Fair. Balanced. American.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Vatican's latest defense

To child molestation charges (not John Paul II favorite Marciel Macial's; the Church has yet to admit that even happened!): the Jews do it too!

Responding to criticism, Catholic Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s representative to United Nations organizations in Geneva, read a statement on September 21 to the U.N. Human Rights Council, noting that reports of sex abuse were common in the Jewish community and that most of the American churches being hit by sex abuse allegations were Protestant.

“As the Catholic Church has been busy cleaning its own house,” Tomasi wrote, “it would be good if other institutions and authorities, where the major part of abuses are reported, could do the same and inform the media about it.”

Tomasi’s statement came in response to an accusation from a representative of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, Keith Porteous Wood, that the Catholic Church had covered up child abuse and was in breach of several articles under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Jewish leaders were dismayed by the Archbishop’s finger-pointing.

“I was shocked by the statement. I don’t believe in comparing abuse. That’s a dangerous path to travel,” said Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, head of the New York Board of Rabbis, the largest interdenominational rabbinic organization in the world. “They have a problem they need to address; we have a problem we need to examine. Every faith community needs to be accountable to its members.”

That said, the archbishop is right: the Catholic Church is far from the only religious organization with abuse problems. When there's abuse in some random Pentecostal church, there is no larger body to blame it on; Protestant ministers are essentially small business owners (in so many ways!). When there's a crisis, they can just fold up their tents and go home. Every errant priest, on the other hand, belongs to a huge transnational organization. And that brings out the lawyers who see a chance to get their 30% of a couple of million in settlements, rather than a mere fifty grand.

That doesn't mean the archbishop couldn't use a refresher course in public relations.

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