What Are the Implications for Continued Secrecy Amidst Clergy Sexual Abuse Scandals?
Posted on Dec. 10, 2012
By TIM KOSNOFF
Micro-chip tracking for human surveillance in the Vatican?
Is this the contemporary Catholic Church or a new James Bond movie?
Truth be known, observers are never really sure about what to make of the deliberately arcane ways that have made the Catholic Church something of an ongoing mystery for two millennia.
The latest strange behavior by Vatican authorities would seem amusing in perhaps a satirical way were it not juxtaposed with the grim realities of an institution pressed with the necessities of dealing with decades of child sex abuse crimes, details of which are being revealed each week from around the globe.
That’s why one may need to look twice or more at a recent headline from a reputable news organization. Is it supposed to be factual or is it a made-up amusement by Andy Borowitz or some other clever satirist the equal of the veteran humor-writer for The New Yorker and other publications?
The piece is in fact from the Rome bureau of London’s The Daily Telegraph. The Dec. 2 dispatch, by Josephine McKenna, is headlined:
“Vatican introduces new security measures after Vatileaks scandal”
It reports that Vatican clergy and employees each “will be issued with an identity card complete with a microchip-tracking device in sweeping new security measures designed to prevent a repeat of the Vatileaks scandal. Much tighter controls have already been introduced for anyone seeking access or photocopies of the Holy See’s archives, dossiers and documents.”
The reporter observes that a Slovenian priest, Mitja Leskovar, “an anti-espionage expert nicknamed ‘Monsignor 007,’ is in charge of implementing the new security procedures with the identity cards expected to be introduced from January 1.”
Uh, one utters, Monsignor 007? Really?
“Leskovar,” the report continues, “who grew up in the former Yugoslavia under Communism, is responsible for the transmission of confidential documents between the Vatican and its papal nuncios or diplomats inside the Secretariat of State and also supervises all requests for document photocopying within the secretariat.
“Thousands of clerical and lay staff working inside the walls of the Vatican from the Apostolic Palace to the Secretariat of State will be affected by the tighter scrutiny that will also enable their superiors to monitor when they clock in and out. The security shake-up was revealed after Claudio Sciarpelletti, the computer expert convicted of aiding and abetting the pope’s former butler Paolo Gabriele in the Vatileaks scandal, dropped his appeal.”
Ah, yes. If we remember correctly that was the caper in which the verdict was that “the butler did it.”
“The move came as the three judges who assessed the case raised doubts about Sciarpelletti’s credibility and the friendship between the two men,” the news story continues.
“Sciarpelletti was convicted in November of aiding and abetting Gabriele, who himself was convicted of stealing the pontiff’s private documents and leaking them to an Italian journalist in an embarrassing security breach that rocked the Vatican earlier this year.”
The report concludes that “Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told The Daily Telegraph these kind of security measures had been talked about within the Vatican for years but declined to comment on any details and said he did not know the precise timing of the measures.”
So we’re left to surmise several points that aren’t exactly revelatory. One could be that, indeed, it can and does take “years” before authorities at the Vatican seem moved to do anything about transgressions. Another could be that, when eventually moved to act, Catholic authorities are much more likely to try to prevent leaks about factual data and much less inclined to deal directly with problems.
“Problems” could constitute a euphemism. The truer term in the context of child sexual abuse would be “crimes”: criminal transgressions that for decades have proliferated from America to Australia and seemingly everywhere in between.
Many within the Vatican may be amused that the slapstick machinations of the Catholic Church would include functionaries dubbed “007.” Is it any wonder, then, that those of us appalled by the crimes of church personnel aren’t surprised when the institution’s authorities don’t seem to take seriously what so many of their minions have done to innocent children?
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