The Vatican today committed to tackle once and for all what it called the ‘unnatural and unforgivable practice’ of the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests receiving widespread media coverage.
‘As a religious leader, I believe I have a moral obligation not to stand by and allow those in a position of influence and responsibility to take advantage of their role and publish such shameful and damaging stories,’ said the pope today. ‘If there’s one thing vulnerable, sexually-abused children don’t need, it’s being exploited by shameless journalists looking to make a quick buck by pedalling verifiable truths from credible sources. The whole thing makes me sick.’
The Vatican’s crackdown will see the introduction of a harsh three-strikes-and-you’re-out policy for all media outlets caught reporting the abuse of children by Catholic priests. Based on existing disciplinary procedures, a first offence would see the church turn a blind eye, a second offence would attract a verbal warning and a third indiscretion would result in the Vatican demanding that the journalist be moved on to a new publication. If that doesn’t work, the church has threatened to take drastic action to end the supply of stories by redoubling efforts to hush them up.
Although some have criticised the church’s latest response to the abuse crisis, the Vatican has defended its new policy by citing some little-known scripture in which Jesus states that while paedophilia is not to be encouraged, there can never be any justification for relaying incidents of a physical union between a choirboy and his mentor to a wider public less intimate with religious teaching.
‘We desperately need to put a stop to this and make sure the public are no longer preyed upon by these evil, manipulative reporters,’ continued the pontiff. ‘I would hate for stories of child rape by Catholic priests to fall into the hands of the young and impressionable. It’s about time we started putting the children first in all this.’
‘What we need is some kind of protection – some sheath, if you will – to stop whatever may occur between a choirboy and his mentor leaking or being spilled and accidentally giving birth to something with much longer-lasting implications. Or maybe we just need to apply for more gagging orders. After all, victims say that’s often how the whole thing started.’