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  • Technorati: graph / links

    The Pope Must Go


    by earwicga on 16th March, 2010 at 10:00 AM    

    Last weekend the odds shortened from 12/1 to 3/1 on a Papal resignation. This follows revelations from the current scandals being uncovered in Germany (over 300 cases of abuse reported since January) and on Saturday the Vatican was forced to speak to the media. 

    The Vatican spokesman said that Pope Benedict XVI was so so sorry:

    • for continually reacting to victim’s suffering by accusing them of an evil plan to destroy the Church.  He regrets doing this publically for the last eight years and wishes to express his guilt and sorrow that his actions have allowed children to be abused.  He admits that his only concerns have always been about the image and coffers of the Church.

    • for personally allowing a proven sexual predator ‘H’ (identified as Peter Hullerman) to freely access children in Germany for more than 30 years including hisChurch role as a school teacher.  In 1980 Benedict (in his former gig as Archbishop Ratzinger of Munich and Freising) found out that Hullerman had drugged and sexually abused an 11 year old boy.  Benedict can’t believe that he then moved Hullerman onto another lair instead of ensuring he was ‘defrocked’, and accepts full responsibility for the pain and suffering of all the children that Hullerman inevitably went on to sexually abuse.   Hullerman should of course have been turned over to the police.  Benedict promises to rectify the fact that this evil predator Hullerman is still employed by the Church in Germany, and warns of a strange chap called Gerhard Gruber who is trying to take responsibility for Benedict’s gross errors outlined above.  (Hullerman was suspended from his duties as Parish Priest on Monday). 

    • for writing Crimen Sollicitationis in 2001, as part of his last paid gig before landing the King role.  Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (previously known as the Inquisition) clarified the secretive way in which clerical sex abuse should be dealt with.  As head of the department which received all documents regarding clerical sexual abuse worldwide Benedict knows he was in a position to change the terrible historical nature of the Church in matters of abuse.  Instead made grave errors, and now fully accepts German justice minister, Sabline Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger’s accusation that his work helped to create a “wall of silence” surrounding allegations of clerical sex abuse’.   

    • for all the denials from the Vatican that pretended they weren’t aware of the resulting abuse and pain caused by this silence.  Benedict also apologies for ignoring the numerous warnings by many clerics including Rev. Gerald Fitzgerald in the 1950’s and Rev. Thomas Doyle in the 1980’s who was later sacked due to his refusal to stick to the code of silence.  In fact Benedict agrees that the Vatican has always been aware of clerical sex abuse going back to the fourth century (whole article is well worth reading).

    • for all the lies that have been offered as excuses for the Church’s role in enabling clerical sex abuse with impunity, including and not limited to , the devil in the Vatican, homosexuality, individual dioceses acting independently of the Vatican, problems in individual countries including unfounded claims about America and Ireland, liberal permissive society, celibacy*, we didn’t understand  sexual abuse and recidivism.

    • for the cover-ups in national inquiries such as those in America which led Frank Keating, the chair of the Bishop established board, to say about the Church: “To resist grand jury subpoenas, to suppress the names of offending clerics, to deny, to obfuscate, to explain away; that is the model of a criminal organization, not my church,”

    • for the firmly held policy of victim blaming.  Benedict is very sorry the Church has taken this cruel approach to victims:  ‘Church lawyers attack the victims’ credibility and besmirch their families. They bombard victims with as many as 500 written questions, demand 30 years’ worth of tax returns, require names and dates for every doctor visited back to age 12. They cross-examine mothers about their children’s sex lives. “It’s intimidation,” says Lee White, 45, one of the plaintiffs. “I feel like I am being reabused.”  Benedict has realised that not only is this immoral but it is also a gross abuse of Church funds.

    Of course, the Vatican spokesmen said NONE OF THOSE THINGS on Saturday.  The lies recited included:

    “It’s rather clear that in the last days, there have been those who have tried, with a certain aggressive persistence, in Regensburg and Munich, to look for elements to personally involve the Holy Father in the matter of abuses … For any objective observer, it’s clear that these efforts have failed” 

    “there hasn’t been in the least bit any policy of silence.”

    “The pope is a person whose stand on clarity, on transparency and whose decision to face these problems is above discussion,”

    “To accuse the current pope of hiding (cases) is false and defamatory, … [Ratzinger] showed wisdom and firmness in handling these cases,”

    Colm O’Gorman sums up the current situation in a nutshell:

    As new scandals erupt in Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain, Brazil and Nigeria, Pope Benedict has failed to put in place and enforce mandatory global child protection policy across his church.  I recently asked a senior church figure why this was the case. The answer was depressingly familiar. I was told that to put in place global policy underpinned by church law would admit that the Vatican had the responsibility and the power to do so, and expose the Vatican to law suits and potentially massive financial losses for not doing so in the past.

    So there you have it. To this very day it would appear the Vatican values its money and its position more than it values the safety of children.

    For anybody who believes the Vatican’s lies and/or is planning to celebrate the Pope trotting round the UK in his red slippers in September, here is some required reading:

    Beyond Belief by Colm O’Gorman (Executive Director, Amnesty Ireland) - Altar Boy by Andrew Madden - Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes:  The Catholic Church’s 2,000 Year Paper Trial of Sexual Abuse by Thomas P. Doyle - Sex Crimes and the Vatican - video & transcript - The Ferns Report October 2005 - The Ryan Report May 2009  (Executive Summary Ryan Report) and The Murphy Report July 2009

    *Arguments regarding celibacy are many and varied but celibacy per se is not responsible for the mass cover-up of sex abuse.


         
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    1. cjcjc — on 16th March, 2010 at 10:09 AM  

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102691/

    2. Ravi Naik — on 16th March, 2010 at 12:40 PM  

      I have one thing to say: total disgrace. There should be a criminal investigation that would put the people at the highest levels of Catholic Church who knew, and at best, did nothing to protect the victims, directly to jail. Enough is enough!

    3. platinum786 — on 16th March, 2010 at 12:56 PM  

      And i thought the portrayal of the Church in Godfather 3 was exagerated…

    4. chairwoman — on 16th March, 2010 at 1:31 PM  

      The late Chairman was educated by Christian Brothers at a school in the North West.

      The academic teaching was excellent, but even in the late ’50s/early 60s pubescent boys were aware that there was something slightly off the wall about being beaten, wearing only underpants, by a heavy-breathing man in a cassock.

    5. Boyo — on 16th March, 2010 at 1:42 PM  

      Hm, quite. Easy target though - I look forward to your expose of other faiths and their leaders. ;-)

    6. Ravi Naik — on 16th March, 2010 at 2:04 PM  

      I look forward to your expose of other faiths and their leaders.

      You meant, you look forward to focus on Muslims, right? :)

    7. chairwoman — on 16th March, 2010 at 2:05 PM  

      We slagged the Chief Rabbi and the JBD of quite comprehensively a couple of years back.

      Well there goes Judeo/Christianity.

      Next please?

    8. persephone — on 16th March, 2010 at 2:24 PM  

      methinks it was Boyo who was the easy target here

    9. Don — on 16th March, 2010 at 2:25 PM  

      Boyo,

      Easy target? Damn right and right now is exactly the time to attack it.

    10. Kismet Hardy — on 16th March, 2010 at 2:48 PM  

      I shall miss him. I liked his jovial side as displayed in the rave days featuring him smoking dope with that immortal rhyme that went with it, and I shall always think of him fondly as I tuck into my eggs benedict in the morning. He also invented breakdancing I think

    11. earwicga — on 16th March, 2010 at 4:56 PM  

      Kismet - I think it highly unlikely that he will go, it is much more likely the Church will split.

      Ravi - a criminal investigation is being sought in Ireland regarding Primate of Ireland Cardinal Brady’s role in allowing Brendan Smyth to abuse children for decades:

      http://www.michaelnugent.com/2010/03/14/cardinal-bradys-meetings-with-paedophile-priest/

      http://colmogorman.com/?p=655

    12. earwicga — on 16th March, 2010 at 7:10 PM  

      Benny’s visit will cost us £15 million and he will be treated to an audience with the Queen. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/16/pope-benedict-visit-details-released

      At least he isn’t coming to Wales :)

    13. Kt D — on 16th March, 2010 at 7:40 PM  

      Many have been hurt by the Pope’s apparent lack of concern over these child abuse scandals-and now, with his possible involvement to some-and they want to see him resign.
      Other continue to deny the Pope had anything do with such affairs and unflinchingly defend the Vatican and the Head of the global Catholic Church.
      There is an interesting video on all of this at Newsy.com. It’s worth watching if you have a few minutes:
      http://www.newsy.com/videos/abuse-scandals-put-spotlight-on-the-pope

    14. Ali — on 16th March, 2010 at 9:05 PM  

      To be fair it’s not really the Vatican’s fault. They were acting ‘under the influence’ :)

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/vaticancityandholysee/7416458/Chief-exorcist-says-Devil-is-in-Vatican.html

    15. Shatterface — on 16th March, 2010 at 11:42 PM  

      As usual, Jesus and Mo have it nailed:

      http://www.jesusandmo.net/2010/03/16/purge/

    16. Yakoub — on 17th March, 2010 at 6:26 AM  

      The Pope must go? Surely, you mean the papacy? ;-)

    17. earwicga — on 17th March, 2010 at 10:00 AM  

      Yakoub - no I don’t.

      Shatterface - very good!

      Boyo - it is only a ‘easy target’ because the Church continues to ignore the real issue that they are deliberately allowing this to continue. The Vatican hides abusers who are subject to extradiction orders for trial regarding sexual abuse of children.

    18. cjcjc — on 17th March, 2010 at 11:34 AM  

      Leadership of multi-billion dollar superstitious cult corrupt?

      Who would have thought?

    19. persephone — on 17th March, 2010 at 1:12 PM  

      “Cardinal Sean Brady says he was simply following orders [when he imposed secrecy on these two brutalised children]”

      Brady is using the same defence used by the Nazis at Nurembourg.

      The so called ‘Nurembourg Defence’ was outlawed by the UN International Law commission in 1950. It is discredited everywhere except in the Universal Church, which continues to operate under its system of Canon Law which to quote “makes victims of priest rapes swear confidentiality under the pain of excommunication”.

      Brady is an ex college professor with a doctorate in Canon Law from the esteemed Lateran University in Rome.

      And the Friar Smyth afffair was handled by both the late Bishop McKiernan, a historian who relied heavily on Brady as a confidante and Canon Law adviser, and the late Cardinal Cahal Daly, who was Bishop of Down and Connor in the 1980s.

      So, who was directing who?

    20. cjcjc — on 17th March, 2010 at 2:44 PM  

      Another possible scandal brewing -

      Germany is fighting to keep sealed the Eichmann files detailing the years the Holocaust’s chief logistics organiser spent on the run before he was captured by Mossad agents.
      Those hoping to have a 50-year secrecy order overturned believe the government is embarrassed by details within that may prove German and Vatican officials colluded in his escape and freedom.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/7427931/Germany-fights-to-keep-Holocaust-organisers-files-sealed.html

    21. KJB — on 17th March, 2010 at 6:35 PM  

      Boyo’s comment might count for something if we had seen some kind of serious condemnation, reaction and/or punishment to the many sex abuse scandals arising in the Catholic Church.

      Yet somehow Benny breezes through it all with the brass neck to blame victims for their own sex abuse! I am half expecting the paedo priests to start using ‘The child was asking for it/led me on’ now as an excuse for their behaviour (that is, if they haven’t tried already…). It’s utterly appalling.

      And of course, as earwicga notes, we are paying for this disgusting hypocrite to come and preach at us. I signed the petition to make him pay for his own visit, but I think the petition is now closed…

    22. Chris Baldwin — on 17th March, 2010 at 7:09 PM  

      You’re calling for the Pope to resign?? Why waste your time? The world doesn’t work like that.

    23. earwicga — on 17th March, 2010 at 7:10 PM  

      Thanks for the link cjcjc.

      I find this part laughable:

      The BND maintains that secrecy is necessary because “much of the information contained in the files was provided by an unnamed foreign intelligence service.” If released, the BND argues, it would “deter” other nations from sharing intelligence with Germany in the future.

      Echos the recent rubbish from Miliband re Binyam Mohamed. Many governments assisted with keeping Nazi criminals from justice. I would think some of this evidence is within these files.

    24. masud — on 17th March, 2010 at 7:25 PM  

      If he doesnt resign he should certainly stop lecturing people on their sexual habits

      As the late great Ahmed Deedat memorably said “Someone who doesnt play the game, shouldnt make up the rules”

    25. earwicga — on 17th March, 2010 at 7:32 PM  

      Chris Baldwin - thanks for your input. Very useful.

      KJB - we all await the all important letter to the faithful of Ireland. The one he has been writing since Summer 2009!

      Cardinal Brady has said today:

      This week a painful episode from my own past has come before me. I have listened to reaction from people to my role in events thirty five years ago. I want to say to anyone who has been hurt by any failure on my part that I apologise to you with all my heart. I also apologise to all those who feel I have let them down. Looking back I am ashamed that I have not always upheld the values that I profess and believe in.

      Too little too late! He doesn’t get that it is his cover up 35 years ago.

      Brady said last year to RTE:

      “I would remember that child sex abuse is a very serious crime and very grave and if I found myself in a situation where I was aware that my failure to act had allowed or meant that other children were abused, well then, I think I would resign,”

      It has now been revealed that in 1975 he personally took part in a coverup of clerical sexual abuse by Brendan Smyth who was known by the Church to be abusing children since the 1950’s. Brady silenced the victims and chose not to involve the police. Smyth was eventually jailed in 1996 for 69 charges of sexual abuse against children at Belfast Crown Court and in 1997 he was convicted of a further 74 charges.

      It is the events after 1975 that Brady refuses to take responsibility for. His actions allowed dozens of children to be sexually abused and he should be arrested. As should all those who have acted in a similar manner including the Pope.

    26. earwicga — on 17th March, 2010 at 10:34 PM  

      I’ve just come across Keith Porteous Wood’s speech to the UN: http://www.iheu.org/vatican-condemned-un-child-abuse which is spot on. UN involvement would be a very much needed and great thing.

    27. douglas clark — on 17th March, 2010 at 11:20 PM  

      It seems to me to be the classic case of religious contempt for secular, or if you like universal human rights and values. Quite how they get away with it is frankly beyond my ken….

      You and I know, and I assume most of us agree, that there are universal rules that have to be obeyed. Yet exceptions are made by legislatures world-wide for religious excuses.

      I think that we are well wrong to let any religion apologise for itself.

      If you or I did what they take unto themselves we would be arrested and become part of the ‘Daily Mail’s Illustrated Annual Calander of People to Hate’

      Stuff it, they either believe what we we do and subscribe to it or they go to jail. I think that encapsulates what we undersatnd by modern jurisprudence, does it not?

      The alternative, that we can all pick and chose, is beyond contemptible.

    28. douglas clark — on 17th March, 2010 at 11:48 PM  

      persephone @ 19,

      Talk me down here.

      You said:

      The so called ‘Nurembourg Defence’ was outlawed by the UN International Law commission in 1950.

      Yup, that bit I understood. You cannot say you were ‘just following orders’.

      I believe, correct me if I am wrong, that most national jurisdictions have signed up for that?

      And, in most countries, allegedly the state is supreme, it acts through it’s law?

      Least that was how I thought it worked.

      But you say, and I have no reason to disbelieve you when you say it:

      It is discredited everywhere except in the Universal Church, which continues to operate under its system of Canon Law which to quote “makes victims of priest rapes swear confidentiality under the pain of excommunication”.

      I can see that as a retrograde position, much like the Taliban and ankles, but I cannot, for the life of me, see why that law has the slightest jurisdiction outside of, perhaps, the Vatican State.

      The problem here is one of conflict. Where religious law is at odds with secular law you have to take a side. Least that’s what I think I think.

      Priests are being effectively forced by Vatican Law - a specialist subject I’d have thought - to protect the Church over the victim? And presumeably accept the psychological consequences of caring more about their immortal soul than the here and now?

      Is that right?

    29. Ravi Naik — on 18th March, 2010 at 12:03 AM  

      The problem here is one of conflict. Where religious law is at odds with secular law you have to take a side. Least that’s what I think I think.

      Priests are being effectively forced by Vatican Law – a specialist subject I’d have thought – to protect the Church over the victim?

      There is no conflict, Douglas. Citizens of the Vatican follow Vatican Law, Priests elsewhere must follow the secular law of their respective countries.

      Canon Law which to quote “makes victims of priest rapes swear confidentiality under the pain of excommunication”.

      I would be very surprised if this were true.

    30. earwicga — on 18th March, 2010 at 12:17 AM  

      Ravi

      Canon Law which to quote “makes victims of priest rapes swear confidentiality under the pain of excommunication”.

      I would be very surprised if this were true

      This is exactly what has happened, and the Primate of Ireland, Cardinal Brady took part in this in 1975 with the results that I have outlined above. He is now sorry and says he will resign if the Pope wants him to.

    31. Ravi Naik — on 18th March, 2010 at 12:31 AM  

      “This is exactly what has happened”

      I meant to say that I would be very surprised if Canon Law “makes victims of priest rapes swear confidentiality under the pain of excommunication”. The online version is actually posted here.

    32. douglas clark — on 18th March, 2010 at 12:55 AM  

      Ravi @ 31,

      Just cut and paste the relevant bit, please?

      Even if I had a thousand years left on this planet, canonical law would not be something I’d waste my time with :-)

      Either they do or they don’t. Point us to, err, your point.

    33. douglas clark — on 18th March, 2010 at 1:08 AM  

      Ravi @ 29,

      There is no conflict, Douglas. Citizens of the Vatican follow Vatican Law, Priests elsewhere must follow the secular law of their respective countries.

      Well, yes, in principle but apparently not in practice?

      Look, you are sounding like an apologist for this sort of thing. I am sure you are not. Either paedolphile priests did something wrong or they didn’t.

      I want to know why they were able to hide behind clerical walls when you or I would have been, rightly, thrown to the wolves. Is it protectionism because of religious sensibilities, or what?

      You already know what I think about that. At least i assume you do.

    34. Ravi Naik — on 18th March, 2010 at 1:27 AM  

      Just cut and paste the relevant bit, please?

      The burden of proof is not on my side. If someone says that Canon Law states you can blackmail people with excommunication to cover up criminal activity, then I would like to see proof of it. I only provided the source. That’s how it works, Douglas.

      Look, you are sounding like an apologist for this sort of thing. I am sure you are not. Either paedolphile priests did something wrong or they didn’t.

      Why do you complicate something incredibly simple? Of course they did something incredibly wrong. There is no ambiguity here.

      Is it protectionism because of religious sensibilities, or what?

      No, it is just plain criminal - religion has nothing to do with anything. They are bound to secular law, if not by basic morality they are supposed to uphold. I hope that is clear enough.

    35. earwicga — on 18th March, 2010 at 4:26 AM  

      Ravi

      I meant to say that I would be very surprised if Canon Law “makes victims of priest rapes swear confidentiality under the pain of excommunication”.

      Yes this is Canon Law. You may find these wiki links helpful to aid your basic understanding:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimen_sollicitationis_(document)#Canon_law_on_cases_of_solicitation_in_confession
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_delictis_gravioribus

      And you could also look at the link I provided above to the transcript of Suing The Pope which includes:

      KENYON: After the sexual assault Aidan ran from the room. He told another priest what had happened. But instead of going to the authorities the priests invoked one of the most powerful tenets of the Catholic faith - To bar Aidan or his abuser from ever speaking out.

      DOYLE: He said to me ‘I’m going to apply the seal of confession to you, so that you must never talk about this, and it will be kept secret.’ And I remember saying that that evening. That why should I have to keep quiet about something that I hadn’t initiated?

      KENYON: Aidan didn’t know it, but an oath of silence was part of the secret church decree called ‘crimen sollicitationis’ (crime of solicitation). The directive was written in 1962, and Catholic bishops worldwide are ordered to keep it locked away in the church safe. It instructs them on how to deal with priests who solicit sex from the confessional. But it also deals with any obscene external acts with youths of either sex. Child abuse. Originally written in Latin it imposes the strictest oath of secrecy on the child victim, the priest dealing with the allegation, and any witnesses. Breaking that oath means instant banishment from the Catholic Church - excommunication.

      AIDEN DOYLE
      I was told that.. simply told you don’t talk about this again. It’s over, you’ll get over it, it’ll fade away in time, it’ll go away, you’ve nothing to worry about. You know it’s all about forgiveness, it’s all about forgiving your offender as well as the offender forgiving me. They were judge, jury and everything else. I didn’t have any opportunity to receive understanding. There was no understanding brought about. I didn’t know what this meant other than that I must never talk about it again.

      KENYON: Aidan was so intimidated he hasn’t spoken of what happened for 40 years, until now. His abuser has never been punished. To uncover the significance of crimen sollicitationis Colm goes to meet Father Tom Doyle, a canon lawyer. Once a Vatican high flyer, then he criticised the church’s handling of child abuse and was sacked.

      Father TOM DOYLE
      Canon Lawyer
      Crimen sollicitationis is indicative of a world-wide policy of absolute secrecy and control of all cases of sexual abuse by the clergy. But what you really have here is an explicit written policy to cover up cases of child sexual abuse by the clergy, to punish those who would call attention to these crimes by churchmen. You’ve got a written policy that says the Vatican will control these situations, and you also have, I think, clear written evidence of the fact that all they’re concerned about is containing and controlling the problem. Nowhere in any of these documents does it say anything about helping the victims. The only thing it does is say that they can impose fear on the victims, and punish the victims, for discussing or disclosing what had happened to them.

      KENYON: The procedure was intended to protect a priests reputation until the church had investigated. But in practice it can offer a blueprint for cover-ups. The man in charge of enforcing it for 20 years was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the man made Pope last year. In 2001 he created the successor to the decree. In spirit it was the same, overarching secrecy with a threat of excommunication. He sent a copy to every Bishop in the world. But now he ordered that the Vatican must have what it calls ‘exclusive competence’. In other words, all child abuse allegations must go exclusively to Rome.

      FR. DOYLE: It’s all controlled by the Vatican, and at the top of the Vatican is the Pope. So Joseph Ratzinger was at the middle of this for most of the years the crimen was enforced. He created the successor to crimen, and now he’s the Pope. This all says that the policy and the systematic approach has not changed.

      I’m not really sure why you are asking this question, but perhaps you would like to read some of the other links I included in the post to help you ask relevant questions. Whether this was part of Canon Law (which it is), or was misinterpreted the end result is still the same.

    36. earwicga — on 18th March, 2010 at 4:31 AM  

      Ravi -

      Please don’t miss this which is linked to from wiki:

      http://www.bishop-accountability.org/resources/resource-files/churchdocs/EpistulaEnglish.htm

    37. Ravi Naik — on 18th March, 2010 at 8:11 AM  

      I meant to say that I would be very surprised if Canon Law “makes victims of priest rapes swear confidentiality under the pain of excommunication”.

      Yes this is Canon Law. You may find these wiki links helpful to aid your basic understanding

      We agree that I have serious comprehension problems. And so I would appreciate if you could actually quote the exact paragraph that states that Canon Law “makes victims of priest rapes swear confidentiality under the pain of excommunication”. Because, reading your first link (on Crimen sollicitationis, I got precisely the opposite idea.

      The point that I got from the link you provided is that a Catholic should denounce a priest as soon as possible of sexual misconduct (“a penitent must within one month denounce to the local Ordinary or the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office a priest guilty of the crime of solicitation in confession”), and the priest who is guilty of offense is to be suspended (“ Anyone who has committed the crime of solicitation dealt with in canon 904 is to be suspended from celebrating Mass and hearing sacramental confessions and, if the gravity of the crime calls for it, he is to be declared unfit for hearing them; he is to be deprived of all benefices and ranks, of the right to vote or be voted for, and is to be declared unfit for all of them, and in more serious cases he is to be reduced to the lay state.“). The point of the law is that crimes of solicitation need to be reported as soon as possible so that bad priests are removed from their duties.

      If they used this law to cover-up and justify secrecy (which seems exactly what they’ve done), then it is a serious abuse of Canon Law.

    38. Ravi Naik — on 18th March, 2010 at 8:40 AM  

      Actually, reading further, you are right in that there is a penalty of excommunication if anything brought up in the trial is made public.

      However:

      “These matters are confidential only to the procedures within the Church, but do not preclude in any way for these matters to be brought to civil authorities for proper legal adjudication. The charter for the Protection of Children and Young People of June, 2002, approved by the Vatican, requires that credible allegations of sexual abuse of children be reported to legal authorities.”

      In any case, I can see how this protocol can be abused, and the Vatican is allowed to cover-up its track and coerce victims to silence.

    39. Ravi Naik — on 18th March, 2010 at 10:57 AM  

      I had my coffee now.

      My issue with this statement “Canon Law “makes victims of priest rapes swear confidentiality under the pain of excommunication” is that it is grossly misleading for two reasons.

      First, it insinuates that Canon Law and secular law can conflict, since in the above case you would have a clear case of obstructing justice and covering up a crime. And that a priest by choosing Canon Law would be immune of such crimes. This is what Douglas was alluding, and this I do not believe to be true.

      Second, it insinuates that Canon Law states that victims of crimes (by priests) cannot report crimes to civil authorities under the penalty of excommunication. I am not aware of any victim having been excommunicated for reporting to the police. The secrecy regards to the procedure of the Church trial. It is quite unremarkable that secrecy is to be sought in a justice trial, and quite frankly it also protects the victim in a secular trial, since one can assume that what happens in a Church trial does not follow any standard procedural that one could call unbiased.

      The real issue here is that the Church has no business in setting up trials, specially when the perpetrator is one of their own. And clearly, one can see how the rule above can be abused to silence the victims and cover up the crimes of their own.

      This will continue to happen until secular governments start demanding that as soon as a complaint of this nature is received, the Church must immediately report to the authorities, or face criminal charges. The Church can do their own internal investigation and provide evidence in court, but that’s about it.

      I also think it is not enough to step down or make public apologies. The Church can only recover when the above is implemented, and everyone involved in the cover up is put behind bars.

    40. douglas clark — on 18th March, 2010 at 11:37 AM  

      Ravi Naik,

      This is what Douglas was alluding, and this I do not believe to be true.

      Yes it was, and thanks for the clarification. I did not, perhaps, couch that as clearly as a question as I had intended.

      Can I try to move this on a tad?

      All sorts of organisations, from golf clubs to religions have rules. My point, and if your analysis is correct, is this:

      It is the duty of an individual or an organisation to report wrongdoing to the appropriate authorities as soon as reasonably possible. These authorities are the secular state. A failure to do so ought to be, if it is not already, seen as a dereliction of a duty to care. Also known as a cover up.

      That should be a criminal offence in it’s own right.

      It ought to be a guiding principle for any code of practice for any organisation. And religious folk are just going to have to take the medicine, just like the rest of us….

      In other words, one law for all.

    41. MiriamBinder — on 18th March, 2010 at 12:25 PM  

      Any set of rules is subservient to the law of the land. That includes any religious organisation as well as golf clubs, sewing circles or hiking associations; and anything in-between

    42. persephone — on 18th March, 2010 at 2:32 PM  

      Douglas

      “ Canon Law in Ireland in most countries, allegedly the state is supreme, ” and “ It is discredited everywhere except in the Universal Church, which continues to operate under its system of Canon Law”

      From what I read it is as follows:
      “in the Irish legal system which recognises Canon law as a scientific legal system and body of law, both substantive and adjective… a body of rules emanating from a legislative authority for the ordering of the conduct, regulating the social and domestic relations and punishing the disobedience of those who recognise that authority, and which speaks and gives judgement through its own tribunals. … As both Bishop and priest, by their ordination agree to be bound by Canon law, the relationship between them might be seen… as consisting of a contract comprising the material provisions of Canon law. The strict legal position is otherwise. Both parties are seen as being bound by Canon law which, in Irish jurisprudence, is a foreign law and like any foreign law, its provisions must be established in the event of a dispute by witnesses expert in that system. Again like all other foreign laws, Canon law is without coercive power because the machinery of coercion is, in this State, kept in the exclusive control of the civil government and parliament.”

      But the various ‘defences’ used by Brady & his advisers see recourse to Canon Law/institutional rules/beliefs & little as to secular law, moral compass and duty of care:

      Sean Brady’s clerical defenders say he was following orders/rules of the process in Canon Law. Canon Lawyer Mnsr Maurice Dooley stated that had Sean Brady reported Smyth to the civil authorities he would have betrayed his office.

      Seán Brady denies any wrong-doing in the sex abuse case of Brendan Smyth because he was not “the designated person responsible for contacting the statutory bodies”. We all have “a duty of care” in organisations and this is not contingent on seniority MARIE PARKER-JENKINS, Faculty of Education and Health Sciences, University of Limerick.

      If in 1975 a 36-year-old, bright and capable priest went out on a limb and took a moral stand to ensure civil justice for a victim of abuse,at the expense of the reputation of his church, one thing is certain – his moral bravery would ensure he would never become a cardinal. Bullying young victims of abuse to sworn secrecy must be understood in the context of the absolute loyalty of the clergy to the institutional church, not to its flock. Seán Brady states that he will only resign if the Pope asks him to do so – indicating that he couldn’t care less what the men and women of this island think of his actions. Reassuring isn’t it? Dr JOHN GIBBONS, Co Mayo.

      It’s not fair to judge actions of 35 years ago by the standards we are following today,” remarked Cardinal Brady (Home News, March 15th), a surprising defence from a senior member of an organisation which judges and condemns people based on standards set down 2000 years ago.DECLAN Mc CORMAC, Dublin 8.”

      (selected named comments from Irish Times)

      “makes victims of priest rapes swear confidentiality under the pain of excommunication”

      That part is a rather emotive quote from an article. In my absence Earwicga has answered comprehensively on this but in the below comments it appears that the oath of secrecy remains until claimants reach 28 years old – not sure why. Another aspect – Canon 1321 - suggests a reason for not treating priests as ‘guilty’:

      ” Cardinal Brady is correct when he claims that, as Father Brady in the mid 1970s, he was implementing (to the letter) church protocol regarding the questioning and recording of claims of clerical paedophilia against Brendan Smyth. The procedure to be followed was precisely outlined in the 1962 secret directive from the Vatican (Crimen Sollicitationis).It imposed “pontifical” secrecy under pain of excommunication on himself and the two juveniles whose claims he recorded. The present Pope, as Cardinal Ratzinger and Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, stated that this oath of secrecy should remain in force until claimants reached their 28th birthday (De Delictis Gravioribus, 2001).

      Canon 1321 required that guilt be “imputable”: ie it must be established with moral certainty that the priest in question freely committed the offence(s). However, church authorities tended to view paedophilia as a fixation over which he had no control – and therefore could not be morally guilty. In which case, only light penalties were applied… These priests were placed on a “merry-go-round” – moved from place to place as complaints arose and the number of victims increased. The relevant church authorities were not warned in advance. In this respect, the Irish church authorities failed to carry out the directives of Rome. In the 1970s, that dereliction of duty lay not with Fr Brady, but with his bishop, and Abbot Kevin Smith, Smyth’s superior. JOSEPH SHEEHY, Co Antrim.

    43. persephone — on 18th March, 2010 at 2:35 PM  

      Douglas

      “ Canon Law in Ireland in most countries, allegedly the state is supreme, ” and “ It is discredited everywhere except in the Universal Church, which continues to operate under its system of Canon Law”

      From what I read it is as follows:

      “in the Irish legal system which recognises Canon law as a scientific legal system and body of law, both substantive and adjective… a body of rules emanating from a legislative authority for the ordering of the conduct, regulating the social and domestic relations and punishing the disobedience of those who recognise that authority, and which speaks and gives judgement through its own tribunals. … As both Bishop and priest, by their ordination agree to be bound by Canon law, the relationship between them might be seen… as consisting of a contract comprising the material provisions of Canon law. The strict legal position is otherwise. Both parties are seen as being bound by Canon law which, in Irish jurisprudence, is a foreign law and like any foreign law, its provisions must be established in the event of a dispute by witnesses expert in that system. Again like all other foreign laws, Canon law is without coercive power because the machinery of coercion is, in this State, kept in the exclusive control of the civil government and parliament.”

      But the various ‘defences’ used by Brady & his advisers see recourse to Canon Law/institutional rules/beliefs & little as to secular law, moral compass and duty of care:

      Sean Brady’s clerical defenders say he was following orders/rules of the process in Canon Law. Canon Lawyer Mnsr Maurice Dooley stated that had Sean Brady reported Smyth to the civil authorities he would have betrayed his office.

      Seán Brady denies any wrong-doing in the sex abuse case of Brendan Smyth because he was not “the designated person responsible for contacting the statutory bodies”. We all have “a duty of care” in organisations and this is not contingent on seniority MARIE PARKER-JENKINS, Faculty of Education and Health Sciences, University of Limerick.

      If in 1975 a 36-year-old, bright and capable priest went out on a limb and took a moral stand to ensure civil justice for a victim of abuse,at the expense of the reputation of his church, one thing is certain – his moral bravery would ensure he would never become a cardinal. Bullying young victims of abuse to sworn secrecy must be understood in the context of the absolute loyalty of the clergy to the institutional church, not to its flock. Seán Brady states that he will only resign if the Pope asks him to do so – indicating that he couldn’t care less what the men and women of this island think of his actions. Reassuring isn’t it? Dr JOHN GIBBONS, Co Mayo.

      It’s not fair to judge actions of 35 years ago by the standards we are following today,” remarked Cardinal Brady (Home News, March 15th), a surprising defence from a senior member of an organisation which judges and condemns people based on standards set down 2000 years ago.DECLAN Mc CORMAC, Dublin 8.”

      (source: selected comments from Irish Times)

      “makes victims of priest rapes swear confidentiality under the pain of excommunication”

      That part is a rather emotive quote from an article. In my absence Earwicga has answered comprehensively on this but in the below comments it appears that the oath of secrecy remains until claimants reach 28 years old – not sure why. Another aspect – Canon 1321 - suggests a reason for not treating priests as ‘morally guilty’ when it comes to paedophilia!:

      ” Cardinal Brady is correct when he claims that, as Father Brady in the mid 1970s, he was implementing (to the letter) church protocol regarding the questioning and recording of claims of clerical paedophilia against Brendan Smyth. The procedure to be followed was precisely outlined in the 1962 secret directive from the Vatican (Crimen Sollicitationis).It imposed “pontifical” secrecy under pain of excommunication on himself and the two juveniles whose claims he recorded. The present Pope, as Cardinal Ratzinger and Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, stated that this oath of secrecy should remain in force until claimants reached their 28th birthday (De Delictis Gravioribus, 2001).

      Canon 1321 required that guilt be “imputable”: ie it must be established with moral certainty that the priest in question freely committed the offence(s). However, church authorities tended to view paedophilia as a fixation over which he had no control – and therefore could not be morally guilty. In which case, only light penalties were applied… These priests were placed on a “merry-go-round” – moved from place to place as complaints arose and the number of victims increased. The relevant church authorities were not warned in advance. In this respect, the Irish church authorities failed to carry out the directives of Rome. In the 1970s, that dereliction of duty lay not with Fr Brady, but with his bishop, and Abbot Kevin Smith, Smyth’s superior. JOSEPH SHEEHY, Co Antrim.

    44. douglas clark — on 18th March, 2010 at 4:21 PM  

      persephone @ 41,

      Thanks for that. It rather confirms my tentative position that the Catholic Church, which clearly is not a relevant investigating agency, has made a complete fool of itself over this. As has the Irish State. If there is sufficient evidence these men should have been arrested for interfering with justice.

    45. earwicga — on 18th March, 2010 at 4:27 PM  

      Ravi - I think your question boils down to whether ‘Crimen Sollicitationis’ is part of Canon Law or not, and the following quotes should be helpful to you in showing that it is. If you have the time (and the coffee) the whole post by Tomas P. Doyle on March 12, 2010 is well worth reading http://reform-network.net/?p=3006

      3. The first Code of Canon Law was promulgated in 1917. Solicitation was listed as a canonical crime (c. 2368). The canon mentions several penalties including possible dismissal from the clerical state. The second paragraph imposes on the person solicited a grave obligation of reporting or “denouncing” the priest. Failure to do so within one month resulted in an automatic penalty of excommunication. Thus, the one soliciting can be removed from the clerical state and consequently from the active priesthood but the victim or penitent faces an even more severe penalty which is exclusion from the Church itself. The new Code contained as an appendix the apostolic constitution Sacramentum poenitentiae, issued by Pope Benedict XIV on June 1, 1741. This was the most solemn pronouncement against solicitation issued to that time as well as the most complete treatment of the nature of solicitation as a crime.

      4. The Congregation of the Holy Office issued a decree in the form of an instruction on June 9, 1922. The decree was signed by Cardinal Merry del Val and issued under the authority and with the explicit approval of Pope Pius XI. The formal name was “On the Manner of Proceeding in Cases of Solicitation.” The instruction was essentially a set of procedures to be followed by bishops for the investigation and prosecution of priests accused of solicitation. These procedures replaced the penal procedures contained in the Code of Canon Law.

      17. Title V of the document (and the 1922 document as well), “De crimine pessima” includes the crimes of homosexual sexual acts, sexual contacts with minors and bestiality. These crimes are also to be processed according to these special norms. The document does not imply that these crimes were to have been perpetrated through solicitation in the confessional. It included them under the title “De crimine pessima” or “The worst crimes” presumably because of their serious nature. This gravity caused them to be included under these special procedural norms. The 1922 document has an identical section. The norms of both documents were thus established as the obligatory procedures for prosecuting cases of four separate and distinct canonical crimes, namely, a) solicitation for sex in the act of sacramental confession, b) homosexual sex, c) sexual abuse of minor males or females, d) bestiality or sex with animals. It is therefore incorrect to state that the norms and procedures of Crimen Sollicitationis are applicable only to cases of solicitation for sex in the confessional.

      18. These four types of sexual crimes were already included in the Code of Canon Law (1917 version). Solicitation is covered in canon 2368, par. 1 and sexual contact with minors and bestiality in canon 2359, 2. Ordinarily the prosecution of these crimes would be processed

      according to the procedural laws of the Code. The 1922 and 1962 documents provided special norms with an added emphasis on confidentiality because of the very serious nature of the crimes involved. These special procedural norms were an expansion, with added detail, upon the procedural law of the Code. The existence of this document also clearly proves that the highest Catholic Church authorities were aware of the especially grave nature of the clergy sexual crimes considered. This of course makes it difficult for any Church leader to credibly claim that the problem of clergy sexual abuse was an unknown quantity prior to 1984.
      24. To fully understand the overriding concern for secrecy one must also understand the traditional canonical concept known as the “Privilege of the Forum” “privilegium fori” which has its roots in medieval Canon Law. Basically this is a traditional privilege claimed by the institutional church whereby clerics accused of crimes were tried before ecclesiastical courts and not brought before civil or secular courts. Although this privilege is anachronistic in contemporary society, the attitude or mentality which holds clerics accountable only to the institutional church authorities is still active. This does not mean that the official Church believes that clerics accused of crimes should not to be held accountable. It means that during certain periods in history the Church has believed that it alone should have the right to subject accused clerics to a judicial process. The “privilegium fori” was included in the 1917 Code of Canon Law:

      1. Clerics in all cases, whether contentious or criminal, shall be brought before an ecclesiastical judge, unless it has been legitimately provided otherwise in certain places.

      2. Cardinals, Legates of the Apostolic See. Bishops, even titular ones, Abbots, Prelates Nullius, Supreme Superiors of Religious Institutes of Pontifical Right, and major officials of the Roman Curia may not be summoned before lay judges for matters pertaining to their duties without referring first to the Holy See; the same is true for others enjoying the privilege of the forum, where the Ordinary of the place [diocesan bishop] where the matter is to be tried is to be approached. The Ordinary, however, especially when a lay person is the petitioner, will not deny this permission except for just and grave reasons, all the more so when he is unable to bring about a resolution of the controversy between the parties. (Canon 119)
      26. In a February 2002 interview with the Italian journal 30 Giorni, Cardinal Bertone, who was secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the time and later became papal secretary of State said:

      “In my opinion, the demand that a bishop be obligated to contact the police in order to denounce a priest who has admitted the offense of pedophilia is unfounded,” Bertone said. “Naturally civil society has the obligation to defend its citizens. But it must also respect the `professional secrecy’ of priests, as it respects the professional. secrecy of other categories, a respect that cannot be reduced simply to the inviolable seal of the confessional. (John Allen, May 30, 2002, National Catholic Reporter)
      27. Why have Church authorities not advised that reports of sexual abuse of minors by clergy be referred to either child welfare agencies or law enforcement authorities? Why have some authorities publicly opposed turning clerics suspected of serious crimes over to secular law enforcement authorities? There is historical evidence that in the past clerics suspected of sexual abuse of minors were first tried in ecclesiastical courts and then turned over to secular authorities for additional prosecution and possible punishment. (cf. R. Sheer, “A Canon, a Choirboy and Homosexuality in Late Sixteenth Century Italy: a Case Study,” Journal of Homosexuality 21(1991): 1-22). There is no official reason for the failure to do so in recent times. Possibly the church authorities were trying to avoid the harsh publicity that results from exposure of clergy sexual abuse. Another possible reason is grounded in the attitude that supported the “privilegium fori” or Privilege of the Forum, namely, that the Church had the right to try clerics before its own courts. In any event there is no legitimate reason for neglecting to notify civil law enforcement authorities especially in light of recent experience which has shown Church authorities to be consistently negligent in its handling of such cases.

      28. Although the objective reasons for the extreme secrecy may be understandable within the context of the time it was written, the obsession with secrecy through the years has been instrumental in preventing both justice and compassionate care for victims. It has enabled the widespread spirit of denial among clergy, hierarchy and laity. Secrecy has been justified to avoid scandal when in fact it has enabled even more scandal.
      From 35
      The 1922 and 1962 documents did not create this culture. They arose out of it and gave canonical legal force to the pattern of secrecy. If the 1922 and 1962 documents have been used as a justification for any cover-up or intimidation then we possibly have what some of the more critical commentators have alleged, namely, the distinct appearance of a blueprint for a cover-up.

    46. earwicga — on 18th March, 2010 at 4:32 PM  

      persephone -

      in the below comments it appears that the oath of secrecy remains until claimants reach 28 years old – not sure why.

      My understanding of this is that it takes the crime beyond the statue of limitations - not 100% on that though.

    47. Ravi Naik — on 18th March, 2010 at 4:59 PM  

      Ravi – I think your question boils down to whether ‘Crimen Sollicitationis’ is part of Canon Law or not

      I never disagreed that ‘Crimen Sollicitationis’ is part of Canon Law. What we disagree with, I think, I tried to explain in #39. It is simply not true that Canon Law, in particular Crimen Sollicitationis, prohibits a victim of rape from contacting the authorities under the penalty of excommunication.

    48. earwicga — on 18th March, 2010 at 5:14 PM  

      Right. You do not understand how the Catholic Church exists within individuals lifes and also as part/dominates the state. I was stunned at Colm O’Gorman’s book as he clearly demonstrates this. It is also described in Suing The Pope which I have quoted from above and linked to the video and transcript in the OP.

    49. damon — on 18th March, 2010 at 5:26 PM  

      Who cares?
      Apart from those free newspapers you can pick up in churches here in Ireland, why would anyone know what the Catholic church is saying?

      And I laughed to see who was on the front page of one called ”Alive” this month.

      With the title ”Teachers told: exercise your authority in the classroom”.
      http://www.alive.ie/

      Does he really want to headline on a backward newspaper like that?
      But seriuosly - who cares about this Catholic stuff?

    50. earwicga — on 18th March, 2010 at 5:28 PM  

      damon

      But seriusly – who cares about this Catholic stuff?

      The surviviors of clerical sexual abuse care.

      Why should anybody not care?

    51. damon — on 18th March, 2010 at 5:53 PM  

      Yes that is a pity.
      I was educated by catholic brothers and they were pretty much OK. Some were good teachers.

      What’s the call here? More state intervention in schools? OK.
      But I couldn’t care less who is Pope.
      Or the internal workings and politics of the catholic church.

    52. douglas clark — on 18th March, 2010 at 6:53 PM  

      damon,

      What if the internal workings and politics of the catholic church meant that you couldn’t get justice?

      Still not an issue for you?

    53. Ravi Naik — on 18th March, 2010 at 7:00 PM  

      Right. You do not understand how the Catholic Church exists

      I happen to be a Catholic - born and raised. The only thing I disagree with you - and your source actually backs me up is - that Canon Law, in particular Crimen Sollicitationis, does not preclude a victim from contacting the authorities. I do not dispute that victims have been blackmailed with excommunication, but I do not agree that this can be justified by this law. Again from your source:

      These matters are confidential only to the procedures within the Church, but do not preclude in any way for these matters to be brought to civil authorities for proper legal adjudication. The charter for the Protection of Children and Young People of June, 2002, approved by the Vatican, requires that credible allegations of sexual abuse of children be reported to legal authorities.”

      You may disagree with me, but it is quite arrogant to claim that “I do not understand” because I do not accept all your views.

    54. earwicga — on 18th March, 2010 at 7:48 PM  

      Ugh - just typed out a long reply to you Ravi but it didn’t post.

      In short, if you find my comment arrogant I can only apologise, but I find your comments veering on victim blaming. I also happen to be Catholic - born and raised but that doesn’t automatically mean I was knowledgable on how The Catholic Chuch allowed clerical sexual abuse to continue with impunity in Ireland for example. It doesn’t mean I automatically understand how the Church in Ireland intertwined with victims and their families and communities in such an insidious way as to silence them. But this doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, and as the Peter Hullerman case shows, it continues to this day. This is replicated all over the world.

      The Doyle post we are both quoting from details how Crimen Sollicitationis could have functioned but instead did function. You are quoting from the former and I am quoting from the latter.

    55. Ravi Naik — on 18th March, 2010 at 8:06 PM  

      I find your comments veering on victim blaming

      Considering I’ve called for everyone involved in covering these crimes to be locked up - in every message I posted here, I cannot see how you could possibly say that. My disagreement with you has NOTHING to do with absolving the priests who committed these crimes, nor those who tried to silence their victims, and I am not denying any of these crimes.

      It is simply about what the Canon Law in question states.

      If you think one cannot have a debate or disagreement about this particular issue without blaming the victims, then I have nothing else to add.

    56. earwicga — on 18th March, 2010 at 8:20 PM  

      Ravi -

      I never disagreed that ‘Crimen Sollicitationis’ is part of Canon Law. What we disagree with, I think, I tried to explain in #39. It is simply not true that Canon Law, in particular Crimen Sollicitationis, prohibits a victim of rape from contacting the authorities under the penalty of excommunication.

      Canon law is indeed interpreted in this way. I think I am missing what your ‘disagreement’is. My comment re ‘veering on victim blaming’ was explained more fully in my original comment which I managed not to post, but it is not hard to read it into your comment above.

      Obviously if you wish to add nothing else then fair enough. I have enjoyed your questions to a certain extent, but I don’t fully understand your emphasis on Canon Law.

    57. Ravi Naik — on 18th March, 2010 at 8:38 PM  

      ‘veering on victim blaming’ was explained more fully in my original comment which I managed not to post, but it is not hard to read it into your comment above.

      You are getting I am ‘veering on victim blaming’ on #54? That’s all I need to know.

    58. persephone — on 18th March, 2010 at 9:26 PM  

      Douglas @ 43 yep I sure hope so

      Earwicga @ 45 thanks



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