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Meditation 1145
Catholic Church is just a trucking company,
and not a very good one.

by: John Tyrrell

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The Australian government established a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. It's been operating for over a year now, and unsurprisingly, one of the institutions it has been investigating is the Catholic Church.

This week, Cardinal George Pell has been testifying. That's the same George Pell who, as Archbishop of Sydney, was a speaker at Catholic World Youth Day in Toronto in 2002 and stated that abortion is a worse moral scandal than priests sexually abusing young people. (See Meditation 53) It is quite probable that stand contributed to his subsequent promotion to cardinal in 2003 by John-Paul II, another leading Catholic who went out of his way to minimize child abuse. 

In any event, the Royal Commission is currently looking into what was going on in Melbourne when Pell was Archbishop there, starting in 1996. Earlier this year, in March, he testified on the Sydney part of the hearing, testimony which was notable for his rejection of the testimony of his underlings. According to Pell, he was not involved in child abuse investigations to the degree those who worked for him said he was, And with respect to financial settlement made to victims, he made frequent excuses of "I don't remember", even for events as recent as 2007.

He does not remember financial arrangements? And this is the man that Pope Francis promoted to supervise the Vatican Bank, and effectively the third most important prelate in the Vatican. He's already set with his excuses when the next banking scandal comes around - "my underlings did not keep me informed", and "I don't remember."

But that's his testimony about his time in Sydney in March. What's he saying now about his time in Melbourne?

He's saying it is not appropriate for church leaders to be found culpable for sexual abuse by priests.

He compared the sexual abuse misdeeds by priests to the hypothetical case of a truck driver molesting a woman. According to him, just as the management of the trucking company should not be found responsible, the same applies to the Catholic Church.

What Pell seems incapable of getting through his thick head is that no-one puts their children in the hands of a trucking company for moral guidance; no-one puts their children in the hands of a trucking company for a kindergarten through high school education; and almost no-one these days would consider it an Honor if a truck driver agreed to let their children assist them in carrying out his duties for no pay.

The Catholic Church claims that it provides moral guidance. It encourages parents to get a Catholic education for their children. It chooses those children it thinks are the best as altar boys (and even altar girls.)

If Pell wants to compare the Catholic Church to a company, he should recognize that one of the Church's main lines of business is children. Just as a trucking company takes responsibility for freight entrusted to it, it is the Church's fundamental duty to accept responsibility for children entrusted to it.

Pell tries to use the trucking company analogy to evade his personal responsibility. Yet the analogy instead, shows his complete and utter disregard for his responsibilities. And in attempting to evade his responsibility he shows just how morally degenerate his thinking is.

And by denying responsibility, he provides a clear message to Catholic parents - "Don't put your children in the hands of the church because whatever happens to them at the hands of our employees isn't our fault."

Some other thoughts on the issue put here because they don't fit in the flow of the discussion:

  1. If a trucking company was advised one of its employees had molested a woman, the response would probably be to tell her to go to the police. It would not be to tell the victim that going to the police would mean she would not get a cash settlement and that only if an internal investigation supported her case. (In Melbourne and Sydney under Pell - victims were advised that was the policy.)
  2. If a trucking company was advised one of its employees had molested a woman, the response would not likely be "We'll take care of it" and then simply move the offender to another route.
  3. If a trucking company was advised one of its employees was regularly stealing freight (ie - affecting their main line of business), they'd at minimum fire the thief, not keep him on in the same job to go on stealing.
  4. Arguably, trucking companies have a better sense of morality than the princes of the Catholic Church.
  5. As for Pell, he's learned nothing since his speech in Toronto. Like so many others who are rabidly anti-abortion, he places infinite value on potential life in the womb and almost no value at all on living, breathing human beings.
  6. And Pell is also claiming his policies for dealing with victims of child abuse in Melbourne were world-leading; yet also saying that he took some of the claims from child abuse victims groups "with a grain of salt."
  7. The Catholic church is a just like trucking company which contracts with parents to transport their children's souls to heaven; but it gives its a employees free hand to destroy a few of those souls along the way.

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