Cardinal George Pell // http://www.sydney.catholic.org.au/news/latest_news/2010/2010419_839.shtml
The Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell speaks publicly for the first time about the recent abuse scandals:
“Pope Benedict XVI has come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks over his handling of sexual abuse by priests.
Media attention like this can be searing. But in Australia it played a significant part in helping the Church to tackle sexual abuse and bring justice to the victims.
Some of the recent coverage has been inaccurate or reported only part of the story. But when all this has been sifted through, the record shows that Pope Benedict has acted decisively and determinedly to care for victims and eradicate sexual abuse from the Church.
The Pope has met victims of abuse in Australia and the US and publicly apologised to them. In his recent letter to Irish Catholics he called the abusers to account, along with the bishops who failed to remove them, and emphasised the importance of close co-operation with the police.
As a senior Cardinal under Pope John Paul II, he realised that church processes were inadequate and that local bishops had made too many mistakes in dealing with allegations of paedophilia. With John Paul II, he expedited processes for investigating complaints and defrocking abuser priests.
Sexual abuse of children is a horrifying crime. It causes immense, sometimes life-long harm to those who are attacked. That Catholic priests and members of religious orders are among the worst abusers fills all Catholics, including myself, with horror and disgust.
It is not just a church problem, here or overseas. The US government says that in the United Sates there were over 600,000 incidents reported in 2008 and that parents and relatives accounted for 56 per cent of child abusers in that year, and a parent’s unmarried partner a further 8.8 per cent. Unfortunately the problem is widespread.
The relentless pornification of parts of the culture, and the push for sexual “liberation,” which at its extremes wants paedophilia accepted as just another sexual preference, are also part of the problem.
So when prominent atheists call for the Pope to be arrested and brought before the International Criminal Court, you have to wonder if they are more concerned about grandstanding than sexual abuse.
As one British atheist observed, it is ironic that some atheists want to conduct their own Inquisition.
Richard Dawkins, one of those behind the push to nab the Pope, has even claimed that bringing a child up Catholic is more damaging than sexual abuse. This hardly suggests taking sexual abuse seriously.
Pope Benedict’s role in confronting this evil should be acknowledged. Perhaps others in the wider community could follow his example.”