Vatican sex crimes prosecutor warns bishops and Sexual abuse silence “deadly” for Church: Vatican official

Vatican sex crimes prosecutor warns bishops

Bishops must follow the Catholic church’s laws and standards when dealing with priests who sexually abuse children or face possible church sanctions for negligence, the Vatican’s sex crimes prosecutor said Wednesday.
Monsignor Charles Scicluna spoke to reporters on the sidelines of a Vatican-backed symposium on clerical sex abuse that is designed to help bishops around the world craft guidelines to protect children and keep pedophiles out of the priesthood.
Priests and bishops from 110 dioceses and 30 religious orders are attending the four-day workshop ahead of a May deadline to submit their guidelines for review by the Holy See.
Survivors of clerical abuse, government investigations and clerics themselves have long blamed bishops for failing to report abusive priests to police and failing to apply church law to sanction them internally.
Victims’ groups have denounced the lack of accountability of bishops who were never punished for having moved priests from parish to parish where they could abuse again.
Scicluna, the promoter of justice in the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said it was “unacceptable” for bishops to ignore church law and standards to deal with abusers and said canon law provides for sanctioning bishops who do — including being removed as bishop.
The law, however, is not commonly applied — at least as far as sex abuse cases goes. In fact, there is no known, recent case in which a bishop has been forcibly removed for having mishandled a case of an abusive priest.
“It is a crime in canon law to show malicious or fraudulent negligence in the exercise of ones duty,” Scicluna said. “I’m not saying that we should start punishing everybody for any negligence in his duties. But … it is not acceptable that when there are set standards, people do not follow the set standards.”
He allowed, however, that only the pope can remove a bishop and it’s not something that happens every day. Theologically speaking, bishops are very much masters of their own dioceses.
But Scicluna said ecclesial accountability needed to be “further developed” through application of existing church law.
“What we need to do is to be vigilant in choosing candidates for the important role of bishop, and also to use the tools that canonical law and tradition give for accountability of bishops,” he said. “It’s not a question of changing laws, it’s a question of applying what we have.”
While the church has been slow to sanction high-ranking prelates who fail to report abusers, civil law has begun to pick up the slack.
In the United States, a church official is facing trial in Philadelphia on alleged child endangerment and conspiracy charges for allegedly failing to protect children from pedophile priests in his care in the diocese.
Monsignor William Lynn, who served as secretary of clergy in the Philadelphia archdiocese from 1992 to 2004, was the first U.S. church official ever charged over accusations of administrative failings in the priest-abuse crisis.
Subsequently, in Kansas City, Missouri, Bishop Robert Finn was indicted in October for allegedly failing to report suspected child abuse involving a priest who was later charged with possessing child pornography.
Both men say they are innocent.
Scicluna said where bishops fail to do the right thing, the pope’s ambassadors to individual countries hear directly from victims of abuse and report back to Rome.
Papal nuncios, he said, “have the duty also to listen to the people in order to convey the concerns of the local church to the Holy Father.”
Scicluna addressed the symposium Wednesday morning, denouncing the “deadly culture of silence or ‘omerta'” that still surrounds clerical abuse in much of the world.
“No strategy for the prevention of child abuse will ever work without commitment and accountability,” he said.
Advocates for victims have dismissed the symposium as a farce, saying the only way children will be safe is if the Vatican releases the names and files of known molesters.
On Tuesday, psychologists told bishops at the conference they should listen first to the victims, because priests who rape and molest children lie when confronted with an accusation but victims usually tell the truth.
The symposium, held at the Pontifical Gregorian University, wraps up Thursday with the unveiling of an online resource center for best practices to fight abuse.
Symposium is at www.thr.unigre.it
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sexual abuse silence “deadly” for Church: Vatican official
Hiding behind a culture of “omerta” — the Italian word for the Mafia’s code of silence — would be deadly for the Catholic Church, the Vatican’s top official for dealing with sexual abuse of minors by clergy said Wednesday.

Monsignor Charles Scicluna made the unusually forthright comment in his speech to a landmark symposium in Rome on the sexual abuse crisis that has rocked the Church in the past decade.
“The teaching … that truth is at the basis of justice explains why a deadly culture of silence, or ‘omerta,’ is in itself wrong and unjust,” Scicluna said in his address to the four-day symposium which brings together some 200 people including bishops, leaders of religious orders, victims of abuse and psychologists.
Rarely, if ever, has a Vatican official used the word “omerta” – a serious accusation in Italian — to compare the reluctance of some in the Church to come clean on the abuse scandal with the Mafia’s code of silence.
“Other enemies of the truth are the deliberate denial of known facts and the misplaced concern that the good name of the institution should somehow enjoy absolute priority to the detriment of disclosure,” Scicluna said.
Victims groups have for years accused some bishops in the Church of preferring silence and cover-up to coming clean on the scandal, which has sullied the image of the Church around the world, particularly in the United States.
“No strategy for the prevention of child abuse will ever work without commitment and accountability,” Scicluna told the symposium at the Jesuit Pontifical Gregorian University, called “Towards Healing and Renewal.”
Scicluna, a Maltese whose formal title is “justice promoter” in the Vatican’s doctrinal department, is the Vatican’s point man for dealing with cases of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy.
The symposium’s participants are discussing how the Church can become more aware of the problem, make a commitment to listen to victims and prevent future cases of abuse.
Groups representing abuse victims say the Church must do much more to own up to the past, when known pedophile priests were shuttled from parish to parish instead of being defrocked or turned over to authorities.
It must also make greater efforts to prevent future cases, they say, accusing the Church and the Vatican of a cover-up.
COOPERATE WITH AUTHORITIES, BISHOPS TOLD
The message from Scicluna and other Vatican officials who have addressed the symposium is that local Church officials must cooperate with civil authorities according to local law in cases of suspected pedophilia.
The scandals have led to costly legal action, are blamed for an exodus of believers in some European nations, including the pope’s native Germany, and have damaged the Church’s moral standing in hitherto staunchly Catholic states, such as Ireland.
An association for victims of abuse dismissed the conference as “window dressing” and said the Vatican should hand over documentation of abuse to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
“After years of promises, meetings and empty apologies, the Vatican cannot do the simplest, cheapest and most child-friendly action possible: make public decades of secret files on clergy sex offenders and enablers,” said Joelle Casteix from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).
Tuesday, an Irish victim of clerical abuse bluntly told the symposium that guidelines on how to root out pedophile priests and protect children needed to be backed up by penalties for bishops who fail to implement them.
Marie Collins said rules without sanctions were too easily ignored and cases were often swept under the carpet, allowing pedophiles to carry on molesting children.
The Church in her native Ireland was one of the hardest hit by the sexual abuse scandal.
Last July, the Vatican took the highly unusual step of recalling its ambassador to Ireland after Prime Minister Enda Kenny accused the Holy See of obstructing investigations into sexual abuse by priests.
The Irish parliament passed a motion deploring the Vatican’s role in “undermining child protection frameworks” following publication of a damning report on the diocese of Cloyne.
The Cloyne report said Irish clerics concealed from the authorities the sexual abuse of children by priests as recently as 2009.
In November, Ireland closed its embassy to the Vatican, ostensibly for economic reasons.

About The Voice Of Bombay's Catholic Laity

Bombay Laity Ezekiel’s Chapter 3 Task as Watchman 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[b] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
This entry was posted in Church Worldwide news. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Vatican sex crimes prosecutor warns bishops and Sexual abuse silence “deadly” for Church: Vatican official

  1. Pingback: Catholic Predators | 700 Sex Cases Just In 2011 « The Age of Blasphemy

  2. Pingback: Male domination and tyranny giving opportunities to defile the Name of God | Belgian Biblestudents - Belgische Bijbelstudenten

  3. Pingback: The Field is the World #4 Many who leave the church | Bijbelvorser = Bible Researcher

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s