Thursday, 1 April 2010

Abuse: State Inquiries For Northern Ireland, Switzerland.

The really important feature of the story of church abuse in Ireland, was that the Murphy report, which resulted in special attention by Pope Benedict XVI and paved the way for an opening of the floodgates of disclosure across Europe, was that it was an investigation by a national government, not into the abuse itself, but into the cover-ups: in effect, this was an investigation into the affairs and modus operandi of Catholic Church itself. IT may be this example that has prompted the German government to plan a similar investigation of their own, although the Chancellor Angela Merkel has said it will cover more than just the Catholic Church.

The Murphy report, though did not cover all of Ireland, just the diocese of Dublin. With the peculiar political structure of a divided Ireland, it was perhaps inevitable that the government of Northern Ireland should want an enquiry of their own, and now it seems they are going to get one. (Technically, this is part of a separate country, the UK, but falls under the jurisdiction of Cardinal Brady, who is primate not just of the Irish Republic, but is "Primate of all Ireland".) Like Germany, this will investigate abuse across a wide range of institutions, not just the Catholic Church.

Together with the German investigation, this will surely encourage still more governments to conduct inquiries of their own. They too are likely to find evidence of abuse and of cover-ups extending over decades. When these worm cans are opened and set alongside those of Dublin, will they too be treated to meetings with the Pope, "pastoral" letters, and visitations - or will somebody finally get the message, and train the spotlight within?

Northern Ireland plans child abuse inquiry

By Channel 4 News:
Stormont and Northern Ireland's politicians have finally found their voices over the scandal that has hit the Catholic Church, and Channel 4 News understands that an investigation will take place.

Early indications of the parameters for any Stormont inquiry into abuse suggests it shouldn't concentrate on the church alone, but also on abuse across state institutions.

It s understood that there will be no tolerance, not only of perpetrators, but of anyone who aided in perpetrating abuse.

Meanwhile, the Swiss government is also getting involved. The Vatican behaves as though they above secular law, a stance which governments have allowed them to sustain for far too long. The contining Vatican intransigence and denials will simply force more governments to act.

From Reuters India:

Swiss president calls for paedophile priest register

Swiss President Doris Leuthard called on Sunday for a central register of paedophile priests, to prevent them from having further contact with children.

Her statement to Swiss media came as a sexual abuse scandal sweeps the Catholic Church worldwide, with Swiss police too investigating allegations that children were harmed by priests.

"Whether perpetrators come from the civil or clerical world makes no difference. Both are subject to Swiss criminal law, with no ifs or buts," Leuthard said.

Leuthard said it was important to ensure that paedophiles had no further contact with children and the possibility of a register for paedophile priests should be considered, on the lines of one for teachers.

The Swiss weekly SonntagsZeitung reported that the Swiss bishops' conference was considering holding an emergency meeting, where the question of a register could be discussed, ahead of its regular annual meeting from May 31 to June 2.

The Swiss church plans to counter the negative publicity from the sex abuse scandal with an advertising campaign in which posters saying "More Good News" would be displayed in churches in each of Switzerland's 2,000 parishes, another weekly, Sonntag, reported.

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