I was just contacted by Simon Barrett of Blogger News, who has written an account of the Cardinal Pell abuse allegations entitled “Cardinal Pell-Naughty Priest?” Mr. Barrett asked me for a comment. Here’s what I had to say:
“A person should be viewed as innocent until proven guilty, and Cardinal Pell is entitled to due process. However, I have heard steadfast denials and victim shaming many times before in these types of cases, and experience causes me to pause. His “relentless character assassination” comment is all too familiar. He faces multiple counts of sexual assault offenses, meaning there may be multiple victims and/or multiple episodes of abuse of the same victim. “Zero tolerance” rings hollow with me; prepare for a massive media and/or legal assault on the victims.”
Mr. Barrett admits the following in his hard-hitting report:
“I thought the Catholic Priest problem was unique to the US, and probably limited to a very small geographic area, a storm in a teacup? Alas, it has proved to be wide-ranging.”
No, Mr. Barrett; this is not a local problem or a national problem. It is a world-wide, systemic problem within the organization and structure of the church. While church hierarchy has, very recently, begun to take this issue much more seriously, years of abuse, cover-up, concealment and victim shaming cause those of us who have been in the trenches with these cases to doubt the sincerity of those more moderate voices within the church. This “conspiracy of silence” is the reason I wrote “Betrayal of Faith“. We will be watching with interest.
Click here for Mr. Barrett’s complete article on Blogger News.