Suffer the little children
This post was written by MJ on 29th July 2002
Now that Pope John Paul II has finished his stay in Ontario for World Youth Day and jetted off to Latin America, I pray Canada’s journalists — especially those at the Toronto Star — retrieve their critical faculties from wherever they’ve stashed them.
Throughout the Pope’s nearly week long stay, reporters replaced fawning, false hyperbole for anything regarding a critical look at the unelected, unaccountable and possibly incapacitated head of a global organization wracked by scandal and controversy.
Questions like: Why were the taxpayers of Toronto, Ontario and Canada picking up part of the tab for a (very, very wealthy) church, one whose guiding prinicples directly contradict Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms in many instances? Why did our Prime Minister, a Catholic but, more importantly, the head of a multicultural, pluralistic society where no religion is allowed precedence, kiss the Pope’s ring at the welcoming ceremony? Does the head of an organization that has consistently stonewalled any and all investigations into the pattern of sexual abuse by priests have any credibility to preside over a gathering of hundreds of thousands of children?
Of course, the Pope had to make some mention of the abuse scandals in his American church; in his Mass address he said it was a source of “sadness and shame” but said the guilt lay with individual priests, not a church hierarchy that covered up and facilitated abuse.
Again, the Canadian press failed. As the Pope’s thin mea culpa went unchecked, no mention was made of the scandal in the Canadian church, the ongoing attempt to make good for decades of physical abuse, sexual abuse and cultural genocide in aboriginal residential schools. I can understand why the Pope wouldn’t mention it — the system was advocated for and managed by the churches as part of their self-declared mission to do good in the world, so cannot be explained away by saying the problems were the result of some bad apples in the barrel.