I can only imagine the fallout among some US Catholics if the US government conducted a national investigation of the sex abuse cover-up of bishops. It’s happening in Australia. Prime minister Julia Gillard has authorized an inquiry that will look at everybody: religious groups, non-profits, care providers, and government agencies–even law enforcement itself. The PM:
There have been too many revelations of adults who have averted their eyes from this evil. The allegations that have come to light recently about child sexual abuse have been heartbreaking These are insidious, evil acts to which no child should be subject.
Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox of the state of New South Wales pushed for a state-level inquiry recently. He also called for a Royal Commission in an open letter.
I can testify from my own experience that the church covers up, silences victims, hinders police investigations, alerts offenders, destroys evidence and moves priests to protect the good name of the church.
This seems to be the tipping point for Australia–state commissions finding things and now the determination is made to conduct a nationwide effort. It’s good that the commission will look in a lot of places. They seem poised to look for the right thing–not sexual abuse, which we know takes place everywhere–but the institutional cover-up. Like what was claimed to occur in Philadelphia under Cardinal Bevilacqua in the 90’s, before the Charter. For now, the Church says it will cooperate. Cardinal Pell:
Public opinion remains unconvinced that the Catholic Church has dealt adequately with sexual abuse. Ongoing and at times one-sided media coverage has deepened this uncertainty. I welcome the prime minister’s announcement. I believe the air should be cleared and the truth uncovered.
I hope he’s ready for the truth.