The Catholic Church is constantly facing allegations related to the sexual assault of children, but that didn’t stop Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin from shifting blame to others.
Forget for a second that a Vatican diplomat is being investigated for child porn, and ignore that the most senior member of the Catholic Church in Australia was recently charged with multiple counts of sexual assault. Parolin told a group of 100 politicians, law enforcement officials, and representatives from social media companies to “take responsibility for those minors” at the world’s “peripheries.”
According to the Associated Press report:
The Vatican secretary of state is urging law enforcement agencies, governments and social media sites to take responsibility to protect children from online sexual abuse, even as one of his diplomats is caught up in a child porn investigation…
Parolin urged participants to “regain control of the development of the digital world” to make sure children are protected, saying companies that promote and drive the digital world have a particular responsibility.
“This congress must take responsibility for those minors at the world’s ‘peripheries’ of which Pope Francis continually speaks,” Parolin said. “(They) are the preferred target of networks of exploitation and of organized online violence.”
I’m not saying the Vatican is wrong. If anyone knows the “preferred target” of those who exploit children, it’s them. But do they really need to be pushing blame to social media sites before cleaning up their own house first?
Parolin went on to, without a hint of irony, state that the Church “has become increasingly aware of the harm experienced by victims, of their suffering and of the need to listen to them.”
Action must be taken to “heal wounds, restore justice, prevent crimes” and establish a culture of “real safeguarding” so children can grow up healthy and safe, Parolin said Oct. 3 in a keynote address opening the four-day gathering.
“Fortunately, with regard to the church, this is already happening, in various institutions and regions, even when society in general has not yet developed the necessary awareness,” he said. “These efforts, however, must continue, must be expanded and deepened with clarity and firmness.”
Parolin even acknowledged the case being brought against one of its foreign diplomats, Italian Msgr. Carlo Capella, over child pornography. He said it was “a very painful affair, a huge ordeal for everyone who is involved.” I sincerely wonder if he is including in that statement the victims, who experienced much more than an “ordeal.”
Parolin also touted the progress of the Catholic Church in the area of child safety, despite the fact that the Vatican has arguably been responsible for more child sex abuse cases and subsequent cover-ups than any other organization throughout the years. This is indicative of the biggest issue of all: the Vatican has a major problem and, instead of addressing it, its senior membership is stuck in the denial phase.
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