The cases from the Czech Republic are not new, are not many - but the protestations by the Archbishop are yet another example of the half truths we have been getting from Benedict XVI, and from others in the episcopal club. It turns out here that "no cases" means "except for the other diocese". True to episcopal form, there are also the usual attempts to minimize the importance, deflect blame, and allege anti-church malice on the part of the critics.
Extracts from the Prague Post
As the Catholic Church's top officials in Rome struggle to cope with the ongoing sex abuse scandal in Europe, church leadership in the Czech Republic is proving equally inept at responding to growing public outrage.
Dominik Duka, who will take over as the archbishop of Prague in April, asserted the Irish end of the scandal is being driven by militant atheism that aims to harm the financial solvency of the church.
"It is a clear campaign that aims at pushing the church from its position in upbringing and education that it has held from time immemorial and in which it has proved itself," he wrote in a pastoral letter March 22.
Besides, only about 10 percent of the accusations made are proved," he continues.
Cardinal Miroslav Vlk, whom Duka will replace, struck an equally defensive posture in blog postings on his personal Web site.
"On behalf of the diocese, I must say that no concrete specific documented pedophile case had reached me in 20 years," he wrote.
While Vlk may be technically correct in this assertion, as the highest-ranking church official in the Czech Republic he does glaze over an abuse scandal in the country's other archdiocese, Olomouc, dating back 10 years.
In 2000, František Merta, a priest in the Olomouc Archdiocese, was criminally charged with molesting 20 boys, beginning in 1995. A civil court convicted him and gave him a two-year suspended sentence. He served no jail time.
At the time, one whistleblower accused Jan Graubner, the archbishop of Olomouc, of covering up the case and moving Merta to different posts as accusations surfaced. Merta remains employed by the church, working in the archdiocese archives. Graubner remains archbishop.