The Hypocrisy of the Catholic Church

Cardinal Pietro Parolin

As Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, was giving his keynote address at the opening of “Child Dignity in the Digital World,” the Vatican was hiding a Catholic priest diplomat wanted in the United States and Canada for accessing child pornography.  That’s not only hubris but hypocrisy of the highest order.

How can the Vatican Secretary of State speak credibly about the Catholic Church’s commitment to the online safety of children when it is harboring someone who is wanted for child pornography?

Italian Monsignor Carlo Capella was recalled to the Vatican from his post at the Vatican nunciature in Washington, D.C., after the U.S. State Department notified the Holy See of his possible crimes. Police in Canada also issued a nationwide warrant for the monsignor’s arrest on charges of accessing, possessing and distributing child pornography while he was visiting Canada.

Parolin said the Vatican was treating the Capella case with “utmost concern, utmost commitment” but also confidentiality to protect the integrity of the investigation. He spoke to reporters on the sidelines of a Catholic Church-sponsored conference on protecting children from online threats.

Canadian police have issued an arrest warrant for Capella, accusing him of accessing, possessing and distributing child pornography during a visit to an Ontario church over Christmas. He is now in the Vatican after being recalled from the Vatican’s embassy in the U.S.

Vatican prosecutors have also opened an investigation into Capella’s actions.

Parolin — Capella’s boss — headlined the opening of the four-day conference on protecting children online that has drawn leading researchers in public health, Interpol, the U.N., government representatives as well as executives from Facebook and Microsoft.  It’s time for these folks to demand the Church act in the best interests of children.

The cognitive dissonance was not lost on the media who immediately pounced on the church’s mode of saying one thing and doing another.  At this point, the church has little credibility in advocating for the welfare of children.  It talks a good game but its actions always belie the words spoken.

Unless and until the church stops protecting suspected criminals it will have no credibility with the public.  The bottom line is that the church has always been more concerned with protecting the institution rather than protecting children.  That has not changed and I suspect it won’t change until the church feels the effects of its actions in terms of financial support.  Perhaps once the money dries up the church will begin to listen to the world and accept its fate.  Until then, law enforcement officials and the justice system must hold the church and its officials accountable for their misdeeds.  We are well beyond hoping the church will reform or police itself.


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