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This extraordinary book reveals how the Roman Catholic Church covered up and facilitated countless crimes of child abuse. But, as Yallop comments, “The Vatican that for centuries has told people on pain of eternal damnation how they should lead their sexual lives now demands that the clerical sexual abuses that have been revealed over the last thirty years should be forgiven and forgotten. Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Ratzinger and a great many other like-minded Princes of the Church are on public record claiming that it is the abusers who are the victims.” Former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating wrote, after Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles forced him to resign as chair of a national panel whose brief was to investigate the sex abuse scandal, “our Church … is not a criminal enterprise. It does not condone and cover up criminal activity. It does not follow a code of silence. … To resist grand jury subpoenas, to suppress the names of offending clerics, to deny, to obfuscate, to explain away, this is the model of a criminal organisation, not my Church.” But his Church did condone and cover up criminal activity, it did follow a code of silence, it did resist grand jury subpoenas, it did suppress the names of offending clerics, it did deny, obfuscate, explain away. So didn’t its actions prove it to be a criminal organisation? The 2009 Murphy Report observed, “The Dublin Archdiocese’s pre-occupations in dealing with cases of child sex abuse, at least until the mid 1990s, were the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the Church and the preservation of its assets. All other considerations, including the welfare of children and justice for victims, were subordinated to these priorities. The Archdiocese did not implement its own canon law rules and did its best to avoid any application of the law of the State.” During 2003 there were 60 complaints of sexual, physical and emotional abuse against the Catholic Church in England and Wales, but as of mid-2004 not one alleged abuser had been prosecuted. Pope Pius V had declared in 1568 that sexual abusers ‘must be handed over to the secular authorities for punishment and if he is a cleric will be demoted from everything’. So the Church has gone backward since 1568. However, sexual abuse is not just practised by Roman Catholic clerics. A 2004 study into the sexual abuse of women found that clerics from the Church of England, Methodists, Baptists and Presbyterians, as well as Roman Catholics, were also sexual predators. The report noted, “Approximately 50 per cent of the clergy involved in these particular cases are married men, which rather demolishes the proposition that celibacy is at the heart of the problem of clerical sexual abuse. It’s not about celibacy, it is about abuse of power.”
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