Corporate Secrecy, Centralized Power, and Purple Pants
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Lawyers for victims of sexual abuse by the clergy have asked the International Criminal Court to investigate Pope Benedict XVI and three top Vatican officials for crimes against humanity for allowing rape and child sex crimes.
Together with New York-based rights group Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) filed a complaint with the ICC alleging that Vatican officials have tolerated and enabled sex crimes.
"Crimes against tens of thousands of victims, most of them children, are being covered up by officials at the highest level of the Vatican. In this case, all roads really do lead to Rome," CCR attorney Pam Spees said.
A Vatican spokesman said there would be no immediate comment
(Reporting by Aaron Gray-Block; Editing by Jon Boyle)
The Practical Buddhist Responds
The Catholic Church became a corporate institution in Constantine’s time. It adopted the trappings of the Byzantine court, and later of European nobility. The Practical Buddhist sees nothing wrong with Popes wearing crowns and ermine. Buddhists like ritual too, though usually a little less regal. So do Jews, Moslems, and Hindus. But Buddhists have relied a little less on corporate secrecy and centralized power, so sex scandals involving monks tend to be local affairs only.
Unfortunately, the Catholic church created a powerful celibate clergy without an adequate network of support. The clerical state attracted too many sexual misfits and naive bishops turned them loose, unsupervised. When they acted out, they left the hierarchy with its purple pants down.
Any good PR firm would have counseled a quick admission of responsibility and implementation of a comprehensive program to rectify things. Because the church had relied so long on secrecy and self-protective delay, the response has come out in bits and pieces, and been a public relations nightmare.
Like any big old religious organization, the Catholic Church has done a lot of good and a lot of harm. The Practical Buddhist knows that Buddhism is even older, and that if we had a centralized power structure like the Catholics, and were as institutionally squeamish about sex, we’d probably have similar problems ourselves.
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