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JeffVader's avatar

Why is the Vatican attacking the media for bringing to light the fact the current Pope, Benedict XVI, covered up Father Lawrence Murphy's abuse of children?

Asked by JeffVader (5376 points ) March 26th, 2010

The Vatican has attacked the media over charges that the Pope failed to act against a US priest accused of abusing up to 200 deaf boys two decades ago.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8588294.stm

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19 Answers

rebbel's avatar

Attack is the best (self-)defence?

Fyrius's avatar

Is that a rhetorical question or do you really want an answer to it?
It’s a bit obvious why.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

When people are scared, they often attack. The Vatican is scared that the public will start to realise what a corrupt institution it really is.

I think they are also scared that realising their extensive record of sexual abuse will lead people to realise the extent of their intellectual abuse.

Fyrius's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh
Scared? I wouldn’t expect an organisation large enough to be a nation in its own right to act on emotional impulses. I think it’s a very deliberate course of action.

Some info came up that shows the pope is a crook. What can they do? They can deny it, try to discredit the media that published it, and pray their followers are faithful enough to believe them.
If I were in their position, I wouldn’t see another way out that wouldn’t end the pope’s religio-political career. All the repentance and all the Hail Maries in the world aren’t going to make up for this sort of reputation injury.
Paedophilia is widely considered to be the stuff of pure evil. A pope can’t admit condoning that sort of thing.

LuckyGuy's avatar

They can’t simply admit “Yes we did it. We were wrong. Please forgive us our trespasses.” That would lose followers so they must attack. (It won’t work though.)

200 deaf boys?!?! Can they make it any worse?

Blackberry's avatar

The monotheistic religions have been attacking and lying to people since the beginning, it’s not different now.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Fyrius If the pope were to calmly deny the allegations and provide some semblance of evidence to prove it, that would be enough for the faithful masses. To go on the attack shows real hurt, because people tend to think that a case more strongly asserted is more valid.

I don’t expect the church to be felled by this blow, but I maintain they are scared that their position will be weakened and people won’t give the same trust to priests any more. An organisation this powerful and this influential is run down by small degrees, so they must defend themselves against all these small degrees if they are to survive in the modern world.

ucme's avatar

Because they like to deal with the kiddie fiddlers amongst them “in house” so to speak.

laureth's avatar

Because the will of God is above the elite liberal media. ;)

wonderingwhy's avatar

I think you sort of answered your own question there.

dpworkin's avatar

They continue to handle the entire issue badly, and insofar as they continue to do so the faithful will continue to feel betrayed, hurt and angry.

I have always disliked this current pope, as I believe he is a crypto-anti-semite, and overtly sympathetic to the far right wing of the Church. I think that given a choice in his career, he always took the self-serving option, and he continues to do so.

Unfortunately for him, the Vatican is a bureaucracy, and there is a paper trail of his bad behavior. I hope he goes down in history with the stain he deserves, and that the Church is forced to improve its behavior on account of his misdeeds.

mattbrowne's avatar

Because the people in charge of the Vatican are not law-abiding citizens. If the Pope ever visited Germany or the US again he should get arrested. Covering up crimes and transferring criminals to abuse kids in new towns is so shocking! The sad thing is that probably 99% of all Catholic priests are honest and law abiding. They are very ashamed of their superiors, but the whole Catholic system is a basically a totalitarian system not a democracy where power is only temporary. You can’t disobey a bishop or cardinal or pope. You have to follow orders. Which ironically also means that if priests deny evolution or the big bang they get in trouble with the Vatican.

Boombip's avatar

Because Cristians and the vactican belive that the pope is infailable. So by attacking the pope they are attacking a man who can do no wrong. Also they are attacking God’s right hand man and by extention God himself.
You can probly understand why they might be upset

Sophief's avatar

Because they have been busted.

Kyria's avatar

Institutional worship gets in their way.

phillis's avatar

Because the abuse and misrepresentation of such a sacred appointment within such a trusting community is such a grievous error, and the damage so great, that it causes sufficient shame and embarrassment to make a human being, even a Pope, feel compelled to stave off as much negative backlash from thier peers as possible.

Jack79's avatar

Having read all the responses, I still did not figure out the “why” though. I am not the original poster by the way. But I’d still be interested to know the answer to this.

It is obvious that the Vatican is going through a crisis right now, and losing a lot of popularity. It’s also obvious that most priests are not criminals (though most of the ones I’ve met seem to be), and that the current Pope, unlike his predecessor, is one of the most evil people alive. His Nazi background is only one of the many stains, which were also the reason why many Catholics were against his nomination in the first place.

So, looking at things from the Vatican’s point of view, which is obviously nothing more than a political one, there are two choices:

The first, and most logical one, is to ask for His Holiness’s resignation, making him the scapegoat for all that is evil in the Church itself, and move on, hopefully with someone better. (exactly what any country would do if the head of State was found guilty of similar crimes)

The second, to support the current Pope, whatever the cost, losing clout amongst believers and making fools of themselves.

My only guess as to why the Vatican has chosen the second course of action is that this would contradict a basic dogma, the infalibility of the Pope. Even if the Pope himself is found in bed with 200 deaf children, he’s only doing God’s will, and he has the right to do whatever he likes, because he is always right and the rest of us are always wrong. That’s what a dogma means, and once you start double-guessing this Pope and imply that he might be human (and therefore err), then the same could apply to all the ones to follow.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Jack79 GA. I think there is also an element of “if I cover my ears and shout, I can’t hear it”. The Catholic Church typically moves very slowly, and until maybe the 1930s or so they never had to deal with a questioning public, and never to the extent that they are now. I think they are keeping the pope because of his supposed infallibility, but also because they expect the storm to blow over and they’ll be able to carry on with life afterwards.

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