The New York Times recently reported that Belgian officials have raided offices of the Catholic Church in search of evidence related to allegations of sexual abuse.
Coming on the heels of months of ever-more sickening revelations about the church’s sexual abuse cover-up campaign, one can only say, “Finally!” Finally, the hands-off, “let them take care of it themselves” bullshit has been dispensed with, which has only served the church’s interest in shuffling its sordid affairs under the rug and denying justice to its victims. Finally, law enforcement has aggressively acted to uncover the full extent of clerical crimes, a wholly justified response against an organization with such a history of illegal activity.
I think this represents the turn of the tide against the Catholic church. A taboo has been broken against it. The church has long claimed sovereign immunity as a “state,” a privilege largely respected. But as the steady stream of sexual abuse allegations became a flood, as it was undeniable efforts to hide the abuse reached to the current Pope himself, as the horrifying and gruesome detail of Ireland’s exhaustive report on clergy sexual abuse and torture of children rippled across the world, whatever vestige of deference given the church has evaporated. And perhaps it’s wishful thinking, but I can’t help but think that the efforts of the so-called new atheists — notably, Christopher Hitchens — contributed to setting the stage for the shift in attitude.
Exceeded perhaps only by the Workers’ Party of North Korea, there exists no other organization whose lofty rhetoric is so far removed from reality. The Vatican should be placed in the category of rogue states — and dealt with accordingly.