The TL:DR; answer is that yes, it is indeed still ongoing and it is still being covered up.
The prevailing myth is that it is all in the past and with a new Pope in charge and a new set of rules in place, it is history, a rather dark abhorrent one, but still history.
Alas no, the Irish Independent has the story of an Irish Priest located in Florida who, when he discovered another priest was behaving in a wholly inappropriate manner, did the right thing and called the police. What then happen to him reveals that as far as the Church is concerned, he did the wrong thing because he did not cover it all up ..
Fr John A Gallagher (48) is living in a friend’s home after locks at his parochial house were changed and he was placed on medical leave by his bishop in the Diocese of Palm Beach.
He claims he was told by a church official to put a paedophile priest on a plane rather than cooperate with police. A local police chief, so concerned at the Irish cleric’s treatment, wrote to church leaders to complain about how the whistle-blower is being treated.
Fr Gallagher broke his year-long silence over the affair to tell the Irish Independent that the priest from India at the centre of the abuse scandal is a danger to children. He has written to bishops and cardinals about the case – as well as Vatican officials – and has, so far, been unable to get a satisfactory response.
The astonishing case began in January last year when Fr Jose Palimattom – who had been at the parish of the Holy Name of Jesus Christ Catholic Church in West Palm Beach for just four weeks – approached a 14-year-old boy after Mass.
He showed the teenager up to 40 images of naked boys. Police believe he was in the first stages of grooming his victim.
Later that night, Palimattom sent the boy a message on Facebook which read: “Good night. Sweet dreams.”
However the teenager told a friend, who reported it to the church choirmaster, who immediately told Fr Gallagher.
The priest, from Strabane, Co Tyrone, says he was told that night by a church official in Florida: “We need to make him go away, put him on a plane.”
In documents filed to the Vatican by a specialist canon lawyer on behalf of Fr Gallagher, the priest claimed he was instructed “do not keep written notes” by the same church official.
The legal document was sent to Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome. Fr Gallagher disregarded the instruction to put Palimattom on a plane to Bangalore and instead interviewed him. A retired police officer, who took notes at the meeting, told the Irish Independent that the Indian priest not only admitted showing nude pictures of boys to the local teenager, but also admitted he had sexually assaulted young boys in India before arriving in the US.
It was a confession he would repeat to detectives of the West Palm Beach Police, and Palimattom was later convicted on a felony charge of showing obscene material to a child.
For acting as a decent human being, giving priority to the victims over anything else, and for following the “official” rules by involving the police, he suffered the wrath of the church. They made it wholly clear to him that he should not have done any of this and should instead have quietly covered it all up.
Note that this is their official policy, it was not simply his local bishop, but came directly from the top with direct involvement of Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome.
In other words, nothing has really changed at all.
After all that has happened, have they truly learned nothing except how to be better at covering it all up?
The Scale of the Clerical Abuse is truly hard to grasp
The history of such abuse is not one in which there are one or two bad apples, but instead we have abuse being perpetuated and covered up on an almost industrial scale all around the world … case after case after case.
We should also remember that this is not new, they have been doing this for centuries. What has changed is not that a percentage of priests suddenly went rogue, but rather that the new information age has thrown a bright spotlight into a very dark corner.
Just how big is this issue?
In 2014, Pope Francis publicly admitted that as many as 2% of all their clerics were pedophiles, and he was not just talking about priests, but also included cardinals and bishops.
The true shocker here with this latest story is not that yet another priest has been caught, but rather, that the desire to cover it all up persists and continues.