Posts Tagged child sexual abuse
In new letter, Benedict blames clergy abuse on sexual revolution, Vatican II theology / National Catholic Reporter
A number of noted theologians took to Twitter overnight to criticize Benedict’s take on the root causes of clergy sexual abuse. (National Catholic Reporter)
Retired Pope Benedict XVI has published a new letter blaming the continuing Catholic clergy abuse crisis on the sexual revolution, developments in theology following the Second Vatican Council, and modern society’s aversion to speaking about God.
“The letter, one of a handful the ex-pontiff has shared publicly since his resignation in 2013, immediately drew criticism from theologians and Vatican watchers. They noted it does not address structural issues that abetted abuse cover-up, or Benedict’s own contested 24-year role as head of the Vatican’s powerful doctrinal office.
“The former pope instead points the finger at a range of esoteric issues, from a supposed societal “mental collapse” brought on by the protests of 1968, to a claim that the sexual revolution declared pedophilia to be “allowed and appropriate,” and to “vehement backlashes” by theologians against a 1993 encyclical by Pope John Paul II.
“‘Among the freedoms that the Revolution of 1968 sought to fight for was … all-out sexual freedom, one which no longer conceded any norms,’ Benedict says at the beginning of his text.”
By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
The Catholic Church is turning to outside arbiters to reckon with its history of sexual abuse. But skeptics argue that its legacy of evasion continues. (the New Yorker)
Like many Catholics, I wonder whether this story will ever be over and whether things will ever be set right.
“Often called a crisis, the problem is more enduring and more comprehensive than that. Social scientists report that the gravest period of priestly sexual abuse was the sixties and seventies, and the problem has been in public view for the past three and a half decades. For most American Catholics, then, the fact of sexual abuse by priests and its coverup by bishops has long been an everyday reality.
“Priestly sexual abuse has directly harmed thousands of Catholics, spoiling their sense of sexuality, of intimacy, of trust, of faith. Indirectly, the pattern of abuse and coverup has made Catholics leery of priests and disdainful of the idea that the bishops are our ‘shepherds.’ It has muddled questions about Church doctrine concerning sexual orientation, the nature of the priesthood, and the role of women; it has hastened the decline of Catholic schooling and the shuttering of churches.
“Attorneys general in more than a dozen states are investigating the Church and its handling of sexual-abuse allegations. In February, New York State loosened its statute of limitations for sex crimes, long the Church’s bulwark against abuse claims. And that is just in the United States. Priestly sexual abuse has had grave effects around the world, including in Rome, where the three most recent Popes have been implicated in the institutional habits of concealment or inaction, and where Pope Francis has yet to find his voice on the problem …
“In all of this, a distinctly American solution to the problem has emerged—the commissioning of an independent, secular authority to arrange settlements between the Church and survivors of abuse. This strategy has been taken up by an unlikely advocate: Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, and a traditionalist who generally relishes defending the Church against its adversaries.”
By Paul Elie, The New Yorker — Read more …
The law, dated March 26, calls on church authorities to listen immediately to people who say they are victims and to report any credible allegations to prosecutors. (The New York Times)
Pope Francis has issued a highly anticipated law for Vatican City officials and diplomats overseas to tackle sexual abuse, setting up what is intended to be a model for the Roman Catholic Church worldwide by requiring, for the first time, that accusations be immediately reported to Vatican prosecutors.
“The Vatican characterized the law — and accompanying pastoral guidelines — as a reflection of the most advanced thinking on preventing and addressing sexual abuse in the church. The law, dated March 26, calls on church authorities to listen immediately to people who say they are victims and to report any credible allegations to prosecutors.
“Those who fail to report could be subjected to financial penalties and jail time.
“‘Protection of minors and vulnerable people is an essential part of the evangelical message that the church and all of its members are called to spread across the world,’ the pope wrote in a personal edict enacting the law. Francis said he wanted to ‘strengthen the institutional and regulatory framework to prevent and tackle abuses against minors and vulnerable people.'”
By Jason Horowitz and Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Times — Read more …
When it comes to cover-up, including the transfer of abusers from one parish to another, Schmalhausen said it has become obvious that civil justice is more proactive than the Church, which has sheltered abusers and allowed them to have access to other potential victims. (Cruxnow.com)
Bishop Kay Schmalhausen of Ayaviri, Peru believes current punishments for both the crime of clerical sexual abuse (usually expulsion from the clerical state) and the cover-up are ineffective, and suggested harsher penalties including excommunication.
“As a former member of a group whose founder has been charged with abuses of conscience, power and sexuality, Schmalhausen told Crux that some key questions need to be asked.
“‘What has been done so far with the perpetrators of such crimes? How is the damage to the victims, along with the scandal caused to the faithful of the Church and in the eyes of the world, being repaired? Is there even a minimum of proportionality and justice in the measures implemented so far?’ he asked.
“‘Clearly the answer today seems to be no …'”
By Elise Harris and John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com — Read more …
“The clergy abuse phenomenon is the worst crisis the church has experienced in more than a thousand years. The Protestant Reformation and its follow-on, the Council of Trent, were about doctrine, church structures and inept clergy. This is about something far worse, the pandemic of sexual violation and rape of countless vulnerable people, especially children, and the systemic enabling of the same by the popes and the hierarchy.” (Tom Doyle in National Catholic Reporter)
The so-called ‘summit’ on the clergy sex abuse crisis was not a total failure. The process and the outcome of the Feb. 21-24 meeting of bishops at the Vatican were clearly a serious disappointment to the victim-survivors, their families and countless others who hoped for something concrete to happen. The accomplishments can only be understood in the context of the totality of the event: the speeches, especially those of the three women, the bishops’ deliberations, the media reaction, and the presence and participation of the victims-survivors from at least 20 countries.
“I have been directly involved in this nightmare since 1984, when the reality of sexual violation of the innocent by clerics, and the systemic lying and cover-up by the hierarchy (from the papacy on down) emerged from layers of ecclesiastical secrecy into the open. By 1985, Pope John Paul II and several high-ranking Vatican clerics possessed detailed information about what was quickly turning into the church’s worst crisis since the Dark Ages …
“.. The clergy abuse phenomenon is the worst crisis the church has experienced in more than a thousand years. The Protestant Reformation and its follow-on, the Council of Trent, were about doctrine, church structures and inept clergy. This is about something far worse, the pandemic of sexual violation and rape of countless vulnerable people, especially children, and the systemic enabling of the same by the popes and the hierarchy.
“When will it be over and what is needed to fix it? The answers are obvious, but they invoke such fear in the clerical elite that they aren’t even able to discuss them. This nightmare will continue as long as the hierarchical system that created and sustained it exists in its present state. The reasons for this phenomenon are deeply rooted in the church’s institutional structures and the theological excuses that support them.
“It will take a radical, fundamental process of change before the entire church truly reflects what it is supposed to be, the people of God.”
By Thomas P. Doyle, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
“I would characterize these breaches and abuses as grave,” the chief judge in the case, Peter Kidd, said during the sentencing. Speaking directly to Cardinal Pell, he added: “Your conduct was permeated by staggering arrogance.” (The New York Times)
George Pell, an Australian cardinal who was the Vatican’s chief financial officer and an adviser to Pope Francis, was sentenced to six years in prison on Wednesday (Mar. 13), for molesting two boys after Sunday Mass in 1996.
“The cardinal was convicted on five counts in December, making him the most senior Catholic official — and the first bishop — to be found guilty in a criminal court for sexually abusing minors, according to BishopAccountability.org, which tracks cases of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.
“Cardinal Pell, who stood stone-faced with lips pursed when his sentence was read aloud, will not be eligible for parole for three years and eight months.
“‘I would characterize these breaches and abuses as grave,’ the chief judge in the case, Peter Kidd, said during the sentencing. Speaking directly to Cardinal Pell, he added: ‘Your conduct was permeated by staggering arrogance.'”
By Livia Albeck-Ripka and Damien Cave, The New York Times — Read more …
Cardinal Pell convicted of sexual abuse, will appeal verdict / Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter
Before the appeal, Pell is expected to be sentenced to serve jail time for the five count. (Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter)
An Australian court found Cardinal George Pell guilty on five charges related to the sexual abuse of two 13-year-old boys; sentencing is expected in early March, but the cardinal’s lawyer already has announced plans to appeal the conviction.
“While the appeal is in process, Pope Francis has confirmed the ‘precautionary measures’ prohibiting Pell from publicly exercising his ministry as a priest and from having contact with minors, Alessandro Gisotti, interim director of the Vatican press office, told reporters Feb. 26.
“The jury’s verdict that Pell, shortly after being named archbishop of Melbourne in 1996, sexually assaulted the two boys was handed down in December, but the court demanded the verdict and details about it not be reported until after a second trial on allegations that he abused several boys in the 1970s.
“The judge lifted the reporting ban Feb. 25 after prosecutors announced they would not proceed with the second trial against the 77-year-old cardinal.”
By Catholic News Service in National Catholic Reporter — Read more …