Apologies from bishops apparently aren’t considered an adequate substitute for enforcement of the law in Germany. According to CNN:
Investigators with the Munich State Prosecutors Office visited the Benedictine Abbey of Ettal on Tuesday afternoon as part of their ongoing investigation into allegations of sexual abuse of underage children by priests there.
,p>Authorities are now assessing evidence collected at the abbey, the prosecutors said.
Once again, the Catholic church protected its authority, at the expense of the parishioners.
What does the church do with offenders? The Irish Times, working from an Irish investigative report, found some had taken refuge, often still in the Catholic church’s pay. The Belfast Times reports that some were or are in the U.S.
President Nereo Odchimar of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) also called for warning labels saying “Condoms may fail to protect from AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.”
ABC-CBN News reported:
Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral has come under fire from the CBCP for promoting condoms as part of the battle against HIV-AIDS. The health secretary said the distribution of condoms is part of the health department’s 3-pronged approach to combat the spread of HIV in the country.
Data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed a total of 4,400 HIV/AIDS cases from 1984 to December 2009. Since the Philippines started monitoring the disease, the number of cases has gone up from 1 to 4,424 confirmed cases.
. . .
“At the rate we are going, in 3 years, we are going to have more than 30,000 people with HIV/AIDS in the Philippines,” the health secretary said.
The CBCP position is in keeping with that of Pope Benedict XVI, albeit not with the conclusions of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Ga. Specifically regarding epidemiology, the CDC concludes:
Overall, the preponderance of available epidemiologic studies have found that when used consistently and correctly, condoms are highly effective in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV infection and reduce the risk of other STDs.
No, the world leader in matters epidemiological is not recommending a warning label or otherwise somehow supporting CBCP attempts to suppress condom use in the Philippines.
Philippine political figures respond that a ban on condom ads might infringe on freedom of speech. According to INQUIRER.net, Senator Mar Roxas “advised the Catholic church to just prod its followers not to use condoms.”
The debate over ads is part of an ongoing furor over contraception in which the bishops earlier called for Cabral’s removal from office. They seemed to be especially offended by his Valentine’s Day condom distribution effort.
Like the German revelations which erupted into public view in late January, this is snowballing as “the first testimonies of possible abuse at the hands of the Salesians in the 1960s and 1970s,” first reported by NRC Handelsblad last week, provokes others to break their long silence.
Because the problem is believed to have been widespread, and involved the current bishop of Rotterdam, Ad van Luyn, Dutch elected officials are calling for an independent inquiry, reports Radio Netherlands:
Conservative MP and former public prosecutor Fred Teeven told NOS Radio, “Normally in such cases, there would be a police and justice investigation. But you can’t do that now because the statute of limitation says the crimes are too long ago. In this case it would be wise if a team of experienced sex crime detectives is appointed in collaboration with the Roman Catholic Church, in order to conduct an independent investigation into what happened.”
Following the revelations on Friday, Bishop Van Luijn of Rotterdam also said he wanted to launch an investigation. Bishop Van Luijn is currently chairman of the Dutch bishops conference. He was a teacher at the ‘s-Heerenberg school at the time of the abuse and he later became head of the Salesian order in the Netherlands. Immediately after the revelations a spokesperson from the bishop’s palace turned down pleas for an inquiry, saying that it was up to the current head of the school to account for what may have happened, but Bishop Van Luijn said on Sunday he was appalled by the findings of the reporters.
Christian Democrat MP Marleen De Pater told NOS Radio that she first wants to see the results of Bishop Van Luijn’s inquiry before deciding on the next step. She appeared reluctant to involve the police or legal authorities from the outset.
Ms De Pater said, “Bishop Van Luijn is taking the initiative to scrutinise his own organisation to find out what happened. That is a display of responsible behaviour, and I assume he will engage independent experts. On the basis of their findings we could decide whether more research is needed with the involvement of police and legal authorities.”
The Irish did “more research” and found a sweeping, decades deep breach of trust by the Catholic Church — part of what is ever more clearly an unresolved, multinational issue. Reluctant apologies for the long-concealed horrors, unaccepted.
Tim Collard, who is retired from the British foreign service and spent most of his diplomatic career in China and Germany, writes about the ongoing U.S. struggle with health reform for the London Telegraph:
You might argue that America is a Christian country too. Oh no it isn’t. You can’t serve both God and Mammon, the Man said, you have to choose one or the other, and the USA has made it admirably clear where it stands. And it flourishes. Yes, a few thousand lives are wrecked by the lack of access to healthcare. But that’s an acceptable price to pay for all the private jets and Manhattan super-apartments, surely? Let’s hope the Man was kidding when he said all that stuff about camels and the eyes of needles.
Read the entire blog here.