How The System Works

by Zoe Pollock

The Catholic cover-ups continue, this time captured in a conversation between Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels and an unnamed 42 year-old victim of childhood sexual abuse who secretly recorded his meetings with the Cardinal.Two Flemish-language newspapers, De Standaard and Het Nieuwsblad, published the texts last Saturday and Faith World reports, providing one of the better English translations available online:

“What do you really want?” asks Danneels, cutting the victim off by saying he already knows the story and doesn’t need to hear it again. When the man says “I give you the responsibility, I can’t decide … you should do what you think should be done, because I don’t know how this whole system works.”

“Do you want this to be made public?” the cardinal asks. “I leave that to you,” the victim responds. Then Danneels begins his effort to convince him to keep the lid on the problem: “The bishop will step down next year, so actually it would be better for you to wait.”

“No, I can’t agree that he takes his leave in glory, I can’t do that,” the victim replies...

A little later, [the Cardinal] says:  “I don’t think you’d do yourself or him a favor by shouting this from the rooftops.”