It shouldn't be me doing this. It should be somebody more competent, who could make a better job of it. This is no more than a start. If you can do better, please do, and encourage the Hierarchy to come out and fight.
1 This is not about the Catholic Church. This is about some bad men who committed acts of sex abuse against children for whom they had a responsibility of pastoral care. Secondarily, it is about other men, some more, some less bad, who found out what was happening and reacted inappropriately
1.1 The Catholic Church is not a unitary body apable of imposing and maintaining discipline. It is a confederation of dioceses.
1.1.1 The legal system used by the Church - Canon Law - was first codified less than a hundred years ago and uses the principle of subsidiarity to attempt to resolve problems at the lowest level.
1.1.2 Cases can gradually move up the system to Rome but, as in civil and criminal cases in UK courts, this takes time.
1.2 The Catholic Church's responsibility for the actions of its members is limited, to say the least.
2 The crime these men have committed is sexual abuse of minors, not paedophilia.
2.1 Paedophilia is a condition, not a crime.
2.2 Sexual abuse has taken place when adults commit sexual acts with under-16s.
2.2.1 The sexual abuse is aggravated because of the position of responsibility in which these men found themselves and their use of the position to procure the children they abused.
3 Those within the Church who discovered what had happened and did not deliver the abusers to the civil authorities did a great wrong.
3.1 In some cases this was done purely to protect abusers: in these cases the protector is as culpable as the abuser, because he created an objective circumstance in which the abuse could continue.
3.2 In some cases, this was done to protect the reputation of the Church. While laudable as an aim, the damage done to children and the need to remove the abuser from a position in which he could continue to abuse were so much greater that the judgement of these men must be called into question.
3.3 In some cases, this was done because the discoverer could simply not believe that such abuse could be committed by a priest. With hindsight, it is clear that these people should not have been put into a position where they were responsible for such decisions.
4 Anybody who uses a position of power to entice or procure an under-16 for sexual gratification is guilty of the same crime of abuse as has been committed by some Catholic priests.
4.0.1 They may be members of a national or local government organisation with formal responsibility for children, such as a local authority's child protection scheme.
4.0.2 They may work in a sector through which vulnerable children pass, for example the legal sector in a devolved administration.
4.0.3 They may work in the voluntary sector in schemes in which vulnerable children may become available to them, such as local housing schemes for asylum seekers.
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