I want to express, dear brother in the Episcopate, as well as to all the Bishops of Belgium, my closeness and solidarity in this moment of sadness.
-- Joseph Ratzinger
Perhaps the pope was referring to a particular moment where he became aware of an example of child rape, or when he realised that child rape was institutional in his beloved church? Possibly he was referring to a moment where he realised that he’d both facilitated and encouraged the covering up of at least hundreds of child rapes spanning decades? Maybe he was expressing concern for the victims of this systematic abuse or regret for the way his organisation deliberately and consistently blamed those victims for what was done to them.
He’s not, of course. He’s complaining that the Belgian authorities raided the homes and offices of some clergymen who are suspected of abusing children.
Stefaan De Clerck defended the police action, in a series of TV interviews on Sunday, and said the investigation was legitimate.
But why? If this were any random suspected paedophile, the public would probably be accusing the police of not doing enough. The British public seemed entirely happy to draw and quarter Gary Glitter, for example. But since a church is involved, the country’s Justice Minister has to appear on television to *defend* the actions of the police in investigating the alleged monsters. You know, the thing police are supposed to do. In a democracy, politicians and heads of state can’t be above the law. When they claim they are or pass laws to say they’re exempt, that’s a pretty good sign that you no longer live in a democracy. Somehow, the clergy still demand a get out of jail free (literally) card.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State, described the detention of priests "serious and unbelievable".
It’s precisely the treatment anyone else would receive. Bertone is arguing that clergy should be treated differently (specifically, more leniently) solely because they are clergy. Nevermind that the fact that they’re clergy is precisely what protected priestly child rapists from the repercussions of their holy rapes in the first place. We’re supposed to accept and assume that the church will do a good job of policing itself when it has so demonstrably done the worst job in historical memory of doing that so far. No need to get the filth involved, they’re sorting it themselves, right? This attitude is what allowed the shameful practice to continue unchallenged for as long as it did.
Ratzinger, I know you’re pope and all, but I think you might be doing this whole Christian compassion thing a bit wrong. You should save your sadness for your (church’s) victims, not for the alleged perpetrators. I understand why you’re sad that the world is finally cottoning on to the egregious harm you’ve been doing all these years, but why, WHY wouldn’t you be sadder still about the thousands of child rapes you’ve endorsed?
The Vatican has summoned the Belgian ambassador to the Holy See to voice its anger at the incident.
Oh has it, indeed? It has summoned, has it? It has done no such fucking thing. It doesn’t get to summon anyone, least of all ambassadors. If I were the Belgian ambassador to the Holy See, I’d be hammering on the Vatican’s door demanding to be let in to gloat.
Belgium has nothing to apologise about. It’s the REST OF US who should apologise for not doing the same thing. And if the Belgian ambassador doesn’t want the job of poking some old idiot in the chest and telling him to fuck off and mind his own business, then it happens that I live right next door to an airport. I can be in Belgium in an hour, tops.