What Would Eliot Stabler Do?

Many of us only come into contact with sex crimes via old Law and Order SVU marathons. When a story with the headline “Irish Government Ask for Vatican Response to Abuse Report” crops up on my Google Reader alert via the NY Times website, I can’t help but picture Eliot and Olivia sifting through case documents and files. As soon as I read this one, though, the association with Law and Order ended after the first paragraph. Why?

Because this one is real.

According to the Irish government there’s a whole lot of evidence that indicates something that’s become fairly obvious and sadly common within the Catholic church- sexual abuse of children. But the (perhaps) not-so-obvious aspect of this story is that even in the aftermath of newly imposed child protection regulations reports of abuse are not only still happening, they’re being covered up.

Members of the clergy use a crafty (and disturbing) defense. According to them, their refusal to report child abuse is completely justified by “the sanctity of confession.” In other words, confessions are “private conversations with God” and are therefore meant for no one else’s ears.

Now I don’t want to offend anyone. What I’m about to say is not necessarily a criticism of Catholicism and/or religion in general (not yet anyway) but of the hypocritical nature embedded in a lot of what it has been offering the world recently. This is a perfect example. What about the whole “do unto others” mentality of Catholicism? What about the pillars of “living a good and honest” life? What about the whole “thou shalt not lie” spiel? I thought the point of confession was to exorcise inner demons and “do the right thing”, not cover up crimes against innocent children. There’s a difference between admitting to stealing a third cookie and sexually abusing a child. And even if you disagree with me there are legal contracts that articulate that. So even if you think it’s NOT wrong on a moral level it’s still wrong legally.

Someone please explain this to me because I legitimately don’t understand what is to be gained by refusing to report child abuse and/or ignoring the reports that already exist. Has child abuse really become that political? It’s already pretty clear that religion and state are becoming closer and closer. But are people really this cruel? Yeah, probably.

Post your opinions. Enlighten me.