Story image

A breach of faith

01 May 10

The latest revelations of sexual abuse by priests have rocked the Catholic Church and seriously damaged the Pope’s credibility. They have also revived a long-standing issue which the Church insists is inviolable: celibate clergy.
The scandals have left Pope Benedict looking less like a guardian of the faithful and more like a staunch defender of orthodoxy and clerical authority. And even the reputation of his beloved predecessor, John Paul II, could be damaged.
The Catholic Church has a lamentable history of abuse, especially of children. Worse still is the impression gained, not of denial, but of containment. In the past it is alleged that victims of abuse by priests were told to keep silence for sake of the Church – not to mention their immortal souls. Guilty priests seldom faced any charges, but were simply moved to more obscure places, where in some cases they continued to offend.
If the reports are correct, institutions run by the Church for disadvantaged or disabled children have for decades been hunting grounds for predatory priests. A damning report on the Church in Ireland said the Dublin archdiocese had systematically concealed abuse cases. Further reports of abuse have surfaced in the United States (particularly of the abuse of some 200 boys by a priest at a school for the deaf in Wisconsin), as well as in Germany, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
The Pope’s initial response was to issue a written apology to the Catholics of Ireland, but subsequent public pressure forced a more emphatic stand against alleged abuse. The Vatican published a guide for clergy and laypeople (see and Benedict promised everything possible would be done to protect children and bring abusive priests to justice.
 Religious writers have also cast doubt on the attitudes of John Paul II, suggesting that Benedict, then Cardinal Ratzinger, had to deal with scandals surrounding favourites of John Paul, who turned a blind eye to claims of abuse concerning clergy who were close to him.
But a deeper problem for the Church is the growing perception of an institution out of touch with modern life, run by aging, celibate men. The Vatican insists celibacy is non-negotiable. But can it hold this line, given declining church attendance and the increasing difficulty of attracting young people to the priesthood?.
A change in attitude looks unlikely in the forseeable future. Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, was quoted as denying a link between celibacy and pedophilia, but asserting that child abuse was linked to homosexuality. 

Commerce Commission report shows fibre is hot on the heels of copper
The report shows that as of 30 September 2018 there were 668,850 households and businesses connected to fibre, an increase of 45% from 2017.
Mac malware on WatchGuard’s top ten list for first time
The report is based on data from active WatchGuard Firebox unified threat management appliances and covers the major malware campaigns.
Big Bash Boom gives us cricket with power-ups
From the moment you hit play, you know that Big Bash Boom isn’t your usual cricket game. 
Bin 'em: Those bomb threat emails are complete hoaxes
A worldwide spate of spam emails claiming there is a bomb in the recipient’s building is almost certainly a hoax.
The tech that helped the first woman to sail around Australia
Lisa Blair used devices from supplied by Pivotel to aid her in becoming the first woman to circumnavigate Australia non-stop.
Marriott sets up call centres to answer questions on data breach
Marriott has released an update on the breach of the Starwood guest reservation data breach which affected 500 million guests.
How to stay safe when shopping online
Online shopping is a great way to avoid the crowds – but there are risks.
Hands-on review: The Logitech R500 laser presentation remote
With a clever ergonomic design, you’ll never have to glance at the device, unless you deliberately look to use the built-in laser pointer to emphasise your presentation.