The smoking gun has been found. In this AP article we read that
A 1997 letter from the Vatican warned Ireland’s Catholic bishops not to report all suspected child-abuse cases to police — a disclosure that victims’ groups described as “the smoking gun” needed to show that the church enforced a worldwide culture of covering up crimes by pedophile priests.
The newly revealed letter, obtained by Irish broadcasters RTE and provided to The Associated Press, documents the Vatican’s rejection of a 1996 Irish church initiative to begin helping police identify pedophile priests following Ireland’s first wave of publicly disclosed lawsuits.
What’s almost as sad is that many faithful catholics will continue to excuse this reprehensible institution for its gross acts of policy indecencies against victims of criminal abuse.
Child-abuse activists in Ireland said the 1997 letter demonstrates that the protection of pedophile priests from criminal investigation was not only sanctioned by Vatican leaders but ordered by them.
“The letter is of huge international significance, because it shows that the Vatican’s intention is to prevent reporting of abuse to criminal authorities. And if that instruction applied here, it applied everywhere,” said Colm O’Gorman, director of the Irish chapter of human rights watchdog Amnesty International.
Perhaps the law suits that will now surely follow will drive home the point that the church cannot be immune from prosecution. Although I have no doubt the men in funny hats and dresses from Rome will insist that local parishes pay for their crimes, my sincere hope is that those who belong to local parishes will finally stop donating any money at all in any way to these criminals in Rome.