Posts Tagged Nicholas Cafardi
“His (former cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s) appointment (to auxiliary bishop of New York) required no consultation with the body of clergy of New York, and no consultation with the body of the laity, beyond those few apostolic letters. It mostly required Cardinal Cooke’s patronage.”Commonweal
“There are a number of conclusions one could draw from reading the Vatican report on former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. For example: that the clerical sex-abuse crisis in the Church is worse than we thought and extends to vulnerable adults. Also, that position and influence in our Church are easily bought, and that bishops lie, even to the pope, to protect other bishops. But the conclusion that encompasses all of the above is that the way we choose our bishops is deeply flawed, producing bishops who are, in turn, deeply flawed. How did things get this way, and what can be done about it?
“First, let’s consider a bit of history. Once the office of bishop was clearly established in the early Church as the unitary head of a diocese (a Roman administrative unit), that office was filled by someone chosen by local people and priests, then ratified by the neighboring bishops, as a sign of the unity of the Church. Even the unbaptized were eligible, as we know from the oft-told story of St. Ambrose, whom the clergy and people of Milan chose as their bishop while he was still a catechumen. The first bishop of the United States, John Carroll, was elected by the priests of Maryland and confirmed by the pope. Today, we are so used to the pope choosing our bishops for us that we think it was always that way. It wasn’t. In fact, the right of the pope to choose bishops was only settled with the 1917 Code of Canon Law, a papal document that clearly allocated that power to the holder of the papal office.
“Arguably, there is some limited lay input in the selection of bishops. When a priest is being considered for appointment as bishop, the papal nuncio sends out what are called apostolic letters to a select group, which may include laypeople from the area, asking their opinion of the candidate based on some very specific questions …”
By Nicholas P. Cafardi, Commonweal — Read more …
Vatican appears likely to empower archbishops on abuse claims against bishops / National Catholic Reporter
The possibility of empowering archbishops to investigate allegations made in their provinces was raised at the annual meeting of the bishops’ conference in November, when the prelates were considering a number of proposals to respond to this year’s spate of revelations of clergy sexual abuse. (National Catholic Reporter)
One of the proposals made at last month’s meeting of U.S. Catholic bishops for investigating future allegations of misconduct by prelates appears likely to receive Vatican approval, according to several eminent canon lawyers and theologians.
“The suggestion to empower the nation’s metropolitan archbishops to examine accusations made against bishops in their regions of the country corresponds both with the way the church handled such issues in earlier centuries and the current Code of Canon Law, they say.
“Nicholas Cafardi, a respected civil and canon lawyer, noted that the current version of the code already says the Vatican can give archbishops ‘special functions and power’ in their regions ‘where circumstances demand it.’
“‘This function could be to receive and investigate accusations of sexual impropriety … and then to report to the Holy See on the results,’ said Cafardi, who has advised bishops and dioceses on canonical issues for decades.”
By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
Pope Apologizes for Clergy Sexual Abuse As Former Abuse Commissioners Tell of Struggles with Bishops
Pope Asks Forgiveness for Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal, by David Gibson, Religion News Service
“In his strongest personal remarks yet on the clergy sex abuse scandal, Pope Francis on Friday (April 11) asked forgiveness ‘for the damage’ that abusive priests have inflicted on children and pledged that the Catholic Church ‘will not take one step backward’ in efforts to address the crisis.”
Click here to read the rest of Gibson’s story.
Past Members of Sex Abuse Commissions Tell of Struggles with Bishops, by Jason Berry, National Catholic Reporter
“Commissions set up by church officials to advise church officials on clergy sexual abuse have a checkered history. No one knows this better than Catholics who answered their bishops’ call to serve but found themselves and their advice rejected or ignored.
“The U.S. bishops named a 12-member blue-ribbon panel of lay advisers amid the firestorm of media coverage in 2002.
“‘A lot of American bishops would not want to see any of us of the original review board named to this [pontifical] commission,’ said Nicholas Cafardi, who served on the National Review Board from 2002 to 2004.”
Click here to read the rest of Berry’s story.
Reversal of Msgr. William Lynn’s Conviction in Philadelphia Conveys a Painful Lesson / National Catholic Reporter
“This week’s (Dec. 27) court decision that freed a senior cleric in Philadelphia who had been jailed for shielding an abusive priest was a symbolic setback for victims’ advocates but one with a substantial, and discouraging, message for their cause: None of the churchmen implicated in cover-ups during the worst decades of abuse will likely ever face charges …
“Nicholas Cafardi, a canon and civil lawyer at the Duquesne Law School in Pittsburgh and former head of the Catholic bishops’ national review board on clergy abuse, said (Pope) Francis must broaden the mandate of the commission (on child abuse) to include his brother bishops.
“‘We have to insist that there be repercussions for any bishop who would re-assign or cover-up for a sexually abusive priest,’ Cafardi wrote in an email. ‘The church will never have closure on this issue unless the larger problem of hierarchical complicity is dealt with.’”
By David Gibson, Religion News Service, Analysis in National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of Gibson’s analysis.
As a person commented to an earlier post on the blog, Msgr. Lynn’s conviction was overturned on a legality. As reported in The New York Times on Dec. 27, the day the ruling was handed down: “The reversal of Monsignor Lynn’s conviction turned on disputed interpretations of Pennsylvania’s former child welfare law and does not have legal implications for other states.” The same Times article quoted the appeals court as saying that “the state had provided ‘more than adequate’ evidence that Monsignor Lynn ‘prioritized the archdiocese’s reputation over the safety of potential victims of sexually abusive priests.'” Click here to read Philadelphia Monsignor’s Conviction Overturned in Cover-Up of Sexual Abuse.
Voice of the Faithful® has called repeatedly over many years for accountability for bishops who have covered up clergy sexual abuse. Why? Read Nicholas Cafardi’s article Accountability Gap, which appears in the June 11, 2013, issue of Commonweal magazine. Cafardi is a civil and canon lawyer, dean emeritus and professor of law at Duquesne University School of Law and one of the original members of the USCCB’s National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Youth.
When the spotlight of the national press was on them, it appeared that the bishops had acted responsibly. But, as an inaugural member of the bishops’ National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Youth, I had a different perspective. When the board went looking for national data about the phenomenon of sexual abuse by clergy, the California bishops, led by Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles (now retired), strongly resisted the audits. By Nicholas Cafardi, Commonweal