The Vatican has published an all-purpose worldwide press release, for local churches to adapt for use in sexual abuse cases. Cardinal Giacamo Bondolino, Papal Noncio to the UK, explained the thinking behind the scheme (i.e. to see how little they can get away with), to a gathering of childcare professionals and an unidentified group of middle-aged men with their hands deep in their brown overcoat pockets.
"Victims schmictims, that's all I seem to hear these days, hasn't anybody got something really important to discuss? What do you think of these new robes? Oh well, let's get on with it then, is this thing turned on?"
"The Vatican has been getting a lot of stick ....... mmmmmmmmm ... sorry, a lot of stick ... about child sex abuse". Bondolino went on to clarify the church's stance on the issue, following media suggestions that its response to previous allegations had, in some instances, appeared to minimise its own responsibility and trivialise the suffering of the victims and their families.
"Let me make this as clear and transparent as it can be. In at least 50%, indeed probably in the majority of all cases of child sex abuse, there is no really good excuse for it. I can assure you that we have looked at each case most carefully, to try and find one. I've still got all the photo's, would you like me to email you the link? So, on those very rare occasions where mother church has been, in even the slightest way, at all in the wrong, then we wish to say 'sorry' and promise we will try not to do it again. In fact, here's a little letter we've prepared to make it all better.
[/i]'The church is clearly very concerned about the damage done to the reputation of the church and in some occasional cases to girl/ boy/ children/ woman/ goats - fill this bit in will you Dave - who were in some cases entirely innocent. No excuses blah blah blah, followed by something to personalise it, perhaps invite them round for tea, offer to do some babysitting or take the kids on a trip to the zoo.'[i] then it sort of finishes by explaining that we're a bit strapped for ... mmmmmm... sorry, strapped .... for cash, what with the unexplained fall in congregations especially those families with young children, and to ask that they don't sue us"
Bondolino explained that active steps were being taken to provide protection in future "An entirely new post, that of 'Vatican Child abuser Protection Officer', has been created. The job advert has already gone out to 'BILFS & GILFS Monthly' - do you subscribe? - and we hope to appoint the succesful candidate by early 2014. But let me end by saying this. It would be entirely wrong to conclude that, just because the church has historically been a safe haven for predatory paedophiles, who like nothing better than to snuggle up to a cherubic young boy with chubby cheeks - like that one over there in the choirboy robes ... well you would, wouldn't you? Yes, well, sometimes these children have a really cheeky 'come-on' smile, don't you think? Yet you never see them in court. Apart from the witness box, obviously."