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The sexual abuse of children below the age of consent by priests has received significant media and public attention in the United States , Canada , Ireland , the United Kingdom, the Philippines, Belgium , France , Germany, and Australia. Cases have also been reported in other nations throughout the world. Although nationwide inquiries have been conducted only in the United States and Ireland, as well as an Australian inquiry into institutional responses , cases of clerical sexual abuse of minors have been reported and prosecuted in New Zealand , Canada and other countries.

In Ireland, the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse issued a report that covered six decades from the s. It noted "endemic" sexual abuse in Catholic boys' institutions, saying that church leaders were aware of abuses and that government inspectors failed to "stop beatings, rapes and humiliation. In Australia, according to Broken Rites , a support and advocacy group for church-related sex abuse victims, as of [update] there have been over one hundred cases in which Catholic priests have been charged for child sex offenses.

Of the Catholic sexual abuse cases in Latin America , the most widely known is the sexual scandal of Father Marcial Maciel , the founder of the Legion of Christ , a Roman Catholic congregation. In Tanzania , Father Kit Cunningham and three other priests were exposed as pedophiles after Cunningham's death.

Academic Mathew N. Schmalz notes India as an example: "you would have gossip and rumors, but it never reaches the level of formal charges or controversies. It also streamlined the processes for removing abusive priests. According to a research study by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops , 4, Catholic priests and deacons in active ministry between and have been plausibly neither withdrawn nor disproven accused of under-age sexual abuse by 10, individuals.

The report noted that "It is impossible to determine from our surveys what percent of all actual cases of abuse that occurred between and have been reported to the Church and are therefore in our dataset. In , the Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the UN, Silvano Maria Tomasi , appeared before the Committee against Torture and reported that during the previous ten years, cases of abuse against minors had been investigated and priests had been removed from their positions and reduced to lay status. There are no accurate figures available on the number of sexual abuse cases in different regions.

But, in The Boston Globe reported, "clearly the issue has been most prominent in the United States. After the United States, the country with the next highest number of reported cases is Ireland. In response to the attention, members of the church hierarchy [ who? However, by the focus had shifted to Europe. In September , a submission was lodged with the International Criminal Court alleging that the Pope, Cardinal Angelo Sodano Dean of the College of Cardinals , Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone Cardinal Secretary of State , and Cardinal William Levada then-current Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had committed a crime against humanity by failing to prevent or punish perpetrators of rape and sexual violence in a "systematic and widespread" concealment which included failure to co-operate with relevant law enforcement agencies.

On 13 May , Pope Francis acknowledged that the Vatican had a 2, case backlog of sex abuse cases. In the late s, the American priest Gerald Fitzgerald founded the Congregation of the Servants of the Paraclete , a religious order that treats Roman Catholic priests who struggle with personal difficulties such as substance abuse and sexual misconduct.

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In a series of letters and reports to high-ranking Catholic leaders starting in the s, Fitzgerald warned of substantial problems with abusive priests. He wrote, for example, "[sexual abuse] offenders were unlikely to change and should not be returned to ministry. In , the Vatican first required that sex abuse cases be reported to the Vatican hierarchy; before that, it left management of the cases to local dioceses. The cases received significant media and public attention in the United States, Ireland where abuse was reported as widespread , and Canada, and throughout the world.

By contrast, in much of the reporting focused on child abuse in Europe. Church authorities are often accused of covering up cases of sex abuse. In many cases, as discussed in the sections on different countries, clergy discovered by Church authorities to be criminally offending are not reported to civil authorities such as the police. They are often merely moved from one diocese to another, usually without any warning to the authorities or the congregations at the destination. While offending clergy could be subject to action such as laicization , this is rare; the intention of the Church until recent times has been to avoid publicity and scandal at all costs.

In some cases offenders may confess their wrongdoing to a priest under the Sacrament of Penance. Church canon law unconditionally prohibits a priest hearing such a confession from making any disclosure about the existence or content of the confession to anybody, including Church and civil authorities—the "Seal of the Confessional". This obligation is taken very seriously throughout the Catholic Church; for example all serving archbishops in Australia told the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that they would not report to police a colleague who admitted in the confessional to child rape.

Most reported incidents of sex abuse occurred between and , [61] however it was noted that there was on average a delay of 33 years between when a victim was abused to when it was reported, [62] which skews the statistics towards older incidents of abuse. Some reported incidents occurred as early as the s and the latest after Australia's Catholic leaders had been among the first in the world to publicly address management of child abuse: In , the church issued the Towards Healing Protocol , which it described as seeking to "establish a compassionate and just system for dealing with complaints of abuse".

In May Philip Wilson , Archbishop of Adelaide, was wrongfully convicted of failing to report allegations of child sexual abuse to civil authorities in when he was an assistant parish priest in East Maitland, New South Wales , and then acquitted by an appeal court. The appeal judge considered he had been convicted because he was Catholic priest, and not because the prosecution had proved the case beyond reasonable doubt. He rejected substantial elements of the case against the archbishop, questioned the accuracy of the evidence of a key witness, and said: "It is not for me to punish the Catholic Church for its institutional moral deficits, or to punish Philip Wilson for the sins of the now deceased James Fletcher by finding Philip Wilson guilty, simply on the basis that he is a Catholic priest.

When the judge dismissed this second case in February for want of evidence, the suppression order over coverage of Pell's December conviction ended. Pell's bail was revoked on 27 February and on 13 March was sentenced by Judge Peter Kidd to serve six years in jail with a non-parole period of three years and eight months. In November , an independent group in Austria [78] that operates a hotline to help people exit the Catholic Church released a report documenting physical, sexual, and emotional abuse perpetrated by Austrian priests, nuns, and other religious officials.

In June , Belgian police raided the Belgian Catholic Church headquarters in Brussels , seizing a computer and records of a Church commission investigating allegations of child abuse. This was part of an investigation into hundreds of claims that had been raised about alleged child sexual abuse committed by Belgian clergy.

The claims emerged after Roger Vangheluwe , who had been the Bishop of Bruges , resigned in after admitting that he was guilty of sexual molestation. In the late s, allegations were made of physical and sexual abuse committed by members of the Christian Brothers , who operated the Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John's, Newfoundland. The government, police, and church had colluded in an attempt to cover up the allegations, but in December they were reported in the St.

John's Sunday Express. Eventually more than former pupils came forward with allegations of physical and sexual abuse at the orphanage. In August , Father Charles Henry Sylvestre of Belle River, Ontario pleaded guilty to 47 counts of sexual abuse of females, aged between nine and fourteen years old, between and Before his visit to Chile to meet with the bishop, there were serious sex abuse charges concerning the priest, Fernando Karadima.

Barros was accused of covering up several sex crimes by Karadima. When Pope Francis came to visit the bishop, he was asked by local reporters about the sexual abuse scandal surrounding Barros. Pope Francis quickly reprimanded critics, even the victims of Karadima, by calling the scandal a "slander". In addition, Pope Francis chastised reporters by stating, "The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, I will speak. There is not one piece of evidence against him. It is calumny. Is that clear? Francis then appointed Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta to investigate the allegations of abuse in the Chilean church.


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In late April , three victims were invited to the Vatican. Different scandals of sexual abuse involving members of the Catholic clergy have been made public in Costa Rica, as more than ten priests have been formally accused. He is currently a fugitive overseas reason for which an international arrest warrant was issued against him. Another priest wanted for sexual abuse, Jorge Arturo Morales Salazar, was arrested by the authorities while trying to escape through the Panama border and held on preventive custody.

Jozef Wesolowski , a Polish citizen who had been a nuncio papal ambassador , was laicized in because of accusations of sexual abuse of minors during the five years he served as Vatican ambassador in Santo Domingo. However, in July the trial was postponed due to Wesolowski's ill health and he died on 27 August before a trial could be held. Cardinal Philippe Barbarin , the Archbishop of Lyon , was convicted on 7 March of failing to report sex abuse allegedly committed by a priest.

In September a report by the German Catholic Church found that 3, children in Germany, mostly 13 or younger, had been sexually abused by Catholic clergy between and There are fifteen priests, two archbishops, and a bishop who have been recognized in sex abuse cases, from the s until the s.

In Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Juan Jose Pineda, A close aide of Cardinal Maradiaga, following revelations of sexual abuse and financial scandal. In , Mathew N. Schmalz noted that Catholic Church sexual abuse cases in India are generally not spoken about openly, stating "you would have gossip and rumors, but it never reaches the level of formal charges or controversies. In , Raju Kokkan, the vicar of the Saint Paul's Church in Thaikkattussery , Thrissur , Kerala , was arrested on charges of raping a nine-year-old girl. According to Kerala Police , Kokkan had raped the child on several different occasions, including at least thrice in his office during the month of April.

Kokkan promised to gift the child expensive vestments for her Holy Communion ceremony before sexually assaulting her. The abuse was revealed after the victim informed her parents that she had been raped by Kokkan on 25 April The priest subsequently fled to Nagercoil in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu , and was arrested by police on 5 May. Following the arrest, the Thrissur Archdiocese stated that the vicar had been removed from his position within the Church. Between February and April , three other Catholic priests were arrested in the state of Kerala on charges of raping minors.

In , the Catholic Church reappointed a convicted and jailed priest in the Ootacamund Diocese in Tamil Nadu, with little regard for victims rights and children's safety. In , Father Robin Vadakkumchery of St Sebastian church in Kannur was arrested in Kochi on the charge of repeatedly raping a year-old girl who later gave birth to a child. The Vatican had just 'temporarily' relieved him from his pastoral responsibilities. The nun who complained against Bishop Franco had mentioned to the police that he had repeatedly had unnatural sex with her on multiple occasions between and In the Republic of Ireland, starting in the s, there were a series of criminal cases and government enquiries related to allegations that priests had abused hundreds of minors over previous decades.

State-ordered investigations documented "tens of thousands of children from the s to the s" who suffered abuse, including sexual abuse at the hands of priests, nuns, and church staff in three dioceses. In many cases senior clergy had moved priests accused of abuse to other parishes.

By , a number of in-depth judicial reports had been published, but with relatively few prosecutions. The abuse was occasionally made known to staff at the Department of Education , the police , and other government bodies. They have said that prosecuting clergy was extremely difficult given the "Catholic ethos" of the Irish Republic. Christian Brothers had a higher number of allegations made against their order than were made against others.

Neither were any victims named in the report. In , Micheal Ledwith resigned as President of St Patrick's College, Maynooth when allegations of sexual abuse by him were made public. The June McCullough Report found that a number of bishops had rejected concerns about Ledwith's inappropriate behavior towards seminarians "so completely and so abruptly without any adequate investigation", although his report conceded that "to investigate in any very full or substantial manner, a generic complaint regarding a person's apparent propensities would have been difficult".

Fr Brendan Smyth was reported to have sexually abused and indecently assaulted 20 children in parishes in Belfast , Dublin and the United States, during the period between and Six reports by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church have up until established that six Irish priests were convicted between and It was the largest inquiry in UK legal history into sexual and physical abuse in certain institutions including non-Catholic ones that were in charge of children from to The De La Salle Brothers and the Sisters of Nazareth admitted early in the inquiry to physical and sexual abuse of children in institutions in Northern Ireland that they controlled, and issued an apology to victims.

Help the Victim, Stop the Abuse

In October , Italian victim rights group Rete l'Abuso released a statement asserting that the Italian justice system has treated about cases of predator priests and nuns and netted convictions since the year The Norwegian Catholic Church was made aware of the incident at the time but did not alert the authorities. During the public in this deeply Catholic country became concerned about reports of child sex abuse scandals within the Church, some of which reached the courts, and the poor response by the church. The Church resisted demands to pay compensation to victims.

Statistics were released on 14 April , commissioned by the Episcopal Conference of Poland and with data from over 10, local parishes. It was found that from to mid, abuse reports about priests were made to the Church, with children, mostly under 16, sexually abused by members of the Catholic clergy.

There were opinions that the figures underestimated the extent of the problem, and failed to answer questions church officials had avoided for years. The data were released a few weeks after Pope Francis had called for "an all-out battle against the abuse of minors".

After pressure from the Pope, in the preceding years Poland's Church had publicly apologised for abuses, and accepted the need to report those accused of such crimes. In earlier times clergy to whom sexual abuse of minors was reported were not required by their superiors to notify the police, but to investigate themselves, and if necessary inform the Vatican. Dariusz Olejniczak, a priest who was sentenced for molesting 7-year-old girls, was allowed to continue working with young people despite his conviction [] On May 14, , Poland's ruling Law and Justice PiS party, which has long had an alliance with the nation's Catholic Bishops, [] agreed to increase penalties for child sex abuse by raising the maximum prison sentence from 12 years to 30 years and raising the age of consent from 15 to In , Cardinal Keith O'Brien , the Archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh , resigned following publication of allegations he had engaged in inappropriate and predatory sexual conduct with priests and seminarians under his jurisdiction and abused his power.

In the United States, which has been the focus of many of the scandals and subsequent reforms, [] BishopAccountability. Although bishops had been sending sexually abusive priests to facilities such as those operated by the Servants of the Paraclete since the s, there was scant public discussion of the problem until the mids.

Even then, most of the discussion was held amongst the Catholic hierarchy with little or no coverage in the media. A public discussion of sexual abuse of minors by priests took place at a meeting sponsored by the National Association for Pastoral Renewal held on the campus of the University of Notre Dame in , to which all U. Catholic bishops were invited. Various local and regional discussions of the problem were held by Catholic bishops in later years. However, it was not until the s that discussion of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clerics began to be covered as a phenomenon in the news media of the United States.

According to the Catholic News Service , public awareness of the sexual abuse of children in the United States and Canada emerged in the late s and the s as an outgrowth of the growing awareness of physical abuse of children in society. In September , the National Catholic Reporter published an article on the topic. In , the Boston Globe ' s Pulitzer Prize -winning coverage of sexual abuse cases involving Catholic priests drew the attention, first of the United States and ultimately the world, to the problem.

One study shows that the Boston Globe coverage of the cases "had a negative and long-lasting effect" on Catholic school enrollment, and explained "about two-thirds of the decline in Catholic schooling. In Archbishop Timothy M. As recently as Fr Curtis Wehmeyer was allowed to work as a priest in Minnesota despite many people having reported concern about his sexual compulsion and suspicious behavior with boys.

Wehmeyer was employed as a priest without proper background checks. Wehmeyer was later convicted of sexually abusing two boys. After Wehmeyer's arrest there were complaints the responsible clergy were more concerned with how to spin the story in a favorable light than in helping victims. In July Cardinal Theodore McCarrick resigned from the College of Cardinals the first Cardinal to do so since following allegations of abuse and attempted homosexual rape at a seaside villa.

The John Jay Report was based on a study of 10, allegations against 4, priests accused of engaging in sexual abuse of a minor between and According to Donald Cozzens , "by the end of the mid s, it was estimated that [ By , U. In many instances, dioceses were forced to declare bankruptcy as a result of the settlements.

At least six U. In some cases, the dioceses filed bankruptcy just before civil suits against them were about to go to trial. This had the effect of mandating that pending and future lawsuits be settled in bankruptcy court. Some of the accused priests were forced to resign. Some priests whose crimes fell within statutes of limitation are in jail. Some have been laicized. Others — because they are elderly, because of the nature of their offenses, or because they have had some success fighting the charges — cannot be laicized under canon law. Some priests live in retreat houses that are carefully monitored and sometimes locked.

Bernard Francis Law , Cardinal and Archbishop of Boston , Massachusetts , United States, resigned after Church documents were revealed which suggested he had covered up sexual abuse committed by priests in his archdiocese. Two bishops of Palm Beach, Florida , resigned due to child abuse allegations.

In an address before the Irish parliament on 11 May , Taoiseach Bertie Ahern announced a comprehensive program to respond to the scandal of abuse in the nation's Catholic-run childcare institutions. Ahern's speech included the first official apology to those who had been abused physically and sexually while they had been in the care of these institutions.

The Taoiseach asked the abuse victims for forgiveness, saying: "On behalf of the State and of all citizens of the State, the Government wishes to make a sincere and long overdue apology to the victims of childhood abuse for our collective failure to intervene, to detect their pain, to come to their rescue. In response to the furor aroused by the media reports of abuse in Irish government institutions run by religious orders, the Irish government commissioned a study which took nine years to complete.

On 20 May , the commission released its page report, which drew on testimony from thousands of former residents and officials from more than institutions. The commission found that there were thousands of allegations of physical abuse of children of both sexes over a period of six decades.

Over the same period, around former child residents alleged they had suffered various forms of sexual abuse from religious figures and others. The report characterized sexual molestation as "endemic" in some church-run industrial schools and orphanages for boys. In response to the Ferns Report, Ireland's Prime Minister Brian Cowen stated that he was "ashamed by the extent, length, and cruelty" of child abuse, apologized to victims for the government's failure to intervene in endemic sexual abuse and severe beatings in schools for much of the 20th century. Cowen also promised to reform the Ireland's social services for children in line with the recommendations of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse report.

In November , Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse reported its findings in which it concluded that:. All other considerations, including the welfare of children and justice for victims, were subordinated to these priorities. The Archdiocese did not implement its own canon law rules and did its best to avoid any application of the law of the State". In , The Murphy Report is the result of a three-year public inquiry conducted by the Irish government into the Sexual abuse scandal in Dublin archdiocese , released a few months after the report of the Ryan report.

The Murphy report stated that, "The Commission has no doubt that clerical child sexual abuse was covered up by the Archdiocese of Dublin and other Church authorities". It found that, "The structures and rules of the Catholic Church facilitated that cover-up.

The letter, which was issued on 19 March , amends Canon Law and requires superiors to a local religious to dismiss any member of their "religious house" if they have been absent for 12 months and out of contact. The responses of the Catholic Church to the sex abuse cases can be viewed on three levels: the diocesan level , the episcopal conference level, and the Vatican. Responses to the scandal proceeded at levels in parallel, with the higher levels becoming progressively more involved as the gravity of the problem became more apparent.

For the most part, responding to allegations of sexual abuse in a diocese was left to the jurisdiction of the local bishop or archbishop. According to Thomas Plante , a psychiatrist specializing in abuse counseling and considered an expert on clerical abuse, "unlike most large organizations that maintain a variety of middle management positions, the organizational structure of the Catholic Church is a fairly flat structure. Therefore, prior to the Church clergy abuse crisis in , each bishop decided for himself how to manage these cases and the allegations of child sexual abuse by priests.

Some have handled these matters very poorly as evidenced in Boston while others have handled these issues very well. After the number of allegations exploded following the Boston Globe' s series of articles, the breadth and depth of the scandals became apparent in dioceses across the United States.

The U.

Church sex abuse report: All accused priests removed from ministry, new ways to handle complaints

Although the Vatican did not respond immediately to the series of articles published by the Boston Globe in , it has been reported that Vatican officials were, in fact, monitoring the situation in the U. John L. Allen, Jr. According to the John Jay Report , one in four child sex abuse allegations were made within 10 years of the incident.

Since , a major focus of the lawsuits and media attention has been criticism of the approach taken by bishops when dealing with allegations of sexual abuse by priests. As a general rule, the allegations were not reported to legal authority for investigation and prosecution. Instead, many dioceses directed the offending priests to seek psychiatric treatment and for assessment of the risk of re-offending. The remaining priests did not undergo abuse counseling because allegations of sexual abuse were only made after their death. The more allegations made against a priest, the more likely he was to participate in treatment.

Some bishops repeatedly moved offending priests from parish to parish after abuse counseling, where they still had personal contact with children. However, starting in the s, the bishops came to adopt an emerging view based on the advice of medical personnel who recommended psychiatric and psychological treatment for those who sexually abused minors. This view asserted that with treatment, priests who had molested children could safely be placed back into ministry, although perhaps with certain restrictions such as not being in contact with children.

The USCCB perceived a lack of adequate procedures for the prevention of sexual abuse of minors, the reporting of allegations of such abuse and the handling of those reports. In response to deficiencies in canonical and secular law, both ecclesiastical and civil authorities have implemented procedures and laws to prevent sexual abuse of minors by clergy and to report and punish it if and when it occurs. In June , the USCCB adopted a zero tolerance policy to future sex abuse that required responding to allegations of sexual abuse.

The Charter instituted reforms to prevent future abuse by requiring background checks for Church employees. In early , the sexual impropriety including molesting boys by Marcial Maciel Degollado , the founder of the Legion of Christ , a Roman Catholic congregation of pontifical right made up of priests and seminarians studying for the priesthood, was disclosed publicly. In June , the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Ireland established the Catholic Church Commission on Child Sexual Abuse Ireland , also known as the Hussey Commission, to investigate how complaints about clerical abuse of minors have been handled over the last three decades.

The agreement also stipulated that any victims who accepted monetary settlements would waive their right to sue both the church and the government, [] and that the identities of the accused abusers was to be kept secret. In September the Vatican announced that it would shortly begin an investigation into how the Irish Catholic Establishment's handling of the sex abuse and subsequent scandal.

This enquiry will include consulting groups representing victims. Irish Survivors of Child Abuse Soca , stated that "Irish Soca and other survivors' groups are excited over the apostolic visitation because it's the end of allowing the Irish hierarchy to handle the scandal and crises on their own. When sexual scandals involving Catholic priests in the US came to light in , the Philippines media began reporting on abuses by local priests. In July of that year, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines apologized for sexual misconduct committed by its priests over the last two decades and committed to drafting guidelines on how to deal with allegations of such offenses.

According to Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference, about of the country's 7, priests may have committed "sexual misconduct" — including child abuse, homosexuality and affairs — over the past two decades. In August , activist women's group "Gabriela" assisted a year-old girl in filing sexual abuse allegations against a priest in Butuan province. The bishop of Butuan , Juan de Dios Pueblos, took the priest under his custody without handing him over to civil and church authorities.

Cruz , who blamed Pueblos for showing his priests the "wrong way". The charter includes guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability, reporting, and prevention of future acts of abuse. The USCCB's National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People now requires dioceses faced with an allegation of child sexual abuse where the victim is currently a minor to alert the authorities, conduct an investigation, and in the case of an admission of guilt or finding of guilt by an appropriate investigation remove the accused from duty.

The Board also approached John Jay College of Criminal Justice to conduct a descriptive study of the nature and scope of the problem of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church as well as the costs to the church of the scandal. Data collection commenced in March , and ended in February The Lord Nolan recommendations, accepted in full by the bishops, became model guidelines for other bishops' conferences around the world, and a model for other institutions in Britain.

However, Allen said that he didn't know anyone in the Roman Curia who was not at least horrified "by the revelations that came out of the Globe and elsewhere" or who would defend "Cardinal Law's handling of the cases in Boston" or "the rather shocking lack of oversight that revealed itself" though "they might have different analyses of what should have happened to him". In addition, he asserted that the Vatican viewed American cultural attitudes toward sexuality as being somewhat hysterical as well as exhibiting a lack of understanding of the Catholic Church.

No one [in the Vatican] thinks the sexual abuse of kids is unique to the States, but they do think that the reporting on it is uniquely American, fueled by anti-Catholicism and shyster lawyers hustling to tap the deep pockets of the church. And that thinking is tied to the larger perception about American culture, which is that there is a hysteria when it comes to anything sexual, and an incomprehension of the Catholic Church. What that means is that Vatican officials are slower to make the kinds of public statements that most American Catholics want, and when they do make them they are tentative and halfhearted.

It's not that they don't feel bad for the victims, but they think the clamor for them to apologize is fed by other factors that they don't want to capitulate to. According to Allen, cultural differences between the Vatican and American Catholics complicated the process of formulating a comprehensive response to the sexual abuse scandal: "there is a lot about the American culture and the American Church that puzzles people in the Vatican, and there is much about the Vatican that puzzles Americans and English speakers generally.

In this letter, addressed to "all Patriarchs , Archbishops , Bishops and other Local Ordinaries , including those of Eastern Rite ", the Holy Office laid down procedures to be followed in dealing with cases of clerics priests or bishops of the Catholic Church accused of having used the sacrament of Penance to make sexual advances to penitents; its rules were more specific than the generic ones in the Code of Canon Law. In addition, it instructed that the same procedures be used when dealing with denunciations of homosexual , pedophile or zoophile behaviour by clerics.

It repeated the rule that any Catholic who failed for over a month to denounce a priest who had made such advances in connection with confession was automatically excommunicated and could be absolved only after actually denouncing the priest to the Ordinary of the place or to the Holy Congregation of the Holy Office, or at least promising seriously to do so. In April, Pope John Paul II issued a letter stating that "a sin against the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue by a cleric with a minor under 18 years of age is to be considered a grave sin, or ' delictum gravius. The Vatican instituted reforms to prevent future United States abuse by requiring background checks for all church employees who have contact with children.

More details in the Episcopal Responses section above. Pope John Paul II stated that "there is no place in the priesthood and religious life for those who would harm the young". In April, the Pontifical Academy for Life organized a three-day conference, entitled "Abuse of Children and Young People by Catholic Priests and Religious", where eight non-Catholic psychiatric experts were invited to speak to near all Vatican dicasteries' representatives.

The panel of experts overwhelmingly opposed implementation of policies of "zero-tolerance" such as was proposed by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. One expert called such policies a "case of overkill" since they do not permit flexibility to allow for differences among individual cases. In June, Louisville, Kentucky lawyer William McMurry filed suit against the Vatican [] on behalf of three men alleging abuse as far back as , accusing church leaders of organizing a cover-up of cases of sexual abuse of children.

He sought and obtained immunity from prosecution as head of state of the Holy See. In November, the Vatican published Criteria for the Discernment of Vocation for Persons with Homosexual Tendencies , issuing new rules which forbid ordination of men with "deep-seated homosexual tendencies. Archbishop Csaba Ternyak, secretary of the Congregation for Clergy , put the following question to the experts: "[T]o what degree one can talk about the rehabilitation of the offender, what are the most effective methods of treatment, and on what grounds we can say that a person who has never offended is at risk to sexually molest someone?

Ternyak spoke about the way that the crisis had damaged the priest-bishop relationship. He noted that there was a "sense of gloom" felt by the overwhelming majority of priests who had not been accused of any abuse but nonetheless who perceived that their bishops had turned against them and therefore had "become disillusioned about the effectiveness of the laws of the Church to defend their dignity and their inalienable rights".

Ternyak also noted that "there have been more than a few suicides among accused priests. In April, during a visit to the United States, Pope Benedict admitted that he was "deeply ashamed" of the clergy sex abuse scandal that has devastated the American church. Benedict pledged that pedophiles would not be priests in the Roman Catholic Church. In November, the United States Court of Appeals in Cincinnati denied the Vatican's claim of sovereign immunity , and allowed a lawsuit against the Catholic Church government by three men who claim they were sexually abused as children by priests in the Louisville, Kentucky, US archdiocese to proceed.

The Vatican did not appeal the ruling. Two researchers reported that abuse cases had "steeply declined" after and that responses to abuse had changed substantially over 50 years, with suspension becoming more common than reinstatement. In a statement, read by Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi at a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on 22 September , the Holy See stated that the majority of Catholic clergy who had committed acts of sexual abuse against underyear-olds should not be viewed as pedophiles, but as homosexuals who are attracted to sex with adolescent males.

The statement said that rather than pedophilia, "it would be more correct to speak of ephebophilia ; being a homosexual attraction to adolescent males However, Margaret Smith and Karen Terry, two researchers who worked on the John Jay Report, cautioned against equating the high incidence of abuse by priests against boys with homosexuality, calling it an oversimplification and "an unwarranted conclusion" to assert that the majority of priests who abused male victims are gay.

Though "the majority of the abusive acts were homosexual in nature Empirical research shows that sexual orientation does not affect the likelihood that people will abuse children. In April , in response to extensive negative publicity and criticism of the Pope, the Vatican entered what the Associated Press called "full damage control mode".

Charles J. Scicluna explained in an interview with the Italian newspaper " Avvenire ": [] [] "Between and I do not believe that any cases of pedophilia committed by priests were brought to the attention of our Congregation. Moreover, following the promulgation of the Code of Canon Law, there was a period of uncertainty as to which of the "delicta graviora" were reserved to the competency of this dicastery. Only with the "Motu Proprio" did the crime of pedophilia again become our exclusive remit In the years — the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith CDF had "considered accusations concerning around three thousand cases of diocesan and religious priests, which refer to crimes committed over the last fifty years.

Pope Benedict issued an apology to those who had suffered from child abuse in Ireland in March Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity violated. In July the Vatican issued a document to clarify their position. They doubled the length of time after the 18th birthday of the victim that clergymen can be tried in a church court and to streamline the processes for removing abusive priests.

In May, the Vatican published new guidelines, drawn up by Cardinal William Levada , the head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith , on dealing with the clergy sexual abuse cases. The guidelines also reinforce bishops' exclusive authority in dealing with abuse cases. Victims advocacy groups criticized the new guidelines as insufficient, arguing that the recommendations do not have the status of church law and do not provide any specific enforcement mechanisms.

O'Malley , O. At the beginning of , Francis denied overwhelming reports of widespread sexual abuse by priests in Chile. In the face of the resulting outcry, he introduced an investigation that led to every bishop in Chile submitting his resignation; only a few of these were accepted, however. At mid-year, amidst a series of abuse scandals in many countries, including the revelation that over a year period, more than priests were plausibly accused of abuse in the state of Pennsylvania alone, Pope Francis spoke of his "shame", without however offering concrete steps to remove abusive priests or sanction those who took part in cover-ups.

On March 26, , one month after the summit was held, [] Pope Francis adopted:. According to Andrea Tornielli , these:. Although they have been conceived and written for a unique reality, in which the highest religious authority is also the sovereign and legislator, these three documents contain exemplary indications that take into account the most advanced international parameters. Law No. The law also extends the statute of limitations to year prescription that, in the case of and offence against a minor, begin to count from on his or her eighteenth birthday.

In addition, the Governorate of the Vatican City State is required to set up, within the Vatican Department of Health and Welfare, service to support and assist the victims of abuse, providing them with medical and psychological assistance and informing them of their rights and of how to enforce them. The motu proprio extends the application of the Vatican law to the Roman Curia and its personnel.

It requires that, when recruiting staff, the candidate's suitability to interact with minors must be ascertained. The Guidelines for the Vicariate of Vatican City are addressed to the canons, parish priests and coadjutors of the two parishes located within the Vatican, as well as to the priests, deacons and educators of the Saint Pius X Pre-Seminary, to all the religious men and women who reside in the Vatican, and to all those who work within the ecclesiastical community of the Vicariate of Vatican City.

The guidelines require that, in the course of pastoral activities, those persons must always be visible to others when they are in the presence of minors, and that it is strictly forbidden to establish a preferential relationship with a single minor, to address a minor in an offensive way or to engage in inappropriate or sexually allusive conduct, to ask a minor to keep a secret, to photograph or to film a minor without the written consent of his parents. The Vicar of Vatican City has also the obligation to report to the Promoter of Justice any news of abuse that is not manifestly unfounded, and to remove the alleged perpetrator of the abuse from pastoral activities as a precautionary measure.

On May 9, , Pope Francis issued the Motu Proprio Vos estis lux mundi [] requiring both clerics and religious brothers and sisters, including Bishops, [] throughout the world to report sex abuse cases and sex abuse cover-ups by their superiors. According to Canon law professor Kurt Martens:. This new law is without a doubt a rare gift to the entire church and sets, along with the companion Vatican law providing for jail time for any public official of the Vatican who fails to report abuse, an unmistakable new course.

The painful, sometimes bitter, experience of the church in the United States and the voices of the faithful worldwide have helped bring about a change in attitude and a change in law.

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There is no turning back now, and the tone has been set for the future. While the church in the United States claims to have addressed the issue, some disagree. Mark Honigsbaum of The Guardian wrote in that, "despite the National Review Board's own estimates that there have been some 5, abusive priests in the US, to date have been successfully prosecuted. In California, for example, the archdiocese [ clarification needed ] has sought to block the disclosure of confidential counseling records on two priests, arguing that such action would violate their First Amendment right on religious protection.

In , the BBC reported that the latest research by experts indicate that Catholic priests may be no more likely than others to abuse. However, a major cause of the scandal was the cover-ups and other alleged shortcomings in the way the church hierarchy has dealt with the abuses.

In September , Pope Benedict XVI lamented that the Roman Catholic Church had not been vigilant enough or quick enough in responding to the problem of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy. The Catholic hierarchy has been criticized for not acting more quickly and decisively to remove, laicize and report priests accused of sexual misconduct.

One early opponent of the treatment of sexually abusive priests was Father Gerald Fitzgerald , the founder of The Congregation of the Servants of the Paraclete. Although Fitzgerald started the Servants of the Paraclete to assist priests who were struggling with alcohol and substance abuse problems, he soon began receiving priests who had sexually abused minors. Initially, Fitzgerald attempted to treat such priests using the same spiritual methods that he used with his other "guests". However, as he grew convinced of the futility of treating sexually abusive priests, Fitzgerald came to oppose vehemently the return of sexual abusers to duties as parish priests.

He wrote regularly to bishops in the United States and to Vatican officials, including the pope, of his opinion that many sexual abusers in the priesthood could not be cured and should be laicizied immediately. Eventually, Fitzgerald lost control of the Servants of the Paraclete. The center began to employ medical and psychological professionals who added psychiatry and medical treatment to the spiritual regimen of treatment favored by Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald continued to oppose these modifications to his treatment regimen until his death in Bishop Manuel D. Moreno of Tucson, Arizona, United States repeatedly attempted to have two local abusive priests laicized and disciplined, pleading unsuccessfully in a letter of April with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to have one laicized; he was first suspended in and convicted by the church in of five crimes, including sexual solicitation in the confessional.

The two were finally laicized in Cupich, chairman of the United States Bishops Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, is quoted explaining why Father Fitzgerald's advice "went largely unheeded for 50 years": First, "cases of sexually abusive priests were considered to be rare.

In several secular and liberal Catholics were calling for Pope Benedict XVI 's resignation , citing the actions of then Cardinal Ratzinger's blocking of efforts to remove a priest convicted of child abuse. In , Monsignor William Lynn became the first United States church official to be convicted of child endangerment because of his part in covering up child sex abuse allegations by clergy. Lynn was responsible for making recommendations as to the assignment of clergy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

He was found guilty of one count of endangering the welfare of a child. As reported by the Boston Globe, some bishops had facilitated compensation payments to victims on condition that the allegations remained secret. In April , Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins wanted to prosecute the Pope for crimes against humanity due to what they see as his role in intentionally covering up abuse by priests. The plaintiff accused Ratzinger and others of having covered up abuse cases to avoid scandal to the detriment of the concerned children.

As one of the reasons for the charges they referred also to the "strong suspicion" that Joseph Ratzinger, as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , covered up the sexual abuse of children and youths and protected the perpetrators. In the trial of the French bishop Pierre Pican, who received a suspended jail sentence for failing to denounce an abusive priest, the retired Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos wrote a letter to support Pican in his decision.

In Hoyos was heavily criticized again. This time the Congregation for the Clergy was blamed of having opposed in to the newly adapted rules of the Irish bishops, demanding the denouncement of every abusive priest to the police. The Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin described the cooperation with the Congregation for the Clergy as "disastrous". Particular churches. Philosophy, theology, and fundamental theory of canon law.

Juridic and physical persons. Associations of the faithful. Institute of consecrated life. Society of apostolic life. A Vatican spokesman stated, "When individual institutions of national churches are implicated, that does not regard the competence of the Holy See The competence of the Holy See is at the level of the Holy See. Citing canons and of the Code of Canon Law , James Carroll of The Boston Globe asserted that "On the question of how far papal authority extends, the canon law of the Catholic Church could not be clearer" and alleges that the Holy See's denial of competency contravenes canon law.

Canon states that "The vicar of Christ.. By virtue of his office , the Roman pontiff not only possesses power over the universal church , but also obtains the primacy of ordinary power over all particular churches and groups of them. Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See's ambassador to the U. The report also urged the Vatican to insist that priests and bishops involve the police in all abuse reports and end a "code of silence" leading to whistleblowers being "ostracized, demoted and fired.

To place the cases under the competence of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has been criticized by some as making the process more secretive and lengthening the time required to address the allegations. For example, in his biography of John Paul II, David Yallop asserts that the backlog of referrals to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for action against sexually abusive priests is so large that it takes 18 months to merely get a reply.

Vatican officials have expressed concern that the church's insistence on confidentiality in its treatment of priestly sexual abuse cases was seen as a ban on reporting serious accusations to the civil authorities. Early in Cardinal Claudio Hummes , the head of the Congregation for Clergy , finally said that instances of sexual abuse by priests were "criminal facts" as well as serious sins and required co-operation with the civil justice system.

Some parties have interpreted the Crimen sollicitationis — a document "Instruction" of the Holy Office which is now called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith codifying procedures to be followed in cases of priests or bishops of the Catholic Church accused of having used the sacrament of Penance to make sexual advances to penitents [] [] — as a directive from the Vatican to keep all allegations of sexual abuse secret, leading to widespread media coverage of its contents.

Mary Dispenza states further that crimes against children took place in the past, take place now and will continue in the future unless Pope Francis and the bishops act decisively to ensure that child safety has higher priority than protecting priests and the image of the Catholic Church. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, in early , issued a report asserting that the pope and the Roman Catholic Church have not done enough and protect their reputation rather than protect children.

A joint statement of the panel said,. The committee is gravely concerned that the Holy See has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by, and the impunity of, the perpetrators [] []. Due to a code of silence imposed on all members of the clergy under penalty of excommunication, cases of child sexual abuse have hardly ever been reported to the law enforcement authorities in the countries where such crimes occurred.

Committee chair, Kirsten Sandberg enumerated some major findings, that abusive priests were sent to new parishes or other countries without police being informed, that the Vatican never insisted on bishops reporting abuse to police, and that known abusers still have access to children. This report gives hope to the hundreds of thousands of deeply wounded and still suffering clergy sex abuse victims across the world. Now it's up to secular officials to follow the U.

The UN report prompted discussions of specific areas of controversy, including secrecy among bishops and Vatican statements denying responsibility which in canon law they have. British author and Catholic social activist Paul Vallely wrote that he felt the UN report had been hurt by the Commission having gone well beyond the issue of child abuse to issues such as contraception. However, he also felt the report did bring important pressure on the Vatican on important issues like reporting cases to police.

The media coverage of Catholic sex abuse cases is a major aspect of the academic literature surrounding the pederastic priest scandal. In , the discovery that the sex abuse by Catholic priests was widespread in the U. For the first days The New York Times had pieces, including news and commentary, and the story appeared on its front page on 26 occasions. During the same period, those newspapers ran four stories about the federal government's discovery of the much larger — and ongoing — abuse scandal in public schools.

Anglican writer Philip Jenkins supported many of these arguments stating that media coverage of the abuse story had become ".. Walter V. Robinson , an American journalist and journalism professor, led the Boston Globe ' s coverage of the Roman Catholic sex abuse cases, for which the newspaper won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Robinson was also a Pulitzer Prize finalist in Investigative Reporting in In Ireland television journalism similarly played a key role in helping public awareness of widespread sexual abuse of children by priests.

A The Wall Street Journal -NBC News poll found that 64 percent of those queried thought Catholic priests "frequently" abused children; however, there is no data that indicates that priests commit abuse more often than the general population of males. Produced by a victim of clerical sex abuse for the British Broadcasting Corporation BBC in , the documentary Sex Crimes and the Vatican included the claim that all allegations of sex abuse are to be sent to the Vatican rather than the civil authorities, and that "a secret church decree called ' Crimen sollicitationis ' Breaking that oath means instant banishment from the Catholic Church — excommunication.

Canon lawyer Thomas Doyle, who was included in the documentary as supporting the picture that it presented, later wrote with regard to the Crimen sollicitations and the De delictis gravioribus as well as the Church's formal investigation into charges of abuse: "There is no basis to assume that the Holy See envisioned this process to be a substitute for any secular legal process, criminal or civil. It is also incorrect to assume, as some have unfortunately done, that these two Vatican documents are proof of a conspiracy to hide sexually abusive priests or to prevent the disclosure of sexual crimes committed by clerics to secular authorities.

The Church was reluctant to provide to the civil authorities information about the Church's own investigations into charges. In the BBC documentary, Rick Romley , a district attorney who initiated an investigation of the Diocese of Phoenix, stated that "the secrecy, the obstruction I saw during my investigation was unparalleled in my entire career as a DA They fought us every step of the way.

Church sex abuse report: All accused priests removed from ministry, new ways to handle complaints

In , Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI published a letter [] in German and then translated into English in which he provided a unified perspective on several issues that, together, he believes contributed to the sexual abuse scandal. One of the chief reasons put forth by the Pope was the push by several prominent theologians for relativistic perspective on morality where "there could no longer be anything that constituted an absolute good, any more than anything fundamentally evil; there could be only relative value judgments.

The John Jay Report , a report commissioned by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, stated "the problem was largely the result of poor seminary training and insufficient emotional support for men ordained in the s and s. These themes are taken up by a recent memoir by Vincent J. Miles [] that combines a first-hand account of his life in a minor seminary during the s with a review of the scientific literature about sexually abusive behavior.

Miles identifies specific aspects of seminary life that could have predisposed future priests to engage in such behavior. Some bishops and psychiatrists have asserted that the prevailing psychology of the times suggested that people could be cured of such behavior through counseling. So, it appeared reasonable at the time to treat these men and then return them to their priestly duties.

In hindsight, this was a tragic mistake. Robert S. Bennett, the Roman Catholic Washington attorney who headed the National Review Board's research committee, identified "too much faith in psychiatrists" as one of the key problems concerning Catholic sex abuse cases. They also found distinct differences between the pedophile and ephebophile groups. They reported that there may be "another group of offenders who are more indiscriminate in victim choice and represent a more heterogeneous, but still a distinct offender category" and suggested further research to determine "specific variables that are unique to this group and can differentiate these offenders from pedophile and ephebophile offenders" so as to improve the identification and treatment of both offenders and victims.

All victims in the John Jay report were minors. Using a non-standard definition of "pre-pubescent", the Causes and Context Study of the John Jay College estimated that only a small percentage of offender priests were true pedophiles. They stated that Pope Francis had not indicated that any cardinal abusers remained in their position. According to the John-Jay-Report, Opinion seems divided on whether there is any definite link or connection between the Roman Catholic institution of celibacy and incidences of child abuse by Catholic clergy.

A article in the conservative Irish weekly the Western People proposed that clerical celibacy contributed to the abuse problem by suggesting that the institution of celibacy has created a "morally superior" status that is easily misapplied by abusive priests: "The Irish Church's prospect of a recovery is zero for as long as bishops continue blindly to toe the Vatican line of Pope Benedict XVI that a male celibate priesthood is morally superior to other sections of society.

Ernie Allen , president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children , said, "We don't see the Catholic Church as a hotbed of this or a place that has a bigger problem than anyone else. I can tell you without hesitation that we have seen cases in many religious settings, from traveling evangelists to mainstream ministers to rabbis and others. However determined news media may be to see this affair as a crisis of celibacy, the charge is just unsupported.

This view has been challenged and severely criticized by several scholars for denying the cases of nuns implicated in sexual abuse and pedophilia. In , a history scholar from Stanford University recovered archival information about investigations from to involving nuns in Vellano, Italy, secretly exploiting illiterate nuns for several years. It was further noted that the majority of nun-abuse victims are of the same sex. It has been argued that a shortage of priests caused the Roman Catholic hierarchy to act in such a way to preserve the number of clergy and ensure that sufficient numbers were available to man their congregations despite serious allegations that some of these priests were unfit for duty.

In The Courage To Be Catholic: Crisis, Reform, and the Future of the Church , author George Weigel claims that it was the infidelity to orthodox Roman Catholic teaching, the "culture of dissent" of priests, women religious, bishops, theologians, catechists, Church bureaucrats, and activists who "believed that what the Church proposed as true was actually false" was mainly responsible for the sexual abuse of parishioners' children by their priests. The hypothesis that a purported decline in general moral standards was associated with an increase in abuse by clergy was promoted by a study by John Jay College funded by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The study claimed that the liberal s caused the increase in abuse, and the conservative Reagan years led to its decline. The study was branded the 'Woodstock Defence' by critics who said that the study's own figures showed a surge in abuse reported from the s, and the passage of time meant that reports of abuse from earlier decades were unlikely. Philip Jenkins, professor at the Department of Religion and History at Penn State University, questioned the theses of increased sexual abuse among priests, saying the percentage of priests accused of molesting minors is 1.

As she said, the problem of sexual violence is much more serious in schools than in the Church. Think the Catholic Church has a problem? The physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than times the abuse by priests. According to the report, up to , students from California will be victims of sexual violence in the future. The Royal Commission in Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse revealed that between January and February , 4, people alleged incidents of child sexual abuse in 4, claims.

This compares with 4, claims with respect to the Catholic Church between and And the Catholic Church is five times larger than the Uniting Church. Moreover, the Royal Commission did not include allegations in the period to with respect to the Presbyterian, Congregational and Methodist communities which folded into the Uniting Church in This would take the number of allegations beyond 2,, especially since it seems that child sexual abuse was at its worst in the s and s. Allegations against the Jehovah Witness religion, on a per capita basis, are dramatically higher than for either the Catholic or the Uniting churches.

The Magdalene laundries were the subject of a drama film called The Magdalene Sisters , which generated controversy as it was early in the revelations about abuses at Catholic homes. In , a documentary called Deliver Us From Evil directed by Amy Berg and produced by Berg and Frank Donner was made about sexual abuse; it primarily focused on one priest and his crimes.

It showed how far some clergy went in order to cover up the many reports of sexual abuse. Many other fictional feature films have been made about the continuing revelations of sex abuse within the Church, including:. In , Limp Bizkit released the album The Unquestionable Truth Part 1 , which focuses on dark lyrical subject matter, including Catholic sex abuse cases, terrorism and fame. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Sexual abuse and pedophilia claims within the Catholic Church. See also: Catholic Church sex abuse cases by country.

This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Main article: Catholic sexual abuse scandal in Australia. Main article: Catholic sexual abuse scandal in Canada.

Main article: Catholic sexual abuse cases in Chile. Main article: Roman Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal in Ireland. Main article: Catholic Church sex abuse cases in the United States. Main article: Settlements and bankruptcies in Catholic sex abuse cases. Main article: Catholic sexual abuse scandal in Ireland. The neutrality of this section is disputed.

One, there is still God and all the depth to Catholocism that helps us draw closer to Him who is holy and perfect and everything that is good in this world. What some bishops do need not be your concern. It is our relationship with God that matters. Two, and this is the heart of my argument, you don't know the circumstances behind the bishop's acceptance of the money to be the Knights of Columbus's chaplain.

It is possible that the bishop gives a large percentage of this to good causes such as his parish. It is possible that he forgoes a salary from his parish in lieu of this money. Or, perhaps there is an overriding need in his extended family, such as a relative who needs expensive medical care. We don't know Thank you. Perhaps you're right. I mean, you are right about God's ever-presence and the faith of the Church. I remain without hope for the episcopacy, however, at least in the U. It is precisely the class system within the Church that has led to all the various scandals.

We have forgotten that we are one in Christ. I have no doubt about God's fidelity, but I think the corrections and healings that are needed will take generations. Long after I'm dead. If you don't mind metaphors, we're on the cross and every pain seems like it takes hours to fade. Nevertheless, as you have reminded me, it is God who deserves our faith.

Yue, in one of the stories about Bransfield was a mention of payment to Cardinal Burke in Rome who met with young seminarians or clerics who travelled to the Vatican with Bransfield. It came up when accounting for all the hierarchs who received money from Bransfield. I can hear the shouting and hollering about my use of the word "payment". Burke was PAID to talk to fellow priests. The next question is where are the tax write-offs for the expensive dinner, the alcohol, the cab?

The nexus of power and money in the relationships that make up the institutional Roman Catholic Church need to be scrutinized and laid out brick by brick with all the hardened and still-soft mortar cementing this corrupt system scraped free and spread thin until every bit of that cementing mortar is translucent. That one word provided one more glimpse of a systemwide narrative that needs unpacking ASAP in every corner of the Church. And she deserves our support, not our lectures. Jones, I hadn't realized that you might be always right. Fortunately, most issues can be looked at as through a prism and turn up different truths, some complementary, some that clash to reveal even greater truths.

L, I agree with you that most issues can be looked at through at as through a prism and turn up different truths, and I love your language for describing it. That a Bishop, Archbishop or Cardinal might have a family member in need is utterly beside the point in a discussion like this. It is a red herring in discussions like these. So I am going to place it in God's hands". The fear of asking rational questions lest they be accused of being judgmental is what kept many rationally suspicious Catholics from asking "why does Father want to take my kid on so many car rides?

Maybe Father is just generous! Maybe Father misses his family! Maybe Father knows Jimmy is interested in maps! Shame on you for assuming the worst! That is what Yue is addressing. PS Like every other human being in human history and future, I am often wrong. What none of usis wrong about is refusing these guys the benefit of our doubt. Jones, I can see what you are getting at here and I agree.

Our job as Catholics is to insist on seeing through the glass clearly, bring the truth to light, and push for change. Some attempts to explain away intent, to paper over transgressions by portraying them in a more positive light than is warranted, results too often in the perpetration of evil. However, in the face of systemic problems, there are often legitimate mitigating factors and it can be helpful to bring these factors to light. Every bad thing is not usually equally awful. There can be many shades between good, marginal and evil.

I believe that the majority of priests today serve with honor. God, I believe, wants us to be grateful for them. Among those who went round the bend, most especially those who went after young people, they deserved to be ousted. Most are worth saving. Some are so overworked that trouble just ran right past them, I think. In sum, there are reasons that some good and holy men did not perform as well as we wish they had. Here I refer not to perpetrators but to those who assisted in covering up.

When I mentioned possible mitigating factors, my intent was and still is to help a Catholic who has just about had it with the church. I know how she feels. I could write a term paper on changes I believe the church would have to make to survive and thrive in America…. We Catholics, for our part, should not be giving adulation to priests. We should be assessing them on the basis of the content of their characters and creating a climate that makes it very hard for them to lead anyone astray. We can prepare ourselves to thwart any efforts by a minority to corrupt.

It's gotten much easier to shout from the rooftops now that the law is involved. Thanks for helping me understand. I am genuinely shocked and sickebed by how little these priests seem to care about their vowed sisters , the cover up, financial fraud legal and ethical and misconduct, things like the investigation of women religious and, with regard to Lori: the guy actually redacted from his own Vatican report of a Bishop's financial misconduct that he, the investigator, received thousands of dollars from the guy he was investigating.

Both speak of a culture in which power begets privilege AND money; privilege begets power AND money; and money begets power and privilege. Lori's ommission in the Vatican report on Bransfield report needed to open the door to his retirement. The failure of judgment was profound and much more important it was standard-setting. He is, like all of us, a frail human being so forgive him.

He is also a dishonest, conflicted, ethically challenged leader.


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Let the Knights keep him. For one lavishly compensated Archbishop. It is nothing but greed. The ommission should have been self-inflicted fatal poison but, nope, he is safely ensconsed and the rational question is where else and for whom else is he omitting critical and damning information and lining his pockets? I would not work for or be ministered to by that guy to save my life. When that ceases to be the case, I am guessing lots of Catholics will come back.

Jones, you have so much to say that is good and true. I agree that much of the wrongdoing relates to clericalism as depicted by you. Some bishops and cardinals involved in covering-up the marginally guilty did so partially to protect Catholics like you and me from feeling as we do now: Hoodwinked, vulnerable to abuse, our faith in the Church, and sometimes God, shaken. They let some things slide that seemed to warrant more immediate attention, they worried for the church and probably their power basebut they also did not want to cause Catholics such as us to lose faith.

On some level, the ones who erred but tip the scales on the side of good and God, were also trying to protect US. Some of the more responsible leaders also did not understand how patterns of abuse persist. They are likely very sorry now for some of their choices back then. It can be helpful to remember that the higher-ups are also victims of clericalism and it's going to be awfully hard to get them off a pedestal they feel is central to their and our faith.

It has to do with their, and our, belief in church doctrine. As such, the problems of the church are so complex and can't be sorted out just through dialogue aimed at putting them back on their pedestals. My thanks to the author for a well written, thought provoking article. To the author I would say, if my 15 year old wanted to attend, I would speak with him in blunt terms about boundaries, sexuality, sex, attraction, abuse and the means of steering clear of potential abuse.

And then I would let him attend. Abuse: spiritual, emotional, physical, and sexual, has happened in every religious denomination. It happens at Jewish summer camps, Baptist Bible studies, evangelical mission trips, even Buddhist monasteries! Abuse is no more prevalent in the Catholic Church. Priesthood, monestaries, and celibacy have a public mystique because they are not well understood. This article also appeared in print, under the headline "Quo Vadis? She is a Catholic writer, catechist and speaker whose work has appeared in many Catholic media outlets including Catholic Digest, Creative Catechist, CatholicMom.

Your source for jobs, books, retreats, and much more. Faith Faith in Focus October 14, issue. Colleen Duggan September 04, The church wants my son to consider the priesthood. How D. Catholics are leading the response to the clergy sexual abuse scandal. How can I think about becoming Catholic after the latest sex abuse reports? Show Comments Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more. A Fielder. An excellent question but not at all deep or honest enough.

That question is the following: Given the facts that out of all the possible causes of pedophilia, teen sex abuse and nun and seminarian sex abuse by priests, in our church, ONLY Sexism has been proven to directly lead to these issues, and to clericalism, how can she support any of her sons seeking ordination to priesthood when their sisters in Christ are being rejected that same sacrament and against Gospel teachings? Dennis Doyle.


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This mom is right on. L Hoover. David Werning. These guys are grifters. Yeah, I bet they all have aunts in nursing homes. J Jones. It is utterly immaterial whether Lori or any other hierarch has a family member in need. There is a point where the hierarchs of the Church have been compensated and privileged enough. Hi L, Thanks for helping me understand. It is appalling. All excellent reasons for the Bishops to step up to the plate. Most popular. Universal basic income is having a moment. Can advocates convince a skeptical public?

Meet the 13 New Cardinals. Once Upon a Different Time. We work with churches. Retreat Houses , Retreats. Love, Laughter and Living Saints. See all Classifieds. The latest from america. In his sensational new play, Jeremy O. Harris posits that racism may poison our most intimate relationships.

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