THE BLOG

At the Vatican Noir: UN Seeking Disclosure of Thousands of Pedophile Cases Related to Clergy

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) will investigate widespread sexual assault against children by Catholic clergy.

"We must ask ourselves what was wrong in our proclamation, in our whole way of living the Christian life," says Benedict XVI (Joseph Alois Ratzinger), in a traditional end-of-the year address to cardinals and bishops at the Vatican, 20 December 2010. He rushes to add that as late as the 1970s, pedophilia was not considered an absolute evil. Pedophilia, the sexual rape of children, was not a crime, says Pope Benedict XVI. He states that in 2010, rape allegations within the ranks of Catholic clergy have reached "unimaginable dimension."

Benedict XVI's Address to the Bishops, 20 December 2010:

In the 1970s, pedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children. This, however, was part of a fundamental perversion of the concept of ethos. It was maintained - even within the realm of Catholic theology - that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a better than and a worse than. Nothing is good or bad in itself. Everything depends on the circumstance and on the end in view. Anything can be good or also bad, depending upon purposes and circumstances. Morality is replaced by a calculus of consequences, and in the process it ceases to exist.

Benedict/Ratzinger is now yanked out of the fray, replaced by another man as pope. Ratzinger retired into seclusion. A popular Vatican tactic. A plethora of men come to mind.

As a person who grew up in the Vatican culture, back in the days when Cardinal Dolan lived in Rome (I knew him there; I knew all of them there), I applaud the request made today by the UN:

The United Nations is demanding that the Vatican provide a comprehensive list of sex abuse by Catholic priests, monks and nuns. The unprecedented request has been made by the Geneva-based UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which polices the 1988 UN convention protecting children.

(Times of London, James Bone in Rome and Ruth Gledhill)

Cardinal Archbishop Groer was a close friend of John Paul II and a publicly known pedophile. Both of these men are now dead. Pope John Paul II oversaw rife infestation of child rapists among the Vatican clergy and priesthood. His Emminence Groer is listed as enthroned in 1986, and that his reign ended in 1995. Note that the Vatican considers cardinals princes of the Church. Groer is accused of abusing approximately 2,000 young males. The Vatican responded to complaints of abuse by placing Groer at a monastery as abbot. In a monastery, monks have vows of obedience. The Vatican curia put the sex offender Groer in charge of administrating and commanding others to do his will. After further complaints against his conduct, Groer was at last retired in 1998 and sent into exile by the Vatican, but Groer escaped legal prosecution.

There have been so many sex criminals in the Catholic Church heirarchy, from the papal throne to the most humble parishes, flung across planet Earth that I think of Wolcott Gibbs. Gibbs parodied the brilliant prose patterns that Yale classmates Briton Hadden and Henry Luce crafted when they originated TIME magazine. Backward reeled the mind -- Gibbs joked in a 1936 parody for the New Yorker: "Where it all will end, knows God!"

Here's a tip for any would-be, have-been, or are-now sex ogres at the Vatican. It's from Machiavelli, an Italian staple on how to be a prudent ruler, about letting scandal take hold, waiting too late; innumerable sex crimes by clergy gallop like a whole racetrack full of mares. Nightmares. The UN ruling will offer a measure of transparency and perhaps, action.

The Prince (Il Principe), Machiavelli, circa 1500

All wise princes should...not only watch out for present problems but also for those in the future, and try diligently to avoid them; for once scandals are recognized ahead of time, they can be easily cured; but if you wait for them to present themselves, the medicine will be too late, for the disease will have become incurable. And what physicians say about disease is applicable here: that at the beginning a disease is easy to cure but difficult to diagnose; but as time passes, not having been recognized or treated at the outset, it becomes easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. The same thing occurs in affairs of state; for by recognizing from afar the diseases that are spreading in the state (which is a gift given only to the prudent ruler), they can be cured quickly; but when they are not recognized and are left to grow to the extent that everyone recognizes them, there is no longer any cure.