The usual suspects are up in arms that the Vatican has once again issued instructions relating to child abuse cases which do not simply require that such matters be blithely handed over to the civil authority.
What if the civil authority is the EU, with its year planner for children which includes the festivals of every major religion except one, and I think we can all guess which one? What if there is practically no functioning civil authority, as in some countries where the Catholic Church is active? What if it would be better that there were not than that there were what there is, as in very many such countries?
What if the civil authority is our own dear Police, who long ago stopped enforcing the age of consent from 13 upwards, or our own dear Social Services Departments, with their long history of publishing academic studies claiming that sex between men and teenage boys was beneficial to both parties, not to say of putting that view into practice in their residential facilities?
What if the civil authority is the Dutch civil authority, which has lowered the age of consent to 12, that, and not anything either Catholic or Reformed, being the vision of the Netherlands defended by the likes of Geert Wilders and the late Pim Fortuyn? (The legal situation in the Vatican City State, mercifully meaningless in practice, is an inherited imposition by Mussolini, lest anyone ever suggest either that he favoured the Church or that She favoured him.) What if the civil authority is a court presided over by Oz Robertson QC? What if had been, as it might be in the future, a House of Lords to which David Cameron had persuaded Peter Tatchell to accept the appointment that he declined last year?
The age of consent in Catholic Canon Law is 18, regardless of any lower age in any jurisdiction in which the Church might be active. Ages lower than that in countries with historically Catholic cultures are an invariable sign of Jacobin or Marxist anticlericalism, often of a very violent kind, at some point in the period from 1789 onwards, and usually in the twentieth century. Such lowering was specifically in order to make an anti-Catholic point, and to hell with the consequences for vulnerable adolescents. Why on earth prioritise authorities such as those over that of the Church, with Her age of consent fixed firmly at 18?