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Here’s the right way for the Vatican to handle accusations of sexual abuse against Australian priests: They’re accused of doing WHAT?! We’ll give local authorities anything they need to assist with their case. We don’t condone child sexual abuse in any way, and if the accused priests really are guilty, then the children and their families affected by this deserve no less than our full cooperation.

And here’s what the Vatican actually did:

… the Vatican says the Holy See maintains the confidentiality of internal deliberations, adding that it would be inappropriate to provide such documents.
Leonie Sheedy, founder and chief executive of Care Leavers Australia Network, a support group for victims of child sexual abuse says the Catholic Church is treating the Australian public with contempt.
“I’m not surprised … I feel like the Catholic Church believes it is above the laws of Australia and probably the world,” she said.

Australia can’t force the Vatican to hand over documents related to how it guided Church leaders in the country to respond to the abuse charges, and that means the inquiry won’t be as thorough as it could be. So the Vatican is indirectly making it that much more difficult for children who may have been raped by priests to get justice.
As one lawyer said, the Vatican’s response is “disappointing but unsurprising.” Which pretty much encapsulates critics’ attitudes toward the Catholic Church, even with Pope Francis at the helm. This is a PR-disaster and the Church is doing everything it can to keep it going. It’s just beyond me how anyone could continue to support an organization like this when it consistently sends the message to rape victims that they don’t matter as much as their potential rapists.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Frank for the link)

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Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.