Just as cool merchandise is to blame for the crime of shoplifting, so too are children to blame for the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of Catholic clergy for decades. At least, if you ask one influential Catholic archbishop.
Earlier this month, Polish Archbishop Jozef Michalik came under much-deserved fire when he kinda-sorta-totally blamed kids for attracting pedophile priests with their sexy troubled vibes. Michalik told reporters that children of divorce or broken families often "[seek] closeness with others and may get lost and may get the other person involved, too."
Damn sexy kids!
The response from the public was immediate and overwhelmingly negative. Poland, for those of us who don't spend our days going down a Catholicism pedophilia k-hole and depressing ourselves the fuck out, has been an outlier in recent years. The Vatican, under the leadership of ex-Pope Palpatine/Benedict, began required bishops from around the world to submit their own guidelines for eliminating pedophiles from their dioceses, and most parts of the world complied with tough rules that require the Church to report pedophiles to proper authorities. Not Poland. According to USAToday, Polish Catholic officials have been really dragging their feet on instituting any real guidelines that go much further than "don't touch kids, y'all!" Poland also refuses to acknowledge the Church's role in enabling abuse and officials there have stated that the entity responsible for compensating the victim is the offender, not the massive organization that enabled him.
Ordinary citizens joined prominent politicians in expressing outrage, and intense debate continues more than two weeks later. The media pointed out that Michalik had supported a parish priest convicted in 2004 of child sex abuse, and one of the priest's victims said she was horrified by Michalik's latest remarks.
"Archbishop Michalik's words make us feel fear and revulsion," Ewa Orlowska said.
Church officials have since backpedaled like Lance Armstrong on speed, but that hasn't made much of a difference to the people hurt by the organization's negligence.
Also oddly silent on the remarks? Pope Francis, who hasn't done anything about the remarks yet. But unlike just about everyone before the last guy who presided over St. Peter's Basilica, Francis has actually, you know, made efforts to deal with priests who step out of line. Like just the other day, when the Pope suspended German Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst after catching wind of the fact that Bishop FPT-v-E (god even his name is extravagant) had built a $43 million residence with church money that probably should have been helping the poor.
Francis has emphasized, since assuming the papacy, that the Church must re-focus on poverty and living like some old time hippie named Jesus than prancing around in fancy shoes and yelling at Africans who use condoms, and in April, he said that the Church must "act decisively" in expelling pedophile priests from the ministry. Will the same standard apply to pedophile apologists?