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Tom's Take

March 17th, 2010
12:57 PM ET

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption caption="Sr. Writer for Amanpour, Tom Evans, works on scripts with Christiane"]

On AMANPOUR. today, we look at the Catholic Church global sexual abuse scandal. Has it now reached into the top levels of the Vatican? There are new questions about what role, if any, Pope Benedict XVI played in handing pedophile priests to new parishes rather than to the law when he was an archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982.
We look at the culture of impunity at the root of this crisis. Could this be due to a lack of women in positions of real power? Would the extent of the abuse have been averted if women provided a moral compass? Some cite the clergy’s celibacy vows as the culprit. Will all this force a debate about fundamental reform? This scandal is just one of the stories in the news today. Here are some perspectives.

Tom Evans
Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.

CATHOLIC SEX ABUSE SCANDAL – How far did the cover-up go in the Catholic Church?

–       Pope today says he hopes upcoming pastoral letter on the scandal will “help repentance, healing, and renewal”
–       Sources say Pope’s letter is likely to be released on Friday or Saturday
–       Abuse scandal extends across the globe, from Germany to Ireland… Brazil to Australia… from the U.S. to Switzerland. It’s worst crisis in Catholic Church in centuries

QUESTION: Was there an international conspiracy by the Catholic Church to hide the true extent of the scandal over priests who abused children?

IRAQ – Is it possible that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki will be defeated in the parliamentary elections?

–       Former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi edges ahead for first time in number of votes won after 80 percent of ballots counted from March 7 election
–       Allawi is a secular Shiite and former interim Prime Minister who has won considerable support from Iraq’s Sunni community
–       An ally of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki alleges widespread fraud in election and is demanding a recount

QUESTION: Has Iraq’s election reinforced the ethnic divisions in Iraq between Shiites and Sunnis?

U.S./ISRAEL RELATIONS – Are the U.S. and Israel stepping back from the brink in their showdown over new Israeli homes in Jerusalem?

–       Israeli ambassador to U.S. denies making statement attributed to him saying relations between his country and America are “in crisis”
–       U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton changing tone, emphasizing that the two allies enjoy what she called a “close, unshakable bond”
–       Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who will visit the U.S. next week, welcomes Clinton remarks and U.S. commitment to Israel’s security

QUESTION: Where does all this diplomatic maneuvering between the U.S. and Israel leave the Palestinians, and the future of the planned indirect peace talks?

Filed under:  1 • Tom's Take
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Amaka


    There is no conspiracy.

    These are individual problems. The world is really falling apart. This is not peculiar to the catholic church alone. Parents sexually abuse their children. Teachers abuse their wards. Adults abuse and molest children, some are stolen and even the ones placed under their care.

    This has nothing to do with celibacy. Couples cheat on their spouses or ist it different. Did they not marry or as the world chooses to call it nowadays, aren't they partners?

    The simple truth is that there are parents, Priests, guardians and members of the society who are paedophiles.

    There is no need over blowing this issue. It is VERY CONDEMNABLE. Period. Rather, promote the word of GOD as taught by the various religions for the betterment of mankind.

    March 17, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Reply
  2. Annemarie Karpf

    More and more cases of sexual abuse, and terrible child abuse (beatings, etc.) are coming to light in Austria too. It is simply unbelievable! The catholic church in Austria has had problems of child abuse coming to light in the past (a bishop of Vienna had to resign), but so many, many, abused now find the courage to speak out.
    The catholic church has a history of trying to sweep these problems under the carpet. What you don't see, doesn't exist..
    It is absolutely heartbraking to listen to the victims and, I am afraid to say, they are in the HUNDREDS!
    The catholic church, however, will still try to cover up wherever possible. It is unbelievable, but so it is.
    I was also a victim of child abuse at a very early age (not by anybody of the church or my family), and I can understand that it takes years, even decades, to be able to simply TALK about it! A child simply does not have the ability to explain, what happened. It is this wordless suffering that causes so much pain.

    March 17, 2010 at 8:19 pm | Reply
  3. Annemarie Karpf

    Amaka, I agree with you that there is no "conspiracy", but the catholic church on one hand claims to have the truth and answers to everything in life, but will absolutely not admit that it is fallible too. And that celibacy has nothing to do with it, I do not agree. Young men wanting to become priests have to swear to a life of celibacy when they – mostly – have no experience in love and human warmth with a woman. They do really not realize what they are letting themselves into. Celibacy is simply against human nature and was only "invented" by a catholic pope out of pure matieralistic reasons. The catholic church is very much against women, very much against natural needs of humans, condems sexuality ( which consist not only of sex between humans, but also the need of closeness of humans, the need of tenderness.....). It is simply out of touch with reality.

    March 17, 2010 at 11:20 pm | Reply
  4. Theresa Cardozo

    As a life long Catholic, I am disgusted and yes, ashamed of my church. Priests are a close knit family. For them to expect that we can believe that it was not common knowledge, among them, that there were 'sick ' family members is an INSULT to our intelligence.

    YES, there are Pedophiles in all walks of our society, but the last group I would expect would create a 'wall of silence' and help perpetuate the crime would be the very men who every Sunday preached to us, 'the Word of God/'

    March 18, 2010 at 3:33 am | Reply
  5. Brian Hatcher

    Of course there is a conspiracy. All cases of child abuse are referred to the Vatican. Cardinal Ratzinger, who is now Pope Benedict XVI, was head of the office which kept these cases secret. This office, having to do with upholding the Faith, dates back to the 'Holy' Inquisition. It is very easy to check this. I have seen this stated many times and it is hard to fathom why it is not obvious that a cover-up, not to mention obstruction of justice, is underway at top levels of the Vatican. All I hear from the Vatican is that they are "under attack from the media" and the puerile statement that, well, others are child abusers too. That may be so but other institutions do not have an arm especially created to shuffle child rapers about where they can prey on more innocent children. The Catholic Church is only interested in self-preservation. there was not one word mentioned about the poor victims. The Church has lost all credibility and will never again be able to speak with any moral authority. It is time for this ridiculous charade to end. I think that Pope Benedict will be the last Pope and the Catholic Church will cease to exist.

    March 18, 2010 at 5:32 am | Reply
  6. Barone

    They all, always say they were decieved by satan or they were drunk!!!
    Conspiracy or not;........

    O People of true faith from all religions; its time to embark on a united crusade against our own clergymen&doctors across the globe who committed vile transgressions against our children, women&those of our friends or against any&all trusting, vulnerable & innocent souls.

    If holy prophets had wives & children; who do these vile priests think they are? demi-gods? or dummy-gods? forcing themselves to go against nature, by abstaining from legitimate sex?

    But while in their secret chambers they indulge in henious sex, filthy& dispecable acts, convincing themselves they are holy rituals of penance & redemption with those who are weak&vulnerable, who have come to them for confession in full trust & confidence.

    Who knows they may even indulge in similar acts with animals too.

    Another group of trustees to watch out for are doctors & teachers!!!

    When was the last time you read a book that made you want to buy dozens of copies to share with almost everyone you know? This is such a book!

    Dr. Rutter grabs his reader's attention at the very beginning of the book by relating two personal experiences of sex in the forbidden zone: the time he came very close to having sex with one of his patients and the time he learned that an important mentor of his had had many sexual relationships with patients, knowledge which Dr. Rutter did not use to stop the abuse.

    Rutter explains how vulnerable all men, even those with the highest ethical standards, are to forbidden sex. He also explains why the response of many men to a colleague who has had forbidden sex is a secret envy accompanied by a hope that someday they will be able to do the same. This is what keeps men from policing their own profession and permits them to stand by silently as women are victimized.

    March 18, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Reply
  7. Jorge

    Brian, you are very mistaken. There was no "Holy" Inquisition. The one you are probably refering to is que SPANISH INQUISITION, which was mandated by a civil government, not the chruch. So if it was as easy to check as you claimed, you should have. The Spanish Inquisition conducted their own search for those who opposed not only the Church but mainly the government at that time. This is really easy to check, it is history.
    There is no total loss of credibility, as you probably may want to see happening, of the church. IT will suffer, yes, it will be purged, yes, but it will continue to existe even when you and I are way gone. Jesus Himself promised it, that His Church will prevail until the end of times, and not even the gates of Hell could pravail over it.
    If you are going to offer criticism, let it be objective and not based on emotions and based on your dislike for the church.
    Annamarie, the church has never said that she is not faulty. She claims to have the not the answer"s" to all the questions in life, but the ANSWER to all questions of man and women, Christ.
    You are right to say that celibacy is not natural, it is un-natural to live without a woman, for a man. The calling of a priest to be celibate is indeed as well un-natural because it does not come from him or any other human being. God is who calls a few to this kind of life. This means that it is God who gives the person the SUPERNATURAL call to celibacy. To say that this is not possible, it is to say that God cannot do it and to say that is to say God is not Almighty, and then it becomes a totally different issue.

    March 18, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Reply
  8. josie taylor

    Am I mistaken in expecting the program of 'The Vatican and Child Abuse' to be shown today 18th March? If I'm not, why wasn't it shown?
    This is a very important discussion that should be pursued by the media. My fear is that next week it won't be a 'good story' and CNN will drop it.
    Or maybe there are some Catholics in CNN making those important decisions as to whether this story goes out to the public – let's hope not. However, it is the media that controls the news.
    Where does that leave the 100's of abused children?

    March 18, 2010 at 10:18 pm | Reply
  9. frank carter

    The catholic church has weathered worst allegation against her in the past and has survived .....some people including the News media full of questionable people would love to see the catholic church disintegrate I bet the communist party for what the church did to them in Poland are having a field day...

    March 18, 2010 at 10:53 pm | Reply
  10. Yakubu MAGAJI , From Bauchi State- NIGERIA.


    It is not the question of surving the worst allegations against them in the past that matters . This is a spiritual battle,for if a man think himself to be smart, when he is nothing,he deceives himself,for they can not deceive or mock at GOD, For he that sows to his flesh,shall of the flesh reap corruption,for every man shall bear his own burden on the judgment day .
    That is why we shall all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that every one may receive the things done in his own body,according to that which he has done. So never say they have survive the worst allegations in the past, they will surely give account of their works to GOD.That I can assure you take note of this.
    Yakubu MAGAJI
    Bauchi State-Nigeria.

    March 26, 2010 at 9:01 pm | Reply

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