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Bishops who mishandle abuse must be accountable, says Vatican official

By on Wednesday, 8 February 2012

A nun prays at a penitential vigil at Rome's St Ignatius church, held for participants of the symposium (PA photo)

A nun prays at a penitential vigil at Rome's St Ignatius church, held for participants of the symposium (PA photo)

Bishops who mishandle abuse cases should be punished using existing canon law, the Vatican’s top prosecutor has said.

Mgr Charles Scicluna, the Promoter of Justice in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told a summit in Rome that Church leaders must be held accountable “to their people”.

He said it was unacceptable for bishops to ignore protocols – either established by the bishops’ conference or the Vatican – about handling allegations of abuse.

He added that the Church in Ireland had “paid a very high price for the mistakes of some of its shepherds”.

One Irish bishop, Bishop John Magee of Cloyne, was found to have ignored guidelines about reporting abuse as recently as 2009. Mgr Scicluna did not mention the case specifically, but said: “When set standards are not followed, this is unacceptable.”

Mgr Scicluna was speaking to the press during a four-day symposium on the sexual abuse crisis entitled Toward Healing and Reconciliation.

He said: “We need to be vigilant in choosing candidates for the important role of bishop, and we also need to use the tools that canonical law and tradition give us for the accountability of bishops.”

Mgr Scicluna explained that there was already provisions in Church law to sanction bishops for “negligence and malice in exercising one’s duties”. He said this provision should be more vigorously applied.

  • Tancred

    They still don’t see how this issue is allowed to give ammunition to the Church’s enemies by Modernists who in one way or another embraced the Cultural Revolution of 68.

    The very rare cases of sexual abuse by priests are almost invariably caused by ecclesiastical liberals.

  • Guglielmo Marinaro

    “The very rare cases of sexual abuse by priests are almost
    invariably caused by ecclesiastical liberals.”

     

    Is that a fact now? Evidence? And what of all those members
    of the ecclesiastical hierarchy who covered up the sexual abuse and kept
    quietly shifting the abusers from one parish to another. Were they, too, almost
    invariably ecclesiastical liberals? If so, then again, some evidence would be
    nice.

  • Tancred

    Yes, it’s a fact.   In any event there are a lot more of these twisted pederasts in the entertainment industry and government, particularly the Socialists.

    See Father Jenkins on “Moral Panic” and the Catholic Resource Center, which puts the number of absuers at 0.03%. 

    http://yalepress.yale.edu/book.asp?isbn=9780300109634 

    Also, a lot of this is in fact a hangover from the sexual revolution of 68 and this humanistic notion that offenders need education and not punishment.  

    As far as hiding them and shifting them around, I can only point out to the general level of permissiveness in society at large as one of the culprit and that fact that many, even most Bishops, have let the zeitgeist and public opinion define how the Church reacts, versus resisting the ways of the world which we did in the past.

    You also have to realize too that not everyone who’s accused is guilty of being a predator, and many good priests have been destroyed by this thing. Most of you fellows crying for “justice” don’t seem concerned about THAT.

    In better times offending miscreants were dealt with by the ecclesiastical courts and turned over to the secular arm for punishment when found guilty.

    I’ve long advocated dealing with homosexual priests [almost invariably of a Liberal stripe] by trying them for all of their ecclesiastical crimes, including Liturgical abuse, heresy and whatnot to demonstrate how the two things, Modernism and pederasty float in the same boat.

  • Parasum

    One Irish bishop, Bishop John Magee of Cloyne, was found to have ignored guidelines about reporting abuse as recently as 2009. Mgr Scicluna did not mention the case specifically, but said: “When set standards are not followed, this is unacceptable.”

    ## If that is so – why should things be different this time ? This problem is far too big to be solved by bureaucracy; even if it is Vatican bureaucracy. A sticking-plaster for a gaping and very severe wound is wholly inadequate.

    Are there any provisions in canon Law for bishops accused of serious offences to be tried – or are they denied due process ? If the latter is the case – how is that just ?

  • Jonathan West

    At Ealing Abbey, there was abuse going on long before Vatican II. Father Kevin Horsey was already a prolific abuser in the 1940s. They named a building after him at St Benedict’s school after he died in 2006. They are going to rename it.

  • James H

    Parasum, you’re being incoherent.

    For the record, the statute of limitations (in Canon Law) was removed, by the present Pope when he was a Cardinal, IIRC. All that’s being proposed here is that existing measures are applied. This goes further than civil law, where the statute of limitations is 10 years (in most countries), in which case a lot of the guilty parties would not even come to trial in a criminal court.

    If this is ‘wholly inadequate’, what would you suggest?