I’m never very good at working out time differences, but I believe that by now Pope Benedict XVI should have landed in Australia. And guess where his plane lands for refuelling… yup, Darwin airport!
Anyway, to the real point of this post. The trip is, in effect, a belated apology/damage limitation exercise concerning sexual abuse committed by Australian Catholic priests, and during his flight, he reeled off the usual, by now well practised spiel to reporters about how the Catholic Church has to prevent, heal and reconcile, and then went on to add:
“It must be clear … that being a real priest is incompatible with this (sexual abuse) because priests are in the service of our Lord.”
Ah, so that’s what makes sexual abuse such a bad thing. It isn’t the horrific effect that it has on the abused individual — it’s because it doesn’t fit a priest’s job description and, one assumes, is an offence to the Lord.
It seems to me that these apologies have very little to do with helping the abused. The healing that concerns him most is not that of the victims but of the Catholic Church itself.
Insult piled upon insult. Atrocity upon atrocity. Nothing ever really changes, however much they might like to pretend that it does.