The Roman Catholic has been claiming a monopoly on moral teachings for the past 2,000 odd years. The latest lesson they are expounding upon is how not to accept responsibility. Abusive priests who have been shuffled around by the church hierarchy is not news to anyone. It has happened in most countries thay have an RC presence. The church has apologized, but many people do not believe that the Vatican has a real grasp on the issue at hand.
In England, there is a perfect example of how to dodge responsibility. The church is attempting to absolve itself of culpability in abuse cases by claiming that priests are not employed by the church.
Victims of sexual abuse by priests will no longer be able to sue the Catholic church for damages if a landmark judgment rules that priests should not be considered as employees.
In a little publicised case heard this month at the high court, the church claimed that it is not “vicariously liable” for priests’ actions. The church has employed the argument in the past but this was the first time it had been used in open court and a ruling in the church’s favour would set a legal precedent.
Previous hearings in the House of Lords and the court of appeal relating to other church organisations have found that ministers should be treated as employees. But there has been no judgment yet on whether the relationship between a Catholic priest and his bishop is akin to an employment relationship.
“They claim that the relationship between the bishop of the diocese and the parish priest in question does not amount to anything akin to a relationship of employment, and therefore there cannot be any ‘vicarious liability’ for the priest’s acts,” Emmott said.
“That is to say, whatever sexual abuse their priests might commit, it is not their responsibility. They are absolved of blame. We need to show that, while Father Baldwin wasn’t strictly an employee of the church, he was acting on the bishop’s behalf and that the bishop clearly had a degree of control over his activities.”
Even is priests are not considered to be employees, there is no way to avoid them being seen to be acting on behalf of the church. Every action they take is liable to hierarchical oversight. They are promoted and moved at the whim of the hierarchy. If they stray from the message in word or deed, they are punished or even removed from the church altogether. However, if they abuse children and the church protects them, somehow the church gets to pretend they don’t have any responsibility.
How fucking pathetic is that.
The actions of an individual priest are the actions of one man. The actions of the organization are much larger than that.