This isn’t a game of ‘ain’t it awful’ because we all know that people do awful things. What we don’t understand well enough is the paralysis that afflicts people who have a responsibility to protect the powerless, and the network of complicity that arises around centers of power…
Ireland’s police colluded with the Catholic church in covering up clerical child abuse in Dublin on a huge scale, according to a damning report on decades of sex crimes committed by priests.
The devastating report on the sexual and physical abuse of children by the clergy in Ireland’s capital from 1975 to 2004 accuses four former archbishops, a host of clergy and senior members of the Garda Síochána of a cover-up.
The three-volume report found that the “maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the church and the preservation of its assets” was more important than justice for the victims.
Feministe links to an article by French philosopher Bernard Henri-Levi on the Polanski case that is so one-sided you’d never know that Polanski plead guilty to a crime. I think there are parallels here. Power is attractive. Power can bestow favors. Standing with the people who are injured in the rush to power is costly. Social disapproval is a powerful weapon. You could end up dis-invited to a lot of parties, or denied Communion.
Some belated justice is necessary, but it’s not enough. Understanding the social protection that lets abusers get away with their crimes is crucial, because prevention is the best cure.