By Avellon Williams
Port of Spain, TRINIDAD – For decades, accusations of pedophilia have been leveled against members of the Roman Catholic Clergy.
There have also been that the upper echelons of the Catholic Clergy, namely: Archbishops and Cardinals, have tried to cover up these accusations by simply assigning the offending Priests to another Parish.
This gave the offending priests another opportunity to find new victims to satisfy his warped and voracioussexual cravings. Thus, the problem of pedophilia in the Catholic Church has been allowed to fester instead of being dealt with by the hierarchy.
It is believed that the problem of priestly pedophilia has been known to the American Bishopric and the Vatican since the 1950s, but the Church has consistently silenced would-be whistleblowers from within its ranks.
While the established so-called ‘treatment centers’ to rehabilitate abusive priests, this did not result in increased transparency. Bishops were accused of developing methods for denying and hiding allegations of child sexual abuse.
What actually happened, was these abusive priests were referred to church-run medical centers, so they could be evaluated and treated without disclosing their crimes to independent clinicians.
Reports have indicated that pedophilia among the priesthood is a global phenomenon. From Australian country towns in Ireland and cities across the United States, the Roman Catholic Church has faced an avalanche of child sexual abuse accusations in the last few decades.
The harrowing testimony of alleged victims, most of whom are adults today, have served to keep this issue both front and center of international ecclesiastical discourse.
Emerging from a recent inquiry in France is rather sordid details which found that some 216,000 children have been abused by members of the clergy since 1950.
In this same French report, it is estimated that since the 1950s, between 2,900 and 3,200 pedophile clergymen have worked in the French Catholic Church. The report also found that about 80% of the victims were young boys.
In Boston in early 2002, the Boston Globe, published results of an investigation that led to five Roman Catholic priests being criminally prosecuted for sexual abuse of minors.
This report put the activities of these deviant priests under the microscope and gave the Catholic Church the type of negative publicity that it had been desperately trying to avoid for decades.
In Pennsylvania, a Grand Jury was convened in 2016 to examine allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergymen.
The hearing, which lasted for 2 years concluded that 301 priests were accused of molesting more than 1,000 children in 6 dioceses and were routinely shuffled around the parish to avoid scrutiny.
The report which listed the majority of the victims as boys, also concluded there was the likelihood of thousand more victims whose records were lost, or who were too ashamed to come forward.
This Grand Jury report published in August of 2018 listed several dastardly acts committed by so-called men of God. Among these incidents were: a young girl being raped at a hospital after she went to have her tonsils removed, a victim tied her up and whipped her with leather straps by a priest, another priest who was allowed to remain in the ministry, even after impregnating a young girl and arranging for her to have an abortion.
It also stated that victims had their pictures for a child porn ring run by priests and were given gold crosses to wear so that they would be easily identifiable by other abusive priests who sought to use them.
In the United Kingdom, another report found that Child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church was swept under the carpet for years, with the hierarchy preferring to safeguard the reputation of the Church rather than seek the welfare of the victims.
Pope Francis even asked the leader of the Catholic Church in England Cardinal Vincent Nichols to stay in his post, despite widespread criticism of his leadership in the wake of the sexual abuse of minors in the Church.
It is alleged that between 1950 and 2015, the church in England and Wales received more than 900 complaints involving more than 3,000 instances of child sexual abuse, made against more than 900 individuals, including priests, monks, and volunteers.
Some graphic details have emerged in this 162-page report commissioned by a group known as the Independent Inquiryinto child sexual abuse (IICSA).
As one canrecoiled in horror reports of masturbation, oral sex, vaginal rape, and anal rape emerged. It was further revealed that sadistic beatings accompanied the rape. This seems to have been driven by sexual gratification as well as the desire to enforce compliance from the victims.
One child estimated that between the ages of 11 and 15 he had been abused hundreds of times by a priest. After each incident, he was required to make confession, and the priest concerned made it clear that his sister’s place at a local convent depended on his compliance.
While Pope Francis has expressed his horror at the recent revelations and has even held a summit with leading clerics in the church and has even recommended the changing of Cannon law to criminalize pedophilia, victims’ rights groups insist that the Vatican has not done enough to adequately address the issue.
While the Pope has spoken about the need to find a path to redemption, the question is, redemption for who, the victims, or the perpetrators?
It must be noted that Pope Francis had initially accused victims of blowing accusations of sexual abuse of minors by priests out of proportion, a statement he later apologized for.
Pope Benedict and his predecessor Pope John Paul the IIsought to punish errant priests by defrocking them, these actions did not go far enough. The victims of these wolves in sheep’s clothing were left to fend for themselves, many of them being emotionally scarred for life and unable to have meaningful intimacy with the opposite sex.
Pope Francis did meet some of the victims and offered prayers of comfort and healing for all victims as they sought justice. Pope Francis also changed the Cannon law that now makes sexual abuse, grooming of minors, possessing child pornography, and covering up abuse as criminal offenses.
What’s baffling is the decades of alleged cover-ups by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church of these dastardly acts committed by people in position of trust. If those who purport to be shepherds, can be allowed to prey on their hapless flock, instead of praying for the flock, then heaven help us all.