Seattle Atheists condemns the Catholic church’s cover-up of child rape

Sunday, April 11, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:
Paul Case
President of Seattle Atheists
P.O. Box 283, Seattle, WA 98111-0283
(206) 826-0770
president@seattleatheists.org
www.seattleatheists.org

SEATTLE ATHEISTS CONDEMNS THE CATHOLIC CHURCH’S COVER-UP OF CHILD RAPE AND DISMISSIVE ATTITUDE TOWARD ITS VICTIMS

SEATTLE — Seattle Atheists would like express its sympathy for the pain suffered by the victims of rape and abuse by Catholic priests, and its disgust at a callous global organization which has enabled and covered up that rape and abuse for decades.

As the list of charges grows, and more victims find the courage to speak out, the Vatican’s attitude towards its victims has grown more cynical and flippant. Pope Benedict recently referred to growing evidence that Catholic priests raped children in their charge, covered up the abuse, and protected the abusers, as “petty gossip.” At the Good Friday service attended by the Pope, Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa compared media scrutiny to the persecution of the Jewish people — doubly offensive given the Church’s centuries-long history of anti-Semitism and their complicity in the Holocaust.

The New York Times reported that the Pope has personally played a hand in internal investigations of abuse against its priests. They reported that he squashed an investigation against Lawrence C. Murphy, who may have abused and raped as many as 200 deaf children under his charge in Wisconsin from the 1950s to the 1970s. Murphy died as a priest and was never punished for his crimes. Church officials in Germany recently admitted that Rev. Peter Hullerman, transferred to an archdiocese led at the time by Pope Benedict, could have been committing sexual abuse since the 1970s. And, in Ireland, Bishop John McGee resigned, apologizing that he failed to respond to allegations of abuse within the church.

“The sexual abuse of children is terrible enough,” says Paul Case, president of Seattle Atheists, “but to actually cover it up, silence the victims with confidentiality agreements, and pass on the priest to a batch of new potential victims is just unforgivable.”

The decades it took to bring these crimes out into the open, and the callous responses by the Pope and the Vatican, clearly illustrate what Seattle Atheists feels is the privileged role that religion gives to an organization that holds itself up above criticism or scrutiny.

“I can’t imagine that a CEO whose employees sexually abused children would be shameless enough to cover it up and have the audacity to play the victim,” Case says, “especially an organization that claims to be the arbiter of morality.”

Seattle Atheists bears no ill will toward the millions of moral Christians and Catholics. We share their outrage with the growing evidence of wrongdoing, and offer our support to the victims and their families. To remain silent is an insult to the secular conscience.

Seattle Atheists is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to serving the atheist community in the Seattle area. We strive to promote understanding and respect toward all freethinkers by providing information, creating a sense of fellowship, actively opposing discrimination, and above all, emphasizing reason, critical thinking over supernaturalism and the separation of church and state.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Paul Case, President of Seattle Atheists, (206) 826-0770, president@seattleatheists.org

About Amanda