Catholic World News

Scottish bishop criticizes bishops who covered up abuse, rips media attacks on Pope

May 31, 2010

In a May 30 newspaper column, Bishop Joseph Devine of Motherwell denounced the clerical abuse of children, bishops who covered up the abuse, and those in the media who have attacked Pope Benedict.

“The scathing reaction by the media and society to the incidence of child sex abuse in the Church has been chastening but for the most part welcome,” the bishop began. “The grievous sins and perversions committed against vulnerable children by rogue priests and others in religious orders were abhorrent and inexcusable.”

“As for those Bishops who misused clerical power by covering up the crimes of members of their clergy, who mistakenly believed their primary duty was to protect the Church from scandal, or who failed to recognise that their true mission and obligation, as disciples of Jesus Christ, was to act in the best interests of the molested children: they must hopefully feel the wounds of their negligence,” he continued.

Bishop Devine added:

In spite of failed and scurrilous attempts from some quarters to smear and immerse Pope Benedict with the sex abuse scandals, His Holiness is at the forefront of introducing all ­necessary reforms to root out the criminals in the clergy and ensure total security for all our children throughout the Church. Even before his elevation to the Papacy he had made a start on fundamental and innovative reforms. He is not an idle observer. He is certainly a penitent. But he is much more than that. He is a determined and active force for good.

What is especially painful, however, is the attitude of some sections of the public and certain commentators in the media who direct their bitterness and hostility indiscriminately at more or less all of the clergy and religious in the Catholic Church – the vast ­majority of whom are overwhelmingly quite ­innocent of such terrible violations. In the last 40 years the proportion of clergy who have had sexual allegations made against them is less than half of one per cent …

The existence of even one case of sexual abuse is one too many and rightly brings disgrace and shame on our Church. Yet the Church has been subjected to the fiercest scrutiny and interrogation by the media, some incautiously hell-bent on depicting the Catholic Church as the paedophile empire of sexual abuse against children. Some of their more fallacious allegations betray something insidious about their agenda. Still, we are thankful that what failures we have been guilty of have been exposed.

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  • Posted by: John Holecek - May. 31, 2010 7:04 PM ET USA

    Nice to hear something this straightforward and forceful. However, I do wish the Church hierarchy would unequivocally name the elephant in the room: that the vast majority of sexual abuse cases involve gay clergy seducing post-pubescent boys. And yes, there is a connection between homosexuality and sexual abuse of minors.

  • Posted by: Chestertonian - May. 31, 2010 6:47 PM ET USA

    An excellent and succinct response! How heartening to read of such bishops. Thank you for bringing this news to us; I'm sure I won't see this in the MSM.