cycle of blaming others and refusing to change continues despite records revealed across the globe, particularly in the United States as a result of civil litigation, which demonstrate a longstanding pattern and practice of secrecy inside the church hierarchy. Benedict, as former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 1981-2005, received all reports made to the Vatican concerning child sexual abuse yet the pattern of secrecy remained in-tact as it still does today, as part of Canon law, concealed from the police, prosecutors and the public.
Apologies to victims of sexual abuse and recognition of mistakes does not alleviate the burdens these survivors carry, across the world, many of whom we work with every day. The wounds, caused by the clerics and top officials in concealing the sexual abuse, continue to remain open and every time responsibility is denied, salt is poured in these wounds.
Until there is full recognition and accounting of their responsibility that is more than just words, there can be no healing. That means, among other things, breaking the denial demonstrated by Benedict and embedded in the clerical culture. We will continue to stand beside the survivors, sharing in their journey to obtain the transparency and accountability that they so rightfully deserve.