Rupert Murdoch, to judge by his Twitter posts, does not like Scientology. Some media commentators have deduced from this that News Ltd is about to embark on one of its boots’n’all campaigns against the cult. Although the Scientology organisation bristles with lawyers, it is a relatively soft target, managing to be both ludicrous and sinister in equal measures.
However, there is another religious organisation which will not be attacked in tabloid editorials, although its activities do make the news pages with sickening frequency. This is the institution in which cover-up and victim-blame are the first reactions to any revelations of crime. This is the institution in which young children are raped and the perpetrators protected.
If any other organisation in Australian society had half as much form as the Catholic Church, the calls for a Royal Commission to investigate the shit out of it would be deafening. No amount of wealth, legal power or political connection would save such a criminal entity from public excoriation, total reorganisation or even legislated dissolution.
But we all tread softly because ‘faith’ is involved. The law, the media and society in general treat this church with limitless indulgence, as if it merely has to state a spiritual aspiration to be absolved from the ordinary standards of civilised behaviour.
These horrendous abuses have no doubt been going on secretly for centuries, perhaps ever since St Augustine mistook his own psychopathology for a normal state of being. But they have received widespread attention now for twenty-five years, and a generation is long enough for any deviant community to get its house in order.
The ABC’s Four Corners last week reminded us that however much public breast-beating goes on when specific cases are brought to light, there has been no real effort to root out the pederasts. That would require a change of culture, and change is not welcome to the rock spiders who infest the gilded palaces of the Vatican.