Petty gossip and unfair intimidation: A look at the real victims of the Vatican sex abuse scandal

"Indifference is the essence of inhumanity"

—George Bernard Shaw

Hey, did you hear the news? The Vatican sex abuse scandal isn't really about the tens of thousands of little kids who've been raped and abused in all sorts of disturbing ways over the years by their friendly neighborhood clergymen. No, it seems the real issue, at least according to the Vatican and Pope Benedict himself, is the strength and resolve of the Church to not be intimidated by such "petty gossip".

And, yes, "petty gossip" is indeed the term the Pope used to refer to all of this. It's not clear whether he was referring to the Church's systemic worldwide sheltering and protection of habitual child rapists or just the allegations of his own personal involvement in at least two cases of coverups in the year's before he became Pope, but, either way, it's terrific to see him standing up for the true victims in all of this: the poor maligned leaders of the Catholic Church, himself included.

His exact words, reverberating with indignation for justice not yet achieved, referred to "the courage of not allowing oneself to be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinion".

Yes, even if that "dominant opinion" insists that sexual abuse of kids is in fact really nasty stuff and that obsessively covering up such abuse is more than just a little repugnant.

"Dominant opinion" be damned, the pontiff proudly proclaims. And who else, Gandhi, Mandela, and MLK notwithstanding, would take such a courageous stand?

The Infallible One knows this is all just a nasty smear campaign against the Catholic Church, one that will all die down eventually. Like when all those dastardly infidels tried to slander the Holy Church over its good work during the Spanish Inquisition.

Or, more recently, when those sinister sinners in Canada tried to victimize the Catholic Church by pointing out all the rapes and beatings that had taken place in the Church-run residential schools.

Or when those reckless enemies of the faith publicized all those so-called "horrors" that took place for much of the last century in the Church-run schools of Ireland.

How many times can one institution be so unjustly slandered, maligned and victimized?

A Biblical Explanation

As I'm sure Christ must have preached time and time again, the most important thing one can do with his or her life is to work towards the preservation of the Church's reputation. Real abuse and suffering is neither here nor there, but perceived scandal, now that's what really pisses the Almighty off like nothing else you can imagine.

And didn't Christ also say something to the effect of "let he who has not buggered, or at the very least fondled, a young child himself cast the first stone"?

Which perhaps explains why, until recently, few stones have ever been cast when it came to punishing the actions of pedophile priests.

Either way, what did you expect the Church to do, call the cops or something? Or remove the accused priests from positions of power over kids? Let's be realistic here.

Besides, these priests were simply trying to get close to these kids because they had read that the meek were going to inherit the earth and they wanted to be close to them when it happened. Can you really blame them?

But back to the main point at hand here, which is how dare the media report such lies? Or, if not lies, at least things the Pope doesn't want people to hear? Hasn't this great institution, this Holy See, suffered enough already?

Come on people, can't we all just get along and return to those happier days of centuries past, when kids took their buggering silently, no one ever even thought of embarrassing the Church (and not simply due to the fact that they'd be burnt at the stake), and none of us had to concern ourselves with such ignoble "petty gossip".

Ah, the good ol' days.

Such simpler times.

Mike Cowie is a freelance writer who writes about politics, music, film, travel, and much more. You can read more of Mike’s views on his Web site.




Mar 30, 2010 at 4:47pm

Right On!!!!!!! The Pope & company obviously don't get it. It's not about the church, it's about all the lives they have ruined. When you abuse a child, you take away his innocence and ruin his chance at a happy life. Unfortunately I know. Burn down the church.


Mar 30, 2010 at 11:08pm

This article is a smear. The Pope did not say sex abuse was petty gossip he said the attempt to link him to a case in Wisconsin and a case in Germany was gossip and it is. The actual evidence simply does not link the Pope though. These anti catholic articles often have HUGE, and i mean HUGE information gaps. The Pope, was not informed of the sex abuse of teenage boys in wisconsin by gay priest, Fr, Murphy until 1996 but police were informed 20 years prior. The Pope began an inquiry in 1996 but stopped a full trial of the priest because the priest was dying. There was no cover up, the crimes were reported to the police years earlier and by the time the current Pope found about it the priest was on his death bed.


Mar 31, 2010 at 4:58am

It is petty gossip! Where is the evidence-I thought you needed that too prove that a crime was committed. And why have all of these cases that happened over 50years ago suddenly all appear at once?? Why was no police call made by any parents/students etc. years ago?? People are just vultures and they are looking for money!

I grew up Cathalic

Mar 31, 2010 at 9:19am

And who dosen't have a story to tell about a priest sexually helping himself to the young children who where put in the care of the church. I often wondered why parents where so adamant about placing children in care despite all the rumors and stories that where being told. My own cousin said he was sexually abused by a priest and it broke his spirit real bad as we grew up in a very religious environment. He committed suicide at the age of 18.

Sue C

Apr 6, 2010 at 6:37pm

What can you expect from a organization run by a bunch of Primates? Basically it is a silly middle eastern cult that has corrupted Europeans and their Greco-Roman civilization. The sooner we get rid of this abomination, the better!!


Apr 16, 2010 at 6:01pm

First of all, Catholics such as myself are absolutely horrified and disgusted at the abuse that took place. I believe in the Catholic faith, not the clergy. However I think I need to clarify a couple of points.

The Pope never said these words. It was Cardinal Angelo Sodano who used the term "petty gossip". By this he did not mean the abuse which the Pope has apologized for over and over again, but the media speculation trying to link the Pope to the scandal and calling for his resignation.

The Catholic Church needs to change and expel anyone involved in this disgusting outrage and make sure children are protected in future. But please can we have accurate reporting rather than media spin.